Chaos is divided by the Deity into four Elements: to these their respective inhabitants are assigned, and man is created from earth and water.
The four Ages follow, and in the last of these the Giants aspire to the sovereignty of the heavens; being slain by Jupiter, a new race of men springs up from their blood.
These becoming noted for their impiety, Jupiter not only transforms Lycaon into a wolf, but destroys the whole race of men and animals by a Deluge, with the exception of Deucalion and Pyrrha, who, when the waters have abated, renew the human race, by throwing stones behind them.
Other animated beings are produced by heat and moisture: and, among them, the serpent Python.
Phœbus slays him, and institutes the Pythian games as a memorial of the event, in which the conquerors are crowned with beech; for as yet the laurel does not exist, into which Daphne is changed soon after, while flying from Phœbus.
On this taking place, the other rivers repair to her father Peneus, either to congratulate or to console him; but Inachus is not there, as he is grieving for his daughter Io, whom Jupiter, having first ravished her, has changed into a cow.
She is entrusted by Juno to the care of Argus; Mercury having first related to him the transformation of the Nymph Syrinx into reeds, slays him, on which his eyes are placed by Juno in the tail of the peacock.
Io, having recovered human shape, becomes the mother of Epaphus.
Epaphus, having accused Phaëton of falsely asserting that Phœbus is his father, Phaëton requests Phœbus, as a proof of his affection towards his child, to allow him the guidance of the viiichariot of the Sun for one day.
This being granted, the whole earth is set on fire by him, and the Æthiopians are turned black by the heat.
Jupiter strikes Phaëton with a thunderbolt, and while his sisters and his kinsman Cyenus are lamenting him, the former are changed into trees, and Cyenus into a swan.
On visiting the earth, that he may repair the damage caused by the conflagration, Jupiter sees Calisto, and, assuming the form of Diana, he debauches her.
Juno, being enraged, changes Calisto into a bear; and her own son Arcas being about to pierce her with an arrow, Jupiter places them both among the Constellations.
Juno having complained of this to Oceanus, is borne back to the heavens by her peacocks, who have so lately changed their colour; a thing which has also happened to the raven, which has been lately changed from white to black, he having refused to listen to the warnings of the crow (who relates the story of its own transformation, and of that of Nyctimene into an owl), and having persisted in informing Phœbus of the intrigues of Coronis.
Her son Æsculapius being cut out of the womb of Coronis and carried to the cave of Chiron the Centaur, Ocyrrhoë, the daughter of Chiron, is changed into a mare, while she is prophesying.
Her father in vain invokes the assistance of Apollo, for he, in the guise of a shepherd, is tending his oxen in the country of Elis.
He neglecting his herd, Mercury takes the opportunity of stealing it; after which he changes Battus into a touchstone, for betraying him.
Flying thence, Mercury beholds Herse, the daughter of Cecrops, and debauches her.
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