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MITOLOGY DICTIONARY(L)

I


Iacchus
The name by which Dionysus was hailed in the Eleusian Mysteries, sometimes equated with Bacchus, although at Eleusis Dionysus was regarded as the son of Zeus and Demeter.

Iambe

The daughter of Pan and Echo. She was full of life and had a friendly nature. When Demeter was lamenting over the loss of her daughter, Iambe managed to cheer her up. She became the first priestess of the goddess.

Iapetus

Iapetus is the son Uranus and Gaia. Iapetus' wife is Clymene, with whom he has four children - Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus and Epimetheus. He is occasionally called the husband of Asia or Asopis.

Iasius
The son of Zeus and Electra (1). By Demeter he became the father of Plutus. Zeus, angered by Iasius' pride, killed him with a bolt of lightning.

Iaso
A Greek goddess of healing, daughter of Asclepius.

Icarius
A legendary Athenian who welcomed Dionysus to Attica and in return received the gift of the vine from the god. Icarius gave wine to the shepherds, but when they became intoxicated they thought Icarius had poisoned them, and so they slew him. His daughter Erigone, led by her dog Marea, found his body and hanged herself in grief. Dionysus punished the land by a plague, and inflicted all the maidens with madness so that they hanged themselves as did Erigone. The gods placed Icarius among the stars as Boötes.

Icelus
A son of Hypnos and one of the Oneiroi, the personifications of the various types of dreams. He made the shapes of humans appear in dreams.

Ichor

In Greek mythology, Ichor was a mineral in the blood which made people immortals. Without this mineral, all gods and goddesses would perish and die. When gods had their blood shed, ichor spread out and any unspecting peasants who came in contact with ichor immediately died. Some Greeks even said that this mysterious substance was found in foods that the gods feasted on.

Idaea

1. An epithet of Cybele, referring to her connection with Mount Ida in Asia Minor, which was an ancient seat of her worship. 2. A Greek nymph, with Scamander the mother of Troy's first king: Teucer.

Ilithyia
An ancient Greek goddess, protectress of midwives, and who assisted during birth. Later identified with Hera or Artemis. The Romans called her Juno Lucina.

Inachus
The personified deity of the river of that name in Greece. He is the son of Oceanus and Tethys, and the father of Io. He made the land of Argolis inhabitable after the great flood of Deucalion and founded the city of Argos.

Ino
Ino is the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. She was the sister of Agave, Semele, and Autonoe. This is important because all of Cadmus and Haromonia's children have some kind of tragedy to happen to them. Semele, Dionysus' mother, was killed when a thunderbolt from Zeus burned her to ashes; Agave killed her son Pentheus when she was afflicted with Dionysic madness; and Acteon, Autonoe's son, was killed by his own hunting dogs when he accidentally saw Artemis naked. Therefor, it would be a safe bet that Ino will also have a tragic ending. Ino married King Athamas of Orchomenus on the western shore of Lake Copais, capital of Boetia. Athamas married Ino after tiring of his first wife Nephele. Upon hearing that Athamas was taking another wife, Nephele complained bitterly to Hera about Athamas' infidelity. One year the crops went bad and the famine hit Orchomenus hard, so Athamas sent messengers to the Delphi Oracle to see what could be done to stop the famine. Ino secretly bribed the messenger to come back with the message that Athamas must sacrifice his son by Nephele, Phrixes. Ino did this out of her selfish desire to see one of her two sons with Athamas, Learchus or Melicertes, receive the kingdom at Athamas' death. Athamas had Phrixes on the altar and was about to sacrifice him when a golden ram appeared by the altar. Phrixes and his sister Helle climbed on the ram's back and they flew towards the east. As the ram was going over the straits between the northern Aegean and the Propontis, Helle fell off of the rams back into the straits below and that is why that spot is still called Hellespont. The ram kept flying until it reached Colchis in the land of Aea at the eastern end of the Black Sea. Here, Phrixes sacrificed the ram to Zeus to show his appreciation for being delivered from Ino's vengeance. Phrixes gave the skin to Aeetes, the king of Aea. This is one story of the origins of the Golden Fleece that Jason is sent to retrieve for Pelias. As revenge for Nephele and for Ino raising Dionysus, Hera struck Athamas. Athamas, thinking that Learchus was a ram, shot an arrow through Learchus then tore his body to pieces. Ino, like any frightened mother, took her other son, Melicertes and fled the castle. With Athamas in hot pursuit, Ino ran to the Molurian Rock where she desperately jumped into the river below, drowning herself as well as Melicertes. Zeus, not wanting Ino's ghost to go to Tartus for she did raise his son Dionysus, turned Ino into the sea deity, Leucotha (white goddess) and Melicertes into Palaemon. Another version of the story has Hera afflicting both Ino and Athamas with madness. Ino boils Melicertes in a cauldron, than picks up the cauldron and flees. Then she jumps over the cliff with the cauldron still in her arms. The madness caused within Ino's house can be attributed to her association with Dionysus. It seems that no one can escape the effects of being around Dionysus. People who resist him are turned mad in fits of Bacchae madness, and people who follow him are also afflicted with the madness.

