Attilio MastrocinqueDipartimento Filologia, Letteratura, Linguistica, Tempo, Spazio, Immagine, Società Settore disciplinare Storia Romana Università degli studi di VeronaViale Università, 4 37129 VeronaItalia
Four bronze cows by Myron, the Athenian sculptor, stood in front of Apollo’s temple on the Palatine hill, which Octavian dedicated in 28 BCE. They were placed close to the altar and the statue of this god, in the courtyard of the temple, whose portico was decorated with statues of the 50 daughters of Danaus. The meaning of those statues is clarified by a passage from Pausanias, who tells the story of Danaus coming to Argos and claiming kingship for himself, even if in competition with Gelanor. Suddendly a herd of cows appeared in front of the city, led by a bull. A wolf challenged him, fought, won, and became the leader of the herd. This omen pointed at Danaus as the chosen one for kingship, and he had thus a temple to Apollo built as a thanksgiving to the author of the prodigy. This was an evident comparison to the story of Octavian himself, who won the competition for political leadership in Rome thanks to Apollo.