Battus was born in an unknown village on the Greek island of Thera. What is known of Battus’ family background is from the Greek historian Herodotus. His father, Polymnestus, wasa Therean nobleman and his mother was named Phromina. She was a princess of Oaxus (a city on the Greek island of Crete). Her father, Etearchus or Eteachos, was King of Oaxus. WhenPhronima’s mother, then Queen of Oaxus (whose name is unknown) died, Etearchus remarried. Phronima’s stepmother (whose name is also unknown) became Queen. She did everything totorment Phromina, most notably by falsely accusing her of fornication. When Etearchus heard of this, he befriended a Therean merchant living in Oaxus called Themiston and convincedhim to swear an oath that he would perform any task the king asked him to do. Etearchus fetched Phronima, had her put in Themiston’s charge, and asked him to throw her into the sea.Themiston, in order to clear himself of the obligation, took Phronima on his ship, lowered her into water with a rope, and hauled her back in the ship (i.e. he did not kill her asordered). Themiston then sailed with Phronima back to his home island of Thera. There, Phronima became the mistress of a distinguished nobleman called Polymnestus, who was amember of the Minyan family of the Euphemidae. Phronima bore Polymnestus a son, Battus. Herodotus does not give his real name, but according to Pindar, his birth name wasAristotle. Justin gives him the name of Aristaeus and states after his death in Cyrene he was worshipped by the name of Aristaeus. In any case, Battus in ancient Greek means stammer(because he had a speech impediment as a child), while in the Libyan language battus means king. Herodotus opines that he was not known as Battus until he left for Libya.