Io
Io was an Argive princess and the daughter of Inachus, an ancient hero or river god of Argos. She also had the misfortune to be subjected to the lust of Zeus. Zeus, in an attempt to avoid the rage and jealousy of Hera, his wife, transformed Io into a handsome white heifer. Hera, who knew Zeus was up to no good, asked for the heifer as a present. Zeus could not refuse. Hera deposited Io in the safe keeping of Argus, the watchman with a hundred eyes. She was eventually rescued by Hermes, though Hera still dogged her by sending a gadfly to sting her wherever she went. This tale she eventually ended up telling to Prometheus, while he was bound to his rock. Prometheus, though he couldn't provide direct comfort, told her that, though her future would be fraught with hardship and toil, she would, upon reaching Egypt and the Nile, be restored by Zeus and bare him a son, Epaphus. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, she is the progenitor, thought removed by many generations, of Hercules, greatest of heroes, to whom Prometheus himself would owe his freedom. Io, and the myth surrounding her, is important in several respects. First of all, her descendant Hercules plays such a major role in Greek mythology. Second, a number of real place names and objects are directly named for her or connected with her story. First of all Ionia, or the western coast of Asia Minor, is named after her because she reputedly ran down this coastline while she was being pursued by Hera's gadfly. Also, the Bosphorus, or Ford of the Cow, is named in memory of her passing. When Hermes rescued Io, he killed Argus, whose eyes became the tail of the peacock, a bird associated with Hera. Finally, there are a number of common literary and mythological motifs that surround Io. First of all, Zeus' infidelity is seen here, as well as Hera's jealousy. We also find one of Zeus' most common techniques for hiding his exploits from Hera, the Long Night. While he was seducing Io, Zeus threw a cloud over the earth to hide them from Hera. This motif is also seen in connection with Alcmene and Amphitryon as found in Amphitryon by Plautus, the Roman Comedian. The story of Io is also found in Prometheus Bound, a play by Aeschylus, and Ovid.

Ion
The mythical ancestor of the Ionians, son of Xuthus and Creusa (3). The Athenians later chose him as their king.

Irene

The Greek personified goddess of peace. She was sometimes regarded as one of the Horae, who presided over the seasons and the order of nature and who were the daughters of Zeus and Themis. Irene was portrayed as a young woman with a cornucopia, scepter, and torch or rhyton. Famous is the marble statue of Cephisodotus (ca. 380 BC), which shows Irene with Plutus on her arm. vIris In Greek mythology, Iris is the personified goddess of the rainbow. She is regarded as the messenger of the gods to mankind, and particularly of the goddess Hera whose orders she brought to humans. Iris is the daughter of Titan Thaumas and the nymph Electra. She is portrayed as a young woman with wings and her attributes are a herald's staff and a water pitcher. She appears mainly on Greek vases.


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