Learn more about Hecuba
Hecuba (also Hekuba or Hekabe) was a queen in Greek mythology, the wife of King Priam of Troy. She was of Phrygian birth; her father was Dymas, and her mother (Eunoë) was said to be a daughter of the god of the River Sangarius, the principal river of ancient Phrygia.
With the god Apollo, Hecuba had a son named Troilius. An oracle prophesied that Troy would not be defeated as long as Troilius reached the age of twenty alive. He and his sister, Polyxena, were ambushed and killed by Achilles during the Trojan War.
Polydorus, Priam's youngest son by Hecuba, was sent with gifts of jewelry and gold to the court of King Polymestor to keep him safe during the Trojan War. The fighting grew vicious and Priam was frightened for the child's safety. After Troy fell, Polymestor threw Polydorus to his death to take the treasure for himself. Hecuba, though she was enslaved by the Achaeans when the city fell, eventually avenged her son.
In another tradition, Hecuba went mad upon seeing the corpses of her children Polydorus and Polyxena. Dante described this episode, which he derived from Latin sources. Yet a third story of her fate says that she was given to Odysseus as a slave, but as she snarled and cursed at him, the gods turned her into a dog, allowing her to escape.
 Hecuba in arts and literature
- Central character of the play Hecuba by Euripides
- Character in The Trojan Women, also by Euripides
- Character in King Priam by Michael Tippett (1958-61)
- Central character of Cortege of Eagles by Martha Graham (1967)
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