Orion is the hunter that was blinded, but was
healed by the sun's rays, and now is among the
Orion, the Dog, and the Hare. The stars have been doubtfully identified as the PLEIADES (the seven stars to the left), and as Pleione, their mother, the eighth star to the right. RIII.1-1026: Orion, Hund und Hase. Etruskischen Spiegel (nach Monum. d. Inst. 6 tav. 24, 5). Roscher, 1884.
Origin of Orion
The parentage of Orion has been matter of dispute, but some have said that Orion was produced thus: Hyrieus, son of Poseidon and Alcyone 1, one of the PLEIADES,
once received his father, who came, together with Zeus and Hermes, to see him. On
the occasion, Hyrieus, who was a very rich man but
nevertheless childless, asked his visitors to let
him have children. The gods then, urinated in the
hide of the sacrificed bull, buried it in the
earth, and from it Orion was born. In time Orion
grew tall as a giant, and he was granted by Poseidon the power of
striding across the sea.
Trouble with Oenopion 1
Orion, some say, wished to marry Merope 3, the daughter of King Oenopion 1 of Chios, son of Ariadne, but her father,
disliking the idea, made Orion drunk, put out his
eyes as he slept, and then cast him on the beach.
Others affirm, however, that Orion came to Chios,
and having drunk heavily, raped the girl, being
this the reason why he was blinded, and expelled
from the island, which is off the coast of Ionia in Asia Minor. Orion
then came to Lemnos,
where Hephaestus gave
him his servant Cedalion to serve him as a guide.
Orion set him on his shoulders, and bade him lead
him to the sunrise, and when they arrived Orion was
healed by the sun's rays.
Death of Orion
Orion believed himself to be the best of
hunters, and once he boasted that he was able to
kill anything the earth produced. It was then that Gaia (Earth), angered at this boast, sent the scorpion that killed him. Others assert that Orion was killed by Artemis, who was
challenged by Apollo to
hit with her arrows a black object in the sea,
which she could not see, and that was later
discovered to be Orion's head. How the goddess
could commit such a mistake has not been explained. Still others affirm that Orion was killed for
challenging Artemis to a match of quoits, or shot by her for raping Opis 3, one of the maidens who had come from the Hyperboreans. But others have believed that Orion died because the gods, jealous because he was the lover of Eos, let Artemis kill him.
Orion in the Underworld
Orion was seen by Odysseus in the Underworld where he
had the same occupation as when he was alive on
"... I marked
huge Orion driving together over the Plain of
beasts which himself had slain on the lonely hills,
and in his hands he held a club all of bronze, ever
unbroken ..." (Odysseus.
Homer, Odyssey 11.542).
Orion in the sky
Yet Orion may be considered immortal for being
among the stars where he was placed by Artemis, who mourned him. It is told that to prevent him being alone in the sky, the Dog (Canis Major) was later added to the stars to keep Orion company in his hunting (see CONSTELLATIONS).