Hyacinthus the Lacedaemonian

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Hyacinthus (Ancient Greek: Ὑάκινθος) was a Lacedaemonian who is said to have moved to Athens, and in compliance with an oracle, to have caused his four daughters to be sacrificed on the tomb of the Cyclops Geraestus, for the purpose of delivering the city from famine and the plague, under which it was suffering during the war with Minos over the death of the latter's son Androgeos. 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.[1][2]

The names and numbers of the Hyacinthides differ in the different writers. The author of the Bibliotheca mentions four (Antheis, Aegleis, Orthaea, and Lytaea), while Hyginus only mentions Antheis. One account represents them as married[citation needed], although they were sacrificed as maidens, whence they are sometimes called simply αἱ παρθένοι. Stephanus of Byzantium calls one of them Lousia, eponym of a demos of the phyle Oineis.[3] Some traditions conflate them with 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.[4][5][6][7][8] Some of these traditions further confound them with Agraulos, Herse, and Pandrosus,[9] or with the Hyades.[10][11] The story of Leos and his daughters is also comparable to that of Hyacinthus and the Hyacinthides.


  1. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 15. 8.
  2. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 238.
  3. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, s. v. Lousia
  4. ^ Suda, s.v. Παρθένοι.
  5. ^ Demosthenes Epitaph, p. 1397.
  6. ^ Lycurgus of Athens Against Leocrates 24.
  7. ^ Cicero, In Defense of Sextus 48.
  8. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 46.
  9. ^ Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, 1. 211.
  10. ^ Servius on Aeneis 1. 748.
  11. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867), "Hyacinthus (2)", in Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 2, Boston, pp. 532–533