But why did they name it Argus?
In Greek and Roman Mythology, Argus is a 100 eyed Giant, of the race of Gigantes, a race of “monsters” whose mother is Gaia, Mother Earth herself. Some write that their father was Tartarus, the pit of hell. Others write that they were born of the blood of the castrated genitals of Ouranos, the Sky God.
Argus was a favorite of Hera, the wife of Zeus, and also has much to do with how it is that the peacock (whose tail has 100 eyes!) became Hera’s bird.
Ovid tells the story that Zeus had fallen in love with a beautiful princess named Io. Hera suspects his infidelity and arrives on the scene to check this out. Knowing that Hera is on her way, Zeus attempts to hide Io’s true identity and turns her into a beautiful white cow (keep in mind that the Sacred Cow was the image of Hathor, the supreme Egyptian Mother goddess.)
Hera suspects the truth and finds a way to take the beautiful animal away from Zeus, committing poor Io to the care of Argus, Hera’s favorite (and cruel) protector. With his 100 eyes, he can keep close and careful watch on this prize animal because even when he sleeps, not all of his eyes are closed.
Argus is a cruel master and Zeus cannot stand to see his love tormented so. He sends Hermes to put Argus to sleep and free Io. Hermes goes to Argus, tells his stories, sings to him, plays the reeds and succeeds in getting Argus to close all of his eyes. When the last of his monstrous eyes close, Hermes slays the giant, freeing Io.
Hera is bereft by the loss of Argus and to honor her great friend, she takes his 100 eyes and puts them on the tail of the peacock…creating the visual image of Hera wrapped in peacock feathers as the “ever vigilant all seeing” Hera.
With her freedom and beautiful shape restored, Io returns to life as a beautiful princess ,dressed all in white, and is transformed into the goddess Isis!
This is how it is that Isis exists in both Egyptian and Greco-Roman mythologies! and how the Peacock became the bird of Hera.
All that in a name…an artificial retina..the eye of Argus..
The image of Argus, the 100 eyed Giant whose eyes adorn the tail feathers of the peacock, the bird of Hera.