- Hippolytus (mythology)
The most common legend regarding Hippolytus states that he was killed after rejecting the advances of Phaedra, the second wife of Theseus and Hippolytus's stepmother. Spurned, Phaedra told Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her. Infuriated, Theseus believed her and, using one of the three wishes he had received from
Poseidon, cursed Hippolytus. Hippolytus' horses were frightened by a sea monsterand dragged their rider to his death. Alternatively, Dionysussent a wild bull that terrified Hippolytus' horses, causing them to drag Hippolytus to his death.
Additional depictions such as the surviving version of Euripides and the french dramatist Racine, stated that Phaedra's nurse told Hippolytus of Phaedra’s love. Hippolytus swore that he would not reveal the nurse as a source of information –even after Phaedra killed herself and falsely accused him of raping her in a
suicide note, which Theseus read.
Alternatively, it is stated that Phaedra simply killed herself out of guilt for Hippolytus’ death and that the goddess
Artemissubsequently told Theseus the truth.
Hippolytus as Virbius
According to some sources, Hippolytus had scorned
Aphroditein order to become a devotee of Artemis, devoting himself to a chaste life in pursuit of hunting. In retaliation, Aphrodite made Phaedra fall in love with him. Hippolytus’ rejection of Phaedra led to his death in a fall from a chariot.
As a result, a cult grew up around Hippolytus, associated with the cult of Aphrodite. His cult believed that
Artemisasked Asclepiusto resurrect the young man since he had vowed chastity to her.
He was brought to
Latium, Italy, where he reigned under the name of Virbius or Virbio. After his resurrection, he married Aricia. According to another tradition, he lived in the sacred forests near Ariciain Latium. Girls who were about to be married offered locks of their hair to him as a sign of their virginity.
* [http://www.verbumvanum.org/adel Hippolytus] for details on the figure of Hippolytus and a classicist's philological study of the evolution of Hippolytus as a
chastity paradigmin Euripides, Seneca, Racine; extensive bibliography (in Dutch)
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Hippolytus — /hi pol i teuhs/, n. Also, Hippolytos /hi pol i teuhs, tos /. Class. Myth. the son of Theseus who was falsely accused by his stepmother, Phaedra, of raping her after he had rejected her advances and who was killed by Poseidon in response to the… … Universalium
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