Cook, Arthur B.
Zeus: a study in ancient religion (Band 1): Zeus god of the bright sky — Cambridge, 1914

Page: 441
DOI Page: Citation link:
License: Free access  - all rights reserved Use / Order
1 cm
Priests and Priestesses with Animal Names 441

when he could not be hidden, slew Argos with a stone1. Hera
then sent the gad-fly to drive the cow far away. The cow, after
traversing the Ionian Gulf, Illyria, Mount Haimos, the Bosporos,
Skythia, Kimmeria etc., at length reached Egypt, where it recovered
human form and gave birth to Epaphos on the banks of the Nile.

Again, opinions differed as to the colour of the cow. Souidas
identifies Isis with ' Io, whom Zeus carried off from (the town
of ) Argos and, fearing Hera, changed now into a white, now into
a black, and now into a violet cow2.' Moschos, a bucolic poet of
the third century B.C., adorns the golden basket of his Europe with
a device representing Io as a golden cow3. And Virgil arms
Turnus, king of the Rutuli, with a shield on which was a golden
cow likewise denoting Io4.

iii. Priests and Priestesses with Animal Names.

But, whether Io was transformed into a cow by Hera or by
Zeus, and whether the colour of the said cow was white or black or
violet or golden, are, after all, questions of minor importance.
What we want to know is the original relation subsisting between
the principal figures of the myth, Zeus, Hera, Argos, Io, and the
significance of the bull and the cow in regard to each.

Io, the kleidouchos or 'key-keeper' of Hera, was changed by her
goddess into a cow. This, the Aeschylean form of the myth,
suggests, if I am not mistaken, that the priestesses of the Argive
Hera were known as ' cows.' Examples of priests and priestesses
bearing animal titles are fairly frequent. Dionysos often had a
bovine character, and Dionysiac mysteries were celebrated by a
class of priests called 'cow-herds5.' Their name presupposes that

17. 6, infra ch. iii § i (a) viii ((3 and 7)) and an antefix of terra-cotta found by Finlay was
painted to imitate the tail of a peacock (Frazer Pausanias iii. 169). Sir Charles Waldstein
The Argive Heraeum Boston and New York 1902—1905 1. 24, 64 f., states that General
Gordon of Cairness in 1831 found there the tail of a peacock in white marble. Id. ib. ii.
205 f. pi. 77, 46—48 publishes some votive bronze cocks (? peacocks) that he discovered
on the same site.

1 So et. mag. p. 136, 52. According to the usual version, Hermes approached Argos
as a herdsman playing on his pan-pipes, charmed him to sleep with music and his magic
wand (Ov. met. 1. 671 ff., Val. Flacc. 4. 384 ff.), and then slew him by cutting his throat
with the hdrpe (Ov. met. 1. 7 r7 f., Lucan. 9. 663 f., Val. Flacc. 4. 390), or by putting out
his eyes with it (Myth. Vat. 3. 9. 3) or with his wand (Nonn. Dion. 13. 25 fif.).

2 Souid. s.v.^Iais-...irore jxkv ets \evKy\v fiovv, irore de eis /xeXaivav, irore de id^ovaau
(probably to suit the name Tu>).

3 Mosch. 2. 44 f. 4 Verg. Aen. 7. 789 fif.

5 The evidence is cited by Rohde Psyche2 p. 15 n. 3 and more fully by O. Kern in
Pauly—Wissowa Real-Enc. iii. 1013 —1017. The latter concludes : ' BovkoXol are sacred
officials in the service of Dionysos. Their name refers to the bovine form under which
loading ...