Posts Tagged ‘Chrysaor’

PEGASUSHEADER

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Bellerophon, Pegasus and Khimaira. Kylix Laconian Black Figure. Ca 570 - 565 BC.

Bellerophon, Pegasus and Khimaira. Kylix Laconian Black Figure. Ca 570 – 565 BC.

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Pegasus was a Hippoi Athanatoi, meaning an immortal horse of the Gods. he was a winged horse which sprang forth from the neck of the Gorgon Medusa when she was beheaded by the hero Perseus. 

When Perseus struck off the head of Medusa, with whom Poseidon had once had intercourse in the form of a horse or a bird, there sprang forth from her Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus.

Chrysaor (meaning “Golden Sword”) was usually represented as giant, but may also have been conceived of as a winged boar.

As to Pegasus, he obtained that because he was believed to have made his appearance near the sources (pêgai) of Oceanus.

Liz Greene calls the winged horse the bridge between opposites: “An earthy creature which has the power to ascend into the spiritual realm”[Source: Symbol Reader].

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“The Birth of Pegasus and Chrysaor” by Edward Burne-Jones (1885).

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Pegasus was tamed by Bellerophon, a corinthian hero, who rode him into battle against the Chimera.

On a side note, the Chimera was a creature of Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. 

Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat  arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake´s head. The Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Hydra.

After Pegasus had conquered the Chimera, he endeavoured to rise up to heaven with his winged horse, but fell down upon the earth, either from fear or from giddiness, or being thrown off by Pegasus, who was rendered furious by a gad-fly which Zeus had sent. But Pegasus continued his flight.

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“Bellerophon Rides to Kill the Chimera” by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov 1829.

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The winged horse was also placed amongst the stars as a constellation whose rising marked the arrival of the warmer weather of spring and seasonal rainstorms.

Hence, Pegasus became a constellation in the northern sky, which brightest star is the orange supergiant Epsilon Pegasi

Both Hesiod and Plato made reference to this emplacement:

“Pegasus, soaring, left the earth, the mother of sheep flocks, and came to the immortals, and there he lives in the household of Zeus, and carries the thunder and lightning for Zeus of the counsels”. (Hesiod, Theogony).

“A pair of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble descent… Zeus, the mighty lord, holding the reins of a winged chariot, leads the way in heaven, ordering all and taking care of all; and there follows him the array of gods and demigods, marshalled in eleven bands [the twelve Olympians]”.  (Plato, Phaedrus, 246).

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Pegasus with the foal Equuleus next to it, as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London in 1825. The horses appear upside-down in relation to the constellations around them.

Pegasus with the foal Equuleus next to it, as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London in 1825. The horses appear upside-down in relation to the constellations around them.

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From a symbolic point, Pegasoi or winged horses occur in ancient art drawing the chariots of various gods and goddesses, including Helios, the sun and Selene, the moon.

The hero Pelops was also given a chariot drawn by winged horses by the god Poseidon.

Furthermore, Pegasus is a Pterippus (pteros in Greek means “winged” and hippos means “horse”).

The symbolic meaning of the horse is pretty intense with themes of power and mobility.

The horse alone also carries archetypal themes of unifying grounded stability (four feet on the ground) with higher ideals (from speed and mobility).

This theme really comes to life when the horse is winged. The Pterippus, or winged horse, is a symbol of aspiring to the greatest heights of accomplishment.

Grounded by the stability of its body, yet in flight by the ephemeral power of its wings, Pegasus offers a great analogy because of the dichotomy it offers. 

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“Perseus on Pegasus Slaying Medusa “by John Singer Sargent. 20th century.

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Perseus and Andromeda, detail of

Perseus and Andromeda, detail of “Pegasus”, by Peter Paul Rubens. 1622.

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►Gallery: “Creatures, Characters and Gods featured in this post”:

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►Gallery: “Pegasus, The Winged Horse”:

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►Anex: A List of More Types of Horses in Greek Mythology (Gallery Below):

The Centaur, a creature with the head and torso of a man and the lower body of a horse. 

