Athenian Hero


Aurora and Cephalus by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin

Aurora and Cephalus by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin (1811)

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, MoscowPublic Domain


Cephalus was a Greek hero known for his remarkable good looks and hunting prowess. There were different accounts of his parentage, and he was variously connected with Attica, Phocis, and Cephallenia; this may indicate that there were originally two heroes named Cephalus who were later conflated with one another.

Eos, the goddess of the dawn, fell in love with Cephalus and carried him off to be her lover. He eventually returned to his wife Procris, but their marriage was ruined by infidelity and suspicion on both sides. Cephalus ultimately killed Procris by accident while she was spying on him in the woods; he mistook her for game hiding in the foliage.

Cephalus was banished for homicide and wandered throughout Greece, taking part in heroic exploits; these included the hunt for the Teumessian fox and Amphitryon’s war against the Taphians. He eventually settled on the island of Cephallenia and remarried.[1]