Ceryneian Hind | Mythical Creature

Ceryneian Hind Greek Mythology

The hind of Cerynia (Ancient Greek Κερυνῖτις ἔλαφος / Kerunîtis élaphos) is a fantastic creature of Greek mythology. Capturing the hind of Cerynia was the third (or, depending on the authors, the fourth) of Heracles' labors.


According to Callimachus of Cyrene, five fast hinds, of the stature of a bull, were grazing on the banks of the Thessalian river Anauros, at the foot of mount Parrhasion. Although they were females and thus by nature devoid of wood, these animals had golden horns and bronze hooves.

Artemis chased them, and captured four of them which she harnessed to her quadriga. The fifth escaped by crossing the Celadon to the hill of Cerynia. The deer being thus dedicated to Artemis, it was forbidden to touch it and a fortiori to kill it.

Following the wish of Eurystheus, Heracles pursued the animal for a whole year, without reaching it through Greece, Thrace and Istria. The doe however ended up exhausted, and took refuge on the mount Artemision. It wanted to cross the Ladon, when Heracles shot an arrow between the bone and the tendon of the leg, immobilizing it without a drop of blood being shed.

He loaded the animal on his shoulders and crossed Arcadia to go to Eurystheus. On the way, he met Artemis and Apollo, who accused him of sacrilege for having mistreated the animal. The hunter recused himself from this and pointed out the obligation in which he found himself, throwing the responsibility on Eurystheus.

The anger of Artemis was appeased and she authorized him to go to Mycenae on condition that he would then release his protégée without harming her.

According to Pindar, the doe is none other than the Pleiades Taygetus, whom Artemis metamorphosed to remove her from the advances of Zeus. The author tells that Heracles pursued the animal through Istria, in the country of the Hyperboreans and to the Blessed.

The pursuit thus led him beyond Arcadia and at the end of this hunt, he would have found the wild olive tree which will be used as crown to the winner of the Olympic Games.

The contradictory and isolated version of Euripides tells that the hind, of gigantic size, lived in the woods of Œnoé, in Argolide and devastated the harvests. Heracles killed it and consecrated the antlers of the animal in the temple of Artemis Œnoatis in order to reconcile himself with the goddess.



The Arcadian Deer: a detective story by Agatha Christie.

Video games

In Assassin's Creed Odyssey (2018), a series of side quests offers the player to confront several legendary animals, including the deer of Cerynia, in Euboea.