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Greek Gods and Goddess: Procne

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Introduction to Procne

The ancient Greek Gods and Goddess contain a wealth of stories and legends, wrapped in Myths which typically provide a story with a morale code designed to influence the reader into behaviour as fitting Greek culture of the era.

In this article, we look at Procne and the myths and legends surrounding Procne, Procne relationship to and with other Greek Gods and Goddess and key events and stories which relate to ancient astrology and the changing seasons.

About Procne

She was one of two daughters of Pandion and Zeucippe, she married Tereus king of Thrace and son of Ares, by whom she bore a son named Itys (Itylos) but on hearing the enchanting voice of Procne's younger sister Philomela he fell madly in love with her. So, he confined Procne to an out of way place, then went to her father and reported that she had died. Pandion in order to console him offered her sister Philomela as a bride, and he accepted. Pandion sent her with an Athenian guard, but Tereus murdered them, and as a further precaution he cut out Procne's tongue and confined her to the slave's quarters. Then he rapped Philomela, prior to the wedding. An oracle warned Tereus that his son would be killed by a blood relative and suspecting his brother Dryas of hatching a plot to usurp his throne, he struck him with an axe and killed him when he was not expecting it. Meanwhile Procne who with the other slaves was making Philomela's bridal gown, wove a message into it, Procne is with the slaves, it read. Philomela when trying on the gown saw it and proceeded to the slave's quarters. When she entered it, she found a locked room she broke down the door. There she found Procne, who was frantically running around and chattering like a bird. Philomela realised his deceit and wept for revenge. Procne unable to make herself understood flew out of the room and seizing Itys, she killed and gutted him, then cooked him, and set him as a meal for Tereus when he returned. When Tereus realised what had been done, he grabbed his axe and chased after the sisters, he soon caught them and was about to kill them, when suddenly the gods turned them all into birds. Procne was turned into a swallow, and Philomela a nightingale, and Tereus a Hoopoe.

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