This page contains all familiars inspired by Greek mythology.
Greek Mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. It was a part of the religion in ancient Greece and is part of religion in modern Greece and around the world, known as Hellenismos.
Gods, Goddesses & Deities
Gods and Deities are superior and immortal beings that ruled the world. Each God had his (or her) own cult, attributes and powers.
Adonis (Ἄδωνις) is the god of beauty and desire, and is a central figure in various mystery religions. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. In some stories, Adonis was killed by Ares, disguised as a boar, for making Ares lover Aphrodite fall in love with him. In other stories Artemis or Apollo sent the boar. In some myths it is said that he made Persephone fall in love with him, Aphrodite and her argued over him so much that Zeus had to intervene, the compromise was Adonis would stay with Persephone half the year and Aphrodite the other half of the year.
Adranus or Adranos (Greek: 'Αδρανός) was a fire god worshipped by the Sicels, an ancient population of the island of Sicily. His worship occurred all over the island, but particularly in the town of Adranus, modern Adrano, near Mount Etna. Adranus himself was said to have lived under Mount Etna before being driven out by the Greek god Hephaestus, or Vulcan. According to Aelian, about a thousand sacred dogs were kept near his temple in this town.According to Hesychius, Adranus was said to have been the father of the Palici, born to Adranus's lover, the nymph Thalia.
Aletheia or Veritas, meaning truth, was the goddess of truth, a daughter of Saturn and the mother of Virtue in Roman Mythology. It was believed that she hid in the bottom of a holy well because she was so elusive. Her image is shown as a young virgin dressed in white.
Veritas is also the name given to the Roman virtue of truthfulness, which was considered one of the main virtues any good Roman should possess. In Greek mythology, Veritas was known as Aletheia. Veritas was often depicted nude.
In ancient Greek mythology, Amphitrite (/æmfɨˈtraɪtiː/; Greek: Ἀμφιτρίτη) was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon. Under the influence of the Olympian pantheon, she became merely the consort of Poseidon, and was further diminished by poets to a symbolic representation of the sea. In Roman mythology, the consort of Neptune, a comparatively minor figure, was Salacia, the goddess of saltwater.
Apate was the spirit of deceit, guile, fraud and deception. Her male counterpart was Dolos the daimon of trickery and wiles. She was also a companion of the Pseudologoi (Lies). Her opposite number was Aletheia the spirit of truth.
Apollo (Attic, Ionic, and Homeric Greek: Ἀπόλλων, Apollōn (GEN Ἀπόλλωνος); Doric: Ἀπέλλων, Apellōn; Arcadocypriot: Ἀπείλων, Apeilōn; Aeolic: Ἄπλουν, Aploun; Latin: Apollō) is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.
As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Amongst the god's custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.
Ares (Ancient Greek: Ἄρης [árɛːs]) is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.
The Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, "overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering." His sons Fear (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos) and his lover, or sister, Discord (Enyo) accompanied him on his war chariot. In the Iliad, his father Zeus tells him that he is the god most hateful to him. An association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality. His value as a war god is placed in doubt: during the Trojan War, Ares was on the losing side, while Athena, often depicted in Greek art as holding Nike (Victory) in her hand, favored the triumphant Greeks.
Ares plays a relatively limited role in Greek mythology as represented in literary narratives, though his numerous love affairs and abundant offspring are often alluded to. When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation. He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship. The most famous story related to Ares and Aphrodite shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband's clever device.
The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who as a father of the Roman people was given a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion as a guardian deity. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable.
Attis (Ancient Greek: Ἄττις or Ἄττης) was the consort of Cybele in Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.
Cecrops (Ancient Greek: Κέκροψ, Kékrops; gen.: Κέκροπος) was a mythical king of Athens who, according to Eusebius reigned for fifty years. The name is not of Greek origin according to Strabo, or it might mean 'face with a tail': it is said that, born from the earth itself, he had his top half shaped like a man and the bottom half in serpent or fish-tail form. He was the founder and the first king of Athens itself, though preceded in the region by the earth-born king Actaeus of Attica. Cecrops was a culture hero, teaching the Athenians marriage, reading and writing, and ceremonial burial.
The Boreads are characters in Greek mythology. They consist of Calaïs and Zetes (also Zethes).
They were the sons of Boreas and Oreithyia, daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens. Due to being sons of the north wind they were supernaturally gifted in different ways (depending on changes in the story from being passed down through generations and cultures) either being as fast as the wind or able to fly, having wings either on their feet or backs, depending on the myth.
They were Argonauts and played a particularly vital role in the rescue of Phineus from the harpies. They succeeded in driving the monsters away but did not kill them, at a request from the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, who promised that Phineas would not be bothered by the harpies again. As thanks, Phineas told the Argonauts how to pass the Symplegades. It is said that the Boreads were turned back by Iris at the Strophades. The islands' name, meaning "Islands of Turning", refers to this event.
Their death was said to be caused by Heracles on Tenos in revenge for when they convinced the Argonauts to leave him behind as he searched for Hylas.
Other sources imply that the sons of Boreas died chasing the harpies, as it was fated that they would perish if they failed to catch those they pursued. In some versions, the harpies drop into the sea from exhaustion, and so their pursuers fall as well.
In Greek mythology, Circe was a goddess of magic (or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress or sorceress). By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid. Her brothers were Aeetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece, and Perses. Her sister was Pasiphaë, the wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur. Other accounts make her the daughter of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft herself.
Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of magical potions and a wand or a staff, she transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals. Some say she was exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her subjects and her father for ending the life of her husband, the prince of Colchis. Later traditions tell of her leaving or even destroying the island and moving to Italy, where she was identified with Cape Circeo.
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy. Diana was worshiped in ancient Roman religion and is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Dianic Wicca, a largely feminist form of the practice, is named for her. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.
Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology (in common with the Greek religion and their deity Artemis), Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.
Dionysus (/daɪ.əˈnaɪsəs/; Greek: Διόνυσος, Dionysos) is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Alcohol, especially wine, played an important role in Greek culture with Dionysus being an important reason for this life style. His name, thought to be a theonym in Linear B tablets as di-wo-nu-so (KH Gq 5 inscription), shows that he may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks; other traces of the Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete. His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is an example of a dying god.
Empusa (Ancient Greek: Ἔμπουσα, Empousā, of unknown meaning) is a demigoddess of Greek mythology. Empusa was the beautiful daughter of Hecate, the Goddess of sorcery and fire (among other concepts). She feasted on blood by seducing young men as they slept (similar to the Succubus), and then drinking their blood and eating their flesh. Empusa is often depicted as wearing brazen slippers and bearing flaming hair. In later incarnations she appeared as a species of monsters commanded by Hecate.
Eris is the Greek goddess of chaos, strife and discord. Her name is the equivalent of Latin Discordia, which means "discord". She was often represented specifically as the daimon of the strife of war, who haunted the battlefield and delighted in human bloodshed.
Because of Eris' disagreeable nature she was the only goddess not to be invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. When she turned up anyway, she was refused admittance and, in a rage, threw a golden apple amongst the goddesses inscribed "To the fairest." Three goddesses laid claim it, and in their rivalry brought about the events which led to the Trojan War.
Eris was closely identified with the war-goddess Enyo. Indeed Homer uses the names interchangeably. Her Roman name was Discordia.
Eros (/ˈɪərɒs/ or US /ˈɛrɒs/; Greek: Ἔρως, "Desire"), in Greek mythology, was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). Some myths make him a primordial god, while in other myths, he is the son of Aphrodite.
Eros appears in ancient Greek sources under several different guises. In the earliest sources (the cosmogonies, the earliest philosophers, and texts referring to the mystery religions), he is one of the primordial gods involved in the coming into being of the cosmos. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, in the later satirical poets, he is represented as a blindfolded child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid – whereas in early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power, and a profound artist.
A cult of Eros existed in pre-classical Greece, but it was much less important than that of Aphrodite. However, in late antiquity, Eros was worshiped by a fertility cult in Thespiae. In Athens, he shared a very popular cult with Aphrodite, and the fourth day of every month was sacred to him.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Faunus was the horned god of the forest, plains and fields; when he made cattle fertile he was called Inuus. He came to be equated in literature with the Greek god Pan.
Faunus was one of the oldest Roman deities, known as the di indigetes. According to the epic poet Virgil, he was a legendary king of the Latins who came with his people from Arcadia. His shade was consulted as a god of prophecy under the name of Fatuus, with oracles in the sacred grove of Tibur, around the well Albunea, and on the Aventine Hill in ancient Rome itself.
Marcus Terentius Varro asserted that the oracular responses were given in Saturnian verse. Faunus revealed the future in dreams and voices that were communicated to those who came to sleep in his precincts, lying on the fleeces of sacrificed lambs. W. Warde Fowler suggested that Faunus is identical with Favonius, one of the Roman wind gods (compare the Anemoi).
