Phaon (shining) In Greek legend, a boatman of the Mytilene in Lesbos, loved by the poet Sappho. Phaon rejected Sappho’s love, and as a result she killed herself by leaping off a cliff on the island of Leucas. Originally Phaon was old and ugly, but he received from Aphrodite a small box containing an ointment that made him young and handsome. Ovid’s Heroides (15) has a letter from Sappho to Phaon. David’s painting of Sappho also pictures Phaon.


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


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