Bellerophon's Epic Marshmallow Roast Picture

All right, so that is not an actual marshmallow! This shows the Greek hero Bellerophon battling the monstrous Chimera. Bellerophon came from Corinth and was the son of Glaucus and the grandson of Sisyphus. His name, also sometimes given as Bellerophontes, means something like 'killer of Belleros', although we no longer know who Belleros was. Going into exile, perhaps because of the murder, he was given refuge by king Proetus in Argos. While he was there, queen Stheneboa came on to him but he rejected her, so she told Proetus he tried to rape her. Proetus could not harm Bellerophon though, him being a guest, so he sent him to his (that is, Proetus') father-in-law Iobates in Asia Minor, with a message that Iobates should have him killed. But Iobates also balked at killing his guest, so instead he gave him a number of supposedly impossible and potentially deadly tasks to complete – not that original a plan as far as mythological times were concerned, and also one that rarely worked as intended.

One of the tasks Bellerophon had to perform was to kill the Chimera. This was a monstrous beast, a combination of a lion, a goat, and a snake, that terrorized Lycia. Bellerophon needed a fearless mount in order to approach the fire-breathing monster. He knew of the flying horse Pegasus, who sprang from the blood of the gorgon Medusa after she was beheaded by Perseus. But Pegasus was also unconquerable by mortal man. The goddess Athena took pity on Bellerophon and gave him a bridle by which he could subdue and govern Pegasus.

Flying on Pegasus, Bellerophon tried to attack the Chimera, but because of its fiery breath he could not get close enough to it for a lethal strike. Finally he worked out a plan. He took a big block of lead and mounted it on the tip of his spear. Again he approached the Chimera, and this time when it opened its mouth (one of them, that is) he held the lead out towards it. The lead melted from the monster's fire breath, dripped into its mouth and went down its throat and into its lungs, and so the Chimera choked to death.

Bellerophon was given other tasks, all of which he completed successfully. He became a hero of Lycia and eventually married king Iobates' daughter.


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