• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

Pegasus of Greek Mythology: Majestic Winged Horse of Mount Olympus


Nov 10, 2022

Pegasus is the majestic flying horse of Greek mythology , greatest recognized for its affiliation with the heroes Perseus and Bellerophon. Historically depicted as a pure white horse with wings, the Pegasus of Greek mythology was stated to have been the kid of Poseidon, god of the ocean and tamer of horses, and the Gorgon Medusa. Within the story of Perseus’ slaying of Medusa, one can discover the narration of Pegasus’ beginning. This winged horse later turned the mount of Bellerophon, and will be discovered within the legendary tales about this hero’s exploits, together with the slaying of the Chimera and his flight to Mount Olympus.

In Greek mythology Pegasus is depicted as an imposing, white, winged horse within the service of the Gods, stated to have emerged from the physique of Medusa. The Perseus Sequence: The Loss of life of Medusa I, by Edward Burne-Jones.  Public domain

The Story of Pegasus in Hesiod’s Theogony

In Hesiod’s Theogony, it’s written that “along with her [Medusa] the god of the Sable Locks [Poseidon] lay in a comfortable meadow among the many spring flowers.” The union between Medusa and Poseidon resulted in Pegasus and Chrysaor, who had been born when Medusa was decapitated by the hero Perseus, the Greek hero:

“And when Perseus reduce off her head from her neck, out sprang nice Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus. He was so named as a result of he was born beside the waters of Oceanus, whereas the opposite was born with a golden sword in his arms.”

In response to Hesiod, Perseus flew off to Mount Olympus after beginning, the place the flying horse got here to reside in Zeus’ palace. There, Pegasus was given the job of carrying the god’s thunder and lightning. Different tales in Greek mythology counsel that Pegasus spent a while on earth earlier than flying to Mount Olympus , residence of the Greek gods. Throughout this time, Pegasus served two heroes – Perseus and Bellerophon.

Perseus frees Andromeda, by Giuseppe Cesari. (Public domain)

Perseus frees Andromeda, by Giuseppe Cesari. ( Public domain )

Following the loss of life of Medusa, Perseus is alleged to have been travelling residence when he caught sight of a maiden chained to a rock. This was Andromeda, the daughter of the King and Queen of Ethiopia. Andromeda’s mom had angered Poseidon by boasting that her daughter was extra stunning than even the Nereids.

In retaliation, the god punished the individuals of Ethiopia by first sending a flood, after which a sea monster to terrorize them. The one strategy to appease Poseidon was to sacrifice Andromeda, which was the explanation for her being chained to a rock.

Perseus provided to rescue the princess, and cope with the monster, supplied that he be given Andromeda’s hand in marriage. The king agreed to this, and when the monster got here to assert the princess, Perseus turned it to stone utilizing the severed head of Medusa. Perseus then marries Andromeda they usually go on to have many youngsters.

Illustration of Bellerophon riding Pegasus by Mary Hamilton Frye, from the 1914 publication Myths Every Child Should Know. (Public domain)

Illustration of Bellerophon using Pegasus by Mary Hamilton Frye, from the 1914 publication Myths Each Little one Ought to Know. ( Public domain )

Bellerophon and Pegasus: Vanquishing the Chimera in Greek Mythology

Pegasus was additionally the mount of Bellerophon, who got here to own the flying horse throughout his quest in opposition to the Chimera, a fire-breathing monster. In response to one story, the hero had visited town of Tiryns, the place Proetus was king. The queen, Stheneboea, is alleged to have fallen in love with Bellerophon, although the hero rejected her advances.

Feeling humiliated, Stheneboea went to her husband and accused the hero of attempting to seduce her. The enraged Proetus despatched Bellerophon to his father-in-law, Iobates, the King of Lycia, with a letter. Within the letter, the king was requested to kill the messenger.

As an alternative of placing Bellerophon to loss of life, nonetheless, Iobates determined to dispatch the hero on a quest to kill the monstrous Chimera, believing that he wouldn’t survive the encounter. To organize for this quest, Bellerophon is alleged to have consulted the Corinthian seer, Polyeidos, who suggested him to hunt out Pegasus.

Bellerophon on Pegasus spears the Chimera, on an Attic red-figure epinetron, 425–420 BC. (Marsyas /  CC BY-SA 2.5 )

In a single model of the parable, Polyeidos knew the place Pegasus alighted to drink, and shared the data with Bellerophon, thus permitting him to tame the winged horse. In one other model, it was Poseidon (Bellerophon’s secret father) who introduced Pegasus to him. The most well-liked model of the story, nonetheless, is that it was Athena who introduced Pegasus to Bellerophon. With the assistance of Pegasus, Bellerophon succeeded in slaying the Chimera.

Over time, Bellerophon’s satisfaction grew, and he aspired to scale the heights of Mount Olympus on the again of Pegasus to take his place amongst the immortals. Zeus was conscious of the hero’s ambition, and despatched a gadfly to sting Pegasus as he flew as much as the heavens. Bellerophon misplaced his stability and fell again to earth. Pegasus, nonetheless, continued the journey to Mount Olympus, went on to reside in Zeus’ palace and was given the duty of carrying the god’s thunder and lightning.

The constellation of Pegasus, by Jogannes Hevelius. (Public domain)

The constellation of Pegasus, by Jogannes Hevelius. ( Public domain )

Reflections of Greek Mythology and the Story of Pegasus within the Stars

Because the trustworthy winged horse of Greek mythology, Pegasus was later honored by having a northern constellation named after it. Pegasus is without doubt one of the oldest and largest constellations within the sky, and was first recorded by the Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy in his 2nd century astronomical work Almagest.

Legend has it that after Zeus prompted Bellerophon to plunge to his loss of life, he positioned Pegasus into the heavens as a reward faithfulness to the gods. The connection between Pegasus and Andromeda is seen within the night time sky, the place their constellations will be discovered aspect by aspect, with Andromeda positioned to the north and east.

This was nothing new for the traditional Greeks, who used the celebrities as a strategy to inform the tales from Greek mythology. For them, every of the constellations was related to the tales of mythological monsters and heroes who had been positioned amongst the celebrities as a method of tribute for his or her service to the Greek gods .

High picture: Pegasus of Greek mythology is depicted as an imposing, white, winged-horse. Supply: Viks_jin / Adobe Inventory

By Wu Mingren

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