Philyra (Oceanid)

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Philyra e Saturno, by Parmigianino, oil on panel, 16th century

In Greek mythology, Philyra or Phillyra (/ˈfɪlərə/; Ancient Greek: Φιλύρα, romanizedPhilýra, lit.'linden-tree') was one of the 3,000 Oceanids, water-nymph daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.[1][2]


Chiron was her son by Cronus.[3] Cronus' wife Rhea walked in on them, thereupon Cronus assumed the form of a stallion and galloped away, in order not to be caught by her, hence the half-human, half-equine shape of their offspring;[4][5] this was said to have taken place on Mount Pelion.[6] When she gave birth to her son, she was so disgusted by how he looked that she abandoned him at birth, and implored the gods to transform her into anything other than anthropomorphic as she could not bear the shame of having had such a monstrous child; the gods (specifically Zeus) changed her into a linden tree.[7]

Yet in some versions Philyra and Chariclo, the wife of Chiron, nursed the young Achilles;[8] Chiron's dwelling on Pelion where his disciples were reared was known as "Philyra's cave".[9] Chiron was often referred to by the matronymic Philyrides or the like.[10] Two other sons of Cronus and Philyra may have been Dolops[11] and Aphrus, the ancestor and eponym of the Aphroi, i.e. the native Africans.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.1235 citing Pherecydes; Hyginus, Fabulae 138. Compare with Callimachus, Hymn 1 to Zeus 33–36
  2. ^ Bane, Theresa (2013). Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 273. ISBN 9780786471119.
  3. ^ Apollodorus 1.2.4; Hyginus, De Astronomica 2.38.1; Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia 7.56.3; Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 1200.
  4. ^ Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.1231-1237, with scholia on 2.1235 citing Pherecydes & 1.554
  5. ^ Virgil, Georgics 3.92-94
  6. ^ Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 104 ff.
  7. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 138
  8. ^ Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.102 ff; scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.813
  9. ^ Pindar, Nemean Odes 3.43; Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 118; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48.40
  10. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 1002; Pindar, Pythian Odes 3.1; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.554; Argonautica Orphica 450; Virgil, Georgics 3.549
  11. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
  12. ^ Suida, Suda Encyclopedia s.v. Aphroi


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