In Greek mythology, Lityerses (Ancient Greek: Λιτυέρσης) was an illegitimate son of Midas (or of Comis) dwelling in Celaenae, Phrygia, and of Demeter, the ancient Greek goddess of plants, wheat and harvesting. Lityerses was a talented swordsman, and was bloodthirsty and aggressive. He challenged people to harvesting contests and beheaded those he beat, putting the rest of their bodies in the sheaves. Heracles won the contest and killed him, then threw his body into the river Maeander. He was also known as the "Reaper of Men." One source describes him as a glutton who could eat "three asses' panniers" of food and drink "a ten-amphora cask" of wine at a time.
The Phrygian reapers used to celebrate his memory in a harvest-song which bore the name of Lityerses. The song for Lityerses was, according to one tradition, a comic version of the lament sung by the Black Sea people, the Mariandyni for Bormos, a son of wealthy man.
Theocritus in his tenth Idyll gives a specimen of a Greek harvest-song addressed to Demeter, which is called 'the Song of the Divine Lityerses'. In this song, there is no mention of the legend; it is indeed only an ordinary reaping-song.
Lityerses appears in several of Rick Riordan's novels as a supporting character.
In Popular Culture
- In The Lost Hero, Lityerses is shown to meet Jason Grace, Piper McLean and Leo Valdez and tries to kill them. However they escape and Lityerses is turned to gold due to a mistake of his father, King Midas.
- In The Dark Prophecy, Lityerses is shown to be working under Commodus who is a part of the evil god emperors, Triumvirate Holdings. However, after Apollo saves him from execution by the hands of Commodus, he helps Apollo throughout the book.
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