BEING ANCIENT AND SPECIFIC, AND YET RELEVANT TO THE NEWS OF THE DAY
adj. — having a hundred eyes
fm. Post-Classical Latin, centum (100) + oculus (eyes). Applies exclusively to describe the mythical Greek giant Argus, said to be all-seeing (panoptes). In many depictions, he has eyes all over his body. The saying “the eyes of Argus” means to be watched or monitored to a distressing degree.
first published. 1628
inspiration. The Oxford English Dictionary
featured image. Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Mercury and Argus, c1659. Museo del Prado: Oil on unlined canvas, 127 x 250 cm.
The image depicts a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Mercury lulls Argus to sleep with music from his pipes, in order to steal the beautiful nymph Io, whom Juno has transformed into a cow and appointed Argus to guard.