A son of Misme. When Demeter on her wanderings in search of her daughter Persephone came to Misme in Attica, the goddess was received kindly, and being exhausted and thirsty, Misme gave her something to drink. As the goddess emptied the vessel in one draft, Ascalabus laughed at her, and ordered a whole cask to be brought. Demeter indignant at his conduct, sprinkled the few remaining drops from her vessel upon him and thereby changed him into a lizard.

For different legends respecting what happened to Demeter on her arrival in Attica, see Baubo, Iambe, and Metanira.

There is a similarity between this myth and that of Ascalaphus, a spirit of the underworld, who was changed into an owl by Demeter, possibly because of the similarity between the name for the spotted lizard, ἀσκάλαξος (askalaxos), and the screech-owl, ἀσκάλαφος (askalaphos).



  • Antoninus Liberalis, 24.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses v, 447, where a similar story is related, though without the name either of Misme or Ascalabus.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
  • Welcker. Das Kanst-Museum zu Bonn, 74 ff.

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