Sicilian Herdsman


Statue of Daphnis

Statue of Daphnis (first/second century CE)

Uffizi Gallery / Public DomainCC BY-SA 4.0


Daphnis was a herdsman who lived on the island of Sicily. Often said to be a son of Hermes, he was known for his good looks.

There were different versions of the myth of Daphnis, but most told of how he lost his eyesight (or even his life) as a punishment for betraying his nymph lover. Daphnis invented pastoral poetry and spent the rest of his life singing about his unhappiness. In some traditions, he was killed after incurring the wrath of Aphrodite.

Daphnis’ story probably originated in Sicily as a variant to the Near Eastern myth of Tammuz or Adonis. He was a favorite among ancient writers of bucolic and pastoral poetry.[1]