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7918: Terracotta relief. Bellerophon and the Chimaera. Melos about 450 BC. British Museum, London.

Bellerophon is a grandson of Sisyphus, and came originally from Ephyra (later called Corinth). Having accidentally killed his brother, Bellerophon came to King Proetus 1 and was purified, but at the same time he became this king's subject.

Quarrel between twins

Proetus 1 and Acrisius were twin brothers and quarrelled with each other while they were still in the womb. Acrisius gained mastery and drove Proetus 1 from Argos. However, once Proetus 1 was in exile, his father-in-law, King Iobates of Lycia (on the southern coast of Asia Minor), restored him to his own land with an army of Lycians, and he occupied Tiryns. The Argive territory was then divided between them, and Acrisius reigned over Argos and Proetus 1 over Tiryns. Acrisius is father of Danae, mother of Perseus 1, who in turn is the founder of Mycenae.

0724: Bellerophon and Chimera. Statue by Johan Nepomuk Schaller, 1777-1842.Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Wien.

False charges

When Bellerophon was living in the kingdom of Proetus 1, the king's wife Stheneboea (or Antia, as some call her) fell in love with him, and sent him proposals for a meeting; and when he rejected them, she told Proetus 1 that Bellerophon had sent her a vicious proposal. Proetus 1 believed her, and gave him a letter to take to Iobates, king of Lycia, in which it was written that he was to kill Bellerophon. Having read the letter, Iobates ordered him to kill the Chimera, believing that he would be destroyed by the beast.

The Chimera

The Chimera, offspring of Typhon and Echidna, was a monster which had fore part of a lion, the tail of a dragon, and its third and middle head that belched fire was that of a goat. The Chimera was reared by Amisodarus. This creature devastated the country and harried the cattle because it had the power of three beasts.

Bellerophon tested

Bellerophon mounted his winged horse Pegasus (read about Pegasus in Medusa 1) and shot down the Chimera from the height. Then King Iobates ordered him to fight, first the Solymi, and next the AMAZONS. And when also agains them he was victorious, Iobates bade the bravest of the Lycians to lay an ambush and slay him. But when Bellerophon had killed them also, Iobates, feeling that Bellerophon enjoyed the protection of the gods, showed him the letter and begged him to stay with him. Moreover, he gave him his daughter; and when King Ioabates died, he bequeathed to Bellerophon the kingdom of Lycia. Stheneboea committed suicide out of jealousy when she heard that Bellerophon had married Philonoe.

Bellerophon's fate

But Bellerophon incurred the enmity of the gods, and was punished by them to wander in solitude across the Aleian Plain (in Cilicia, the mainland in front of Cyprus), avoiding contact with men. It is said that Pegasus threw him when Bellerophon attempted to reach Heaven, mounting the winged horse.

Descendants of Bellerophon

The grandson of Bellerophon, Glaucus 3, was one of the Lycians who defended Troy against the Achaean invaders. He exchanged armours with Diomedes 2, and was later killed by Ajax 1. At the time of the Trojan War, the king of Lycia was Sarpedon 1, son of Zeus by Europa according to some, or by Laodamia 1, daughter of Bellerophon, according to others. To Sarpedon 1 Zeus granted life for three generations, but he was killed at Troy by Patroclus 1.







Glaucus 1 & Eurymede 1


Poseidon & Eurynome 6


Glaucus 1, who was killed by horses in a contest, is the son of Sisyphus. Glaucus 1 had another son Deliades (also called Piren 2 or Alcimenes 1), who was accidentally killed by his brother Bellerophon. Eurymede 1 is otherwise unknown.
Eurynome 6 is one of the daughter os King Nisus 1 of Megara.


Laodamia 1


Hippolochus 1

Deidamia 2

Philonoe is daughter of Iobates, king of Lycia and also called Iobas.

Isander (also called Pisander 6) was slain by Ares as he fought against the Solymi, a Lycian tribe.

Hippolochus 1 is father of Glaucus 3, the leader of the Lycians who exchanged his golden armour for that of Diomedes 2, which was made of bronze. Glaucus 3 was killed by Ajax 1 at Troy.

Deidamia 2 married Evander 3, son of King Sarpedon 1 of Lycia and the leader who fell defending Troy killed by Patroclus 1. Sarpedon 1 was son either of Zeus and Europa, or of Zeus and Laodamia 1. Evander 3 and Deidamia 2 had a son Sarpedon 3, who might have been the one who fought at Troy, although others say it was Sarpedon 1 (who fought at Troy).

Genealogical Charts

Names in this table: Aeolus 1, Antiphates 4, Atlas, Bellerophon, Deidamia 2, Deimachus 1, Deucalion 1, Enarete, Eurymede 1, Evander 3, Glaucus 1, Glaucus 3, Hellen 1, Hippolochus 1, Iobates, Iphianassa 3, Iphinoe 1, Isander, Laodamia 1, Lysippe 2, Megapenthes 2, Merope 1, Orseis, Philonoe, Pleione, Proetus 1, Pyrrha 1, Sarpedon 1, Sarpedon 3, Sisyphus, Stheneboea, Zeus.

Related sections  

Apd.1.9.3, 2.3.1-2, 3.1.1; Dio.5.79.3; Hes.CWE.7; Hes.The.319; Hom.Il.6.98, 6.179; Hyg.Ast.2.18, 2.21; Hyg.Fab.57, 157, 243; Pin.Oly.13.84.