Jupiter gives up Io

Metamorphoses I.615-621

Iuppiter e terra genitam mentitur, ut auctor
desinat inquiri: petit hanc Saturnia munus.
quid faciat? crudele suos addicere amores,
non dare suspectum est: Pudor est, qui suadeat illinc,
hinc dissuadet Amor. victus Pudor esset Amore,
sed leve si munus sociae generisque torique
vacca negaretur, poterat non vacca videri!

Jupiter pretends that she is born from the land, so that the parent may cease to be inquired for: Juno requests her as a gift. What can he do? It is cruel to resign his own loves; it is suspicious not to give her. It is Shame which would persuade him from the one; Love dissuades him from the other. Shame would have been overcome by Love, but if the cow, a light gift, should be denied to the partner both of his family and his bed, it might not seem a cow!



Juno asks about the heifer

Metamorphoses I.607-614

quem postquam caelo non repperit, ‘aut ego fallor
aut ego laedor’ ait delapsaque ab aethere summo
constitit in terris nebulasque recedere iussit.
coniugis adventum praesenserat inque nitentem
Inachidos vultus mutaverat ille iuvencam;
bos quoque formosa est. speciem Saturnia vaccae,
quamquam invita, probat nec non, et cuius et unde
quove sit armento, veri quasi nescia quaerit.

After she did not find him in heaven, she says: ‘Either I am mistaken or I am betrayed’. And gliding down from the high ether she stood on the earth and ordered the clouds to recede. He had foreseen the approach of his wife, and had changed the appearance of the daughter of Inachus into a sleek heifer; even as a cow she was beautiful. Juno, although unwilling, approved the appearance of the cow, and asks to whom, and from where, and to which herd it belongs, as if not knowing the truth.


  1. nitens, -tis (participle): sleek
  2. Inachidos: daughter of Inachus
  3. vultus, -us: appearance
  4. iuvenca, -ae: a young cow, heifer
  5. quamquam (conj.): though, although, albeit