Taygete


Taygete

In Greek mythology, Taygete IPA|/teɪˈɪdʒɪtiː/ (Greek Ταϋγέτη IPA|/taːygétɛː/, Mod. IPA|/taiˈɟeti/) was a nymph, one of the Pleiades according to Apollodorus (3.10.1) and a companion of Artemis, in her archaic role as "potnia theron", "Mistress of the animals." Mount Taygetos in Laconia, dedicated to the Goddess, was her haunt.

As he mastered each of the local nymphs one by one, Olympic Zeus pursued Taygete, who invoked her protectress Artemis. The goddess turned Taygete into a doe [Biogeographically speaking, in Greece the nearest species of deer in which females carry horns was and is the reindeer (Ruck and Staples p 173), a fact which has occasioned various speculations: see also Deer (mythology)] , and since in this form Zeus raped her, any distinction between the Titaness in her human form and in her doe form is blurred: the nymph who hunted the doe in the company of Artemis "is" the doe herself. As Pindar conceived the myth-element in his third Olympian Ode, "the doe with the golden horns, which once Taygete had inscribed as a sacred dedication to Artemis Orthosia," ("right-minded" Artemis) [Emmet Robbins, "Heracles, the Hyperboreans, and the Hind: Pindar, "OL." 3", "Phoenix" 36.4 (Winter 1982:295-305) 302f notes that the association of Artemis with Orthia = Orthosia was under way in the sixth century BCE.] was the very Cerynian Hind that Heracles later pursued. For the poet, the transformation was incomplete, and the doe-form had become an offering. Pindar, who was a very knowledgeable mythographer, hints that the mythic doe, even when slain and offered to Artemis, also "continues to exist", to be hunted once again (though not killed) by Hercules at a later time. [Robbins 1982:295-305.] Karl Kerenyi points out ("The Heroes of the Greeks") "It is not easy to differentiate between the divine beast, the heroine and the goddess."

Later mythographers have misconceived her transformation as a punishment from Artemis, for her loss of virginity in the rape.

According to Pausanias (iii. 1, 2, etc.) Taygete conceived through Zeus Lacedaemon, the mythical founder of Sparta, and Eurotas. He noted, at Amyclae, that the rape of Taygete was represented on the throne. [Pausanias, "Periegesis", iii.18.10.]

Notes

References

*Ruck, Carl A.P., and Danny Staples, 1994. "The World of Classical Myth" (Carolina Academic Press)
* [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ Harry Thurston Peck, "Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities" 1898] : "Taygete"
*Robbins, Emmet. "Heracles, the Hyperboreans, and the Hind: Pindar, "OL. 3", "Phoenix" 36.4 (Winter 1982), pp. 295-305.


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