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Pegasus (from the Greek Pégasos: Πήγασος), the famed winged horse of Greek mythology was, according to lore, created at the death of Medusa. How exactly Pegasus is created varies between different myths, as does the idea that Poseidon; the Greek god of the sea, and of horses, is his father. In some myths Pegasus springs from Medusa’s neck after her head has been severed by Perseus. In others Pegasus is created by the merging of Medusa’s blood with sea foam; in yet others Pegasus is created when Medusa’s blood mixes with the earth – this version of the myth refutes the idea of Poseidon’s paternity.
Pegasus was, for a while, the steed of the Greek hero Bellerophon, aiding him in killing the Chimera and defeating the Solymians and the Amazons. However, Bellerophon grew arrogant and attempted to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus. For his impiety, Zeus sent a gadfly to bite Pegasus, causing him to rear and throw Bellerophon off. In some myths, after this incident, Pegasus became the carrier of Zeus’ thunderbolts.
Pegasus is often associated with the nine Greek muses, sources of inspiration for the Greek world. He created the spring Hippocrene, on Mt Helicon – the home of the muses - by striking the rock with his hooves.
As with most legendary characters from Greek mythology, Pegasus eventually became a constellation, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations, belonging to the northern hemisphere and visible in Autumn.
The presence of the ‘sus/sos’ in his name suggests a pre-Greek origin for the word, allowing Pegasus to be dated back to around the middle of the Bronze Age.
Note that Pegasus is the name of one winged horse, not a species. Some sources claim that the name of the species is 'pterippi'.
Robert Graves, The Greek Myths I & II
M. Makins et al, Collins English Dictionary
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