Greek Hero: Bellerophon

The heroes of Greek myth are more than human, yet less than gods. However, using their supernatural powers for protection and war, they are and were praised as religious symbols, giving them a demigod-like status. Many of the prominent Greek heroes such as Achilles and Odysseus were involved in the famous Trojan War, in which the Achaeans (Greeks) waged war on the city of Troy after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta.

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Bellerophon was a tragic hero of Greek mythology. He was the lovechild of the god of the sea, Poseidon and of the lady Eurynome. He wasraised by Glaucus, the husband of Eurynome, and there was no indication that Bellerophon was not his own child. Growing up, Bellerophon was fascinated by horses and especially the creature known as Pegasus. In his desperation to achieve his goal of attaining Pegasus, he prayed to the gods and goddesses for help and guidance on how he should go about this quest. In his sleep, he was offered a gift from the goddess of wisdom, Athena...


This gift was that of a golden bridle that would be able to tame any beast. Upon his waking from this dream, he found himself in possession of the bridle and offered the gods Poseidon and Athena sacrifices in thanks for their help but also as for good wishes for the rest of his quest. With the bridle, it was a simple task to tame Pegasus. With his new steed, he went before King Pittheus and asked for the hand of the king’s daughter, Princess Aethra. However, before getting married, he killed a man in a tragic accident. Bellerophon asked for forgiveness from the King and explained the circumstances of the unfortunate death. The king forgave him and let the matter pass as it had been an accident. Not long after, the wife of Pittheus, Stheneboea, attempted to seduce Bellerophon. However, he was an honorable man and rejected her advances. Angered by his response to her seduction, she went to her husband and proclaimed that Bellerophon had tried to seduce her. The king, already having difficulty with Bellerophon’s killing, found this behavior unacceptable. Unfortunately, killing a guest was seen as blasphemy, so he instead wrote a letter to the father of his wife, King Iobates. He requested that Bellerophon deliver the letter. Bellerophon traveled to King Iobates' land without hesitation and was welcomed openly and warmly, not only by the royal family but the townspeople as well. This was problematic for King Iobates because the letter described the transgressions of Bellerophon against Stheneboea. He didn't want to harm a guest either, so he sent Bellerophon on a variety of tasks that were proven to be deadly. One of these included conquering the Chimera. But Bellerophon had the gods and goddesses on his side, so no matter the task, he was victorious. Iobates recognized this and offered Bellerophon half of his kingdom as well as his second daughter, Philonoe to marry in order to make amends. With this great victory over those who doubted him, he felt himself invincible. So invincible in fact that he took to the skies with Pegasus in order to fly to the land of the gods, Olympus. Zeus, god of thunder, ended his stunt quickly and immediately Bellerophon fell and became unable to perform the tasks he had been able to previously. No one wanted to help poor Bellerophon because although he was initially seen as a hero, he had gone against the gods. His tale of one of tragedy.