Comments for the name Philomel

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Comments for PHILOMEL:

The name "Philomel" or "Philomela" was indeed Tereus' wife (see Ovid's "The Metamorphoses"). The rest of the story might put you off this pretty name -- Philomel was Tereus' sister-in-law, whom he raped and cut out her tongue before returning to his wife who, upon discovering this, murders their son and serves him to Tereus baked in a pie. Then they turn into birds. This story was used by Shakespeare in the plot of his bloodiest play "Titus Andronicus," in which the same thing happens to Titus' daughter Lavinia.
-- Ceyx54  6/15/2006
It lists this name as coming from the English word for nightingale which leaves out the majority of the story!

The name is Ancient Greek and means 'lover of apples."

Philomela was a character in Greek myth who, at the end of her story, transformed into a nightingale. Philomela, according to Ovid, was NOT the wife of Tereus. Philomela was the sister of Tereus' wife Procne. Tereus raped Philomela. To shut her up about it, he cut off her tongue and kept her in a little house in the middle of nowhere. She made a tapestry telling what happened and sent it to her sister, the queen. Procne saw the tapestry and under cover of night during the Bacchic festivals rescued her sister. They went back to the palace. In revenge, they killed Procne and Tereus' son Itys. They made food out of the child and fed it to Tereus. After he ate, they came rushing in and threw the head at him. He, disgusted and enraged, ran after the two sisters. As they ran all three were transformed. Philomela a nightingale, Procne a swallow, and Tereus a hoopoe (the bird calls out something sounding like Itys! Itys!).
-- livieluvbug  11/5/2012

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