Classical Texts Library >> Hyginus, Fabulae >> Fables 150-199




After Juno saw that Epaphus, born of a concubine, ruled such a great kingdom, she saw to it that he should be killed while hunting, and encouraged the Titans to drive Jove from the kingdom and restore it to Saturn. When they tried to mount heaven, Jove with the help of Minerva, Apollo, and Diana, cast them headlong into Tartarus. On Atlas, who had been their leader, he put the vault of the sky; even now he is said to hold up the sky on his shoulders.


From Typhon the giant and Echidna were born Gorgon, the three-headed dog Cerberus, the dragon which guarded the apples of the Hesperides across the ocean, the Hydra which Hercules killed by the spring of Lerna, the dragon which guarded the ram’s fleece at Colchis, Scylla who was woman above but dog below, with six dog-forms sprung from her body, the Sphinx which was in Boeotia, the Chimaera in Lycia which had the fore part of a lion, the hind part of a snake, while the she-goat itself formed the middle. From Medusa, daughter of Gorgon, and Neptues, were born Chrysaor and horse Pegasus; from Chrysaor and Callirhoe, three-formed Geryon.


Tartarus begat by Tartara, Typhon, a creature of immense size and fearful shape, who had a hundred dragon heads springing from his shoulders. He challenged Jove to see if Jove would content with him for the rule. Jove struck his breast with a flaming thunderbolt. When it was burning him he put Mount Etna, which is in Sicily, over him. From this it is said to burn still.


Phaethon, son of Sol and Clymene, who had secretly mounted his father’s car, and had been borne too high above the earth, from fear fell into the river Eridanus. When Jupiter struck him with a thunderbolt, everything started to burn. In order to have a reason for destroying the whole race of mortals, Jove pretended he wanted to put out the fire; he let loose the rivers everywhere, and all the human race perished except Deucalion and Pyrrha. But the sisters of Phaethon, because they had yoked the horses without the orders of their father, were changed into poplar trees.


When the cataclysm which we call the flood or deluge occurred, all the human race perished except Deucalion and Pyrrha, who fled to Mount Etna, which is said to be the highest mountain in Sicily. When they could not live on account of loneliness, they begged Jove either to give men, or to afflict them with a similar disaster. Then Jove bade them cast stones behind them; those Deucalion threw he ordered to become men, and those Pyrrha threw, to be women. Because of this they are called laos, “people”, for stone in Greek is called las.


Phaethon, son of Clymenus, son of Sol, and the nymph Merope, who, as we have heard was and Oceanid, upon being told by his father that his grandfather was Sol, put to bad use the chariot he asked for. For when he was carried too near the earth, everything burned in the fire that came near, and, struck by a thunderbolt, he fell into the river Po. This river is called Eridanus by the Greeks; Pherecydes was the first to name it. The Indians became black, because their blood was turned to a dark color from the heat that came near. The sister of Phaethon, too, in grieving for their brother, were changed into poplar trees. Their tears, as Hesiod tells, hardened into amber; [in spite of the change] they are called Heliades [daughters of Helios]. They are, then, Merope, Helie, Aegle, Lampetia, Phoebe, Aetherie, Dioxippe. Moreover, Cygnus, King of Liguria, who was related to Phaethon, while mourning for his relative was changed into a swan; it, too, when it dies sings a mournful song.


Liber by Proserpine, whom the Titans dismembered. Hercules, by Alcumena. Liber by Semele, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. Castor and Pollux by Leda, daughter of Thestius. Argus by Nioba, daughter of Phoroneus. Epaphus by Io, daughter of Inachus. Perseus by Danae, daughter of Acrisius. Zethus and Amphion, by Antiopa, daughter of Nycteus. Minos, Sarpedon, and Rhadamanthus by Europa, daughter of Agenor. Helen by Pyrrha, daughter of Epimetheus. Aethlius by Protogenie, daughter of Deucalion. Dardanus by Electra, daughter of Atlas. Lacedaemon by Taygete, daughter of Atlas. Tantalus by Pluto, daughter of Himas. Aeacus by Aegina, daughter of Asopus. Aegipan by the she-goat *Boetis. Arcas by Callisto, daughter of Lycaon. [Etolus by Protogenia, daughter of Deucalion.] Pirithous by Dia, daughter of Deioneus.