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Philomela and Procne

Philomela and Procne (fĭlōmēˈlə, prŏkˈnē) [key], in Greek mythology, daughters of King Pandion of Attica. Procne married Tereus, king of Thrace, and bore him a son, Itys (or Itylus). Tereus later seduced Philomela and cut out her tongue to silence her. Philomela embroidered the story into some cloth, which she sent to her sister. In revenge, Procne murdered Itys and served up his flesh to her husband. Tereus pursued and tried to kill the sisters, but the gods changed them all into birds. Philomela became a swallow, Procne a nightingale, and Tereus a hoopoe. Itys was revived and became a goldfinch.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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