One of Jupiter's moons, and the farthest from the planet. Its largest impact dent is named Valhalla, and another, smaller dent is named Har. A yet smaller one is named Arthur. (no, not really).

According to Hesiod Callisto was a nymph; she was also known as a companion of Artemis, who shot and killed her for not retaining her virtue. She was turned into a bear by Zeus.

Moon of Jupiter, one of the Galeleian Moons.

Third largest moon in the solar system. The most heavily cratered object in the solar system, which is a title of dubious pride, I guess. The Valhalla crater is 3,000 km in diameter, which is a lot considering that the diameter of Callisto is 4,800 km.

Discovery:                             Jan 7, 1610 by Galileo Galilei
Diameter (km):                         4,806                 
Mass (kg):                             1.077e23  
Mass (Earth = 1)                       1,807e-2 
Surface Gravity (Earth = 1):           0.127
Mean Distance from Jupiter (km):       1,883,000
Mean Distance From Jupiter (Rj):       26,6
Mean Distance from Sun (AU):           5.203
Orbital period (days):                 16.68902 
Rotational period  (days):             16.68902 
Density (gm/cm3)                       1.86
Orbit Eccentricity:                    0.007
Orbit Inclination (degrees):           0.281
Orbit Speed (km/sec):                  8.21
Escape velocity (km/sec):              2.74 
Visual Albedo:                         ?
Subsolar Temperature (K):              ?
Equatorial Subsurface Temperature (K): ?
Surface Composition:                   Dirty Ice
Data from NASA
In Greek Mythology, Callisto was a nymph in close association with Artemis, goddess of the hunt.

Callisto was Artemis's favorite of her attendents. While hunting with Artemis, Callisto caught the eye of Zeus, chief of the Olympian gods. Zeus resorted to trickery to win her, knowing that she had taken a vow of chastity. He came to her, disguised as Artemis. Seeing this familiar figure, Callisto let her guard down. Zeus, seeing his chance, he seized Callisto and raped her.

Callisto became pregnant by Zeus, and was, for a time, successful at concealing this from Artemis. She was fearful of the goddess's wrath for having, in a way, broken her vow. Then, however, a day came in which all of the young women who followed Artemis disrobed and bathed together. In her naked state, Callisto could not conceal her pregnancy, and so her secret was revealed to Artemis. The huntress was enraged at this, and so banished Callisto from her following.

When the time came to deliver her baby, Callisto wandered off into the forest to do so alone. At this time, Hera, the wife of Zeus, moved to get her revenge; Hera was continually outraged at the many marital infidelities of Zeus, and punished each of his victims accordingly. She threw Callisto to the ground by her hair, where Callisto transformed into a bear. Hermes took Callisto's child away to be raised by Maia, his mother.

Arcas, as the child was named, grew up to be a fine hunter in his own right. One day, when he was out hunting, he came upon the transformed figure of his mother, Callisto. She recognized him as her son, and so called out to him, forgetting her present form. Before Arcas could throw his spear, Zeus intervened. He picked up Callisto and placed her in the sky, as Ursa Major, the "great bear." Then, he picked up Arcas and set him near his mother; He became Ursa Minor, or the "little bear."

Hera was not happy with this stellar reunion. She went to her maid, Tethys, the wife of Oceanus, and asked her to further punish Callisto. So Tethys took away water and refreshing drink from the Callisto and Arcas, never letting them dip to the horizon for a drink from the oceans

1. Some sources have Callisto as the daughter of Lycaon, and that Arcas was taken to him, instead of Maia.
2. According to some accounts, Arcas killed the bear that was once Callisto.
3. The punishment of Callisto and Arcas by Tethys is the Greek explanation of why Ursa Major and Minor are circumpolar, or are visible all year long and do not go below the horizon.

Thanks to fuzzy and blue for typo correction.


  1. The legend of the best-known Callisto is an Arcadian one. According to some writers she was a wood-nymph; to others she was the daughter of King Lycaon, and in some versions the daughter of Nycteus. She had vowed to remain a virgin and spent her life hunting in the mountains with the band of companions of Artemis. Zeus saw her and fell in love with her. He married her in the guise of Artemis, for Callisto shunned the company of all men. According to other writers, he assumes the likeness of Apollo, the god of Arcadia and the brother of Artemis.

    By Callisto Zeus begot Arcas. She was pregnant with him when one day Artemis and her companions decided to bathe in a spring. Callisto had to undress and her offence was disclosed. Artemis in her anger hunted her and changed her into a she-bear. One variant of this story is that her change was due to the jealousy of Hera, or else to the foresight of Zeus, who wanted to conceal his love and to rescue her, in this shape, from the wrath of his wife. Nevertheless, Hera knew how to find her out, and persuaded Artemis to kill her with an arrow, or it may have been Artemis herself who killed her, in order to punish her for having lost her virginity. Zeus changed her into the constellation of the Great Bear (for other variants of her story, involving Arcas, see Table 9). She was also sometimes said to have had a second son, a twin brother of Arcas, namely the god Pan.

  2. A second Callisto was the sister of Odysseus (Table 39).


Table of Sources

  1. - Pseudo-Eratosh. Catast. 1ff.; 8
    - Apollod. Bibl. 3, 8, 2
    - schol. on Hom. Il. 18, 487
    - Callim. Hymn. 1, 140
    - Catull, 66, 66
    - Theocr. 1, 125
    - Hyg. Astron. 2, 1; Fab. 155; 176f
    - Ovid, Met. 2, 409ff.; Fast. 2, 155ff.
    - Serv. on Virgil, Georg. 1, 138
    - Paus. 1, 25, 1; 8, 3, 6ff; 8, 4, 1; 10, 9, 5
    - Tzetzes on Lyc. Alex. 478; 481
    - schol. on Euripides, Rhes. 36
    - schol. on Theocr. 1, 3
  2. - See Odysseus.
One of the most popular characters on Xena:Warrior Princess, Callisto (played by the lovely Hudson Leick) is Xena's arch enemy.

Young Callisto's village and life was destroyed when Xena ransacked and burned everything in sight, including Callisto's parents and younger sister.

From that day forward, Callisto made a vow to destroy everything Xena ever loved. This hate turned her into a formidable opponent and a dangerous equal.

The Many Lives of Callisto

Killed in quicksand by Xena during their second battle.

Ressurrected and subsequently trapped in Xena's body for two episodes, then sent back to Hades.

Becomes an immortal during a Hercules episode and is then trapped within a temple during an avalanche.

Is released from Temple by Xena when aid is needed to defeat a new God, Valasca.

Callisto becomes a GOD herself when she eats the sacred ambrosia, but then falls to into a pit of lava shortly after.

Callisto returns once more with the help of Hope (the daughter of Dahok) and indirectly causes the death of Xena's only son, Solan.

Realizing that causing pain for Xena has not filled the void within her, Callisto wishes for death for herself. She lives a cursed life though, because she is immortal and will not receive the peace that oblivion may provide her. She is killed by Xena for the last time at the end of this story arc by the only thing that can kill a God: The Hines Blood Dagger.

A year goes by with no word of the deceased Callisto. At the end of season 4, it seems that Lucifer is using Callisto's spirit to rid the world of the do-gooder Xena. Later on, a battle ensues between demons and angels up in heaven. Callisto is captured and cleansed within the healing pools of Heaven. For the first time in her adult life Callisto is free of pain and anger; her soul is cleansed much to the disbelief of Xena and Gabrielle.

Callisto's character comes full circle when Xena learns that she is pregnant through Divine Intervention. The soul inside her growing child is that of Callisto.

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