Sisyphus (Myth of Sisyphus) had a son, the hero Glaucus, who ruled in Corinth after his father’s death. And Glaucus had a son – Bellerophon, one of the greatest heroes of Greece. Beautiful as a god was Bellerophon and equal to the immortal gods in manhood. When he was still a young man, Bellerophon had an accident: he inadvertently killed a Corinthian citizen and had to flee his hometown. He fled to Proit, king of Tiryns. The king of Tiryns received the hero with great honors and cleansed him of his pollution due to the blood shed by him. But Bellerophon could not stay long in Tiryns. Proit’s wife, the godly Anthea, was captivated by the beauty of Bellerophon. However, he rejected her love. Then Queen Anthea flared up in hatred for him and decided to destroy him. She went to her husband and told him:

“Oh, king! Bellerophon insults you badly. You have to kill him. He teases me, me, your wife. Here is how he thanked you for the hospitality!”

Proit was angry; but he personally could not raise his hand against his guest, for he feared the wrath of Zeus, the patron saint of hospitality. Prout thought for a long time about how to destroy Bellerophon, and finally decided to send him to bring a letter to Anthea’s father, Jobat, king of Lycia. In this letter, written on a plaque folded in half and sealed, Proit told Yobat how badly Bellerophon had insulted him and begged him to avenge the insult. Bellerophon left with the letter to Yobat, unaware of the danger to him.

After a long journey, Bellerophon arrived in Lycia. Yobat gladly received the young hero and celebrated him with feasts for nine days. Finally, Yobat asked him what the purpose of his coming was. Bellerophon calmly handed Proit’s letter to the Lycian king. Yobat took the folded and sealed table and opened it. When he read what was written in it, he was horrified. He had to kill the young hero, whom he had already managed to love during those nine days. But Yobat himself, like Proit, did not dare to violate the sacred custom of hospitality. To destroy Bellerophon, he decided to send the hero to perform a feat that threatened him with imminent death. He commissioned Bellerophon to kill the terrible monster Chimera. She was the child of the terrible Typhon and the gigantic Echidna. Chimera was a lion in front, a mountain chamois in the middle, and a dragon in the back. She spat fire from all three huge mouths. No one could escape the terrible Chimera. Everyone who approached her died.

The danger associated with this feat did not deter Bellerophon; the mighty hero boldly set about making it happen. He knew that only the one who possessed the winged horse Pegasus, flying out of the body of the gorgon Medusa killed by Perseus, could defeat Chimera; he also knew where he could find this wonderful horse. Pegasus often landed on top of Acrocorinth and drank water from the Pyrenees spring. That’s where Bellerophon went. He came to the spring just as Pegasus, descending behind the clouds, was quenching his thirst with the cold, crystal-clear water of the Pyrenean spring. Bellerophon wanted to catch Pegasus at the same time. He lurked for days and nights, but it was all in vain, no tricks helped. Pegasus slipped from Bellerophon’s hands. As the young hero approached the winged horse, it fluttered its strong wings and with the speed of the wind rose above the clouds and hovered like an eagle. Finally, on the advice of the prophet, Polyid Bellerophon lay down to sleep by the source of the Pyrenees, next to the altar of Athena Paladas, where he first saw Pegasus. Bellerophon wanted to receive a dream revelation from the gods. Indeed, in a dream, the beloved daughter of the thunderer Zeus Athena appeared to him, taught him how to catch Pegasus, gave him a golden bridle and ordered him to sacrifice to the sea god Poseidon. Bellerophon awoke to his surprise to see that a golden bridle lay beside him. With fervent prayer he thanked the great goddess. He knew now that he would control Pegasus.

Here that the wonderful horse flew to the spring of the Pyrenees with its snow-white wings. Bellerophon bravely rode him and put the golden bridle on his head. Pegasus carried the hero through the air faster than the wind for a long time; he finally calmed down and has since faithfully served Bellerophon.

The hero quickly flew with Pegasus to the mountains of Lycia, to the place where the monstrous Chimera lived. The chimera sensed an enemy approaching and crawled out of the dark cave, mighty and terrifying. Flames erupted from her three huge mouths, clouds of smoke covering everything around her. Pegasus flew high with Bellerophon and from a height Bellerophon fired arrows at Chimera one after another. She slammed into the rocks and threw away the arrows; she drifted furiously through the mountains. Everything perished from her flame. Bellerophon followed her everywhere with his winged horse. The chimera could not hide from the exact hits of the hero; deadly arrows overtook her everywhere. Bellerophon killed the terrible monster and returned to King Jobat with great glory.

Bellerophon and Pegasus, detail from Veroli’s coffin, 900-1000

But Yobat assigned him another task. He sent the hero against the warlike salts. Many heroes died in battles with the Salts, but Bellerophon defeated them. And this feat did not reach Yobat – he sought to destroy the hero. So he sent it against the invincible Amazons. And Bellerophon emerged victorious from this war. Yobat then sent Lycia’s strongest men, returning from the glorious victory, to kill the invincible Bellerophon by attacking him suddenly. The Lycians lured the hero into an ambush, but he did not die here either. All of Lycia’s strongest men fell at the hands of the mighty hero. Then Jobat realized what a great hero he had received as a guest. He welcomed the glorious winner with great honors. Jobat gave him his daughter as a wife, and with her half the kingdom as a dowry. And the Lycians separated as a gift to Bellerophon the most fertile land from their fields and gave it to him in possession.

Since then, Bellerophon has remained in Lycia and lived there, surrounded by honor and glory. But he ended his life unhappily. The great hero was proud. His great fame so blinded him that he wished to become equal to the Olympian gods. Bellerophon decided to fly with his winged horse Pegasus and go to the immortal gods of bright Olympus. Zeus punished Bellerophon for this arrogance. The Thunderer infuriated the winged Pegasus with rage, and when Bellerophon rode him to ascend Olympus, Pegasus threw him to the ground. As a result of the fall to the ground, the mighty hero lost his mind. For a long time he wandered madly through the “valley of wanderings”, until the dark god of death Thanatos flew on his black wings and snatched his soul. Thus descended into the sad realm of shadows the great hero Bellerophon.

Exposed according to Homer’s poem “Iliad” and according to the verses of Pindar, A. Kuhn