Galatea (milk-white) In Greek mythology, a Nereid, one of the 50 daughters of Nereus and Doris; sister of Thetis and Amphitrite. Galatea loved the handsome youth Acis, and the Cyclops Polyphemus loved Galatea. When Polyphemus saw Galatea and Acis alone, he killed Acis by hurling a rock at him. The stream of blood from Acis’s mangled body was transformed by the gods into an inexhaustible stream of limpid water, which runs down to the sea to join Galatea. Theocritus’s Idylls (11) and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 13) tell of the myth, as does Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea (1721) with a libretto by John Gay. The name Galatea also is given to the statue by Pygmalion that was turned into a live woman by Aphrodite. Pygmalion and Galatea became the parents of Paphos. This myth is told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 10).


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante