Before the Athenian democracy, the tyrants, and the Archons, the city-state of Athens was ruled by kings. Most of these are probably mythical or only semi-historical. The following lists contain the chronological order of the title King of Athens (also prescribed earlier as kings of Attica), a semi-mythological title.
These three kings were supposed to have ruled before the flood of Deucalion.
|Turned into an eagle by Zeus
|King of the Ectenes who were the earliest inhabitants of Boeotia
|Father of Agraulus, and father-in-law to Cecrops
The early Athenian tradition, followed by the 3rd century BC Parian Chronicle, made Cecrops, a mythical half-man half-serpent, the first king of Athens. The dates for the following kings were conjectured centuries later, by historians of the Hellenistic era who tried to backdate events by cross-referencing earlier sources such as the Parian Chronicle. Tradition says that King Menestheus took part in the Trojan War.
The following list follows that of 1st Century BC Castor of Rhodes (FGrHist 250), with Castor's dates given in modern terms.
|Born from the Earth, he married Actaeus' daughter Agraulus and succeeded him to the throne
|Earth-born, deposed by Amphictyon son of Deucalion
|Either son of Deucalion or Earth-born, he deposed Cranaus and was in turn deposed by Erichthonius
|Earth-born son of Hephaestus and either Gaia, Athena or Atthis
|Son of Erichthonius
|Son of Pandion I
|Son of Erechtheus; omitted in Heraclides' epitome of Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians
|Son of Cecrops II
|Son of Pandion II; construction of Trojan Walls by Poseidon, Apollo and the mortal Aeacus (c. 1282 BC)
|Son of Aegeus
|Trojan War and the Sack of Troy (c. 1183 BC)
|Son of Theseus
|Son of Demophon
|Son of Oxyntes
|Son of Oxyntes and brother of Apheidas
Melanthus was the Neleides king of Pylos in Messenia. Being driven out by the Dorian and Heraclidae invasion, he came to Athens where Thymoestes resigned the crown to him. Codrus, the last king, repelled the Dorian invasion of Attica.
After Codrus's death, his sons Medon and Acastus either reigned as kings, or became hereditary archons. In 753 BC the hereditary archonship was replaced by a non-hereditary system (see Archons of Athens).
See also: Neleides