Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Santorini, the Jewel of the Cyclades

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, also known as Thira or Strongyli is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea and is one of the most important tourist destinations worldwide. The history of the island of is directly connected with Santorini's volcano and its activity.

The volcano of Santorini belongs to the South Aegean volcanic arc and is one of the most famous volcanoes in Europe. The explosions of the volcano, dating back from the second millennium BC, devastated large areas of the Mediterranean and were considered to be the source of the myth of Phaethon.

The Fall of Phaeton'-detail of a painting by Peter Paul Rubens (1605)In their attempt to explain this natural disaster, the ancient Greeks invented the myth of Helios and his chariot, which he drove across the sky each day.
Helios' son, Phaethon, envied his father's power and asked him to pull his chariot just for one day. However, Phaethon was still young, inexperienced and weak, and Helios hesitated and tried to talk him out, but in the end he allowed his son to take over the reins of the horses.

Once the horses felt that their master was no longer dominating, they went out of control and started jumping constantly up and down. Whenever the chariot came very close to the sun, the earth and rivers dried out. Whenever the chariot was distant, the earth was covered in snow and ice.

God Zeus, the master of the gods, wanted to save the Earth. So he hurled his thunderbolt at the chariot, turning this way the horses into stone, and throwed the flaming body of Phaethon into the river Eridanus in Italy.

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