204 Kallisto

Not to be confused with the Galilean moon of Jupiter, Callisto.

This minor planet is named after a woman from Greek myth who was a follower of Artemis and, as such, swore an oath of virginity. She was approached by Zeus in the form of Artemis, and he seduced (read: raped) her. When Artemis later found out, she exiled her, and when Hera found out, she turned her into a bear. Callisto gave birth to a son, Arkas, who later grew up to almost kill her in a hunt. Zeus turned them into the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor to avert this.

I think this tragedy is the worst out of all of the tragedies of Greek myth. Not only was Callisto completely abused at the hands of no less than three Olympian deities, I try to imagine what she experienced and how she felt after her encounter with Zeus. To her mind, she was taken advantage of by the goddess she had devoted her life to, a goddess who claims to be a protector of women. No one knew about this occurrence until she became visibly pregnant. How scared and alone she must have felt for those months, and then that was just the beginning.

As an aside, I tagged this page with the "lgbt" tag, because the encounter of Callisto and "Artemis" is one of the few (only?) clear depictions of lesbians in Greek myth.

The symbol of this minor planet is as Ursa Major, with a right-arrow representing her allegiance to Artemis the hunter.

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