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Titans The Titans, also known as the elder gods, ruled the earth before the Olympiansoverthew them. The ruler of the Titans was Cronus who was de-throned by his son Zeus. Most of the Titans fought with Cronus against Zeus and were punished by being banished to Tartarus. During their rule the Titans were associated with the various planets.
Uranus & Gaea parents of the Titans Uranus Uranus is the sky god and first ruler. He is the son of Gaea, who created him without help. He then became the husband of Gaea and together they had many offspring, including twelve of the Titans. His rule ended when whenCronus, encouraged by Gaea, castrated him. He either died from the wound or withdrew from earth. Gaea Gaea is the Earth goddess. She mated with her son Uranus to produce the remaining Titans. Gaea seems to have started as a neolithic earth-mother worshipped before the Indo-European invasion that eventually lead to the Hellinistic civilization.
The Titans lord Cronus The titans were the parents of the gods and the rulers of the 1rst-4th age or also known as the golden age The person in charge was named Cronus he was a ruthless ruler who didn't care about anyone not even his kids. Cronus didn’t care about us mortals he just either had us for dinner or cheap entertainment. he started to become mad with power and didn't want to share it with the gods so he ate them while the were all still young but he didn't kill them fortunately his wife Rhea seemed to think otherwise so she hid one of her son, Zeus and tricked Cronus into thinking he ate Zeus but instead he ate a rock when Zeus got older he went to Cronus and cut him up into a thousand pieces as Cronus done to his father which saved all the gods which were growing in the stomach since the gods cannot die and then he threw his father into the depths of tartars in the field of punishment of the underworld was thrown into the and took all the other titans including his mother Rhea who had saved his life and put them in a prison all around the world which is constantly watched and with that Zeus ended the golden age and started the fifth age also known as the rise of the Olympians
Oceanus Oceanus is the unending stream of water encircling the world. Together with his wife Tethys produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs Tethys Tethys is the wife of Oceanus. Together they produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs Oceanus & Tethys
Hyperion Hyperion is the Titan of light, the father of the sun, the moon, and the dawn.
mnemosyne Mnemosyne was the Titan of memory and the mother of Muses.
Iapetus Iapetus was the father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Atlas.
Themis Themis was the Titan of justice and order. She was the mother of the Fates and the Seasons.
Crius A Titan, married Eurbia. Had 3 children: Astraios, Perses, Pallas. Was grandfather of (Astraios married Eos): Zephyros/Zephyrus (West Wind), Boreas (North Wind), Notos/Notus (South Wind), Eosphoros/Eurus (East Wind), and all the "stars". Was also grandfather of (Pallas married Styx): Zelos, Nike, Kratos, Bia.
Thea The wife of her brother Hyperion, Theia gave birth to Helios (sun), Eos (dawn), and Selene (moon). She is the goddess from whom light emanates and considered especially beautiful.
Prometheus Prometheus was the wisest Titan. His name means "forethought" and he was able to foretell the future. He was the son of Iapetus. When Zeus revolted against Cronus Prometheus deserted the other Titans and fought on Zeus side. By some accounts he and his brother Epimetheus were delagated by Zeus to create man. In all accounts, Prometheus is known as the protector and benifactor of man. He gave mankind a number of gifts including fire. He also tricked Zeus into allowing man to keep the best part of the animals scarificed to the gods and to give the gods the worst parts. For this Zeus punished Prometheus by having him chained to a rock with an eagle tearing at his liver. He was to be left there for all eternity or until he agreed to disclose to Zeus which of Zeus children would try to replace him. He was eventually rescued by Hercules without giving in to Zeus.
Epimetheus Epimetheus was a stupid Titan, whose name means "afterthought". He was the son of Iapetus. In some accounts he is delegated, along with his brother Prometheus by Zeus to create mankind. He also accepted the gift of Pandora from Zeus, which lead to the introduction of evil into the world.
Atlas Atlas was the son of Iapetus. Unlike his brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, Atlas fought with the other Titans supporting Cronus against Zeus. Due to Cronus's advance age Atlas lead the Titan's in battle. As a result he was singled out by Zeus for a special punishment and made to hold up the world on his back. The wait of the sky was put on his sholders
Metis Metis was the Titaness of the forth day and the planet Mercury. She presided over all wisdom and knowledge. She was seduced by Zeus and became pregnant with Athena. Zeus became concerned over prophecies that her second child would replace Zeus. To avoid this Zeus ate her. It is said that she is the source for Zeus wisdom and that she still advises Zeus from his belly. It may seem odd for Metis to have been pregnant with Athena but, never mentioned as her mother. This is because the classic greeks believed that children were generated soley from the fathers sperm. The women was thought to be nothing more then a vessal for the fetus to grow in. Since Metis was killed well before Athena's birth her role doesn't count
The Olympians The Olympians are a group of 12 gods who ruled after the overthow of the Titans. All the Olympians are related in some way. They are named after their dwelling place Mount Olympus.
