Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ino / Leucothea

In Greek mythology, Ino was the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. She was the sister of Agave, Semele, and Autonoe. Ino married King Athamas of Orchomenus. Athamas married Ino after tiring of his first wife Nephele. Upon hearing that Athamas was taking another wife, Nephele complained bitterly to Hera about Athamas' infidelity.
Ino

                                   One year the crops went bad and the famine hit Orchomenus hard, so Athamas sent messengers to the Delphi Oracle to see what could be done to stop the famine. Ino secretly bribed the messenger to come back with the message that Athamas must sacrifice his son by Nephele, Phrixes. Ino did this out of her selfish desire to see one of her two sons with Athamas, Learchus or Melicertes, receive the kingdom at Athamas' death. Athamas had Phrixes on the altar and was about to sacrifice him when a golden ram appeared by the altar. Phrixes and his sister Helle climbed on the ram's back and they flew towards the east.
           
Helle and Phrixes
    
 As the ram was going over the straits between the northern Aegean and the Propontis, Helle fell off of the rams back into the straits below and that is why that spot is still called Hellespont. The ram kept flying until it reached Colchis in the land of Aea at the eastern end of the Black Sea. Here, Phrixes sacrificed the ram to Zeus or Poseidon to show his appreciation for being delivered from Ino's vengeance. Phrixes gave the skin to Aeetes, the king of Aea. This is one story of the origins of the Golden Fleece that Jason is sent to retrieve for Pelias.
                                    Later, Ino raised Dionysus, her nephew, son of her sister Semele, causing Hera's intense jealousy.As punishment Hera drove Athamas into a murderous rage and he slew his son, Learchus. 

To escape him Ino threw herself into the sea with her son Melicertes. The pair were welcomed into the company of the marine gods and renamed Leucothea (the White Goddess) and Palaimon. Leucothea was a sea goddess who aided sailors in distress.
Leucothea

Another version of the story has Hera afflicting both Ino and Athamas with madness. Ino boils Melicertes in a cauldron, than picks up the cauldron and flees. Then she jumps over the cliff with the cauldron still in her arms. The madness caused within Ino's house can be attributed to her association with Dionysus. It seems that no one can escape the effects of being around Dionysus. People who resist him are turned mad in fits of Bacchae madness, and people who follow him are also afflicted with the madness.

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