A Neolithic settlement was located near the central sanctuary of Argois. The temple was dedicated to "Argivian Hera". The main festival of that temple was the Hekatombaia, one of the major festivals of Argos itself. Walter Burkert connected the festival to the myth of the slaying of Argus Panoptes by Hermes, and only secondarily associated with mythological Argus.
Argos was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, and along with the neighbouring acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns became a very early settlement because of its commanding positions in the midst of the fertile plain of Argolis. During Homeric times it belonged to a follower of Agamemnon and gave its name to the surrounding district.
Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon. Under Pheidon Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese. The importance of Argos was eclipsed by Sparta after the 6th century BC.
Because of its refusal to fight or send supplies in the Graeco-Persian Wars, Argos was shunned by most other city-states. Argos remained neutral or the ineffective ally of Athens during the 5th century BC struggles between Sparta and Athens.
The mythological kings of Argos are (in order): Inachus, Phoroneus, Argus, Triopas, Agenor, Iasus, Crotopus, Pelasgus (aka Gelanor), Danaus, Lynceus, Abas, Proetus, Acrisius , Perseus, Megapénthês, Argeus, and Anaxagoras. An alternative version (supplied by Tatiānus) of the original 17 consecutive kings of Argōs includes Apis, Argios, Kriasos, and Phorbas between Argus and Triopas, explaining the apparent unrelation of Triopas to Argus.
After the original 17 kings of Argos, there were three kings ruling Argos at the same time, one descended from Bias, one from Melampus, and one from Anaxagoras. Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, then Oicles, and Amphiaraus, and his house of Melampus lasted down to the brothers Alcmaeon and Amphilochus.
Anaxagoras was succeeded by his son Alector, and then Iphis. Iphis left his kingdom to his nephew Sthenelus, the son of his brother Capaneus.
Bias was succeeded by his son Talaus, and then by his son Adrastus who, with Amphiaraus, commanded the disastrous Seven Against Thebes. Adrastus bequethed the kingdom to his son, Aegialeus, who was subsequently killed in the war of the Epigoni. Diomedes, grandson of Adrastus through his son-in-law Tydeus and daughter Deipyle, replaced Aegialeus and was King of Argos during the Trojan war. This house lasted longer than those of Anaxagoras and Melampus, and eventually the kingdom was reunited under its last member, Cyanippus, son of Aegialeus, soon after the exile of Diomedes.