PHAETHON ("the shining one"), in Homer an epithet of the sun, and used by later writers as a name for the sun, is more generally known in classical mythology- as a son of the Sun and the ocean nymph Clymene. He persuaded his father to let him drive the chariot of the sun across the sky, but he lost control of the horses, and driving too near the earth scorched it ; mountains were set on fire, rivers and seas dried up, Libya became a desert, and the /Ethiopians were blackened by the heat. To save the earth from utter destruction Zeus killed Phaethon with a thunderbolt. He fell to earth at the mouth of the Eri-danus, a river of northern Europe (identified in later times with the Po), on the banks of which his weeping sisters were transformed into poplars and their tears into amber. This part of the legend points to the mouth of the Oder or Vistula, where amber abounds. Phaethon was the sub-ject of a drama of Euripides, of which soine fragments remain. The suggestion that the legend of Phaethon is a mythical expression of vast increases of temperature pro-duced at long intervals by changes in the relative position of the earth and the heavenly bodies was made by Plato (Timwus, 22 C, D).