FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50


Your Cart is Empty

The Legend of King Midas: The Story of the Golden Touch

March 05, 2023 4 min read

Who is King Midas?

King Midas is a figure from Greek mythology who was known for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. According to legend, he was granted this power by the god Dionysus as a reward for showing kindness to the god's foster father, Silenus.

Initially, King Midas was overjoyed with his newfound ability, but soon he realized the terrible consequences of his greed. His food, drink, and even his daughter were turned to gold, and he begged Dionysus to take back his gift. Dionysus instructed King Midas to wash his hands in the river Pactolus, which then turned to gold and made the river's sands rich with gold deposits.

"The Midas Touch of Gold" is a phrase that refers to the legendary ability of King Midas to turn everything he touched into gold. 

Initially, Midas was thrilled with his new ability and used it to turn ordinary objects into gold. However, he soon realized the downside of his gift when he accidentally turned his beloved daughter into a golden statue. Overcome with grief, Midas begged Dionysus to take back his power, and the god instructed him to wash in the river Pactolus to rid himself of the gift.

The story of King Midas and the Midas Touch has become a popular metaphor for the pursuit of wealth and the dangers of greed. It reminds us that while material possessions can bring temporary pleasure, they do not necessarily bring happiness or fulfillment in life. Instead, true happiness comes from within, through love, compassion, and meaningful relationships with others.

King Midas: Fact vs. Fiction

The myth describes how everything King Midas came into contact with turned into gold, including his own daughter and food. While this aspect of the story is purely fictional, it serves as a powerful allegory for the dangers of avarice and unrestrained greed.

Another element of the King Midas story that is often exaggerated is his wealth and power. Although he is frequently depicted as a wealthy and powerful ruler, there is little evidence to support his existence as a historical figure. Some scholars speculate that the myth of King Midas may have been inspired by the rich gold deposits found in the region of Phrygia, where the myth is set.

The Role of King Midas in Ancient Greek Art

King Midas, an influential character in ancient Greek art, has long been a subject of fascination for artists. Renowned for his extraordinary gift of turning anything he touched into gold, his story has captivated artists for centuries, inspiring them to create stunning masterpieces that convey his unique abilities.

King Midas holds immense significance in Greek mythology as a wealthy ruler who governed the city of Phrygia. Known for his unquenchable thirst for gold, he yearned to accumulate as much wealth as possible. One fateful day, he made a wish that everything he touched would turn to gold, a wish that was granted by the gods, and thus he became known as the possessor of the "golden touch."

In Greek art, King Midas is typically depicted as a wealthy and powerful king adorned in luxurious clothing, surrounded by treasures of gold and silver. His golden touch is a recurring motif in various artworks. For instance, in Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's famous painting "The Finding of Moses," King Midas is portrayed turning a statue into gold.

Despite the tragic nature of his tale, King Midas remains a popular subject of artistic depictions throughout history. His legendary ability to transform anything into gold has inspired countless works of art, from paintings to sculptures to vases. His golden touch has come to represent wealth and power, and his tragic flaw serves as a warning against the dangers of greed.

The Myth of King Midas

Despite the uncertain veracity of many aspects of the King Midas myth, there's no denying that his legend has captured the imagination of generations. From his golden touch to his supposed wealth and power, King Midas has become a beloved figure in Greek mythology and popular culture.

Of course, the idea that King Midas could turn anything he touched into gold is a bit of a stretch. After all, can you imagine trying to live your life with such a curse? Want to shake someone's hand? Sorry, that's a gold statue now. Fancy a sandwich? Nope, you just turned that into a gold brick.

But beyond the fantastical nature of the story, there are still some kernels of truth buried in the myth of King Midas. For instance, the idea that his story was inspired by the gold deposits found in the Phrygian region certainly makes sense. After all, if you lived in a place where there was gold everywhere, you'd probably start dreaming of ways to get your hands on it, too.

As for King Midas's supposed wealth and power, that's a bit harder to pin down. While he is often depicted as a powerful ruler, it's unclear whether he actually existed as a historical figure. Some scholars speculate that he might have been based on a real person, while others think that he's purely mythical.

One thing that is clear, however, is that the story of King Midas has endured for thousands of years, inspiring countless works of art, literature, and even video games. From Ovid and Homer to Disney's "Hercules," King Midas has made his mark on the world, and his legend shows no signs of fading away anytime soon.

So the next time you're feeling a little too attached to your wallet, or you find yourself lusting after that new gold watch, just remember: even King Midas knew that too much of a good thing can be a curse. And if nothing else, you can take solace in the fact that you're probably not going to turn your loved ones into lifeless statues anytime soon.