The Hecatonchires, or Hekatonkheires (from Ancient Greek: Ἑκατόγχειρες Hundred-Handed Ones), were figures in an archaic stage of Greek mythology, three giants of incredible strength and ferocity that surpassed that of all Titans whom they helped overthrow. Their name derives from the Greek ἑκατόν (hekaton hundred) and χείρ (kheir hand), each of them having a hundred hands and fifty heads (Bibliotheca). Hesiod's Theogony (624, 639, 714, 734–35) reports that the three Hekatonkheires became the guards of the gates of Tartarus.
In Greek mythology, Hypnos (Ancient Greek: Ὕπνος, "sleep") was the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent was known as Somnus. His twin was Thánatos (Θάνατος, "death"); their mother was the primordial goddess Nyx (Νύξ, "night"). His palace was a dark cave where the sun never shone. At the entrance were a number of poppies and other hypnogogic plants. His dwelling had no door or gate so that he might not be awakened by the creaking of hinges.
Iapetus, also Iapetos or Japetus (Ancient Greek: Ἰαπετός), was a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia, and father (by an Oceanid named Clymene or Asia) of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius. He is a brother of Cronus, who ruled the world during the Golden Age. His name derives from the word iapto ("wound, pierce") and usually refers to a spear, implying that Iapetus may have been regarded as a god of craftsmanship, though scholars mostly describe him as the god of mortality.
Juno is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent was Hera. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina ("Queen") and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshiped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome.
Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared sitting pictured with a peacock armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Hera, whose goatskin was called the 'aegis'.
Jupiter, also Jove, is the god of sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as sacrifice.
Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as a sky god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army (see Aquila). The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins. As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill, where the citadel was located. He was the chief deity of the early Capitoline Triad with Mars and Quirinus. In the later Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.
The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually but not always identified with Jupiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.
Kaikias was the Greek deity of the northeast wind. He is shown as a bearded man with a shield full of hail-stones, and his name is cognate to the Latin word caecus "blind", that is, he was seen as a "dark" wind. The Roman spelling of Kaikias was Caecius.
A goddess of death. Daughter of Erebus and Nyx. Sister of Hypnos, Moros and Thanatos. Her function was to drag the dead and dying to the entrance to the underworld. She is depicted as wearing a long cloak stained with blood. In some accounts, called Ker.
And Nyx bare hateful Moros, black Ker, Thanatos, she bare Hypnos, and the tribe of Oneiroi. And again the goddess murky Nyx, though she lay with none, bare Momos, painful Oizys, and the Hesperides ...she bare the Moirai (Fates) and the ruthless avenging Keres (Death-Fates)... Also deadly Nyx bare Nemesis to afflict mortal men, and after her, Apate, Philotes, hateful Geras, and hard-hearted Eris.
— Hesiod, Theogony 211, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White
The Keres were agents of The Moirae (Fates), birth-spirits who measured out the length of a man's life when he first entered the world, and Moros (Doom) the spirit who drove a man towards his inevitable destruction. They were cravers of blood and feasted upon it after ripping a soul free from the mortally wounded bodies and sending it on their way to Hades. Thousands of Keres haunted the battlefield, fighting amongst themselves like vultures over the dying. The Keres had no absolute power over the life of men, but in their hunger for blood would seek accomplish death beyond the bounds of fate. Zeus and the other gods, however, could stop them in their course or speed them on. The Olympian gods are often described standing by their favorites in battle, beating the clawing death spirits from them. Some of the Kers were personifications of epidemic diseases, which haunted areas riven by plague.
In Greek mythology, Lachesis (/ˈlækɪsɪs/; Greek: Λάχεσις, Lakhesis, "disposer of lots", from λαγχάνω, lanchano, "to obtain by lot, by fate, or by the will of the gods") was the second of the Three Fates, or Moirai: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. Normally seen clothed in white, Lachesis is the measurer of the thread spun on Clotho's spindle, and in some texts, determines Destiny, or thread of life. Her Roman equivalent was Decima. Lachesis was the apportioner, deciding how much time for life was to be allowed for each person or being. She measured the thread of life with her rod. She is also said to choose a person's destiny after a thread was measured. In mythology, it is said that she appears with her sisters within three days of a baby's birth to decide its fate.
In Greek mythology, Leto (/ˈliːtoʊ/; Greek: Λητώ Lētṓ; Λατώ, Lātṓ in Dorian Greek, etymology and meaning disputed) is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria. and mother of Apollo and Artemis.
The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus. Classical Greek myths record little about Leto other than her pregnancy and her search for a place where she could give birth to Apollo and Artemis, since Hera in her jealousy had caused all lands to shun her. Finally, she finds an island that is not attached to the ocean floor so it is not considered land and she can give birth. This is her one active mythic role: once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played. In Roman mythology, Leto's equivalent is Latona, a Latinization of her name, influenced by Etruscan Letun.
Mercury is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld. He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages); another possible connection is the Proto-Indo-European root merĝ- for "boundary, border" (cf. Old English "mearc", Old Norse "mark", Latin "margō", and Welsh Cymro) and Greek οὖρος (by analogy of Arctūrus/Ἀρκτοῦρος), as the "keeper of boundaries," referring to his role as bridge between the upper and lower worlds. In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms, both of which share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes. Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury, and the element mercury. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury's swift flights from place to place. He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand.
Menrva (also spelled Menerva) was an Etruscan goddess of war, art, wisdom and health. She contributed much of her character to Roman Minerva.
Though she was seen by Hellenized Etruscans as their counterpart to Greek Athena, Menrva has some unique traits that makes it clear that she was not an import from Greece. Etruscan artists under the influence of Greek culture liked to portray Menrva with Gorgoneion, helmet, spear and shield, and on a mirrorback as born from
the head of her father, Tinia. Menrva also seems to be associated with weather phenomena.
|Neptune (Latin: Neptūnus) was the god of freshwater and the sea in Roman religion. He is the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto; the brothers presided over the realms of Heaven, the earthly world, and the Underworld. Salacia was his consort.
Nike (/ˈnaɪki/; Greek: Νίκη, "Victory", Ancient Greek: [nǐːkɛː]), in ancient Greek religion, was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal).
Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus, the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of Laurel leaves.
Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena, and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins.
Nyx (/nɪks/; Greek: Νύξ, "Night") – Roman (in Latin): Nox – is the Greek goddess (or personification) of the night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stood at or near the beginning of creation, and mothered other personified deities such as Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death), with Erebus. Her appearances are sparse in surviving mythology, but reveal her as a figure of such exceptional power and beauty, that she is feared by Zeus himself. She is found in the shadows of the world and only ever seen in glimpses.
In Greek mythology, Oenone (/ɨˈnoʊniː/; Greek: Oinōnē - Οἰνώνη "wine woman") was the first wife of Paris of Troy, whom he abandoned for the queen Helen of Sparta.
Oenone was a mountain nymph (an oread) on Mount Ida in Phrygia, a mountain associated with the Mother Goddess Cybele, alternatively Rhea. Her father was Cebren, a river-god. Her very name links her to the gift of wine.
Paris, son of the king Priam and the queen Hecuba, fell in love with Oenone when he was a shepherd on the slopes of Mount Ida, having been exposed in infancy (owing to a prophecy that he would be the means of the destruction of the city of Troy) but rescued by the herdsman Agelaus. The couple married, and Oenone gave birth to a son, Corythus.
When Paris later abandoned her to return to Troy and sail across the Aegean to kidnap Helen, the queen of Sparta, Oenone predicted the Trojan War. Out of revenge for Paris' betrayal, she sent Corythus to guide the Greeks to Troy. Another version has it that she used her son to drive a rift between Paris and Helen, but Paris, not recognizing his own son, killed him.
The only extensive surviving narration of Oenone and Paris is Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica, book X.259-489, which tells the return of wounded Paris to Oenone. Mortally wounded by Philoctetes' arrow, he begged Oenone to heal him with her herbal arts, but she refused and cast him out with scorn, to return to Helen's bed, and Paris died on the lower slopes of Ida. Then, overcome with remorse, Oenone, the one whole-hearted mourner of Paris, threw herself onto his burning funeral pyre, which the shepherds had raised.
In Greek mythology, Pallas (/ˈpæl əs/ ) (Greek: Παλλάς) was the daughter of Triton. Acting as a foster parent to Zeus’s daughter Athena, Triton raised her alongside his own daughter. During a friendly fight between the two goddesses, Athena was protected from harm by Zeus but Pallas was mortally wounded. Out of sadness and regret, she created the palladium, a statue in the likeness of Pallas.
This story inspired a yearly festival in Libya dedicated to Athena. Girls from the Machlyans and Auseans tribes would fight each other, and those who died were labeled false virgins.
Pomona (/pəˈmoʊnə/; Latin: Pōmōna [ˈpoːmoːna]) was a goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion and myth. Her name comes from the Latin word pomum, "fruit," specifically orchard fruit. She was said to be a wood nymph.
In Greek religion and mythology, Pan (/ˈpæn/; Ancient Greek: Πάν, Pan) is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds and rustic music, and companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Ancient Greek language, from the word paein (πάειν), meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is also recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism.
