In Greek mythology, Hippolytus (Greek: , Hippolytos "unleasher of horses") is the son of Theseus and Hippolyta. His downfall at the hands of Aphrodite is most famously recounted by the playwright Euripides, although other, sometimes differing versions of the story have also survived.
The meaning of Hippolytus' name is ironically ambiguous. ? translates to "horse", and the element - (from "loosen, destroy") suggests the adjective , -?, - "which may be undone, destroyed." His name thereby takes on the prophetic meaning "destroyed by horses".
Hippolytus is a hunter and sportsman who is disgusted by sex and marriage. In consequence he scrupulously worships Artemis, the virgin huntress, and refuses to honor Aphrodite. Offended by this neglect, Aphrodite causes Phaedra, Hippolytus' stepmother, to fall in love with him; Hippolytus rejects Phaedra's advances, setting events in motion that lead to his death in a fall from his chariot.
Euripides' tragedy Hippolytus describes the death of the eponymous hero after he rejects the advances of his stepmother Phaedra, the second wife of Theseus. Cursed by Aphrodite, Phaedra falls so ardently in love with Hippolytus that she becomes physically ill and decides to end her suffering through suicide. Her nurse tries to save her by revealing the secret to Hippolytus and encouraging him to reciprocate. Hippolytus responds only with horror and disgust, humiliating Phaedra. In despair, and not wanting to admit the true reason for ending her life, she hangs herself and leaves a note for Theseus accusing his son of raping her. Theseus, furious, uses one of the three wishes given to him by Poseidon, his father, to curse Hippolytus, who has fled the palace to go hunting. Poseidon sends a sea-monster to terrorize Hippolytus's chariot horses, which become uncontrollable and hurl their master out of the vehicle. Entangled in the reins, Hippolytus is dragged to death. Artemis reconciles father and son by telling Theseus that Phaedra was lying, and comforts the dying Hippolytus with a promise to make him the subject of religious practice so that his memory will live forever. She assigns a band of Trozenian maidens the task of preserving the story of Phaedra and Hippolytus in a ritual song.
Pausanias believes he knows a story of Hippolytus different then Euripides.
Hippolytus was resuscitated by Aesculapius, once revived he refused to forgive Theseus and went to Italy and became the king of the Aricians and named a city after Artemis. He ruled as a god named Virbius alongside and at the shrine of Diana. (the sanctuary forbade horses from entering which is why it is believed he lived there) The story of Hippolytus is different from Euripides because it brings him back from the dead to live his life in Italy where Euripides permanently connects him to his tomb
He was brought to Latium, Italy, where he reigned under the name of Virbius or Virbio. After his resurrection, he married Aricia. According to another tradition, he lived in the sacred forests near Aricia in Latium. Girls who were about to be married offered locks of their hair to him as a sign of their virginity.