Midas(redirected from Midas Curse)
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Related to Midas Curse: the Midas touch
Midas(mī`dəs), in Greek mythology, king of Phrygia. Because he befriended Silenus, the oldest of the satyrs, Dionysus granted him the power to turn everything into gold by touch. But when even the food that he touched turned to gold, Midas begged to be relieved of his gift. Dionysus allowed him to wash away his power in the Pactolus River, which afterward had gold-bearing sands. In another legend Midas was given ass's ears by Apollo for preferring, in a contest, the music of Pan (in another account Marsyas) to that of Apollo. Midas preserved his shame from all but his barber, who, wishing to tell it, whispered it into a hole in the ground. The reeds that grew out of that hole, however, murmured the secret whenever the wind blew through them. There was also a historical king of Phrygia named Midas in the 8th cent. B.C.
king of Phrygia (738–696 B.C.). Assyrian sources of the late eighth century B.C. refer to him as Mita. In 717 he joined a coalition against the Assyrian king Sargon II but was subsequently forced to submit to him (707 B.C.).
Greek mythology has many legends about Midas, the son of Gordius. According to one myth, the god Dionysus endowed Midas with the ability to turn anything he touched into gold; since even food turned to gold, Midas had to free himself from this gift by bathing in the Pactolus River, which then became gold-bearing. In another myth, the ignorant and opinionated Midas expressed a preference for the music of Pan over that of Apollo (hence the expression “the judgment of Midas”—the judgment of an ignoramus). Apollo punished him by giving him ass’s ears, which Midas carefully concealed under a Phrygian cap (hence the expression “Midas ears”).
[Sammet 1969, p.627].