Pygmalion and Galatea

Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 25/04/2021

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According to the legend, kept alive by Ovid, Pygmalion was the king of Paphos in Cyprus. He sculpted a statue of an exceptionally beautiful woman with whom he fell madly in love. He begged the goddess Aphrodite to bring her to life, and the goddess satisfied his wish.

Pygmalion and Galatea got married and had a son, named Paphos or a daughter, named Metharmi. Kinyras, the mythical king of the city of Paphos, who established the worship of the goddess Aphrodite, was a descendant of Pygmalion, either as the son of Paphos or as the son of Metharmi.

This myth was particularly popular in Europe in the 18th century and inspired many artists who created works, which today adorn various museums. Nobel Prize-winning author Bernard Shaw’s work “Pygmalion” is inspired by this story, as well as the subsequent Oscar-winning film. “My fair lady.” In both cases, the possibility of transforming an unpolished creature into a refined woman is portrayed, but not the myth in itself.

In addition, Galatea, according to Greek mythology, was one of the 50 Nereids and wife of Cyclops Polyphemus, whom she cheated on with Akis. When the Cyclops found out about this relationship, he killed his wife’s lover. According to Babiniotis’ dictionary, the name Galatea is of unknown origin, but it has been quoted as coming from the word “γάλα (milk)” because of the whiteness of the statue.





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