Little is known about the story of Chrysaor, son of Poseidon and Medusa, and precisely that is what makes it so intriguing. Though he was a minor figure, Chyrsaor appears in the stories of both Perseus and Heracles. While his sibling Pegasus is a popular figure, Chrysaor doesn’t have a prominent role in Greek mythology.
Who is Chrysaor?
The story of Chrysaor’s birth can be found unaltered in the writings of Hesiod, Lycrophon, and Ovid. In Greek, Chrysaor means golden blade or He who holds a golden sword. This could indicate that Chrysaor was a warrior.
Chrysaor was the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea, and Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon. As the story goes, Poseidon found Medusa’s beauty irresistible and would not take no for an answer. He gave chase and raped her in Athena’s Temple. This angered Athena as her temple had been debased, and for this she punished Medusa (and her sisters who tried to save her from Poseidon) by turning her into a hideous Gorgon.
Medusa then became pregnant with Poseidon’s children, but could not have the children in normal childbirth, perhaps because of her curse. When Perseus finally beheaded Medusa, with help from the gods, Chrysaor and Pegasus were born from the blood that sprang from Medusa’s severed neck.
From the two offspring, Pegasus, the winged horse, is well-known and is associated with several myths. While Pegasus is a non-human creature, Chrysaor is typically portrayed as a strong human warrior. However, in some versions, he’s portrayed as a big winged boar.
Some accounts state that Chrysaor became a powerful ruler over a kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula. However, evidence is scarce and there isn’t much information in relation to this.
Chrysaor married the Oceanid, Callirhoe, a daughter of Oceanus and Thetis. They had two children:
- Geryon, the three-headed giant whose amazing herd of cattle was fetched by Heracles as one of his Twelve Labors. Geryon was killed by Heracles. In some art depictions, Chrysaor appears as the winged boar in Geryon’s shield.
- Echidna, a half-woman, half-snake monster who spent her time alone in a cave and was the mate of Typhon.
The myths of Chrysaor are scarce in Greek mythology, and his influence besides fathering Geryon and Echidna is little. It could be that myths related to Chrysaor have been lost or simply that he wasn’t considered important to have a fully fleshed out life story.
Chrysaor was a mild figure without great feats under his name in the big spectrum of Greek mythology. Although he is not known for engaging in great wars or quests, he was well-connected, with important parents, siblings and children.