Saturday, June 13, 2020

Dangerous Beauty: A List, Hyginus, Fab. 271

TRIGGER WARNING: Beauty was seen as a dangerous trait for young men and women alike; most of these myths end in abduction / rape. It is important to note the objectification of these men in this passage; the author makes clear that unwanted sexual attention is an unfortunate consequence of beauty in Greco-Roman mythology.

Qui ephebi formosissimi fuerunt:
  • Adonis Cinyrae et Smyrnae filius quam Venus amavit.
  • Endymion Aethlii filius quem Luna amavit.
  • Ganymedes Erichthonii filius, quem Iovis amavit.
  • Hyacinthus Oebali filius quem Apollo amavit.
  • Narcissus Cephisi fluminis filius qui se ipsum amavit.
  • Atlantius Mercurii et Veneris filius qui hermaphroditus dictus est.
  • Hylas Thiodamantis filius, quem Hercules amavit.
  • Chrysippus Pelopis filius, quem Theseus ludis rapuit.

--Hyginus, Fabulae CCLXXI

A list of exceedingly beautiful youths:

  • Adonis (the son of Cinyras and Smyrna), whom Venus loved.
  • Endymion (the son of Aethlius), whom the Moon loved.
  • Ganymede (the son of Erichthonius), whom Jupiter loved.
  • Hyacinthus (the son of Oebalus), whom Apollo loved.
  • Narcissus (the son of the Cephissus River), who fell in love with himself.
  • Atlantius (the son of Mercury and Venus), who is called a "hermaphrodite."
  • Hylas (the son of Thiodamas), whom Hercules loved.
  • Chrysippus (the son of Pelops), whom Theseus abducted from the games.

Name: Gaius Julius Hyginus
Date: 64 BCE – 17 CE
Works: Fabulae*
               De Astronomica

REGION 1 / 4*
Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

Hyginus was a freedman of the Roman emperor Augustus who was in charge of the Imperial library on the Palatine Hill in Rome. His work, the Fabulae, are a sourcebook for Greek and Roman myths. Although there is quite a bit of overlap between his writings and his contemporary and friend Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Hyginus’ works are much more succinct.
Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

* There is evidence that Hyginus was originally from Alexandria, Egypt (Suetonius, de Gramm. 20)