•The Hippocampus, a creature with an upper body that resembles a horse and a dolphin-like lower body.

•The Hippogriff, a beast with a head and front legs of an eagle whilst the rest of its body is that of a horse.

•The Ichthyocentaur, a creature which supposedly was one-third horse, one-third fish, and one-third human. Also known as Sea Centaur.

•The Ipotanes, a being that looked overall human, but had the legs, hindquarters, tail, and ears of a horse.

•The Sileni, bipedal beings that appear human form the waist up and horse the waist down. They were  were rustic spirits in the train of the God of Wine, Dionysus.

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Ther/HipposPegasos.html
http://www.theoi.com/Ther/Hippoi.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(mythology)
http://www.space.com/16743-constellation-pegasus.html
http://rabirius.me/2016/01/03/feeding-pegasus/
http://www.whats-your-sign.com/meaning-of-wings.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_and_Andromeda_(Rubens)
http://symbolreader.net/2013/08/11/light-and-matter-the-perseid-meteor-shower/

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the gorgons

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Perseus and Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, (1554). Perseus with the head of Medusa. Details.

Perseus and Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, (1554). Perseus with the head of Medusa. Details.

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In Greek Mythology, the Gorgons were three monsters, daughters of Echidna and Typhon. Their names were Stheno (“forceful”), Euryale (“far-roaming”), and the most famous of them, Medusa (“ruler”).  Although the first two were immortal, Medusa was not, and she was slain by the demigod and hero Perseus.

It was said that their  appearance would turn anyone who laid eyes upon it to stone. The name “Gorgon”  is Greek, being derived from “gorgos” and translating as “terrible” or “dreadful”.

Hesiod in his “Theogony” imagines the Gorgons as three sea daemons and makes them the daughters of two sea deities.

Homer speaks only of one Gorgon, whose head is represented in “The Iliad”as fixed in the centre of the aegis (meaning a mirrored shield) of Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom,  and whose counterpart was a device on the shield of Agamemnon.

In Homer´s “Odyssey”, the Gorgon is a monster of the underworld into which the earliest Greek deities were cast.

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Roman mosaic from 4th C. BC found in Palencia, in the year 1869 and currently at the National archaeological Museum of Madrid.

Roman mosaic from 4th C. BC found in Palencia, in the year 1869 and currently at the National archaeological Museum of Madrid.

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In most versions of the story, Medusa was killed by Perseus.

According to Ovid (“Metamorphoses”, book IV), the reason for the dispute between Athena and Medusa lay in Poseidon‘s rape of Medusa inside the temple of the virgin goddess.

The goddess of Wisdom was supposed to have punished Medusa by transforming her face, which therefore made Medusa an innocent victim.

As to Perseus, he was  the son of the mortal Danae (the daughter of the King of Argos) and Zeus, the Ruler of Gods.

He would later on become the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Dynasty of Danaans

Perseus had been sent to  fetch Medusa´s head by King Polydectes of Seriphus because Polydectes wanted to marry his mother.

The gods backed up Perseus. Thus, he received a mirrored shield from Athena, gold, winged sandals from Hermes (the messenger of the Gods), a sword from Hephaestus and Hades´helm of invisibility.

Medusa was the only one of the three Gorgons who was mortal, so Perseus was able to slay her while looking at the reflection from the mirrored shield he received from Athena.

Perseus could safely cut off Medusa’s head without turning to stone, by looking only at her reflection in the shield.

During that time, Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon.

When Perseus beheaded Medusa, Medusa and Poseidon´s sons, Pegasus (a winged horse) and Chrysaor (a golden sword-wielding giant), sprang from her body.

According to other accounts, either Perseus or Athena used the head to turn Atlas into stone, transforming him into the Atlas Mountains  that held up both heaven and earth.

Many elements of the myth suggest, through its basic ambiguity, the tragic nature of Medusa.

One of the most revealing of these is the gift from Athena to Asclepius of two drops of the Gorgon’s blood, one of which has the power to cure and even resurrect, while the other is a deadly poison.

