4. Ixion Discovered That it Was Unwise To Hit on the Chief God’s Wife
Although promotion of Xenia was part of the chief Olympian god’s portfolio, Zeus took pity on Ixion. He cleansed him of the defilement, and invited him to Mount Olympus to dine at the table of the gods. However, when Ixion was introduced to Zeus’ wife, Hera, he fell passionately in love and lusted after her. Behind Zeus’ back, he hit on and pursued her. That was another big breach of Xenia. To lust after and pursue your host’s wife was a major violation of a guest’s obligations to his host. The Trojan War started when Paris seduced Helen while he was a guest of her husband.
When Zeus heard, he could not believe that Ixion, whom he had rescued and cleansed of his guilt, then honored by hosting him in heaven, could be so ungrateful and brazen. So he made a cloud in the shape of Hera, and sent her Ixion’s way to see what his guest would do. Sure enough, Ixion ravished the fake Hera – a union that ultimately produced the centaurs. The astonished and livid Zeus expelled the ingrate from Olympus, and blasted his former guest with a thunderbolt. He then ordered the messenger god, Hermes, to seize Ixion and bind him to a wheel of fire, and by way of eternal vengeance, condemned him to spin forever across the heavens.