Lykaon and Kallisto (page 727)

Chapter 18: Other Myths

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ApB 3.8.2 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

But Eumelus and some others say that Lycaon had also a daughter Callisto; though Hesiod says she was one of the nymphs, Asius that she was a daughter of Nycteus, and Pherecydes that she was a daughter of Ceteus. She was a companion of Artemis in the chase, wore the same garb, and swore to her to remain a maid. Now Zeus loved her and, having assumed the likeness, as some say, of Artemis, or, as others say, of Apollo, he shared her bed against her will, and wishing to escape the notice of Hera, he turned her into a bear. But Hera persuaded Artemis to shoot her down as a wild beast. Some say, however, that Artemis shot her down because she did not keep her maidenhood. When Callisto perished, Zeus snatched the babe, named it Arcas, and gave it to Maia to bring up in Arcadia; and Callisto he turned into a star and called it the Bear.  Greek Text

Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi (The Contest Between Homer and Hesiod) 117-18 – Homeri Opera 5, p. 230, ed. T.W. Allen. Oxford 1912.

Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.3.6-7

In addition to all this male issue, Lycaon had a daughter Callisto. This Callisto (I repeat the current Greek legend) was loved by Zeus and mated with him. When Hera detected the intrigue she turned Callisto into a bear, and Artemis to please Hera shot the bear. Zeus sent Hermes with orders to save the child that Callisto bore in her womb, and Callisto herself he turned into the constellation known as the Great Bear, which is mentioned by Homer in the return voyage of Odysseus from Calypso:—“Gazing at the Pleiades and late-setting Bootes,
And the Bear, which they also call the Wain.” But it may be that the constellation is merely named in honor of Callisto, since her grave is pointed out by the Arcadians.  Greek Text

Hyginus, De Astronomia 2.1.2

But as Amphis, writer of comedies, says, Jupiter, assuming the form of Diana, followed the girl as if to aid her in hunting, and embraced her when out of sight of the rest. Questioned by Diana as to the reason for her swollen form, she replied that it was the goddess’ fault, and because of this reply, Diana changed her into the shape we mentioned above. When wandering like a wild beast in the forest, she was caught by certain Aitolians and brought into Arcadia to King Lycaon along with her son as a gift, and there, in ignorance of the law, she is said to have rushed into the temple of Jove Lycaeus. Her son at once followed her, and the Arcadians in pursuit were trying to kill them, when Jupiter, mindful of his indiscretion, rescued her and placed her and her son among the constellations. He named her Arctos, and her son Arctophylax. About him we shall speak later.  Latin Text

Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Katasterismoi 1 – Mythographi Graeci vol. 3.1, pp. 1-2, ed. A. Olivieri. Leipzig 1897.

Greek Text

Hyginus, De Astronomia 2.4.1

BEAR-WATCHER: He is said to be Arcas, the son of Jove and Callisto, whom Lycaon served at a banquet, cut up with other meat, when Jupiter came to him as a guest. For Lycaon wanted to know whether the one who had asked for his hospitality was a god or not. For this deed he was punished by no slight punishment, for Jupiter, quickly overturning the table, burned the house with a thunderbolt, and turned Lycaon himself into a wolf. But the scattered limbs of the boy he put together, and gave him to a certain Aitolian to care for. When, grown to manhood, he was hunting in the woods, he saw his mother changed to bear form, and did not recognize her. Intent on killing her, he chased her into the temple of Jove Lycaeus, where the penalty for entering is death, according to Arcadian law. And so, since both would have to die, Jupiter, out of pity, snatched them up and put them among the stars, as I have said before. As a result, Arcas is seen following the Bear, and since he guards Arctos, he is called Arctophylax.  Latin Text

Germanicus scholia at 27 – Eratosthenis Catasterismorum Reliquiae, pp. 50-55, ed. C. Robert. Berlin 1878.

Greek Text

Hyginus, De Astronomia 2.1.3

Some, too, have said that when Callisto was embraced by Jove, Juno in anger turned her into a bear; then, when she met Diana hunting, she was killed by her, and later, on being recognized, was placed among the starsLatin Text

Hyginus, De Astronomia 2.1.4

 But others say that when Jupiter was pursuing Callisto in the woods, Juno, suspecting what had happened, hurried there so that she could say she had caught him openly. But Jove, the more easily to conceal his fault, left her changed to bear form. Juno, then, finding a bear instead of a girl in that place, pointed her out for Diana, who was hunting, to kill. Jove was distressed to see this, and put in the sky the likeness of a bear represented with stars.  Latin Text




Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2022.

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