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N.S. Gill

Myth Monday - Poseidon's Son Orion Shared His Appetite for Women

By February 22, 2010

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There is already much material on this site on the topic of mythology (especially, Gods and Goddesses and The Stories of the Ancient Greeks). In Myth Mondays I attempt to bring up an element of mythology that is either timely or less well known.
One of the many sons of the sea god Poseidon was Orion, a great and handsome hunter on earth and in the Underworld*.

A print of the copperplate engraving for Johann Bayer's Uranometria (1603) showing the constellation Orion.
© Courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory Library
Orion is better known today as a constellation with a recognizable 3-star belt. Like the constellation, the mythological figure Orion was a giant....Read more


February 22, 2010 at 9:02 am
(1) Beth says:

I’ve always vaguely wondered if Orion wasn’t almost a proto-type of Hercules in the Greek mythos…. After all, myths and legends are constantly changing as a culture changes…just look at the variations of urban legends, such as Snakes in a Coat.

February 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm
(2) ancienthistory says:

Beth – I researched a bit further and added a reference that provides a bit of support for your position. If you have access to the Griffiths article, look in particular at the amusing notes on p. 66, a page where he quotes someone who said pretty much what I said, but much more succinctly: “But one general characteristic of the mighty hunter is clear beyond doubt: his irrepressible randiness.” Might have to change the headline, yet again.

February 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(3) Adrienne Mayor says:

Orion’s body was said to be buried on Delos or Crete. It’s interesting to note that when an earthquake on Crete revealed some enormous fossil bones of mammoths, Pliny the Elder reported that “some people thought it must be the body of Orion.”
Another very interesting study of Orion: Charles Bergman’s “Orion’s Legacy: A Cultural History of Man as Hunter.”

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