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Ophiotaurus

Ophiotaurus

The Ophiotaurus (Ταυρος Οφις) whose name means cow serpent was a creature that had the head and front legs of a black bull and the tail of a serpent. Its physical appearance makes its name and other names for it (Stygian Bull, Serpent Bull, and Tauros Ophis) self evident. The Moirai (The Fates) warned Zeus that whoever slew this beast & sacrificed its entrails in the flames would obtain the power to destroy Olympus. For this reason an ally of the Titans killed this beast during the Titanomachy. The Titans however were unsuccessful because Zeus sent an Eagle who retrieved the entrails before they were sacrificed.

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Textual References

"The Kite star Milvus . . . If you want to know what bestowed heaven on that bird: Saturnus [Kronos] was thrust from his realm by Jove [Zeus]. In anger he stirs the mighty Titanes to arms and seeks the assistance owed by fate. There was a shocking monster born of Mother Terra (Earth) [Gaia], a bull, whose back half was a serpent. Roaring Styx [as an ally of Zeus] imprisoned it, warned by the three Parcae [Moirai the Fates], in a black grove with a triple wall. Whoever fed the bull’s guts to consuming flames was destined to defeat the eternal gods. Briareus [Aigaion] slays it with an adamantine axe and prepares to feed the flames its innards. Jupiter [Zeus] commands the birds to grab them; the kite brought them to him and reached the stars on merit."--Ovid, Fasti 3. 793 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.)

Trivia

Ophiotaurus is Greek for cow serpent

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Related Articles : Automatons

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