Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Cephalus, the famous hunter from Athens, was the first king of the Ionian island of Cephalonia

Cephalus, the famous hunter of Athens

Cephalus was a famous hunter from Athens, Greece son of Hermes, the Messenger of the gods and the princess Herse. According to the legend, Cephalus became the first King of the Ionian island of Cephalonia and the island was named in his honor.

Cephalus and Procris

Cephalus was the husband of Procris, a princess of Athens, and the couple was living a happy married life. However, only two months after their marriage, Eos, the radiant goddess of the dawn who shined with bright red light, fell in love with Cephalos. Persistently, she chased him and carried him off against his will. Soon she bore him a son named Phaethon.

Eight years after, Eos got tired of listening to Cephalus' inexhaustible love for his wife. So she decided to returned him to Procris, but making him doubtful over his wife's fidelity first.
For this reason, Cephalus changed his form and went back to Procris in disguise, luring her with wonderful gifts. When he managed to seduce her, Cephalus revealed himself. Ashamed, Procris fled to the island of Crete to hunt with goddess Artemis.

The Death of Procris

After their reconciliation, Procris started questioning husband's fidelity. So one day, she decided to follow him secretly on his way to the hunt and hid behind a bush.

By watching the branches of the bush swaying, Cephalus believed that there was a big prey behind the bush - so he hurled his javelin and unwittingly killed his wife.

After the accident, Cephalus was exiled from Athens and ended at the city of Thebes where he fought alongside king Amphitryon. After his victory, Amphitryon gave the Ionian island of Cephalonia as a gift to Cephalus, who founded his kingdom there.

Sources
The Library of Apollodorus
Metamorphoses of Ovid

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Cephalus photo gallery

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