P. 246

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.672-862


This narrative and many other tales
had occupied the day. As twilight fell,
festivities were blended in the night—
the night, in turn, afforded sweet repose.
Soon as the golden Sun had shown his light,
the east wind blowing still, the ships were stayed
from sailing home. The sons of Pallas came
to Cephalus, who was the elder called;
and Cephalus together with the sons
of Pallas, went to see the king. Deep sleep
still held the king; and Phocus who was son
of Aeacus, received them at the gate,
instead of Telamon and Peleus who
were marshalling the men for war. Into
the inner court and beautiful apartments
Phocus conducted the Athenians,
and they sat down together. Phocus then
observed that Cephalus held in his hand
a curious javelin with golden head,
and shaft of some rare wood. And as they talked,
he said; “It is my pleasure to explore
the forest in the chase of startled game,
and so I’ve learned the nature of rare woods,
but never have I seen the match of this
from which was fashioned this good javelin;
it lacks the yellow tint of forest ash,
it is not knotted like all corner-wood;
although I cannot name the kind of wood,
my eyes have never seen a javelin-shaft
so beautiful as this.”

To him replied
a friend of Cephalus; “But you will find
its beauty is not equal to its worth,
for whatsoever it is aimed against,
its flight is always certain to the mark,
nor is it subject to the shift of chance;
and after it has struck, although no hand
may cast it back, it certainly returns,
bloodstained with every victim.”  Continue Reading  Latin Text

Hyginus Fabulae 189

Procris was the daughter of Pandion. Cephalus, son of Deion, had her to wife, and since they were bound by mutual love, they promised each other never to be untrue. However, when Cephalus, who was fond of hunting, had gone to the mountain in the warly morning, Aurora, wife of Tithonus, fell passionately in love with him, and begged for his embrace. He refused, since he had given his promise to Procris. Then Aurora said: “I don’t want you to break faith, unless she has done so before you.” And so she changed his form into that of a stranger, and gave him beautiful gifts to give to Procris. When Cephalus had come in his changed form, he gave the gifts to Procris and lay with her. Then Aurora took away his new appearance. When Procris saw Cephalus, she knew she had been deceived by Aurora, and fled to the island of Crete, where Diana used to hunt. When Diana saw her, she said to her: “virgins hunt with me, but you are not a virgin, leave my company.” Procris revealed to her her misfortune and told her that she had been deceived by Aurora. Diana, moved by pity, gave her a javelin which no one could avoid, and the dog Laelaps which no wild beast could escape, and bade her go contend with Cephalus. With her hair cut, and in young man’s attire, by the will of Diana, she came to Cephalus and challenged him, and surpassed him in the hunt. When Cephalus saw that javelin and Dog were so irresistible, he asked the stranger to sell them to him, not knowing she was his wife. She refused. He promised her also a share in his kingdom; she still refused. “But if,” she said, “you really continue to want this, grant me what boys are won to grant.” Inflamed by desire for the javelin and the Dog, he promised he would. When they had come into the bed-chamber, Procris took off her tunic and showed that she was a woman and his wife. Cephalus took the gifts and came again into her favor. Neverthless out of fear of Auora she followed him to watch him in the early morning, and hid among the bushes. When Cephalus saw the bushes stir, he hurled the unavoidable javelin, and killed his wife, Procris. By her Cephalus had a son Arcesius, whose son was Laertes, Ulysses’ fatherLatin Text

Apollodorus, Library 3.15.1

Chthonia was married to Butes, Creusa to Xuthus, and Procris to Cephalus, son of Deion. Bribed by a golden crown, Procris admitted Pteleon to her bed, and being detected by Cephalus she fled to Minos.  Greek Text

Antoninus Liberalis  41 – Mythography Graeci 2.1, pp. 123-27, ed. E. Martini. Leipzig 1896.

