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Hyacinthus: A Spartan Prince And Lover of Sun God Apollo

In Greek mythology, Hyacinthus was one of the mortals. King Pierus of Macedon, King Oebalus of Sparta, King Amyclas of Sparta, and Clio are only a few of the names presented as his parents in the numerous stories.

He was a handsome young man, and Apollo fell in love with him. Zephyr, the deity of the west wind, also fancied him.

Hyacinthus A Spartan Prince And Lover of Sun God Apollo

A game of discus ensued, and Hyacinthus, hoping to win the favor of the deity Apollo, chased after his thrown discus. But the discus hit him, and he didn’t survive. Zephyrus, envious of Hyacinthus’ relationship with Apollo, is said to have blown the discus to the young man’s head, killing him.

In his grief for the young man’s passing, Apollo prohibited Hades from taking his soul and transformed him into the flower that bore his name.

Want to find out more about his life? Keep reading!

Hyacinth The Spartan

Some people believe that Hyacinth was the grandson of Lacedaemon, which is why he is most commonly linked with Sparta.

In contrast, Hyacinth’s origins are traced back to stories set in Magnesia, where King Magnes is credited as the father of Hyacinth, or Pieria, where King Pieros is given that honor. The later version of the story identifies Hyacinth’s mother as Clio, a muse whom Aphrodite doomed to love the mortal Pieros through a curse.

Despite this, when Hyacinth is elevated to the position of Prince of Sparta, he is considered the offspring of King Amyclas and Diomede. King Amyclas is the offspring of Lacedaemon and Diomede is the offspring of Lapithus.

Since Hyacinth’s parents are the same as those of Argalus, Cynortes, Daphne, Harpalus, Laodamia, Leanira, and Polyboea, he is a sibling to all of them. Some argue that Daphne is not one of Amyclas and Diomede’s offspring since she is not a Naiad nymph, as is customary.

Hyacinth And Thamyris

Hyacinth’s beauty is said to rival that of Endymion and Ganymede, making him one of the most attractive young men in the world.

Once upon a time, another mortal named Thamyris, son of Philammon, fell in love with Hyacinth. However, their time together was short-lived since Thamyris foolishly challenged the Muses to a musical contest, which he lost and was duly punished for.

Hyacinth And Apollo

Some believe that Apollo, Hyacinth’s more famous suitor, compelled Thamyris to compete against the Muses so that he might eliminate a potential love rival.

Apollo and Hyacinth were inseparable for a time. Hyacinth would ride with him everywhere he went in his swan-drawn chariot.

It was so decided that Apollo would instruct Hyacinth in using the lyre, the bow, and hunting techniques.

As a demonstration, Apollo hurled the discus so hard at Hyacinth that it tore the clouds in two.

In due time, the discus fell back to Earth, and Hyacinth rushed to fetch it. However, upon striking the ground, the discus bounced, striking Hyacinth on the head and killing him instantly.

Hyacinth could not be saved, even by Apollo, the god of medicine. After her death, legend said that her tomb could be located in Amyclae, and the city celebrated her yearly with a celebration called the Hyacinthia.

The Hyacinth flower, according to tradition, was created by the blood that spilled from Hyacinth’s head wound.

Hyacinth And The Jealousy Of Zephyrus

Some of the gods, especially Zephyrus, the deity of the west wind, were said to have been particularly fond of the Spartan prince Hyacinth before his untimely demise.

However, legend has it that Zephyrus exacted his vengeance when Hyacinth sided with Apollo against him and that Zephyrus’s discus stroke caused the fatal head wound.

In some retellings of the Hyacinth story, the Spartan prince becomes immortal when Apollo can resuscitate him, and the god’s Aphrodite, Athena, and Artemis take him to Mount Olympus.

Cult Of Hyacinth

A long time later, Apollo revived Hyacinth as a minor deity and celebrating his return to life became a major event in Spartan culture. It was recognized in the month named after the flower hyacinth, so named for its association with the celebration. Hyacinthia happened for three days at the beginning of summer.

The first day was spent in somber remembrance of Hyacinth’s passing. In contrast, the following two were spent in joyous celebration of his resurrection. Therefore, there was no singing or feasting on the first day of the festival. However, there were choirs of young men and boys who performed singing and dancing on the second day.

More were pushed in wicker carts, while others raced in chariots drawn by two horses. As a sacrifice to Apollo, women would bring a chiton or tunic they had sewn.

Scholars speculate that the Spartans may have conducted mysterious ceremonies on the third day, but they cannot be sure. He shared a temple at Amyclea with Apollo. Therefore, the festival celebrated both of them.


The Hyacinth that sprang from Hyacinth’s blood was a sign of grief and legend. It had a deep blue color with an inscription on its petals that resembled the letters “AI.” However, some researchers believe this is an iris or larkspur rather than the Hyacinth we usually think of.

The ancient Greeks identified Hyacinth, a rare blue or violet stone, with Apollo. It was given the moniker because its hue was similar to that of hyacinths. In addition, because of its legendary association with Apollo, this diamond was considered holy.

All worshippers of Apollo, including his priests and Pythia, his chief priestess, were expected to wear this stone at all times.

Poets use the term “hyacinthine hair” to refer to wavy or curly hair that evokes the hair of the legendary figure Hyacinthus. The hair color might also be described by this phrase, which could be used interchangeably with “dark,” “black,” and “deep violet.”

Hyacinthine hair is a gift from Athena to Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. In his poem “To Helen,” Edgar Allan Poe uses the same word to describe Helen’s hair.

Closing Thoughts

Hyacinth is one of the secondary characters in Ancient Greek literature who still play an essential part in the story. In particular, he was linked to Apollo. Murder followed when he was accused of being his lover. The spot where his blood splashed onto the ground became a haven for a rare flower. One of the most critical annual Spartan celebrations, the Hyacinthia, was dedicated to the goddess Hyacinth.

Scholars disagree on how the three-day event should be divided between grieving for the death of the holy hero Hyacinth and rejoicing in his rebirth as Apollo Hyakinthos. There are stories that Spartans would call off campaigns and make peace deals only so they could go home and enjoy this holiday.

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