January 13, 2022

#08-178: Pegasus, the Winged Horse

Bellerophon riding Pegasus and slaying the chimera

Note: Have you ever seen a picture of a flying horse? This is probably Pegasus, a winged horse from Greek mythology. Here is his story.

Get Ready: Why would it be wrong for a mortal human to try to reach the place where the gods live?

They say that when the hero Perseus cut off the head of Medusa--she who had snakes for hair, and a look at whose face could turn men to stone--a few drops of her blood sank into the earth. From that sprang Pegasus, the horse of the Muses and an inspiration to poets and playwrights.

The German playwright Friedrich Schiller tells how a needy poet sold the divine horse to do heavy labor for a peasant. The new master--a slow-thinking fellow--could do nothing with him, but when an elegant youth got on his back, he mounted to the sky, a comment on the importance of mingling talent and inspiration.

In one famous story, Pegasus was ridden by a gallant young warrior named Bellerophon to defeat the dreaded Chimera, which had a lion and a goat for his front end, and a dragon for the rear. (Naturally, he breathed fire.) It happened like this.

After numerous attacks on the land of Lycia, that land's king, Iobates, called for a hero.

Bellerophon appeared, recommended by Iobates's son-in-law Proetus, who praised Bellerophon. But in fact Proetus was so jealous of him--thinking that his wife Antea was a bit too interested in him--that he asked Iobates to ensure the hero's death.

Iobates was not sure what to do, since killing him would break the laws of hospitality. So he decided that sending Bellerophon against the Chimera would solve the problem for him. Before the battle, Bellerophon--advised by a soothsayer to procure the aid of Pegasus--spent the night in a temple of Athena, where he dreamed that the goddess came to him with a golden bridle. When he awoke, it was still in his hand!

He went to the Pierian spring where Pegasus was drinking. When the horse saw Bellerophon with the bridle, he agreed to be tamed. With such a mount, Bellerophon made quick work of the Chimera.

Iobates continued to send Bellerophon into danger, but at last, seeing that Bellerophon was favored by the gods, he gave the hero his daughter in marriage and made him successor to the throne.

But with his success Bellerophon became a little too proud, so he tried to fly on Pegasus all the way to Mount Olympus, home of the gods. To stop him, Zeus sent a fly to sting the horse. It threw Bellerophon to earth, who thereafter was lame and blind, until he died miserably. The horse, meanwhile, continued to Olympus, where Zeus used him as a pack horse for his thunderbolts.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasus

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. bridle
  2. gallant
  3. lame
  4. Muses
  5. needy
  6. peasant
  7. procure
  8. soothsayer
  9. successor
  10. thereafter

  1. get; acquire
  2. a device for steering a horse
  3. brave and noble
  4. unable to walk properly
  5. poor
  6. a farmer; a person of the lowest class
  7. the Greek goddesses of artistic inspiration
  8. heir; the next in line
  9. a fortune teller
  10. from then on

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 13, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. c; 3. d; 4. g; 5. e; 6. f; 7. a; 8. i; 9. h; 10. j