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Orīon

Ὠρίων). A celebrated giant, said by one legend to have been the son of Poseidon and Euryalé. His father, according to this same account, gave him the power of wading through the depths of the sea, or, as others say, of walking on its surface. He married Sidé, whom Heré cast into Erebus for contending with her in beauty (Apollod. i.4.3). Another and more common account makes Hyria, a town of Boeotia, to have been the birthplace of Orion , and the story of his origin is told as follows: As Zeus, Poseidon, and Hermes were taking a ramble upon earth, they came, late in the evening, to the house of a farmer named Hyrieus. Seeing the wayfarers, Hyrieus, who was standing at his door, invited them to enter, and pass the night in his humble abode. The gods accepted the kind invitation, and were hospitably entertained. Pleased with their host, they inquired if he had any wish which he desired to have gratified. Hyrieus replied that he once had a wife whom he tenderly loved, and that he had sworn never to marry another. She was dead; he was childless; his vow was binding; and yet he was desirous of being a father. The gods took the hide of his only ox, which he, on discovering their true nature, had sacrificed in their honour: they buried it in the earth; and ten months afterwards a boy came to light, whom Hyrieus named Urion or Orion (ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρεῖν, Ovid, Fasti, v. 495 foll.; Hyg. Fab. 195). This legend owes its origin to the name Orion , and was the invention of the Athenians (Müller, Orchom. p. 99). In Hyginus, Hyrieus is Byrseus, from the hide (βύρσα).

When Orion grew up, he went, according to this same account, to the island of Chios, where he became enamoured of Aero or Meropé, the daughter of Oenopion, son of Dionysus and Ariadné. He sought her in marriage; but, while wooing, seized a favourable opportunity and offered her violence. Her father, incensed at this conduct, and having made Orion drunk, blinded him, and cast him on the seashore. The blinded hero contrived to reach Lemnos, and came to the forge of Hephaestus, who, taking pity on him, gave him Cedalion (Guardian), one of his men, to be his guide to the abode of the Sun. Placing Cedalion on his shoulder, Orion proceeded to the East; and there, meeting the sun-god, was restored to vision by his beams. Anxious for revenge on Oenopion, he returned to Chios; but the Chians, aware of his intention, concealed the object of his search under the ground, and Orion , unable to find him, returned to Crete. The death of Orion is variously related. As all the legends relating to him are evidently later than the time of Homer, none ventures to assign any other cause to it than the goddess Artemis, whose wrath (though Homer rather says the contrary) he drew on himself. Some said that he attempted to offer violence to the goddess herself; others to Opis, one of her Hyperborean maidens, and that Artemis slew him with her arrows; others, again, that it was for presuming to challenge the goddess at the discus. It was also said that, when he came to Crete, he boasted to Leto and Artemis that he was able to kill anything that would come from the earth. Indignant at his boast, they sent a scorpion, which stung him, and he died. It was said, finally, that Artemis loved Orion , and was even about to marry him. Her brother was highly displeased, and often reproached her, but to no purpose. At length, observing one day Orion wading through the sea with his head just above the waters, he pointed it out to his sister, and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the water. To show her skill she took aim and hit it, thus slaying Orion ( Astr. ii. 34). Asclepius attempted to restore him to life, but was slain by Zeus with a thunderbolt.

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