Pelopids and Heraclids — the "Dorian Invasion" 1
  • Upon the death of Eurystheus an oracle tells the Mycenaeans to choose a Pelopid king and Atreus and Thyestes — already installed in nearby Midea by Sthenelus — contend for the prize. Atreus eventually wins out and his son, Orestes, returns to Mycenae and seizes the throne from Aletes, son of Aegisthus.

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  • Orestes expanded his kingdom to include all of Argos, and he became king of Sparta by marrying Hermione, his cousin and the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. Finally, Tisamenus, Orestes' son by Hermione, the daughter of Helen, inherits the throne.
  • The Heracleidae ("children of Heracles") return to the Peloponnese, led by Hyllus, the son of Heracles, and Iolaus, Heracles' nephew, and contend with the Pelopidae ("children of Pelops") for possession of the Peloponnese.
  • The Heracleidae base their claim to power on their descent, through Heracles, from Perseus, the founder of Mycenae, whereas Tisamenus was a Pelopid whom the Heracleidae regard as a usurper.
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