In Greek mythology, Hylas (Greek: Ὕλας') was the son of King Theiodamas of the Dryopians. Other sources such as Ovid state that Hylas' father was Heracles and his mother was the nymph Melite, or that his mother was the wife of Theiodamus, whose adulterous affair with Heracles caused the war between him and her husband. He gained his beauty from his divine mother and his military prowess from his demigod father.
After Heracles killed Theiodamus in battle for his son, Hylas, he took the boy on as arms bearer and taught him to be a warrior.
Heracles took Hylas with him on the Argo, making him one of the Argonauts. Hylas was kidnapped by the nymph of the spring of Pegae, (Dryope), that fell in love with him in Mysia and vanished without a trace (Apollonius Rhodios). This upset Heracles greatly, so he along with Polyphemus (not the cyclops with the same name) searched for a great length of time. The ship set sail without them. They never found Hylas because he had fallen in love with the nymphs and remained "to share their power and their love." (Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica) The poet Theocritus (about 300 BC) wrote about the love between Hercules and Hylas: "We are not the first mortals to see beauty in what is beautiful. No, even Amphitryon's bronze-hearted son, who defeated the savage Nemean lion, loved a boy—charming Hylas, whose hair hung down in curls. And like a father with a dear son he taught him all the things which had made him a mighty man, and famous."
"Hylas" is also the name of one of the two characters in George Berkeley's Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. He represents the materialist position against which Berkeley (through Philonous) argues. In this context, the name is derived from ύλη, the classical Greek term for "matter."
Hylas is mentioned in Christopher Marlowe's Edward II: "Not Hylas was more mourned for of Hercules Than thou hast been of me since thy exile" (Act I, Scene I, line 142-3).
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