Bellerophon (bəlĕrˈəfŏn, –fən) [key], in Greek mythology, son of Glaucus; originally called Hipponoüs. He changed his name after he murdered a countryman and was forced to flee to exile. He became a suppliant at the court of King Proetus of Argos, whose wife Anteia falsely accused him of trying to seduce her. Proetus sent him to Iobates, king of Lycia, with a sealed message requesting the death of its bearer. Iobates gave Bellerophon the seemingly impossible task of killing the Chimera, a beast that was part lion, part goat, part dragon. Bellerophon, however, with the aid of the flying horse Pegasus, killed the monster. Iobates sent him on other difficult missions, but finally decided that Bellerophon was favored by the gods and gave him his daughter in marriage. At the height of his prosperity, however, Bellerophon tried to ride Pegasus to the throne of the gods atop Mt. Olympus, and Zeus in anger caused Pegasus to throw him to the ground. Bellerophon then wandered alone, crippled, blind, and humiliated, until he died.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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