ERIGONE, in Greek mythology, daughter of Icarius, the hero of the Attic deme Icaria. Her father, who had been taught by Dionysus to make wine, gave some to some shepherds, who became intoxicated. Their companions, thinking they had been poisoned, killed Icarius and buried him under a tree on Mount Hymettus (or threw his body into a well). Erigone, guided by her faithful dog Maera, found his grave, and hanged herself on the tree. Dionysus sent a plague on the land, and all the maidens of Athens, in a fit of madness, hanged themselves like Erigone. Icarius, Erigone and Maera were set among the stars as Boötes (or Arcturus), Virgo and Procyon. The festival called Aeora (the "swing") was subsequently instituted to propitiate Icarius and Erigone. Various small images (in Lat. oscilla) were suspended on trees and swung backwards and forwards, and offerings of fruit were made (Hyginus, Fab. 130, Poët. astron. ii. 4; Apollodorus iii. 14). The story was probably intended to explain the origin of these oscilla, by which Dionysus, as god of trees (Dendrites), was propitiated, and the baneful influence of the dog-star averted (see also Oscilla).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)