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Bellerophon riding Pegasus (1914)
In Greek mythology, Pegasus ( , Pégasos, 'strong') was a winged horse sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa. He was the brother of Chrysaor, born at a single birthing.


The poet Hesiod connects the name Pegasus with the word for "spring, well", pēgē: "the pegai of Okeanos, where he was born;" however, the name's origins may come from the word in the Luwian language: pihassas, meaning "lightning".

Pegasus and springs

Everywhere the winged horse struck his hoof to the earth, an inspiring spring burst forth. One of these springs was upon the Muses' Mount Heliconmarker, the Hippocrene ("horse spring"), opened, Antoninus Liberalis suggested, at the behest of Poseidon to prevent the mountain swelling with rapture at the song of the Muses; another was at Troezenmarker. Hesiod relates how Pegasus was peacefully drinking from a spring when the hero Bellerophon captured him. Hesiod also says Pegasus carried thunderbolts for Zeus.


There are several versions of the birth of the winged stallion and his brother Chrysaor in the far distant place at the edge of Earth, Hesiod's "springs of Oceanus, which encircles the inhabited earth, where Perseus found Medusa:

One is that they sprang from the blood issuing from Medusa's neck as Perseus was beheading her, similar to the manner in which Athena was born from the head of Zeus. In another version, when Perseus beheaded Medusa, they were born of the Earth, fed by the Gorgon's blood. A variation of this story holds that they were formed from the mingling of Medusa's blood and sea foam, implying that Poseidon had involvement in their making. The last version bears resemblance to the birth of Aphrodite.


Pegasus aided the hero Bellerophon in his fight against both the Chimera and the Amazons. There are varying tales as to how Bellerophon found Pegasus; the most common says that the hero was told by Polyeidos to sleep in the temple of Athenamarker, where the goddess visited him in the night and presented him with a golden bridle. The next morning, still clutching the bridle, he found Pegasus drinking at the Pierian spring. When the steed saw the bridle, he approached Bellerophon and allowed him to ride. Bellerophon slew the Chimera on Pegasus' back, and then tried to ride the winged horse to the top of Mount Olympusmarker to see the gods. However, Zeus sent down a gadfly to sting Pegasus and cause Bellerophon to fall.


Michaud's Biographie universelle relates that when Pegasus was born, he flew to where thunder and lightning is released. Then, according to certain versions of the myth, Athena tamed him and gave him to Perseus, who flew to Ethiopia to help Andromeda.

In fact Pegasus is a late addition to the story of Perseus, who flew on his own with the sandals loaned him by Hermes.


Pegasus left Bellerophon and continued to Olympus where he was stabled with Zeus' other steeds


Because of his faithful service to Zeus, he was honored with transformation into a constellation. On the day of his catasterism, when Zeus transformed him into a constellation, a single feather fell to the earth near the city of Tarsusmarker.


In modern terminology, the word "pegasus" (plural "pegasi") has come to refer to any winged horse, though the term "pterippus" (meaning winged horse, plural "pterippi") is also used.

World War II

During World War II, the silhouetted image of Bellerophon the warrior, mounted on the winged Pegasus, was adopted by the United Kingdommarker's newly-raised parachute troops in 1941 as their upper sleeve insignia. The image clearly symbolized a warrior arriving at a battle by air, the same tactics used by paratroopers. The square upper-sleeve insignia comprised Bellerophon/Pegasus in light blue on a maroon background. The insignia was designed by famous English novelist Daphne du Maurier, who was married to the commander of the 1st Airborne Division (and later the expanded British Airborne Forces), General Frederick "Boy" Browning. The maroon background on the insignia was later used again by the Airborne Forces when they adopted the famous maroon beret in Summer 1942. The beret was the origin of the German nickname for British airborne troops, The Red Devils. Today's Parachute Regiment carries on the maroon beret tradition.

