In Greek mythology, Priam (Greek Πρίαμος) was the king of Troy during the Trojan War, and son of Laomedon. Priam had a number of wives (his first was Arisbe); his chief wife, Hecuba, bore him twenty children. Another wife, Laothoe, was the mother of Lycaon. He also fathered Cebriones with a slave. Priam was originally called Podarge (or Podarces) and he kept himself from being killed by Heracles by giving him a golden veil embroidered by his sister, Hesione. After this, Podarge changed his name to Priam. This is an aitiological popular etymology based on priatos "ransomed"; the actual etymology of the name is probably not Greek, a Lydian origin was suggested.
Polydorus, Priam's youngest son, was sent with gifts of jewelry and gold to the court of King Polymestor to keep him safe during the Trojan War. The fighting grew vicious and Priam was frightened for the child's safety. After Troy fell, Polymestor threw Polydorus to his death to take the treasure for himself. Hecuba eventually avenged her son.
When Hector was killed by Achilles, Priam walked into the Greek encampment and begged for Hector's body so he could be buried. Achilles agreed, though he had already dragged the body around Troy three times. In the sack of Troy, Priam was brutally murdered by Achilles's son Neoptolemus (also known in the Aeneid as Pyrrhus), in a scene memorialized both in Virgil's Aeneid and Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- By Arisbe:
- By Hecuba: Hector, Ilione, Creusa, Deiphobus, Helenus, Antiphus, Polites, Laodice, Paris, Cassandra, Polydorus, Polyxena, Tróáin.
- Other: Cebriones