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Procris 2

0411: Cephalus and Procris. Painting by Johann Michael Rottmayr 1654-1730. Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien.

Procris 2 is said to have exchanged bribes for love, and to have received a wonderful gift which caused her death.

Incest in early years

Some say that Procris 2, daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens, committed incest with her father, and that she then gave birth to a daughter Aglaurus 3.

Whom Eos carried off

Later, Procris 2 was married to Cephalus 1, whom some say was carried off by Eos (Dawn). However, it is more likely that Eos abducted Cephalus 2, the son of Hermes and Herse 2, or as others say, son of Hermes and Creusa 1, or else she carried both of them off .

Procris 2's husband

Cephalus 1 was son of Deion, son of Aeolus 1, son of Hellen 1, son of Deucalion 1, the man who survived the Flood; his mother was Diomede 1, daughter of Xuthus 1, brother of Aeolus 1. Cephalus 1 supported Amphitryon against the Taphians, and afterwards was banished from Athens for having killed his wife. It is said that the island of Cephallenia, which is in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Acarnania, was called after him.

Cephalus 1 tests his wife with another man's help

Since Cephalus 1 and Procris 2 were bound by mutual love, they promised each other never to be untrue. But a man called Pteleon bribed her with a golden crown and was in that way admitted in her bed. Some have said that Cephalus 1 was behind the bribe. For he, not trusting his wife, sent this man or another to offer Procris 2 a sum of gold on condition that she would sleep with him, and that at first she refused, but when he doubled the offer she accepted.

Cephalus 1 tests his wife himself

Those who say that Cephalus 1 was abducted by Eos also say that the goddess, having being refused by him because he had given his promise to Procris 2, said to him:

"I don't want you to break faith, unless she has done so before you." (Eos to Cephalus 1. Hyginus, Fabulae 189).

And so Eos turned Cephalus 1 into a stranger, and gave him wonderful gifts to give to Procris 2. So when he came in his new form, he bribed his own wife with the gifts Eos had given him, and lay with her; and after making love, Cephalus 1 recovered his normal appearance.

Procris 2 goes to Crete

In any case, the result was that Procris 2 was then exposed as an unfaithful wife, and being abashed or fearing her husband, she fled to Crete where the rule was held by King Minos 2, a man notorious for his love affairs, and for having many women. Queen Pasiphae of Crete, however, disliking her husband's habits, had bewitched him, so that whenever Minos 2 made love to another woman, he ejaculated serpents, scorpions, and millipeds. This circumstance did not affect the queen herself, for she, being daughter of Helius, was immortal, but all other women who had intercourse with Minos 2 perished. However, on account of this enchantment, Minos 2 was unable to procreate. And that is why Procris 2 could make a place for herself in Crete, for she promised the king to cure him, so that he could have children.

The healer Procris 2

And this is what Procris 2 conceived: she introduced a goat's bladder into the genitals of a woman, so that Minos 2, after having discharged the beasts into the bladder, made love to Pasiphae. This is how Minos 2 succeeded in having descendants, and feeling grateful he gave Procris 2 two wonderful gifts: a Swift Dog, named Laelaps 1, which was fated to catch whatever prey it pursued and that had been given by Zeus to Minos 2 as a guardian for Europa (see also Amphitryon), and a Dart-That-Flew-Straight.

Procris 2 bribed again

But others have said that Procris 2 did not play the part of a healer in Crete, but instead that of a mistress, letting herself be seduced and bribed again. And as Minos 2 offered her the Swift Dog and the Dart-That-Flew-Straight, she agreed to share his bed, though taking the precaution of giving him the Circaean root to drink so that he might not harm her.

Procris 2 leaves Crete

But as this kind of affairs cannot proceed too long under the same roof, Procris 2, fearing Pasiphae's revenge, left Crete, taking with her the Swift Dog and the Dart-That-Flew-Straight which Minos 2 had bribed her with, and having arrived to Athens, she became reconciled with her husband Cephalus 1.

Artemis behind the gifts

However, some have said that these presents were not given by Minos 2. For, they say, when Procris 2 fled to Crete she met Artemis, who refused to accept her in her train because she was no longer a virgin. But when she revealed her misfortune to the goddess describing how her husband with the help of Eos had deceived her, Artemis, out of pity, gave her the Swift Dog and the Dart-That-Flew-Straight, and told her to disguise herself as a young man, go back to Athens, and contend in hunting against Cephalus 1.

Cephalus 1 deluded by his wife

Having returned as a stranger, Procris 2 met Cephalus 1, whom she challenged and surpassed in the hunt. When Cephalus 1 saw that both dog and dart were irresistible, he asked the stranger to sell them to him, still not knowing that it was his wife he was bargaining with. Procris 2 refused several offers, but finally she said that he could get them in exchange for love. Cephalus 1 agreed, for he no longer could control his desire for the wonderful gifts. But when they had come into the bedroom, Procris 2 took off her tunic, and showed that she was a woman and his wife.

The bribed Cephalus 1 takes the gifts

So Cephalus 1, who once had made a scheme in order to bribe his wife and corrupt her, now let himself be bribed by the same wife in disguise, who straightaway revealed her true identity. This is how Cephalus 1 and Procris 2 were reconciled, and Cephalus 1 took the Dart-That-Flew-Straight and the Swift Dog.

Death of Procris 2

But either during this chase, or on another occasion, when Procris 2 was in the thicket, Cephalus 1, not knowing she was there, threw the Dart-That-Flew-Straight at her, and killed her. Some have said that this happened when Procris 2, fearing that Eos would abduct Cephalus 1 again, secretly followed her husband to watch him in the early morning, hiding herself among the bushes, and when Cephalus 1 saw the bushes stir, he hurled the Dart-That-Flew-Straight, and being unable to miss, he killed his wife.

Cephalus 1 banished

For this accident Cephalus 1 was tried in the Areopagus in Athens, and condemned to perpetual banishment. Later he took part in the coalition which Amphitryon formed against the Taphians, and after the war he settled in Cephallenia, having married Clymene 3, daughter of Minyas.


Procris 1 is one of the daughters of Thespius (see Heracles 1), mother of Antileon and Hippeus.






Erechtheus & Praxithea 4


For Erecthheus see Athens. Praxithea 4 is daughter of Phrasimus and Diogenia 1, daughter of the river god Cephisus.


Aglaurus 3

Nothing else have been told about Aglaurus 3.

Cephalus 1


Arcisius is father of Laertes, father of Odysseus.




Minos 2



Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Aeolus 1, Aglaurus 3, Anticlia 1, Arcisius, Autolycus 1, Cephalus 1, Cephisus, Creusa 1, Ctimene, Deion, Deucalion 1, Diogenia 1, Diomedes 1, Erechtheus, Erichthonius 2, Hellen 1, Hermes, Laertes, Odysseus, Pandion 2, Praxithea 2, Praxithea 4, Procris 2, Xuthus 1, Zeuxippe 2.
(Genealogy affirms that Procris 2's sister is the grandmother of Procris 2's husband.)

Related sections Procris 2 in GROUPS: ODYSSEUS IN HADES, AENEAS IN HADES  

Apd.3.15.1; Hom.Od.11.321; EPIG 2; Hyg.Fab.189, 253; Lib.Met.41;Vir.Aen.6.447.