How Procne and Philomela Got Their Revenge

How Procne and Philomela Got Their Revenge

The story of Procne and Philomela is one full of murder, hatred and everything that is vile in a human. All served in typical Greek fashion. Let us delve right into it and see how it all went down. Procne and Philomela were two sisters, daughters of King Pandion I of Athens. Procne marries King Thereus of Thrace and then goes off with him. And this is when everything goes bad.

On their fifth year of marriage, Procne asks to go to Athens and see her sister, maybe bring her back for a visit. The two have not seen each other since the marriage and they miss each other. Thereus agrees to go and get her. Once he gets to their home, Pandion I tells him to take great care of his daughter Philomena. However, on their way to Thrace, Thereus rapes her, making her swear to keep silent about it.

As you would expect, Philomena did not agree with this. In a fit of rage, Thereus cuts off her tongue and abandons her in a forest. When he gets home, he tells Procne that her sister died on the way. But our brave hero does not give up. Even though she can no longer speak, she still wants revenge. So she starts weaving a tapestry.

How Procne and Philomela Got Their RevengeHow Procne and Philomela Got Their Revenge

She travels to Thrace and meets with her sister, showing her the tapestry. She immediately understands the meaning and the two start plotting revenge. Proce kills her own son, Itys, and cook him for her husband. Unsuspecting, he eats everything. He finds out about it when the two sisters who up, holding Itys’ severed head.

Thereus gets mad and starts chasing the two of them with an axe. Terrified, they start to run from him, going into hiding. But Thereus always seems to know where they are. Desperate, they ask the gods to help them. Taking mercy on them, the gods transform them into birds. Philomela becomes a nightingale, Procne a swallow and Thereus a hoopoe.

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