Friday, November 2, 2012
Other forms: Aēdōn
In Greek mythology, Aedon is the name of the woman who turned into the first nightingale. Story goes that she was the wife to Zethus, who was brother to Amphion, king of Thebes. Amphion's wife, Niobe, had fourteen children, while Aedon only had two. Because of this, Aedon was very jealous of Niobe. So one night, while Niobe's eldest son was sleeping, Aedon decided she would kill him. Unfortunately, she accidentally murdered her own son, Itylus, instead. Zeus took pity upon the heartbroken Aedon and turned her into a nightingale. Her song was the lament for her dead son.
Nightingale got it's name because it frequently sings during the night. Nightingale means "night songstress." People once believed it was the female that sang, but it is actually the male. Nightingales are often associated with poetry and poets, and became a muse to poets during the Romantic period.