119. Venus’ wrath on the Cerastae, Propoetides

Once upon a time, in Cyprus, the land of Amathus, which has a wealth of metals, failed to express joy or take pride, because she disclaimed the evil, impious persons known as the Cerastae and the Propoetides, who had invited the wrath of Venus, and thus, rightly suffered.

The Cerastae were evil men who had rough horns on their foreheads. Beside the gates of their houses, they had constructed Jove’s altar, which was smeared with blood. Any new visitor, would quite naturally surmise that the blood was of some sacrificed animal, but in reality, the Cerastae slaughtered and sacrificed their guests. Outraged by such vile sacrificial acts, Venus decided to leave Amathus. Then she thought that why should the land suffer for few evil men, and desiring to punish the sinful Cerastae, she thought of different ways of punishment.

She thought of punishing them with exile, death, or a middle course, which was changing their form. Thereafter, as she was hesitating between which form to select for their punishment, she chanced to see their irregular horns. Thus, she decided to keep the horns on their changed forms, and transformed the large and violent bodies of the Cerastae to vicious bulls.

Even after knowing the punishment of the Cerastae, the immoral Propoetides, the daughters of Propoetus, did not worship Venus. Thus neglected, the divine wrath of Venus made the Propoetides immoral, depraved, and wicked. They started to sell the charms of their bodies in public, and it is said that they were the first prostitutes.

As shameful acts are always accompanied by disgrace, scandals, and ignominy, their reputation became sullied, which was further debased with their absolute loss of shame. Their impious and immoral ways hardened their hearts, the blood in their cheeks also hardened and they lost the power to blush. Soon, with little change, the Propoetides were transformed to stones of flint.

Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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