Greek mythology, Ixion [Greek "Ιξίων" with a long "ι," Latin "Ixīōn"] was king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, and a son of Aresor Antionor the notorious evildoer Phlegyas, whose name connotes "fiery". Peirithoös [Peirithoös, too slew a kinsman, which occasioned his wandering in search of " catharsis".] was his son (or stepson, if Zeuswere his father, as the sky-god claims to Hera in "Iliad" 14). ["come, let us turn to lovemaking. For never did such desire for goddess or woman ever flood over me, taming the heart in my breast, not even when I loved Ixion's wife, who bore Peirithoös, the gods' equal in counsel..." Tactless, Zeus lists several more of his conquests to Hera.] Ixion married Dia, [Dia "is only another name for Hebe, the daughter of Hera, and indeed was probably the name for Hera herself, as 'she who belongs to Zeus' or 'the Heavenly one'" (Kerenyi 1951:159). ] a daughter of Deioneus(or Eioneus) and promised his father-in-law a valuable present. However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation. Ixion concealed his resentment and invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa. When Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of burning coals and wood. These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion's primordial act of murder: in the Greek Anthology(iii.12), among a collection of inscriptions from a temple in Cyzicus is an epigrammatic description of Ixion slaying Phorbasand Polymelos, who had slain his mother, Megara.
Ixion went mad, defiled by his act; the neighboring princes were so offended by this act of treachery and violation of "xenia" that they refused to perform the rituals that would cleanse Ixion of his guilt (see "
catharsis"). Thereafter, Ixion lived as an outlaw and shunned. By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology. That alone would warrant him a terrible punishment.
Zeushad pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympusand introduced him at the table of the gods. Instead of being grateful, Ixion grew lustful for Hera, [He was already wedded to her double, Dia.] Zeus's consort, a further violation of guest-host relations. Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the shape of Hera, which became known as Nephele, and tricked Ixion into coupling with it. From the union of Ixion and the false-Hera cloud came Centauros, who covered the Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion, Pindar told, [Pindar, Second Pythian Ode.] engendering the race of Centaurs, who are called the Ixionidaefrom their descent.
Ixion was expelled from Olympus and blasted with a
thunderbolt. Zeus ordered Hermesto bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning; ["On an Etruscan mirror, Ixion is shown spread-eagled to a firewheel, with mushroom tinder at his feet" (Graves 1960,63.2) The wheel has been recognized as the solar wheel at least since Arthur Bernard Cook, "Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion", 1914, pp 197-98, and pl. XVII, the bronze Etruscan mirror engraved with Ixion on his wheel.] only when Orpheusplayed his lyre did it stop for a while. Therefore, Ixion is bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning across the heavens, [The meticulous Pindar mentions the feathers.] but in later myth transferred to Tartarus(Kerenyi 1951:160).
In the fifth century,
Pindar's Second Pythian Ode (ca. 476-68 BCE) expands on the example of Ixion, applicable to Hiero I of Syracuse, the tyrant of whom the poet sings; and Aeschylus, Euripidesand Timasitheos each wrote a tragedy of Ixion: none have survived.
Pindar. "Pythian Odes", II.21-48. ( [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/searchresults.jsp?q=Pindar+Pythian+Ode On-line text] )
*The story of Ixion is also told by Pseudo-Apollodorus "Epitome of the "Bibliotheca", 1.20;
Diodorus Siculus, 4.69.3-.5; Hyginus, " Fabulae" 33 (mention) and 62; Virgilin " Georgics" 4 and " Aeneid" 6, and by Ovidin "Metamorphoses" 12.
Lucian of Samosata, "Dialogues of the Gods" ( [http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/wl1/wl116.htm On-line text in English] )
*Graves, Robert, (1955) 1960. "The Greek Myths", Section 63 "passim".
*Kerenyi, Karl. "The Gods of the Greeks". London: Thames & Hudson, 1951 (pp. 158-160).
* [http://www.pantheon.org/articles/i/ixion.html Encyclopedia Mythica - Ixion]
* [http://www.maicar.com/GML/Ixion.html Greek Mythology Link (Carlos Parada) - Ixion]
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