Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Automotons >> Celedones (Keledones)


Greek Name

Χρυσεαι Κηληδονες


Khryseai Kêlêdones

Latin Spelling

Chryseae Celedones


Golden Charmers

THE KELEDONES (Celedones) were magical, singing automotones crafted of gold by the divine smith Hephaistos (Hephaestus) for the the second temple of Apollon at Delphoi. The Keledones had the form of either beautiful women, wryneck birds, or a combination of the two--Seiren-like bird-women.

They were similar to the Kourai Khryseai, the golden attendants of Hephaistos on Olympos.


Forged by the god HEPHAISTOS (Pausanias 10.5.12)


CELE′DONES (Kêlêdones), the soothing goddesses, were frequently represented by the ancients ill works of art, and were believed to be endowed, like the Sirens, with a magic power of song. For this reason, they are compared to the Iynges. Hephaestus was said to have made their golden images on the ceiling of the temple at Delphi. (Paus. ix. 5. § 5; Athen. vii. p. 290; Philostr. Vit. Apollon. vi. 11; Pind. Fragm. 25, p. 568, &c. ed. Böckh; comp. Huschke and Böttiger, in the Neue Teutsche Mercur, ii, p. 38, &c.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 5. 12 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The third temple [of Apollon to stand at Delphoi (Delphi)] was made of bronze, seeing that Akrisios (Acrisius) made a bedchamber of bronze for his daughter, the Lakedaimonians still possess a sanctuary of Athena of the Bronze House . . . So it would not be unlikely that a temple of bronze was made for Apollon. The rest of the story I cannot believe, either that the temple was the work of Hephaistos (Hephaestus), or the legend about the golden singers, referred to by Pindaros (Pindar) in his verses about this bronze temple :-- ‘Above the pediment sang Khryseiai Keledones (Golden Charmers).’
These words, it seems to me, are but an imitation of Homer's account of the Seirenes (Sirens). Neither did I find the accounts agree of the way this temple disappeared. Some say that it fell into a chasm in the earth, others that it was melted by fire."

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 11 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"The god [Apollon] I believe regarded even this as too humble and below the dignity of his wisdom, and therefore desired to have another temple [i.e. a second temple at Delphoi (Delphi)], big ones these and a hundred feet in breadth; and from one of them it is said that Golden Figures [i.e. the Keledones] of the wryneck were hung up which possessed in a manner the charm of the Seirenes (Sirens)."




A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.