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Phlegias with Dante and Virgil, stained glass in Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan.

Phlegyas (Greek: Φλεγύας), son of Ares and Chryse or Dotis, was king of the Lapiths in Greek mythology. He was the father of Ixion and Coronis, one of Apollo's lovers. While pregnant with Asclepius, Coronis fell in love with Ischys, son of Elatus. When a crow informed Apollo of the affair, he sent his sister Artemis to kill Coronis. Apollo rescued the baby though and gave it to the centaur Chiron to raise. Phlegyas was irate and torched the Apollonian temple at Delphi, causing Apollo to kill him.

In the Aeneid of Virgil, Phlegyas is shown tormented in the Underworld, warning others not to despise the Gods. In the Thebaid of Statius, Phlegyas is entombed in a rock by Megaera (one of the Furies) and starves in front of an eternal feast.

In the Divine Comedy poem Inferno, Phlegyas ferries Virgil and Dante across the river Styx, which is portrayed as a marsh where the wrathful and sullen lie. Phlegyas was the mythical ancestor of the Phlegyans.

Popular culture[edit]

  • In the video game adaptation of Dante's Inferno, Phlegyas is represented by a gargantuan molten rock giant. In the game, Phlegyas ferries Dante across the River Styx atop his head, then begins indiscriminately attacking the damned and Dante alike atop the crumbling outer walls along the shore. Dante, after avoiding these attacks, climbs on top of the fallen king, gains control of him and uses him to destroy the gates of the City of Dis.

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