1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Procrustes

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PROCRUSTES (Gr. for the "stretcher"), also called Polypemon or Damastes, in Greek legend, a robber dwelling in the neighbourhood of Eleusis, who was slain by Theseus. He had two bedsteads (according to some, only one), the one very long, the other very short. When a stranger claimed his hospitality, Procrustes compelled him, if he was tall, to lie down on the short bed, and then cut off his extremities to make him fit. If on the other hand he was short, he was placed on the long bedstead and his limbs pulled out until he died from exhaustion. The "bed of Procrustes" has become proverbial.

Diod. Sic. iv. 59; Hyginus, fab. 38; Plutarch, Theseus, 11; Pausanias i. 38, 5.