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Day Two of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.
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Now as part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my post for “B” is Bellerophon, a good example of why humans should probably consider atheism when it comes to worshiping the Greek gods.
Okay, before we judge this guy, let’s get to know him.
Who was Bellerophon?
Only one of the studly pre-Hercules heroes.
Yeah, I never heard of him before researching for this post either. You’re not alone. Hercules’s shadow extended far. We think Greek hero and Heracles springs to our minds. But Greek mythology saw its parade of Greek heroes.
Don’t know where they all went now, but there were other popular, possibly hot, human-ish guys before Heracles.
Bellerophon was one of them.
Also known as Bellerophontes, Bellerophon was the son of Poseidon and Eurynome. Like most Greek heroes, he’s not entirely human. A good enough explanation as to why he was able to perform fantastic feats as he could.
Supposedly he was raised by Eurynome’s husband, Glaucus, who believed Bellerophon to be his own son…
So while Glaucus was being duped, Bellerophon was at least like his “father” as they both had a great love for horses. So it’s not a wonder Bellerophon chose to set his sights on claiming the then wild Pegasus.
Bellerophon couldn’t tame Pegasus, not until he sought the advice of a seer. That advice led him to spend the night in Athena’s temple. Athena visits him in his dream and hands him a magical, golden bridle. When Bellerophon wakes from the crazy dream, he sees the bridle in his hands.
And at this point, since he still hasn’t succumbed to hubris, the young hero-to-be makes an appropriate sacrifice to Athena to thank her for her assistance.
So Bellerophon is able to tame Pegasus with the bridle. Task complete, Bellerophon heads to King Pittheus for praise. King Pittheus must be impressed enough he gives Bellerophon his daughter, Aethra to marry. But before the wedding happens, Bellerophon kills one of his future in-laws.
In another version he kills two men! And in yet another, it’s two of his future in-laws and his brother.
More heroic drama:
Not sure what actually happens, but in every version Bellerophon is exiled to the domain of King Proteus. He asks for Proteus to absolve him of his crime. Proteus pardons him. THE END.
No, of course it’s not the end. Bellerophon is a #dramamagnet.
He spends the night at Proteus’s place, and Proteus’s wife decides she wants in on this hot piece of fine hero arse under her roof. But Bellerophon doesn’t want her.
Does it end there? Nope.
Proteus’s wife is scorned, so she scurries to her husband and makes up a tall tale of how Bellerophon tried to rape her.
Whatever she says or does convinces Proteus of Bellerophon’s supposed crime. But because he’s a guest, and there are rules about killing your guests when it comes to dealing with the ire of the Greek gods later, Proteus is not going to kill his youthful guest.
Instead, he sends Bellerophon off the next day to his (lying!) wife’s father, King Iobates. He also sends a letter off with Bellerophon.
King Iobates finds a loophole:
When Bellerophon arrives to rest as a guest of King Iobates, he passes Proteus’s letter to Iobates. When Iobates unseals the letter, he reads of Bellerophon’s crime against Proteus and Proteus’s request for Iobates to kill Bellerophon.
Like Proteus, however, Iobates is feeling squeamish about killing a guest.
So he figures he’ll have a third party do it. If Bellerophon dies while trying to complete a heroic task, then it’s a win-win for everyone…except Bellerophon, of course.
So Iobates sends Bellerophon and his Pegasus off to slay the fire-breathing Chimera pestering his people. Bellerophon completes that first task.
And King Iobates is all like:
Sending Bellerophon off on his second task, King Iobates has him defeating two armies, one are the Solymi tribe – long-time enemies of Iobates – and the well-known Amazons are the other warriors.
Bellerophon eviscerates both groups.
By this point, Iobates is pissed.
So Iobates decides it’s time for the full might of his army to shine.
Bellerophon makes quick work of them, killing everyone.
Bellerophon finally clues in:
In one version Bellerophon is feeling pretty mopey at this point. He’s caught on that Iobates is not pleased by any of his accomplished heroic feats, so he gripes to his biological father, Poseidon, about it.
Poseidon punishes Iobates by flooding some of his land.
At this point Iobates realizes his GRAVE mistake. He understands Bellerophon has the favor of the gods on his side, and that he couldn’t truly of been treated as such if he committed a crime against Proteus.
Rectifying his judgment in error, Iobates gifts half his kingdom to Bellerophon and offers his daughter for marriage.
Now in some variants, Proteus’s wife hears of her sister being wed to Bellerophon and she kills herself out of fear that her slander of the heroic youth will be revealed. In other versions, Bellerophon exacts his (super violent) revenge by taking her riding on Pegasus and pushing her off the flying horse.
And Bellerophon lived happily ever after…
Bellerophon the greedy:
The simple life of living luxuriously as a hero and wealthy half-king isn’t Bellerophon’s game. He wants more. #immagreedymofo
Bellerophon hops on Pegasus and decides to climb up to the place of the Gods. Why not visit the immortals if he could?
But Zeus isn’t having that. He sends a gadfly to sting Pegasus and upset Bellerophon from his seat. Down he tumbles to Earth, not dying, but living life as a cripple.
BOOM! Lost the favor of the gods. #rejecthero
What happened to Bellerophon?
After his Icarus-level fall, Bellerophon became a dishonorable cripple who could no longer complete heroic deeds and a beggar because even the humans hated him now.
So that’s how Bellerophon rose to fame and tumbled down as a one-hit hero. THE END (for reals).
MORAL: Don’t be greedy! It almost certainly equals death or a painful existence in Greek myths.
My sources to help with this post were:
Resourceful sites. Check them out!