The king of Orchomenus, son of Aeolus. He divorced his first wife, the goddess Nephele, to be able to marry Ino, the daughter of Cadmus. With Nephele he had two children, Phrixus and Helle, and with Ino he had Learches and Melicertes. When his country was stricken by drought, Athamas, on Ino's instigation, wanted to sacrifice his first two children to Zeus. Nephele intervened and saved her children. Later, Athamas was inflicted with madness by Hera, because Ino had raised Dionysus. This madness caused him to kill Learches and attempted to kill his other son, but Ino managed to flee with Melicertes. On her flight she fell into the ocean and both mother and son became marine deities. Athamas fled to Phthiotis were he married Themisto.