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Boreas, a son of Strymon and Euterpe, or of Astraeus and Eos, abducted Oreithyia, the daughter of king Erechtheus during an incursion to Athens. Although she was forced to abandon her home and her family and taken to a cold and foreign country, Oreithyia accepted her fate. She was a faithful wife and bore Boreas' two winged sons, Zetes and Calais, and two daughters, Chione, the mother of Eumolpus, and Cleopatra, who later became the wife of the Thracian king Phineus. In Greek mythology, Boreas was the personification of the wild north wind. He is usually shown as a bearded man with winged shoulders and feet to accentuate his impetuous character.

According to Pausanias, there was a great temple in Megalopolis dedicated to Boreas that was founded when Boreas saved the people of Megalopolis from the attacking Lacedaemonians. The den of Boreas was located in Scythia, while his bed in Caucasus. Boreas was worshipped with special honours by the Thurii in Southern Italy because the god saved them from an attack of Dionysus, tyrant from Syracuse.