Skip to main content
Select Source:

Midas

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. BC

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Midas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Midas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/midas

"Midas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/midas

Midas

Midas

Midas, a legendary king of Phrygia*, was fabled for having the "golden touch." According to Greek and Roman mythology, Silenius, a companion of the god Dionysus*, became drunk while visiting Phrygia. Silenius was captured and brought to Midas, who ordered that he be released and returned safely to Dionysus. The god gratefully offered to grant Midas any wish as a reward. Midas asked that everything he touched turn to gold. Knowing the wish to be dangerous, Dionysus asked the king if he was sure that was what he wanted. Midas assured him that it was, and the god granted the wish.

At first Midas was overjoyed. He began accumulating wealth simply by touching things. However, when he tried to eat, each mouthful of food turned to gold as it touched his lips. When he went to hug his daughter, she turned to gold as well. Midas finally begged the god to release him from his wish. Dionysus instructed him to bathe in the River Pactolus. From that day forward, the sands of the river turned to gold dust. In fact, the Pactolus is a river in Turkey that was famous in ancient times as a source of gold.

satyr woodland deity that was part man and part goat or horse

In another tale, Midas acted as the judge of a music contest between the god Apollo* and either Pan, the god of the pastures, or the satyr Marsyas. Midas declared Pan (or Marsyas) the winner, and the angry Apollo gave the king the ears of a donkey. Midas wore a hat to hide the ears and made his barber swear never to tell anyone the embarrassing secret. Unable to keep the secret, the barber dug a hole and whispered into it, "King Midas has the ears of an ass." Reeds later grew from the hole, and whenever a breeze blew through them, they whispered the secret to anyone who was nearby.

See also Apollo; Dionysus; Greek Mythology; Pan; Roman Mythology.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Midas." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Midas." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/midas

"Midas." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/midas

Midas

Midas a king of Phrygia, who, according to one story, was given by Dionysus the power of turning everything he touched into gold. Unable to eat or drink, he prayed to be relieved of the gift and was instructed to wash in the River Pactolus. According to another story, he declared Pan a better flute player than Apollo, who thereupon gave him ass's ears. Midas tried to hide them but his barber whispered the secret to some reeds, which repeat it whenever they rustle in the wind.
the Midas touch the ability to make money out of anything one undertakes.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Midas." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Midas." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/midas

"Midas." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/midas

Midas

Midas Name of several historical Phrygian rulers and one legendary foolish king in classical mythology. As a reward for rendering a service to a god, King Midas asked that everything he touched should become gold. Midas found he was unable to eat or drink because his food, too, was transformed. His story was told by Ovid.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Midas." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Midas." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/midas

"Midas." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/midas

Midas

Midashorrendous, stupendous, tremendous •Barbados • Indus • solidus • Lepidus •Midas, nidus •Aldous • Judas • Enceladus • exodus •hazardous • Dreyfus • Josephus •Sisyphus • typhus • Dollfuss •amorphous, anthropomorphous, polymorphous •rufous, Rufus •Angus • Argus •Las Vegas, magus, Tagus •negus •anilingus, cunnilingus, dingus, Mingus •bogus •fungous, fungus, humongous •anthropophagous, oesophagus (US esophagus), sarcophagus •analogous •homologous, tautologous •Areopagus • asparagus •Burgas, Fergus, Lycurgus •Carajás • frabjous •advantageous, contagious, courageous, outrageous, rampageous •egregious •irreligious, litigious, prestigious, prodigious, religious, sacrilegious •umbrageous • gorgeous

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Midas." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Midas." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/midas-1

"Midas." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/midas-1

MIDAS

MIDAS (ˈmaɑdəs) Computing measurement information and data analysis system
• missile defence alarm system

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"MIDAS." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"MIDAS." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/midas-0

"MIDAS." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/midas-0