Pygmalion (mythology)

Pygmalion is a legendary figure found in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pygmalion is a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has made.

Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory. Some versions state that it was an image of Aphrodite. According to Ovid, after seeing the Propoetides prostituting themselves, he is 'not interested in women', but his statue is so realistic that he falls in love with it. He offers the statue presents and eventually prays to Aphrodite. She takes pity on him and brings the statue to life. They marry and have a son, Paphos.

Ovid's mention of Paphos suggests he was drawing on the brief account of Pygmalion and Galatea in Bibliotheke, a Hellenic mythography formerly attributed to Apollodorus.

Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton: see Pygmalion of Tyre. Galatea figures in the founding legend of Paphos in Cyprus.

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