Phaeton

   A phaeton is an open four-wheeled carriage drawn by a pair of horses and designed to accommodate two persons plus driver. It was a popular means of transportation during the nineteenth century. It is also the name for an early type of open automobile. The name for these means of transportation was taken from the name Phaeton, the son of Helios, god of the sun.
   Phaeton as a boy had been taunted by a friend who said that Helios was not his father. To clear up the matter of his paternity, Phaethon journeyed to Helios's palace in the East. Helios was pleased to see him and, to show his fatherly affection, told his son that any wish he had would be granted.
   Phaethon thereupon asked that he be permitted to drive the sun chariot for one day. Helios was horrified by that rash request and tried to dissuade his son from it, for he knew how tremendously difficult it was to control the highly spirited steeds who pulled the chariot. But the boy persisted, and Helios reluctantly yielded.
   The four horses were yoked to the gleaming chariot, and Phaeton took the reins. His anxious father offered instructions, but once in the sky, Phaethon lost his head, and the horses ran away with him. They at first blazed a gash across the heavens that became the Milky Way. Then they plunged downward and scorched the earth, forming the Sahara Desert and turning the skins of the equatorial people black.
   To prevent Phaeton from setting the world on fire, Zeus (Jupiter) hurled a lightning bolt against the charioteer and killed him. Phaeton's blazing corpse fell into the River Eridanus. His sisters, the sea nymphs, who had witnessed his fall, stood on the banks of the river and wept for him. They were turned into weeping poplars, which still line the shores of the river (now the Po).

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • PHAÉTON — Dans la mythologie grecque, fils d’Hélios (le Soleil: Phébus Apollon) et de la nymphe Clyméné. Sa naissance ayant été mise en doute, il en appela au Soleil qui, pour lui prouver sa paternité, jura de lui accorder ce qu’il demanderait. Phaéton… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Phaeton — Phaeton, Phaëton, Phaethon, or Phaëthon may refer to:*Phaëton, in Greek mythology, either the son of Helios, the sun god; or son of Eos, the Dawn Goddess *Phaeton, fictional villainous leader of the Neosapiens in the animated television series… …   Wikipedia

  • Phaëton — Phaeton oder Phaethon bezeichnet: einen Beinamen des griechischen Gottes Helios einen Sohn des griechischen Gottes Helios bzw. von Helios Schwester Eos, siehe Phaethon (Mythologie) eines der Pferde der Göttin Eos einen Asteroiden, siehe Phaethon… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Phaeton — Phaéton Pour les articles homonymes, voir Phaéton (homonymie). La Chute de Phaéton, par Johann Liss (début du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Phaeton — oder Phaethon bezeichnet: einen Beinamen des griechischen Gottes Helios einen Sohn des griechischen Gottes Helios bzw. von Helios Schwester Eos, siehe Phaethon (Mythologie) eines der Pferde der Göttin Eos einen Asteroiden, siehe (3200) Phaethon… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • phaéton — 2. (fa é ton) s. m. 1°   Par plaisanterie et par allusion à Phaéthon, fils du Soleil, cocher, charretier. •   Le phaéton d une voiture à foin Vit son char embourbé, LA FONT. Fabl. VI, 18. 2°   Petite voiture à quatre roues, légère et découverte,… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • phaeton — or phaëton [fā′ə tən, fāt′ n] n. [Fr phaéton < L Phaethon: see PHAËTHON] 1. a light, four wheeled carriage of the 19th cent. drawn by one or two horses, with front and back seats and, usually, a folding top for the front ☆ 2. an early type of… …   English World dictionary

  • Phaeton — Pha [ e]*ton, n. [F. pha[ e]ton a kind of carriage, fr. Pha[ e]thon Pha[ e]thon, the son of Helios. See {Pha[ e]thon}.] 1. A four wheeled carriage (with or without a top), open, or having no side pieces, in front of the seat. It is drawn by one… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Phaëton — (fr., spr. Phaetong), leichter, eleganter Wagen zum Spazierenfahren, gewöhnlich etwas hoch gestellt, oben entweder offen od. mit einem auf vier Säulen ruhenden, zierlichen Himmel versehen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Phaëton — Phaëton, der Tropikvogel …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Phaëton — Phaëton, griech., der Leuchtende, nach der Mythe Sohn des Sonnengottes, erbat sich von seinem Vater die Lenkung des Sonnenwagens; er konnte aber die Rosse nicht meistern, kam von der Bahn ab und steckte die Erde in Brand, worauf ihn Zeus mit dem… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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