|“||I have suffered enough, Spartan. Hades, he sent me to this eternal torture. My prison of tinder. But now that you are here, you can free me! All I have left is my bow. Please, free me and it is yours.||”|
Πειρίθοος (also transliterated as Perithoos, Peirithoos or Peirithous) was the King of the Lapiths in Thessaly and husband of Hippodamia, at whose wedding the famous Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs occurred. He was a son of "heavenly" Dia, fathered either by Ixion or by Zeus. His best friend was Theseus. In Iliad I, Nestor numbers Peirithous and Theseus "of heroic fame" among an earlier generation of heroes of his youth, "the strongest men that Earth has bred, the strongest men against the strongest enemies, a savage mountain-dwelling tribe whom they utterly destroyed". No trace of such an oral tradition, which Homer's listeners would have recognized in Nestor's allusion, survived in literary epic.
In disjointed episodes that have survived, Peirithous had heard rumors about Theseus' courage and strength in battle but he wanted proof. He rustled Theseus' herd of cattle from Marathon, and Theseus set out to pursue him. Peirithous took up arms and the pair met, then became so impressed by each other they took an oath of friendship.
They were among the company of heroes that hunted the Calydonian Boar, another mythic theme that was already well-known to Homer's listeners. Later, Peirithous was set to marry Hippodamia (offspring: Polypoetes). The centaurs were guests at the party, but they got drunk and tried to abduct the women, including Hippodamia. The Lapiths won the ensuing battle, the Centauromachy, a favorite motif of Greek art.
Theseus and Peirithous pledged to carry off daughters of Zeus. Theseus chose Helen of Sparta and together they kidnapped her when she was 13 years of age and decided to hold onto her until she was old enough to marry. Peirithous chose a more dangerous prize: Persephone herself. They left Helen with Theseus' mother, Aethra and traveled to the underworld, domain of Persephone and her husband, Hades. Hades pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast; as soon as the pair sat down, either snakes coiled around their feet and held them there or the stone itself grew and attached itself to their thighs.
Hercules freed Theseus from the stone, but the earth shook when he attempted to liberate Peirithous. He had committed too great a crime for wanting the wife of one of the great gods as his own bride and was left behind as a result. By the time, Theseus returned to Athens, the Dioscuri (Helen's twin brothers Castor and Pollux) had taken Helen and Aethra back to Sparta.
In God of War III
Early on in the journey to the underworld, a note is found scrawled by him saying he seeks to escape from the clutches of Hades and be with Persephone. Kratos soon comes across him, trapped behind a cage of bramble, as Peirithous begs for Kratos to set him free in exchange for the Bow of Apollo. Kratos then proceeds to the other side of the prison, with a bramble pot, to where a Cerberus Mongrel is being kept. As Kratos approaches the Cerberus, the Cerberus breathes fire from its mouths in an attempt to kill Kratos. In the end, it manages only to ignite the bramble pot. After Kratos puts his weight down on a lamp near Peirithous' cage, that acts as a lever to raise a gate above the Cerberus, he glides up, using the smoke made by the bramble, to another lever, which when pulled releases the creature.
After a long and arduous battle with the beast, Kratos thrusts his Blades of Exile into the body of the Cerberus and rides it, killing any enemies he sees as he travels towards Peirithous who starts screaming and shouts in fear of his life, before Kratos puts an end to his misery using the fiery breath of the Cerberus to incinerate his prison, which, in turn, burned Peirithous to death. Kratos then obtains Apollo's bow. It is unknown if Peirithous' death was intended by Kratos or if it was an accidental result of the Spartan getting the bow.
- Peirithous dies in the same manner as the Athenian soldier in the "Challenge of Poseidon and Prometheus" at the Pandora's Temple, by being burned alive.
- It is unknown how Peirithous acquired the Bow of Apollo.
- It's possible that Peirithous was a champion of Apollo or that Apollo was his patron god and he gave him his bow as a reward. Another possibility is that Apollo gave Peirithous the bow to aid him in his quest to the Underworld.
- The original idea for Peirithous' punishment was him being trapped in a dining room. He would be more likely chained to a wall and forced to see and smell the food before him, being out of his reach while he starves. This idea was based on the story of Tantalus but later scrapped.
- Maybe the "Rise of the Warrior," is the story of Peirithous for the God of War universe, as the warrior possesses a bow similar to the one seen in God of War III.