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Apollo riding Griffin | Athenian red-figure kylix C4th B.C. | Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Apollo riding Griffin, Athenian red-figure kylix C4th B.C., Kunsthistorisches Museum

APOLLON was the Olympian god of prophecy, music, poetry, healing and archery.

This page describes his many liaisons. Many of these, however, appear only in the ancient genealogies with no accompanying story. The most celebrated of his loves were the nymph Daphne, princess Koronis (Coronis), huntress Kyrene (Cyrene) and youth Hyakinthos (Hyacinthus).

The stories of Apollo's lovers Daphne and Kyrene can be found on their own separate pages--see the Apollo pages sidebar.


HEKATE (Hecate) The goddess of witchcraft was, according to one unusual account, the mother of the sea-monster Skylla by Apollon. (Skylla was usually called a daughter of the sea-gods Phorkys and Keto). [see Family]

HESTIA The goddess of the hearth, was wooed by Apollon and Poseidon, who both sought to hand in marriage. She declined both and petitioned Zeus to allow her to remain an eternal virgin.

KALLIOPE (Calliope) One of the nine Mousai (Muses) who was, according to some, the mother by Apollon of the bards Orpheus and Linos (most, however, say their father was the Pierian King Oiagros). [see Family]

MOUSAI (Muses) Apollon was said to have loved all nine Mousai, and not being able to marry all nine, chose to remain unwed.

OURANIA (Urania) One of the nine Mousai (Muses) who, according to some, was the mother of Linos by Apollon (though, some say his mother was the Mousa Kalliope). [see Family]

THALEIA (Thalia) One of the nine Mousai (Muses) who, according to some, was the mother of the Korbyantes by Apollon. [see Family]


AITHOUSA (Aethusa) A nymph of Boiotia (central Greece) who was loved by Apollon. She bore him a son named Eleuther. [see Family]

AKAKALLIS (Acacallis) A nymph of Krete (Greek Aegean) who was loved by Apollon. She bore him twin sons: Philanderos and Phylakides. (Akakallis is perhaps an alternate name for Demeter's daughter Khrysothemis).

DAPHNE A Naiad-nymph of Arkadia (southern Greece) or Thessalia (northern Greece) who was loved by Apollon. She fled from his advances and was transformed into a laurel tree.

KHRYSOTHEMIS (Chrysothemis) A nymph and queen of Bubastos in Karia (Asia Minor), the wife of King Staphylos. She had three daughters, one of which, Parthenos, was sometimes said to be a child of Apollon's.

KORYKIA (Corycia) A Naiad-nymph of Phokis (central Greece) who bore Apollon a son named Lykoras. [see Family]

KYRENE (Cyrene) A nymph or princess of the Lapith country of Thessalia (northern Greece). She was seduced by Apollon whilst hunting and bore him two offspring: Aristaios and Idmon.

LEUKONOE (Leuconoe) A nymph of Phokis (central Greece) who, according to some, was the mother by Apollon of the bard Philammon (most sources, however, say his mother was Khione). [see Family]

MELAINA (Melaena) A Naiad-nymph of Phokis (central Greece) who, according to some, bore Apollon a son named Delphos (others say his mother was Thyia or Kelaino). [see Family]

MELIA An Okeanid-nymph who was abducted from the home of her father to Thebes by the god Apollon. Her brother Kaanthos was sent to retrieve her and after burning down the temple of Apollon was slain by the god. Melia was the mother of two sons: Teneros and Ismenos (and perhaps Keos, unless the mother of this hero was another Melia).

OKYRRHOE (Ocyrrhoe) A Naiad-nymph of the island of Samos (Greek Aegean) who was pursued by Apollon and refuge on a boat leaving the island. The wrathful god turned the boat to stone and the skipper into a pilot-fish.

OTHREIS A nymph of Mt Othrys in Malis (northern Greece), who bore Apollon a son named Phagros. [see Family]

OUREA (Urea) A sea-nymph of Troy (Asia Minor), daughter of Poseidon, who was loved by Apollon during the building of the walls of Troy. She bore the god a son named Ileus. [see Family]

RHETIA A nymph who, according to some, was the mother of the Korybantes by Apollon. (Rhetia, may be a corruption of the name Rhea, mother of Zeus, the goddess whom the Kouretes served). [see Family]

SINOPE A Naiad-nymph of Sikyonia (southern Greece) who was abducted by Apollon to the Black Sea coast of Assyria, where the city of Sinope was named for her. According to most sources, she tricked Apollon into swearing an oath promising her her virginity. Others, however, say she became the mother of Syros (eponymous King of Assyria) by the god.

STILBE A Naiad-nymph of the Lapith country of Thessalia (northern Greece) who bore Apollon two sons: Lapithes and Kentauros. [see Family]

SYLLIS A nymph of Sikyonia (southern Greece) who bore Apollon a son named Zeuxippos. [see Family]


AKALLE or AKAKALLIS (Acalle, Acacallis) A princess of the island of Krete (Greek Aegean) who was loved by Apollon and bore him a son Amphithemis (and according to some, also the hero Miletos).

