Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Naiads >> Cyane (Kyane)


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Azure-Blue (kyanos)

KYANE (Cyane) was the Naiad-nymph of a spring of the Sicilian town of Syrakousa (Syracuse). After witnessing the abduction of Persephone by Haides, Kyane dissolved away merging with the waters of her spring.


Perhaps a daughter of the River ANAPOS


CY′ANE (Kuanê), a Sicilian nymph and playmate of Proserpina, who was changed through grief at the loss of Proserpina into a well. The Syracusans celebrated an annual festival on that spot, which Heracles was said to have instituted. and at which a bull was sunk into the well as a sacrifice. (Diod. v. 4; Ov. Met. v. 412, &c.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 2. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"A great fountain was made sacred to her [Persephone] in the territory of Syrakousa (Syracuse) and given the name Kyane (Cyane) or ‘Azure Font.’ For the myth relates that it was near Syrakousa that Plouton (Pluton) [Haides] effected the Rape of Kore [Persephone] and took her away in his chariot, and that after cleaving the earth asunder he himself descended into Haides, taking along with him the bride whom he had seized, and that he caused the fountain named Kyane to gush forth, near which the Syrakousans each year hold a notable festive gathering; and private individuals offer the lesser victims, but when the ceremony is on behalf of the community, bulls are plunged in the pool, this manner of sacrifice having been commanded by Herakles on the occasion when he made the circuit of all Sikelia (Sicily), while driving off the cattle of Geryones."

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 2. 33 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"The nature of rivers, and their streams, are visible to us. But men who honour them, and have statues made of them, in some cases set up anthropomorphic statues, while others give them bovine form . . . In Sikelia (Sicily) the Syrakousans (Syracusans) represent [the river] Anapos as a man, whereas they honoured the spring Kyane (Cyane) with the statue of a woman."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 407 & 464 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[The abduction of Proserpine-Persephone by Pluto-Hades :] On through deep lakes he [Hades] drove . . . past Bacchiadae [Syracuse], where settlers once from Corinthus' isthmus built between two harbours their great battlements. A bay confined by narrow points of land lies between [the twin springs] Arethusa of Pisa (Pisaea) and Cyane. And there lived Cyane, the most renowned of all the Nymphae Sicelidae (Sicilian Nymphs), who gave her pool its name. Out of her waters' midst she rose waist-high and recognised the goddess. ‘Stop, stop!’ she cried, ‘You cannot take this girl to wife against Queen Ceres' [Demeter's] will! She ought to have been wooed, not whirled away. I too, if humble things may be compared with great, was loved; Anapis married me; but I was wooed and won, not, like this girl, frightened and forced.’
She held out her arms outstretched to bar his way. But Saturnius [Haides] restrained his wrath no longer. Urging on his steeds, his terrible steeds, and brandishing aloft his royal sceptre in his strong right arm, he hurled it to the bottom of the pool. The smitten earth opened a way to Tartara (Hell) and down the deep abyss the chariot plunged. But Cyane, heartbroken at the rape of Proserpine and at her pool's outrage, in silence carried in her heart a wound beyond consoling, and in endless tears she wasted away. Into the pool--her pool and she but now its deity--she spread dissolved. You might have seen her limbs soften, her bones begin to bend, her nails losing their hardness. All the slenderest parts, her wave-blue hair, her finger, legs and feet were liquid first; the change is slight and short from delicate limbs to chilly water. Next her shoulders, back and sides and breast dissolved in slender rivulets and disappeared, and last, in place of warm and living blood, water flows in along her wasted veins and nothing now that you could grasp remains. Ceres [Demeter] meanwhile in terror sought her child vainly in every land . . . She turned again to Sicania (Sicily) and there, in wanderings that led her everywhere, she too reached Cyane; who would have told all, had she not been changed. She longed to tell but had no mouth, no tongue, nor any means of speaking. Even so she gave a clue, clear beyond doubt, and floating on her pool she showed the well-known sash which Persephone had chanced to drop there in the sacred spring. How well the goddess knew it! Then at last she seemed to understand her child was stolen, and tore her ruffed hair and beat her breast . . . Then that fair Nymphe [Arethusa] . . . rose from her pool and brushed back from he brow her dripping hair [and told her that Haides' was responsible for the abduction of Persephone]."

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 3. 89 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"The colony of Syracuse with the Spring of Arethusa--although the territory of Syracuse is also supplied with water by the springs of Temenitis, Archidemia, Magea, Cyane and Milichie."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 6. 129 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"In the place where that River [Anapos of Sicily] had often bathed the maiden Kyane (Cyane), pouring his water in fountain-showers as a bridegift."





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