According to Greek mythology, Hylas was the beautiful son of King Thiodomus. Herakles (Hercules), having killed the King, took Hylas as his servant and lover. They joined the Argonauts, led by Jason, in their search for the Golden Fleece. When their ship was forced to make for land, Hylas went ashore to fetch water at a fountain. The nymphs of the fountain (or naiads) thought him so beautiful that they pulled him into the water so that he might always live with them. The inscription in Greek which Gibson chiselled into the marble translates as 'Beautiful Hylas'.
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