Erichthonius, a fascinating figure in Greek mythology, was a serpent-formed child born from the union of Hephaestus, the god of fire and metalworking, and the earth. According to legend, Hephaestus attempted to force himself upon Athena, the goddess of wisdom, but she managed to evade him. In the process, Hephaestus' seed fell on the earth, and Erichthonius was born.
Upon Erichthonius' birth, Athena took him under her protection, placing the serpent-child in a sacred basket and entrusting him to the three daughters of Cecrops: Aglaurus, Herse, and Pandrosus. She instructed them not to open the basket until she returned. However, curiosity overcame Aglaurus and Herse, who disobeyed Athena's command and peeked inside the basket. Upon seeing the serpent-formed child, they were driven mad and ultimately leaped from the Acropolis, meeting their tragic end.
Despite his unusual origins and serpent form, Erichthonius went on to become a respected king of Athens. He was known for his wisdom, innovation, and contribution to the city's development. Among his many accomplishments, Erichthonius introduced the use of silver coins and the four-horse chariot, known as the quadriga, to Athenian society.
Erichthonius' story is an intriguing blend of divine intervention, human curiosity, and the development of ancient Athens. His connection to Athena, the city's patron goddess, and his role in its early history make him an essential figure in Greek mythology. Erichthonius' tale continues to captivate those interested in the rich tapestry of myths and legends that have shaped our understanding of the ancient world.
Erichthonius: The Serpent-Child in Greek Mythology The Birth of Erichthonius Erichthonius, a fascinating figure in Greek mythology, was a serpent-formed child born from the union of Hephaestus, the god of fire and metalworking, and the earth. According to legend, Hephaestus attempted to force himself upon Athena, the goddess of wisdom, but she managed to evade him.
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