A son of Menelaus, who ruled after his father's death and sent Helen into exile. In some legends, Helen was his mother; in most, however, he was Menelaus's son by a concubine, Pieris or Tereis, and was born during the Trojan War. His name means "great sorrow" and he is named that because he was born from an affair that Menelaus had while grieving at the loss of Helen. He marries the daughter of Alector in the beginning of Book IV of the Odyssey (according to the scholia on line 10, her name was Iphiloche or Echemela). He also appears in Book XV of the Odyssey, where he is shown offering valuable gifts to Telemachus together with Menelaus and Helen. Megapenthes and his brother or half-brother Nicostratus were depicted on the throne in Amyclae riding one and the same horse.
↑Pausanias (2. 18. 6) calls Megapenthes and Nicostratus sons of a slave woman, whereas in the Bibliotheca account (3. 11. 1) Nicostratus is the son of Helen. In any case, the two seized the power over Sparta and drove Helen out together (Paus. 3. 19. 9).