HYACINTHUS

ΥΑΚΙΝΘΟΣ

1. The youngest son of the Spartan king Amyclas and Diomede (Apollod. iii. 10. § 3; Paus. iii. 1. § 3, 19. § 4), but according to others a son of Pierus and Clio, or of Oebalus or Eurotas (Lucian, Dial. Deor. 14; Hygin. Fab. 271.) He was a youth of extraordinary beauty, and beloved by Thamyris and Apollo, who unintentionally killed him during a game of discus. (Apollod. i. 3. § 3.) Some traditions relate that he was beloved also by Boreas or Zephyrus, who, from jealousy of Apollo, drove the discus of the god against the head of the youth, and thus killed him. (Lucian, l. c; Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. iii. 63; Philostr. Imag. i.24; Ov. Met. x. 184.) From the blood of Hyacinthus there sprang the flower of the same name (hyacinth), on the leaves of which there appeared the exclamation of woe AI, AI, or the letter U, being the initial of Huakinthos. According to other traditions, the hyacinth (on the leaves of which, howeve those characters do not appear) sprang from the blood of Ajax. (Schol. ad Theocrit. x. 28; comp. Ov. Met. xiii. 395, &c., who combines both legends; Plin. H. N. xxi. 28.) Hyacinthus was worshipped at Amyclae as a hero, and a great festival, Hyacinthia, was celebrated in his honour. (Dict. of Ant. s. r.)

2. A Lacedaemonian, who is said to have gone to Athens, and in compliance with an oracle, to have caused his daughters to be sacrificed on the tomb on the Cyclops Geraestus, for the purpose of a learned of delivering the city from famine and the plague, under which it was suffering during the war with Minos. His daughters, who were sacrificed either to Athena or Persephone, were known in the Attic legends by the name of the Hyacinthides, which they derived from their father. (Apollod. iii. 15. § 8; Hygin. Fab. 238; Harpocrat. s. v.) Some traditions make them the daughters of Erechtheus, and relate that they received their name from the village of Hyacinthus, where they were sacrificed at the time when Athens was attacked by the Eleusinians and Thracians, or Thebans. (Snid. s.v. Parthenoi; Demnosth. Epilaph. p. 1397; Lycurg. c. Leocrat. 24; Cic. p. Sext. 48; Hygin. Fab. 46.) The names and numbers of the Hyacinthides differ in the different writers. The account of Apollodorus is confused: he mentions four, and represents them as married, although they were sacrificed as maidens, whence they are sometimes called simply hai parthenoi. Those traditions in which they are described as the daughters of Erechtheus confound them with Agraulos, Herse, and Pandrosos (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 211), or with the Hyades. (Serv. ad Aen. i. 748.)

The Death of Hyacinth, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), Italian Rococo painter

The Death of Hyacinth, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), Italian Rococo painter