In his study “The Mirror of Medusa” (1983), Tobin Siebers has identified the importance of two elements, i.e. the rivalry between Athena and the Gorgon, and the mirror motif.

As to the mirror motif, common features are numerous. For example, snakes are the attribute of Athena, as illustrated by the famous statue of Phidias. 

With regard to symbolisms and equivalents, it is interesting to highlight that in Ancient Greece a Gorgoneion (a stone head, engraving, or drawing of a Gorgon face), frequently was used as a sacred symbol in the hopes of warding off evil.

These symbols were similar to the sometimes grotesque faces on Chinese soldiers’ shields, also used generally as an amulet. Likewise, in Hindu mythology, Kali is often shown with a protruding tongue and snakes around her head. Medusa is, besides, one of the most archaic mythical figures, perhaps an echo of the demon Humbaba who was decapitated by the babylonian hero, Gilgamesh.

David Leeming in his book: “Medusa: In the Mirror of Time” (2013) traces the development of Medusa from her earliest appearances in Archaic art and poetry to her more recent incarnations. Leeming makes reference to Jean Pierre Vernant several times in his book.

Particularly he mentions Vernant´s  essay “In The Mirror of Medusa” (1985), in which he examines Medusa in the context of archaic Greek religious life.

Leeming second Vernant when he states that Medusa is basically “a mask conveying the Ultimate Other”. They both believe that Medusa represented the death power which “wrenches humans away from their lives”. (“To gaze at the Other, which is the Medusa mask is to lose the Self, to be petrified”).

Robert Graves (“Greek Myths”, 1958) believes that the myth of Perseus preserves the memory of the conflicts which occurred between men and women in the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. 

In fact, the function of the Gorgon’s mask was to keep men at a safe distance from the sacred ceremonies and mysteries reserved for women, meaning, those which celebrated the Triple Goddess, the Moon.

Graves reminds us that the Orphic poems referred to the full moon as the “Gorgon’s head”. The mask was also worn by young maidens to ward off male lust.

Consequently, according to Robert Graves, the episode of Perseus’ victory over Medusa represents the end of female ascendancy and the taking over of the temples by men, who had become the masters of the divine which Medusa’s head had concealed from them.

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“La Méduse” by Jean Delville. 1893

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►Gallery: “The Gorgons”: 

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“Medusa” by Arnold Böcklin (On the Left: 1878. On the Right: 1897).

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“The Gorgon Medusa”, by Caravaggio. (1590).

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►Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgon
http://www.rwaag.org/medusa
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2014/2014-08-09.html
https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=vQqIWcgAxhIC&redir_esc=y
http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/bogan/medusamyth.htm
https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2008/12/25/medusa-inspired-art-on-show/

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  Last but not Least: “Three Awards” 

Thank you very much to bloggers from Time for my Thoughts, Jully´s Blog and Dear Kitty for nominating me for a Blogger Recognition Award, a Creative Blogger Award and a Real Neat Blog Award, respectively.

I will follow these basic rules for these three awards: 

♠Thank the person who nominated you. ♠Add the logo to your post. ♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers of your choice and tell them about the nomination. 

I. Nominees Blogger Recognition Award: 1. Natascha’s Palace 2. Art Box 3. Way Station 4. Book lover circumspect4 5. WolfBerryKnits 6. Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks” Wiser 7. Blabberwockying 8. Ricettedicasamia 9. Missameliaandsir 10. Keep The Hope.

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II. Nominees Creative Blogger Award: 1. Dreamspinner Extraordinaire 2. La Luna Escarlata 3. Spiritual Dragonfly 4. Trees of Transition 5. Stephanie’s Book Reviews 6. Collage a la intemperie 7. Breathe In My Touch 8.Time for my Thoughts 9. Dear Kitty 10. Of Means and Ends.

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III. Nominees Real Neat Blog Award:  1. Joys of Joel 2. Soul Synchronicity 3. Be Different Buddy 4. Ionic Bond Blog 5. El Mejor Viaje del Mundo 6. Nearly Dear 7. Jully´s Blog 8. Diana Douglas 9. All Nine 10. Imperfect Happiness.

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