Midas (seed?) In Greek mythology, king of Phrygia; son of the goddess Cybele and a satyr.
Midas helped Silenus, a follower of Dionysus (Bacchus), to find his way back to his god, and Dionysus rewarded Midas by granting him any wish. He wished that whatever he touched would turn to gold. Eventually he had to ask that the gift be revoked, because even his food turned to gold and he was unable to eat. To rid himself of his gift Midas had to wash in the Pactolus River, whose sands then became gold. Because he favored Marsyas in his contest with Apollo, Midas was punished by having his ears turned into those of an ass. Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 11), John Lyly’s Midas, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (3.2.101), Pope’s Dunciad (3.324), Swift’s Fable of Midas, Shelley’s “Hymn of Pan,” and W. S. Landor’s Silenus all deal with Midas or cite him. Poussin’s Midas and Bacchus portrays Midas with Silenus.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante
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