We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

In Greek Mythology, what Was the Ceryneian Hind?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In Greek mythology, the Ceryneian hind was a deer sacred to Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt. The hind served Artemis, pulling her chariot and performing other tasks for her. Most notably, the Ceryneian hind was briefly kidnapped by Hercules as part of his 12 labors. Several Greek vases and sculptures depict the Ceryneian hind, often with her mistress Artemis, or Diana as she was called by the Romans.

The hind's most distinct feature was a set of golden horns, a rather unusual feature on a female deer, as horns are usually only present on stags. The animal was also said to have metal hooves, made from either bronze or brass. On these hooves, the Ceryneian hind could travel faster than an arrow could fly. This trait made the creature a useful servant for Artemis, since she could travel at high speeds. The speed of the hind proved to be a problem for Hercules when he attempted to capture her, however.

The decision to order Hercules to go after the Ceryneian hind was rather clever. The 12 labors of Hercules were imposed by Eurystheus as part of a punishment, and because Eurystheus was a rival of Hercules, they were extremely difficult, with the goal of getting Hercules injured or killed. The first two tasks involved slaughtering vicious monsters, allowing Hercules to prove himself as a hero who could match even the most terrible of foes. Eurystheus hoped that by asking Hercules to go after the hind, he could invoke the wrath of Artemis, who would kill or at least severely punish Hercules in retribution for the theft.

According to myth, Hercules chased the Ceryneian hind for a year, before the hind finally tired, allowing the hero to capture it. In some stories, Hercules shot the hind in the leg to slow it down. As Hercules carried the hind back to Eurystheus, he encountered Artemis and Apollo, and explained the situation to the gods. Artemis ended up forgiving Hercules for the theft, on the condition that the hind be returned.

In Greek mythology, all deer are sacred to Artemis because of their connection with the Ceryneian hind. Artemis also protected cypress trees, which may explain why so many ancient specimens exist in Greece. The concept of a female hunting god accompanied by an animal such as a deer is actually quite old, and it certainly pre-dates Greek culture, although the Ceryneian hind appears to be a unique twist on the traditional animal companion for the goddess of the hunt.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon174944 — On May 11, 2011

As person who always thought of Greek mythology fascinating since childhood, this article vague and pretentious. I was really looking for more details on the description of the Hind. For example where did the Hind come from. Was the Hind a mystical creature and born of chaos like so many other mythological beings?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.