Poetica Astronomica (Callisto)

Author [Hyginus]
Subject Myths and Magical Occurrences

[Hyginus], Astronomica, 2.1 (later 2nd cent. AD?)

We begin, then as we said above, with the Great Bear. Hesiod says she is named Callisto, daughter of Lycaon, who ruled in Arcadia. Out of her zeal for hunting she joined Diana, and was greatly loved by the goddess because of their similar temperaments. Later, when made pregnant by Jove, she feared to tell the truth to Diana. But she couldn’t conceal it long, for as her womb grew heavier near the time of her delivery, when she was refreshing her tired body in a stream, Diana realized she had not preserved her virginity. In keeping with her deep distrust, the goddess inflicted no light punishment. Taking away her maiden features, she changed her into the form of a bear, called arktos in Greek . In this form she bore Arcas.
But as Amphis, writer of comedies, says, Jupiter, assuming the form of Diana, followed the girl as if to aid her in hunting, and embraced her when out of sight of the rest. Questioned by Diana as to the reason for her swollen form, she replied that it was the goddess’ fault, and because of this reply, Diana changed her into the shape we mentioned above. When wandering like a wild beast in the forest, she was caught by certain Aetolians and brought into Arcadia to King Lycaon along with her son as a gift, and there, in ignorance of the law, she is said to have rushed into the temple of Jove Lycaeus. Her son at once followed her, and the Arcadians in pursuit were trying to kill them, when Jupiter, Mindful of his indiscretion, rescued her and placed her and her son among the constellations. He named her Arctos, and her son Arctophylax. About him we shall speak later.
Some, too, have said that when Callisto was embraced by Jove, Juno in anger turned her into a bear; then, when she met Diana hunting, she was killed by her, and later, on being recognized, was placed among the stars.
But others say that when Jupiter was pursuing Callisto in the woods, Juno, suspecting what had happened, hurried there so that she could say she had caught him openly. But Jove, the more easily to conceal his fault, left her changed to bear form. Juno, then, finding a bear instead of a girl in that place, pointed her out for Diana, who was hunting, to kill. Jove was distressed to see this, and put in the sky the likeness of a bear represented with stars.
This constellation, as many have stated, does not set, and those who desire some reason for this fact say that Tethys, wife of Ocean, refuses to receive her when the other stars come there to their setting, because Tethys was the nurse of Juno, in whose bed Callisto was a concubine. Araethus of Tegea, however, writer of histories, says that she wasn’t Callisto, but Megisto, and wasn’t the daughter of Lycaon, but of Ceteus, and so granddaughter of Lycaon. He says, too, that Ceteus himself was called the Kneeler. The other details agree with what has been said above. All this is shown to have taken place on the Arcadian mountain Nonacris.

Latin Text

Igitur, ut supra diximus, initium nobis est Arctos maxima. Hanc autem Hesiodus ait esse Callisto nomine, Lycaonis filiam, eius qui in Arcadia regnavit; eamque studio venationis inductam, ad Dianam se applicuisse, a qua non mediocriter esse dilectam propter utriusque consimilem naturam. Postea autem ab Iove compressam veritam Dianae suum dicere eventum. Quod diutius celare non potuit; nam iam utero ingravescente, prope diem partus in flumine corpus exercitatione defessum cum recrearet, a Diana cognita est non conservasse virginitatem. Cui deo pro magnitudine suspicionis non minorem retribuit poenam. Erepta enim facie virginali, in ursae speciem est conversa, quae Graece arktos appellatur. In ea figura corporis Arcada procreavit. Sed ut ait Amphis comoediarum scriptor, Iuppiter simulatus effigiem Dianae, cum virginem venantem ut adiuvans persequeretur, amotam a conspectu ceterarum compressit. Quae rogata a Diana quid ei accidisset, quod tam grandi utero videretur, illius peccato id evenisse dixit. Itaque propter eius responsum, in quam figuram supra diximus, eam Diana convertit. Quae cum in silva ut fera vagaretur, a quibusdam Aetolorum capta, ad Lycaonem pro munere in Arcadiam cum filio est deducta ibique dicitur inscia legis in Iovis Lycaei templum se coniecisse; quam confestim filius est secutus. Itaque cum eos Arcades insecuti interficere conarentur, Iuppiter memor peccati ereptam Callisto cum filio intere sidera collocavit, eamque Arctum, filium autem Arctophylaca nominavit, de quo posterius dicemus. Nonnulli etiam duxerunt, cum Callisto ab Iove essset compressa, Iunonem indignatam in ursam eam convertisse; quam Dianae venanti obviam factam, ab ea interfectam, et postea cognitam inter sidera collocatam. Sed alii dicunt, cum Callisto Iuppiter esset in silva persecutus, Iunonem suspicatam id quod evenit, contendisse, ut eum manifesto diceret deprehendisse. Iovem autem, quo facilius suum peccatum tegeretur, in ursae speciem conversam reliquisse. Iunonem autem in eo loco pro virgine ursam invenisse; quam Dianae venanti, ut eam interficeret, demonstrasse. Quod factum ut perspiceretur, Iovem aegre tulisse; effigiem ursae stellis figuratam constituisse.
Hoc signum, ut complures dixere, non occidit. Et qui volunt aliqua de causa esse institutum, negant Tethyn Oceani uxorem id recipere, cum reliqua sidera perveniant in occasum, quod Tethys Iunonis sit nutrix, cui Callisto succubuerit ut paelex. Araethus autem Tegeates historiarum scriptor non Callisto, sed Megisto dicit appellatam, et non Lycaonis, sed Cetei filiam, Lycaonis neptem; praeterea Cetea ipsum Engonasin nominari. Reliqua autem superioribus conveniunt. Quae res in Nonacri monte Arcadiae gesta demonstratur.