AMPHISSA, ISSE or EUBOIA (Issa, Euboea) A princess of Dryopia (also known as Ozolean Lokris) (central Greece) who was seduced by Apollon in the disguise of a shepherd. Their son was Agreus, a King of Lord of neighbouring Euboia.

ARIA or DEIONE A lady of the island of Krete (Greek Aegean) who bore Apollon a son named Miletos.

ARSINOE A princess of Messenia (southern Greece) who was loved by Apollon and bore him a daughter Eriopis and, according to some, a son Asklepios (but the mother of the latter is usually said to be Koronis). [see Family]

BOLINA The female eponym of the town of Bolina in Akhaia (southern Greece) who leapt into the sea to escape the advances of Apollon. The god tranformed her into an immortal Nymphe.

DEIONE See Aria (above).

DRYOPE A princess of Dryopia (central Greece) who was seduced by Apollon in the form of a tortoise. She bore him a son named Amphissos.

ERGINOS, WIFE OF A queen of Orkhomenos (central Greece), the wife of King Erginos who bore Apollon a son Trophonios (some, however, say his father was Erginos). [see Family]

EUADNE (Evadne) A princess or nymph of Arkadia (southern Greece) who was loved by Apollon and bore him a son, Iamos.

EUBOIA See Amphissa (above).

HEKABE (Hecuba) A queen of Troy (Asia Minor), the wife of King Piamos, who was loved by Apollon and bore him a son Troilos. [see Family]

HYPERMNESTRA A queen of Argos (central Greece), wife of King Oikles, who was loved by Apollon and bore him a son Amphiaraus (others, however, say he was fathered by Oikles). [see Family]

HYRIA or THYRIA A woman--perhaps from Hyria in Boiotia (central Greece)--who bore Apollon a son Kyknos. [see Family]

ISSE See Amphissa (above).

KASSANDRA (Cassandra) A princess and sibylla (prophetess) of Troy (Asia Minor) who was loved by Apollon. She tricked Apollon into granting her the gift of prophecy but refused to lie with him and was cursed by the god.

KELAINO (Celaeno) A lady of Phokis (central Greece) who, according to some, was the mother of Delphos by Apollon (others, however, say the mother was Melaina or Thyia). [see Family]

KHIONE or PHILONIS (Chione) A princess of Phokis (central Greece) who was loved by Apollon. She lay with both him and the god Hermes on the same night and bore twins: Apollon's child was named Philammon.

KHRYSORTHE (Chrysorthe) A princess of Sikyonia (southern Greece) who bore Apollon a son named Koronos. [see Family]

KORONIS (Coronis) A princess of Oikhalia in Thessalia (northern Greece) and lover of Apollon. When the god discovered her infidelity with a mortal man, his sister Artemis struck her down. Their child, Asklepios, was rescued from the pregnant belly of the dead mother.

KREOUSA (Creusa) A princess of Athens in Attika (central Greece), wife of Lord Xouthos, who was loved by Apollon and bore him a son Ion (though others say Xouthos was the father). [see Family]

KYRENE (Cyrene) A princess or nymph of the Lapithai tribe of Thessalia (northern Greece). She was seduced by Apollon whilst hunting and carried off to Kyrene in Libya where she bore him Aristaios (and, according to some, also the seer Idmon).

LEUKIPPOS, WIFE OF (Leucippus' wife) A queen of Messenia (southern Greece) who, according to some, was the mother of the Leukippides by Apollon (most, however, say that her husband Leukippos was the father). [see Family]

MANTO A sibylla (prophetess) of Apollon in Thebes, Boiotia (central Greece). She was loved by Apollon and bore him a son, the great seer Mopsos (though, according to some, his father was Rhakios).

MARPESSA A princess of Aitolia (central Greece), who was wooed by Apollon and the hero Idas. She chose Idas over the god, fearing that Apollon would abandon her in old age.

PARTHENOPE A princess of the island of Samos (Greek Aegean) who bore Apollon a son Lykomedes. [see Family]

PHILONIS See Khione above.

PHTHIA A sibylla (prophetess) of the oracle of Apollon at Delphoi in Phokis (central Greece). She bore Apollon the first three Kings of Aitolia: Polypoites, Doros, and Laodokos. [see Family]

PROKLEIA (Procleia) A queen of Kolonai in the Troad (Asia Minor) who, according to some, was the mother by Apollon of Tenes (others say his father was her husband King Kyknos). [see Family]

PSAMATHE A princess of Argos (southern Greece) who bore Apollon a son named Linos.

RHOIO (Rhoeo) A princess of the island of Naxos (Greek Aegean) who was loved by Apollon. When her father learned of her pregnancy he locked her in a chest and cast her into the sea. She landed on the island of Delos and there bore Apollon a son named Anios.

