Destiny, oil on canvas, 200x160cm. 2008
Kleobis and Biton were Argives, the sons of Cydippe, a priestess of Hera. Cydippe was travelling from Argos to a festival in honor of Hera. The oxen which were to pull her cart were overdue and her sons, Kleobis and Biton, pulled the cart the entire way. Cydippe was impressed with their devotion to her and her goddess and she prayed to Hera, asking her to give her children the best gift a god could give to a mortal. Hera ordained that the brothers would die in their sleep, and after the feast the youths lay down in the temple of Hera, slept and never woke.
In Book 1 of Herodotus’ Histories, Solon tells the story of Cleobis and Biton to King Croesus as an example of a happy life lived. Herodotus records that «the Argives had statues of them made and set them up at Delphi, because they had been such excellent men».