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The myth of King Midas and his golden touch - Iseult Gillespie

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In Greek mythology, King Midas is known as a rogue ruler whose antics bemused his people and irritated the Gods. Many know the classic story of Midas's golden touch, but the foolish king was also known for his unusual pair of ears. Iseult Gillespie shares the myth of King Midas.

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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Jeremiah Dickey
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
King Midas has appeared in many retellings of Greek mythology, which portray him with varying degrees of sympathy. Some see him as a corrupted fool, others as more of a bumbling figure who tried to reform his ways after the mistake of the golden touch. One of the most well-known versions appears in Ovid’s Latin poetry collection Metamorphosis, which tells the stories of many strange mutations and transformations that happen to humans in Greek mythology. You can read a translation of Ovid’s take on Midas here.

While the gods usually transform on demand, the morphing of humans into other creatures is subject to the whims of the gods. In this case, both Dionysus and Apollo intervene in Midas’s state of being. After an unfortunate run-in with Apollo, Midas is left with the ears of a donkey. His cover-up for his mutation is called a Phrygian cap. Learn more about the ancient kingdom of Phrygia here.

Was there really a King Midas? This article tries to get at the truth behind the myth, and this piece confirms that there was a ruler called Midas, and that the excavation of his former kingdom has led to some surprising discoveries.

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Jeremiah Dickey
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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