Bellerophonetes (page 314)

Chapter 10: Perseus and Bellerophontes, Part 2

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Th 319-25 –  Hesiod, Theogony

She [Echidna] was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, [320] a creature fearful, great, swift footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion, another of a goat, and another of a snake, a fierce dragon; in her forepart she was a lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. [325] Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slayGreek Text

Hes fr 43a MW – Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 27-31, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

P. Cairensis Instituti Francogallici (P.I.F.A.O.) 322 fr. B, C, F, A, ed. J. Schwartz, Pseudo-Hesiodea (1960), 265 sqq.; P. Oxy. 2495 fr. 21, 25, 30, ed Lobel; P. Berol. 7497, ed, Schubart-Wilamowitz; P. Oxy. 421, ed. Grenfell-Hunt

     [. . .pre]tty-crowned Polymele. [Or like the daughter of] god[like Erysichthon . . .] of the [. . .] son of Triops, [Mestre of pretty locks,] who had the [s]parkles [of the Graces; [5] and they called him Aithon by] n[a]m[e] because [a blazing, mighty] famine [. . . the tribes] of mortal humans [. . .] and all [. . . blazi]ng famine [. . . for m]ortal humans [. . .] kn[ow- . . . shre]wd counsel in their [h]earts [10] [. . . of w]omen [. . .]

[13]    [. . .] girl [. . . dece]ived, [thou]gh he was very thoughtful [. . . ] darting-eyed, be[autif]ul-cheeked gi[rl . . .] and m[ar]ry a spirit-fit bedmate [. . . prom]ise[d] countless marriage gifts [. . . h]undred [. . .] h[erd]s o[f] lowing cattle [. . .] of sheep [. . .] of goats [. . . acce]pted [. . .] in spirit [. . .]

          [. . .] and out [. . .] and when she [had been] released, she darted away [and went off] i[nto the palace of her father,] and presently th[ereafter] a woman [was born i]n [her father’s] halls; [and . . .] followe[d . . .] with the mother [. . .]

[35]    [. . .] and wished to take the girl [o]f[f . . . And so]on [aft]er strife and q[uarreling] wi[t]h each other ca[me to] Sisyphos and Aithon becau[se o]f the slender-ankled [girl,] and [n]o mortal could give judgment; but [. . .] they [re]ferred and praised; and then she [r]eliably se[t] forth her judgment [for] them [. . . “wh]enever someone longs to to ta[ke] a t[hin]g instead of the price[, . . .] must certainly [. . . con]cerning the pr[ice . . .] honor [. . . f]or it is [not] to be exchang[ed, when he has given it back] at first.”

         [. . .] to her [. . .] mules’ [. . .] after the mules [. . .]

       [. . .] of the ble[s]sed [. . .] and he surpassed the minds and the hea[rts] of me[n, b]ut he knew not at all the mind of aegis-holding Zeus, how the family of the children of the Sky would not grant him that any seed from Mestra [be] left to Glaukos among humans. [55] And gro[und]shaking Poseidon overpowered her then, carrying her far from her father over the wine-colored oce[an,] in i[s]land Kos, though she wa[s] shrewd; there she bore Eurypylos, leader of a great arm[y,] she bore a child Ko[. . ., who ha]d presumptuous strength. [60] And his sons we[re] Chalkon and Antagoras. And for only a small reason the stout son of Zeus sacked his attractive city and ravaged his villages, as soo[n as] he s[ail]ed from Troy i[n] s[wift] ships[. . .] because [of] Laomedon’s [ho]rses; an[d in Phlegra] he sle[w] the arrogant Gigantes.

       [But Mestra, aba]ndoning Kos, [cross]ed to her ancestral land, to holy Athens’ hill [. . . w]hen she bore a child to lord Poseidon[. . .] tended her [grim]-fated father.

       [. . .] daughter of the son of Pandion [. . . wh]om Pallas Athena taught her works [. . . -]ing, for she had understanding equal to the goddesses, [from whose very bo]dy and silvery clothing [. . .] and a pleasant form blew away; [now, Sisypho]s son of Aiolos tested [her] plans, drivi[ng] off the cattle; [but] he did [not] know the mind of aegis-holding [Zeus at all]; he came [see]king the wom[an with gifts] by the will of Ath[ena; but against this] cloudgathering Zeu[s shook] his immortal head so that [. . .]  [80] would not ever exist [. . .] of the son of Sisyphos.

      And she, mixi[ng] with Pose[idon in his] arms, [. . .] blameless Belle[rophontes] to Glaukos in [. . . .] outstanding in wor[th among hum]ans on the boundless e[arth. His fa]ther gave to him, even [. . .] Pegaso[s,] the swiftest [horse . . .] everywhere [. . .] with which [. . .] fire[-breathing Chimaira].

      And he married the [dear] dau[ghter of great-hearted Iobates,] the respected ki[ng . . .] chief [. . .] who bo[re . . .]   (Transl. Silvio Curtis)

Fab 157 – Hyginus, Fabulae

Bellerophon by Eurynome, daughter of Nysus.  Latin Text

ApB 1.9.3 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And Sisyphus, son of Aeolus, founded Ephyra, which is now called Corinth, and married Merope, daughter of Atlas. They had a son Glaucus, who had by Eurymede a son Bellerophon, who slew the fire breathing Chimera.  Greek Text

ΣT Il 6.191 – Scholia T to Homer, Iliad Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem 5, p. 214, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1888.

