5. Ixion Was Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know
In Ancient Greek mythology, Ixion was a son of the war god Ares and a mortal woman. He became king of the Lapiths tribe in Thessaly, in northern Greece, and from early on, he built up an infamous reputation as somebody who was mad, bad, and dangerous to know. His misdeeds on earth – and up in the heavens as well – led the gods to visit a terrible vengeance upon him. He first offended the Olympians when he promised his father-in-law a valuable present as a bride price – wealth paid by a groom to the bride’s parents. He reneged, however, and did not pay up after the marriage.
The father-in-law seized some of Ixion’s valuable horses as security for the promised bride price. Ixion pretended to shrug it off, invited his father in law to a feast, and there, shoved him into a bed of burning coals. That murder was particularly odious in Greek eyes because it violated Xenia – the laws of hospitality governing the relationship between guests and hosts. The breach of Xenia left Ixion defiled, shunned by fellow Greeks and unfit to live amidst men. Nobody was willing to perform the necessary religious rituals that would cleanse him of his guilt and restore him to good standing, so Ixion was forced to live in the wilderness as an outlaw. That was bad, but as seen below, it got way worse for him soon thereafter.