Pegasus in Modern Culture

In Greek mythology, Pegasus was the son of Poseidon and Medusa, having sprung from the blood of Medusa as it dropped into the sea after her head was severed by Perseus. He was captured by Bellerophon at the water of his fountain and was ridden by him when he killed Chimera. Bellerophon showed disrespect to the Gods as he attempted to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus and Zeus sent an insect to sting Pegasus and Bellerophon was thrown back. Pegasus found sanctuary on the sacred mountain, where he carried Zeus' thunderbolts and was ridden by Eos, the goddess of dawn. Under his feet sprang the sacred springs of the Muses on Mount Helicon.

Many cultures, religions, and pieces of literature contain similar magical horses. The Buraq, according to Islamic tradition, is a creature from the heavens that carried Muhammad from earth to heaven and back. Chollima is the Korean name for a mythical horse that is said to be too swift to be mounted. In Norse mythology, Sleipnir is Odin's magical eight-legged steed, and said to be the greatest of all horses. In all of these examples, the horses are good, and are helpful, just like in the Greek mythology version of Pegasus.

This is not always the case. In Harry Potter, Thestrals are the most elusive and least horse-like breed of magical horse. They have earned an undeserved reputation as omens of evil, and can only be seen when a person has experienced and accepted a death. The horses are scary looking, but are extremely gentle and helpful once one gets to know them.

Not only in Harry Potter, examples and allusions of Pegasus can be seen in many aspects of modern society. Luno the White Stallion was a Terry Toons television series that aired in the mid-1960s. It centered on a little boy named Tim who had a marble Pegasus horse named Luno who would come alive and whisk him off on adventures in far off lands when Tim said the words, "Oh winged horse of marble white, take me on a magic flight". (www.wikipedia.com/luno). In this example, Tim’s marble horse directly relates to Greek mythology’s version of Pegasus.

In Greek mythology, Pegasus was used to go on adventures, and here in the cartoon, Luno took Tim on adventures. In modern society, Pegasus can be seen on many logos, and is apart of many company names. When a company chooses Pegasus to represent them, it’s probably because in today’s society, Pegasus is synonymous with power and strength, because he was chosen to carry Zeus’ lightning bolts, a position that required both power and strength, among other qualities.

Pegasus can be seen as the logo of Mobil gas and oil. In the logo, there is a red horse with wings. Mobil used Pegasus on purpose, because Pegasus resembles power and strength. They want to convey this message when the public chooses a type of gas. They want the public to choose their gas because once consumers see Mobil’s logo; Mobil hopes the consumer will be able to associate their gas with powerfulness, and Mobil’s ability to successfully power the car.

Pegasus is also the logo of Tri-Star Pictures, a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. In their logo, we see a picture of a dreamy, sun-lit area full of clouds. A bright light flashes from the bottom center of the screen to reveal a white, winged Pegasus walking on the clouds. In bold, golden lettering, "TRISTAR" appears on the top of the screen. In this logo as well, Pegasus is used to convey powerfulness. Tri-star not only hopes that consumers will associate their pictures as powerful, meaningful movies, but also as movies that capture one's imagination.

Pegasus is apart of many names. It is sometimes the base of many company’s names. A few include Pegasus Mail, an email client for the DOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems, and Pegasus Airlines, an airline base in Istanbul, Turkey. Pegasus is the name of many fictional characters, including, Maximillion Pegasus, a character from the anime and manga series Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pegasus, the old rocking horse owned and cherished by Maud in Barbara Willard's The Richleighs of Tantamount, Pegasus, the spaceship featured in the BBC drama documentary television series Space Odyssey:

Voyage To The Planets. Rolls-Royce Pegasus is a turbofan engine originally designed by Bristol and now manufactured by Rolls-Royce. HAI Pegasus is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. HMS Pegasus is the name of a number of Royal Navy vessels. Pegasus rocket is a winged space booster developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Carousels, in today’s society, may be related to Pegasus. A carousel is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating platform with seats for passengers. The "seats" are traditionally in the form of wooden horses, which are often moved mechanically up and down to simulate galloping. One particular carousel is named “Flying Horses,” located in Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts. It was the first carousel ever built. The name, “Flying Horses,” relates to Pegasus, because Pegasus could fly, and also the fact that all the seats are horses.

The creators of this carousel either indirectly or directly based it off of Pegasus, the flying horse. Pegasus also is evident in today’s society through unicorns. Unicorns are magical creatures, with a horn coming out of its forehead. According to Marianna Myer, "The unicorn is the only fabulous beast that does not seem to have been conceived out of human fears. In even the earliest references he is fierce yet good, selfless yet solitary, but always mysteriously beautiful.

He could be captured only by unfair means, and his single horn was said to neutralize poison” (wikipedia.com/unicorns). There is a correlation to Pegasus. Pegasus was captured by being lied to, and was used to defeat monsters. When he was released, he was used to carry Zeus’ thunderbolts, a very selfless act. Both Pegasus and Unicorns are beautiful, mysterious creatures.