Few students at Wesleyan realize that this fine publication actually has a namesake in Greek mythology. Argus, also known as Argos or Argus Panoptes, son of Arestor, was a primordial giant. As opposed to many of his kinsman, sided with Cronus in the Titanomachy or rebelled during the Gigantomachy and were subsequently consigned to the pit of Tartarus, Argus entered the service of the Olympian gods. Argus was said to have one hundred eyes that covered his entire body, only a few of which would sleep at any given time (his constant state of watchfulness is the source of his epithet Panoptes, which means “all seeing”).
He accomplished many feats of courage, including the slaying of a gigantic bull that had ravaged Arcadia as well as the chthonic serpent-beast Echidna, known as “the Mother of all Monsters,” but he is doubtlessly most famous for his service as Hera’s watchman. Hera, weary of her husband’s (the thunder god Zeus) philandering, turned the fair maiden Io, the latest object of his attentions, into a white Heifer and ordered the ever-alert Argus Panoptes to guard her against the sky-king’s advances. Zeus outmaneuvered his queen, however, by dispatching Hermes the messenger-god in the guise of a shepherd to lull Argus to sleep with the soothing melodies of his flute.Once the giant slumbered, Hermes cut off his head, allowing Zeus to have his way with Io.
And though Argus lay dead, his vigilance made him a figure of reverence for the city of Argos and Hellenic shepherds, as well as a symbol for journalists and all others who would remain watchful in the face of overbearing authority. Since 1868 we at Wesleyan’s student newspapers have proudly borne him as our standard.