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Detail of an earring showing a figure of Eros holding an iynx toy. Created in Northern Greece, c. 330–300 BC[1]

In Greek mythology, Iynx (Greek: Ἴϋγξ, translit. Íÿnx) was an Arcadian Oread nymph; a daughter of the god Pan and Echo. In popular myth, she used an enchantment to cast a spell on Zeus, which caused him to fall in love with Io. In consequence of this, Hera metamorphosed her into the bird called iynx (Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla).[2]


Iynx was an Arcadian nymph and the daughter of Pan and Echo, or Peitho.[3] She was the creator of a magical love-charm known as the iynx—a spinning wheel with a wryneck bird attached. Iynx used her enchantments to make Zeus fall in love with her or with the nymph Io. Hera was enraged and transformed her into a wryneck bird.[4]

According to another story, she was a daughter of Pierus, and as she and her sisters had presumed to enter into a musical contest with the Muses, she was changed into the bird iynx.[5] This bird, the symbol of passionate and restless love, was given by Aphrodite to Jason, who, by turning it round and pronouncing certain magic words, excited the love of Medea.[6]

Magic wheel[edit]

Iynx (bird wheel), a magic love charm. From Sterea Hellas Evoia, late 8th or early 7th century BC

Iynx toys were small metal or wooden discs rotated by pulling attached strings, in a manner similar to more modern button whirligig toys.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Пара серег" (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  2. ^ Scholia on Theocritus, 2.17, on Pindar, Pythian Ode 4.380, Nemean Ode 4.56; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 310. (cited in Smith)
  3. ^ Tzetzes on Lycophron, 310
  4. ^ "II. Epistula IIb ad Serapionem und Epistula III ad Serapionem", Athanasius Werke Band 1, Teil 1: Epistulae I-IV ad Serapionem, Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, pp. 418–424, 2010, doi:10.1515/9783110227710.32, ISBN 978-3-11-022771-0, retrieved 2021-02-09
  5. ^ Antoninus Liberalis, 9 (cited in Smith) with reference to Nicander, Metamorphoses Book 4
  6. ^ Pindar, Pythian Ode 4. 380, &c.; Tzetzes on Lycophron, 310 (cited in Smith)
  7. ^ Hoorn, Gerard van (1951). Choes and Anthesteria. Brill Archive. Retrieved 22 August 2022.