Skip to main content
Select Source:

Io

Io

In Greek mythology, Io was a young woman who was loved by Zeus, king of the gods. His attentions toward her aroused the jealousy of his wife, Hera *, and both deities used their powers in various ways to try to gain control over Io.

The daughter of the river god Inachus, Io was a priestess at one of Hera's temples. Zeus fell in love with her and seduced her. When Hera learned about Zeus's behavior, she turned the girl into a white cow. In some versions of the myth, it was Zeus who transformed Io into the cow, to conceal her from Hera.

After tying Io the cow to an olive tree, Hera sent Argus, a giant with 100 eyes, to watch over her. Zeus responded by sending the messenger god Hermes to rescue Io. Hermes put Argus to sleep by singing and telling stories, and then he killed the giant.

Angry that Io was released, Hera sent a gadflya type of insect that bites animalsto torment her. Io wandered distractedly until she reached Egypt. There, after Zeus turned her back into a woman, Io gave birth to a son named Epaphus. Many of Io's descendants returned to Greece. Among them were Cadmus, Perseus, and Hercules.

deity god or goddess

See also Argus; Cadmus; Hera; Hercules; Hermes; Perseus; Zeus.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Io." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Io." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/io

"Io." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/io

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Io (in Greek mythology)

Io, in Greek mythology, daughter of Inachus, king ofo Argos. She was loved by Zeus, who, to protect her from Hera's jealousy, changed her into a white heifer. Hera, however, was not deceived; she claimed the heifer and sent Argus to guard it. When Hermes killed Argus, Hera tormented Io with a gadfly which drove her across Europe and through Asia, until she was finally allowed to rest in Egypt. There Zeus returned her to human form, and she bore his child Epaphus. Io has been identified with the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Io (in Greek mythology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Io (in Greek mythology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/io-greek-mythology

"Io (in Greek mythology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/io-greek-mythology

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Io

Io in Greek mythology, a priestess of Hera who was loved by Zeus. Trying to protect her from the jealousy of Hera, Zeus turned Io into a heifer. Hera sent a gadfly to torture the heifer, which then fled across the world and finally reached Egypt, where Zeus turned her back into human form.

The Bosporus (‘cow's passage’) and the Ionian Sea are reputed to have been crossed by Io, and derive their names from her story.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Io." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Io." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/io

"Io." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/io

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.