In Roman religion and myth, Pan's counterpart was Faunus, a nature god who was the father of Bona Dea, sometimes identified as Fauna; he was also closely associated with Sylvanus, due to their similar relationships with woodlands. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Pan became a significant figure in the Romantic movement of western Europe and also in the 20th-century Neopagan movement.
An area in the Golan Heights known as the Panion or Panium is associated with Pan. The city of Caesarea Philippi, the site of the Battle of Panium and the Banias natural spring, grotto or cave, and related shrines dedicated to Pan, may be found there.
The constellation Capricornus is traditionally depicted as a sea-goat, a goat with a fish's tail (see "Goatlike" Aigaion called Briareos, one of the Hecatonchires). A myth reported as "Egyptian" in Hyginus' Poetic Astronomy that would seem to be invented to justify a connection of Pan with Capricorn says that when Aegipan — that is Pan in his goat-god aspect — was attacked by the monster Typhon, he dove into the Nile; the parts above the water remained a goat, but those under the water transformed into a fish.
In Greek mythology, Persephone also called Kore is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, and is the queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation.
Rhode /ˈroʊdiː/ (Ῥόδη) also known as Rhodos] (Ancient Greek: Ῥόδος), in ancient Greek religion, was the sea nymph or goddess of the island of Rhodes.
Though she does not appear among the lists of nereids in Iliad XVIII or Bibliotheke 1.2.7, such an ancient island nymph in other contexts might gain any of various Olympian parentages: she was thought of as a daughter of Poseidon with any of several primordial sea-goddesses— with whom she might be identified herself— notably Halia or Amphitrite. Pindar even urges his hearers to "Praise the sea maid, daughter of Aphrodite, bride of Helios, this isle of Rhodes. All three names— Halia, Aphrodite, Amphitrite, and furthermore also Kapheira— must have been applied to one and the same great goddess", Karl Kerenyi observes.
In Rhodes, to which she gave her name, she was the consort of Helios, as Pindar says, and a co-protector of the island, which was the sole center of her cult. Her name was applied to the rose, which appeared on Rhodian coinage.
The first inhabitants of Rhodes were identified by Hellenes as the Telchines. Helios made the island rise from the sea and with Rhode, fathered seven sons there, the Heliadae: Ochimus, Cercaphus, Macareus, Actis, Tenages, Triopas, and Candalus) and one daughter, Electryone. Electryone died a virgin and the sons became legendary astronomers and rulers of the island, accounting for the cities among which it was divided. Rhode was worshipped on Rhodes in her own name, as well as Halia, the embodiment of the "salt sea" or as the "white goddess", Leucothea.
In Greek mythology, Thanatos /ˈθænətɒs/ (Greek: Θάνατος [Ancient Greek: tʰánatos "Death", from θνῄσκω thnēskō "to die, be dying") was the daemon personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to, but rarely appearing in person.
His name is transliterated in Latin as Thanatus, but his equivalent in Roman mythology is Mors or Letus/Letum, and he is sometimes identified erroneously with Orcus (Orcus himself had a Greek equivalent in the form of Horkos, God of the Oath).
The Greek poet Hesiod established in his Theogony that Thanatos is a son of Nyx (Night) and Erebos (Darkness) and twin of Hypnos (Sleep).
And there the children of dark Night have their dwellings, Sleep and Death, awful gods. The glowing Sun never looks upon them with his beams, neither as he goes up into heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven. And the former of them roams peacefully over the earth and the sea's broad back and is kindly to men; but the other has a heart of iron, and his spirit within him is pitiless as bronze: whomsoever of men he has once seized he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the deathless gods.
Thanatos was regarded as merciless and indiscriminate, hated by—and hateful towards—mortals and the deathless gods. But in myths which feature him, Thanatos could occasionally be outwitted, a feat that the sly King Sisyphus of Korinth twice accomplished. When it came time for Sisyphus to die, Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain Sisyphus up in Tartarus. Sisyphus cheated death by tricking Thanatos into his own shackles, thereby prohibiting the demise of any mortal while Thanatos was so enchained.
Eventually Ares, the bloodthirsty god of war, grew frustrated with the battles he incited since neither side suffered any casualties. He released Thanatos and handed his captor over to the god. Sisyphus would evade Death a second time by convincing Persephone to allow him to return to his wife stating that she never gave him a proper funeral. This time, Sisyphus was forcefully dragged back to the Underworld by Hermes when Sisyphus refused to accept his death. Sisyphus was sentenced to an eternity of frustration in Tartarus where he rolled a boulder up a hill and it would roll back down when he got close to the top.
Triton (/ˈtraɪtən/; Greek: Τρίτων Tritōn) is a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the sea. He is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea respectively, and is herald for his father. He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish, "sea-hued", according to Ovid "his shoulders barnacled with sea-shells".
Like his father, Poseidon, he carried a trident. However, Triton's special attribute was a twisted conch shell, on which he blew like a trumpet to calm or raise the waves. Its sound was such a cacophony, that when loudly blown, it put the giants to flight, who imagined it to be the roar of a dark wild beast.
According to Hesiod's Theogony, Triton dwelt with his parents in a golden palace in the depths of the sea; Homer places his seat in the waters off Aegae.[disambiguation needed] The story of the Argonauts places his home on the coast of Libya. When the Argo was driven ashore in the Gulf of Syrtes Minor, the crew carried the vessel to the "Tritonian Lake", Lake Tritonis, whence Triton, the local deity euhemeristically rationalized by Diodorus Siculus as "then ruler over Libya", welcomed them with a guest-gift of a clod of earth and guided them through the lake's marshy outlet back to the Mediterranean. When the Argonauts were lost in the desert, he guided them to find the passage from the river back to the sea.
Triton was the father of Pallas and foster parent to the goddess Athena. Pallas was killed by Athena accidentally during a sparring fight between the two goddesses. Triton is also sometimes cited as the father of Scylla by Lamia. Triton can sometimes be multiplied into a host of Tritones, daimones of the sea.
In the Virgil's Aeneid, book 6, it is told that Triton killed Misenus, son of Aeolus, by drowning him after he challenged the gods to play as well as he did.
Tyche was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. She is the daughter of Aphrodite and Zeus or Hermes.
Increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities venerated their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown (a crown like the walls of the city).
Uranus (/ˈjʊərənəs/ or /jʊˈreɪnəs/; Ancient Greek Οὐρανός, Ouranos [oːranós] meaning "sky" or "heaven") was the primal Greek god personifying the sky. His equivalent in Roman mythology was Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father. Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky and Styx might be joined, however, in a solemn invocation in Homeric epic.
Venus (/ˈvi.nəs/, Classical Latin: /ˈwɛ.nʊs/) is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility and prosperity. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was venerated in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.
The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.
Venusia was also supposedly one of many cities said to be founded by the Greek hero Diomedes after the Trojan War. He dedicated Venusia to the goddess Aphrodite, also known as Venus, to appease her after the Trojans were defeated.
Vesta (Latin pronunciation: [ˈwɛsta]) is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion. Vesta's presence is symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Her closest Greek equivalent is Hestia.
The importance of Vesta to Roman religion is indicated by the prominence of the priesthood devoted to her, the Vestal Virgins, Rome's only college of full-time priests.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Vulcan (Latin: Vulcanus) is the god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honour. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans.
Acantha (Greek: Ἀκάνθα, English translation: "thorny") is often claimed to be a minor character in Greek mythology whose metamorphosis was the origin of the Acanthus plant. The tale goes that Acantha was a nymph loved by the god Apollo. Acantha however rebuffed Apollo's advances and scratched his face when he tried to rape her. As a result Apollo transformed her into the Acanthus, a plant with spiny leaves.
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character and greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad. Achilles was said to be a demigod; his mother was the nymph Thetis, and his father, Peleus, was the king of the Myrmidons.
Achilles’ most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troy. Although the death of Achilles is not presented in the Iliad, other sources concur that he was killed near the end of the Trojan War by Paris, who shot him in the heel with an arrow. Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the 1st century AD) state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Because of his death from a small wound in the heel, the term Achilles' heel has come to mean a person's point of weakness.
In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (/ɪˈniːəs/; Greek: Αἰνείας, Aineías, possibly derived from Greek αἰνή meaning "praise") was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. He is a character in Greek mythology and is mentioned in Homer's Iliad, and receives full treatment in Roman mythology as the legendary founder of what would become Ancient Rome, most extensively in Virgil's Aeneid. He became the first true hero of Rome.
The Amazons (Greek: Ἀμαζόνες, Amazónes, singular Ἀμαζών, Amazōn), also known as Oiorpata in Iranian and Scythian, were believed to have been a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Anatolia, or sometimes Libya.
Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, was the object of one of the labours of Hercules. Amazon warriors were often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art.
