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Guineafowl

The Guinea-Fowl

The Guinea-Fowl is a bird sacred to Artemis.

Ancient Text

"[After the death of Meleagros] his sisters, all except Gorge and Deianira, because of their weeping, were by the will of the gods changed into birds. These are called Meleagrides, ‘guinea hens’."
- Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 172 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.)


"Not if a god gave me a hundred mouths . . . could I rehearse his [Meleagros'] sisters' threnodies of woe [at his death, which was brought about incidentally by Artemis]. All decency forgotten, black and blue they beat their breasts, and, while his corpse remained, that corpse they fondled, fondled hour by hour; they kissed their brother, kissed their brother's bier; then ashes - and his ashes in their urn they held tight to their hearts, and threw themselves down on his tomb and clasped his name engraved; and on that name poured forth their flooding tears. At last Latonia [Artemis], sated with the ruin of the house of Parthaonaie [Oeneus], raised up the sisters (all save Gorge and [Deianeira] the wife of Alcmena's son), clothed them in plumage and along their arms spread wings and in their faces, once to fair, set beaks and launched them, changed, into the air [as guinea-fowl, Greek meleagris]."
- Ovid, Metamorphoses 8. 531 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.)

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