Cephalus and Procris

(Ovid, Metamorphoses VII, 661 ff.)

Eos, goddess of the dawn, is forever immersed in a love story that is doomed to end badly. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, does not like Eos and has cursed her with an unquenchable desire for young men.

One of these young men is the beautiful hunter Cephalus. Eos falls in love and tries to seduce him. To lure him away from his wife Procris, Eos advises him to test his wife’s devotion. Cephalus decides to disguise himself as a prince from the Orient to seduce his wife. When he offers her jewels, she briefly hesitates. It is then that Cephalus reveals himself and Procris, angry and ashamed, runs away. She moves to Crete to live with Diana, goddess of the hunt, and is given a javelin that never misses its mark.

Upon her return, she and her husband reconcile and she gives him the magic javelin. When Cephalus goes out hunting one day, Procris becomes suspicious and follows him and is accidentally hit by the enchanted javelin.

Consumed with remorse for deceiving his wife, Cephalus commits suicide.

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