During the airborne phase of the Normandy invasionmarker on the night of 5-6 June 1944, British 6th Airborne Division captured all its key objectives in advance of the seaborne assault, including the capture and holding at all costs of a vital bridge over the Caen Canalmarker, near Ouistrehammarker. In memory of their tenacity, the bridge has been known ever since as Pegasus Bridgemarker.

Corporate and commercial uses

Pegasus logo has been used for over 29 years, by Courier Company Pegasus Express Ltd, and is seen on all vehicles and trailers, and depots in Scotland/England.

Pegasus has been the symbol of the Mobil brand of gas and oil, marketed by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, since the 1930s and, more recently, FBR Capital Markets, an investment bank based in Arlingtonmarker, Virginiamarker. As such, it has also been a symbol of Dallasmarker, Texasmarker, gracing its skyline atop the Magnolia buildingmarker.

The Poetry Foundation also uses Pegasus as its logo; the Buell Motorcycle Company uses Pegasus as a visual branding element. The former Pegaso truck maker from Spainmarker derived its name and logo from Pegasus, although the logo portrayed a merely fast, wingless horse silhouette. Reader's Digest also has a Pegasus logo.

A Pegasus is the emblem of the Honourable Society of the Inner Templemarker, which names its bar the Pegasus.

The Taiwanesemarker company Asus took its name from the creature, omitting the first three letters in order for the company to appear first in telephone listings.

Mascot of the Kentucky Derby Festival, a community celebration leading up to the Run for the Roses (aka: the Kentucky Derby) in Louisvillemarker, Kentuckymarker, USAmarker.

Turkishmarker Pegasus Airlines uses word and emblem (amblem in Turkish) of pegasus.

PEGASYS (Hoffmann–La Roche) for the treatment of hepatitis C, is a once-a-week injection that works to reduce the amount of hepatitis C virus in the body.

Pegasus is known for being the mascot of TriStar Pictures.

Pegasus is the name of a medevac helicopter based at the University of Virginiamarker Medical Center. Pegasus transports critically injured patients within of Charlottesvillemarker, Virginia. The name was chosen because it was different from most other medevac programs, and there are stories of Pegasus carrying wounded soldiers from battle.

Pegasus is also featured on the coat of arms of Robinson Collegemarker, part of the University of Cambridgemarker in Cambridgemarker, Englandmarker. The University of Strathclyde, in Glasgowmarker Scotlandmarker, uses an online service called PEGASUS (Portal Engine Giving Access To Strathclyde University Systems)to provide its students with crucial information. Pegasus was chosen for the academic seal of the University of Central Floridamarker, in 1963, by its first president, Dr. Charles Millican, who co-designed it.

A pegasus also appears in the turbines of all Air France aircrafts.

Nike Inc.marker has produced a brand of running shoe named the Air Pegasus 26.

Pegasus Mail is the name of an email client.

Popular culture


Pegasus has appeared in several films, including the animated films Fantasia, Hercules, and Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus along with the stop motion film, Clash of the Titans and, as a name only, Johnny English. In Disney's Fantasia Pegasi are featured during the visualized "Pastoral Symphony" segment, along with other mythical creatures including unicorns and centaurs and in Hercules he is the winged horse sidekick and friend to Hercules, the main character. In Clash of the Titans, Pegasus is captured by Perseus before Perseus visits and kills Medusa the Gorgon. This version, changes the method of Pegasus' birth - although no further details are given, save a comment from Zeus that Pegasus is the sole surviving winged horse from a herd of the creatures, the rest killed by Thetis' son, Calibos. In Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Pegasus is the winged horse who helps Princess Annika and in Johnny English, starring Rowan Atkinson, Pegasus, played by Tim Pigott-Smith, is the name of the head of the MI-7 spy cartel to which the hapless Mr. English reports. A pegasus can be seen on the TriStar logo.


