A pious old man, a Phrygian, the husband of Baucis. When Zeus and Hermes, on a quest to test human kindness and disguised as travelers, sought a place to stay for the night, they were refused food and lodging everywhere. Only Philemon and Baucis, a poor, elderly couple, offered them a hospitable welcome.

As a reward they were forewarned of the impending flood sent to destroy the other inhabitants of their land. The gods took them up a mountain and when the old couple looked down, the land had turned into a swamp and only the roof of their house remained visible. As they looked, their house turned into a magnificent temple. When Zeus asked them what they further wished, they only asked to be his priests and to die together at the same time. They were granted their wish and when years later their lives were at an end, they were transformed into trees — Philemon became an oak and Baucis became a lime tree.


Rubens painted the "Landscape with Philemon and Baucis," presently located at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.



  • Ovid. Metamorphoses viii, 611-724.