In Greek mythology, Lyrcus was described as the son of primordial king of Argos, Phoroneusand (son of the river god Inachus). When Io, daughter of Inachus, king in Argos, was captured by brigands. Her father Inachus sent several men to search for her. One of these was Lyrcus, who searched land and sea without finding the girl, and finally quit the quest. But Lyrcus was too afraid of Inachus to return to Argos without her, and went instead to Caunus in Caria, where he married the daughter of King Aegialus, Hilebia, who fell in love with Lyrcus as soon as she saw him and persuaded her father to arrange for the marriage of them. Aegialus gave Lyrcus as dowry a good share of his kingdom, and accepted him as his son-in-law.
Years passed and Lyrcus and his wife had no children. Lyrcus made a journey to the oracle at Didyma, to ask how he might obtain offspring. The answer was , that he would beget a child upon the first woman with whom he should have sex after leaving the shrine. At this he was mighty pleased, and began to hasten on his homeward journey back to his wife, sure that the prediction was going to be fulfilled according to his wish. But on the journey, when Lyrcus reach Bybastus. Staphylus, the son of Dionysus and Ariadne, welcomed Lyrcus in a friendly manner and enticed him to much drinking of wine. Staphylus had a hidden motive behind it, as Staphylus wanted a male heir and knew about prediction made by oracle at Didyma. When Lyrcus had his senses dulled with wine, Staphylus send his own daughter, Molpadia, into Lyrcus bed chamber. Drunk Lyrcus had sex with Molpadia and then both fell asleep.
|Lyrcus and Molpadia|
The next morning Lyrcus discovered the trap that his host had laid for him. When Lyrcus saw Molpadia by his side, he was exceedingly angry. He upbraided Staphylus violently for his conduct. Finally seeing that there was nothing to be done, Lyrcus took off his belt and gave it to Molpadia, telling her to keep it until their future child had come of age. Then the child would possess a token by which he might be recognized, if he should ever come to his father at Caunus. Lyrcus sailed away home.
When King Aegialus heard the whole story about the oracle and about Molpadia he banished Lyrcus. There was then a war of great length between Lyrcus and Aegialus. Hilebia was on the side of Lyrcus, for she refused to repudiate her husband. Lyrcus became king of Caunus. Years later Basilus, the son of Lyrcus and Molpadia, came to the land of Caunus. Lyrcus recognized him as his son, and made him ruler over his peoples.