March 22, 2021

Translated by: Maria Galanopoulou

Content Warning: Rape

Pandion, king of Athens, had two daughters, Philomela and Procne. Procne was forced to marry Tereus, son of Ares, in exchange for his precious alliance in the battle between Athens and Thebes, but also as a future safety valve for diplomacy. Feeling sexually attracted to Philomela, too, Tereus managed to rape her, severing her tongue so that she would not reveal anything to her sister and imprisoning her afterwards in a remote vault.

Desperate as she was, Philomela decided to weave what she was unable to utter. Upon learning the tragic truth, her sister, Procne, along with Philomela herself, killed the fruit of her relationship with Tereus, their son, Itylos. After they cooked him, they offered him to Tereus as a meal. Having satisfied her appetite, Procne left the severed head of her son on the dinner table. Tereus’ wrath was seeking revenge, but, before he had the time to kill them, the Gods took pity upon the two women, transforming them into a nightingale and a swallow, respectively.