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Ixion fell in love with Hera and attempted to force her; and when Hera reported it, Zeus, wishing to know if the thing were so, made a cloud in the likeness of Hera and laid it beside him; and when Ixion boasted that he had enjoyed the favours of Hera, Zeus bound him to a wheel, on which he is whirled by winds through the air; such is the penalty he pays. And the cloud, impregnated by Ixion, gave birth to Centaurus.1

1 Compare Pind. P. 2.21(39)-48(88), with the Scholiast on 21(39); Diod. 4.69.4ff.; Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 1185; Scholiast on Hom. Od.xxi.303; Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. iii.62; Hyginus, Fab. 62; Serv. Verg. A. 6.286 (who does not mention the punishment of the wheel); Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. iv.539; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 4, 110ff. (First Vatican Mythographer 14; Second Vatican Mythographer 106). Tzetzes flatly contradicts Pindar and substitutes a dull rationalistic narrative for the poet's picturesque myth (Tzetzes, Chiliades vii.30ff.). According to some, the wheel of Ixion was fiery (Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 1185); according to the Vatican Mythographer it was entwined with snakes. The fiery aspect of the wheel is supported by vase paintings. From this and other evidence Mr. A. B. Cook argues that the flaming wheel launched through the air is a mythical expression for the Sun, and that Ixion himself “typifies a whole series of human Ixions who in bygone ages were done to death as effete embodiments of the sungod.” See his book Zeus, i.198-211.

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