Part 2, Chapter 4: Four Great Adventures Notes from Mythology

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Mythology Part 2, Chapter 4: Four Great Adventures

The palace of the sun was beautiful, filled with light and treasure. Mortals never came to it until one youth, Phaethon, approached and asked the sun if he really was his father. The sun confirmed this rumor and swore by the river Styx to give his son anything he asked. Phaethon asked to drive the chariot of the sun the next dawn. The sun begged him not to ask for such a thing, but he would not remit his request. He warned the boy of all the great dangers along the way but the boy could not be frightened. The sun had to give in because of his oath by the river. Phaethon climbed in the chariot and quickly lost control:

"That light weight in the car, those feeble hands clutching the reins, had told [the horses] their own driver was not there. they were the masters then. No one else could command them. they left the road and rushed where they chose, up, down, to the right, to the left." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 183

Soon mountains were singed and rivers dried up. Phaethon was barely aware of what was going on. Zeus used a thunderbolt to stop the rampage and the horses plunged into the sea. Nymphs tended to Phaethon's body. His reckless ride brought the sun low over the earth and scorched the people south of the Nile, the region the Greeks referred to as Ethiopia.

In the city of Corinth, a King named Glaucus was killed. His son was allegedly Bellerophon. Bellerophon's father was also rumored to be Poseidon. Bellerophon wanted the winged horse Pegasus more than anything else in the world. When no one could catch and tame the beast, Bellerophon went to Athena's temple and was given a golden bridle to use on the horse. When he approached the beast with the bridle, he subdued it easily and became a master of the air. He accidentally killed his brother and went to be purified by the King of Argos, named Proetus. Proetus' wife wanted to have sex with Bellerophon but he refused her. She told Proetus that Bellerophon came on to her and Proetus wanted to kill him but could not kill his own guest. He sent the adventurer to his friend in Asia Minor with a message that he should be killed. The King there sent Bellerophon to kill the Chimaera. He killed it and then had to fight a warring tribe followed by the Amazons. Ultimately, Bellerophon succeeded in everything and the king gave him his own daughter as a wife. Years later, Bellerophon insulted the gods by trying to fly up to Olympus. The gods scorned him ever after and Pegasus was kept in a stable on Olympus.

Otus and Ephialtes were twin giants who were sons of Poseidon and a nymph. They wanted to prove that they were superior to the Olympians. They imprisoned Ares and Zeus was going to kill them until Poseidon pleaded for their lives. They went after Artemis because they wanted her and she led them over sea where they saw a white deer. Artemis tricked them into killing each other with spears.

Daedalus was an architect who designed the Labyrinth for King Minos. After he built it and he divulged a way to get out of it to Ariadne, King Minos imprisoned him, along with his son Icarus. He made two pairs of wax wings for them to use to escape, and warned his son not to fly too close to the sun. His son did, however, and plunged into the sea. Minos contrived a trap years later by announcing a reward for anyone who could move a string through an intricate seashell. Daedalus solved it and Minos went to Sicily to kill him, but died himself.

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