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date: 27 September 2023



  • Alan H. Griffiths


Baucis and her husband Philemon were a pair of elderly peasants who entertained *Zeus and *Hermes with the resources of their meagre larder when the gods paid an incognito visit to *Phrygia (compare the story of *Orion's birth); for their piety they were spared, like Lot and his wife in Genesis ch. 19, from the flood which drowned their less hospitable neighbours. They lived out the rest of their lives as priests of the temple into which their humble shack was transformed, and were themselves finally transfigured into an oak and a linden-tree springing from the same trunk. The tale, which has genuine roots in ancient Anatolian tree-cult (see trees, sacred), has its first and canonical telling in Ovid, Metamorphoses 8. 618–724, though a Hellenistic Greek treatment along the lines of *Theseus' stay in the hut of *Hecale or the entertainment of *Heracles by Molorcus (both recounted by *Callimachus (3)) probably lies behind it.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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