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

Page: 444
DOI Page: Citation link:
License: Free access  - all rights reserved Use / Order
1 cm
444 Hera and the Cow

alludes to the Pythian priestess as a 'Delphic bee1.' And, lastly,
the chief-priestesses of the Great Mother (Kybele) were still being
called 'bees' at the commencement of our era2. Such titles imply
that the deity worshipped was originally believed to appear in
animal form, and that the worshipper, from motives that cannot
readily be proved and must not hastily be assumed, pretends to be
the animal in question.

iv. Hera and the Cow.

Now Hera had much to do with cows. The word boopis, which
strictly signifies ' cow-eyed, cow-faced, of cowlike aspect,' had
already in Homeric days come to be used as a complimentary
epithet meaning ' large-eyed, fine-eyed ' applicable to nymphs3 and
even to mortal women4. But it is noticeable that fourteen times in
the Iliad—for the word is never found in the Odyssey—occurs the
phrase 'cowr-eyed lady Hera5.' This stereotyped description always
occupies the second half of the hexameter line, and is in fact a tag
from a pre-Homeric system of- versification, in which it formed a
complete dactylic line". It is, therefore, a reasonable conjecture
that boopis as an epithet of Hera had come down to the epic
minstrel from a distant past,'when it was used in the sense of
' cow-eyed ' or ' cow-faced ' and presupposed the primitive concep-
tion of Hera as a cow7.

Traces of the same conception appear at the principal cult-
centres of the goddess, Thus at Samos her image, to judge from
coin-types of imperial date (figs. 3138, 3149), was a dressed up wooden

1 Pind. Pyth. 4. 105 f- xPW^os Copdwcrev /xeKiaaas j AeA0t'5os avTo/xdra: /ceXdSy with
schol. ad loc. See further Jotirn. Hell. Stud. 1895 xv. 4 f.

2 Lact. div. inst. 1. 22 Melissam vero a patre primam sacerdotem Matri Magnae
constitutain, unde adhuc eiusdem Matris antistites Melissae nuncupantur. Lactantius is
quoting from a commentary on Pindar written by Didymos, who lived in the second half
of the first century b.c. and in the beginning of the first century a.d. (Pauly—Wissowa
Real-Enc. v. 445). See further fount. Hell. Stud. 1895 xv. 3, W. Robert-Tornow De
apium mellisque apud veteres signijicatione Berolini 1893 p. 91 f.

:i //. 18. 4o'AAt77 re j3ounris the Nereid. In the late Homeric hymn 31. 2 the mother
of Helios is 'Evpvcpdeacra j3ou>iri.s.

4 I/. 3. 144 Klymene, 7. 10 Phylomedousa. On Polottls in the sense of 'large-eyed5
see a recent article by A. Reichel in the Jahrb. d. kais. deutsch. arch. Inst. 1910 xxv. 9—12.

5 P- i- 55J> 568, 4. 50, 8. 471, 14. 159, 222, 263, 15. 34, 49, 16. 439, 18. 239, 357,
360, 20. 309 (3oQttls iroTi>ia"ilpr).

6 W. Christ Metrik der Griechen und Pomer2 Leipzig 1879 p. 158, O. Riemann and
M. Dufour Traits de Rythmique et de Metrique grecques Paris 1893 p. 34 ff.

7 For the analogous case of deb, yXavnGnn.? 'Adrjvrj see infra ch. ii § 9 (h) ii (X).

8 Brit. Mus. Cat. Coins Ionia p. 393 no. 375 Gallienus (wrongly described—'serpent?
coiled round modius of Hera').

9 Brit. Mus. Cat. Coins Ionia p. 381 pi. 37, 6 Gordianus Pius (wrongly described—
loading ...