On television, Pegasus has been featured in Stargate Atlantis as a galaxy, both versions of Battlestar Galactica, as Battlestar Pegasus that survived the fall of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. It was also a starship, the USS Pegasus, in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the Japanese anime Digimon Adventure 02, Patamon can digivolve into Pegasusmon using the Digi-Egg of Hope. In Sailor Moon SuperS, Pegasus plays an important role, as he is the spirit of Helios and the keeper of the Golden Crystal. He lives inside the Golden Mirror, which is kept inside of beautiful dreamers. In the manga, he lives inside of Mamoru Chiba's (Darien Shields) Golden Mirror of Beautiful Dreams. In the anime, Pegasus lives inside of Chibiusa's (Rini in the English dub) Golden Mirror of Beautiful Dreams.

In the anime series Gundam, one of the main spaceships, White Base, is a Pegasus-class battle ship.

In the anime Saint Seiya, The main character, Seiya, dons the Pegasus Cloth.

In Fate/Stay Night, Pegasus is the Mythical Beast that is used by the Servant Rider when she uses one of her Noble Phantasms, Bellerophon.

Written works

Authors include Julia Golding, in her Companions Quartet, including Secret of the Sirens, The Gorgon's Gaze, Mines of the Minotaur and The Chimera's Curse, and Anne McCaffrey, who wrote a series of books, To Ride Pegasus, Pegasus in Flight, and Pegasus in Space. In the anime/manga of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the creator of the Duel Monsters card game was named Pegasus J. Crawford (Maximillion Pegasus in the dub and English manga). Also, there is a Duel Monster called Firewing Pegasus, and another called Sapphire Pegasus. In the classic anime/manga Saint Seiya, the Pegasus is the title character's destined constellation, and Seiya dons an ancient Greek armor in the form of the winged horse.

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

ASUS comes from the last four letters of Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek mythology that represents the inspiration of art and learning. ASUS embodies the strength, creative spirit and purity symbolized by this regal and agile mythical creature, soaring to new heights of quality and innovation with each product it introduces to the market.

Video games

In the video game God of War II, the protagonist Kratos is bidden by Gaia, the mother of the Titans and the franchise's narrator to find the Sisters of Fate in order to change his past. She gives Kratos the aid of Pegasus to traverse the distance to the Fates.

Pegasus is the Poseidon captured victim in Heracles: Battle With The Gods on the Nintendo DS. Pegasus is freed and reunited with Heracles after Poseidon's defeat.

In multiple games in the Fire Emblem series, pegasi are mounted by knights and called pegasus knights, or falco knights in their upgraded form. In the computer game Age of Mythology, Pegasus appears in game as a flying scout unit.

Pegasus appears in the final scene of the 2600 game, No Escape.

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 features Pegasi as recruitable troops from the Rampart town.


In the Broadway production of Xanadu, protagonist Kira rides on Pegasus to Mount Olympus during the number "Suspended in Time."

See also


  1. Medusa, in her archaic centaur-like form, appears in the incised relief on a mid-seventh century BCE vase from Boeotia at the Louvre (CA795), illustrated in John Boardman, Jasper Griffin and Oswyn Murray, Greece and the Hellenistic World (Oxford University Press) 1988, fig p 87.
  2. Noted by Karl Kerenyi, The Heroes of the Greeks, 1959:80: "In the name Pegasos itself the connection with a spring, pege, is expressed."
  3. Pausanias, 9. 31. 3.
  4. Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 9
  5. Pausanias, 2. 31. 9.
  6. Hesiod, Theogony281; Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 2. 42, et al. Harris, Stephen L. and Gloria Platzner. Classical Mythology: Images and Insights. 2nd ed. (New York: Mayfield Publishing), 1998. 234.
  7. For example in Pindar, Olympian Ode 13.
  8. The double fountain at Corinth; the connection with Pegasus is noted by Strabo (8.6.21) among many others.
  9. Parallels are in the myths of Icarus and Phaëton.
  10. Aratus, Phaenomena 206; Scott Littleton, Mythology. The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth & Storytelling London: Duncan Baird, 2002:147.
  11. Grimal, Pierre. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Trans. by A. R. Maxwell-Hyslop. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1996. 349.
  12. Pegasus - The Flying Horse
  13. Pegasus
  14. Pegasus - The Myth, The Name

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