:"For other uses of the name Iphis see Iphis."
Iphis was a name attributed to three individuals:
Daughter of Ligdus
Greek mythologyand the Roman poet Ovid, who wrote about transformations in his "Metamorphoses", Iphis (or Iphys) was the daughter of Telethusaand Ligdus in Crete. Ligdus had already threatened to kill his pregnant wife's child if it wasn't a boy. Telethusa despairs, but is visited in the middle of the night by the Egyptian goddess Isis, attended by Anubisand Apis, who assures her that all will be well. When Telethusa gives birth to Iphis, she conceals her daughter's sex from her husband and raises her daughter as a boy. Iphis falls in love with another girl, Ianthe. Iphis is deeply in love and prays to Juno to allow her to marry her beloved. When nothing happens, her mother Telethusa brings her to the temple of Isis and prays to the goddess to help her daughter. Isis responds by transforming Iphis into a man. The male Iphis marries Ianthe and the two live happily ever after. Their marriage is presided over by Juno, Venus, and Hymenaios, the god of marriage. [Ovid. "Metamorphoses", Book IX, 666-797.]
The 17th-century publisher
Humphrey Moseleyonce claimed to possess a manuscript of a play based on the Iphis and Ianthe story, by William Shakespeare. Scholars have treated the claim with intense skepticism; the play has not survived.
Ovidalso introduces us to another character from Greek mythology, also named Iphis, a Cypriot shepherd who loved a woman named Anaxarete. Anaxarete scorned him and Iphis killed himself in despair. Because Anaxarete was still unmoved, Aphroditechanged her to stone. [Ovid. "Metamorphoses", Book XIV, 802.]
As written in
Homer's Iliad, Iphis was also a name given to the mistress of Patroclus, Achilles' companion-in-arms.
Ali Smith's 2007 novel "Girl Meets Boy" is based on Ovid's story, and is part of the Canongate Myth Series.
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