Amphion was the son of Jupiter and Antiope, queen of Thebes. With his twin brother Zethus he was exposed at birth on Mount Cithaeron, where they grew up among the shepherds, not knowing their parentage. Mercury gave Amphion a lyre, and taught him to play upon it, and his brother occupied himself in hunting and tending the flocks. Meanwhile Antiope, their mother, who had been treated with great cruelty by Lycus, the usurping king of
Thebes, and by Dirce, his wife, found means to inform her children of their rights, and to summon them to her assistance. With a band of their fellow-herdsmen they attacked and slew Lycus, and tying Dirce by the hair of her head to a bull, let him drag her till she was dead (the punishment of Dirce is the subject of a celebrated group of statuary now in the Museum at Naples). Amphion, having become king of Thebes fortified the city with a wall. It is said that when he played on his lyre the stones moved of their own accord and took their places in the wall.
Antiope was an Amazon, the daughter of Ares and the sister of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. She was abducted by Theseus, king of Athens, during Hercules' capture of Themiscyra, the Amazonian capital. Theseus and Antiope were married in Athens, but Antiope was accidentally killed by the Amazons in a failed rescue attempt.
In Greek mythology, Antiope (/ænˈtaɪ.əpiː/; Greek: Ἀντιόπη) was an Amazon, daughter of Ares and sister to Melanippe and Hippolyte and possibly Orithyia, queens of the Amazons. She was the wife of Theseus, and the only Amazon known to have married. There are various accounts of the manner in which Theseus became possessed of her, and of her subsequent fortunes.
In one version, during Hercules' ninth labor, which was to obtain the Girdle of Hippolyte, when he captured the Amazons' capital of Themiscyra, his companion Theseus, king of Athens, abducted Antiope and brought her to his home (or she was captured by Hercules and then given by him to Theseus). According to Pausanias, Antiope fell in love with Theseus and betrayed the Amazons of her own free will. They were eventually married and she gave birth to a son, Hippolytus, who was named after Antiope's sister. Soon after, the Amazons attacked Athens in an attempt to rescue Antiope and to take back Hippolyte's girdle; however, in a battle near the hill of Ares they were defeated. During this conflict, known as the Attic War, Antiope was accidentally shot dead by an Amazon named Molpadia, who, in her turn, was then killed by Theseus. Tombs of both Antiope and Molpadia were shown in Athens.
Atalanta was a great Arkadian huntress and a favourite of the goddess Artemis. She was exposed by her father in the wilderness at birth, but was suckled by a she-bear and afterwards found and raised by hunters.
She swore to the goddess to defend her virginity and, when two Kentauroi (Centaurs) burst into her grove, destroyed them with her arrows. Later she participated in the voyage of the Argonauts, and defeated the hero Peleus in wrestling at the funeral games of King Pelias. When Meleagros gathered heroes to destroy the Kalydonian Boar, Atalanta joined the hunt and was the first to draw blood. Meleagros awarded her the prize of the skin, and when his uncles tried to take it from her force, he slew them. Atalanta was later reunited with her father Skhoineus (or Iasios), who insisted that she be wed. She agreed, but on condition that the suitors must defeat her in a race, and that the losers should be put to death. Hippomenes or Melanion, however, sought the help of the goddess Aphrodite who presented him with three golden apples to cast before the girl in the race. When Atalanta stooped to retrieve these, she was slowed enough to allow the hero to emerge victorious. Their marriage was a short-lived one, for Hippomenes neglected to pay Aphrodite her dues, and was cursed to lay with Atalanta in the sacred precinct of Zeus, Rhea or Artemis where the pair were transformed into lions.
Atalanta's name was derived from the Greek word atalantos, meaning "equal in weight." She was one of several famous huntresses in Greek mythology, others included Britomartis, Kallisto, Kyrene and Prokris.
In Greek mythology, Autolycus(/ɔːˈtɒlɪkəs/; Greek: Αὐτόλυκος Autolykos, "The Wolf Itself", or, very wolf ) was husband to Mestra, daughter of Erysichthon (who could change her shape at will), or to Neaera , or to Amphithea. He became the father of Anticlea and Polymede, of whom the latter was the mother of Jason, the famous Argonaut who led a group of men to find the coveted Golden Fleece . A different Autolycus, the son of Deimachus, was a part of the Argonauts who went on the journey to find the fleece.
Through Anticleia, Autolycus was also the grandfather of the famous warrior Odysseus , and he was responsible for the naming of the child as well. This happened when the nurse of the child Eurycleia "laid the child upon his knees and spoke, and addressed him: Autolycus, find now thyself a name to give to thy child's own child; be sure he has long been prayed for" .
Autolycus obtained most of the same skills that his supposed father Hermes possesses, such as the art of theft, trickery , and skill with the lyre and gracious song . It was said that he "loved to make white of black, and black of white, from a hornless animal to a horned one, or from horned one to a hornless" . He was given the gift that his thievery could not be caught by anyone .
He put his skills to the test when he stole the helmet of the great warrior and his grandson, Odysseus, "he had broken into the stout-built house of Amyntor, son of Ormenus; and he gave it to Amphidamas of Cythera to take to Scandeia, and Amphidamas gave it to Molus as a guest-gift, but he gave it to his own son Meriones to wear; and now, being set thereon, it covered the head of Odysseus". Autolycus, master of thievery, was also well known for stealing, Sisyphus' herd right from underneath him. Sisyphus, who was commonly known for being a crafty king that killed guests, seduced his niece and stole his brothers' throne and was banished to the throes of Tartarus by the gods.
Heracles, the great Greek hero, was taught the art of wrestling by Autolycus. However, Autolycus was a source of some controversy in Heracles' life, because Autolycus stole some cattle from Euboea and Eurytus, who accused Heracles of the deed and, upon his going mad about these accusations, Heracles killed them plus another one of Autolycus' sons, Iphitus. This led to Heracles serving three years of punishment for the deed to repent for this.
In Greek mythology, Azan (Greek: Ἀζᾶν) was the son of Arcas and the Dryad Erato, brother of Apheidas, Elatus and Hyperippe. Azania in Arcadia was named after him. He married Hippolyte, daughter of Dexamenus, and had a son Cleitor. When Azan died, the first funeral games in history were held in his honor.It was at these games that Aetolus accidentally killed Apis.
Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. He was "the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles", whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera. The Lycian seer Polyeidos told Bellerophon that he would have need of Pegasus. To obtain the services of the untamed winged horse, Polyeidos told Bellerophon to sleep in the temple of Athena. While Bellerophon slept, he dreamed that Athena set a golden bridle beside him, saying "Sleepest thou, prince of the house of Aiolos? Come, take this charm for the steed and show it to the Tamer thy father as thou makest sacrifice to him of a white bull." It was there when he awoke. Bellerophon had to approach Pegasus while it drank from a well; Polyeidos told him which well—the never-failing Pirene on the citadel of Corinth, the city of Bellerophon's birth. Other accounts say that Athena brought Pegasus already tamed and bridled, or that Poseidon the horse-tamer, secretly the father of Bellerophon, brought Pegasus, as Pausanias understood. Bellerophon mounted his steed and flew off to where the Chimera was said to dwell.
In Greek mythology, Cadmus /ˈkædməs/; Greek: Κάδμος Kadmos), was the founder and first king of Thebes. Initially a Phoenician prince, son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores of Phoenicia by Zeus. Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honour.
Cassandra (Greek: Κασσάνδρα, pronounced [kas̚sándra͜a], also Κασάνδρα), also known as Alexandra or Kassandra, was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy.
A common version of her story is that Apollo gave her the power of prophecy in order to seduce her, but when she refused, he spit into her mouth cursing her to never be believed. In an alternative version, she fell asleep in a temple, and snakes licked (or whispered in) her ears so that she was able to hear the future. Snakes as a source of knowledge is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, although sometimes the snake brings understanding of the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future. Cassandra is a figure of both epic tradition and of tragedy.
Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioskouri. Born by Leda and brothers to Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. They were famed horsemen and hunters, and had participated in the hunting of the Calydonian Boar. They were also part of Jason's crew upon the ship Argo. When Castor died, they became the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini.
Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioskouri. Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters and half-sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.
In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini or Castores. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire, and were also associated with horsemanship.
In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon (/ˈkɛərɒn/ or /ˈkɛərən/; Greek Χάρων) is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. Some authors say that those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years. In the catabasis mytheme, heroes – such as Heracles, Orpheus, Aeneas, Dante, Dionysus and Psyche – journey to the underworld and return, still alive, conveyed by the boat of Charon.
Daedalion’s daughter Chione was said to be so beautiful that she was the object of a thousand men’s desire. As it transpired Chione’s admirers were not limited to mortal men. Whilst returning from visits to earth both Apollo and Hermes caught sight of Chione and were filled with a burning lust. Apollo decided to wait until night fell, however Hermes was not so patient. Through the use of magic he caused Chione to fall into a deep sleep and proceeded to rape her. Later that evening Apollo also visited her in the guise of an old woman. As a result of these two divine visitations Chione gave birth to twins. By Hermes she gave birth to Autolycus who grew into a notorious thief and charlatan. By Apollo she bore Philammon, a man famed both for his voice and skill with a lyre.