SIBYLLA KUMAIA (Cumaean Sibyl) A sibylla (prophetess) of Kumai in Kampania (southern Italy) who was loved by Apollon. She tricked him into granting her an unnaturally long life but refused to lie with him and so was cursed by the god.

THERO A lady of Boiotia (central Greece) who bore Apollon a son named Khairon. [see Family]

THYIA A priestess of Dionysos in Phokis (central Greece) who, according to some, was the mother of Delphos by Apollon (other accounts call his mother Melaina or Kelaino). [see Family]


ADONIS A prince of the island Kypros (eastern Mediterranean) who was loved by the god Apollon. Adonis was described as androgynous, acting like a man in his affections for Aphrodite, and like a woman with Apollon.

HYAKINTHOS (Hyacinthus) A prince of Lakedaimonia (southern Greece) who was loved by the gods Apollon and Zephryos. He was accidentally slain by Apollon in a game of quoits and transformed into a flower.

HYMENAIOS (Hymenaeus) A prince of Magnesia in Thessalia (northern Greece) who was loved by Apollon.

KYPARISSOS (Cyparissus) A prince of the island Keos (Greek Aegean) loved by Apollon. When he died of grief over the death of a pet sttag, Apollon tranformed him into a cypress tree.



Apollo | Greco-Roman fresco, Palatine Museum | Rome
Apollo, Greco-Roman fresco, Palatine Museum, Rome

Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 122 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Arakhne in her weaving depicted the matings of gods in animal form :] She wove too Phoebus [Apollon] in a herdsman's guise [in his seduction of Issa], and how he sometimes wore a lion's skin [perhaps in his seduction of Kyrene], sometimes hawk's plumage [unknown maiden]; how he fooled Isse Macareis, as a shepherd."


LOCALE : Phokis (Central Greece)

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 200 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Apollo and Mercurius [Hermes] are said to have slept the same night with Chione, or, as other poets say, with Philonis [an alternative name for Chione], daughter of Daedalion. By Apollo she bore Philammon, and by Mercurius [Hermes], Autolycus. Later on she spoke too haughtily against Diana [Artemis] in the hunt, and so was slain by her arrows. But the father Daedalion, because of his grief for his only daughter, was changed by Apollo into the bird daedalion, that is, the hawk."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 11. 310 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Daidalion son of Hesperos the evening star] had a daughter, Chione, a girl most blessed with beauty's dower, her fourteen years ready for marriage, and her hand was sought by countless suitors.
Phoebus [Apollon], as it chanced, and the son of Maia [Hermes], on their way back, the one from Delphi, the other from Cyllene's crest, both saw her, both alike caught love's hot fire. Apollo delayed till night his hopes of love; Mercurius [Hermes] would not wait and with his wand that soothes to slumber touched her on the lips; touch-tranced she lay and suffered his assault. Night strewed the sky with stars; Phoebus [Apollon] took the guise of an old woman and obtained his joys--forestalled. Her womb fulfilled its time and to the wing-foot god a wily brat was born, Autolycus, adept at tricks off every kind, well used to make black white, white black, a son who kept his father's skill. To Phoebus there was born (for she had twins) Philammon, famed alike for song and lyre.
What profit was it to have pleased two gods, produced two boys, to have a valiant father, a shining grandfather? Is glory not a curse as well? A curse indeed to many! To her for sure! She dared to set herself above Diana [Artemis], faulting her fair face. The goddess, fierce in fury, cried ‘You'll like my actions better!’ and she bent her bow and shot her arrow, and the shaft transfixed that tongue that well deserved it [for her sacrilege]. Then that tongue was dumb, speech failed the words she tried to say : her blood and life ebbed away.
Sadly I [King Keyx, brother of Daidalion] held her, feeling in my heart her father's grief, and gave my brother words of comfort, for he loved her - words he heard as rocks the roaring waves--and bitterly bewailed his daughter's loss. Yes, when he saw her on the pyre, four times an impulse came to rush into the flames; four times forced back, he fled away in frenzy; like an ox, its bowed neck stung by hornets, so he charged where no way was. His speed seemed even then faster than man could run, and you'd believe his feet had wings. So fleeing from us all, with death-bent speed he gained Parnassus' crest.
Apollo [and probably Hermes], pitying, when Daedalion threw himself from a cliff made him a bird, and held him on sudden hovering wings, and gave him a hooked beak, gave curving claws, with courage as of old and strength that more than matched his body's build. And now a hawk, benign to one, he vents his savagery on every bird and, as in grief he goes, ensures that others grieve and share his woes [the hawk was a bird sacred to both Apollon and Hermes]."


LOCALE : Naxos & Delos (Greek Aegean)

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E3. 10 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Apollon's son Anios [of Delos]."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 62. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To Staphylos and Khrysothemis were born three daughters, Molpadia, Rhoio, and Parthenos by name. Apollon lay with Rhoio and brought her with child; and her father, believing that her seduction was due to a man, was angered, and in his anger he shut up his daughter in a chest and cast her into the sea. But the chest was washed up upon Delos, where she gave birth to a male child and called the babe Anios."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 13. 631 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"City Apollinea (of Apollon) [i.e. Delos] . . . there Anius served Phoebus [Apollon] as priest and men as monarch . . . Apollo's chosen priest."


