Pitys (mythology)

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Pan and Pitys, Edward Calvert.

In Greek mythology— or more particularly in Ancient Greek poetry— Pitys (Πίτυς; English translation: "pine") was an Oread nymph who was pursued by Pan. According to a passage in Nonnus' Dionysiaca (ii.108) she was changed into a pine tree by the gods in order to escape him. Pitys is mentioned in Longus' Daphnis and Chloe (ii.7 and 39) and by Lucian of Samosata (Dialogues of the Dead, 22.4).[1] Pitys was chased by Pan as was Syrinx, who was turned into reeds to escape the god who then used her reeds for his panpipes. The flute-notes may have frightened the maenads running from his woodland in a "panic." The subject is illustrated in paintings of (roughly chronologically) Nicolas Poussin, Jacob Jordaens, François Boucher, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Annibale Carracci, Andrea Casali, Arnold Bocklin, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Maxfield Parrish.

Notes

  1. ^ These occurrences are noted by Birger A. Pearson, "'She Became a Tree': A Note to CG II, 4: 89, 25-26" The Harvard Theological Review, 69.3/4 (July - October 1976): 413-415) p. 414 note 8; Pearson notes that an assertion by Rouse in notes to Dionysiaca (Loeb Classical Library), to the effect that Pitys is mentioned in Propertius is in error.


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