The fall of Phaethon

The fall of Phaethon: a Greco-Roman geomyth preserves the memory of a meteorite impact in Bavaria (south-east Germany)

Barbara Rappenglück1, Michael A. Rappenglück1, Kord Ernstson2, Werner Mayer1, Andreas Neumair1, Dirk Sudhaus3 & Ioannis Liritzis4

Arguing from a critical reading of the text, and scientific evidence on the ground, the authors show that the myth of Phaethon – the delinquent celestial charioteer – remembers the impact of a massive meteorite that hit the Chiemgau region in Bavaria between 2000 and 428 BC. (Editor’s abstract)
1 Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, Bahnhofstrasse 1, 82205 Gilching, Germany (Email:
2 Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Am Judengarten 23, 97204 Höchberg, Germany (Email:
3 Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Physische Geographie, 79085 Freiburg, Germany (Email:
4 University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies, Dimokratias 1, 85100 Rhodes, Greece (Email:
Received: 20 July 2009; Accepted: 18 August 2009; Revised: 21 September 2009
ANTIQUITY 84 (2010): 428–439