Bellerophon And Pegasus

Riding the winged horse Pegasus, the hero Bellerophon killed the Chimaera, but then angered the gods by trying to force his way into Mt. Olympus.

Bellerophon, the grandson of Sisyphus, was much admired for his strength and courage. In fact, it was widely rumored that he was actually the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. No one could say for certain that Bellerophon was the son of a god, but most people, including Bellerophon himself, believed the rumor to be true.

Bellerophon accidentally killed his brother Deliades and fled to Tiryns to

escape punishment. There lived King Proteus and his wife, Anteia. She took fancy to the young man and tried to seduce him. However, Bellerophon rejected her advances. Out of humiliation, she sought revenge by telling her husband that Bellerophon had attempted rape.

Proteus was furious, but he dared not kill Bellerophon, for the laws of hospitality forbade violence against a guest. Instead Proteus worked around the law, sending Bellerophon to Anteia's father, King Iobates, bearing a sealed letter. The message revealed Anteia's accusations with instructions to kill Bellerophon.

However Proteus's plan for Bellerophon's death failed, Iobates was also bound by the laws of hospitality, so he devised a plan that he was certain the young man would follow and would lead him to his death. Iobates assigned Bellerophon the task of killing Chimaera, a terrible beast that was devastating the countryside by devouring livestock and killing humans he encountered. The creature had a head with three parts: part lion,

part dragon, and part goat. Oddly enough, it was the goat's head that was

the most dangerous of the three, through that head, which was located between the other two, fire was belched.

Bellerophon was aware of this impossible task, but rose to the challenge. He sought advice from Polyeides, a man of great wisdom and learning. If Bellerophon could fly, Polyeides explained, he would have a distinct advantage over the earthbound Chimaera. So, Polyeides advised him to capture Pegasus, the snowy-white winged horse that had sprung from the bloody neck of the gorgon Medusa.

Following Polyeides's instructions, Bellerophon spent the entire night fasting and praying. Bellerophon did not fall asleep until the first light of dawn broke over the horizon. When he awoke, he found a golden bridle gleaming on the ground beside him, evidence that Athena had responded favorably to his prayers.

After searching for several days, Bellerophon finally came upon Pegasus, who was drinking water from a spring. Holding the golden bridle in one

hand, Bellerophon carefully approached the magnificent creature. The

horse noticed him and lifted his head gazing into Bellerophon's eyes. For a moment Bellerophon's confidence was shaken. Surely Pegasus would fly away, he thought. However, the horse merely tossed his head and snorted softly.

Gently, Bellerophon slipped the golden bridle on and climbed onto his back. In an instant Pegasus had flew upward and Bellerophon found himself among the clouds. For this day, Bellerophon simply wished to enjoy the ride. The next day, however, he armed himself with a bow and set out on Pegasus to find the Chimaera. With the advantage of flight, he made short work of the monster. Even the Chimaera's fiery breath was no match for

Pegasus's and his miraculous speed. Not a single hair from Bellerophon's head, not one from the horse's tail or mane, was singed. With a well-placed bowshot from above, Bellerophon dispatched the Chimaera and returned to Iobates' court. Expecting a reward for his heroic deed, all he got was another dangerous assignment. Each time, Bellerophon's efforts were spectacularly successful, he received another dangerous mission. It soon was realized by Iobates that Bellerophon was going to be killed.

So Iobates was forced to take a direct approach. He set up an ambush using his bravest and most skilled warriors. But to Iobates's surprise, Bellerophon killed them all. Iobates could not believe B's skill; he began suspecting that Bellerophon must be protected by the gods. At about this same time, Bellerophon began to realize the dangerous tasks were more than just an assignment. But, the sad thing was that Bellerophon had no idea why King Iobates was trying to get him killed.

Bellerophon confronted Iobates and the king showed him the letter from Proteus. Bellerophon was shocked and explained the situation with Anteia. Iobates believed the warrior and offered Bellerophon his second daughter, Philonoe for marriage.

After a few years of marriage, Bellerophon began to feel restless. He

felt that his heroic career had proven beyond a doubt that he was, in fact, the son of a god. His pride began to grow, until finally he became convinced that all of the honors bestowed on him by mere mortals were not enough. He became determined to have his proper due, even if that meant force.

Bellerophon mounted Pegasus once more and urged him upward, toward the summit of Mt. Olympus. From his throne on Mt. Olympus, Zeus watched the foolhardy man's flight. He considered hurling a thunderbolt in B's direction, but he did not want to risk harming Pegasus, who was loved by the gods. Instead, he sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus under his tail, causing him to rear up suddenly and throw Bellerophon off his back.

Bellerophon fell all the way back down to earth. The fall did not kill him, but he was terribly injured. Broken in both body and spirit, the once great hero wandered the earth alone, lame and blind, unhappy and unrecognized. He had been beloved of the gods, but his foolish arrogance had incurred their wrath, and the rest of his unwearied life was the punishment for his pride.

No one knows when and where Bellerophon died. Nor does anyone really know

whether the rumors were true: Was Bellerophon the son of Poseido or was he

merely a man who mistook his good fortune for special merit? Regardless of his parentage, Bellerophon's fate was sealed when he decided to challenge the gods and storm Mt. Olympus.



