Iphis and Ianthe

Iphis was a girl brought up as a boy; she fell in love with another girl.

ianthe's faceWho are we? Who decides with whom we fall in love? Do we decide it ourselves, or is it some power higher than us whom we cannot but obey?

ianthe's handWhen Eros has shot us with his unerring arrows, what choice do we have? And if, as happens, Eros chooses to open our eyes just as someone unsuitable comes by: wrong social class, wrong tribe perhaps, wrong age even, wrong sex... what then? All the world will blame us, and we in turn can only blame the gods (since if we blame ourselves, we grant to ourselves a power we do not possess). Still, the world lumbers on as it must, over our bones if necessary, and we have no hope except in the immortal gods, on the offchance they may hear our anguished cries, and, remembering how it was for them once, deign to lift us up out of our transient cares.

ianthe's legsianthe's bottomThe story is from Ovid, who lived in Rome in the time of Augustus Caesar, and who was friendly with Horace. Perhaps he met Virgil too. There is a little confusion in Ovid's version as to the identity of the goddess, whom he names Io but idenitifies with the Egyptian goddess Isis. The important thing to know is that Io herself once suffered because of the gods, being turned into a cow, albeit a very beautiful one, and therefore she knew what suffering at the hands of the gods was all about. Eventually Io was changed into an immortal goddess. Such transformations are rare and always at the price of considerable pain.

The movie is only144k and loads quickly, yet it contains the whole story and lasts almost 10 minutes. This was achieved by combining Flash technology with Ancient Greek graphical methods.

Click on Ianthe's feet to see the movie.


Selected stills from the movie are here, with commentary and notes about the origin of the images. Please note that all images are copyright (c) martin dace 2001: all rights reserved.

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