And so, the Myth of Pegasus continues. According to legend, Pegasus the son of Medusa and Poseidon is born when Medusa is slain by the hero Perseus. In the Pegasus Story, the white, winged stallion is the horse of inspiration and it is said that wherever Pegasus struck his hoof an inspirational spring sprung forth. Like the fountain Hippocrene (horse spring) on Mount Helicon, a spring sacred to the muses and believed to be the source of poetic inspiration.
In the Pegasus story, the hero Perseus mounts Pegasus who carries him over the sea to slay the sea-dragon, Cetus and rescue the Princess Andromeda, who was chained naked to a rock in the middle of the ocean.
After this quest, the myth of Pegasus takes a turn. The young Pegasus was carried by Athena to Mt. Helicon and entrusted to the muses who undertook the task of rearing him. During this time the young stallion has a bit of a respite, and he serves as the flying horse of the Muses, thus representing high flying inspiration.
Later, the hero Bellerophon was told where to find Pegasus. With the help of Athena he was given a golden bridle which he used to tame him. (It is at this point that the myth of Pegasus becomes filled with more adventure as Bellerophon and the winged stallion take to the skies!).
Bellerophon and Pegasus were quite a team for some time, they set out on many a quest together and returned victorious. One of these quests was in ridding Lycia of the Chimera – a foul beast made up from the body and head of lion, another head of a goat, and its hind part a dragon. According to the Pegasus story Bellerophon was able to spear the Chimera through one of its head thanks to Pegasus’ ability to fly.
It is at this point in the myth of Pegasus that Bellerophon saw it fit that he reside amongst the Gods on Mount Olympus, without their consent. He and Pegasus were after all victorious in all their escapades. So he flew Pegasus to Mount Olympus. Outraged by Bellerophon’s pomposity and arrogance, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus, throwing his rider – Bellerophon – to the Ground. Here he spent the rest of his days wondering aimless only to die a thankless and lonely death. Pegasus flew on into Olympus and was welcomed by the Gods.
Pegasus became a part of many a Godly duty. He became the occasional mount of the Goddess Eos on her mission to bring about the dawn. At other times he was the mount of Apollo who spread the sun across the sky, as they sped along together. And perhaps, most notably, he served as Zeus’ lightning bearer, where the galloping of his hooves could be heard as thunder in the sky during a storm.
Zeus paid homage to Pegasus for all his heroic and mighty deeds by honoring him with a constellation of stars. The constellation Pegasus can be seen situated to the north of the urn of Aquarius and to the east of the constellation Pisces. And thus Pegasus lives on providing inspiration to all.