Leonardo da Vinci's: "Leda and Her Two Sons Castor and Pollux." Pollux is the Latin version of Polydeuces. Castor was the son of Leda and her husband Tyndareus, the king of Sparta.
Painting (c.XV-XVI century). Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy.
Click on image for full size
Leda and the Constellation Cygnus
Various Greek myths are connected with the constellation Cygnus, which means
"swan." Some authors say that the constellation cygnus was related to the shape of a beautiful swan that Zeus
assumed to court Leda, the wife of Tyndareus, the king of
Others tell the story of Cycnus, the son of Apollo and Hyria.
Cycnus was a very handsome young man. However, Cycnus was hard-hearted with those who loved him. He was so capricious that all his lovers and friends grew tired of his whims and abandoned him. Only Phylius remained loyal to him.
Cycnus ordered Phylius to perform several different tasks to demonstrate his love. First, Phylius had first to kill a lion without using an iron weapon. Then he had to capture (alive) ferocious man-eating birds. Finally, he had to lead a bull to the altar of Zeus with his own hands. Phylius succeeded in all these tasks with courage and love.
However, Cycnus'requests went on and on. Phylius'patience was
exhausted. He decided to stop indulging Cycnus and abandoned him.
Cycnus, desperate, drowned himself in a lake, now called the Cycnean Lake.
Following Cycnus'death, his mother Hyria threw herself into the same lake.
Apollo then transformed his wife and son into swans, whose shapes
can now be recognized among the stars.
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