LOCALE : Krete (Greek Aegean) & Lake Tritonis, Libya (North Africa)

There was much confusion between the Kretan maidens Akakallis and Khrysothemis. In four overlapping traditions they are described as loves of the god Apollon.


Akalle of Knossos was a daughter of King Minos.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 7 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Minos, residing in Krete . . . married Pasiphae . . . He begat . . . daughters, to wit, Akalle, Xenodike, Ariadne, Phaidra."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 1490 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Kaphauros, the grandson of Lykoreian Phoibos [Apollon] and the chaste maiden Akakallis, whom once Minos drove from home to dwell in Libya, his own daughter, when she was bearing the gods' heavy load; and she bare to Phoibos a glorious son, whom they call Amphithemis and Garamas. And Amphithemis wedded a Tritonian nymph; and she bare to him Nasamon and strong Kaphauros."


Akakallis of Tarrha was probably a daughter of Lord Karmanor. She was probably the same as Khrysothemis.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 16. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"On the mountains of Krete there is still in my time a city called Elyros. Now the citizens sent to Delphoi a bronze goat, which is suckling the babies, Phylakides and Philanderos. The Elyrians say that these were children of Apollon by the Nymphe Akakallis, and that Apollon mated with Akakallis in the house of Karmanor in the city of Tarrha."


Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Kretans say that Karmanor [of Krete] purified Apollon after he had killed Python."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 7. 2 :
"The most ancient contest the Delphic people remember and the one where a prize was first offered was for singing a hymn to the god. Khrysothemis of Krete, whose father Karmanor is said to have purified Apollon, sang and won a victory. After Khrysothemis they record that Philammon won a singing victory."


Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 62. 1 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To Staphylos and Khrysothemis were born three daughters, Molpadia, Rhoio, and Parthenos by name. Apollon lay with Rhoio and brought her with child."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 25 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[The Constellation Virgo] Others call her a daughter of Apollo by Chrysothemis, an infant, named Parthenos (Maiden). Because she died youg she was put by Apollo among the constellations."

N.B. Khrysothemis mother of Parthenos is probably a variation of Karme mother of Britomartis. Both daughters were minor virgin goddesses related to Artemis.

For MORE information on this demi-goddess see KHRYSOTHEMIS and KARME


LOCALE : Bolina, Akhaia (Southern Greece)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 23. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"At some distance from Argyra is a river named Bolinaeios [in Akhaia], and by it once stood a city Bolina. Apollon, says a legend, fell in love with a maiden called Bolina, who fleeing to the sea here threw herself into it, and by the favour of Apollon became an immortal."

For MORE information on this demi-goddess see BOLINA


Hyacinthus riding swan | Athenian red-figure kylix C5th B.C. | The University of Mississippi Museum
Hyacinthus riding swan, Athenian red-figure kylix C5th B.C., The University of Mississippi Museum

LOCALE : Amyklai, Lakedaimonia (Southern Greece) or Pieria (Northern Greece)

There were two regional variations of the Hyakinthos myth. One was set in Pieria in the north of Greece, and the other at Amyklai near Sparta in the south. The northern Hyakinthos was also known as Hymenaios (of the Hymns).


Hesiod, The Great Eoiae Fragment 16 (from Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 23) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Hesiod tells the story in the Great Eoiai . . . Magnes . . . lived in the region of Thessalia, in the land which men called after him Magnesia. He had a son of remarkable beauty, Hymenaios. And when Apollon saw the boy, he was seized with love for him, and would not leave the house of Magnes. Then Hermes made designs on Apollon's herd of cattle which were grazing in the same place as the cattle of Admetos [which Apollon was herding]."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 16 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Aphrodite, furious with Kleio . . . caused her to fall in love with Magnes' son Pieros. As a result of their union she bore him a son Hyakinthos. Thamyris, son of Philammon and the Nymphe Argiope, the first male to love other males, fell in love with Hyakinthos. Later on Apollon, who also loved him, accidentally killed him with a discus."


Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 102 (from Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1359 fr. 3) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Rich-tressed Diomede; and she bare Hyakinthos, the blameless one and strong . . [text missing] whom, on a time Phoibos [Apollon] himself slew unwittingly with a ruthless disk."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 116 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Amyklas and Lapithes' daughter Diomede had Kynortes and Hyakinthos. They tell how this Hyakinthos was loved by Apollon, who accidentally killed him while hurling a discus."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 19. 3 - 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Nikias, son of Nikomedes, has painted him [Hyakinthos] in the very prime of youthful beauty, hinting at the love of Apollon for Hyakinthos of which legend tells . . . As for Zephyros (the West Wind), how Apollon unintentionally killed Hyakinthos, and the story of the flower, we must be content with the legends, although perhaps they are not true history."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 24 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[Description of an ancient Greek painting :] Read the hyacinth, for there is writing on it which sys it sprang from the earth in honour of a beautiful youth; and it laments him at the beginning of spring, doubtless because it was born from him when he died. Let no the meadow delay you with the flower, for it grows here also, not different from the flower which springs from the earth. The painting tells us that the hair of the youth is ‘hyacinthine,’ and that his blood, taking on life in the earth, has given the flower its own crimson colour. It flows from the head itself where the discus struck it. Terrible was the failure to hit the mark and incredible is the story told of Apollon; but since we are not here to criticize the myths and are not ready to refuse them credence, but are merely spectators of the paintings, let us examine the painting and in the first place the stand set for throwing the discus.
A raised thrower's stand has been set apart, so small as to suffice for only one person to stand on, and then only when it supports the posterior portions and the right leg of the thrower, causing the anterior portions to bend forward and the left leg to be relieved of weight; for this leg must be straightened and advanced along with the right arm. As for the attitude of the man holding the discus, he must turn his head to the right and bend himself over so far that he an look down at his side, and he must hurl the discus by drawing himself up and putting his whole right side into the throw. Such, no doubt, was the way Apollon threw the discus, for he could not have cast it in any other way; and now that he discus has stuck the youth, he lies there on the discus itself--a Lakonian youth, straight of leg, not unpractised in running, the muscles of his arm already developed, the fine lines of the bones indicated under the flesh; but Apollon with averted face is still on the thrower's stand and he gazes down at the ground. You will say he is fixed there, such consternation has fallen upon him. A lout is Zephyros, who was angry with Apollon and caused the discus to strike the youth, and the scene seems a laughing matter to the wind and he taunts the god from his look-out. You can see him, I think, with his winged temples and his delicate form; and he wears a crown of all kinds of flowers, and will soon weave the hyacinth in among them."

Philostratus the Younger, Imagines 14 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[Description of an ancient Greek painting :] Let us ask the youth, my boy, who he is and what is the reason for Apollon's presence with him, for he will not be afraid to have us, at least, look at him. Well, he says that he is Hyakinthos, the son of Oibalos; and now that we have learned this we must also know the reason for the god's presence. The son of Leto for love of the youth promises to give him all he possesses for permission to associate with him; for he will teach him the use of the bow, and music, and understanding the art of prophecy, and not to be unskilful with the lure, and to preside over the contest of the palaestra, and he will grant to him that, riding in the chariot drawn by swans, he should visit all the lands dear to Apollon. Here is the god, painted as usual with unshorn locks; he lifts a radiant forehead above eyes that shine like rays of light, and with a sweet smile he encourages Hyakinthos, extending his right hand with the same purpose. The youth keeps his eyes steadfastly on the ground, and they are very thoughtful, for he rejoices at what he hears and tempers with modesty the confidence that is yet to come. He stands there, covering with a purple mantle the left side of his body, which is also drawn back, and he supports his right hand on a spear, the hip being thrown forward and the right side exposed to view, and this bare arm permits us to describe what is visible. He has a slender ankle below the straight lower leg, and above the latter this supple knee-joint; then come thighs not unduly developed and hip-joints which support the rest of the body; his side rounds out a full-lunged chest, his arm swells in a delicate curve, his neck is moderately erect, while the hair is not unkempt nor stiff from grime, but falls over his forehead and blends with the first down of his beard. The discus at his feet . . ((lacuna)) about himself, and Eros (Love), who is both radiant and at just the same time downcast, and Zephyros who just shows his savage eye from his place of look-out--by all this the painter suggests the death of the youth, and as Apollon makes his cast, Zephyros, by breathing athwart its course, will cause the discus to strike Hyakinthos."

Apollo | Apulian red-figure volute krater C4th B.C. | National Archaeological Museum of Taranto
Apollo, Apulian red-figure volute krater C4th B.C., National Archaeological Museum of Taranto

