Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

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Zeus and Io in Greek Mythology
In Greek mythology, Io was a beautiful woman who caught the eye of the passionate (and conspicuously promiscuous) Olympian god Zeus. Io was commonly thought to be a daughter of the river god Inachus and Melia. In addition, she belonged to a royal family and was also a priestess of Hera at Argos. The story how the princess and priestess Io came to be one of Zeus's many mistresses is the stuff of legend, so read on to learn more about this myth.

There are several variations on the story of Io in Classical literature. One of the most famous of these versions appears in the Metamorphoses of Ovid.

According to Ovid, Zeus was smitten with Io, so the ruler of the gods devised a way to consummate his relationship with the virgin princess. He caused a cloud to form on a sunny day, and used this cloud to conceal his lovemaking. However, Zeus's vigilant wife Hera noticed the strange dark cloud marring the landscape from her home on Olympus, and immediately her suspicions were aroused. She darted down to earth to investigate. Zeus, in the meantime, had transformed his newest beloved into a stunning white heifer in order to protect his mistress from Hera's notorious wrath.

Upon arriving at the scene, Hera asked about the lovely heifer. Zeus was forced to give Io (in her bovine form) to his wife. But Hera was still not satisfied that Zeus would behave himself. The goddess therefore told Argus (who was a monster with many eyes) to guard the heifer. Zeus did not like this arrangement at all, so he sent his cunning son Hermes to dispatch Argus. After Hermes conquered the guardian monster, Hera became even more angry, and summoned a Fury in the form of a gadfly to sting and pursue the heifer Io relentlessly.

Io wandered far from her home, trying to escape from the gadfly. Finally, she reached Egypt, and in this country she was at last restored to her original form. As a beautiful young woman once again, Io gave birth to a son named Epaphus, her child by Zeus. She was worshipped in Egypt, and identified with the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Another popular version of the myth of Io can be found in the ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus's play Prometheus Bound.

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

Bulfinch's Mythology

Bulfinch's Mythology

The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.

Mythography Forums

Mythography Forums

Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!

Bulfinch's Mythology



The Oxford Classical Dictionary