King midas


New Member
In reading about King Midas, I stumbled across some lesser known tales. In King Midas' case it was the story of how he drew the rath of Apollo when he was the umpire in a music contest. Apollo gave King Midas donkey ears! :eek: Anyone have any lesser known stories they would like to share?


The Midas touch is the most well know of the stories about King Midas. However, I recently read that the original story about him is kind of unknown. That original stories tells of how the king had put wine in the well of his garden to trick the Silenus, a satyr, to share his wisdom. He was able to catch him, and he learned that the best thing for man is never to have been born, and that the second best is to die soon if one has been born. Kind of a harsh, isn't it?


The interesting part of the legend about Midas' donkey ears is the fact that after Apollo made his ears grow and after Zeus refused to turn them back to normal, he was so ashamed that he decided to dig a hole and to tell his secret to the earth, quite convinced that it would remain buried and unknown. However, in Greek mythology, the Earth is a woman (Gaea), and - as no woman can keep a secret - in no time at all the reeds at the water's edge were whispering: "King Midas has donkey's ears!" So the trees, the birds, the wind and clouds and every single house heard about it.

So, women were known to be gossipers since back then...


And we prove them right every time. ;) Not only are we well known as gossipers (which I know for a fact that in my family men are the gossipers.) We are also known as curiously as proven by Pandora's box myth.


Well-Known Member
I'm not sure if you remember, but King Midas was the grandfather of the well known Minotaur which the hero Theseus had slain. It was Midas's daughter who gave birth to the creature.


Active Member
Myrddin, you might be confusing Midas' name with Minos, who is sometimes confusingly called the father of Minotaüros. This monster's real name was Asterios or Asterion, and he was nicknamed Minotaüros, "Minos' Bull." Pasiphai, the wife of King Minos of Crete, was the mother of Minotaüros, and she was the daughter of the sun-god Helios and the Oceanid Perseïs. Androgeneia, one of Minos' lovers, is also said to have borne him a son named Asterion, a distinct character from the Minotaur, who is, understandably, sometimes confounded with him because of the family ties (them being stepbrothers and all).

There are several less-known though interesting details about Midas, mostly involving his relatives. His father Gordios [Gordius] is the man who invented the Gordian knot, a legendary knot which could not be undone. A prophecy existed that whoever could untie this knot would become the ruler of Asia. Centuries later, Alexander the Great of Macedon solved this with his sword, cutting the rope into which the knot was bound, and since he did conquer Asia he apparently fulfilled the prophecy. The Phyrgian goddess Kybele [Cybele] is supposed to have been the mother of Midas, who is said to have inherited the throne from his father Gordios or to have emigrated with his people into Phrygia from Mygdonia, or from Lydia, or from Mt Pieria where he was a disciple of Orpheus.

The run-in that Midas had with Seilenos [Silenus] and Dionysos [Dionysus] occurred while the latter was on his famous war campaign against King Deriades of India. Seilenos gained his release from bondage at the court of Midas when he agreed to share a word of wisdom with the king, which happened to be the opinion that the best thing for mortals was not to be born at all, and the next best thing to die as soon as possible.

The daughter whom Midas unintentionally turned into a golden statue was called Zœ. The River Paktolos [Pactolus] in Lydia was a source of gold whose origin was believed to be the fact that this is where Dionysos told Midas to bathe in order to lose his power of turning everything he touched into that precious metal.

Midas also had two sons Ankhouros [Anchurus] and Lytierses. Once during Midas reign, a huge chasm opened up in the ground at Kelainai [Celaenae], a city of Karia [Caria], which was part of Midas' territory. An oracle told the king that if he threw his most precious possession into the abyss, it would close back up. Midas cast gold and silver into the hole and nothing happened. Seeing this, his son Ankhouros reasoned that a human life was the most precious possession of all, and so, taking leave of his wife Timothea, he rode his horse into the abyss, which immediately afterwards swallowed him and closed up.

Lytierses was Midas' illegitimate son but as his only surviving heir he succeeded him on the throne of Phrygia. He lived at Kelainai, where he was later killed by Herakles.

Philostratos says that Midas' donkey-ears were the natural result of some of his ancestors being satyrs.