Phrixus

Phrixus

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In Greek mythology, Phrixus or Frixos  or Phryxus was the son of Athamas
Athamas
The king of Orchomenus in Greek mythology, Athamas , was married first to the goddess Nephele with whom he had the twins Phrixus or Frixos and Helle. He later divorced Nephele and married Ino, daughter of Cadmus. With Ino, he had two children: Learches and Melicertes...

, king of Boiotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

, and Nephele
Nephele
In Greek mythology, Nephele was a cloud nymph who figured prominently in the story of Phrixus and Helle.Greek myth also has it that Nephele is the cloud whom Zeus created in the image of Hera to trick Ixion to test his integrity after displaying his lust for Hera during a feast as a guest of Zeus...

 (a goddess of clouds). His twin sister Helle
Helle (mythology)
Helle was a character in Greek mythology who figured prominently in the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Phrixus, son of Athamas and Nephele, along with his twin sister, Helle, were hated by their stepmother, Ino. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the town's crop...

 and he were hated by their stepmother, Ino
Ino
-Arts and music:*"I'm Not Okay" , a 2004 song by American alternative rock band My Chemical Romance*I-No, a character in the Guilty Gear series of video games*Ino , a queen of Thebes in Greek mythology...

. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all of Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

's crop seeds so they would not grow. The local farmers, frightened of famine, asked a nearby oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 for assistance. Ino bribed the men sent to the oracle to lie and tell the others that the oracle required the sacrifice of Phrixus and Helle. Before they were killed, though, Phrixus and Helle were rescued by a flying, or swimming, ram with silver wool sent by Nephele
Nephele
In Greek mythology, Nephele was a cloud nymph who figured prominently in the story of Phrixus and Helle.Greek myth also has it that Nephele is the cloud whom Zeus created in the image of Hera to trick Ixion to test his integrity after displaying his lust for Hera during a feast as a guest of Zeus...

, their natural mother; their starting point is variously recorded as Halos
Halos
Halos was a settlement in Ancient Greece, in the region of Thessaly. It was destroyed by an earthquake and abandoned....

 in Thessaly and Orchomenus
Orchomenus
-Greek mythology:*Orchomenus, a king, the father of Elara*Orchomenus, one of the twenty sons of Lycaon*Orchomenus, son of Zeus and Isonoe, father of Minyas and Kyparissos*Orchomenus, a son of Athamas and Themisto-Ancient Greek geography:...

 in Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

. During their flight Helle swooned, fell off the ram and drowned in the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

, renamed the Hellespont (sea of Helle), but Phrixus survived all the way to Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

, where King Aeëtes
Aeëtes
In Greek mythology, Aeëtes , , , was a King of Colchis , son of the sun-god Helios and the Oceanid Perseis , brother of Circe and Pasiphae, and father of Medea, Chalciope and Apsyrtus...

, the son of the sun god Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

, took him in and treated him kindly, giving Phrixus his daughter, Chalciope
Chalciope
Chalciope , in Greek mythology, is a name that may refer to several characters.* Chalciope, daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, sister of Medea and wife of Phrixus, by whom she had four sons: Argus, Phrontis, Melas and Cytisorus...

, in marriage. In gratitude, Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and gave the king the golden fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

 of the goat, which Aeëtes hung in a tree in the holy grove of Ares
Ares
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and...

 in his kingdom, guarded by a dragon that never slept.

Phrixus and Chalciope had four sons, who later joined forces with the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

. The oldest was Argos.

Testimonia

  • Apollonius Rhodius, passim
  • Apollodorus,
  • pseudo-Eratosthenes Catasterismi 14, 19
  • Hyginus 1-3, 12, 21, 22, 188
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses 12.8ff, Fasti 3.867ff
  • Valerius Flaccus, 1.281ff
  • Palaephatus 30