Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Pleiades >> Alcyone (Alkyone)


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Strong-Help, Kingfisher

ALKYONE (Alcyone) was a Pleiad-nymph of Mount Kithairon (Cithaeron) in Boiotia (central Greece) loved by the god Poseidon.

Alkyone's name means either "strong-helper" from the Greek words alkê and oneô (oninêmi) or "kingfisher" from alkyôn. References to birds are also found in the name Peleiades "doves" and Merope the "bee-eater" (Greek merops).


[1.1] ATLAS (Hesiod Astronomy Frag 1, Pausanias 2.31.8)
[1.2] ATLAS & PLEIONE (Apollodorus 3.110, Hyginus Fabulae 192, Hyginus Astronomica 2.21, Ovid Fasti 4.169 & 5.79)


[1.1] HYRIEUS, LYKOS, AITHOUSA (by Poseidon) (Apollodorus 3.110)
[1.2] HYPERES, ANTHAS (by Poseidon) (Pausanias 2.30.8 & 9.22.5)
[1.3] HYRIEUS, EPHOKEUS (by Poseidon) (Hyginus Fabulae 157)


ALCY′ONE or HALCY′ONE (Alkuonê), A Pleiad, a daughter of Atlas and Pleione, by whom Poseidon begot Aethusa, Hyrieus and Hyperenor. (Apollod. iii. 10. § 1; Hygin. Praef. Fab. p. 11, ed. Staveren; Ov. Heroid. xix. 133.) To these children Pausanias (ii. 30. § 7) adds two others, Hyperes and Anthas.

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Hesiod, Astronomy Fragment 1 (from Scholiast on Pindar's Nemean Odea 2.16) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"The Pleiades whose stars are these :--‘Lovely Teygata, and dark-faced Elektra, and Alkyone, and bright Asterope, and Kelaino, and Maia, and Merope, whom glorious Atlas begot.’"

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 110 - 111 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"To Atlas and Okeanos' (Oceanus') daughter Pleione were born--on Arkadian Kyllene (Cyllene)--seven daughters called the Pleiades, whose names are Alkyone, Merope, Kelaino, Elektra, Sterope, Taygete, and Maia . . . Poseidon slept with two of them: first with Kelaino . . . and then with Alkyone, who bore him a daughter Aithousa (Aethusa)--the mother with Apollon of Eleuther--, and sons Hyrieus and Lykos (Lycus)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Later kings [of Troizenos (Troezen) in Argolis were] Hyperes and Anthas. These they assert to be sons of Poseidon and of Alkyone (Alcyone), daughter of Atlas, adding that they founded in the country the cities of Hyperea and Anthea."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 18. 10 - 16 :
"[Amongst the scenes depicted on the throne of Apollon at Amyklai (Amyclae) near Sparta :] To describe the reliefs . . . Poseidon and Zeus are carrying Taygete, daughter of Atlas, and her sister Alkyone (Alcyone). There are also reliefs of Atlas."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 22. 5 :
"Some say that the city [of Anthedon in Boiotia] received its name from a Nymphe called Anthedon, while others say that one Anthas was despot here, a son of Poseidon by Alkyone (Alcyone), the daughter of Atlas."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 157 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Sons of Neptunus [Poseidon]. Hyrieus by Alcyone, daughter of Atlas . . . Ephoceus by Alcyone, daughter of Atlas."
[N.B. Ephoceus is Epopeus--the king of Sikyon who offered refuge to Antiope. Antiope's father was Nykteus, son of Poseidon and the Pleiad Kelaino, and so Epopeus is here a close relative of the girl.]

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 21 :
"The Pleiades are called seven in number, but only six can be seen. This reason has been advanced, that of the seven, six mated with immortals--three with Jove [Zeus], two with Neptunus [Poseidon], and one with Mars [Ares] . . . from Alcyone and Neptunus, [was born] Hyrieus."

Ovid, Fasti 4. 169 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The Pleiades will start relieving their sire's [Atlas'] shoulders. Called seven, they are usually six, wither because six of them entered a god's embrace . . . Alcyone and you, fair Celaeno, [lay] with Neptunus [Poseidon]."

Ovid, Heroides 19. 129 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Neptune [Poseidon], wert thou mindful of thine own heart's flames, thou oughtst let no love be hindered by the winds--if neither Amymone, nor Tyro much bepraised for beauty, are stories idly charged to thee, nor shining Alcyone, and Calyce, child of Hecataeon, nor Medusa . . . nor golden-haired Laodice and Celaeno taken to the skies, nor those whose names I mind me of having read. These, surely, Neptune, and many more, the poets say in their songs have mingled their soft embraces with thine own."





A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.