He was king of Megara; and when Minos, on his expedition against Athens, took Megara, Nisus died, because his daughter Scylla, who had fallen in love with Minos, had pulled out the purple or golden hair which grew on the top of her father's head, and on which his life depended.1 Minos, who was horrified at the conduct of the unnatural daughter, ordered Scylla to be fastened to the poop of his ship, and afterwards drowned her in the Saronic gulf.2
According to others, Minos left Megara in disgust, but Scylla leaped into the sea, and swam after his ship; but her father, who had been changed into a sea eagle, perceived her, and shot down upon her, whereupon she was metamorphosed into either a fish or a bird called Ciris ("cutter").3
The tradition current at Megara itself knew nothing of this expedition of Minos, and called the daughter of Nisus Iphinoe, and represented her as married to Megareus. It is further added, that in the dispute between Sciron and Nisus Aeacus assigned the government to Nisus,4 and that Nisa, the original name of Megara, and Nisaea, afterward the port town of Megara, derived their names from Nisus, and that the promontory of Scyllaeum was named after his daughter.5
The tomb of Nisus was shown at Athens, behind the Lyceum.6
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 15.5, 6, 8; Scholiast on Euripides' Hippolytus, 1090.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, l.c.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses viii, 6 ff.; Hyginus. Fabulae, 198; Virgil. Georgics, i, 405; Eclogues vi, 74.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 39.5.
- ibid. i, 39.4; ii, 34.7; Strabo. Geography viii, p. 373.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 19.5.
- 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.