A daughter of Aeolus and Enarete or Aegiale. She was married to Ceyx, and lived so happy with him, that they were presumptuous enough to call each other Zeus and Hera, for which Zeus metamorphosed them into birds, ἀλκυών (alkyōn) and κήυξ (kēux). Hyginus relates that Ceyx perished in a shipwreck, that Alcyone for grief threw herself into the sea, and that the gods, out of compassion, changed the two into birds.
It was fabled, that during the seven days before, and as many after, the shortest day of the year, while the bird ἀλκυών was breeding, there always prevailed calms at sea. An embellished form of the same story is given by Ovid.
The phrase Halcyon days refers to the two weeks of calm weather during the winter solstice (when the kingfishers lay their eggs). It also means a time of happiness and tranquility.
- Hyginus. Fabulae, 65.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses xi, 410 ff.; comp. Virgil. Georgics i, 399.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 7.3 ff.
- 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.