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Cretan WomenPasiphae, Ariadne, and Phaedra in Latin Poetry$
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Rebecca Armstrong

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284030.001.0001

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The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild

(p.71) 2 The Call of the Wild
Cretan Women


Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to the important, recurring images of wildness which can be found in the myths. The starting points are the two bulls of Europa and Pasiphae. Europa's encounter with Zeus in bovine form is superficially the antithesis of Pasiphae's love for a real bull: she is the object of the god's lust and does not herself desire the animal, yet some versions of her story efface this distinction, and make the bull a focus of erotic infatuation for the young Tyrian woman. The grotesque nature of Pasiphae's passion for her bull exerts a fascination over the poets, whose reactions and treatments range from the sympathetic to the unashamedly sensational.

Keywords:   myths, Cretan women, wildness, bulls, Pasiphae, Europa, Zeus

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