The attentions of not one but two gods led Chione to boast that her beauty exceeded even that of Artemis. To avenge this personal slight, not to mention blasphemy, Artemis struck Chione down by shooting an arrow straight through her tongue. Her father, Daedalion, was overcome with grief despite his brother's best efforts to console him. At his daughter's funeral Daedalion tried to throw himself onto the pyre three times but was restrained. After a fourth unsuccessful attempt he ran, at an impossible speed, through the fields and the forests, climbed to the summit of Mount Parnassus and jumped. Apollo though took pity on the grieving father, transforming him into a hawk before he could hit the ground. It is said that the hawk's great strength, as well as its propensity for hunting other birds, is a result of Daedalion’s former courage and the rage caused by the death of his daughter.
In Greek mythology, Deimos (Ancient Greek: Δεῖμος, pronounced [dêːmos], meaning "dread") was the personification of terror.
Deimos was the son of Ares and Aphrodite. He is the twin brother of Phobos and nephew of the goddess Enyo who accompanied her brother Ares into battle, as well as his father's attendants, Trembling, Fear, Dread and Panic. Deimos is more of a personification and an abstraction of the sheer terror that is brought by war and he never appeared as an actual character in any story in Greek Mythology. His Roman equivalent was Formido or Metus.
Asaph Hall, who discovered the moons of Mars, named one Deimos, and the other Phobos - although the moons are very different and not twins like their namesakes.
On the modern monument to the battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas' shield has a representation of Deimos.
In Greek mythology Europa (/jʊˈroʊpə, jə-/; Greek: Εὐρώπη Eurṓpē; Doric Greek: Εὐρώπα Eurṓpā) was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, for whom the continent Europe was named.
The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story. The mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her, the two being near-equivalent in Greek myth. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her helpers were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: Talos, Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus. Some readers interpret as manifestations of this same bull the Cretan beast that was encountered by Heracles, the Marathonian Bull slain by Theseus (and that fathered the Minotaur). Roman mythology adopted the tale of the Raptus, also known as "The Abduction of Europa" and "The Seduction of Europa", substituting the god Jupiter for Zeus.
In Greek mythology, Hector (Ἕκτωρ Hektōr, pronounced [héktɔːr]) was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, who was a descendant of Dardanus and Tros, the founder of Troy, he was a prince of the royal house and the heir apparent to his father's throne. He was married to Andromache, with whom he had an infant son, Scamandrius (whom the people of Troy called Astyanax). He acted as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defense of Troy, "killing 31,000 Greek fighters," offers Hyginus. During the European Middle Ages, Hector figures as one of the Nine Worthies noted by Jacques de Longuyon, known not only for his courage but also for his noble and courtly nature. Indeed Homer places Hector as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son, husband and father, and without darker motives. James Redfield writes of Hector as a "martyr to loyalties, a witness to the things of this world, a hero ready to die for the precious imperfections of ordinary life."
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy (Greek Ἑλένη Helénē, pronounced [helénɛː]), also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was a sister of Castor, Pollux, and Clytemnestra. In Greek myths, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus. Her abduction by Paris, Prince of Troy, brought about the Trojan War. Elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero, Euripides and Homer (both The Iliad and The Odyssey).
In her youth she was abducted by, or eloped with, Theseus, and in some accounts bore him a child. A competition between her suitors for her hand in marriage sees Menelaus emerge victorious. An oath sworn beforehand by all the suitors (known as the Oath of Tyndareus) requires them to provide military assistance in the case of her abduction; this oath culminates in the Trojan War. When she marries Menelaus she is still very young; whether her subsequent involvement with Paris is an abduction or a seduction is ambiguous.
The legends recounting Helen's fate in Troy are contradictory. Homer depicts her as a wistful, even a sorrowful, figure, coming to regret her choice and wishing to be reunited with Menelaus. Other accounts have a treacherous Helen who simulates Bacchic rites and rejoices in the carnage. Ultimately, Paris was killed in action, and in Homer's account Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead. A cult associated with her developed in Hellenistic Laconia, both at Sparta and elsewhere; at Therapne she shared a shrine with Menelaus. She was also worshiped in Attica, and on Rhodes.
Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus (Roman equivalent Jupiter) and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.
The Romans adapted the Greek hero's iconography and myths for their literature and art under the name Hercules. In later Western art and literature and in popular culture, Hercules is more commonly used than Hercules as the name of the hero. Hercules was a multifaceted figure with contradictory characteristics, which enabled later artists and writers to pick and choose how to represent him. Hercules is known for his many adventures, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world. One cycle of these adventures became canonical as the "Twelve Labours" but the list has variations. One traditional order of the labours is found in the Bibliotheca as follows:
Slay the Nemean Lion.
Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
Capture the Cretan Bull.
Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
In Greek mythology, Hippolyta (/hɪˈpɒlɪˌtə/; Greek: Ἱππολύτη Hippolyte) was the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons. She figures prominently in the myths of both Heracles and Theseus. As such, the stories about her are varied enough that they may actually be about several different characters.
In the myth of Heracles, Hippolyta's girdle (ζωστὴρ Ἱππολύτης) was the object of his ninth labor. He was sent to retrieve it for Admeta, the daughter of King Eurystheus. Most versions of the story say that Hippolyta was so impressed with Heracles that she gave him the girdle without argument, perhaps while visiting him on his ship.
Then (according to Pseudo-Apollodorus), the goddess Hera, making herself appear as one of the Amazons, spread a rumor among them that Heracles and his crew were actually abducting their queen. So the Amazons attacked the ship. In the fray that followed, Heracles slew Hippolyta, stripped her of the belt, fought off the attackers, and sailed away.
In Greek mythology, Hyacinth was given various parentage, providing local links, as the son of Clio and Pierus, King of Macedon, or of king Oebalus of Sparta, or of king Amyclas of Sparta, progenitor of the people of Amyclae, dwellers about Sparta. His cult at Amyclae, where his tomb was located, at the feet of Apollo's statue, dates from the Mycenaean era.
In the literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo's discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid's account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower's petals with the sign of his grief. The flower of the mythological Hyacinth has been identified with a number of plants other than the true hyacinth, such as the iris. According to a local Spartan version of the myth, Hyacinth and his sister Polyboea were taken to Elysium by Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis.
Thamyris is said by Pseudo-Apollodorus of Athens to have been a lover of Hyacinth and thus to have been the first man to have loved another male.
Hyacinth was the tutelary deity of one of the principal Spartan festivals, the Hyacinthia, held every summer. The festival lasted three days, one day of mourning for the death of the divine hero Hyacinth, and the last two celebrating his rebirth as Apollo Hayakinthios, though the division of honours is a subject for scholarly controversy.
In Greek mythology, Icarus (the Latin spelling, conventionally adopted in English; Ancient Greek: Ἴκαρος, Íkaros, Etruscan: Vikare) is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. Often depicted in art, Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus' father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, because the sea's dampness would clog or the sun's heat would melt his wings. Icarus ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall into the sea where he drowned. This tragic theme of failed ambition contains similarities to that of Phaëthon.
Jason was an ancient Greek mythological hero who was famous for his role as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcos. He was married to the sorceress Medea. Because he belongs to mythology, he may have existed before the Greek Dark Ages (1100–800 BC.) The people who wrote about Jason lived around 300 BC.
Jason appeared in various literary works in the classical world of Greece and Rome, including the epic poem Argonautica and the tragedy Medea.
Jason has connections outside the classical world, being the mythical founder of the city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
In Greek mythology, Medea was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of Corinth, offers him his daughter, Glauce. The play tells of Medea avenging her husband's betrayal by slaying their children.
Daughter of the Centaur Chiron. Also known as Hippe or Euippe. She bore a daughter to Aeolus, Melanippe or Arne. She escaped to Mount Pelion so that her father would not find out that she was pregnant, but, being searched for, she prayed to Artemis asking for assistance, and the goddess transformed her into a mare. Other accounts state that the transformation was a punishment for her having scorned Artemis, or for having divulged the secrets of gods. She was later placed among the stars.
In Greek mythology, Menelaus (/ˌmɛnɪˈleɪəs/; Greek: Μενέλαος, Menelaos) was a king of Mycenaean (pre-Dorian) Sparta, the husband of Helen of Troy, and a central figure in the Trojan War. He was the son of Atreus and Aerope, brother of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and, according to the Iliad, leader of the Spartan contingent of the Greek army during the War. Prominent in both the Iliad and Odyssey, Menelaus was also popular in Greek vase painting and Greek tragedy; the latter more as a hero of the Trojan War than as a member of the doomed House of Atreus.
In a return for awarding her a golden apple inscribed "to the fairest," Aphrodite promised Paris the most beautiful woman in all the world. After concluding a diplomatic mission to Sparta during the latter part of which Menelaus was absent to attend the funeral of his maternal grandfather Catreus in Crete, Paris ran off to Troy with Helen in tow despite his brother Hector forbidding her to depart with them. Invoking the oath of Tyndareus, Menelaus and Agamemnon raised a fleet of one thousand ships according to legend and went to Troy to secure Helen's return; the Trojans were recalcitrant, providing a casus belli for the Trojan War.
Angry at Helen, Menelaus looked for and found her. In a fit of rage, he decided to kill her for leaving him for Paris, but when he raised his sword, she started to weep at her former husband's feet, begging for her life. In a split second, Menelaus' wrath went away instantly. He took pity on her, and decided to take her back as wife.
