Break out the tissue box, because it’s time to discuss one of the most tragic love triangles in the entire history of the Greek Pantheon. Apollo’s long-lost love, the one that could have been, and winner of the Most Handsome Prince in All of Sparta Award for five years in a row: Hyacinthus.
Son of a Muse
Hyacinthus was born of the goddess Clio, one of the nine muses who inspire science, art, poetry, and literature. Historians note that, as the descendant of a muse, Hyacinthus may have possessed special abilities, e.g. memory manipulation. Anyone else with such a power would most likely use it to convince others that they are more fun and attractive than they really are. Not so with Hyacinthus. His charm and charisma were all-natural.
Unless that’s what he’s somehow made us think . . .
Battle of the Gods
Hyacinthus’s beauty was so notorious that two separate Greek gods fell for him at the same time. Usually, a god has to transform into a waterfowl or something just to get the attention of mortals, but Apollo and Hyacinthus quickly hit it off in their initial meeting. Zephyros, the god of spring and the western wind, played the part of the jealous third wheel. Unfortunately for him, it’s practically impossible to compete with Apollo when it comes to love. Or anything else, for that matter.
Things took a dark turn for Hyacinthus and his boyfriends during a seemingly innocent game of quoits (Don’t worry, we had to look that one up, too). When Apollo threw a discus, it accidentally struck a fatal blow to Hyacinthus. Or did Zephyros blow it off-course on purpose? Zephyros made a deal with Eros to keep him safe from Apollo’s wrath and blamed his own actions on madness brought forth by his undying love for Hyacinthus. Just be aware: that excuse only works exactly one time. If you’re lucky.
To save Hyacinthus from Hades, Apollo transformed his dying lover into a flower. Now, every time Apollo comes across a hyacinth, he can’t help but recall his greatest loss. To this day, Apollo still thinks about him all the time. Gods only know how many songs Apollo must have written about him. And how many campers are so sick of hearing them and wish he would just move on already.
Hey, now that we think about it, wasn’t there another mortal demigod who was transformed into a plant and resurrected later?