Bellerophon ("//; "Greek: Βελλεροφῶν) or Bellerophontes (Βελλεροφόντης) is a "hero of "Greek mythology. He was "the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside "Cadmus and "Perseus, before the days of "Heracles", and his greatest feat was killing the "Chimera, a monster that "Homer depicted with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail: "her breath came out in terrible blasts of burning flame." Bellerophon was born at "Corinth and was the son of the mortal "Eurynome by either her husband "Glaucus, or "Poseidon.
One possible etymology that has been suggested is: Βελλεροφόντης from βέλεμνον, βελόνη, βέλος ("projectile, dart, javelin, needle, arrow, bullet") and -φόντης ("slayer") from φονεύω ("to slay"). However, "Geoffrey Kirk says that "Βελλεροφόντης means 'slayer of Belleros'". Belleros could have been a Lycian, a local "daimon or a Corinthian nobleman—Bellerophon's name "clearly invited all sorts of speculation".
The "Iliad vi.155–203 contains an "embedded narrative told by Bellerophon's grandson "Glaucus, named for his great-grandfather, which recounts Bellerophon's myth. Bellerophon's father was "Glaucus, who was the king of "Corinth and the son of "Sisyphus. Bellerophon's grandsons "Sarpedon and the younger Glaucus fought in the "Trojan War. In the "Epitome of pseudo-"Apollodorus, a genealogy is given for "Chrysaor ("of the golden sword") that would make him a double of Bellerophon; he too is called the son of Glaucus the son of Sisyphus. Chrysaor has no myth save that of his birth: from the severed neck of "Medusa, who was with child by Poseidon, he and "Pegasus both sprang at the moment of her death. "From this moment we hear no more of Chrysaor, the rest of the tale concerning the stallion only...[who visits the spring of Pirene] perhaps also for his brother's sake, by whom in the end he let himself be caught, the immortal horse by his mortal brother."
Bellerophon's brave journey began in the familiar way, with an exile: he had murdered either his brother, whose name is usually given as Deliades, or killed a shadowy "enemy", a "Belleros" (though the details are never directly told), and in expiation of his crime arrived as a suppliant to "Proetus, king in "Tiryns, one of the Mycenaean strongholds of "the Argolid. Proetus, by virtue of his kingship, cleansed Bellerophon of his crime. The wife of the king, whether named "Anteia or "Stheneboea, took a fancy to him, but when he rejected her, she accused Bellerophon of attempting to ravish her. Proetus dared not satisfy his anger by killing a guest, so he sent Bellerophon to King "Iobates his father-in-law, in the plain of the River Xanthus in "Lycia, bearing a sealed message in a folded tablet: "Pray remove the bearer from this world: he attempted to violate my wife, your daughter." Before opening the tablets, Iobates feasted with Bellerophon for nine days. On reading the tablet's message Iobates too feared the wrath of the "Erinyes if he murdered a guest; so he sent Bellerophon on a mission that he deemed impossible: to kill the "Chimera, living in neighboring "Caria. The Chimera was a fire-breathing monster whose make-up comprised the body of a goat, the head of a lion and the tail being a serpent. This monster had terrorized the nearby countryside. On his way he encountered the famous "Corinthian seer "Polyeidos who gave him advice about his oncoming battle.
Polyeidos told Bellerophon that he would have need of "Pegasus. To obtain the services of the untamed winged horse, Polyeidos told Bellerophon to sleep in the temple of "Athena. While Bellerophon slept, he dreamed that Athena set a golden bridle beside him, saying "Sleepest thou, prince of the house of Aiolos? Come, take this charm for the steed and show it to the "Tamer thy father as thou makest sacrifice to him of a white bull." It was there when he awoke. Bellerophon had to approach Pegasus while it drank from a well; Polyeidos told him which well—the never-failing "Pirene on the citadel of Corinth, the city of Bellerophon's birth. Other accounts say that Athena brought Pegasus already tamed and bridled, or that Poseidon the horse-tamer, secretly the father of Bellerophon, brought Pegasus, as "Pausanias understood. Bellerophon mounted his steed and flew off to where the Chimera was said to dwell.
When he arrived in Lycia, the "Chimera was truly ferocious, and he could not harm the monster even while riding on Pegasus. He felt the heat of the breath the Chimera expelled, and was struck with an idea. He got a large block of lead and mounted it on his spear. Then he flew head-on towards the Chimera, holding out the spear as far as he could. Before he broke off his attack, he managed to lodge the block of lead inside the Chimera's throat. The beast's fire-breath melted the lead, and blocked its air passage. The Chimera suffocated, and Bellerophon returned victorious to King Iobates. Iobates, on Bellerophon's return, was unwilling to credit his story. A series of daunting further "quests ensued: he was sent against the warlike Solymi and then against the "Amazons who fought like men, whom Bellerophon vanquished by dropping boulders from his winged horse; when he was sent against a Carian pirate, Cheirmarrhus, an ambush failed, when Bellerophon killed all sent to assassinate him; the palace guards were sent against him, but Bellerophon called upon Poseidon, who flooded the plain of "Xanthus behind Bellerophon as he approached. In defense the palace women sent him and the flood in retreat by rushing from the gates with their robes lifted high, offering themselves, to which the modest hero replied by withdrawing. Iobates relented, produced the letter, and allowed Bellerophon to marry his daughter "Philonoe, the younger sister of "Anteia, and shared with him half his kingdom, with fine vineyards and grain fields. The lady Philonoe bore him Isander, "Hippolochus and "Laodamia, who lay with Zeus the Counselor and bore "Sarpedon but was slain by "Artemis.
As Bellerophon's fame grew, so did his "hubris. Bellerophon felt that because of his victory over the Chimera, and because he thought he was a god he deserved to fly to "Mount Olympus, the realm of the gods. However, this presumption angered "Zeus and he sent a "gadfly to sting the horse, causing Bellerophon to fall all the way back to Earth. Pegasus completed the flight to Olympus where Zeus used him as a pack horse for his thunderbolts. On the Plain of Aleion ("Wandering"), Bellerophon (who had fallen into a thorn bush causing him to become blind) lived out his life in misery, grieving and shunning the haunts of men until he died. In "Tlos, near Fethiye, in modern-day Turkey, ancient Lykia, there is a tomb with a carving of a man riding a winged horse. This is claimed locally to be the tomb of Bellerophon.
Enough fragments of "Euripides' lost tragedy, Bellerophontes, remain embedded as some thirty quotations in surviving texts to give scholars a basis for assessing its theme: the tragic outcome of his attempt to storm Olympus on Pegasus. An outspoken passage—in which Bellerophon seems to doubt the gods' existence from the contrast between the wicked and impious, who live lives of ease, with the privations suffered by the good—is apparently the basis for "Aristophanes' imputation of ""atheism" to the poet.
The replacement of Bellerophon by the more familiar "culture hero "Perseus was a development of Classical times that was standardized during the Middle Ages and has been adopted by the European poets of the Renaissance and later.