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Acontius (Greek, Ἀκόντιος) in Greek mythology was a beautiful youth of the island of Ceos, the hero of a love-story told by Callimachus in a poem now lost, which forms the subject of two of Ovid's Heroides (xx, xxi).
During the festival of Artemis at Delos, Acontius saw Cydippe, a well-born young Athenian sitting in the temple of the goddess , attending to the sacrifice she was offering, and fell in love with her. He wrote on an apple the words, "I swear by the sacred shrine of the Artemis to marry Acontius" and threw it at her feet. Cydippe's maid handed the apple to here and she mechanically read the words aloud, not aware that by that she is swearing to marry Acontius, and threw the Apple away. Artemis heard here vow, just as Acontius has wished, but Cydippe treated him with contempt, and Acontius took no further step in the matter.
After a while, when Cydippe's father was about to give her in marriage to another man, she fell ill just before the nuptial solemnities were to begin, and this accident was repeated three times. Acontius, learned about this and hastened to Athens, and the Delphic oracle, which was consulted by the Cydippe's father, declared that the cause of this sudden illnesses was Artemis's anger because Cydippe failed to stand by her oath.
Cydippe at last told about the whole affair to her mother, and here father was induced to give his daughter in marriage to Acontius.
This tale is related by Aristaenetus (Epistolographi Graeci x. 10), with further allusions in several anchient fragments, especially of Callimachus, who wrote a poem with the title Cydippe. The same story with some modifications is related by Antoninus Liberalis (Metamorphoses 1) of an Athenian Hermocrates and Ctesylla.
- Smith, William. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: J. Murray, 1876, a work that is now in the public domain.