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Ixion bound to the wheel. 5728: Coupe. Ixion vers 500 avant J.-C. Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Genève.

"They say that by the commands of the gods Ixion spins round and round on his feathered wheel, saying this to mortals: 'Repay your benefactor frequently with gentle favors in return'." (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.20).

Ixion is one of the few who is still being punished in Hades, bound by Zeus to a wheel on which he is whirled through the air.

One of the LAPITHS

Ixion is to be counted among the LAPITHS, a people living in Thessaly, remembered for their battle against the CENTAURS, who were their kinsmen, but having made their hearts foolish with too much wine, attempted nevertheless to violate Pirithous' bride Hippodamia 4 at their wedding party. Both CENTAURS and LAPITHS are descended from the god of the river Peneus, which is in Thessaly. For this god lay with the naiad Creusa 3, and begat a son Hypseus 1 and a daughter Stilbe. And this girl consorted with Apollo, giving birth to Lapithus 1 and Centaurus, ancestors of the aforementioned peoples. Lapithus 1, it is told, settled in the region about the Peneus river, and having married Orsinome, begat two sons Phorbas 2 and Periphas 2, who reigned in this district calling their subjects LAPITHS after Lapithus 1. Now Periphas 2 married his grandmother's niece Astyaguia (daughter of Hypseus 1), and begat eight sons, the oldest being Antion, who married Perimele 3 and begat Ixion.

Murders his father-in-law

Ixion married Dia, daughter of Eioneus 5; but since the groom would not hand over the gifts of wooing to his wife, Eioneus 5 took his mares as security for these. Ixion then summoned his father-in-law to his home, promising him to comply in every respect; but when Eioneus 5 arrived, he cast him into a pit which he had filled with fire, thus killing him. By Dia, Ixion became father of Pirithous and Phisadie, a woman who was given in servitude to Helen by the DIOSCURI (see also CONSTELLATIONS). But, having committed an enormous crime against a relative (for some have said that Ixion was the first to stain mortal men with kindred blood), there was no one in the world willing to purify him, except Zeus himself, who out of pity, cleansed him at last.

The Cloud

But then, ungrateful Ixion fell in love with Hera, and made advances to her. And Zeus, having heard Hera's report on this matter, made a Cloud Resembling Hera (Nephele 1) so as to confirm his wife's words by deluding the man's temerity. This is how Ixion lay with a cloud; and believing that he had enjoyed Hera's love, he went around boasting that he had slept with the goddess. From the union of Ixion with the Cloud, some say, the CENTAURS were born; but others say instead that Centaurus was born

"without the blessing of the Graces" (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.46).

... and that this monstrous offspring later mated with mares, from whom the CENTAURS were born.

Clouded thoughts

In any case Zeus, tired of Ixion's misdeeds, bound him to a wheel, on which he is whirled by winds through the air for all eternity. The idea may occur to someone that this is an unjust punishment, specially considering that, just as Ixion fell in love with Zeus' wife Hera, also Zeus fell in love with Ixion's wife Dia, with whom he consorted effectively (since Ixion could not produce deluding clouds), as the god himself declares:

". . . let us enjoy the delights of love. Never has such desire, for goddess or woman, flooded and overwhelmed my heart; not even when I loved Ixion's wife . . ." (Zeus to Hera. Homer, Iliad 14.315).

But precisely of that kind were Ixion's own cloudy ideas: "That mortals can be like gods and do love as the gods love to do, or similar ... And as for the deities, that they could use a lesson about the nature of justice, equality, or reciprocity."

This sound absurd to others, who deem wiser to think otherwise, reasoning with the poet that

"A man must always measure all things according to his own place." (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.34).






Leonteus 2 & unknown

Antion & Perimele 3

Leonteus 2 is otherwise unknown.
Antion was son of Periphas 2 and Astyaguia, daughter of Hypseus 1, son of the river god Peneus. Periphas 2 was son of Lapithus 1, son of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus.
Perimele 3 is daughter of Amythaon 1, son of Cretheus 1, son of Aeolus 1.
Other authors, based in the testimony of scholiasts, have said that Ixion was son of Phlegyas 1, a king that is sometimes associated with Boeotia, known also for being the father of Coronis 2, the woman who preferred Ischys before Apollo, but who nevertheless bore a son Asclepius to the god. Phlegyas 1 is said to have been murdered by the brothers Lycus 5 and Nycteus 3, who ruled Thebes as usurpers.



Dia, daughter of Eioneus 5 (also called Deioneus 2), gave birth to Pirithous, either by Ixion or by Zeus.



Phisadie was given in servitude to Helen by the DIOSCURI.

Nephele 1

a) Centaurus

"a)", "b)", = different versions.

Some have said that Ixion begat by Nephele 1 (the Cloud Resembling Hera), the CENTAURS, whereas others say that he fathered Centaurus, who begot the CENTAURS after consorting with the Magnesian Mares.


Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Aeolus 1, Aglaia 5, Alcidice, Aleus, Amythaon 1, Antion, Aphidas 1, Apollo, Arcas 1, Astraeus 1, Astyaguia, Boreas 1 (see WINDS), Butes 6, Callisto, CENTAURS, Cretheus, Creusa 3, Deimachus 1, Deucalion 1, Dia, Eioneus 5, Enarete, Eos, Eurynomus 5, Gaia, Hellen 1, Hippodamia 4, Hypseus 1, Ixion, Lapithus 1, Nephele 1, Nymph 7, Orseis, Orsinome, Peneus, Perimele 3, Periphas 2, Phisadie, Pirithous, Polypoetes 1, Pyrrha 1, Salmoneus, Stilbe, Tyro, Zeus.

Related sections CENTAURS, LAPITHS, Pirithous  

Apd.Ep.1.20; Dio.4.69.3-5, 4.70.1, 4.12.6; Hyg.Ast.2.6; Hyg.Fab.14, 62, 79; Ov.Met.12.210, 12.504; Pin.Pyth.2.30; Stat.Theb.4.539, 8.50; Vir.Geo.3.38.