"Swan." A son of Poseidon by Calyce (Calycia), Harpale, or Scamandrodice.1 He was born in secret, and was exposed on the sea-coast, where he was found by shepherds, who seeing a swan descending upon him, called him Cycnus. When he had grown up to manhood, he became king of Colonae in Troas, and married Proclea, the daughter of Laomedon or of Clytius,2 by whom he became the father of Tenes and Hemithea. Dictys Cretensis3 mentions different children.

After the death of Proclea, he married Philonome, a daughter of Craugasus, who fell in love with Tenes, her stepson, and not being listened to by him calumniated him, so that Cycnus in his anger threw his son together with Hemithea in a chest into the sea. According to others Cycnus himself leaped into the sea.4 Afterwards, when Cycnus learned the truth respecting his wife's conduct, he killed Philonome and went to his son, who had landed in the island of Tenedos, and had become king there. According to some traditions, Tenes did not allow his father to land, but cut off the anchor.5

In the war of the Greeks against Troy, both Cycnus and Tenes assisted the Trojans, but both were slain by Achilles. As Cycnus could not be wounded by iron, Achilles strangled him with the thong of his helmet, or by striking him with a stone.

Ovid adds, that the body of Cycnus disappeared and was changed into a swan, when Achilles came to take away his armor.



  1. Hyginus. Fabulae, 157; Scholiast on Pindar's Olympian Odes ii, 147; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 233.
  2. Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 14.2.
  3. ii, 13.
  4. Virgil. Aeneid ii, 21.
  5. Conon. Narratives, 28; Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 14.2.


  • Comp. Diodorus Siculus, v, 83.
  • Dictys Cretensis, ii, 12 ff.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses xii, 144.
  • Scholiast on Theocritus, xvi, 49.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
  • Strabo. Geography xiii, p. 604.

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