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Also known as KALLISTO, HELICE

Starry Goddess of the Great Bear

A virgin maid of ARTEMIS, ZEUS took her out for a meal with disastrous consequences. Disguising himself as ARTEMIS, he had his way with her and a child, ARCAS, resulted. So much for those vows of chastity.

HERA, as usual, was jealous and turned the beautiful maid into a bear, while her son was rescued by HERMES and became a great hunter. Many years later they met in a wood. An overjoyed CALLISTO tried to give her son a bear hug, but he was scared stiff and shot her with an arrow.

To make events a little more bearable, ZEUS gave them both a place in the Heavens. CALLISTO became the Great Bear (Ursa Major), while ARCAS tagged behind as the Little Bear (Ursa Minor).

Americans who refer to these constellations as the Big and Little Dippers obviously haven't noticed that they never sink below the horizon and can never touch the sea. That's because ARTEMIS, angry with CALLISTO for losing her virginity, asked TETHYS to nail them into place, depriving them of water forever.

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Article last updated on 25 April 2013
Authors: Peter J Allen and Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.

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Godchecker's article on Callisto is based on material from ancient texts, original references and our own research. We strive for accuracy and update regularly with new information. If you spot a mistake please contact us and we'll try to fix it.

Suggested further reading...
Location : Ancient Greece
Gender : Female
Type : Deity
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Coming soon
Alternative names : KALLISTO, HELICE
Popularity index : 970

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