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Orion

by Melissa Lee
Orion was the son of Poseidon and Euryale. Like most of Poseidon's children, Orion was a man of gigantic proportions. He also was quite the hunter, and the constellation that bears his name forms the shape of a great hunter in a defensive pose against Taurus, the bull.

While a young man Orion fell in love with Merope, the daughter of Dionysus and Ariadne.) Orion sought to marry Merope and he remained in the king's service for some time attempting to win his favor, but Oenopion dragged his feet in arranging the marriage. Impatient, Orion raped Merope. Naturally, the king decided to take revenge. He got Orion drunk, and when the giant fell asleep, Oenopion put his eyes out and threw him out towards the sea.

Orion wandered around blind until he bumped into Hephaestus, who, taking pity on him, gave him a boy to help guide him. With the boy on his shoulders as his guide Orion made his way to the east, where the rising sun restored his sight. Once again a while man and extremely angry, Orion set out to kill Oenopion. Fortunately for the king Hephaestus had foreseen this and built Oenopion an underground chamber to keep him safe. Unable to find the king of Chios, Orion gave up, and instead went with Eos, who had fallen in love with him. She took him to Delos, where he served her sexually.

How Orion became separated from Eos is unclear, but he eventually came to be a follower of Artemis. While it is agreed upon that Artemis is the one who killed Orion, the reasons for his death vary. Some say that Orion and Artemis had fallen in love and were even about to marry. Artemis' brother, Apollo, was displeased with this arrangement, since it was inappropriate for a goddess to involve herself with anyone who was not a god. One say while the three were visiting the sea Orion went walking out into the water. Soon he was so far from shore that only his head bobbed above the surface. Apollo challenged his sister, alleging that she could not hit the small speck far out on the water. Not one to back down from a challenge to her abilities as an archer, Artemis fired an arrow out over the sea, hitting the speck squarely. The speck disappeared under the water, and a few moments later the body of Orion washed up on the shore.

Some say that Orion had raped one of Artemis' female followers, and so Artemis killed him as punishment. She sent a scorpion after him, which stung him and poisoned him. When Orion and the scorpion were placed among the stars, they were given places far from each other, so that Orion would be out of danger. Even today you can see that when Scorpius is just rising, chasing after Orion, the hunter is just starting to disappear behind the western horizon.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Candaon
  • Pronunciation:
    oh-ry'-uhn

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