Ixion Izu-No-Shichi-To Ixion

IXION IZU-NO-SHICHI-TO IXION, in Greek legend, son of Phlegyas, king of the Lapithae in Thessaly (or of Ares), and husband of Dia. According to custom he promised his father-in-law, Deioneus, a handsome bridal present, but treacherously murdered him when he claimed the fulfilment of the promise. As a punishment, Ixion was seized with madness, until Zeus purified him of hh crime and admitted him as a guest to Olympus. Ixion abused his pardon by trying to seduce Hera; but the goddess substituted for herself a cloud, by which he became the father of the Centaurs. Zeus bound him on a fiery wheel, which rolls unceasingly through the air or (according to the later version) in the underworld (Pindar, Pythia, ii. 21; Ovid, Metam. iv. 461; Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 601). Ixion is generally taken to represent the eternally moving Sun. Another explanation connects the story with the practice (among certain peoples of central Europe) of carrying a blazing, revolving wheel through fields which needed the heat of the Sun, the legend being invented to explain the custom and subsequently adopted by the Greeks (see Mannhardt, Wold- und Feldkulte, ii. 1905, p. 83). In view of the fact that theoak was the sun-god's tree and that the mistletoe grew upon it, it is suggested by A. B. Cook (Class. Rev. xvii. 420) that 'Il-Uav is derived from 6s (mistletoe), the sun's fire being regarded as an emanation from the mistletoe. Ixion himself is probably a by-form of Zeus (Usener in Rhein. Mus. liii. 345).

" The Myth of Ixion " (by C. Smith, in Classical Review, June 1895) deals with the subject of a red-figure cantharus in the British Museum.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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