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Hermes carrying the infant Arcas, who was raised by Maia, the eldest of the daughters of Atlas, the so called Pleiades.

In Greek mythology, Arcas (Αρκάς) was the son of Zeus and of the nymph Callisto, whom Hera turned into a bear. Arcas unknowingly attempted to kill his mother during a hunt, not recognizing her. Zeus put them both in the sky as Ursa Major (Callisto) and Ursa Minor (Arcas). (Note that the etymology of the name "Arcas" expresses the idea of a bear.)

Various sources suggest that Maia or Lycaon raised Arcas.

An alternate version: One of Artemis' companions, Callisto lost her virginity to Zeus, who had disguised himself as Apollo. Enraged, Artemis changed Callisto into a bear. Callisto's son, Arcas, nearly killed his mother while hunting, but Zeus (or Artemis) stopped him and placed them both in the sky as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

The placing of Callisto and Arcas in the sky displeased Hera, so she asked her nurse, Tethys, to help. Tethys, a marine goddess, cursed the constellations to circle the sky forever and never to drop below the horizon: this allegedly accounts for the circumpolar motion of the "fixed" stars.

Arcas, who became the eponym of Arcadia, had one son, Azan, by Erato.

Pheneus (gr. Pheneos) / Arcadia Coin, right wreathed female head (Kallisto or Maia?), left Hermes with the infant Arkas c. 350 BC

Arcas Hunting, Andrea Schiavone

See also : Greek Mythology. Paintings, Drawings

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