The daughter of Hipponous, son of Triballus and king of the Tribelli, and Thrassa, a daughter of Ares and Tereine. She was a companion of Artemis and joined her in a hunting expedition in the mountains. Because she had scorned the activities of Aphrodite and failed to honor them, Aphrodite made her fall in love with a bear and drove her mad. Polyphonte coupled with the bear, and when Artemis saw her she was disgusted and turned all beasts against her. Polyphonte fled to her father's house, where she later gave birth to two son — Agrius and Orius.

Because of the evil nature of her sons, Zeus ordered Hermes to punish them. Ares intervened and, with the help of Hermes, changed the family into birds. Polyphonte became a small owl whose voice is heard in the night. She does not eat or drink and keeps her head turned down and the tips of her feet turned up. Agrius became a vulture and Orius an eagle owl.

Their servant too was changed into a bird. During her metamorphoses she prayed to the gods not the become a bird evil for mankind. Her prayer was heard by Ares and Hermes and, because she had by necessity done what her master had ordered, she was changed into a woodpecker. This bird is considered a good omen for those going hunting or to feasts.



  • Antoninus Liberalis, 21.