Zeus Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. Zeus overthew his Father Cronus. He then drew lots with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods. He is lord of the sky, the rain god. His weapon is a thunderbolt which he hurls at those who displease him. He is married to Hera but, is famous for his many affairs. He is also known to punish those that lie or break oaths.He was the rain god, and the cloud gatherer, who wielded the terrible thunderbolt. His breastplate was the aegis, his bird the eagle, his tree the oak. He is represented as the god of justice and mercy, the protector of the weak, and the punisher of the wicked.
Presidion God of the sea, protector of all waters. Poseidon is the brother of Zeus. After the overthow of their Father Cronus he drew lots with Zeus and Hades, another brother, for shares of the world. His prize was to become lord of the sea. He was widely worshiped by seamen. He married Amphitrite, a granddaughter of the Titan Oceanus. At one point he desired Demeter. To put him off Demeter asked him to make the most beautiful animal that the world had ever seen. So to impress her Poseidon created the first horse. In some accounts his first attempts were unsucessful and created a varity of other animals in his quest. By the time the horse was created his passion for Demeter had cooled. His weapon is a trident, which can shake the earth, and shatter any object. He is second only to Zeus in power amongst the gods. He has a difficult quarrelsome personality. He was greedy. He had a series of disputes with other gods when he tried to take over their cities.
Hades Hades is the brother of Zeus. After the overthow of their Father Cronus he drew lots with Zeus and Poseidon, another brother, for shares of the world. He had the worst draw and was made lord of the underworld, ruling over the dead. He is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Those whose calling increase the number of dead are seen favorably. The Erinnyes are welcomed guests. He is exceedingly disinclined to allow any of his subjects leave. He is also the god of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. He has a helmet that makes him invisable. He rarely leaves the underworld. He is unpitying and terrible, but not capricious. His wife is Persephone whom Hades abducted. He is the King of the dead but, death itself is another god, Thanatos.
Hestia Hestia is Zeus sister. She is a virgin goddess. She does not have a distinct personality. She plays no part in myths. She is the Goddess of the Hearth, the symbol of the house around which a new born child is carried before it is received into the family. Each city had a public hearth sacred to Hestia, where the fire was never allowed to go out. Of all the Olympians, she is the mildest, most upright and most charitable.
Hera Hera is Zeus wife and sister. She was raised by the Titans Ocean and Tethys. Shea is the supreme goddess, goddess of marriage and childbirth and takes special care of married women. Hera's marriage was founded in strife with Zeus and continued in strife. Zeus courted her unsuccesfully. He then turned to trickery, changing himself into disheveled cuckoo. Hera feeling sorry for the bird held it to her breast to warm it. Zues then resumed his normal form and taking advantage of the suprise he gained, raped her. She then married him to cover her shame. Once when Zeus was being partcularly overbearing to the other gods, Hera convinced them to join in a revolt. Her part in the revolt was to drug Zeus, and in this she was successful. The gods then bound the sleeping Zeus to a couch taking care to tie many knots. This done they began to quarrel over the next step. Briareus overheard the arguements. Still full of gratitude to Zeus, Briareus slipped in and was able to quickly untie the many knots. Zeus sprang from the couch and grapped up his thuderbolt. The gods fell to their knees begging and pleading for mercy. He seized Hera and hung her from the sky with gold chains. She wept in pain all night but, none of the others dared to interfere. Her weeping kept Zeus up and the next morning he agreed to release her if she would swear never to rebel again. She had little choice but, to agree. While she never again rebeled, she often intrigued against Zeus's plans and she was often able to outwit him. Most stories concerning Hera have to do with her jealous revenge for Zeus's infidelities. Her sacred animals are the cow and the peacock. Her favorite city is Argos.
Aris Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera. He was disliked by both parents. He is the god of war. He is considered murderous and bloodstained but, also a coward. When caught in an act of adultery with Aphrodite her husband Hephaestus is able publically ridicule him. His bird is the vulture. His animal is the dog.
