In greek mythology, Coronis is a Thessalian princess and a lover of Apollo. She is the daughter of Phlegyas, king of the Lapiths, and Cleophema. In some accounts, her father was Azan, king of Arcadia. Her son, Asclepius, is the Greek god of medicine. During her pregnancy, she committed adultery with a mortal man named Ischys and was punished by Apollo for this act. After failing to heal her, Apollo rescued their unborn child by performing caesarean. She was turned into a constellation after her death.


Zeus gave the hand of the Muse Erato to Malos. The pair had a daughter Cleophema, who married Phlegyas, the king of Lapiths. Their daughter was called Aegle, otherwise known as Coronis.

One day Apollo saw Coronis and became enamoured of her. He lay with her in her home, and consequently Coronis got pregnant. One time when Apollo was away to perform his godly duties, Coronis fell in love with Ischys, son of Elatus. Going against her father's warnings, she slept with him in secret.

Apollo, however, came to know of this affair through his prophetic powers. In anger, he killed Coronis and Ischys with his arrows. Coronis dies, accepting that her punishment was just, but expresses her sorrow for the untimely death of her unborn child.

Not wanting his unborn child to suffer, Apollo cut Coronis's belly open when she was laid on her funeral pyre, and rescued the child. He named the child Asclepius and reared him for some time, teaching him about medicinal herbs. Later, Apollo entrusted his son to Chiron, the wise centaur, who trained him more in medicine and hunting.

According to a different version, Coronis gave birth to her son in Apollo's temple in the presence of the Moirai. Lachesis acted as the midwife and Apollo himself aided Coronis by easing her pains. Apollo named their son Asclepius after his mother's alias, Aegle.

In yet another version, Coronis who was already impregnated by Apollo, had to accompany her father to Peloponnesos. She had kept her pregnancy hidden from her father. In Epidaurus, she bore a son and exposed him on a mountain.

The child was given milk by one of the goats that pastured about the mountain, and was guarded by the watch-dog of the herd. Aresthanas, the owner of goats and the guard dogs, found the child. As he came near, he saw lightning that flashed from the child, and thinking of it to be a sign of divine, he left the child alone. Asclepius was later taken by Apollo.

The raven and Constellation Corvus

According to Ovid, when Coronis was pregnant, Apollo had appointed a white raven to guard her before leaving.

The raven, after learning the affair of Coronis with Ischys, reported it to Apollo. Apollo killed the couple and in anger, turned the crow black by scorching it as a punishment for being a tattletale and failing its duty. This is why the ravens are black today.

Istrus (Greek historian) and several others have said that Coronis was turned into the constellation Corvus.


Homeric Hymn to Apollo, 3.209

Isyllus, Hymn to Asclepius

Pindar, Pythian Ode 3. 5

Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.536 & 596 ff (trans. Brookes More)

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 40

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 64. 6

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 118

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 26. 1 - 7


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