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Mount Cithaeron

KITHAIRON (Cithaeron) was a mountain-god of Boiotia in central Greece. His mountain spanned the borders of Boiotia, Megaris and Attika.

He may have been identified with Nysos, foster-father of the god Dionysos.


Presumably son GAIA like the other Mountains


CITHAERON (Kithairôn), a mythical king in Boeotia, from whom mount Cithaeron was believed to have derived its name. Once when Hera was angry with Zeus, Cithaeron advised the latter to take into his chariot a wooden statue and dress it up so as to make it resemble Plataea, the daughter of Asopus. Zeus followed his counsel, and as he was riding along with his pretended bride, Hera, overcome by her jealousy, ran up to him, tore the covering from the suspected bride, and on discovering that it was a statue, became reconciled to Zeus. (Paus. ix. 1. § 2, 3. § 1.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Homer's Epigrams 6 (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"[A fragmentary papyrus text tells the story of the mock-wedding of Zeus and Plataia (Plataea), daughter of the river-god Asopos, which was presided over by Kithairon (Cithaeron) :] So much he [to Asopos?] said; . . ((lacuna)) [Mount] Parnes spoke in turn : ‘. . ((lacuna)) Pleasures . . connection by marriage . . that . . of you . . fortune . . I am content . . Kithairon (Cithaeron) . . them responsible . . and Kithairon . . Plataia [daughter of Asopos] . . is brought . . the lost . . to the . . Wide-spread, tawny Helikon (Helicon).’"

Corinna, Fragment 654 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"[Mount Kithairon (Cithaeron) and Mount Helikon (Helicon) competed in a musical contest. Kithairon's song told of how the infant Zeus was hidden from Kronos (Cronus) :] That was his [Mount Kithairon's] song; and at once the Mousai (Muses) instructed the blessed ones to put their secret voting-pebbles into the gold-shining urns; and they all rose together, and Kithairon won the greater number; and Hermes promptly proclaimed with a shout that he had won his desired victory, and the blessed ones adorned him with garlands of firs, and his heart rejoiced; but the other, Helikon, gripped by cruel anguish, tore out a smooth rock, and the mountain shuddered; and groaning pitiably he dashed it from on high into ten thousand stones."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 1. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[The name of the town Plataia (Plataea) in Boiotia] comes from Plataia, whom they consider to be a daughter of the river Asopos . . . The Plataians know of no king except Asopos and Kithairon (Cithaeron) before him, holding that the latter gave his name to the mountain, the former to the river."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 3. 1 :
"Hera, they say, was for some reason or other angry with Zeus, and had retreated to Euboia (Euboea). Zeus, failing to make her changer her mind, visited Kithairon (Cithaeron), at that time despot in Plataia (Plataea), who surpassed all men for his cleverness. So he ordered Zeus to make an image of wood, and to carry it, wrapped up, in a bullock wagon, and to say that he was celebrating his marriage to Plataia, the daughter of Asopos. So Zeus followed the advise of Kithairon. Hera heard the news at once, and at once appeared on the scene. But when she came near the wagon and tore away the dress from the image, she was pleased at the deceit, on finding it a wooden image and not a bride, and was reconciled to Zeus."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 14 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[Description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the fiery birth of Dionysos :] The flame, dividing, dimly outlines a cave for Dionysos [i.e. on Mount Kithairon (Cithaeron)] more charming than any in Assyria and Lydia; for sprays of ivy grow luxuriantly about it and clusters of ivy berries and now grape-vines and stalks of thyrsos which spring up from the willing earth, so that some grow in the very fire . . . Listen to Pan, how he seems to be hymning Dionysos on the crests of Kithairon, as he dances an Euian fling. And Kithairon in the form of a man laments the woes soon to occur on his slopes, and he wears an ivy crown aslant on his head--for he accepts the crown most unwillingly--and [the Erinys] Megaira causes a fir to shoot up beside him and brings to light a spring of water, in token, I fancy, of the blood of Aktaion (Actaeon) and of Pentheus."

Statius, Thebaid 9. 446 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"He [the river Ismenos], gnashing his teeth, and gave the sign to his already raging waters: cold [Mount] Cithaeron sends succour from the hills, and bids his ancient snows and stores of frost be moving; to the flood his brother [the River] Asopos unites his secret stores, and supplies streams from wide-open veins [i.e. via underground channels]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 5. 354 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Aktaion (Achtaeon) cries out to the mountain as he is torn apart by his dogs :] ‘Kithairon (Cithaeron), tell Autonoe [his mother] what you know; with stony tears describe to Aristaios (Aristaeus) my father, my end and the maddening hounds unmerciful.’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44. 142 ff :
"[Pentheus, enemy of Dionysos, calls out to the mountain :] ‘Let old Kithairon (Cithaeron) receive Hadryades [of Dionysos] to join his own Hadryades instead of Lyaios (Lyaeus) [Dionysos].’" [N.B. Hadryades are tree-nymphs.]





A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.