Daily mythology: about the dead-nettle


Nephele (the cloud)

Nephele was an air-nymph. She liked to take cloud shape. Once when Zeus had Ixion, the Laphite, as guest, he formed Nephele into Hera-shape, because he new, that Ixion was in love with his wife. Indeed Ixion could not resist to this. Later, Nephele gave birth to the centaurs.

Nephele was married to the Boiotian king Athamas and from him had twins: Helle and Phrixos, which are now of our interest. But Athamas disowned her and married Ino, the daughter of Kadmos and Harmonia, who later was elevated to the white sea-foam-goddess Leucothea. How complicated the affairs of the ancient gods were!

Helle and Phrixos on their part were chased away from their home (like Hänsel and Gretel or Snow-white in the fairy-tales) and flew right over the ocean on a golden ram. Poor Helle fell down, the place there is up to nowadays called “Hellespontus”, right there we find Gallipoli or Çanakkale, where much later Winston Churchill and the naval super-power Great Britain were defeated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Phrixos but set feet only in Asia. Where he stepped dead-nettles grew. Since then they spread out everywhere. To honour their ancestors they flower snow-white….

Phrixos travelled as far as Kolchis. King Aietes there gave him his daughter as a wife, Phrixos donated the golden fleece from his golden ram. Aietes coffered it in a temple and put a fierce dragon as guard. Only Jason and his Argonauts managed later to rob the Golden Fleece. By good fortune! What would we do without it?


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