“The Birth of Bacchus” – Ovid

by richibi

Juno, c.1662 - c.1665 - Rembrandt

           Juno” (c.1662 – c.1665)






             Actaeon’s suff’rings, and Diana’s rage,

             Did all the thoughts of men and Gods engage;

             Some call’d the evils which Diana wrought,

             Too great, and disproportion’d to the fault:

             Others again, esteem’d Actaeon’s woes

             Fit for a virgin Goddess to impose.

             The hearers into diff’rent parts divide,

             And reasons are produc’d on either side.


Diana / Artemis had transformed

Actaeon into a stag, if you’ll

remembernot all the gods were

on side

              Juno alone, of all that heard the news,

              Nor would condemn the Goddess, nor excuse:


Juno, wife of Jove / Jupiter / Zeus

queen, therefore, of the gods

               She heeded not the justice of the deed,

               But joy’d to see the race of Cadmus bleed;


Cadmus, founder of Thebes, brother

of Europa

               For still she kept Europa in her mind,

               And, for her sake, detested all her kind.


Europa had been whisked away

by Jove / Jupiter / Zeus, Juno’s

husband, and borne him several

children, to the enduring enmity

of the queen of the deities

               Besides, to aggravate her hate, she heard

               How Semele, to Jove’s embrace preferr’d,

               Was now grown big with an immortal load,

               And carry’d in her womb a future God.


Jove / Jupiter / Zeus, incorrigible

philanderer apparently, had now

impregnated Semele, youngest

daughter of Cadmus, to Juno’s

utter disgust and dismay


              Thus terribly incens’d, the Goddess broke

               To sudden fury, and abruptly spoke.


the Goddess, Juno / Hera


let me reiterate here that the original

gods and goddesses of Olympus had

migrated with the Greeks to other

areas of the Mediterranean, but

became known, in the lands that

they’d settled, by other names

according to the languages and

customs that evolved in these new

territories, thus the Greek goddess

Hera was in Rome and its outlying

areas known as Juno, the Greek

Zeus as both Jupiter and Jove,

though their home remained for

all Mount Olympus


              “Are my reproaches of so small a force?

               ‘Tis time I then pursue another course:


though Juno / Hera might’ve

harangued Jove / Jupiter / Zeus

about his inveterate philandering,

her reproaches were not enough

to stop the god from his

determined activities


she therefore ordains

              It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die,

               If I’m indeed the mistress of the sky,

              If rightly styl’d among the Pow’rs above

               The wife and sister of the thund’ring Jove

               (And none can sure a sister’s right deny);

               It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die.


Juno / Hera is not only the wife of

Jove / Jupiter / Zeus, but also his

sister, both children of Cronos /

Saturn and Rhea / Ops, who

were themselves children of the

earth goddess Gaia and the sky

god Uranus


              She boasts an honour I can hardly claim,

               Pregnant she rises to a mother’s name;

              While proud and vain she triumphs in her Jove,

               And shows the glorious tokens of his love:


though Juno / Hera did indeed have

children with Jove / Jupiter / Zeus,

she is probably no longer here

bearing him any, I am supposing,

while Semele, proud and vain, is

now show[ing] the glorious tokens

of his love

              But if I’m still the mistress of the skies,

               By her own lover the fond beauty dies.”


it appears that Juno / Hera will

contrive to make Jove / Jupiter

/ Zeus the cause of Semele’s


              This said, descending in a yellow cloud,

               Before the gates of Semele she stood.


Semele, priestess of Jove / Jupiter

/ Zeus, would’ve been officiating at

the Cadmeia, the equivalent of the
Athenian Acropolis, at Thebes, the

city named after her father, its

founder, Cadmus


sparks will surely fly


stay tuned



R ! chard