According to the author, Robert Graves, Xuthus name came from the word strouthos, "sparrow". More likely, the name is a variation of Xanthus, which can signify that Xuthus was "yellow-haired". Alternatively, a colour xouthos according to Liddell and Scott as "between xanthos and pyrros" (i.e. between yellow and red), which means "tawny", "dusky". This can suggest that his name can refer to either to his skin, his complexion, his hair - or all three characteristics.
Xuthus was a son of Hellen and Orseis and brother of Dorus, Aeolus and Xenopatra. He had two sons by Creusa (daughter of Erechtheus): Ion and Achaeus and a daughter named Diomede. Aiclus and Cothus are sometimes described as being his children. Euripides's play, Ion, provides an unusual alternate version, according to which Xuthus is son of Aeolus and Ion has in fact been begotten on Xuthus's wife Creusa by Apollo. Xuthus and Creusa visited the Oracle at Delphi to ask the god if they could hope for a child. Xuthus will later father Dorus with Creusa, though Dorus is normally presented as Xuthus's brother.
According to the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women on the origin of the Greeks, Hellen's three sons Dorus, Xuthus (with his sons Ion and Achaeus) and Aeolus, comprised the set of progenitors of the major ancient tribes that formed the Greek nation.
Genealogy of Hellenes
- Euripides, The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O'Neill, Jr. in two volumes. 1. Ion, translated by Robert Potter. New York. Random House. 1938. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Euripides, Euripidis Fabulae. vol. 2. Gilbert Murray. Oxford. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1913. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Hamilton, Edith (1942). Mythology. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-34114-2.
- Hesiod, Catalogue of Women from Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann, 1914. Online version at theio.com
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.