Sunday, 15 February 2015

Bellerophon

                                              In Greek mythology, Bellerophon or Bellerophontes was the son of the Corinthian king Glaucus3 and Eurymede. According to some versions, Bellerophon was described as the son of Poseidon and Eurymede (wife of Glaucus). Bellerophon was raised by Glaucus, who thought Bellerophon was his own son.
Bellerophon and Pegasus

                              In some versions, his real name was Hipponous, and received the name Bellerophon or Bellerophontes from having slain the noble Corinthian, Bellerus.  In other version, Bellerophon had slain his own brother, Deliades, Peiren, or Alcimenes.
  
                               In any case, in order to be purified from the murder, Bellerophon  fled to Proetus, the king of Argos and Tiryns. The wife of the king, Anteia (or Stheneboea),  fell in love with Bellerophon,but her offers being rejected by him. She accused Bellerophon to her husband of having made improper proposals to her, or of attempting to rape her.

                Greatly upset, Proetus wanted to be rid of Bellerophon without having to accuse him publicly. He was also concerned about harming a house guest, as this was an offence to the gods or he feared the wrath of the Erinyes if he murdered a guest. So, he sent Bellerophon to deliver a sealed letter to his father-in-law, Iobates, king in Lycia. 
Proetus and Bellerophon

                            Before opening the sealed letter, Iobates feasted with Bellerophon for nine days. When Iobates unsealed and read the letter- "Pray remove the bearer from this world, he attempted to violate my wife, your daughter." On reading the letter, Iobates feared the wrath of the Erinyes if he murdered a guest.  So Iobates sent Bellerophon  to kill the monster Chimaera, living in neighboring Caria, thinking that he was sure to perish in the contest. The Chimera was a fire-breathing monster whose make-up comprised the body of a goat, the head of a lion and the tail being a serpent. This monster had terrorized the nearby countryside. 

  To kill the monster Chimaera, the Lycian seer Polyeidus told Bellerophon that he would have need of Pegasus, the magic winged horse,immortal offspring of the god Poseidon and the Gorgon Medusa. Pegasus was born when the hero Perseus cut off Medusa's head. Bellerophon had been unable to tame Pegasus, after many failures, Polyeidus suggested that Bellerophon spend the night in Athena's temple. There, he had a dream that the goddess offered him a magical, golden bridle. He awoke and found the bridle he dreamt about in his hands. He sensibly made a sacrifice to both Athena and Poseidon. Afterwards, he went to the meadow, Pegasus was grazing at, and was able to bridle and tame the horse without difficulty.  In one version, it was described that Athena or Poseidon brought Pegasus already tamed and bridled to Bellerophon. 
Athena and Bellerophon

                             {According to other version, Bellerophon had tamed Pegasus earlier and he went to King Pittheus and received permission to marry his daughter AethraHowever, before the marriage, he accidentally killed a man, possibly one of his brothers, and was banished or he had been unjustly accused of trying to seduce the queen of Arogos. }
Ballerophon and Chimera
                          The Chimera was truly ferocious, and Bellerophon could not harm the monster even while riding on Pegasus. He felt the heat of the breath the Chimera expelled, and was struck with an idea. He got a large block of lead and mounted it on his spear. Then he flew head-on towards the Chimera, holding out the spear as far as he could. Before he broke off his attack, he managed to lodge the block of lead inside the Chimera's throat. The beast's fire-breath melted the lead, and blocked its air passage. The Chimera suffocated, and Bellerophon returned victorious to King Iobates.
Iobates and Bellerophon
                      Iobates, being thus disappointed, sent Bellerophon out again, first against the barbarous Solymi tribe and next against the Amazons. In these contests too he was victorious and when, on his return to Lycia, he was attacked by the bravest Lycians, whom Iobates had placed in ambush for the purpose, Bellerophon slew them all. Iobates realized that the gods favored Bellerophon and that this favor would not have been given to a dishonorable house guest. Iobates succeed in making amends by giving Bellerophon half his kingdom, including the best farmlands and his daughter Philonoe in marriage.
Bellerophon was happily married. Philonoe bore him two sons, Isander and Hippolochus, and two daughters, Laodameia and Deidameia. As a king his subjects loved and honored him.


 However, this was not enough for Bellerophon. In his arrogance, he decided that he could ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus and visit the gods. Zeus quickly put an end to his trip by sending the gadfly to sting Pegasus and dismount Bellerophon. He survived his fall, but was crippled. He spent the rest of his life wandering the earth. No man would help him because of his offense to the gods. He died alone with no one to record his fate.


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