BOOTES, The Hunter has since early times been associated with
country pursuits - as hunter, ploughman or herdsman.
In Homer's Odyssey he is referred to as Wagoner or Driver of the
Wain. However, since the seventeenth century the figure has been
associated with the hunting dogs (Canes Venatici) charted by Helvelius.
In Greek legend, Bootes is seen as representing Icarius, an
Athenian who was taught the secret of winemaking by the god
Dionysius. Icarius then allowed some peasants to sample his
produce, but his kindness back-fired. The men became extremely
drunk and were convinced that they had been poisoned, so they
killed Icarius and buried him. His daughter Erigone and was
so overcome with grief when she found his body that she hanged
herself. Zeus transferred her to the heavens as Virgo, Icarius
became Bootes, and Maera, the dog who had led Erigone to her
father's grave, became one of the dogs of Canes Venatici.