And what became of the exquisite winged horse? Once Pegasus was rid of his presumptuous rider, Pegasus was welcomed to Mt. Olympus, living out his existance in Zeus's own golden stable with the freedom to wander on Mt. Olympus or among the mountains, meadows, and springs of earth.courage. In fact, it was widely rumored that he was actually the son of

Poseidon, the god of the sea. No one could say for certain that Bellerophon was the son of a god, but most people, including Bellerophon himself, believed the rumor to be true.

Bellerophon accidentally killed his brother Deliades and fled to Tiryns to

escape punishment. There lived King Proteus and his wife, Anteia. She took fancy to the young man and tried to seduce him. However, Bellerophon rejected her advances. Out of humiliation, she sought revenge by telling her husband that Bellerophon had attempted rape.

Proteus was furious, but he dared not kill Bellerophon, for the laws of hospitality forbade violence against a guest. Instead Proteus worked around the law, sending Bellerophon to Anteia's father, King Iobates, bearing a sealed letter. The message revealed Anteia's accusations with instructions to kill Bellerophon.

However Proteus's plan for Bellerophon's death failed, Iobates was also bound by the laws of hospitality, so he devised a plan that he was certain the young man would follow and would lead him to his death. Iobates assigned Bellerophon the task of killing Chimaera, a terrible beast that was devastating the countryside by devouring livestock and killing humans he encountered. The creature had a head with three parts: part lion,

part dragon, and part goat. Oddly enough, it was the goat's head that was

the most dangerous of the three, through that head, which was located between the other two, fire was belched.

Bellerophon was aware of this impossible task, but rose to the challenge. He sought advice from Polyeides, a man of great wisdom and learning. If Bellerophon could fly, Polyeides explained, he would have a distinct advantage over the earthbound Chimaera. So, Polyeides advised him to capture Pegasus, the snowy-white winged horse that had sprung from the bloody neck of the gorgon Medusa.

Following Polyeides's instructions, Bellerophon spent the entire night fasting and praying. Bellerophon did not fall asleep until the first light of dawn broke over the horizon. When he awoke, he found a golden bridle gleaming on the ground beside him, evidence that Athena had responded favorably to his prayers.

After searching for several days, Bellerophon finally came upon Pegasus, who was drinking water from a spring. Holding the golden bridle in one

hand, Bellerophon carefully approached the magnificent creature. The

horse noticed him and lifted his head gazing into Bellerophon's eyes. For a moment Bellerophon's confidence was shaken. Surely Pegasus would fly away, he thought. However, the horse merely tossed his head and snorted softly.

Gently, Bellerophon slipped the golden bridle on and climbed onto his back. In an instant Pegasus had flew upward and Bellerophon found himself among the clouds. For this day, Bellerophon simply wished to enjoy the ride. The next day, however, he armed himself with a bow and set out on Pegasus to find the Chimaera. With the advantage of flight, he made short work of the monster. Even the Chimaera's fiery breath was no match for

Pegasus's and his miraculous speed. Not a single hair from Bellerophon's head, not one from the horse's tail or mane, was singed. With a well-placed bowshot from above, Bellerophon dispatched the Chimaera and returned to Iobates' court. Expecting a reward for his heroic deed, all he got was another dangerous assignment. Each time, Bellerophon's efforts were spectacularly successful, he received another dangerous mission. It soon was realized by Iobates that Bellerophon was going to be killed.

So Iobates was forced to take a direct approach. He set up an ambush using his bravest and most skilled warriors. But to Iobates's surprise, Bellerophon killed them all. Iobates could not believe B's skill; he began suspecting that Bellerophon must be protected by the gods. At about this same time, Bellerophon began to realize the dangerous tasks were more than just an assignment. But, the sad thing was that Bellerophon had no idea why King Iobates was trying to get him killed.

Bellerophon confronted Iobates and the king showed him the letter from Proteus. Bellerophon was shocked and explained the situation with Anteia. Iobates believed the warrior and offered Bellerophon his second daughter, Philonoe for marriage.

After a few years of marriage, Bellerophon began to feel restless. He

felt that his heroic career had proven beyond a doubt that he was, in fact, the son of a god. His pride began to grow, until finally he became convinced that all of the honors bestowed on him by mere mortals were not enough. He became determined to have his proper due, even if that meant force.

Bellerophon mounted Pegasus once more and urged him upward, toward the summit of Mt. Olympus. From his throne on Mt. Olympus, Zeus watched the foolhardy man's flight. He considered hurling a thunderbolt in B's direction, but he did not want to risk harming Pegasus, who was loved by the gods. Instead, he sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus under his tail, causing him to rear up suddenly and throw Bellerophon off his back.

Bellerophon fell all the way back down to earth. The fall did not kill him, but he was terribly injured. Broken in both body and spirit, the once great hero wandered the earth alone, lame and blind, unhappy and unrecognized. He had been beloved of the gods, but his foolish arrogance had incurred their wrath, and the rest of his unwearied life was the punishment for his pride.

No one knows when and where Bellerophon died. Nor does anyone really know

whether the rumors were true: Was Bellerophon the son of Poseido or was he

merely a man who mistook his good fortune for special merit? Regardless of his parentage, Bellerophon's fate was sealed when he decided to challenge the gods and storm Mt. Olympus.

And what became of the exquisite winged horse? Once Pegasus was rid of his presumptuous rider, Pegasus was welcomed to Mt. Olympus, living out his existence in Zeus's own golden stable with the freedom to wander on Mt. Olympus or among the mountains, meadows, and springs of earth.

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