Phyllis and Demophoon, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Phyllis and Demophoon, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones
(1833–1898), English Pre-Raphaelite painter

Or Demophon. 1. The youngest son of Celeus and Metaneira, who was entrusted to the care of Demeter. He grew up under her without any human food, being fed by the goddess with her own milk, and ambrosia. During the night she used to place him in fire to secure to him eternal youth; but once she was observed by Metaneira, who disturbed the goddess by her cries, and the child Demophon was consumed by the flames. (Apollod. i. 5. § 1 ; Ov. Fast. iv. 512, &c.; Hygin. Fab. 147; Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 234.)

2. A son of Theseus and Phaedra, and brother of Acamas. (Diod. iv. 62; Hygin. Fab. 48.) According to Pindar (ap. Plut. Thes. 28), he was the son of Theseus by Antiope. He accompanied the Greeks against Troy (Homer, however, does not mention him), and there effected the liberation of his grandmother Aethra, who was with Helena as a slave. (Paus. x. 25. § 2.) According to Plutarch he was beloved by Laodice, who became by him the mother of Munychus or Munytus whom Aethra brought up in secret at Ilium. On Demophon's return from Troy, Phyllis, the daughter of the Thracian king Sithon, fell in love with him, and he consented to marry her. But, before the nuptials were celebrated, he went to Attica to settle his affairs at home, and as he tarried longer than Phyllis had expected, she began to think that she was forgotten, and put an end to her life. She was, however, metamorphosed into a tree, and Demophon, when he at last returned and saw what had happened, embraced the tree and pressed it to his bosom, whereupon buds and leaves immediately came forth. (Ov. Ar. Am. iii. 38, Heroid. 2; Serv. ad Virg. Eclog v. 10; comp. Hygin. Fab. 59.) Afterwards, when Diomedes on his return from Troy was thrown on the coast of Attica, and without knowing the country began to ravage it, Demophon marched out against the invaders: he took the Palladium from them, but had the misfortune to kill an Athenian in the struggle. For this murder he was summoned by the people of Athens before the court epi Palladiôi -- the first time that a man was tried by that court. (Paus. i. 28. § 9.) According to Antoninus Liberalis (33) Demophon assisted the Heracleidae against Eurystheus, who fell in battle, and the Heracleidae received from Demophon settlements in Attica, which were called the tetrapolis. Orestes too came to Athens to seek the protection of Demophon. He arrived during the celebration of the Anthesteria, and was kindly received; but the precautions which were taken that he might not pollute the sacred rights, gave rise to the second day of the festival, which was called choes. (Athen. x. p. 437; Plut. Syrmpos. ii.) Demophon was painted in the Lesche at Delphi together with Helena and Aethra, meditating how he might liberate Aethra. (Paus. i. 28. § 9.)

3. A companion of Aeneas, who was killed by Camilla. (Virg. Aen. xi. 675.)