Nyctimene (mythology)

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Minerva transforms Nyctimene into an owl.

Nyctimene /nɪktɪmæni/ was, according to Roman mythology, the daughter of Epopeus, a king of Lesbos. Depending on which version of the story one reads, she was either raped or seduced by her father. Out of shame or guilt, she fled to the forest and refused to show her face in daylight. Taking pity on her, Minerva transformed her into the nocturnal owl which, in time, became a widespread symbol of the goddess.[1]

In Metamorphoses, Cornix (the crow) complains that her place as Minerva's sacred bird is being usurped by Nyctimene, who is so ashamed of herself that she will not be seen by daylight.[2]

Her name has been given to a genus of bats and an asteroid.


  1. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae, 204, 253
  2. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 2. 590

See also[edit]