Portfolio - Myth of Narcissus - Click on images for details
NARKISSOS (Narcissus) was a youth of the town of Thespiai (Thespiae) in Boiotia, a son of the river-god Kephisos (Cephisus) and the fountain-nymph Liriope. He was celebrated for his beauty and attracted many admirers but, in his arrogance, spurned them all. The suffering of two of these, however, would bring down a curse upon him.
The nymphe Ekho (Echo)--a girl cursed by Hera to repeat only the last words of what was said before--was rejected by the boy and fading away in despair left behind nothing but an echoing voice.
The other admirer was the youth Ameinias who became distraught when Narkissos cruelly spurned him. He killed himself before his beloved's door, calling on the goddess Nemesis to avenge him. His prayer was answered when Narkissos fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Gazing endlessly at the image, he slowly pined away and was transformed by the nymphs into a narcissus flower. Others say he was instead filled with remorse and killed himself beside the pool--and from his dying life's blood the flower was born.
Narkissos' name was the ancient Greek word for the narcissus or daffodil flower. The boy's mother Leiriope was named after another species of daffodil--the leirion--and his spurned love Ameinias for the ameinasis. According to Hesychius s.v., ameinasis was another name for the sweet-smelling herb duosmon--either dill, anise or cummin. Presumably these two were also transformed into their namesake plants. Such a group of sympathetic metamorphoses is not uncommon in Greek myth.
This mosaic is a contemporary take on the "verdure" theme of classical tapestries, with complex foliage and flower motifs, incorporating wildlife unobstrusively.