Hyacinthus

This is a post for my March book challenge, #marchmonthofmythology.

This is the tragic story of Apollo and Hyacinthus.

Hyacinthus was a beautiful young man, so beautiful he caught the eye of two gods. One was Apollo, god of music, poetry, medicine, archery, light. The other was Zephyros, the west wind.

Apollo was the one to win Hyacinthus’ heart and they had great times together. One day, they went out to play with a discus. They would take turns throwing it as far as they could (because that’s what you do with a discus). Hyacinthus, wanting to impress Apollo, ran to catch the discus the god had thrown – but the metal disc hit his head, killing him instantly.

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Iris. Source: wikimedia commons.

Some say Zephyros blew the discus off course in his jealousy; others say it was just an accident. Apollo, overcome with grief, could not allow Hyacinthus to pass to the Underworld: instead, he created a flower out of the boy’s blood, purple with white flecks in the shape of Apollo’s cries of woe.

It is uncertain which flower Hyacinth turned into – probably not the modern hyacinth. There are several possibilities: one of them is the iris. What we know is that it is a purple flower with white markings similar to the words ‘Ai ai’, possibly with hanging petals to signify Hyacinthus’ bent neck. The flower might not even exist any more, or it might have changed in appearance.

 

Hyacinthus – LGBTQ+ characters/books

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For this photo I stuck to classics related books. I was happy to read that Apollo in The Hidden Oracle is openly bi! It’s like Rick Riordan is trying to be more diverse with every book he writes, and I’m glad – even more so because my sixteen year old brother is happy about it as well. I only wish I’d known more books like these when I was his age. The other books are Searching for Sappho – containing information on the poetess as well as all of her poems in English translation – and The Song of Achilles – the tragic love story of Achilles and Patroclus, which I reviewed a while ago.

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