"Stretcher." That is, "the stretcher," the surname of the legendary robber Damastes ("restrainer") or Polypemon ("hurting-many"), a son of Poseidon. He lived in the area of Eleusis, and captured passing travelers to fit them in his iron bed (in some accounts he had two beds, one long and one short). If they were too short for the bed, he stretched their limbs with terrible racks until they fit. If they were too long for the bed, he chopped pieces off. He was slain by the hero Theseus, on the Cephissus in Attica, who shortened him to fit his own bed.

The adjective procrustean means "enforcing conformity: trying to establish conformity by using any and all means, including violence."



  • Ovid. Metamorphoses vii, 438.
  • Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 38.5.
  • Plutarch. Theseus, 11.