Marpessa was the only daughter of King Evenus.She was noble and graceful.From her childhood she was trained by her father like a young hero and was not allowed tohave any thought of love and marriage.To deal with the crowdof men who now rushed into his palace,the king proposed that aman have to beat him in a carriage race to win his daughter. Death would be the penalty for the loser . The king was sure of his victory,for his horses came from Ares' stables . Manyyoung princes lost their lives.
Last came Idas,prince of Messenia. He was not discouragedby the fate of those men,because he had Poseidon on his side.Granting his prayers,the seagod had given him two fleet horses and advised him to take his reward as soon as he won therace and flee from the king's attack . He did as he had been told,and King Evenus,lost his own daughter,his only hope inlife,drowned himself in a river.
Idas and Marpessa presently arrived at a riverside,where ldas put down his beloved to enjoy a bit of rest and food and drink.They spent the night in a temple nearby.When morning came,Idas found that Marpessa had been stolen by Apollo.Heran after the immortal god—Apollo,feeling quite ready to fightand die for his love.Apollo held his unescapable arrows .Idaswent forward with his sword.The duel was about to start whensuddenly they heard a thunderbolt round about,and Zeus himself arrived to stop the unequal contest.He gave the maiden thechoice between immorality and eternal glory on one side and onthe other a mortal life of faithful love mixed with endless caresand griefs .Fearing infidelity on part of a god ,Mar pessa turned down the sweet promises of Apollo and chose for hercompanion in life one capable of a like fate.Apollo left in badspirits; Idas felt on top of the world .