Hyacinth is a divine hero from Greek mythology. His cult at Amyclae, southwest of Sparta, dates from the Mycenaean era. The santuary (temenos) grew up around his burial mound (tumulus), located in the Classical period at the feet of Apollo’s statue. The literary myths serve to link him to local cults, and to identify him with Apollo.
In the literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful boy and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died.A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo’s discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo didn’t allow Hades to claim the boy; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid’s account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower’s petals with ai, ai, the sign of his grief. The flower of the mythological Hyacinth has been identified with a number of plants other than the true hyacinth, such as the iris. According to a local Spartan version of the myth, Hyacinth and his sister Polyboea were taken to heaven by Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis.