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Deucalion


Deucalion (/djuːˈkliən/; Greek: ) was the son of Prometheus; ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione, or Pronoia. He is closely connected with the Flood myth, according to which, the anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians. So Zeus decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. According to this story, Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering. Zeus unleashed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean. Deucalion, with the aid of his father Prometheus, was saved from this deluge by building a chest. Like the Biblical Noah and the Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses his device to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha.

According to folk etymology, Deucalion's name comes from δεῦκος, deukos, a variant of γλεῦκος, gleucos, i.e. "sweet new wine, must, sweetness" and ἁλιεύς, haliéus, i.e. "sailor, seaman, fisher". His wife Pyrrha's name is derived from the adjective πυρρός, -ά, -όν, pyrrhós, -á, -ón, i.e. "flame-colored, orange".

Deucalion is parallel to Utnapishtim, the survivor of the Sumerian flood that is told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and to the Biblical Noah.



"There [in Achaea, i.e. Greece] is a land encircled by lofty mountains, rich in sheep and in pasture, where Prometheus, son of Iapetus, begat goodly Deucalion, who first founded cities and reared temples to the immortal gods, and first ruled over men. This land the neighbours who dwell around call Haemonia [i.e. Thessaly]."
  • Deucalion from Charles Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1867), with source citations and some variants not given here.
  • Deucalion from Carlos Parada, Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology.
  • Images of Deucalion and Pyrrha in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database
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