Aglaulus, Daughter of Cecrops - Mythography


Taking the earliest first, Euripides "Ion"-lines 22–23; 484–485 mentions her, but in the Moses Hadas and John Mclean 1960 Bantam Classics trans. they have Euripides say respectively: '(Athena) gave Erichthonius to Aglaurus' daughters (not sisters) to keep.' and later, speaking of "a haunt of Pan": "There the daughters of Aglaurus still tread the measures of their dance, on the green lawns before the shrine of Pallas (Athena)...".

According to the Bibliotheca, Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena but was unsuccessful. His semen fell on the ground, impregnating Gaia. Gaia didn't want the infant Erichthonius, so she gave the baby to the goddess Athena. Athena gave the baby in a box to three women—Aglaulus and her two sisters Herse and Pandrosus—and warned them to never open it. Aglaulus and Herse opened the box. The sight of the infant caused them both to go insane and they threw themselves off the Acropolis, or, according to Hyginus, into the sea.

An alternative version of the same story is that, while Athena was gone bringing a mountain from Pallene to use in the Acropolis, the sisters, minus Pandrosus again, opened the box. A crow witnessed the opening and flew away to tell Athena, who fell into a rage and dropped the mountain (now Mt. Lykabettos). Once again, Herse and Aglaulus went insane and threw themselves to their deaths from a cliff.

Another legend represents Agraulos in a totally different light. Athens was at one time involved in a long and protracted war, and an oracle declared that it would cease if someone would sacrifice himself for the good of his country. Agraulos came forward and threw herself off the Acropolis. The Athenians, in gratitude for this, built her a temple on the Acropolis, in which it subsequently became customary for the young Athenians, on receiving their first suit of armor, to take an oath that they would always defend their country to the last.

According to Ovid, Hermes loved Herse but a jealous Aglaulus stood between them, barring Hermes' entry into the house, and refused to move. Hermes, outraged at her presumption, turned her to stone.

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