Hyacinthus 1 is said to have been a very handsome young man, of beauty only comparable to that of Endymion, Ganymedes, Narcissus, Adonis, Hermaphroditus, Hylas, or Chrysippus 2. After him the hyacinth flower was called.
Hyacinthus 1 and Apollo. RI.2-2765: Hyakinthos und Apollo. Marmorgruppe der Hopeschen Sammlung. Roscher, 1884.
The first to fall in love with Hyacinthus 1 was the Thracian Thamyris 1, son of Philammon, son of Apollo, or as others say,
son of Hephaestus. It is said that Thamyris 1 was the first man to fall in love with males. Philammon was famous for his song and zither, and his son Thamyris 1, excelling both in beauty an minstrelsy, engaged in a musical contest with the MUSES; it
was agreed that if he won the contest he would be
allowed to enjoy them all, but if he were defeated,
the MUSES would have the right to do with him what they wished. When Thamyris 1 was vanquished, the goddesses took away his eyes and minstrelsy, and he is still being punished in the Underworld for his
boast against the MUSES.
Death of Hyacinthus 1
Next, Apollo fell in love with Hyacinthus 1, and once they tried a contest with the discus. But when Hyacinthus 1 ran out to take up the discus that Apollo had thrown, the earth returned the throw, hurling it back at Hyacinthus 1's face. Others have said that it was Zephyrus 1 (one of the WINDS), who out of jealousy, caused the discus to strike Hyacinthus 1's head. In any case, Apollo tried to save the
life of the youth by applying herbs and using his
healing art, but the wound was past all cure, and
the young man died.
2736: Hyacinthus dying. Les METAMORPHOSES D’OVIDE EN LATIN ET FRANÇOIS, DIVISÉES EN XV LIVRES. TRADUCTION DE Mr. PIERRE DU-RYER PARISIEN, DE L’ACADEMIE FRANÇOISE. MDCLXXVII.
From Hyacinthus 1's blood sprung a flower bearing the marks of Apollo's lamentation. And
Publius Ovidius Naso, who being a poet can see
things invisible to ordinary mortals, says that in
its petals Apollo inscribed the letters AI AI, which imitate the
god's groans. The poet also says that later the
blood of Ajax 1 produced
the same flower, and that the letters remind of
both this name and Apollo's cry of woe. But not everybody is able to read the hyacinth. Also the form of the petals has been compared with the hair of both Hyacinthus 1 and others, and that is why it has been chanted:
"... and from
his head she made locks to flow in curls like the
hyacinth flower." (Homer, Odyssey 6.230).
Tomb and festival
The tomb of Hyacinthus 1 was below the image of Apollo in the city of Amyclae where the Lacedaemonians perfomed rites in honor of the god and Hyacinthus 1, known as the festival of the Hyacinthia.
Some affirm that Hyacinthus 1 is immortal through the hyacinth, but others have said that Aphrodite, Athena, and Artemis carried him and his sister Polyboea 1, who died a maid, to heaven.
Namesake: Hyacinthus 2 was a Lacedaemonian whose daughters were slaughtered by the Athenians in obedience to an oracle in order to avoid famine and pestilence. When King Minos 2 of Crete was at war with Athens, the city was visited with both famine and pestilence; so the Athenians, following an ancient oracle slaughtered the daughters of Hyacinthus 2, on the grave of Geraestus.