In Greek mythology, four people were known as Cycnus or Cygnus. Most of them ended up being transformed into swans. The most famous Cycnus however, was the son of Ares.
Son of Ares
Cycnus (Κύκνος) was sired upon Pelopia or Pyrene. Cycnus was a bloodthirsty and cruel man in Pagasae, Thessaly or in Macedonia according to Apollodorus, who was so murderous he aspired to build a temple to his father constructed from the skulls and bones of travelers, whom Cycnus would kill in passing. His building days came to an end however, when Cycnus encountered Heracles near the River Echedorus. Desiring to please his father, Cycnus challenged Heracles to single combat, wishing to add Heracles's bones to his temple. This was an extremely foolish move, as Cycnus should have recalled the numerous times in which Heracles bested his father in combat.
When Ares heard of Cycnus and Heracles's confrontation, he was furious, and rushed immediately to assist his son. However, he was stopped by Athena, who advised him to wait and hear what the Moirae, the Fates, had in store for Cycnus. The Fates told Ares and Athena that Cycnus would be slain by Heracles unless the hero was killed before then. These words, designed to halt Ares from going to help his son, in fact fueled his anger even more. After Heracles kills Cycnus, Ares descended immediately to to avenge his him. Ares was just about to strike a hit at the hero, when Athena appeared, and blocked Ares's hit. Heracles took this opportunity to wound Ares in the thigh and beat him to the ground, which causes his sons Phobos and Deimos to rescue him and take him back to Mount Olympus. Cycnus was indeed killed by Heracles as the Fates predicted, and his bone-built temple was never completed.
Cycnus and Phaeton
This Cycnus was the son of Sthenelus and a good friend or lover of Phaeton. After Phaeton died, he dived repeatedly into the river Eridanos attempting to retrieve Phaeton's body. The gods turned him into a swan to relieve him of his pity.
King of Colonae
In Troad, Cycnus was the son of Poseidon by Calyce (daughter of Hecaton), Harpale, or by Scamandrodice. Cycnus married first Procleia, daughter of Laomedon (King of Troy) or of Laomedon's son Clytius. Cycnus and Procleia had two children, named Tenes and Hemithea; although Tenes claimed the god Apollo as his father. On Procleia's death, Cycnus married Philonome, daughter of Tragasus; but Philonome fell in love with her handsome stepson, Tenes. Tenes rejected Philonome's advances; whereupon Philonome falsely accused Tenes before her husband of having ravished her. However, Cycnus discovered the truth and had Philonome buried alive. Both Cycnus and Tenes later supported the Trojans in the Trojan War, and fought valiantly. It was said that Cycnus being the son of Poseidon he was invulnerable to spear and sword attack. When Achilles confronted Cycnus he could not kill him via conventional weaponry so he crushed and suffocated him. After his death, Cycnus was changed into a swan. According to some accounts he killed the Greek hero Protesilaus.
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