Boeotian Queen


Ino and Melicertes by Pierre Granier

Ino and Melicertes by Pierre Granier (17th century)

Parc du Versailles / Luis Miguel Bugallo SánchezCC BY-SA 4.0


Ino, daughter of Cadmus, was a princess of Thebes who later became a queen and even a goddess.

Ino married the Boeotian ruler Athamas and proceeded to relentlessly persecute his children, Phrixus and Helle. Later, Ino and Athamas incurred the wrath of the jealous Hera by rearing the god Dionysus, who was the son of Zeus by his adulterous affair with Ino’s sister Semele. Hera punished the couple by driving them mad, causing Ino to leap into the sea with her young son Melicertes.

In one ancient tradition, Ino was ultimately transformed into the sea goddess Leucothea (“White Goddess”), while Melicertes was transformed into the god Palaemon. It was this Leucothea who rescued Odysseus when he was shipwrecked by Poseidon while leaving Calypso’s island. 

Leucothea was worshipped widely throughout Greece, apparently in connection with initiation rites, though we know little about her cult.[1]