Bellerophon and the Chimera : The wronged hero vanquishes a dreadful monster with the help of a winged horse, but then it all goes to his head.
Bellerophon and the Chimera

Based on ‘Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome’ by E. M. Berens.

The detailed myth of Bellerophon comes from a variety of ancient sources, but the basic tale is found in Homer’s ‘Iliad’. It is a tale of the ‘pride that goeth before a fall’ Prov 16:18, and has a starring role for that most noble of all mythological figures, Pegasus, the winged horse.

AFTER Bellerophon spurned the advances of Anteia, Queen of Tyrins, she had the handsome hero banished to Lycia.

With him went a coded letter to the King, Iobates, who just happened to be Anteia’s father, recommending that Bellerophon be put to death.

Iobates thought this could be accomplished without fuss if Bellerophon were sent to tackle the Chimera, a fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a serpent’s tail, and a goat’s body.

But Bellerophon sought out Athene, and the goddess lent him Pegasus, the magnificent winged stallion sired by Poseidon. With his help, Bellerophon was able to slay the Chimera.

Intoxicated by his victory and his winged mount, Bellerophon rose ever higher, until Zeus realised that he meant to fly to Olympus. So the king of the gods sent a gadfly, and a tormented Pegasus threw his rider far below to earth.

Bellerophon spent the rest of his days wandering in regret, but Zeus kept Pegasus on Olympus, to carry his thunderbolts.

Based on ‘Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome’ by E. M. Berens.

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Picture: © William Neuheisel, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
This sixth-century BC winged horse, standing some 5 inches tall, was made to decorate some kind of tool. It was made in northwestern Greece, and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

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