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 162 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Amyclides [Hyakinthos son of Amyklas], too, Phoebus [Apollon] would have placed in heaven had drear fate given time to place him there. Yet in the form vouchsafed he is immortal. Year by year, when spring drives winter flying and Aries succeeds watery Pisces, he rises from the earth and in the greensward brings his bloom to birth [as a flower]. He was my father's [Apollon's] favourite, and Delphi, chosen centre of the world, lost its presiding god, who passed his days beside Eurotas [in Lakedaimonia] in the martial land of unwalled Sparta, and no more esteemed thither or bow. Forgetting his true self, he was content to bear the nets, to hold the hounds in leash and join the daylong chase through the rough mountain ridges, nourishing his heart's desire with long companionship.
One day, near noon, when the high sun midway between the night past and the night to come at equal distance stood from dawn and dusk, the both stripped off their clothes and oiled their limbs, so sleek and splendid, and began the game, throwing the discus; and Phoebus first poised, swung and hurled it skywards through the air, up, soaring up, to cleave the waiting clouds. The heavy disk at longest last fell back to the familiar earth, a proof of skill, and strength with skill. Then straightway Taenarides [Hyakinthos], unthinking, in the excitement of the sport, ran out to seize it, but it bounded back from the hard surface full into Hyacinthus' face.
The god turned pale, pale as the boy himself, and catching up the huddled body, tried to revive him, tried to staunch the tragic wound and stay the fading soul with healing herbs. His skill was in vain; the wound was past all cure. And as, when in a garden violets or lilies tawny-tongued or poppies proud are bruised and bent, at once they hang their heads and, drooping, cannot stand erect and bow their gaze upon the ground; so dying lies that face so fair and, all strength ebbed away, his head, too heavy, on his shoulders sinks. ‘My Oebalides [Hyakinthos],’ Phoebus cried, ‘laid low and cheated of youth's prime! I see your wound, my condemnation, you my grief and guilt! I, I have caused your death; on my own hand, my own, your doom is written. Yet what wrong is mine unless to join the game with you were wrong or I were wrong to love you well? Oh, would for you--or with you--I might give my life! But since the laws of fate forbid, you shall be with me always; you shall stay for ever in remembrance on my lips, and you my lure and you my song shall hymn. A new flower you shall be with letters marked to imitate my sobs, and time shall come when to that flower the bravest hero born [Aias] shall add his name on the same petals writ.’
So with prophetic words Apollo spoke, and lo! the flowing flood that stained the grass was blood no longer; and a flower rose gorgeous as Tyrian dye, in form a lily, save that a lily wears a silver hue, this richest purple. And, not yet content, Phoebus (who had wrought the work of grace) inscribed upon the flower his lament, AI AI, AI AI, and still the petals show the letters written there in words of woe. And Sparta's prince in Hyacinthus, her son, endures undimmed; with pomp and proud display each year his feast, the Hyacinthia, returns in the ancient way."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 13. 395 ff :
"From the green turf that purple flower [the hyacinth] bore, which first had sprung from wounded Oebalius [Hyakinthos]. Upon its petals letters are inscribed letters for boy [Hyakinthos] and man [Aias] alike the same, there for a wail of woe, here for a name."

Colluthus, Rape of Helen 240 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poetry C5th to 6th A.D.) :
"The shrine of Hyakinthos [at Amyklai in Lakedaimon], whom once while he played as a boy with Apollon the people of Amyklai marked and marvelled whether he too had not been conceived and borne by Leto to Zeus. But Apollon knew not that he was keeping the youth for envious Zephyros. And the earth, doing a pleasure to the weeping king, brought forth a flower to console Apollon, even that flower which bears the name of the splendid youth."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3. 153 ff ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"On the learned leaves of Apollon's mournful iris [loved by Apollon and Zephyros the boy Hyakinthos was transformed into an iris on his death] was embroidered many a plant-grown word; and when Zephyros breathed through the flowery garden, Apollon turned a quick eye upon his young darling, his yearning never satisfied; if he saw the plant beaten by the breezes, he remembered the quoit, and trembled for fear the wind, so jealous once about the boy, might hate him even in a leaf: if it is true that Apollon once wept with those eyes that never wept, to see that boy writhing in the dust, and the pattern there on the flower traced its own ‘alas!’ on the iris, and so figured the tears of Phoibos."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 10. 253 ff :
"The deathbringing breath of Zephyros might blow again, as it did once before when the bitter blast killed a young man while it turned the hurtling quoit against Hyakinthos."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 11. 362 ff :
"A young Lakonian [Hyakinthos] shook Zephyros; but he died, and the amorous Wind found young Kyparissos a consolation for Amyklaian Hyakinthos."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 29. 95 ff :
"Apollon bemoaned Hyakinthos, struck by the quoit which brought him quick death, and reproached the blast of Zephyros (the West Wind's) jealous gale."


Herodotus, Histories 9. 7. 1 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"The Lakedaemonians were at this time celebrating the Hyakinthia (festival of Hyakinthos), and their chief concern was to give the god his due."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 1. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Amyklas, son of Lakedaimon, wished to leave some memorial behind him, and built [Amyklai] a town in Lakonia. Hyakinthos, the youngest and most beautiful of his sons, died before his father, and his tomb is in Amyklai below the image of Apollon."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 10. 1 :
"[The historic Spartan general] Agesilaus again marched with an army against Korinthos, and, as the festival Hyakinthia [of Hyakinthos] was at hand, he gave the Amyklaians leave to go back home and perform the traditional rites in honor of Apollon and Hyakinthos."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 19. 3-4 :
"The pedestal of the statue [of Apollon Amyklaios at Amyklai, Lakedaimonia] is fashioned into the shape of an altar and they say that Hyakinthos is buried in it, and at the Hyakinthia, before the sacrifice to Apollon, they devote offerings to Hyakinthos as to a hero into this altar through a bronze door, which is on the left of the altar. On the altar are wrought in relief . . . Demeter, Kore (the Maid), Plouton, next to them Moirai (Fates) and Horai (Seasons), and with them Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis. They are carrying to heaven Hyakinthos and Polyboia, the sister, they say, of Hyakinthos, who died a maid. Now this statue of Hyakinthos represents him as bearded, but Nikias, son of Nikomedes, has painted him in the very prime of youthful beauty, hinting at the love of Apollon for Hyakinthos of which legend tells . . . As for Zephyros (the West Wind), how Apollon unintentionally killed Hyakinthos, and the story of the flower, we must be content with the legends, although perhaps they are not true history."

