TEREUS

ΤΗΡΕΥΣ

A son of Ares, a king of the Thracians, in Daulis, afterwards Phocis. (Apollod. iii. 14. § 8; Thuc. ii. 29.) Some traditions place Tereus at Pegae, in Megaris. (Paus. i. 41. § 8.) Pandion, king of Attica, who by his wife Zeuxippe had two daughters, Philomela and Procne, and twin sons, Erechtheus and Butes, called in the assistance of Tereus against some enemy, and gave him his daughter Procne in marriage. Tereus became by her the father of Itys, and then concealed her somewhere in the country, that he might thus be enabled to marry her sister Philomela whom he deceived by saying that Procne was dead. At the same time he deprived Philomela of her tongue. Ovid (Met. vi. 565) reverses the story by stating that Tereus told Procne that her sister Philomela was dead. Philomela, however, soon learned the truth, and made it known by a few words which she wove into a peplus. Procne then came to Philomela and killed her own son Itys. Tereus, who had been cautioned by an oracle against such an occurrence, suspected his own brother Dryas and killed him. (Hygin. Fab. 45.) Procne took further vengeance by placing the flesh of her own child in a dish before Tereus, and then fled with her sister. Tereus pursued them with an axe, and when the sisters were overtaken they prayed to the gods to change them into birds. Procne, accordingly, became a nightingale, Philomela a swallow, and Tereus a hoopop. (Tzetz. Chil. vii. 142, 459; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1875 ; Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vi. 78; Ov. Met. vi. 424-675.) According to some, Procne became a swallow, Philomela a nightingale, and Tereus a hawk. (Hygin. Fab. 45.) According to the Megarian tradition, Tereus, being unable to overtake the women, killed himself. The Megarians showed the tomb of Tereus in their own country, and an annual sacrifice was offered to him. Procne and Philomela, moreover, were there believed to have escaped to Attica, and to have wept themselves to death. (Paus. i. 41. § 8.)

Tereus Confronted with the Head of his son Itylus, by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Flemish Baroque painter

Tereus Confronted with the Head of his son Itylus, by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Flemish Baroque painter