Io (mythology)

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According to Greek mythology, Io was the daughter of the river Inachus.

While Zeus was attempting to seduce her, he was caught by Hera and transformed Io into a white cow to fool her. Hera asked Zeus to give the cow to her as a present and ordered Argus the All-Seeing to guard her. Zeus ordered Hermes to steal Io, which he did, killing Argus in the process.

Next Hera sent a gadfly to torment Io. She fled the gadfly first over the Ionian Sea - which is named for her - next over the Bosphorus to Scythia and Cimmeria and many other lands before finally arriving in Egypt. Zeus finally took pity on her and swore to Hera that Io would trouble her no more and she allowed Io to recover her human form. She soon gave birth to a son called Epaphus and married Telegonus who was the ruler of Egypt at that time.


  • Apollodorus - The Library.
  • Ovid - Metamorphoses.