In Smith's "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.", the entry for the Pleiades states:

According to another story, the Pleiades were virgin companions of Artemis, and, together with their mother Pleione, were pursued by the hunter Orion in Boeotia; their prayer to be rescued from him was heard by the gods, and they were metamorphosed into doves (peleiades), and placed among the stars (Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 21; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. iii. 226; Pind. Nem. ii. 17).

Following up the citations:

Hyginus, Astronomica 2.21 doesn't mention Artemis, although it does mention all the other elements of the story - Orion, Boeotia, etc.

Pindar's Nemean Odea only makes a brief remark anout Orion needing (wanting?) to stay close to the Pleiades.

The Scholiast on Apollonius (many thanks to @b-a for directing me to https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_oBI-AAAAcAAJ/page/n573 and https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_oBI-AAAAcAAJ/page/n575) I'm less sure about, since I don't know the Greek language well. But I cannot see the name "Artemis" (Αρτεμις) there at all.

Am I correct that none of these three sources refer to any possible link between Artemis and the Pleiades? Or can someone fluent in Greek see something in the Scholiast I couldn't?

(As a possible follow-up question... is there anything in the texts and scholiasts that does state "Yes, the Pleiads were among Artemis's companions", or indeed testify to any link other than Taygete giving her the Hind?)

Thanks all.

  • Reading the scholiast on Pindar's Olympian Odes (scaife.perseus.org/reader/…) and using Google Translate, I think it does say that Taygete and Artemis were friends, but I can't be sure. Nov 14, 2019 at 23:15
  • Examinging the A scholia to Iliad 18.486 online at scaife.perseus.org/reader/… (my thanks to @b-a for pointing me to that), there seems to be something early in that about the girls being virgins and loving Artemis, but it could just be Artemis's usual role as protector of maidens before marriage. My Greek isn't really good enough to translate further. Nov 16, 2019 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


The scholiast to Apollonius of Rhodes gives the story with Orion, but nothing about Artemis. The scholiast to Pindar Nemean 2.17-18 also gives the story with Orion (along with a lot of non-mythological content). I don't see in either one of them a reference to a connection with Artemis.

However, there are sources for this in the scholia, which you have already found and mentioned in the comments. These sources do explicitly say that Taygete and the other Pleiades were friends or hunted with Artemis.

The relevant extracts are (with my non-expert translation):

Scholiast to Pindar Olympian 3.53

Ταϋγέτα: ἡ Τηϋγέτη τῆς Ἀρτέμιδός ἐστι φίλη. ταύτης ἠράσθη Ζεὺς καὶ αὐτὴν Ἄρτεμις διωκομένην εἰς ἔλαφον μεταβάλλει·

Taygete is a companion of Artemis. Zeus fell in love with her, and Artemis transformed her into a deer as she was pursued by him.

Scholiast to Iliad 18.486

αὗται δέ εἰσιν Ἄτλαντος καὶ Πληϊόνης θυγατέρες, ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα Μαῖα, Ταϋγέτη, Κελαινὼ, Μερόπη, Ἠλέκτρα, Στερόπη, Ἀλκυόνη. Ἄτλας δὲ εἷς τῶν Γιγάντων μιγεὶς Πληϊόνῃ τῇ·Ὠκεανοῦ ἔσχε θυγατέρας ζ, αἳ τὴν παρθενείαν ἀγαπήσασαι συνεκυνήγουν τῇ Ἀρτέμιδι.

They [the Pleiades] are the daughters of Atlas and Pleione, whose names are Maia, Taygete, Kelaino, Merope, Elektra, Sterope, Alkyone. And Atlas, one of the Giants, had seven daughters through Pleione the daughter of Okeanos, who, being lovers of virginity, hunted together with Artemis.

A possibly important detail is that when the latter scholiast then proceeds with the story of Orion, it's quoted on the authority of the lost Epic Cycle, so this detail about the Pleiades as Artemis' companions may have also come from there.

  • Thanks for the translations, especially the one from the Iliad scholiast! If I may ask a follow-up question, does anything in the Iliad scholiast extract say anything about one of the sisters being in some way their leader? theoi.com makes an unsourced claim that it's Maia, Graves makes an equally unsourced claim that it's Alcyone, and I can't find anything that actually supports the claim that anyone was! Nov 17, 2019 at 22:10
  • 1
    I looked at it again and didn't see that there, but I only skimmed through so it's possible that it's there and I missed it
    – b a
    Nov 17, 2019 at 23:02

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