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A 5th century BCE mural depicting Bellerophon on Pegasos attacking the Chimera

Pegasos, also spelled Pegasus, was a famed pterippus—a winged, divine stallion—in Greek mythology.

History

In Greek mythology, Pegasos sprung forth along with his brother Chrysaor from the neck of the gorgon Medusa after the legendary hero Perseus had cut off her head. The steed befriended Perseus, and carried him to save Andromeda, an Aithiopian princess, who was chained to cliffs as a sacrifice to the sea monster Ketos.[1]

According to the stories, the legendary hero Bellerophon, son of King Glaukos of Korinth caught Pegasos when the steed came to the Spring of Peirene to drink.[2]

One of the many deeds Pegasos and Bellerophon are famed for is the slaying of the mythical beast Chimera. Another is when the god Zeus tasked Pegasos to bring lightning and thunder from Olympos; as a reward for doing this, the steed was turned into a constellation.[2]

Influence and legacy

By the 5th century BCE Korinthia had taken the image of Pegasos as their national emblem, which was emblazoned on their banners. Korinthia had also a region dedicated to the steed, called Valley of the Pegasos.[2]

One of the regions of Korinthia, the Valley of the Pegasos, was also named after the creature.[2]

During the Peloponnesian War the Spartan misthios found a figurehead for the ship Adrestia bearing the likeness of Pegasos within the Olympic Shipwreck, off the coast of Elis. She also found sails and finery bearing a depiction of the steed in the Hermit's Dive. In addition, she also obtained an armor set which drew inspiration from the winged stallion.[2]

In the 1st century BCE a wealthy merchant's daughter, Kara, named her beloved horse Pegasus in honor of the mythical creature. Unlike Pegasos of myth, Kara's steed was mare.[3]

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References

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