An island of the Aegean Sea, which is mentioned by Homer (Od. 3.170).
Orion. A celebrated giant, said by one legend to have been the
son of Poseidon and Euryale. His father, according to this same account, gave
him the power of wading through the depths of the sea, or, as others say, of walking
on its surface. He married Side, whom Here cast into Erebus for contending with
her in beauty. Another and more common account makes Hyria, a town of Boeotia,
to have been the birthplace of Orion, and the story of his origin is told as follows:
As Zeus, Poseidon, and Hermes were taking a ramble upon earth, they came, late
in the evening, to the house of a farmer named Hyrieus. Seeing the wayfarers,
Hyrieus, who was standing at his door, invited them to enter, and pass the night
in his humble abode. The gods accepted the kind invitation, and were hospitably
entertained. Pleased with their host, they inquired if he had any wish which he
desired to have gratified. Hyrieus replied that he once had a wife whom he tenderly
loved, and that he had sworn never to marry another. She was dead; he was childless;
his vow was binding; and yet he was desirous of being a father. The gods took
the hide of his only ox, which he, on discovering their true nature, had sacrificed
in their honour: they buried it in the earth; and ten months afterwards a boy
came to light, whom Hyrieus named Urion or Orion (apo tou ourein). This legend
owes its origin to the name Orion, and was the invention of the Athenians. In
Hyginus, Hyrieus is Byrseus, from the hide (bursa).
When Orion grew up, he went, according to this same account, to the island of Chios, where he became enamoured of Aero or Merope, the daughter of Oenopion, son of Dionysus and Ariadne. He sought her in marriage; but, while wooing, seized a favourable opportunity and offered her violence. Her father, incensed at this conduct, and having made Orion drunk, blinded him, and cast him on the seashore. The blinded hero contrived to reach Lemnos, and came to the forge of Hephaestus, who, taking pity on him, gave him Cedalion (Guardian), one of his men, to be his guide to the abode of the Sun. Placing Cedalion on his shoulder, Orion proceeded to the East; and there, meeting the sun-god, was restored to vision by his beams. Anxious for revenge on Oenopion, he returned to Chios; but the Chians, aware of his intention, concealed the object of his search under the ground, and Orion, unable to find him, returned to Crete. The death of Orion is variously related. As all the legends relating to him are evidently later than the time of Homer, none ventures to assign any other cause to it than the goddess Artemis, whose wrath (though Homer rather says the contrary) he drew on himself. Some said that he attempted to offer violence to the goddess herself; others to Opis, one of her Hyperborean maidens, and that Artemis slew him with her arrows; others, again, that it was for presuming to challenge the goddess at the discus. It was also said that, when he came to Crete, he boasted to Leto and Artemis that he was able to kill anything that would come from the earth. Indignant at his boast, they sent a scorpion, which stung him, and he died. It was said, finally, that Artemis loved Orion, and was even about to marry him. Her brother was highly displeased, and often reproached her, but to no purpose. At length, observing one day Orion wading through the sea with his head just above the waters, he pointed it out to his sister, and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the water. To show her skill she took aim and hit it, thus slaying Orion. Asclepius attempted to restore him to life, but was slain by Zeus with a thunderbolt.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Artemis slew Orion in Delos. They say that he was of gigantic stature and born
of the earth; but Pherecydes says that he was a son of Poseidon and Euryale. Poseidon
bestowed on him the power of striding across the sea. He first married Side, whom
Hera cast into Hades because she rivalled herself in beauty. Afterwards he went
to Chios and wooed Merope, daughter of Oenopion. But Oenopion made him drunk,
put out his eyes as he slept, and cast him on the beach. But he went to the smithy
of Hephaestus, and snatching up a lad set him on his shoulders and bade him lead
him to the sunrise. Being come thither he was healed by the sun's rays, and having
recovered his sight he hastened with all speed against Oenopion. But for him Poseidon
had made ready a house under the earth constructed by Hephaestus. And Dawn fell
in love with Orion and carried him off and brought him to Delos; for Aphrodite
caused Dawn to be perpetually in love, because she had bedded with Ares. But Orion
was killed, as some say, for challenging Artemis to a match at quoits, but some
say he was shot by Artemis for offering violence to Opis, one of the maidens who
had come from the Hyperboreans.
1. The same account of Orion's parentage was given by Hesiod, whom Pherecydes probably followed.
2. As Side means "pomegranate" in Greek, it has been supposed that the marriage of Orion to Side is a mythical expression for the ripening of the pomegranate at the season when the constellation Orion is visible in the nightly sky.
3. The name of the guide whom Orion took on his back to guide him to the sunrise was Cedalion. Sophocles made the story the theme of a satyric drama called Cedalion, of which a few fragments have come down to us.
This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Dec 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
Helenos the son of Oinops (Oenipion)
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