Mythology

by: Edith Hamilton

Part Two, Chapters III–IV

Summary Part Two, Chapters III–IV

Summary: Chapter IV — Four Great Adventures

Phaëthon - 
Here Phaëthon lies, who drove the Sun-god's car.
Greatly he failed, but he had greatly dared.

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Born on earth, Phaëthon learns that his father is the Sun, so he seeks him out. The Sun, joyous at seeing his son, swears by the river Styx—an unbreakable oath—to grant him any wish. Phaëthon asks to fly the Sun’s chariot across the sky. Though the Sun foresees the horrible end, his oath binds him to grant the wish. Phaëthon cannot handle the chariot’s wild horses, who rage and set the world on fire. To halt the destruction, Jove kills Phaëthon with a thunderbolt. The magical invisible Eridanus River puts out the flames.

Pegasus and Bellerophon  - 

A beautiful and strong youth, Bellerophon wants more than anything to possess the winged horse Pegasus. He sleeps in Athena’s temple one night, and upon waking finds a golden bridle that enables him to tame the horse. Bellerophon rejects the infatuated wife of a king named Proetus, who accuses him of wrongdoing and sends him on a quest with the intent to kill him. He kills the Chimera, a monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail; defeats the fierce Solymi warriors and the Amazons; but he finally goes too far by trying to use Pegasus to fly up to Olympus. The wise Pegasus bucks Bellerophon, who spends the rest of his days a lonely wanderer while Pegasus becomes the pride of Zeus’s stables.

Otus and Ephialtes  - 

Two Giant brothers—sons of Poseidon—Otus and Ephialtes also exhibit pride in the face of the gods, as they claim superiority to the gods and manage to kidnap Ares. They also try to kidnap Artemis, who outwits them, tricking them into killing each other with spears.