Greek Text

Palaiphatos 2Mythographi Graeci 3.2, pp. 5-8, ed. N. Festa. Leipzig 1902.

The truth is this: They say that Minos, when his private parts were in pain, had been treated by Procris the daughter of Pandion on the puppy and javelin.

Greek Text

Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Katasterismoi 33 – Mythographi Graeci vol. 3.1, pp. 39-40, ed. A. Olivieri. Leipzig 1897

Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9.19.1

On this highway is a place called Teumessus, where it is said that Europa was hidden by Zeus. There is also another legend, which tells of a fox called the Teumessian fox, how owing to the wrath of Dionysus the beast was reared to destroy the Thebans, and how, when about to be caught by the hound given by Artemis to Procris the daughter of Erechtheus, the fox was turned into a stone, as was likewise this hound. In Teumessus there is also a sanctuary of Telchinian Athena, which contains no image. As to her surname, we may hazard the conjecture that a division of the Telchinians who once dwelt in Cyprus came to Boeotia and established a sanctuary of Telchinian Athena.  Greek Text

Apollodorus Bibliotheca 2.4.6-7 

[6When Electryon reigned over Mycenae, the sons of Pterelaus came with some Taphians and claimed the kingdom of Mestor, their maternal grandfather, and as Electryon paid no heed to the claim, they drove away his kine; and when the sons of Electryon stood on their defence, they challenged and slew each other. But of the sons of Electryon there survived Licymnius, who was still young; and of the sons of Pterelaus there survived Everes, who guarded the ships. Those of the Taphians who escaped sailed away, taking with them the cattle they had lifted, and entrusted them to Polyxenus, king of the Eleans; but Amphitryon ransomed them from Polyxenus and brought them to Mycenae. Wishing to avenge his sons’ death, Electryon purposed to make war on the Teleboans, but first he committed the kingdom to Amphitryon along with his daughter Alcmena, binding him by oath to keep her a virgin until his return. However, as he was receiving the cows back, one of them charged, and Amphitryon threw at her the club which he had in his hands. But the club rebounded from the cow’s horns and striking Electryon’s head killed him. Hence Sthenelus laid hold of this pretext to banish Amphitryon from the whole of Argos, while he himself seized the throne of Mycenae and Tiryns; and he entrusted Midea to Atreus and Thyestes, the sons of Pelops, whom he had sent for.

Amphitryon went with Alcmena and Licymnius to Thebes and was purified by Creon and gave his sister Perimede to Licymnius. And as Alcmena said she would marry him when he had avenged her brothers’ death, Amphitryon engaged to do so, and undertook an expedition against the Teleboans, and invited Creon to assist him. Creon said he would join in the expedition if Amphitryon would first rid the Cadmea of the vixen; for a brute of a vixen was ravaging the Cadmea. But though Amphitryon undertook the task, it was fated that nobody should catch her.

[7As the country suffered thereby, the Thebans every month exposed a son of one of the citizens to the brute, which would have carried off many if that were not done. So Amphitryon betook him to Cephalus, son of Deioneus, at Athens, and persuaded him, in return for a share of the Teleboan spoils, to bring to the chase the dog which Procris had brought from Crete as a gift from Minos; for that dog was destined to catch whatever it pursued. So then, when the vixen was chased by the dog, Zeus turned both of them into stone. Supported by his allies, to wit, Cephalus from Thoricus in Attica, Panopeus from Phocis, Heleus, son of Perseus, from Helos in Argolis, and Creon from Thebes, Amphitryon ravaged the islands of the Taphians. Now, so long as Pterelaus lived, he could not take Taphos; but when Comaetho, daughter of Pterelaus, falling in love with Amphitryon, pulled out the golden hair from her father’s head, Pterelaus died, and Amphitryon subjugated all the islands. He slew Comaetho, and sailed with the booty to Thebes, and gave the islands to Heleus and Cephalus; and they founded cities named after themselves and dwelt in themGreek Text

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2023

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