Hero looking for Leander

Hero and Leander is a Greek myth. Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite who dwelled in a tower in Sestos, at the edge of the Hellespont. Leander, a young man from Abydos, on the other side of the strait, fell in love with her, and he would swim every night across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp every night at the top of her tower, to guide his way.

Succumbing to Leander's soft words, and to his argument that Aphrodite, as goddess of love, would scorn the worship of a virgin, Hero allowed him to make love to her. But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero's light, and Leander lost his way, and was drowned. Hero threw herself from a tower in grief and died as well.

In literature, the story has been the subject of two poems, one by Musaeus and one begun by Christopher Marlowe and completed by George Chapman after Marlowe's death, and a novel by Milorad Pavich. Leander is also the subject of Sonnet XXIX by Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega of the 16th Century.

Hero and Leander, Friedrich Schiller


The Parting of Hero and Leander, Joseph Mallord William Turner

Leander's body washed ashore, Axel Anderson

Hero finds Leander, Ferdinand Keller

Hero after the discovery of Leander, William Etty

The Meeting of Hero and Leander at the Temple of Venus, Sestos’ c1660 – 70

Hero Awaiting the Return of Leander , Evelyn De Morgan 1885


Adam Guettel, Hero And Leander (1998), Myths And Hymns


Mythology Images

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