Hecuba (mythology)

   In Grecian legend, Hecuba was the second wife of Priam, king of Troy, and the mother of Hector. She had many children. She lost all her sons by the Tro­jan war. They were all slain with the ex­ception of Helenus, who deserted and joined the Greeks. Hecuba saw the body of Hector dragged around the city by the victorious Achilles. After Achilles had been slain by Paris, another celebrated son of Hecuba, the mother must needs wit­ness the death of her daughter Polyxena, who was sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles by whom she had been beloved. Paris him­self was slain by one of the poisoned arrows of Philoctetes. The unhappy queen at last witnessed the death of her youngest son, Polites, and saw her husband murdered by the cruel Pyrrhus. She herself and her daughter, Cassandra, were carried away as slaves by the Greeks. On the coast of Thrace the body of Hecuba's only remain­ing son, Polydorus, was washed to her feet by the waves. He had been murdered by Polymnestor. Hecuba avenged this last woe by slaying Polymnestor. Then in her des­pair she leaped into the sea. According to some accounts the gods transformed her into a dog, in pity, but the dog sprang into the sea. The place where this occurred was called Cynossema, "the tomb of the dog." The story of Hecuba has furnished the sub­ject for many Greek tragedies. The most famous of these is Hecuba by Euripides. Euripides represents Hecuba as a noble, virtuous woman and a tender mother, on whom fate has inflicted terrible sufferings.