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Μίδας). The son of Gordius and Cybelé. He was the wealthy but effeminate king of Phrygia, a pupil of Orpheus, and a great patron of the worship of Dionysus. His wealth is alluded to in a story connected with his childhood, for it is said that while a child, ants carried grains of wheat into his mouth to indicate that one day he should be the richest of all mortals. Midas was introduced into the satyric drama of the Greeks, and was represented with the ears of a Satyr, which were afterwards lengthened into the ears of an ass. He is said to have built the town of Ancyra, and as king of Phrygia he is called Berecynthius heros (Ovid, Met. xi. 106).

There are several stories connected with Midas, of which the following are the most celebrated: Silenus, the companion and teacher of Dionysus, had gone astray in a state of intoxication, and was caught by country people in the rose-gardens of Midas. He was bound with wreaths of flowers and led before the king. These gardens were in Macedonia, near Mount Bermion or Bromion, where Midas was king of the Bruges, with whom he afterwards emigrated to Asia, where their name was changed into Phryges. Midas received Silenus kindly; and, after treating him with hospitality, he led him back to Dionysus, who allowed Midas to ask a favour of him. Midas in his folly desired that all things which he touched should be changed into gold. The request was granted; but as even the food which he touched became gold, he implored the god to take his favour back. Dionysus accordingly ordered him to bathe in the source of Pactolus near Mount Tmolus. This bath saved Midas, but the river from that time had an abundance of gold in its sand.

Midas, who was himself related to the race of Satyrs, once had a visit from a Satyr, who indulged in all kinds of jokes at the king's expense. Thereupon Midas mixed wine in a well; and when the Satyr had drunk of it, he fell asleep and was caught. This well of Midas was at different times assigned to different localities. Xenophon ( Anab. i. 2.13) places it in the neighbourhood of Thymbrium and Tyraeum, and Pausanias at Ancyra. Once when Pan and Apollo were engaged in a musical contest on the flute and lyre, Midas was chosen to decide between them. The king decided in favour of Pan, whereupon Apollo changed his ears into those of an ass. Midas contrived to conceal them under his Phrygian cap, but the servant who used to cut his hair discovered them. The secret so much harassed this man that, as he dared not betray it to a human being, he dug a hole in the earth, and whispered into it, “King Midas has ass's ears.” He then filled the hole up again, and his mind was relieved. But on the same spot a reed grew up, which in its whispers betrayed the secret. Midas is said to have killed himself by drinking the blood of an ox. (Strabo, p. 61.)

So-called Tomb of Midas.

A tomb found at Dogan-lu, in Phrygia, is called “the tomb of Midas” from the one legible word, midai, upon it.

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