Web Theoi
TAUROS OPHIS
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ταυρος Οφις
Οφιοταυρος
Tauros Ophis
Ophiotauros
Taurus Ophis
Ophiotaurus
Serpent-Bull
(tauros, ophis)

OPHIOTAUROS (the "serpent-bull") was a monster born with the foreparts of a black bull and the tail of a serpent. It was slain by an ally of the Titanes in their search for a victory against Zeus. The Ophiotauros was probably placed in the heavens as the combined Constellations Taurus and Cetus (bull fore-parts with a sea-monster tail), alongside the kite as Lyra, and the altar Ara.

This story may have been part of the lost Greek epic known as the Titanomachia (War of the Titanes), in which the giant Aigaion was represented as an ally of the Titanes. Ovid here calls Aigaion Briareus, the name of his son in both the Titanomachia and the Iliad.

PARENTS
GAIA (Ovid Fasti 3.793)

Ovid, Fasti 3. 793 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"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."


Sources:

  • Ovid, Fasti - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.