350-306 BC Corinth Silver Drachm (Pegasus)

The winged horse was an image on a local Mobile gas station near my home in Madison, Wisconsin and ignited my interest in Greek mythology. The logo was originally displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair. Standard Oil acquired the image and began using it as a logo in 1911.*

* According to the site Famous Logos: “When the Standard Oil Trust was broken up by the Supreme Court (1911), two of its divisions – the Standard Oil Company of New York and the Mobile Oil Company – merged. The former brought with it the Pegasus logo, the latter brought the Mobil gas name.” (See www. famouslogos.org http://www.famouslogos.org September 29, 2008.)

Story: The winged horse Pegasus sprang from Medusa’s body when she was slain by Perseus. Bellerophon caught the wild Pegasus and decided to fly on his back to join the Gods on Olympus. Seeing this, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus under the tail. When this happened, Pegasus bucked and Bellerophon was flung back down to earth.

Flying horses appear in myths and folktales. For example Helios, the Greek god who drove a chariot across the sky pulled by flying horses. In The Mongolian folktale “A Mischievous Old Man,” an old man has two grey horses, one of whom can fly.

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