Midas, in Greek and Roman legend, a king of Phrygia, known for his foolishness and greed.
According to the myth, Midas found the wandering Silenus, the satyr and companion of the god Dionysus. For his kind treatment of Silenus Midas was rewarded by Dionysus with a wish. The king wished that all he touched might turn to gold, but when his food became gold and he nearly starved to death as a result, he realized his error. Dionysus then granted him release by having him bathe in the Pactolus River (near Sardis in modern Turkey), an action to which the presence of alluvial gold in that stream is attributed.
In Greek mythology, Minos (/ˈmaɪnɒs/ or /ˈmaɪnəs/; Ancient Greek: Μίνως, Minōs) was a king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every nine years, he made King Aegeus pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to Daedalus' creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by the Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in the underworld. The Minoan civilization of Crete has been named after him by the archaeologist Arthur Evans. By his wife, Pasiphaë (or some say Crete), he fathered Ariadne, Androgeus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Glaucus, Catreus, Acacallis and Xenodice. By a nymph, Pareia, he had four sons, Eurymedon, Nephalion, Chryses and Philolaus, who were killed by Heracles in revenge for the murder of the latter's two companions; and by Dexithea, one of the Telchines, he had a son called Euxanthius. By Androgeneia of Phaestus he had Asterion, who commanded the Cretan contingent in the war between Dionysus and the Indians. Also given as his children are Euryale, possibly the mother of Orion with Poseidon, and Pholegander, eponym of the island Pholegandros.
Minos, along with his brothers, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon, was raised by king Asterion (or Asterius) of Crete. When Asterion died, his throne was claimed by Minos who banished Sarpedon and, according to some sources, Rhadamanthys too.
Oedipus (Greek: Οἰδίπους Oidípous, meaning "swollen foot") was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology, he fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thereby bring disaster on his city and family. He is known for being the first human to solve the Sphinx's riddle. The legend of Oedipus has been retold in many versions, and was used by Sigmund Freud as the namesake of the Oedipus complex.
Orpheus (/ˈɔrfiəs, ˈɔrfjuːs/; Greek: Ὀρφεύς) was a legendary Thracian musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld, and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music. As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, film, opera, music, and painting.
For the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries. He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which survives. Shrines containing purported relics of Orpheus were regarded as oracles. Some ancient Greek sources note Orpheus' Thracian origins.
In Greek mythology, Pandora (Greek: Πανδώρα, derived from πᾶν, pān, i.e. "all" and δῶρον, dōron, i.e. "gift", thus "the all-endowed", "the all-gifted" or "the all-giving") was the first human woman created by the gods, specifically by Hephaestus and Athena on the instructions of Zeus. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold her out of earth as part of the punishment of humanity for Prometheus' theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering her "seductive gifts". Her other name—inscribed against her figure on a white-ground kylix in the British Museum—is Anesidora, "she who sends up gifts" (up implying "from below" within the earth).
According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box", releasing all the evils of humanity—although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod—leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.
The Pandora myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world.
Paris (Ancient Greek: Πάρις), also known as Alexander (Ἀλέξανδρος, Aléxandros), the son of Priam and Hecuba, the king and queen of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War. Later in the war, he fatally wounds Achilles in the heel with an arrow, as foretold by Achilles’s mother, Thetis. The name Paris is probably Luwian and comparable to Pari-zitis attested as a Hittite scribe's name.
Escorted by Hermes, the three goddesses bathed in the spring of Mount Ida and approached Paris as he herded his cattle. Having been given permission by Zeus to set any conditions he saw fit, Paris required that the goddesses undress before him. (Alternatively, the goddesses themselves chose to disrobe to show all their beauty.) Still, Paris could not decide, as all three were ideally beautiful, so the goddesses attempted to bribe him to choose among them - Hera offered ownership of all of Europe and Asia; Athena offered skill in battle, wisdom and the abilities of the greatest warriors; and Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen of Sparta. Paris chose Aphrodite— and, therefore, Helen.
Helen was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta (a fact Aphrodite neglected to mention), so Paris had to raid Menelaus's house to steal Helen from him (according to some accounts, she fell in love with Paris and left willingly). The Greeks' expedition to retrieve Helen from Paris in Troy is the mythological basis of the Trojan War. This triggered the war because Helen was famous for her beauty throughout Achaea (ancient Greece), and had many suitors of extraordinary ability. Therefore, following Odysseus's advice, her father Tyndareus made all suitors promise to defend Helen's marriage to the man he chose for her. When she disappeared to Troy, Menelaus invoked this oath. Helen's other suitors—who between them represented the lion's share of Achaea's strength, wealth and military prowess—were obligated to help bring her back. Thus, the whole of Greece moved against Troy in force. The Trojan War had begun.
In Greek mythology, Pasiphaë (/pəˈsɪfɨ.iː/; Greek: Πασιφάη Pasipháē, "wide-shining") was the daughter of Helios, the Sun, by the eldest of the Oceanids, Perse.
Like her doublet Europa, her origins were in the East, in her case at Colchis, she was the sister of Circe, and she was given in marriage to King Minos of Crete. With Minos, she was the mother of Acacallis, Ariadne, Androgeus, Glaucus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Xenodice, and Catreus. She was also the mother of "starlike" Asterion, called by the Greeks the Minotaur , after a curse from Poseidon caused her to experience lust for and mate with a white bull sent by Poseidon.
In Greek mythology, Pelops (/ˈpiːlɒps, ˈpɛlɒps/; Greek: Πέλοψ), was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. His father, Tantalus, was the founder of the House of Atreus through Pelops's son of that name.
He was venerated at Olympia, where his cult developed into the founding myth of the Olympic Games, the most important expression of unity, not only for the Peloponnesus, "island of Pelops", but for all Hellenes. At the sanctuary at Olympia, chthonic night-time libations were offered each time to "dark-faced" Pelops in his sacrificial pit (bothros) before they were offered in the following daylight to the sky-god Zeus.
Pelops' father was Tantalus, king at Mount Sipylus in Anatolia. Wanting to make an offering to the Olympians, Tantalus cut Pelops into pieces and made his flesh into a stew, then served it to the gods. Demeter, deep in grief after the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, absentmindedly accepted the offering and ate the left shoulder. The other gods sensed the plot, however, and held off from eating of the boy's body. Pelops was ritually reassembled and brought back to life, his shoulder replaced with one of ivory made for him by Hephaestus. Pindar mentioned this tradition in his First Olympian Ode, only to reject it as a malicious invention: his patron claimed descent from Tantalus.
After Pelops' resurrection, Poseidon took him to Olympus, and made him the youth apprentice, teaching him also to drive the divine chariot. Later, Zeus found out about the gods' stolen food and their now revealed secrets, and threw Pelops out of Olympus, angry at his father, Tantalus.
Phineus, the son of Agenor, was a king of Thrace and a prophet. Because he prophesied too truly, revealing too much of the gods' truth to humans, Zeus blinded him and set the Harpies to plague him. Whenever Phineus sat down to eat, the Harpies would swoop down and steal the food; what little food they left would be foul-smelling and unpalatable. When Jason and the Argonauts arrived in Phineus' land, they rid his household of the curse by having the winged Boreads pursue the Harpies; the goddess Iris prevented the Boreads from killing the Harpies by promising that Phineus would not be troubled again. In return for the Argonauts' help, Phineus foretold the results of their quest, and revealed to them how they should get past the hazard of the Symplegades.
Aello (Ancient Greek: Ἀελλώ "whirlwind") in Greek mythology was one of the Harpy sisters who would abduct people and torture them on their way to Tartarus. She is also referred to as: Aellopus (Ἀελλόπους "whirlwind-footed"), Aellope (Αελλώπη), Podarge (Ποδάργη "she who is foot-speedy"), Podarce (Ποδάρκη "she who is foot-safe") or Nicothoë (Νικοθόη "she who is victory-speedy").
A winged serpent that in Gnostic and ancient Greek legends that was said to bring about good fortune. Temples were built for the Agathos Daimon and wine was offered to ensure a good harvest. Sculptures were made of it as a reminder of its presence. Some would even talk to the serpent. The worship of Agathos Daimon was a private practice. The word ‘Daimon’ is Greek for spirit and spirits were considered to powerful but weaker than the gods. Later this word filtered into the English language to become Demon. The word ‘Agathos’ denotes that the spirit was benevolent. However over time this winged serpent became known to be sinister.
Amphisbaena (plural: amphisbaenae), or amphisbaina, amphisbene, amphisboena, amphisbona, amphista, amfivena, amphivena, or anphivena (the last two being feminine), a Greek word, from amphis, meaning "both ways", and bainein, meaning "to go", also called the Mother of Ants, is a mythological, ant-eating serpent with a head at each end. According to Greek mythology, the amphisbaena was spawned from the blood that dripped from the Gorgon Medusa's head as Perseus flew over the Libyan Desert with it in his hand. Cato's army then encountered it along with other serpents on the march. Amphisbaenae fed off of the corpses left behind.
