Phaethon in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
（Φαέθων), that is, the shining.
1. This name occurs in Homer (ll. 11.735, Od. 5.479) as an epithet
or surname of Helios, and is used by later writers as a real proper
name for Helios (Apollon, Rhod. 4.1236; Virg. Acn. 5.105); but it is
more commonly known as the name of son of Helios by the Oceanid
Clymene, the wife of Merops. The genealogy of Phaethon, however, is
not the same in all writers, for some call him a son of Clymenus,
the son of Helios, by Merope (Hyg. Fab. 154), or a son of Helios by
Prote (Tzeiz. Chil. 4.127). or, lastly, a son of Helios by the nymph
Rhode or Rhodos. (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. 6.131.) He received the
signifieant name Phaethon from his father, and was afterwards also
presmnptouus and ambitious enoug to request his father one day to
allow him to drive the chariot of the sum across the heavens. Helios
was induced by the entreaties of his son and of Clymene to yield,
but the youth being too weak to cheek the horses, came down with his
chariot, and so near to the earth, that he almost set it on fire.
Zeus, therefore, killed him with a flash of lightning, so that he
fell down into the river Eridanus or the Po. His isters, who had
yoked teh horses to the chariot, were metamorphosed into poplars,
and their tears into amber. (Eurip. Ilippol. 737, &c.; Apoolon.
Rhod. 4.598, &c.; Lueian, Dial. Dcor. 25 ; Hygin, Fab. 152, 154;
Verg. Ecl. 6.62, Aen 10.190; Ov. Met. 1.755, &c.) - A Dictionary of
Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.
Phaethon in Wikipedia
In Greek mythology, Phaetōn or Phaethōn (pronounced /
ˈfeɪ.ətən/ or /ˈfeɪ.əθən/; Greek: Φαέθων "shining") was the
son of Helios (Phoebus). Perhaps the most famous version of
the myth is given us through Ovid in his Metamorphoses (Book
II). Phaeton seeks assurance that his mother, Clymenē, is
telling the truth that his father is the sun god Helios. When
Phaeton obtains his father's promise to drive the sun chariot
as proof, he fails to control it and the Earth is in danger of
burning up when Phaeton is killed by a thunderbolt from Zeus
to prevent further disaster...