Study Guide


  • Profile

    Yo—it's Io, the nymph who got turned into a big, white heifer. Zeus transformed Io into a cow to protect her from his wife Hera, when his wife almost busted in on him and Io in, ahem, a compromising position. Long story short: Zeus's ruse didn't work out well for Io. She ended up plodding all over the Earth in cow-form, while a nasty Hera-sent gadfly stung the crap out of her wherever she roamed. Eventually, Io ended up in Egypt, where Zeus finally transformed her back into a sexy nymph. Some say Io ended up becoming the mega-famous Egyptian goddess, Isis.

    Basic Information







    Current city

    Somewhere in Egypt (Memphis is nice this time of year…)

    Work & Education


    Priestess of Hera (fired)
    Princess of Argos (according to some)
    River Nymph


    School of Hard Knocks


    Political views

    Zeus is the worst. Actually, Hera's the worst.

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)


    Inachus (Dad)




    Epaphus (a.k.a. Apis)


    Hermes (for freeing me from Argus)


    Hera (who tortured me)
    Argus Panoptes (my prison guard)
    Gadflies (Only one stung me for years, but they all should be annihilated.)


    Relationship status

    Fling with Zeus (which turned out pretty terribly)

    Interested in

    Nobody. Ever. Again.


    TV Shows

    Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
    Cow and Chicken
    River Monsters
    Planet Earth


    "Who was the first guy that looked at a cow and said, 'I think that I'll drink whatever comes out of those things when I squeeze them'?"
    – Calvin and Hobbes

    "A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse, and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still."
    – Samuel Johnson

    "Wade in the water 
    Wade in the water, children
    Wade in the water
    God's gonna trouble the water"
    – from "Wade in the Water"

    "Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
    – Winnie the Pooh


    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (I know, Hester. Men are nothing but trouble.) 
    "Her Kind" by Anne Sexton 
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker 
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (At least there's somebody out there sadder than me.)
    Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift 
    "Alone" by Maya Angelou 
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" by Emily Dickinson
    "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes 


    Set Fire to the Rain by Adele 
    Ruin by Cat Power 
    Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by Pink
    Down to the River to Pray by Alison Krauss
    I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers
    Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars 
    Bottom of the River by Delta Rae 
    Madness by Muse 


    The Wizard of Oz (There's no place like home, but some of us never get to go back.) 
    Beasts of the Southern Wild 
    Cloud Atlas 
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 
    Spirited Away 
    A River Runs Through It 
    Forrest Gump 
    Anna Karenina 

    Activities & Interests


    OFF! (good for gadflies)
    Dairy farms
    Nile River tours
    Egypt in general


    Animal Health studies


    The Nymphs Fanclub
    Wetland Conservation Society
    Egypt's Sarcasm Society

    • Spotter's Guide

      If you were trying to find Io back in the day, you'd be looking for a big white cow with horns. She might've been pretty hard to pin down, though. Io was always on the move because that stinging gadfly bugged her any time she stopped to chew the cud. These days, Io's back to her old self, though, so you'll be looking for a pretty, young naiad (water nymph). She chills in Egypt, so you can find her splashing around in the Nile. Oh, there are also rumors that she moonlights as the Egyptian goddess, Isis, in which case she'll look like a beautiful young woman, rocking a pair of horns.

      Sex: Female
      Age: Young
      Build: Slim (Well, when she was a cow, she was pretty darn hefty.)
      Complexion: Pale
      Hair Color: Brown/blonde (It was white in cow-form.)
      Facial Hair: No (But she had lots when she was a heifer.)
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: None (Horns as a cow.)
      Clothing: Robes
      Armor: None
      Type of Weapon: None

      Typical Companions:

      That annoying gadfly who stung her all the time

      Known Hangouts: 


    • Sightings

      Jan 1, 1970

      The Suppliants by Aeschylus

      In this mega-ancient play Io's descendant, Danaus, shows up in Argos with his 50 daughters, begging for sanctuary from the Egyptians.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The History of Herodotus by Herodotus

      In his ancient history book by the guy who invented history, there's an alternate version of the story in which Io is taken to Egypt by Phoenician sailors. Say what?

      Dec 20, 2019

      Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

      In this tragedy, Io hangs out with a chained-up Prometheus, does some kvetching about Zeus, and we get one of the most detailed versions of her story.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Argonautica by Valerius Flaccus

      In this epic poem about the Quest for the Golden Fleece, Orpheus entertains his fellow Argonauts with the tale of Io.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Fabulae by Hyginus

      Hyginus takes a stab at putting his own spin on the tale of Io in this book.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Metamorphoses by Ovid

      Check out Ovid's version of the story of Io. This guy knew his stuff.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Library by Apollodorus

      You can find out what happened to Zeus and Io's kid, Epaphus, in this ancient text. Yep, the story continues.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Clash of the Titans

      Io shows up to help Perseus in this Hollywood blockbuster. She's not all that similar to the original Io, but we're glad she at least got a shout-out.