Monday, November 2, 2015

Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun

Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun by Nicolas Poussin, 1658

Hesiod says that he was the son of Euryale, the daughter of Minos, and of Poseidon, and that there was given him as a gift the power of walking upon the waves as though upon land. When he was come to Chios, he outraged Merope, the daughter of Oenopion, being drunken; but Oenopion when he learned of it was greatly vexed at the outrage and blinded him and cast him out of the country. Then he came to Lemnos as a beggar and there met Hephaestus who took pity on him and gave him Cedalion his own servant to guide him. So Orion took Cedalion upon his shoulders and used to carry him about while he pointed out the roads. Then he came to the east and appears to have met Helius (the Sun) and to have been healed, and so returned back again to Oenopion to punish him; but Oenopion was hidden away by his people underground. Being disappointed, then, in his search for the king, Orion went away to Crete and spent his time hunting in company with Artemis and Leto. It seems that he threatened to kill every beast there was on earth; whereupon, in her anger, Earth sent up against him a scorpion of very great size by which he was stung and so perished. After this Zeus, at one prayer of Artemis and Leto, put him among the stars, because of his manliness, and the scorpion also as a memorial of him and of what had occurred.

Fragment #4—Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Catast. fr. xxxii: Orion