Antaeus (/ænˈtiːəs/; Greek: Ἀνταῖος, Antaios), in Greek and Berber mythology, was the half-giant son of Poseidon and Gaia. His wife was the goddess Tinge, and he had a daughter named Alceis or Barce.
Antaeus would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches, kill them, and collect their skulls, so that he might one day build out of them a temple to his father, Poseidon. He was indefatigably strong as long as he remained in contact with the ground (his mother earth), but once lifted into the air he became as weak as other men.
Antaeus had defeated most of his opponents until it came to his fight with Heracles (who was on his way to the Garden of Hesperides for his 11th Labour). Upon finding that he could not beat Antaeus by throwing him to the ground as he would reheal due to his parentage (Gaia), Heracles discovered the secret of his power. Holding Antaeus aloft, Heracles crushed him in a bearhug.
Arachne (Ancient Greek: ἀράχνη "Spider") was a great mortal weaver who boasted that her skill was greater than even Athena, goddess of arts and crafts. Offended by such arrogance, Athena challenged Arachne to a weaving contest. Arachne weaved a tapestry depicting the loves and transgressions of the gods. Athena, envious of Arachne's skill and angered by her choice of subject matter, destroyed the tapestry and turned Arachne into a spider. This explains why spiders weave webs.
In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes (Ἄργος Πανόπτης) or Argos, guardian of the heifer-nymph Io and son of Arestor, was a primordial giant whose epithet, "Panoptes," or "all-seeing," led to his being described with multiple, often one hundred, eyes. Argos was a faithful, alert, and benevolent being, employed by Hera primarily as a guardian and, at one point, as slayer of the villain Echidna. According to Ovid, to commemorate her faithful watchman, Hera had the hundred eyes of Argus preserved forever, in a peacock's tail.
In European bestiaries and legends, a Basilisk (Greek βασιλίσκος basilískos, "little king") is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. Basilisks have been reimagined and employed in modern fantasy fiction for books and role-playing games, with wide variations on the powers and weaknesses attributed to them. Most of these depictions describe a reptile of some sort, with the power to kill its victims with a direct stare and petrify through an indirect one.
The centaur (from Greek: Κένταυρος, Kéntauros) are part human, part horse creatures in Greek mythology. Females were known as centaurides. They were said to have been born of Ixion, king of the Lapiths, and Nephele, the cloud made by Zeus in the image of Hera. They are known as wild and savage creatures, lustful and uncultured, lovers of drink, and given to violence when intoxicated.
Cerberus (pron.: /ˈsɜrbərəs/), or Kerberos, (Greek form: Κέρβερος, [ˈkerberos]) in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed hound (usually three-headed), Hades' loyal watchdog, who guards the gates of the Underworld, preventing those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Each head respectively sees and represents the past, the present, and the future. Other sources suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. Each of Cerberus' heads is said to have an appetite only for live meat and thus allows only the spirits of the dead to freely enter the underworld.
The sea monster Charybdis was believed to live under a small rock on one side of a narrow channel. Opposite her was Scylla, another sea-monster, that lived inside a much larger rock. [Odyssey, Book XII] The sides of the strait were within an arrow shot of each other, and sailors attempting to avoid one of them would come in reach of the other. Between Scylla and Charybdis thus means to having to choose between two dangers, either of which brings harm. Three times a day, Charybdis swallowed a huge amount of water, before belching it back out again, creating large whirlpools capable of dragging a ship underwater. In some variations of the story, Charybdis was simply a large whirlpool instead of a sea monster.
A later myth makes Charybdis the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia and living as a loyal servant to Poseidon. She aided him in his feud with Zeus, and as such, helped him engulf lands and islands in water. Zeus, angry for the land she stole from him, cursed her into a hideous bladder of a monster, with flippers for arms and legs, and an uncontrollable thirst for the sea. As such, she drank the water from the sea three times a day to quench it, which created whirlpools. She lingered on a rock with Scylla facing her directly on another rock, making a strait.
The theoretical size of Charybdis remains unknown, yet in order to consume Greek ships the whirlpool can be estimated to about 23 meters (75 ft) across.
The Chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from his back and also dragon, and a tail that might end with a snake's head, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.
A cyclops (from Greek: Κύκλωψ, Kuklōps), in Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead. The name is widely thought to mean "circle-eyed". Various ancient Greek and Roman authors wrote about cyclopes. Hesiod described them as three brothers who were primordial giants. All the other sources of literature about the cyclopes describe the cyclops Polyphemus, who lived upon an island populated by the creatures.
In Greek mythology, Delphyne (Greek: Δελφύνη) is the name of the female dragon who was appointed by her mother, Gaea, to guard the oracle of Delphi. She is sometimes called Python and may, in the stories, be replaced with or accompanied by a male dragon (either Python or Typhon). She is sometimes equated with Echidna, a monster with the head and torso of woman, but the lower part of a snake, who was the consort of Typhon.
In one tale, Delphyne (here half maiden, half snake, like Echidna) guards the sinews of Zeus, which had been stolen by her mate Typhon. She was slain by Apollo. Apollo's title Delphinius is, in some stories, interpreted as having come from his slaying of Delphyne (or from showing the Cretan colonists the way to Delphi whilst riding on a dolphin).
A dryad (/ˈdraɪ.æd/; Greek: Δρυάδες, sing.: Δρυάς) is a tree nymph, or female tree spirit, in Greek mythology. In Greek drys signifies "oak." Thus, dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. "Such deities are very much overshadowed by the divine figures defined through poetry and cult," Walter Burkert remarked of Greek nature deities. They were normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess Artemis, who was known to be a friend to most nymphs.
Dryas, the son of Ares or of Iapetus. He was involved in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. His brother, Tereus, having heard the prophecy that his son was to be killed by a relative and falsely believing that it was Dryas whom the oracle indicated, murdered him (whereas the son was actually murdered by Procne).
Daughter of primordial goddess Gaia, Echidna (from Ancient Greek:Ἔχιδνα, "she viper") was half woman and half serpent, known as the "Mother of All Monsters" (wife of Typhon) because a great many of the monsters in Greek myth were mothered by her, including several dragons, Scylla, the Hydra, Chimera, and various other creatures. She reportedly had a penchant for kidnapping those who strayed too near her cave. Though Echidna was blessed with eternal youth, she was eventually slain by the ancient and benevolent giant Argos.
Erinyes, (Greek form: Ἐρῑνύες) in Greek and Roman mythology, literally "the avengers," were female chthonic deities of vengeance. They correspond to the Furies or Dirae in Roman mythology. According to Hesiod's Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes as well as the Meliae emerged from the drops of blood when it fell on the earth. Their number is usually left indeterminate, but Virgil recognized three: Alecto ("unnameable"), Megaera ("grudging"), and Tisiphone ("vengeful destruction"), all of whom appear in the Aeneid. The Erinyes are crones and, depending upon authors, described as having snakes for hair, dog's heads, coal black bodies, bat's wings, and blood-shot eyes. In their hands they carry brass-studded scourges, and their victims die in torment.
In Greek mythology, the Nereids (/ˈnɪəriɪdz/ NEER-ee-idz; Ancient Greek: Νηρηΐδες, sg. Νηρηΐς) are sea nymphs (female spirits of sea waters), the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris, sisters to Nerites. They were distinct from the Sirens. They often accompany Poseidon, the god of the sea, and can be friendly and helpful to sailors fighting perilous storms.
In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Acis was the spirit of the Acis River in Sicily, beloved of the nereid, or sea-nymph, Galatea, daughter of Nereus and Doris. She returned his love, but a jealous rival, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder. Galatea then turned his blood into the Sicilian River Acis.
The Griffin, griffon, or gryphon (from Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle, and an eagle's talons as its front feet. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.
A Harpy (Greek: ἅρπυια) was one of the winged spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineus. The literal meaning of the word seems to be "that which snatches" as it comes from the Greek word harpazein (ἁρπάζειν), which means "to snatch". A harpy was the mother of the horses of Achilles sired by the West Wind Zephyros.
The Hippocamp - or hippocampus, also hippokampoi, and often called a sea-horse in English - is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognized is purely Greek. It was also adopted into Etruscan mythology. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fish-like hindquarter.
Kelaino, or Celaeno (Ancient Greek Κελαινώ "the dark one") in Greek mythology referred to several different figures. The origin relevant to the familiar is that of one of the Harpies, whom Aeneas encountered at Strophades. She gave him prophecies of his coming journeys.
The Lernaean Hydra (Ancient Greek: Λερναία Ὕδρα) was an ancient serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits (as its name evinces), that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath and blood so virulent even its tracks were deadly. It was killed by Heracles (second labour).
In ancient Greek mythology, Lamia (Greek: Λάμια) was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon. Her name derives from the Greek word for gullet (λαιμός; laimos), referring to her habit of devouring children. She is a mistress of the god Zeus, causing Zeus' jealous wife, Hera, to kill all of Lamia's children (except for Scylla, who is herself cursed) and transform her into a monster that hunts and devours the children of others.
