Reconsidering the Metamorphosis of Io: On Texts, Images and Dates

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This article reconsiders the portrayal of Io's metamorphosis in texts and images from the fifth century BCE. It discusses points of synchronicity and diachronicity, innovation and variety in this myth. While the depiction of Io on vases may not help us date with more certainty the texts of the fifth century BCE, including the Prometheus Bound and Bacchylides Ode 19, I argue that the comparison between texts and images may draw attention, instead, to a synchronic variety in the depiction of Io in the decades preceding and following the mid-fifth century BCE. This shift in perspective leads me to advance the proposition that myth interpretation may be revitalized by a paradigm shift from "tree" to "network".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-53
Number of pages19
JournalSymbolae Osloenses
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Symbolae Osloenses.


  • Bacchylides 19
  • Greek Myth
  • Io
  • Metamorphosis
  • Network
  • Prometheus Bound
  • Text and Image


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