C O R V U S

RobertCharles

Vancouver, Canada

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M Y T H
Before this incident, crows use to have beautiful silver plumage (or some say it was snowy white) and they were able to speak in human tongue. They were the sacred birds of Apollo (the god of light, music, poetry, healing, prophecy, eloquence, truth and manly beauty). When Apollo saw an extremely beautiful maiden named Coronis, he fell deeply in love with her. About a year later, they became the proud parents of Esclepius (the god of medicine and healing), but soon Coronis lost interest in her divine lover Apollo.

She was attracted to a mere mortal, and foolish indeed to hope that Apollo would not learn of her unfaithfulness. What she didn’t know was that one of Apollo’s crows was spying on her. The bird immediately flew to Apollo and related the bad news. Learning of Coronis’ infidelity made his blood boil. Apollo in a fit of furious anger, and with the complete injustice the gods usually showed when they were angry, punished the faithful crow by turning his feathers black and took away his ability to speak for bringing in the bad news (all of the other crows met the same fate). Of course Coronis was killed. Some say that the god did it himself, others that he got his twin sister Artemis to shoot an unerring arrow at her.

Another story tells that Apollo sent a crow to fetch water in the god’s cup. The crow got back very late, because he ate some luscious figs before returning. He brought back a water snake along with the water-filled cup and told Apollo that the serpent had caused the delay. The god, however, could not be deceived by the lie. The angry god placed the crow, the cup (Crater) and the water snake (Hydra) among the stars, where the snake guards the water from the everlastingly thirsty crow.

Finally, this is not exactly mythological, unless you count the Bible as mythology, but Corvus is also associated with a raven in the Noah’s Ark story. After the famous flood, Noah first released a raven to find dry land, but the bird never returned. Seven days later, this time Noah released a dove for the same task. The dove soon brought back a freshly plucked olive leaf in her beak. By the way, this dove is associated with the constellation of Columba, the Dove.

TTV frame courtesy DLSdesigns ~ flickr
fingerprint (bottom left) added afterwards

Artwork Comments

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