Ixion was king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, and a son of Ares during the Bronze Age of Man.
While an average king, Ixion harbored great pride and sought vengeance against anyone who slighted him.
When Ixion married Dia, a daughter of Deioneus, he promised his father-in-law a valuable present for her hand in marriage. However, he did not pay the bride price and so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation. Ixion concealed his resentment over Deioneus act but secretly raged over his audacity. Later, Ixion invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa but when Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of burning coals and wood, killing him.
Meanwhile, Dia's free-spirited nature had caught the eye of Zeus and so one day the god approached her alone in the form of a stallion. Seducing the sexually open-minded maiden with tales of when his father, Cronus, mated with and impregnated the Oceanid Philyra while in the form of a horse, Zeus displayed his equine form by cantering around her. Dia's arousal and curiosity for his bestial body eventually won out and she let him mount her and become impregnated with a son named Peirithous.
Learning of this, Ixion went mad and the neighboring princes were so offended by his murder of Deioneus that they refused to perform the rituals that would cleanse Ixion of his guilt. Thereafter, Ixion lived as an outlaw and was shunned.
However, Zeus took pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced him at the table of the gods. Instead of being grateful, however, Ixion grew lustful for Hera, Zeus's wife. When Zeus found out about Ixion's intentions he made a nymph out of a cloud in the shape of Hera, named Nephele, and had her sleep in his wife's chambers to test Ixion's virtue. Unfortunately, Ixion did indeed sneak into Hera's room and, thinking she was Hera, unclothed Nephele and had sex with her in revenge for Zeus mating with his wife.
From her union with Ixion, Nephele became pregnant and gave birth to the half-man, half-horse Centauros, who later mated with the Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion and started the Centaur race.
For his intended desecration, Ixion was expelled from Olympus and blasted with a thunderbolt. Zeus then ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning for all eternity. At first, the wheel was sent spinning across the heavens but in later myth transferred to Tartarus.
Only when Orpheus played his lyre during his trip to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice did the wheel stop for a while, but Ixion's reprieve was short-lived as the wheel resumed spinning as soon as Orpheus left.
As centuries moved on, Ixion's mind and body became warped by the dark energies of Tartarus, turning him into a monster dubbed "Ixion the Assassin." Thought of as the world's first mass murderer, the Gorgon Euryale and the god Phobos tricked Hermes into releasing Ixion when the other Olympian gods were busy creating New Olympus.
Colossal in size, Ixion rampaged through Boston and indiscriminately killed civilians and police as the world watched via news broadcasts. Calling for Wonder Woman's aid, Hermes manages to free himself and behead Euryale as Diana bounds Phobos and confronts Ixion.
Despite Wonder Woman's pleas, Ixion refuses to surrender, declaring death preferable to re-imprisonment and further torture.
As Diana and Hermes debate on where to imprison him the National Guard arrives and they kill Ixion in a hail of missiles.
- Ixion the False Lord
- Taking advantage of Hades' defeat during the Throne of the Dead raid, Ixion took control of Hades' throne as the new "Lord of Tartarus." Players must defeat Ixion and return Hades to his rightful place in the Raising Hades duo.
- Ixion first appeared in Wonder Woman #23 (December 1988).
- Ixion's story is a tale of warning to those that would wish to break the rules surrounding the treatment and behavior of houseguests as followed by Greek society.
- By killing his father-in-law, Ixion is thought to have been the first recorded man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology.
- The cloud-nymph Nephele would later marry the mortal king Athamas during the Age of Heroes and have twins (Phrixus and Helle), but he would later divorce her for Ino; daughter of the hero Cadmus and the goddess Harmonia. Phrixus and Helle were hated by their stepmother, Ino, who saw them as a threat to her own children with Athamas. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the town's crop seeds so they would not grow. The local farmers, frightened of famine, asked a nearby oracle for assistance. Ino bribed the men sent to the oracle to lie and tell the others that the oracle required the sacrifice of Phrixus. Before he was killed though, Phrixus and Helle were rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Nephele but were instructed to not look down to Earth for the duration of their flight. Helle, though, did look down, and fell off the ram into the sea and drowned, but Phrixus survived all the way to Colchis, where King Aeetes took him in and gave Phrixus his daughter, Chalciope, in marriage. In gratitude, Phrixus gave the king the Golden Fleece of the ram, which Aeetes hung in a tree in his kingdom. The Golden Fleece would later be taken by Jason and his Argonauts.
- Ixion and Nephele's descendants, the centaur race, would be taught and raised in civility (albeit with minor success) by Chiron; the centaur offspring from Cronos' liaison with Philyra.
- Another race of centaurs also exist on the Island of Cyprus. Possessing horns on their heads, this race was created when Zeus slept with his grandmother, Gaia, after the goddess voluntarily interfered with his attempt to sleep with his daughter, Aphrodite.