Bellerophon riding Pegasus
In Greek mythology
( , Pégasos
was a winged horse sired by Poseidon
his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa
. He was the
brother of Chrysaor
, born at a single
The poet Hesiod
connects the name
with the word for "spring, well", pēgē
, where he was
born;" however, the name's origins may come from the word in the
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
Helicon, 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 Troezen.
Hesiod relates how Pegasus was peacefully drinking from a spring
when the hero Bellerophon
Hesiod also says Pegasus carried thunderbolts
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
One is that they sprang from the blood issuing from Medusa's neck
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
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 Athena, 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
Olympus to see the gods.
However, Zeus sent down a
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 Tarsus.
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
World War II
World War II, the silhouetted image of
Bellerophon the warrior, mounted on the winged Pegasus, was adopted
by the United
Kingdom'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
. 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
. Today's Parachute Regiment
carries on the maroon beret tradition.
airborne phase of the Normandy
invasion 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 Canal, near Ouistreham. In memory of their tenacity, the bridge has
been known ever since as Pegasus Bridge.
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.
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 Arlington, Virginia. As such, it has also been a symbol of
Dallas, Texas, gracing its
skyline atop the Magnolia building.
The Poetry Foundation
Pegasus as its logo; the Buell
uses Pegasus as a visual branding element.
former Pegaso truck
maker from Spain derived its
name and logo from Pegasus, although the logo portrayed a merely
fast, wingless horse silhouette. Reader's Digest
also has a Pegasus
is the emblem of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, which names its bar the Pegasus.
Taiwanese company Asus took its name from
the creature, omitting the first three letters in order for the
company to appear first in telephone
the Kentucky Derby Festival,
a community celebration leading up to the Run for the Roses (aka:
the Kentucky Derby) in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Turkish Pegasus Airlines
uses word and emblem (amblem in Turkish) of pegasus.
) 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
is the name of a medevac
helicopter based at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Pegasus transports
critically injured patients within of Charlottesville, 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.
is also featured on the coat of arms of
College, part of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The University of Strathclyde, in
Glasgow Scotland, 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 Florida, in 1963, by its first president, Dr. Charles Millican, who co-designed
A pegasus also appears in the turbines of all Air France
Nike Inc. has produced a brand of running shoe named the Air
is the name of an email
Pegasus has appeared in several films
including the animated films Fantasia
, and Barbie and the Magic of
along with the stop
film, Clash of the Titans
and, as a name only, Johnny
. In Disney's Fantasia
are featured during the visualized "Pastoral Symphony
" segment, along
with other mythical creatures including unicorns
he is the winged horse sidekick
and friend to Hercules
, the main character. In Clash of the
, 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 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
On television, Pegasus has been featured in Stargate Atlantis
as a galaxy, both
versions of Battlestar
, as Battlestar Pegasus
that survived the fall of
the Twelve Colonies
of Kobol. It was
also a starship, the USS
, in an episode of Star Trek: The Next
. In the Japanese anime Digimon Adventure 02
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
(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
-class battle ship.
In the anime Saint Seiya
main character, Seiya, dons the Pegasus Cloth.
In Fate/Stay Night
is the Mythical Beast that is used by the Servant Rider when she
uses one of her Noble Phantasms, Bellerophon.
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
, 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.
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
on the Nintendo DS
. Pegasus is
freed and reunited with Heracles
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
appears in game as a flying scout unit.
Pegasus appears in the final scene of the 2600 game, No Escape
Heroes of Might and
features Pegasi as recruitable troops from the
In the Broadway production of Xanadu
, protagonist Kira rides on Pegasus
to Mount Olympus during the number "Suspended in Time."
- 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.
- Noted by Karl
Kerenyi, The Heroes of the Greeks, 1959:80: "In the
name Pegasos itself the connection with a spring, pege, is
- Pausanias, 9. 31. 3.
- Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 9
- Pausanias, 2. 31. 9.
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.
- For example in Pindar,
Olympian Ode 13.
- The double fountain at Corinth; the connection with Pegasus is noted by
Strabo (8.6.21) among many
- Parallels are in the myths of Icarus and Phaëton.
Phaenomena 206; Scott Littleton, Mythology. The
Illustrated Anthology of World Myth & Storytelling London:
Duncan Baird, 2002:147.
- Grimal, Pierre. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology.
Trans. by A. R. Maxwell-Hyslop. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1996.
- Pegasus - The Flying Horse
- Pegasus - The Myth, The Name