Mythology - Iynx

by Erin on May 12, 2012

Iynx was a legendary nymph who played a small but nonetheless intriguing role in Greek mythology. According to ancient sources, she was the daughter of either Peitho or Echo.

There are two main versions of her story. The first is that she tried to make Zeus (the notoriously amorous ruler of the Greek gods) fall in love with her. The second is that she instead assisted another, helping Io to win the heart of Zeus. In either case, Inyx used her ability to conjure up potent love magic to seduce the Olympian god.

Naturally, this did not go over well with Hera. Indeed Hera had reason to be both angry and jealous. The goddess was after all the wife of Zeus, and had suffered through numerous incidents of her husband’s flings with other women. So Hera responded in her typical fashion, by punishing the paramour (or the paramour’s assistant, as the case may be) of Zeus. She simply turned Iynx into a bird. Indeed, the word iynx means “wryneck”.

There is a footnote to this legend of Iynx incidentally. Apparently, the bird who bore her name became part of legend as well, as it was used as a part of a love charm by the ancient Greeks. This bird was tied to a small wheel which was spun around to accompany the enchantment being cast.

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