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Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 10:30 PM
Subject: Search for "Psaphon"

I have come across a reference of "Psaphon," reportedly an obscure figure in Greek mythology, who is supposed to have taught birds to fly and cry out his name to the gods, an act of hubris for which he is said to have met condign punishment. Problem is, other than this single reference (in a specialized dictionary of etymology), I can find no reference to him in the classical links I've tried (and I think I have searched most of the important ones, including yours). If you find a reference(s) to him, I would appreciate your letting me know. I would especially like to know just where (else) he is referenced. Thank you.

Dear L
The story is that he trained a number of birds to say "Psapho is a god" (he was an African and they were presumably parrots) - when he released them, the local Africans were so impressed that they honoured P as a god! The tale is told by Aelianus [Aelian] (the only mention of him I think), a writer of the 2nd/3rd centuries AD, and presumably comes from his Varia Historia, although I don't have the actual reference, I'm afraid. There is a translation in the Loeb series - otherwise texts of Aelian are hard to find!
Best wishes