Trophonius was a son of Erginus, king of Orchomenus, and he was renowned for being a fine architect and builder. His brother was Agamedes (see his name for an object lesson in crime not paying).

Trophonius' name apparently means 'feeder' (trophos), whereas one might expect it to allude somehow to his architectural achievements. Perhaps originally he was a kind of 'nourishing' or earth god. The English word 'trophy' is not related to his name, but comes from Greek tropos, 'turning'. (Turn an enemy and you get victory; get a victory and you get a trophy.)