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Last Update: 07 Mar 2021


Cephalus, the First King of Cephalonia

Cephalus, the first king of the Ionian island of Cephalonia

Cephalus, the famous hunter of Athens

Cephalus was a famous hunter from Athens, Greece and was a 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 led a happy married life. However, only two months after their marriage, Eos, the radiant goddess of the dawn, who shone with bright red light, fell in love with Cephalus. Persistently she pursued him and abducted him against his will. Soon she bore him a son named Phaethon.

Eight years later, Eos grew tired of enduring Cephalos' inexhaustible love for his wife. So she decided to take him back to Prokris, but made him doubt his wife's fidelity before doing so.

For this reason Cephalus changed his shape and returned to Prokris in disguise, enticing her with wonderful gifts. When he succeeded in seducing her, Cephalus revealed himself. Ashamed, Prokris fled to the island of Crete to hunt with the goddess Artemis.

The Death of Procris

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

When Cephalus saw the branches of the bush swaying, he believed there was a large prey behind it - so he hurled his spear and unknowingly killed his wife.

After the accident, Cephalus was banished from Athens and ended up in the city of Thebes, where he fought alongside King Amphitryon. After his victory, Amphitryon gave the Ionian island of Cephalonia to Cephalus, who founded his kingdom there.

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