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Orion, the Dog, and the Hare. The stars have been doubtfully identified as the PLEIADES (the seven stars to the left), and as Pleione, their mother, the eighth star to the right. RIII.1-1026: Orion, Hund und Hase. Etruskischen Spiegel (nach Monum. d. Inst. 6 tav. 24, 5). Roscher, 1884.

Orion is the hunter that was blinded, but was healed by the sun's rays, and now is among the stars.

Origin of Orion

The parentage of Orion has been matter of dispute, but some have said that Orion was produced thus: Hyrieus, son of Poseidon and Alcyone 1, one of the PLEIADES, once received his father, who came, together with Zeus and Hermes, to see him. On the occasion, Hyrieus, who was a very rich man but nevertheless childless, asked his visitors to let him have children. The gods then, urinated in the hide of the sacrificed bull, buried it in the earth, and from it Orion was born. In time Orion grew tall as a giant, and he was granted by Poseidon the power of striding across the sea.

Trouble with Oenopion 1

Orion, some say, wished to marry Merope 3, the daughter of King Oenopion 1 of Chios, son of Ariadne, but her father, disliking the idea, made Orion drunk, put out his eyes as he slept, and then cast him on the beach. Others affirm, however, that Orion came to Chios, and having drunk heavily, raped the girl, being this the reason why he was blinded, and expelled from the island, which is off the coast of Ionia in Asia Minor. Orion then came to Lemnos, where Hephaestus gave him his servant Cedalion to serve him as a guide. Orion set him on his shoulders, and bade him lead him to the sunrise, and when they arrived Orion was healed by the sun's rays.

Death of Orion

Orion believed himself to be the best of hunters, and once he boasted that he was able to kill anything the earth produced. It was then that Gaia (Earth), angered at this boast, sent the scorpion that killed him. Others assert that Orion was killed by Artemis, who was challenged by Apollo to hit with her arrows a black object in the sea, which she could not see, and that was later discovered to be Orion's head. How the goddess could commit such a mistake has not been explained. Still others affirm that Orion was killed for challenging Artemis to a match of quoits, or shot by her for raping Opis 3, one of the maidens who had come from the Hyperboreans. But others have believed that Orion died because the gods, jealous because he was the lover of Eos, let Artemis kill him.

Orion in the Underworld

Orion was seen by Odysseus in the Underworld where he had the same occupation as when he was alive on earth:

"... I marked huge Orion driving together over the Plain of Asphodel wild beasts which himself had slain on the lonely hills, and in his hands he held a club all of bronze, ever unbroken ..." (Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.542).

Orion in the sky

Yet Orion may be considered immortal for being among the stars where he was placed by Artemis, who mourned him. It is told that to prevent him being alone in the sky, the Dog (Canis Major) was later added to the stars to keep Orion company in his hunting (see CONSTELLATIONS).


Parentage (four versions)




Poseidon & Euryale 2


Hyrieus & Clonia


Bull 9's hide


Gaia (by herself)

Euryale 2 has been said to be the daughter of King Minos 2 of Crete.
Hyrieus is son of Poseidon and the Pleiad Alcyone 1. Hyrieus owned a treasure inside a building built by Trophonius and Agamedes 1 which had a stone that they could take away from the outside, thus robbing him, until one of them was caught in a trap made by Hyrieus.
Clonia is one of the NYMPHS.
(For the hide see BESTIARY.)

Side 2

Metioche 2

Menippe 2

Hera cast Side 2 into Hades because she rivalled herself in beauty.

Metioche 2 and Menippe 2, the Boeotian daughters of Orion, killed themselves to save their people from pestilence, and were turned into comets. This they did following an oracle that had promised deliverance if two virgins would sacrifice themselves.



Eos is Dawn. She is always in love.

Related sections

Apd.1.4.3; Hes.Ast.4; Hom.Od.5.121, 11.572; Hyg.Ast.2.26, 2.34, 2.36; Hyg.Fab.195; Lib.Met.25; Nonn.4.338, 5.516, 13.99; Val.1.647, 4.123.