A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

Aglauros or Agraule (Ἄγραυλος or Ἀγραυλή). 2. A daughter of Cecrops and Agraulos, and mother of Alcippe by Ares. This Agraulos is an important personage in the stories of Attica, and there were three different legends about her. 1. According to 1lausanias (1.18.2) and Hyginus (Hyg. Fab. 166), Athena gave to her and her sisters Erichlthonius in a chest, with the express command not to open it. But Agraulos and Herse could not control their curiosity, land opened it; where-upon they were seized with madness at the sight of Erichlithonius, and threw themselves from the steep rock of the Acropolis, or according to Hyginus into the sea. 2. According to Ovid (Ov. Met. 2.710, &c.), Agraulos and her sister survived their opening the chest, and the former, who had instigated her sister to open it, was punished in this manner. Hermes came to Athens during the celebration of the Panathenaea, and fell in love with Herse. Athena made Agraulos so jealous of her sister, that she even attempted to prevent the god entering the house of Herse. But, indignant at such presumption, he changed Agraulos into a stone. 3. The third legend represents Agraulos in a totally different light. Athens was at one time involved in a long-protracted war, and an oracle declared that it would cease, if some one would sacrifice himself for the good of his country. Agraulos came forward and threw herself down the Acropolis. The Athenians, in gratitude for this, built her a temple on the Acropolis, in which it subsequently became customary for the young Athenians, on receiving their first suit of armour, to take an oath that they would always defend their country to the last. (Suid. and Hesych. s. v. Ἀγραυλος; Ulpian, ad Demosth. de fals. leg.; Hdt. 8.53; Plut. Alc. 15; Philochorus, Fragm. p. 18, ed. Siebelis.) One of the Attic δῆμοι (Agraule) derived its name from this heroine, and a festival and mysteries were celebrated at Athens in honour of her. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Ἀγραυλή ; Lobeck, Aglaoph. p. 89); Dict. of Ant. p. 30a.) According to Porphyry (De Abstin. ab animal. 1.2), she was also worshipped in Cyprus, where human sacrifices were offered to her down to a very late time.