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Greek Gods and Goddesses



Arion, the star constellation


The Story of Arion

            Arion, son of Poseidon and a naiad, and favored by Apollo, lived in Corinth.  He was brave and adventurous, and he desperately wanted to travel.  The problem was that an oracle had once said, “No ship will bring you back from any voyage you make.”  Arion, ignoring the oracle, decided to set sail for Italy.  He competed in the festival at Tarentum with his lyre, and he won many prizes including, a jeweled sword, a suit of silver armor, an ivory bow, and a quiver of bronze-tipped arrows.  He forgot all about the prophesy and took the ship back to Corinth.  On the way, however, the ship’s captain came and told him that Arion was going to die.  The captain and his crew were thieves and they wanted Arion’s treasures, so they were going to kill him and keep the treasures for themselves.  Arion asked one favor, before he was to die.  He asked to sing one last song, in which he praised Apollo, Poseidon, the sea itself and all who dwell there.  As he sang, he leapt off the ship and plunged into the sea.

            The dolphins were waiting, for they had heard him singing so beautifully and had come to listen.  Arion climbed onto the back of one, and it swam him back to Corinth, where Arion met with his friend, Periander, King of Corinth.  After hearing his story, Periander had the captain and crew seized when they docked, and had them taken to the castle.  There, Arion stayed hidden while the king questioned them about Arion.  The captain insisted that Arion had jumped overboard and had been eaten by sharks.  It was then that Arion stepped into the open and the captain and crew were hanged.  Arion gave his treasures to the king, and for the rest of his life, he sang songs of praise, so beautiful that people said he was a second Orpheus, who was a musician such as which the world had never known.  When Arion died, Apollo had him set in the sky along with his lyre and the dolphin that had rescued him.  The constellation Arion continues to shine on pirates and minstrels, on wise wen trying to learn the language of animals, and on simple men who have always known it.

Arion’s Genealogy

Son to Poseidon (and a naiad)

Created by Angie Briese