GREEK MYTHOLOGY

4 GREAT ADVENTURES

PHAETHON


The palace of the sun was a wonderful place. It was made of gold, jewels and ivory. It was always daylight  there, darkness was unheard of. Very few mortals could have long endured that unchanging lightness, but no mortal had ever found the way to the palace of the sun.


One day a young boy, half mortal on his mother’s side dared to approach the palace. He had to pause every few minutes and clear his dazzled eyes but his mission was so urgent that he continued on into the palace and into the room where the Sun God was sitting. There he weakened, he could bear no more.


Helios, the Sun God, looked down at the young boy kindly and asked him why he had come. The young boy answered that he needed to find out whether he, the Sun God, was indeed his father or not because although his mother had told him that he was his father, his school mates laughed at him when he told them. Helios smiled and took off his crown so that the boy could look at him without distress. He addressed the boy by his name Phaethon and told him that his mother Clymene had told him the truth. He said that he promised to do anything his son wished in order to prove that he was his father and he called upon the Styx, the river of the oath of all Gods as a witness to his promise.


Phaethon smiled and cried to his father that he wished to take his place just for one day and to ride the golden chariot around the skies giving sunlight to the earth. His father would have refused Phaethon’s wish but as he had called upon the Styx, he could not. He knew that his son thought that his job was beautiful and easy but it was not. Helios tried his hardest to persuade his young son to change his wish but Phaethon had often dreamt of riding his father’s chariot and would not change his mind. As Phaethon mounted the chariot and set off he felt himself the Lord of the Sky, but he lost control of the chariot on the steep hill that he had to ascend, his horses took control but the earth was set on fire. The greater Gods threw thunderbolts at the chariot in order to save earth but Phaethon burned to death, the only mortal to have ever driven the chariot of the sun.

 

PEGASUS AND BELLEROPHON


In Ephyre, the city that was later named Corinth, the king’s name was Glaucus. He was the son of Sisyphus who had been cursed in the underworld to roll a stone up a steep hill forever because he had betrayed a secret of Zeus. Glaucus drew down on himself the displeasure of heaven. He used to be a great horseman, but he fed his horses with human flesh so that they were fierce in battle, he had been thrown off his chariot by the Gods and his own horses had eaten him.


In the same city lived a bold young man who was said to be Glaucus’s son. Others said that the young man, Bellerophon was Poseidon, the Ruler of the sea’s son and looking at Bellerophon’s gifts of spirit and body this was likely the truth. More than anything in the world Bellerophon’s dream is to ride Pegasus, a winged, wild horse that had sprung from the Gorgon’s blood when Perseus had killed her. Bellerophon went to the temple of Athena to pray for his wish to come true. Athena later appears in Bellerophon’s dream and gives him a golden bridle which, she said would tame the wild horse. It did, and Pegasus became Bellerophon’s loyal horse.
Later, Bellerophon kills his brother entirely by accident. He goes to Argos where the king Proteus purifies him. But Bellerophon's situation becomes complicated when the king's wife, Anteia, takes an interest in his beautiful body and bold character. Bellerophon denies the queen's wishes, but the evil, jealous woman told her husband that the boy had mistreated her and must die. Proteus did not want to kill Bellerophon personally because the boy had dined at his table, so instead he asks the boy to deliver a letter to the Lycian king.

With Pegasus, Bellerophon travelled easily and quickly and met the Lycian king, staying with him for nine whole days. When the king opens his letter, the letter had clear instructions to kill Bellerophon. But like Proteus, the Lycian king did not want to offend Zeus by acting violently towards his guest, so instead he sent Bellerophon on an impossible journey to kill a monster, Chimaera. With the help of Pegasus, however, Bellerophon kills the beast without harming himself. He returned to Proteus, and Proteus thereafter sent him on many more challenging and dangerous adventures.


Finally, the bold Bellerophon wins Proteus's respect, and the king even gave him his daughter's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, Bellerophon loses favour with the gods when he attempts to become more than a mortal and take a place on Mount Olympus. When he triedto make the journey up to the gods’ kingdom on the mountain, Pegasus threw Bellerophon off his back. Bellerophon wandered alone, "devouring his own soul," until he finally died. Pegasus then became Zeus's favorite beast, lived in the stables of Mount Olympus and brought thunder and lightning to Zeus.


OTUS AND EPHIALTES


Otus and Ephialtes were the twin sons of Poseidon and Iphimedia. They were giants but did not look like other monsters; instead they were handsome and noble faced. They were still very young when they began to challenge the Gods on several occasions. First they kidnapped and imprisoned Ares, until the Gods reluctantly send Hermes down to set him free. Their next challenge was to place one mountain on top of another, it was then that Zeus was ready to strike them both down with a thunderbolt but their father Poseidon begged that they be spared and finally Zeus conceded. Their third challenge was to try to capture Artemis, she ran away when she saw the twins approach but they chased her even through the waters until she disappeared and a beautiful white animal appeared where she had been last seen. Otus and Ephialtes both threw their spears at the animal but the animal also disappeared and the spears rebounded and killed the twins. This was Artemis’ revenge.


DAEDALUS


Daedalus was the architect who constructed the Labyrinth for the Minotaur in Crete, and who showed Ariadne how Theseus could escape from it. When the king Minos found out that the Athenians had escaped he imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the Labyrinth. When Daedalus realized that he did not know the way out along the paths, he built a pair of wings for himself and his son from feathers and wax. He warned his Icarus not to fly to high because the sun would melt the wax and the wings would then be destroyed. As they flew to their escape Icarus was overwhelmed by power and excitement and flew too high. The sun melted the wax and Icarus fell into the deep waters of the black sea, and was never found.

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Bellerophon and Otus
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