Colluthus, Rape of Helen 240 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poetry C5th to 6th A.D.) :
"The shrine of Hyakinthos [at Amyklai in Lakedaimon]."

For MORE information on this youth see HYAKINTHOS


LOCALE : Keos (Greek Aegean)

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 106 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Amid the throng [of trees] the cone-shaped cypress stood, a tree now, but in days gone by a boy, loved by [Apollon] that god who strings both lyre and bow. Once, sacred to the Nymphae who dwell among Carthaea's fields [on the island of Keos], there was a giant stag, whose spreading antlers shed a screen of shade upon his head. Those antlers gleamed with gold and from his silky neck a collar hung over his shoulders, set with precious stones. Upon his brow, secured by slender strings, a silver medal swayed, given at his birth, and round his hollow temples, gleaming bright, from either ear a pearly pendant hung. Quite fearless, all his natural shyness lost, he often visited the homes of men, and he'd let even strangers stroke his neck. But of them all he was the favourite of Cyparissus, Cea's fairest lad. And he it was who used to lead the stag to pasture and the waters of the spring. Flowers of many colours he would weave around his horns or, mounted on his back, a happy cavalier, ride up and down, guiding his tender mouth with crimson reins.
It was high noon upon a summer's day; the sun's bright beams were burning as the [constellation] Crab, that loves the shore-line, spread his curving claws. The stag lay down upon the grass to rest and breathed the coolness of the spinney's shade. There, unaware, with his sharp javelin young Cyparissus pierced him to the heart. And as he saw him dying of the wound, so cruel, he resolved to die himself. What words of comfort did not Phoebus [Apollon] give! What warnings not to yield to grief so sore, so ill-proportioned! Still he groaned and begged a last boon from the gods, that he might mourn for evermore. And now, with endless sobs, with lifeblood drained away, his limbs began to take a greenish hue; his hair that curled down from his snowy brow rose in a crest, a crest of bristles, and as stiffness spread a graceful spire gazed at the starry sky. Apollo groaned and said in sorrow ‘I shall mourn for you, for others you shall mourn; you [the cypress tree] shall attend when men with grief are torn.’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 11. 362 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"A young Lakonian [Hyakinthos] shook Zephyros; but he died, and the amorous Wind found young Kyparissos a consolation for Amyklaian Hyakinthos."


Apollo chasing Daphne or Marpessa | Athenian red-figure hydria C5th B.C. | British Museum, London
Apollo chasing Daphne or Marpessa, Athenian red-figure hydria C5th B.C., British Museum

LOCALE : Argos (Southern Greece)

Callimachus, Aetia Fragment 1.2 (from Papryus Rylands 13 Frag 471-3) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"There is a month [of Argos] named Arneios after him [Apollon] and the days thereof are named the Arneis days. And Linos died torn by dogs : and his untimely fate as sung by minstrel men and the wandering of Krotopos . . ((lacuna)) I sing right on as I received it. Nor did Apollon remain unheeding forever of his bride [Psamathe] of hapless fate, but to expiate a child's death by the death of children Poine (Vengeance), and avenger of grievous wrath came against the Argives, who leapt upon their homes and made empty-armed the mothers and lightened the burden of the nurses."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 43. 7 - 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Megarians have also the grave of Koroibos. The poetical story of him, although it equally concerns Argos, I will relate here. They say that in the reign of Krotopos at Argos, Psamathe, the daughter of Krotopos, bore a son to Apollon [named Linos], and being in dire terror of her father, exposed the child. He was found and destroyed by sheepdogs of Krotopos, and Apollon sent Poine (Vengeance) to the city to punish the Argives. They say that she used to snatch the children from their mothers, until Koroibos to please the Argives slew Poine (Vengeance). Whereat as a second punishment plague fell upon them and stayed not. So Koroibos of his own accord went to Delphoi to submit to the punishment of the god for having slain Poine. The Pythia would not allow Koroibos to return to Argos, but ordered him to take up a tripod and carry it out of the sanctuary, and where the tripod should fall from his hands, there he was to build a temple of Apollon and to dwell himself. At Mount Gerania the tripod slipped and fell unawares. Here he dwelt in the village called the Little Tripods. The grave of Koroibos is in the market-place of the Megarians. The story of Psamathe and of Koroibos himself is carved on it in elegiac verses and further, upon the top of the grave is represented Koroibos slaying the Poine. These are the oldest stone images I am aware of having seen among the Greeks."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 19. 8 :
"Here [in the city of Argos there] are graves; one is that of Linos, the [infant] son of Apollo by Psamathe, the daughter of Krotopos; the other, they say, is that of Linos the poet."

