Sunday, 4 January 2015

Nephele

                      In Greek mythology, Nephele was created by Zeus from cloud, identical as his wife, goddess Hera.
Nephele, cloud figure of Hera

                            According to Greek mythology, king Ixion of Lapiths,married Dia the daughter of Deioneus or Eioneus, but did not pay the bride price. (the traditional gift grooms gave to their father-in-law.) Ixion' father-in-law was rightly offended at this and in retaliation stole a few of Ixion' s horses. Ixion in response invited his father-in-law to a feast, where Ixion pushed him into a pit filled with burning coals and wood. Ixion was the first man guilt of kin-slaying in Greek mythology. Because this was a crime new to the human race nobody could purified Ixion and he wandered in exiled. 
Ixion, at Olympus-dine with gods

                                               Zeus sympathized greatly with Ixion and brought him up to Olympus to dine with the gods. Ixion saw Zeus' wife, Hera, and was attracted towards her stunning beauty.  Ixion began to desire Hera sexually and tried to seduce her. Hera was angry but did not do anything as Ixion was her husband guest. Hera told her husband, Zeus, that Ixion had attempted to violated her. Zeus did not believe that Ixion would betray him and his sincere kindness. Next day Zeus found Ixion sleeping in a field. Zeus wanted to test Ixion integrity, so he created a cloud figure of Hera. Zeus laid the figure, who was later named Nephele, next to Ixion. When Ixion awoke, he thought Hera was lying naked beside him and began to have sex with her. 
Ixion and Nephele

                                         Zeus was so angry that he drove Ixion from Olympus, struck him with a thunderbolt and then chained Ixion to be eternalay bound to a flying burning wheel that would spin around the heaven nonstop - though it was later moved to tartarus (underworld).  Centaurs were born though this union of Ixion and Nephele. According to other version, Nephele had a child from this union named Centaurus.  Centaurus mated with the Magnesian mares and Centaurs were born. 
King Athamas and Nephele

                                       Later Nephele was given in marriage to the king Athamas of Orchomemus.  But Athamas divorced Nephele, to marry Ino. Nephele left in anger, drought came upon the land. In some versions, Ino roasted all the town's crop seeds so they would not grow. In some versions,  Nephele complained bitterly to Hera about Athamas' infidelity. So Hera in anger, made the crops went bad and the famine hit Orchomemus. 
                                       So king Athamas sent messengers to the Delphi Oracle to see what could be done to stop the famine.  Ino secretly bribed the messenger to come back with  the message that Athamas must sacrifice his son by Nephele, Phrixes. Ino did this out of her selfish desire to see one of her two sons (Learchus or Melicertes) with Athamas,  receive the kingdom at Athamas' death. Athamas had Phrixes on the altar and was about to sacrifice him when a golden ram appeared by the altar. The flying golden ram sent by Nephele, their natural mother.
Phrixes and Helle

            Phrixes and his sister Helle climbed on the ram's back and they flew towards the east.  As the ram was going over the straits between the northern Aegean and the Propontis, Helle fell off of the rams back into the straits below and drowned, but Phrixus survived all the way to Colchis, where King Aeetes took him in and treated him kindly, giving Phrixus his daughter, Chalciope, in marriage. In gratitude, Phrixus gave the king the Golden Fleece of the ram, which Aeetes hung in a tree in his kingdom. This is one story of the origins of the Golden Fleece that Jason is sent to retrieve for Pelias.

According to some version, king Athamas wife Nephele was not the cloud figure created by Zeus, but was the cloud nymph, one of the Oceanid, and daughter of Titans Oceanus and Tethys

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