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Mythology (5)

Ancient myths

Cephalus & Procris

Cephalus (Kephalos). The son of Deion, and a grandson of Aeolus, married to Procris, the eldest daughter of Erechtheus. They dwelt at Thoricos in Attica, and lived happily together till curiosity to try the fidelity of his wife entered the mind of Cephalus. Feigning a journey of eight years, he disguised himself and came to Procris with a splendid jewel, which he offered to her on dishonourable terms. After much hesitation she yielded, when her husband discovered himself and reproached her with her conduct. She fled from him in shame, but they were soon after reconciled. Cephalus went constantly to the chase; and Procris growing suspicious, as she had failed herself, fancied that he was attracted by the charms of some other fair one. She questioned the slave who used to accompany him; and he told her that his master used frequently to ascend the summit of a hill and cry out, "Come, Nephele, come!" Procris went to the designated hill and concealed herself in a thicket; and on her husband's crying, "Come, Nephele, come!" (which was nothing more than an invocation for some cloud, Wephele, to interpose itself between him and the scorching beams of the sun), she rushed forward towards her husband, who, in his astonishment, threw his dart and unwittingly killed her. (See Hyg. 189; cf. Ovid, Met. vii. 661 foll.) This legend is told with great variations. Cephalus, for his involuntary crime, was banished. He went to Thebes, which was at that time ravaged by a fox which nothing could overtake, and he joined Amphitryon in the chase of it. His dog Laelaps ran it down; but, just as he was catching it, Zeus turned them both to stone. Cephalus then aided Amphitryon against the Teleboans, and on their conquest he settled in the island named from him Cephallenia.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Cephalus and Procris: P. Ovidius Naso, History of Love, by Charles Hopkins


Cephalus, a son of Deion, the ruler of Phocis, and Diomede, was married to Procris or Procne, by whom he become the father of Archius, the father of Laertes. He is described as likewise beloved by Eos (Apollod. i. 9.4; Hygin. Fab. 125; Schol. ad Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 209), but he and Procris were sincerely attached, and promised to remain faithful to each other. Once when the handsome Cephalus was amusing himself with the chase, Eos approached him with loving entreaties, which, however, he rejected. The goddess then bade him not break his vow until Procris had broken hers, but advised him to try her fidelity. She then metamorphosed him into a stranger, and gave him rich presents with which he was to tempt Procris. Procris was induced by the brilliant presents to break the vow she had made to Cephalus, and when she recognized her husband, she fled to Crete and discovered herself to Artemis. The goddess made her a present of a dog and a spear, which were never to miss their object, and then sent her back to Cephalus. Procris returned home in the disguise of a youth, and went out with Cephalus to chase. When he perceived the excellence of her dog and spear, he proposed to buy them of her; but she refused to part with them for any price except for love. When he accordingly promised to love her, she made herself known to him, and he became reconciled to her. As, however, she still feared the love of Eos, she always jealously watched him when he sent out hunting, but on one occasion he killed her by accident with the never-erring spear (Hygin. Fab. 189). Somewhat different versions of the same story are given by Apollodorus (iii. 15.1) and Ovid. (Met. vii. 394). Subsequently Amphitryon of Thebes came to Cephalus, and persuaded him to give up his dog to hunt the fox which was ravaging the Cadmean territory. After doing this he went out with Amphitryon against the Teleboans, upon the conquest of whom he was rewarded by Amphitryon with the island which he called after his own name Cephallenia (Apollod. ii. 4.7; Strab. x.; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 307, &c.). Cephalus is also called the father of Iphiclus by Clymene (Paus. x. 29.2). He is said to have put an end to his life by leaping into the sea from cape Leucas, on which he had built a temple of Apollo, in order to atone for having killed his wife Procris (Strab. x.; comp. Paus. i. 37.4; Hygin. Fab. 48).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks




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