Polyboea, Hyacinth’s sister, died a young virgin. She is eternally a Kore, a young girl who died at the pivotal transitional point from youth to full-fledged woman. The meaning of her name, “Of Many Cows,” indicates her beauty and value: many cows were what her father anticipated receiving as her bride-price.

After she died, Polyboea received a divine escort including Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, the Horae and Moirae to Mount Olympus. There she was deified. Just as her brother is perceived as a mediating spirit and conduit to Apollo, so Polyboea is the conduit to Artemis. She was also held up as a role model for young women. In his epic exploration of myth and religion, The Golden Bough, author Sir James George Frazer suggests that these myths of Hyacinth and Polyboea are really based on older, pre-Olympian traditions and that they were initially romantic partners as well as siblings, like Hera and Zeus, for instance.

• Polyboea may be venerated independently or alongside Hyacinth.

• Her image may also be placed on an altar of Artemis.


Young women

Sacred site:

Polyboea was enshrined together with her brother.

Date: Polyboea was celebrated with her brother at his festival, the Hyacinthia.


Aphrodite; Apollo; Artemis; Athena; Horae; Hyacinth; Morae; Olympian Spirits; Persephone


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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