Hyacinth or Hycinthus was in Greek Myth a Spartan prince that was so beautiful that he was lusted after by anyone who saw him. The poet Tamyris fell in love with him first and thus invented men-to-men love the couple lived for some time in happiness until the god Apollo saw the beautiful youth and fell in love with him as well. Now when Apollo says: "I want you", one can hardly refuse (though Cassandra and Daphne did manage...), and indeed the boy was torn between Tamyris and Apollo. In his jealousy, Apollo told the Muses that Tamyris boasts that he is more competent in song-writing in music and in poetry than the Muses themselves. The Muses were so outraged that they cut out Tamyris tongue, broke each and every one of his fingers and erased his memory for chords and notes.

Then Apollo abducted the not-so-unwilling youth and, not wanting to share him with the world, hid him in Aeolus' home, and flew to get his father permission to turn his loved-one into an immortal. However, the West Wind, Zephyrus, saw Hyacinthus and immediately fell in love with him. When Hyacinthus put off the advances of Zephyrus, the rejected god decided that if he couldn't have Hyacinth, no one would. And as Apollo and Hyacinth were playing at disc throwing, Zephyrus blew and the disc hit Hyacinth on the head and killed him instantaneously. From the place where Hyacinth's blood touched the ground sprouted beautiful flowers that were named after the dead youth.

Apollo was so grief-stricken that he requested Hades for the boy to be returned to life, but Apollo's uncle wouldn't have it. Later under the mediation of Zeus (who had previously agreed to grant the youth immortality) the two gods reached compromise according to which Hyacinth spent 6 months of every year in the Underworld and 6 months in the company of Apollo in Olympus.

The flowering of the hyacinth flowers symbolizes the rebirth of Hyacinth, and in Sparta that was celebrated in a great holyday called 'the Hyakintheia'.

Hy"a*cinth (?), n. [L. hyacinthus a kind of flower, prob. the iris, gladiolus, or larkspur, also a kind of gem, perh. the sapphire; as, a proper name, Hyacinthus, a beautiful Laconian youth, beloved by Apollo, fr. Gr. , : cf. F. hyacinthe. Cf. Jacinth. The hyacinth was fabled to have sprung from the blood of Hyacinthus, who was accidentally slain by Apollo.]

1. Bot. (a)

A bulbous plant of the genus Hyacinthus, bearing beautiful spikes of fragrant flowers. H. orientalis is a common variety.


A plant of the genus Camassia (C. Farseri), called also Eastern camass; wild hyacinth.


The name also given to Scilla Peruviana, a Mediterranean plant, one variety of which produces white, and another blue, flowers; -- called also, from a mistake as to its origin, Hyacinth of Peru.

2. Min.

A red variety of zircon, sometimes used as a gem. See Zircon.

Hyacinth bean Bot., a climbing leguminous plant (Dolichos Lablab), related to the true bean. It has dark purple flowers and fruit.


© Webster 1913.

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