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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Orion (2)

a mythological personage of the Greeks, was represented as a gigantic hunter, and reputed the handsomest man in the world. His parentage is differently stated. According to the commonly received myth he was the son of Hyrieus, of Hyria, in Boeotia, and was called in his native country Kandaon. Another account makes him a son of Poseidon and Eurvale, while some say that he was Autochthonos, or "earthborn." So immense was his stature that when he waded through the deepest seas he was still a head and shoulders above the water, and when he walked on dry land his stature reached the clouds. Origin was a general favorite, and soon rendered himself celebrated. Diana took him among her attendants, and even became deeply enamored of him. His gigantic stature, however, displeased Enopion, king of Chios, whose daughter Hero or Merope he demanded in marriage. The king, not daring to deny him openly, promised to make him his son-in-law as soon as he delivered his island from wild beasts. This task, which Enopion deemed impracticable, was soon performed by Orion, who eagerly demanded his reward. Enopion, on pretense of complying, intoxicated his illustrious guest, and put out his eyes on the sea-shore, where he had laid himself down to sleep. Orion, finding himself blind when he awoke, was conducted by the sound to a neighboring forge where he placed one of the workmen on his back, and, by his directions, went to a place, where the rising sun was seen to the greatest advantage. Here he turned his face towards the luminary, and, as is reported, he immediately recovered his eyesight, and hastened to punish the perfidious cruelty of Enopion.

Aurora, whom Venus had inspired with love, carried him awav into the island of Delos, to enjoy his company with greater security; but Diana, who was jealous of this destroyed Orion with her arrows. Some say that Orion had provoked Diana's resentment by offering violence to Opis, one of her female attendants, or, according to others, because he had attempted the virtue of the goddess herself. According ton Ovid, Orion died of the bite of a scorpion, which the earth produced, to punish his vanity in boasting that there was not on earth any animal which he could not conquer. It is said that Orion was an excellent workman in iron, and that he fabricated a subterraneous palace for Vulcan. After death Orion was placed in heaven, where one of the constellations still bears his name. The constellation of Orion, situated near the feet of the bull, was composed of seventeen stars, in the form of a man holding a sword, which has given occasion to the poets often to 'speak' of Orion's sword. As the constellation of Orion, which rises about March 9, and sets about June 21, is generally supposed to be accompanied at its rising, with great rains and storms, it has acquired the epithet of aquosus, given it by Virgil. Orion was buried in the island of Delos, and the monument which the people of Tanagra, in Boeotia, showed, as containing the remains of this celebrated hero, was nothing but a cenotaph. The daughters of Orion distinguished themselves as much as their father, and when the oracle had declared that Boeotia should not be delivered from a dreadful pestilence before two of Jupiter's children were immolated on the altars, they joyfully accepted the offer and voluntarily sacrificed themselves for the good of their country. Their names were Menippe and Metioche.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Orion (2)'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/o/orion-2.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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