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Book 4: Athamas and Ino Notes from Metamorphoses

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Metamorphoses Book 4: Athamas and Ino

Athamas and his wife, Ino became the object of Juno's scorn because Ino had been Bacchus' surrogate mother after Juno had his biological mother, Semele, destroyed. Juno decided to use madness, the power of Bacchus, to exact her revenge. She went down to the gates of the Underworld and found one of the three Furies to aide her revenge against Cadmus' family. Juno sent Tisiphone to infect Ino and her husband with madness so that they would destroy their children and themselves. The vile Fury wrapped herself in a cloak of human gore and with snakes wrapped around her arms and in her hair; she went to Ino's palace. Both Ino and her husband were terrified when they saw Tisiphone, but they couldn't escape. She took snakes from her hair and threw them at the couple. The snakes didn't bite, however. They breathed a poisonous breath on the couple and infected their minds with frenzied madness. Athamas trapped his wife and one of their small sons in a net as if they were animals. Then he bashed the baby's head on a granite stone. Ino, calling out Bacchus' name, grabbed their other son and ran away to the edge of a cliff with him. The sharp rocks below did not prevent her jump from the cliff, and so she and her son would have perished if Ino's grandmother, Venus, had not intervened. She asked Neptune to make them immortal, and so he did. The attendant's of Ino's house didn't know that the woman had been made immortal, though, and when they saw her footsteps continuing to the edge of the cliff, they cursed Juno's cruel punishment and mourned their mistress. Juno heard them and punished them for their insurrection against her by turning them to stone.

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