Procne (/ˈprɒkni/; Ancient Greek: Πρόκνη, Próknē [pró.knɛː]) is a minor figure in Greek mythology. She was the elder daughter of a king of Athens named Pandion and the wife of King Tereus of Thrace. Her beautiful sister Philomela visited the couple and was raped by Tereus, who tore out her tongue to prevent her revealing the crime. She wove a tapestry which made it clear what had been done, and the two women took their revenge.[1]

Procne killed her son by Tereus, Itys (or Itylos), boiled him and served him as a meal to her husband.[2] After he had finished his meal, the sisters presented Tereus with the severed head of his son, and he realised what had been done.[2] He snatched up an axe and pursued them with the intent to kill the sisters.[2] They fled but were almost overtaken by Tereus. In desperation, they prayed to the gods to be turned into birds and escape Tereus' rage and vengeance.[3] The gods transformed Procne into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale and Tereus into a hoopoe.[2] The swallow genera Progne, Ptyonoprogne and Psalidoprocne and the treeswift family Hemiprocnidae derive their names from the myth.

See also


  1. Salisbury, Joyce E. (2001). Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World. ABC-CLIO Ltd. ISBN 1576070921.
  2. Ovid. Metamorphoses Book VI, lines 424–674. (*Note that the line numbers vary among translations).
  3. Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 3.14.8; in Frazer, Sir James George (translator/editor). Apollodorus, Library in 2 volumes (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1921). (found online – Retrieved 23 November 2012).
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.