Pegasus
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Basic Information

In Greek mythology, Pegasus (Greek: Πήγασος, Pégasos, 'strong') is a winged horse.
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Birth

Pegasus was created by Poseidon in his role as horse-god, and the Gorgon Medusa.

There are two different versions of Pegasus' birth. Both involve the death of Medusa at the hands of Perseus.

  • Pegasus sprang from Medusa's neck while she was beheaded
  • Pegasus arose from Medusa's blood when it was spilt to the ground

By some counts, Poseidon actually impregnated Medusa, but the offspring stayed within her until her death. Also, the giant Chrysaor also sprang from her body when she died.

The hero Bellerophon then caught the newborn horse and tamed it. He presented it to the muses at Mount Parnassus. Pegasus became the horse of the muses and was a servant for the poets.

In some versions of the myth, Bellerophon rode Pegasus in battle when he slew the Chimera. In other versions, Pegasus was his gift from the Greek Gods for destroying Chimera.

Death

Pegasus fought bravely in his life but was mortal. As a gift for his services, Zeus honored him with a star constellation. On the last day of his life, Zeus transformed him into the constellation. One single feather fell to the earth near the city of Tarsus.

In some versions, Bellerophon tried to ride Pegasus up to Mount Olympus, so Zeus sent a stinging insect to bite the flying horse, and make Bellerophon fall off. In yet other versions of the myth, Pegasus bucked Bellerophon off due to it's own untamed nature, and became a constellation instead of allowing itself to be ridden.

Off label use

Subsequent fantasy works - including many/most fRPGs include a whole species of winged horses known as pegasi (the plural of pegasus). And often more than one species - many have a "villain version" black pegasus (since the original is usually depicted as white), and in typical RPG fashion, this is usually a different species with its own stat block, rather than merely a different colour of the same thing. Expect other colours for other applications.

See Also

Sources

Bibliography

Game and Story Use

  • Pegasus is usually used to travel very fast. As it is intelligent, it may be used as a messenger
  • Pegasus can be used a symbol in the sky for changes.
  • A feather of Pegasus may be a very strong ingredient for a potion.
  • A hero or poet may be gifted or loaned Pegasus (or one of his offspring) by the muses.
  • If Medusa's other sisters are killed, they may spawn supernatural steeds as well. See horse, horse of a different color, unicorn, and Sleipnir for ideas.
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