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Pygmalion 1

villenave02065: Pygmalion's statue comes to life. Drawing by Jean-Michel Moreau "le Jeune", 1741-1814 (Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide, Paris 1806).

Pygmalion 1 is the king of Cyprus who fell in love with a statue of his own making, kissed the ivory statue, and thought the kisses were returned. He talked to it with words of love, and brought to it the kind of gifts that are thought to please girls, such as shells and pebbles, little birds, and flowers of all colors. Besides all this, he also draped it with robes, put rings upon its fingers, and a necklace around her neck. And by night, Pygmalion 1 put the statue on a bed, called it the consort of his bed, and rested its head upon soft pillows.

Aphrodite hears his prayers

Such was Pygmalion 1's life with the statue. When the time came for the festival of Aphrodite to be celebrated, Pygmalion 1 visited it and prayed to the goddess to have as wife one like his ivory maid. Aphrodite understood he did not mean one like his ivory maid, but the ivory maid itself. So when Pygmalion 1 returned home and kissed his ivory statue, he discovered it was warm as he was kissing not ivory but flesh. Pygmalion 1 married she who had been a statue, and Aphrodite, who had given life to it, came to the wedding. Pygmalion 1 himself was given a long life.

Another with the same name: Pygmalion 2 was brother of Queen Dido of Carthage.







Pygmalion 1's Statue


The name "Galatea" was given to the statue much later.
Metharme married King Cinyras 1 of Cyprus and had children by him: Adonis, Oxyporus, Orsedice, Laogore, and Braesia. This unreliable Cinyras 1 is said to have promised to send fifty ships against Troy, but sent only one.


Paphos is the founder of the city of Paphos in Cyprus.

Related sections  

Apd.3.14.3; Nonn.32.212; Ov.Met.10.243ff.