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[321] Φαίδρην. The three names that follow belong to Attic legend, and thus the continuity of Thessalian and Boeotian story is again broken. Vv. 321-325 are probably a later interpolation, and, like other passages that allude to Athenian legend, they may belong to the date of the Peisistratean recension. Phaedra was daughter of the Cretan Minos, and wife of Theseus after the death of Hippolyte. Her tragical fate was caused by her guilty passion for her step-son Hippolytus.

Procris was daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens, and wife of Cephalus. The story of her fate takes many different forms; but Cephalus generally appears as a young hunter, carried off by Eos for his beauty, “ἀνήρπασέν ποτε

καλλιφεγγὴς Κέφαλον ἐς θεοὺς Ἕως
ἔρωτος οὕνεκ̓Eur. Hipp.454.Other forms of the story represent Cephalus as son of Hermes by the Cecropid Herse. If a nature-myth be sought for in this legend, Cephalus may be supposed to represent the morning star; and Procris (“ προκεκριμένη”=‘eximia’) may be the moon, under the form of a fair woman (see Preller, Grk. Myth. 2. 145 foll.). She was famed, as Eustath. says, ad loc., “ἐπ᾽ ἀνδρίᾳ . . καὶ παροιμία ἐξ αὐτῆς φέρεται τὸ Πρόκριδος ἄκοντα”, i. e. a dart that never misses its aim. Cp. Eurip. Ion1155, of the full moon, “κύκλος δὲ πανσέληνος ἠκόντιζ̓ ἄνω
μηνὸς διχήρης”. The story goes on that Eos tempted Cephalus to test his wife's fidelity, and when it was found wanting, she fled to Crete, where she joined the huntress Artemis. Coming back to her lord, she brought with her the famous dart and gave it to him for his own use. The last scene of her life describes her as following Cephalus to the woods, suspicious that he visited some paramour here. As she tried to hide herself in a thicket, he saw something moving, and shot the unerring dart only too truly. Procris falls by her own weapon. If we are to carry out the idea of Procris as the moon, we must think of her faint and pale, dying before the darts of the rising day. See Ov. Met.7. 697 foll. But the name “Ἕρση” given to the mother of Cephalus makes it likely that the abduction of Cephalus by Eos has some connection with the morning-rays absorbing the dew.
Ariadne, i. e. “Ἀριάγνη” (a form of the name actually found on a vase), cp. Hesych. “ἀδνὸν ἁγνὸν Κρῆτες”, may be intended to represent a personification of the fertile powers of the soil. She was the daughter of Minosand Pasiphae, and gave her lover Theseus the clue by which to thread the labyrinth and slay the Minotaur.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 454
    • Euripides, Ion, 1155
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.697
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