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One of the offspring of ATHAMAS and Nephele, and the brother of Helle. On the advice of his second wife INO Athamas decided to sacrifice Phrixus and Helle to Zeus Laphystius, but Zeus sent the two children a ram with a golden fleece which carried them off, saving them from being sacrificed. According to another version, it was Nephele rather than Zeus who provided the children with the ram, which she had obtained from Hermes. Phrixus and Helle left Orchomenus and flew off to the East, but Helle fell into the sea and drowned. Her brother arrived safely in Colchis at the court of Aeetes who received him hospitably and gave him the hand of his daughter Chalciope in marriage. In return, Phrixus sacrified the ram to Zeus and presented the fleece to the king. Aeetes dedicated the fleece to Ares and hung it up on a nail on an oak tree in a wood sacred to that god. It was this fleece which was the prize sought by the Argonauts. By Chalciope Phrixus had several children, notably Argos, Melas, Phrontis and Cytissorus. Phrixus spent the remained of his life in Aeetes' palace and died there at an advanced age, whilst his sons went back to Orchomenus where the throne was restored to them.

In another version Aeetes killed Phrixus, because an oracle had predicted that the king would die at the hands of a descendant of Aeolus. This tradition, which in mentioned by Hyginus, is probably part of a reworking of the myth by the tragedians. The same text tells how Phrixus and Helle, having been saved from the sacrifice, were punished with madness by Dionysus for trying to take revenge on Ino.


Table of Sources:
- Apoll. Rhod. Arg. 2,1140ff.;
- schol. on 1144;
- Hdt. 7,197;
- Palaeph. Incred. 31;
- Paus. 9,34,5;
- Apollod. Bibl. 1,9,1; 1,9,16; 1,9,21;
- Hyg. Fab. 1ff.; 12; 14; 21f.; 188; 245;
- Pseudo-Eratosth. Catast. 19.

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