Lycaon was a king of Arcadia who, in the most popular version of the myth, tested Zeus by serving him a dish of his slaughtered and dismembered son in order to see whether Zeus was truly omniscient. In return for these gruesome deeds, Zeus transformed Lycaon into the form of a wolf and killed Lycaon's fifty sons with lightning bolts, excepting possibly Nyctimus, the slaughtered child, who was instead restored to life.
The lynx, a type of wildcat, has a prominent role in Greek, Norse, and North American mythology. It is considered an elusive and mysterious creature, known in some American Indian traditions as a 'keeper of secrets'. It is also believed to have supernatural eyesight, capable of seeing even through solid objects. As a result, it often symbolizes the unraveling of hidden truths, and the psychic power of clairvoyance.
In Greek mythology, the satyr Marsyas (/ˈmɑrsiəs/; Greek: Μαρσύας) is a central figure in two stories involving death: in one, he picked up the double flute (aulos) that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life. In antiquity, literary sources often emphasize the hubris of Marsyas and the justice of his punishment.
The Gorgons (Ancient Greek: Γοργών "dreadful"), Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa (Ancient Greek: Μέδουσα (Médousa), "guardian," "protectress"), daughters of the sea gods Phorcys and Ceto and sisters of Echidna and Scylla, were monsters, described as having the faces of hideous women with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly upon them would turn onlookers to stone. Two of the sisters were immortal; only Medusa was mortal. She was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head as a weapon. Medusa was the mother of Pegasus.
The Minotaur (from Ancient Greek: Μῑνώταυρος "bull of Minos") was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man. He dwelt at the center of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. In Crete the Minotaur was known by its proper name, Asterios (Ancient Greek: Ἀστέριος "starry," "ruler of the stars"). The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.
In Greek mythology, Mormo (Greek: Μορμώ, Μορμών, Mormō) was a spirit who bit bad children, and was said to have been a companion of the goddess Hecate. The name was also used to signify a female vampire-like creature in stories told to Greek children by their nurses to keep them from misbehaving. This reference is primarily found in some of the plays of Aristophanes.He is also referenced in The Alexiad, which goes to show that Mormo was still taught to children during Byzantine times. The Mormo would steal children in revenge of Queen Laestrygonian who was deprived by her children.
Nessos (or Nessus) was one of Thessalian Kentauroi (Centaurs) who was fled his homeland after the Lapith war. He made his way to the Aitolian river Euenos and there established himself as ferryman. When Heracles later passed by with his bride, Deianeira, Nessos took her upon his back and ferried her across the river. However, he became enflamed with desire for the beautiful woman and attempted to force her. She cried out and Herakles slew him with his poisoned arrows. Nessos, as he was dying, persuaded Deianeira to take some of his poisoned blood to use as a love charm should Herakles ever proved unfaithful. The dupe resulted in the hero's death.
Ocypete (English translation: "swift wing") was one of the three Harpies in Greek mythology. She was also known as Ocypode ("swift foot") or Ocythoe ("swift runner"). The Harpies were the daughters of the sea god Thaumas and the sea nymph Electra.
According to one story, the Harpies were chased by the Boreads. Though the swiftest of the trio, Ocypete became exhausted, landed on an island in the middle of the ocean and begged for mercy from the gods. In Greek and Roman mythology, the Harpies were creatures employed by the higher gods to carry out the punishment of crime.
Orthros In Greek mythology, Orthrus (Orthros) or Orthus (Orthos) (Greek: Ὄρθρος; Ὄρθος) was a two-headed dog and a doublet ("brother") of Cerberus, both whelped by the chthonic monsters Echidna and Typhon. He was owned by the three-bodied giant, Geryon. Orthros and his master, Eurytion, were charged with guarding Geryon's herd of red cattle in the "sunset" land of Erytheia ("red one"), one of the islands of the Hesperides in the far west of the Mediterranean. Heracles eventually slew Orthros, Eurytion, and Geryon, before taking the red cattle to complete his tenth labor. Orthros was one among Echidna's fearsome brood listed in Hesiod's Theogony. According to sources, it was he rather than Typhon that sired, with Queen Echidna, further chthonic creatures: the Chimera, the Sphinx, the Lernaean Hydra, and Cerberus.
Pegasus (from Ancient Greek: Πήγασος, Pégasos, Latin Pegasus) is one of the best known mythological creatures in Greek mythology. He is a winged divine horse usually depicted as white in colour. He was sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the GorgonMedusa. Pegasus took part in many exploits, but is most widely remembered as the mount of the hero Bellerophon in his quest to defeat the monster Chimera.
In Greek mythology, a phoenix or phenix (Ancient Greek φοίνιξ phóinīx) is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.
A satyr (Greek σάτυρος, satyros) is one of a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus with goat-like features. Children of nature, pure, they are tame, fearless and brutal when they have to defend themselves against threats. Above all though, the Satyr with flute has a small companion for him, shows the deep connection with nature, the soft whistle of the wind, the sound of gurgling water of the crystal spring, the birds singing, or perhaps the singing a melody of a human soul that feeds higher feelings.
In Greek mythology, Scylla (/ˈsɪlə/ sil-ə; Greek: Σκύλλα, pronounced [skýl̚la], Skylla) was a monster that lived on one side of a narrow channel of water, opposite its counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other—so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass too close to Scylla and vice versa.
The strait has been associated with the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily. The idiom "Between Scylla and Charybdis" has come to mean being between two dangers, choosing either of which brings harm.
A Sphinx (Greek: Σφίγξ) is a mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and a woman's head. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travellers to allow them passage. Oedipus solved her riddle, and, bested at last, the Sphinx then threw herself from her high rock and died. (An Egyptian version of the Sphinx also exists, and was viewed as benevolent in contrast to the malevolent Greek version, and was thought of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples.
Talos (from Greek: Τάλως, Talōs) or Talon (Τάλων, Talōn) was a giant man of bronze who protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders by circling the island's shores three times daily while guarding it. Talos is described as either a gift from Hephaestus to Minos, forged with the aid of the Cyclopes in the form of a bull or a gift from Zeus to Europa.
Typhon (Greek: Τυφῶν), also Typhoeus, was the most deadly monster of Greek mythology. The last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, he was known as the "Father of All Monsters"; his wife Echidna was likewise the "Mother of All Monsters." His human upper half reached as high as the stars, and his hands reached east and west. His bottom half consisted of gigantic viper coils that could reach the top of his head when stretched out and constantly made a hissing noise. He tried to kill Zeus, but is finally defeated by the King of Gods, who traps him underneath Mount Etna.
This section includes concepts that doesn't fit other categories.
Acherontia Styx is a Sphingid moth found in Asia, one of the three species of Death's-head Hawkmoth, also known as the Bee Robber. Styx is also a river in Greek Mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (often called Hades).
The aegis or aigis (Ancient Greek: Αἰγίς; English pronunciation: /ˈiːdʒɪs/), as stated in the Iliad, is carried by Athena and Zeus, but its nature is uncertain. It had been interpreted as an animal skin or a shield, sometimes bearing the head of a Gorgon. There may be a connection with a deity named Aex or Aix, a daughter of Helios and a nurse of Zeus or alternatively a mistress of Zeus (Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 13). The aegis of Athena is referred to in several places in the Iliad. "It produced a sound as from a myriad roaring dragons (Iliad, 4.17) and was borne by Athena in battle ... and among them went bright-eyed Athene, holding the precious aegis which is ageless and immortal: a hundred tassels of pure gold hang fluttering from it, tight-woven each of them, and each the worth of a hundred oxen."
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek ἀ a- ("not") and μέθυστος méthystos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks wore amethyst and made drinking vessels decorated with it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz. Amethyst is a semiprecious stone and is the traditional birthstone for February.
The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken", from Greek a-, "not" + methustos, "intoxicated". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. In his poem "L'Amethyste, ou les Amours de Bacchus et d'Amethyste" (Amethyst or the loves of Bacchus and Amethyste), the French poet Remy Belleau (1528–1577) invented a myth in which Bacchus, the god of intoxication, of wine, and grapes was pursuing a maiden named Amethyste, who refused his affections. Amethyste prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the chaste goddess Diana answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethyste's desire to remain chaste, Bacchus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.
Cocytus or Kokytos, meaning "the river of wailing" (from the Greek Κωκυτός, "lamentation"), is a river in the underworld in Greek mythology. Cocytus flows into the river Acheron, across which is the underworld, the mythological abode of the dead. There are five rivers encircling Hades. The River Styx is perhaps the most famous; the other rivers are Phlegethon, Lethe, and Acheron.
The Trojan Horse is the subject of a tale from the Trojan War about the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and win the war. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war.
This eagle is the punishment of Prometheus as a consequence of the theft of Zeus' fire. Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, sentenced the Titan to eternal torment for his transgression. The immortal Prometheus was bound to a rock, where each day an eagle, the emblem of Zeus, was sent to feed on his liver, which would then grow back to be eaten again the next day. In some stories, Prometheus is freed at last by the hero Heracles. The eagle is also used to bring people to the skies.