From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Iphis and Anaxarete illustration by Virgil Solis

In Greek mythology, Anaxarete (Ancient Greek: Ἀναξαρέτη "excellent princess") was a Greek maiden who refused the advances of a shepherd named Iphis.


Anaxarete's advances were described in Ovid's Metamorphoses in the following paragraph:

“Now he would confess his sorry love to her nurse, asking her not to be hard on him, by the hopes she had for her darling. At other times he flattered each of her many attendants, with enticing words, seeking their favourable disposition. Often he gave them messages to carry to her, in the form of fawning letters. Sometimes he hung garlands on her doorpost wet with his tears, and lay with his soft flank on the hard threshold, complaining at the pitiless bolts barring the way.”[1]

Anaxarete spurned him and mocked his feelings until he cried in despair and hanged himself on her doorstep. Anaxarete was still unmoved. When she mocked his funeral, calling it pitiful, Aphrodite turned her into a stone statue.[1] According to Ovid, the statue was preserved at Salamis in Cyprus, in the temple of Venus Prospiciens.[1]

A similar tale is told by Antoninus Liberalis, although he names the maiden Arsinoe,[2] and her lover Arceophon.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Ovid. "Bk XIV:698-771 Anaxarete and Iphis". The Metamorphoses. (Translation by A. S. Kline). Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  2. ^ Arsinoe
  3. ^ Arceophon