A beautiful youth of the island of Ceos. On one occasion he came to Delos to celebrate the annual festival of Artemis, and fell in love with Cydippe, the daughter of a noble Athenian. When he saw her sitting in the temple attending to the sacrifice she was offering, he threw before her an apple upon which he had written the words "I swear by the sanctuary of Artemis to marry Acontius." The nurse took up the apple and handed it to Cydippe, who read aloud what was written upon it, and then threw the apple away. But the goddess had heard her vow, as Acontius had wished. After the festival was over, he went home, distracted by his love, but he waited for the result of what had happened and took no further steps.

After some time, when Cydippe's father was about to give her in marriage to another man, she was taken ill just before the nuptial solemnities were to begin, and this accident was repeated three times. Acontius, informed of the occurrence, hastened to Athens, and the Delphic oracle, which was consulted by the maiden's father, declared that Artemis by the repeated illness meant to punish Cydippe for her perjury. The maiden then explained the whole affair to her mother, and the father was at last induced to give his daughter to Acontius.

This story is related by Ovid1 and Aristaenetus,2 and is also alluded to in several fragments of ancient poets, especially of Callimachus, who wrote a poem with the title Cydippe. The same story with some modifications is related by Antoninus Liberalis3 of an Athenian Hermocrates and Ctesylla.



  1. Epistulae xx, xxi; comp. Tristia iii, 10.73.
  2. Epistles x, 10.
  3. Metamorphoses, 1.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.