Pegasus (of the springs) In Greek mythology, a winged horse who sprang from the blood of the slain Gorgon Medusa when her head was cut off by the hero Perseus. Bellerophon, another Greek hero, captured the winged horse with the aid of a golden bridle given him by Athena when she encountered Pegasus drinking from the Pierian spring. With Pegasus’s aid Bellerophon killed the monster Chimera. When Pegasus’s hoof touched the earth, the magical spring Hippocrene gushed forth. Bellerophon, becoming overly ambitious, tried to reach Mount Olympus on Pegasus, but Pegasus knew better and threw his rider. Finally, Zeus gave Pegasus a home on Mount Olympus. Homer’s Iliad (book 6), Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 4), Horace’s Odes IV (11.27), Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1.9.21), Shakespeare’s King Henry Part I (4.1.109), Milton’s Paradise Lost (book 7.4), Pope’s Essay on Criticism (1.150), and Schiller’s Pegasus im Joche all deal with the mythical animal.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante