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For the genus of noctuid moths, see Zethes (moth).
For the social fraternity nicknamed "Zetes", see Zeta Psi
The Boreads rescuing Phineus from the Harpies, column-krater by the Leningrad Painter, c. 460 BC, Louvre

The Boreads (Ancient Greek: Βορεάδαι) are characters in Greek mythology. They consist of Calaïs (Κάλαϊς) and Zetes (also Zethes) (Ζήτης).


They were the sons of Boreas and Oreithyia, daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens. Due to being sons of the north wind they were supernaturally gifted in different ways (depending on changes in the story from being passed down through generations and cultures) either being as fast as the wind or able to fly, having wings either on their feet or backs, depending on the myth.*[1]:I, 211–223

They were Argonauts and played a particularly vital role in the rescue of Phineus from the harpies. They succeeded in driving the monsters away but did not kill them, at a request from the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, who promised that Phineas would not be bothered by the harpies again. As thanks, Phineas told the Argonauts how to pass the Symplegades. It is said that the Boreads were turned back by Iris at the Strophades. The islands' name, meaning "Islands of Turning", refers to this event.[1]:I, 240–300

Calais in one tradition is said to be the beloved of Orpheus;[2][3] Orpheus was said to have been killed at the hands of jealous Thracian women whilst he wandered the countryside thinking of Calais.[4]

Their death was said to be caused by Heracles on Tenos in revenge for when they convinced the Argonauts to leave him behind as he searched for Hylas.[1]:I, 1296–1314

Other sources imply that the sons of Boreas died chasing the harpies, as it was fated that they would perish if they failed to catch those they pursued. In some versions, the harpies drop into the sea from exhaustion, and so their pursuers fall as well.

Modern References[edit]

They appeared in The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan along with their sister Khione and their father Boreas. Calais is depicted as a big simpleton who struggles with words that have more than two syllables while Zetes is shown to be metrosexual and to maintain an eighties hairstyle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica [1]
  2. ^ Katherine Crawford (2010). The Sexual Culture of the French Renaissance. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-521-76989-1. 
  3. ^ John Block Friedman (2000-05-01). Orpheus in the Middle Ages. Syracuse University Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8156-2825-5. 
  4. ^ Phanocles, The Death of Orpheus