I thought it would be a great choice to write about the most beautiful love stories of mythology since today is Valentine’s day! So let’s see what happened to their protagonists!
Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Leon Gérome
PYRAMUS AND THISBE
These are the two protagonists of a very dramatic love story: Ovid tells us that Pyramus and Thisbe were two Babylonian young lovers that couldn’t get married because their families were old enemies and opposed to any kind of relationship they might have had. Nevertheless, they could keep on seeing each other through a little crack of the wall that divided their houses.
Thisbe, by John William Waterhouse. 1909
One night they were to meet at the Ninus’ tomb, that was situated in the outskirts of the city. Thisbe was the first to arrive at the arranged place, where a mulberry tree was planted near a fountain. At that very moment, a lioness happened to pass by and stopped at the fountain to drink some water. Thisbe was horrified and thus, run away. However she lost her veil, that fell onto the ground. The lioness smelt it with her muzzle that was still full of fresh blood of a victim that she had just eaten. Right after that, came Pyramus. When he found Thisbe’s veil on the floor stained with blood and the lioness standing right in front of it, he thought that the worst had occurred! Perhaps the beast had devoured the maiden! Oh, poor Pyramus! He immediately took his sword and killed himself without thinking it twice.
After a while Thisbe came again to the accorded place and found his lover dead on the ground. She pull up the sword from his breast and as well committed suicide with the same weapon. From then on, their fruit of the mulberry tree, that had been white, turned into red because of the great amount of blood poured onto the ground. The ashes of both loved were kept in the same urn.
Pyramus and Thisbe, by Pierre Gautherot. 1799
BAUCIS AND PHILEMON
Baucis and Philemon were a poor couple that lived in the region of Tyana, which Ovid places in Phrygia. One day, Zeus and Hermes came to the town disguised as two ordinary peasants. They would knock each door of the town asking for shelter, but nobody would let them in. However, Philemon and Baucis, despite of being so poor, accepted to receive them into their humble cottage. They offered them wine several times. After a while, they realised that the pitcher where that was used to serve the wine, would fill itself. As a result, they understood they had been visited by gods and, after raising their hands and praying to them, decided to slay a goose to offer them a better hospitality. The goose ran to the safety in Zeus’ lap. Zeus said they needn’t slay the goose and they should leave the town as soon as possible because he was to destroy it due to the lack of hospitality of its dwellers. He told them to climb up a mountain with him and Hermes and not to turn back until they reached the top.
Philemon and Baucis, by Andrea Appiani
After climbing the mountain and reaching the summit, the couple saw the town had been destroyed by a flood and that Zeus had turned their cottage into a beautiful temple. The couple became the guardians of the temple and demanded the gods that, when time came for them to die, that the other would die as well. Zeus granted their wish by transforming them into an intertwining pair of trees, one oak and one linden, standing in the deserted boggy terrain.
Philemon and Baucis were transformed into a pair of intertwining trees.
PYGMALION AND GALATEA
Pygmalion was the king of Cyprus and had been looking for a woman to marry, but wouldn’t find one that fit him. He was also famous for being an excellent artist, so he started sculpting a beautiful woman-looking statue out of marble projecting his unfulfilled romantic wishes on it. After finishing it, he found his work of art’s beauty so stunning, that he fell in love with it. He would love and kiss the cold marble day and night, but the statue would remain the same.
One night, Aphrodita, goddess of love and patroness of Cyprus, made appear the statue alive in one of his dreams. When he awoke, he was so sad for having come back to the bitter reality, that the goddess was very touched. As a result, she granted Pygmalion’s wish of turning the work of art into life. Pygmalion then married the new-born woman who named Galatea, because she was as white as milk (γάλα/ gála, in Greek).
So, these are beautiful love stories of mythology to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day, aren’t they?