Cyparissus


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Cyparissus

 

in ancient Greek mythology, a beautiful youth and a favorite of the god Apollo.

Accidentally killing his favorite deer, Cyparissus fell into such deep mourning that in order to end his suffering Apollo turned him into a cypress tree, which thus became a symbol of grief (for this reason the cypress was traditionally planted in cemeteries). According to another version of the myth, Cyparissus turned into a tree in order to escape the pursuing Apollo (in other variants, the pursuing Zephyrus).

References in classic literature ?
These were they that held Cyparissus, rocky Pytho, holy Crisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they also that dwelt in Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters of the river Cephissus, and Lilaea by the springs of the Cephissus; with their chieftains came forty ships, and they marshalled the forces of the Phoceans, which were stationed next to the Boeotians, on their left.
The scenes in the National Gallery are Apollo Killing the Cyclops, The Punishment of Midas by Apollo, Apollo and Daphne, The Transformation of Cyparissus (only the lower, larger portion), Mercury Stealing the Herds of Admetus Guarded by Apollo, Apollo Slaying the Nymph Coronus, and Apollo and Neptune with Laomedon.
Anxious-looking Medea flies into the sky on a chariot pulled by dragons, and Cyparissus looks at the stag he has accidentally killed and is then doomed to spend eternity mourning.
We will be pitiless with Carya, who was transformed into a walnut tree; and with Phyllis, who died for love and was turned into an almond tree; and with Cyparissus, who accidentally killed the deer who kept him company and in his pain asked the gods to change him into a cypress, the tree that always cries, the tree of the dead.