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Ianthe (English translation: "purple or violet flower") was a name attributed to three figures in Greek mythology.

  • Ianthe was a Cretanmarker girl who was betrothed to Iphis. Iphis was a woman raised as a man; she also fell in love with Ianthe and prayed to the gods to allow the two women to marry. She was changed by Isis into a man, and became Ianthe's husband.

  • Ianthe, one of the 3,000 sons and daughters of the Titan Oceanus and Tethys, the Oceanids mentioned in homeric hymn to Demeter, who was one of the nymphs with the Goddess of Spring, Persephone when she was captured by Hades, the God of the Underworld.

  • Ianthe, a young girl, so beautiful that when she died the Gods made purple flowers grow around her grave.

Other references

  • In Percy Shelley's poem, "Queen Mab," the fairy queen visits a character named Ianthe. The fairy then takes the soul of the sleeping Ianthe and leads it across existence and uses the soul to highlight the good and pure in mankind. Shelley uses this to illustrate the evil in man's nature. Shelley also named his eldest daughter with Harriet Westbrook, Eliza Ianthe (born June 23, 1813).

  • Ianthe is the name of the main belt asteroid 98 Ianthe.

The name is pronounced I-AN-THEE.


  1. Ovid. Metamorphoses, Book IX, 666-797

Ianthe is also the name of a major city in the nation of Ophir (see also Hyborean Age, Conan the Barbarian, Robert Howard)

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