Mythology & Beliefs: Cephalus
In Greek and Roman Mythology, Cephalus was a hunter; accidentally killed his wife Procris with his spear.
Cephalus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
1. A son of Hermes and Herse, was carried off by Eos, who
became by him the mother of Tithonus in Syria. (Apollod.
3.14.3.) Hyginus (Hyg. Fab. 160, 270) makes him a son of
Hermes by Creusa, or of Pandion, and Hesiod (Hes. Th. 986)
makes Phaeton the son of Cephalus instead of Tithonus. On
the pediment of the kingly Stoa in the Cerameicus at Athens,
and on the temple of Apollo at Amyclae, the carrying off of
Cephelus by Hemera (not Eos) was represented. (Paus. 1.3.1,
3.18.7.)2. 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. 1.9.4; Hyg. 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. (Hyg.
Fab. 189.) Somewhat different versions of the same story are
given by Apollodorus (3.15.1) and Ovid. (Met. 7.394, &c.;
comp. Ant. Lib. 41; Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 1643.)
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. 2.4.7;
Strab. x. p.456; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 307, &c.) Cephalus is
also called the father of Iphiclus by Clymene. (Paus.
10.29.2.) 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. p.452; comp. Paus. 1.37.4; Hyg.
Fab. 48.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and
mythology, William Smith, Ed.
Cephalus in Wikipedia
Cephalus (Greek: Κέφαλος Kephalos) is an Ancient Greek name,
used both for the hero-figure in Greek mythology and carried
as a theophoric name by historical persons. The word kephalos
is Greek for "head", perhaps used here because Cephalus was
the founding "head" of a great family that includes Odysseus.
It could be that Cephalus means the head of the sun who kills
(evaporates) Procris (dew) with his unerring ray or 'javelin'.
Cephalus was one of the lovers of the dawn goddess Eos.
Sumptuous sacrifices for Cephalus and for Procris are required
in the inscribed sacred calendar of Thorikos in southern
Attica, dating perhaps to the 430s BCE and published from the
stone in 1983....
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