The Myth of Alcyone

Gerald K. Gresseth

Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 95, 1964, 88-98

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"The essentials of the myth of Alcyone as reported in the handbooks of mythology are: Alcyone married Ceyx, son of the Morning Star, and they were changed into birds, she into a halcyon, he into another sea-fowl called keyx, because of their impiety (they called themselves Zeus and Hera) or because he was drowned at sea and she mourned for him so piteously that the gods released her. ... I would like now to present my own interpretation, which does not account for everything in the story but at least attempts to account for the main features of this myth and to indicate how in all probability they came to be related to each other. Briefly stated, my view is that in comparative myth the sun is frequently symbolized as a bird; further, that, as in the case of the Phoenix, birds in myth often renew themselves. In the myth of Alcyone these motifs were combined to form a story of the rebirth of the sun at the time of the winter solstice." - author

Language: English


Last update December 6, 2021