The narrative poem Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid [43 BC–17 AD] is surely the most memorable source of mythological tales. It brings together many of the best-known myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome, including the story of Phaethon and the chariot of the Sun.
According to myth, Phaethon was the son of Helios, the Sun, and the Oceanid Clymene. Taunted with illegitimacy, Phaethon went to his father’s palace to learn the truth about his heritage. He received an hospitable welcome from his father, who swore by the river Styx to prove his divine paternity by granting his son one wish of his heart’s desire. Phaethon asked to be allowed to drive the Sun’s chariot through the heavens for a single day. Helios repented his promise and tried to talk his son out of it, but bound by his oath, he was forced to comply. Phaethon took hold of the reins and rushed up into the sky. Soon, the unskilled youth lost control of the chariot and the four furious stallions of the Sun left the travelled road. Wherever he looked, Phaethon saw the world on fire and the whole universe was on the verge of ruin. To prevent further damage, Zeus hurled a thunderbolt at Phaethon who was flung into the river Eridanus. The Nymphs of Hesperia buried his body. On the tombstone they wrote this verse: “Here he, who drove the sun’s bright chariot, lies; His father’s fiery steeds he could not guide, But in the glorious enterprise he died.”
- 01. Aerospace 4:11
- 02. The Butterfly that Stamped 2:20
- 03. Odysseia 3:28
- 04. Phaethon 4:05
- 05. Marsyas 4:36