In myth, Hyacinthus was usually said to be a prince of Sparta, the son of King Amyclas and his wife Diomede. He was noted for his physical beauty and became a lover of the god Apollo. But Hyacinthus was killed prematurely when Apollo accidentally struck him with a discus; in his grief, Apollo turned the blood that flowed from the boy’s body into the hyacinth flower.
Though Hyacinthus is best known from the myth in which he was accidentally killed by Apollo, he probably existed as a local Laconian god or hero long before that myth was invented. His festival, the Hyacinthia, was celebrated in Amyclae and in many other Dorian cities.
Hyacinthus became a popular subject for ancient artists, who usually depicted him as a beautiful and beardless youth.