Baucis and her husband Philemon were an old couple that appeared in a myth that is lesser known among those of Greek and Roman mythology. They lived in the region of Tyana, which may have been in Phrygia. The gods Zeus and Hermes (or Jupiter and Mercury in Roman mythology) had been disguised as peasants and asked for a place to spend the night; all the inhabitants of Tyana rejected them. They finally reached the poor cottage of the old couple, who unlike their rich neighbours accepted them graciously and offered them the best hospitality they could with their simple means.
While eating, Baucis saw that the wine pitcher was still full despite having served their guests numerous times, and realised that the two guests must have been gods. She mentioned it to her husband and the two of them started apologising for not having anything better to serve them. They then decided to kill the goose that they had as a guardian pet, but when Philemon tried to catch it, the goose ran in Zeus' lap. The god said that there was no need to slay the goose; instead they should pack up their few belongings and leave their cottage, because they would destroy the whole town for the lack of hospitality of its residents. The couple followed the gods to the nearby mountain, from where they saw that the town had been destroyed by a flood; where their cottage once stood, now lay a glorious temple. The couple asked that they serve as guardians of the temple and Zeus accepted; they also asked that when it was time for one of them to die, that the other would die as well. So, when their time was due, Zeus gave them their wish and transformed them into an intertwining pair of trees, an oak and a linden.
Who was Baucis?
Baucis and her husband Philemon were an old couple that appeared in a myth that is lesser known among those of Greek and Roman mythology. They lived in the region of Tyana, which may have been in Phrygia.