Statius, Thebaid 1. 540 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[King Adrastos of Argos] pours the streaming wine and in order due calls on all the denizens of heaven, Phoebus [Apollon] before the rest; Phoebus presence all invoke with praise, garlanded with reverent myrtle, friend and thrall alike, about his altar his altar; for in his honour they make a holiday, and the altars refreshed by lavish incense, glow through wreaths of smoke.
‘Perchance ye may inquire, O youths,’ thus says the monarch [King Adrastos], ‘what this sacrifice, and for what reason we pay Phoebus signal honour. Urged by no ignorant fear, but under stress of dire calamity, the Argive folk aforetime made this offering. Lend me your hearing, and I will recount the tale. When that the god [Apollon] had smitten [slain] the dark and sinuous coiling monster, the earth-born Python, who cast about Delphoi his sevenfold grisly circles . . . Seeking fresh expiation of the dead [i.e. requiring purification to remove the pollution of murder from his hands], he came to the humble dwelling of our King Crotopus [of Argos]. A daughter [Psamathe], in the first years of tender maidenhood, and wondrous fair, kept this pious home, a virgin chaste. How happy, had she never kept secret tryst with [Apollon] the Delian, or shared a stolen love with Phoebus. For she suffered the violence of the god by Nemea's stream, and when Cynthia (the Moon) had twice five times gathered her circle's visage to the full, she brought forth a child, Latona's [Leto's] grandson, bright as a star. Then fearing punishment--for her sire would never have pardoned a forced wedlock--she chose the pathless wilds, and stealthily among the sheep-pens gave her child to a mountain-wandering guardian of the flock for nurture. No cradle worthy of a birth so noble, hapless infant, did thy grassy bed afford thee, or they woven home of oaken twigs; enclosed in the fibre of arbutus bark thy limbs are warm, and a hollow pipe coaxes thee to gentle slumbers, while the flock shares thy sleeping-ground. But not even such a home did the fates permit, for, as he lay careless and drinking in the day with open mouth, fierce ravening dogs mangled the babe and took their fill with bloody jaws. But when the tidings reached the mother's horror-struck ears, father and shame and fear were all forgot; herself straightway she fills the house with wild lamentation, all distraught and baring her breast meets her father with her tale of grief. Nor is he moved, but bids her--oh horrible!--even as she desires, suffer grim death.
‘Too late remembering thy union, O Phoebus [Apollon], thou dost devise a solace for her miserable fate, a monster [the Poine, a vengeance-demon] conceived 'neath lowest Acheron in the Eumenides' [Erinyes'] unhallowed lair: a maiden's face and bosom has she, from her head an ever-hissing snake rises erect, parting in twain her livid brow. Then that foul pest, gliding at night with unseen movement into the chambers, tore from the breasts that suckled them lives newly-born, and with blood-stained fangs gorged and fattened on the country's grief. But Coroebus [a hero of Argos], foremost in prowess of arms and high courage, brooked it not, and with chosen youths, unsurpassed in valour and ready at life's hazard to enlarge their fame, went forth, a willing champion. From dwellings newly ravaged she was going, where in the gateway two roads met, to corpses of two little ones hung at her side, and still her hooked talons claw their vitals and the iron nails are warm in their young hearts. Thronged by his band of heroes the youth rushed to the attack, and buried his broad blade in her cruel breast, and with flashing steel probing deep the spirit's lurking-place at length restored to nether Jove [Haides] his monstrous offspring. What joy to go and see at close hand those eyes livid in death, the ghastly issue of her womb, and her breasts clotted with foul corruption, whereby our young lives perished! Appalled stand the Inachian youth, and their gladness, though great now sorrow is ended, even yet is dim and pale. With sharp stakes they mangle the dead limbs--vain solace for their grief--and beat out the jagged grinding teeth from her jaws: they can--yet cannot glut their ire. Her did ye flee unfed, ye birds, wheeling round with nocturnal clamour, and ravening dogs, they say, and wolves gaped in terror upon her, dry-mouthed.
‘But against the unhappy youths the Delian [Apollon] rises up fierce at the doom of his slain Avengeress, and seated on the shady top of twin-peaked Parnassus with relentless bow he cruelly scatters shafts that bring pestilence, and withers beneath a misty shroud the fields and dwellings of [Argos]. Pleasant lives droop and fail, Mors [Thanatos, death] with his sword cuts through the Sister's [Moirai's, fates] threads, and hurries the stricken city to the shades. Our leader then inquiring what the cause may be, what is this baleful fire from heaven, why Sirius reigns throughout the whole year, the word of the same god Paean [Apollon] brings command, to sacrifice to the blood-stained monster those youths that caused her death.’"





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