Greek Text

Hes fr 129 MW – Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 62-63, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

P. Oxy. 2487 fr. 1, ed. Lobel

. . . gave . . . [paid ba]ck a great harm. . . . then b[ore blam]eless Abas . . . in the lofty palace . . . [5]  [who] rivaled [the Oly]mpians [in sightliness;] . . . [fa]ther of men and gods . . . and to mount the same bed; [and she bore Proitos] and Akrisios the king.

[And the] father of [me]n an[d of go]ds s[ettled them: [10] Akrisios] was k[i]ng in well-buil[t A]rgos . . . rugged . . . [Eury]dike . . . [o]f Lakedai[mo]n . . . [fair-]cheeked, well fur[nishe]d with wi[ts.

And she bore] f[a]ir-ankle[d Dana]e [in her h]a[lls, [15] who bore Perseus, mi]g[ht]y in[st]ille[r] of fear. [But Proitos dwelt in Tiry]ns, a well-[b]ui[l]t city, [and he married the daughte]r of great-hearted [Apheida]s so[n] of Arkas, S[th]eneboi[a] of beau[tiful] locks. . . . [20] cow-eyed Sthen[e]boia . . . mounting the same bed, [the daughter of gr]eat-h[e]arte[d Apheidas s]on of Arkas . . . s who knew [most b]eautiful works, [Lysippe and Iphi]noe and Iphianassa, [25] . . . palace of their father . . .  (Transl. Silvio Curtis)

Ol 13.63-92 – Pindar, Olympian Odes

Bellerophon… once suffered greatly when beside the spring he wanted to harness Pegasus, the son of the snake-entwined Gorgon; [65] until the maiden Pallas brought to him a bridle with golden cheek-pieces. The dream suddenly became waking reality, and she spoke: “Are you sleeping, king, son of Aeolus? Come, take this charm for the horse; and, sacrificing a white bull, show it to your ancestor, Poseidon the Horse-Tamer.” [70] The goddess of the dark aegis seemed to say such words to him as he slumbered in the darkness, and he leapt straight up to his feet. He seized the marvellous thing that lay beside him, and gladly went to the seer of the land, [75] and he told the son of Coeranus the whole story: how, at the seer’s bidding, he had gone to sleep for the night on the altar of the goddess, and how the daughter herself of Zeus whose spear is the thunderbolt had given him the spirit-subduing gold. The seer told him to obey the dream with all speed; [80] and, when he sacrificed a strong-footed bull to the widely powerful holder of the earth, straightaway to dedicate an altar to Athena, goddess of horses. The power of the gods accomplishes as a light achievement what is contrary to oaths and expectations. And so mighty Bellerophon eagerly [85] stretched the gentle charmed bridle around its jaws and caught the winged horse. Mounted on its back and armored in bronze, at once he began to play with weapons. And with Pegasus, from the chilly bosom of the lonely air, he once attacked the Amazons, the female army of archers, [90] and he killed the fire-breathing Chimaera, and the Solymi. I shall pass over his death in silence; but Pegasus has found his shelter in the ancient stables of Zeus in Olympus.  Greek Text

Is 7.43-48 – Pindar, Isthmian Odes

If a man looks to things far away, he is too short to reach the bronze-floored home of the gods; winged Pegasus threw his master Bellerophon, who wanted to go to the dwelling-places of heaven and the company of Zeus.  Greek Text

Il 6.200-202 – Homer, Iliad

But when even Bellerophon came to be hated of all the gods, then verily he wandered alone over the Aleian plain, devouring his own soul, and shunning the paths of men.  Greek Text

Cited in note 29:

Σb Il 6.200 – Scholia b to Homer, Iliad – Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem 3, pp. 291-92, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1877.

Greek Text

Sophokles, Iobates N² – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, pp. 194-95, ed. A. Nauck, 2nd ed. Leipzig 1889.


We do not know the story of Sophokles’s play.  It could be that some comments in Schol. AB Il. Z 155 are relevant here:  “Anteia, wife of Proitos, lusting for Bellerophon, demanded that he go to bed with her:  but he, having regard for decency, refused.  Anteia, was afraid that he would get in first with Proitos and denounce her lust, so she accused Bellerophon, claiming he had forced himself upon her.  Proitos did not want to kill Bellerophon with his own hand, so he sent him to Lykia, to his father-in-law, Iobates, bearing – unawares – written messages. Iobates tested him with many trials, and when he saw that he survived them all, he suspected that a terrible slander was being contrived against his guest – He then gave him his own daughter, Kasandra, in marriage, and a share of his kingdom. – The story is in the Tales from the Tragedies* of Asklepiades.

*Tragodioumena  (Transl. Mary Emerson)  Greek Text

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Edited by Silvio Curtis, Teaching assistant, Department of Classics, Univ. of Georgia, fall 2015.  Updated by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, May 2024.

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