The Death of Procris

In Greek mythology, Procris was the daughter of Erechtheus of Athens and wife of Cephalus. Procis had two sisters, Creusa and Orithyia.

The goddess of the dawn, Eos (Aurora to the Romans) kidnapped Cephalus when he was hunting, but although the two had a relationship for some time and had three children together, Cephalus then began to pine for Procris. A disgruntled Eos returned Cephalus to his wife - and put a curse on them.

Procris had come into possession of a magical javelin, given by Artemis that never missed its prey, as well as a hunting hound who always caught its prey. The hound met its end chasing a fox which could not be caught, and they both turned into stone. But the javelin was used by Cephalus while hunting.

Cephalus sat by a tree one day, hot after hunting, and sang a little hymn to the wind (Aura). A passerby heard him and thought he was serenading a lover. Procris found out and the next day went out to find him. As he sat singing the same hymn, she thought he was singing to Aurora (Eos) and moved. Cephalus threw the javelin of Artemis into the brush, thinking the noise was an animal, and killed her. As she lay dying in her arms, she told him "On our wedding vows, please never marry Aurora". Cephalus went into exile.

Cephalus accidentally killed Procris some time later after he mistook her for an animal while hunting; Procris, a jealous wife, was spying on him. Cephalus was exiled for the death of his wife.

The Death of Procris, Piero di Cosimo

Cephalus, Procris and Artemis (Diana) 1635/36, Claude Lorrain (1600-1682)

Cephalus and Procris, Joachim Wtewael

Kephalos and Prokris , Benjamin Clemens 1910

Cephalus Grieving over the Dying Procris , Abraham Janssens ,

Céphale et Procris, Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Procris and Cephalus, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822). Aurora. Opera based on the legend of Cephalus and Procris

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