the famous king of Troy, at the time of the Trojan war. He was a son of Laomedon and Strymo or Placia. His original name is said to have been Podarces, i. e. "the swift-footed," which was changed into Priamus, "the ransomed" because he was the only surviving son of Laomedon and was ransomed by his sister Hesione, after he had fallen into the hands of Heracles (Apollodorus iii).
He is said to have been first married to Arisbe, the daughter of Merops, by whom he became the father of Aesacus but afterwards he gave up Arisbe to Hyrtacus, and married Hecabe (Hecuba), by whom he had the following children: Hector, Alexander or Paris, Deiphobus, Helenus, Pammon, Polites, Antiphus, Hipponous, Polydorus, Troilus, Creusa, Laodice, Polyxena, and Cassandra. By other women he had a great many children besides (Apollodorus iii). According to the Homeric tradition, he was the father of fifty sons, nineteen of whom were children of Hecabe, to whom others add an equal number of daughters.
Previous to the outbreak of the war of the Greeks against his kingdom, he is said to have supported the Phrygians in their war against the Amazons (Horn. II. iii. 184). When the Greeks landed on the Trojan coast Priam was already advanced in years, and took no active part in the war.
After the death of his son Hector, Priam, accompanied by Hermes, went to the tent of Achilles to ransom Hector's body for burial, and obtained it.
His death is not mentioned by Homer, but later poets have filled up this gap in the legend. When the Greeks entered the city of Troy, the aged king, it is said, put on his armour, and was on the point of rushing into the crowd of the enemy, but he was prevailed on by Hecabe to take refuge with herself and her daughters, as a suppliant at the altar of Zeus Herceius. While he was tarrying in the temple, his son Polites, pursued by Pyrrhus, rushed into the temple, and expired at the feet of his father, whereupon Priam aimed at Pyrrhus, but was killed by him. (The Aeneid by Virgil Book II) His body remained unburied. (The Aeneid by Virgil Book II)
Another Priam is mentioned by Virgil (The
Aeneid by Virgil Book V), as a son of Polites, and is
accordingly a grandson of king Priam.