The Phaethon Myth

In Greek mythology, Phaeton or Phaethon ("shining"), was the son of Helios (Phoebus, the "shining one", an epithet later assumed by Apollo), or of Clymenus by Merope or Clymene.

Alternatively, Eos bore Cephalus a son, named Phaethon but Aphrodite stole him away while he was no more than a child, to be the night-watchman at her most sacred shrines. The Cretans called him Adymus, by which they meant the morning and evening star (Hesiod, Theogony, 986; Solinus, xi:9; Nonnus, Dionysiaca, xi:131 and xii:217).

Phaeton bragged to his friends that his father was the sun-god. His friends refused to believe him and so Phaeton went to his father Helios, who swore by the river Styx to give him anything he should ask for. Phaeton wanted to drive his chariot (the sun) for a day. Though Helios tried to talk him out of it, Phaeton was adamant. When the day came, Phaeton panicked and lost control of the white horses that drew the chariot. First it veered too high, so that the earth grew chill. Then it dipped too close, and the vegetation dried and burned. He accidentally turned most of Africa into desert; burning the skin of the Ethiopians black. Eventually, Zeus was forced to intervene by striking the runaway chariot with a lightning bolt to stop it, and Phaethon plunged into the river Eridanus (the Po). His friend, Cycnus, grieved so, that the gods turned him into a swan. His sisters, the Heliades, also grieved and were turned into alder trees, or poplars according to Virgil; their tears became amber.

More Greatly Dared?

This website's title comes from a line in Ovid's Metamorphoses. After Phaethon's death, his epitath is revealed to the reader: Hic situs est Phaeton currus auriga paterni Quem si non tenuit magnis tamen excidit ausis. F.J. Miller famously translated this as: "Here Phaethon lies: in Phoebus' car he fared, / And though he greatly failed, more greatly dared." It's a lovely line, that captures all Phaethon's youthful exuberance while still respecting the way he tried to do the impossible.


For those new to the idea, a fanlisting is essentially a list of fans of a certain musician, actor, TV Show, or anything. People from all around the world stop by and add on to show their support for the fandoms that they love.

(Most of the profile is borrowed his Wikipedia entry.)

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