(3 syl.) A young man of Abydos, who swam nightly across the Hellespont to visit his lady-love, Hero, a priestess of Sestos. One night he was drowned in his attempt, and Hero leaped into the Hellespont also. This story is told in one of the poems of Musaeus, entitled Hero and Leander. (See Marlowe's poem.) (See Hero.)
Lord Byron and Lieutenant Ekenhead repeated the experiment of Leander and accomplished it in 1 hour 10 minutes. The distance, allowing for drifting, would be about four miles. A young man of St. Croix, in 1817, swam over the Sound from Croneuburgh, in 2 hours 40 minutes, the distance being six miles.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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