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Midas
Midas
Fictional Character
First Appearance: Ancient Greek Mythology
Turtledove Appearance: "Miss Manners' Guide to Greek Missology" (Direct)
Nationality: Phrygia (in present day Turkey)
Religion: Polytheism
Cause of Death: Conflicting accounts in the myths;
Alive at end of Turtledove story
Occupation: King
Parents: King Gordias and Lady Cybele
Children: Lityerses, Anchurus, Zoe

Midas (Greek: Μίδας) was a mythical king of Phrygia, an Ancient Greek state in west-central Asia Minor (now Turkey). Midas is the subject of two humourous stories which have pervaded Western culture.

In the first Midas story, the King is granted a wish for his service to the god Dionysus. He wishes for the ability to turn everything he touches into gold. At his next meal, he turns all his food to gold and nearly starves to death before Dionysus comes to his aid and revokes the power. The scene best known in popular culture is when Midas transforms his daughter into a golden statue; ironically this event is not from the original version, but was added on by the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1852. In the second Midas story, he is cursed by the god Apollo to have large ears resembling a donkey's; to cover this deformity, Midas invents the distinctive "Phrygian cap." Through a complicated chain of historical events, this type of cap became the symbol of iconic nonconformist societies in Rome, France, Belgium, and other countries.

As Midas was a common name for kings in Asia Minor, the character may have been based on a historical figure. The gold story and the donkey ears story appear to be etiological myths, created to answer once-frequently-asked questions regarding Phrygian geography and custom.

Midas in "Miss Manners' Guide to Greek Missology"Edit

Midas was in charge of Midas Golden Pages, the directory where Andromeda learned about Victoria and the Gorgons. He was unable to answer all of Andromeda's questions, explaining that even with very big ears, he couldn't hear everything.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. E.g., Counting Up, Counting Down, p. 276-277, paperback.

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