Athena Athena is the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. Athena is the daughter of Zeus. She sprang full grown in armour from his forehead, thus has no mother. She is fierce and brave in battle but, only wars to defined the state and home from outside enemies. She is the goddess of the city, handicrafts, and agriculture. She invented the bridle, which permitted man to tame horses, the trumpet, the flute, the pot, the rake, the plow, the yoke, the ship, and the chariot. She is the embodiment of wisdom, reason, and purity. She was Zeus's favorite child and was allowed to use his weapons including his thunderbolt. Her favorite city is Athens. Her tree is the olive. The owl is her bird. She is a virgin goddess.
apollo Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. His twin sister is Artemis. He is the god of music, playing a golden lyre. The Archer, far shooting with a silver bow. The god of healing who taught man medicine. The god of light. The god of truth, who can not speak a lie. One of Apollo's more importaint daily tasks is to harness his chariot with four horses an drive the Sun across the sky. He is famous for his oracle at Delphi. People travled to it from all over the greek world to devine the future. His tree was the laurel. The crow his bird. The dolphin his animal.
Aphrodite Aphrodite is the goddess of love, desire and beauty. In addition to her natural gifts she has a magical girdle that compels anyone she wishes to desire her. There are two accounts of her birth. One says she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. The other goes back to when Cronus castrated Uranus and tossed his severed genitles into the sea. Aphrodite then arose from the sea foam on a giant scallop and walked to shore in Cyprus. She is the wife of Hephaestus. The myrtle is her tree. The dove, the swann, and the sparrow her birds. Her favorite lover is the god of war, Ares. She represented sex, affection, and the attraction that binds people together.
Hermes He was the cleverest of the Olympian gods, and messenger to all the other gods. Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia. He is Zeus messenger. He is the fastest of the gods. He wears winged sandals, a winged hat, and carries a magic wand. He is the god of thieves and god of commerce. He is the guide for the dead to go to the underworld. He invented the lyre, the pipes, the musical scale, astronomy , weights and measures, boxing, gymnastics, and the care of olive trees
Artemis She was goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment. Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto. Her twin brother is Apollo. She is the lady of the wild things. She is the huntsman of the gods. She is the protector of the young. Like Apollo she hunts with silver arrows. She became associated with the moon. She is a virgin goddess, and the goddess of chastity. She also presides over childbirth, which may seem odd for a virgin, but goes back to causing Leto no pain when she was born. She became associated with Hecate. The cypress is her tree. All wild animals are scared to her, especially the deer.
hephaestus Hephaestus is the son of Zeus and Hera. Sometimes it is said that Hera alone produced him and that he has no father. He is the only god to be physically ugly. He is also lame. Accounts as to how he became lame vary. Some say that Hera, upset by having an ugly child, flung him from Mount Olympus into the sea, breaking his legs. Others that he took Hera's side in an arguement with Zeus and Zeus flung him off Mount Olympus. He is the god of fire and the forge. He is the smith and armorer of the gods. He uses a volcano as his forge. He is the patron god of both smiths and weavers. He is kind and peace loving. His wife is Aphrodite. Sometimes his wife is identified as Aglaia.
Dionysus He was the god of fertility and wine, later considered a patron of the arts. He invented wine and spread the art of tending grapes. He has a dual nature. On the one hand bringing joy and devine ecstasy. On the other brutal, unthinking, rage. Thus, reflecting both sides of wines nature. If he choses Dionysus can drive a man mad. No normal fetters can hold him or his followers. Dionysus is the son of Zeus and Semele. He is the only god to have a mortal parent. Zeus came to Semele in the night, invisable, felt only as a devine presence. Semele was pleased to be a lover of a god, even though she did not know which one. Word soon got around and Hera quickly assumed who was responsible. Hera went to Semele in disguise and convinced her she should see her lover as he really was. When Zeus next came to her she made him promise to grant her one wish. She went so far as to make him swear on the River Styx that he would grant her request. Zeus was madly in love and agreed. She then asked him to show her his true form. Zeus, was unhappy, and knew what would happen but, having sworn he had no choice. He appeared in his true form and Semele was instantly burnt to a crisp by the sight of his glory. Zeus did manage to rescue Dionysus and stiched him into his thigh to hold him until he was ready to be born. His birth from Zeus alone conferred immortality upon him
Eros Eros is the son of Aphrodite. Eros is the god of love. In particular erotic, romantic, love. He is often represented blindfolded because, love is often blind. His "weapon" is darts or arrows. In either case the tips have been magically treated to produce either uncontrolable love or unsurmountabledisintrested in the first person seen be Eros's victim after wounding
persephone Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was the goddess of springtime and, after her abduction by Hades she became his wife and Queen of the underworld for six months of each year. The mint and pomegranate is sacred to her. Persephone raised Aphrodite's child Adonis. She was also known as Kore, "the Maiden". She symbolized the sprouting seeds of springtime.
Demeter Demeter is the godess of corn, grain, and the harvest. She is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. It is Demeter that makes the crops grow each year. The first loaf of bread from the harvest is scarificed to her. Demeter is the goddess of the earth, of agriculture, and of fertility in general. Sacred to her are livestock and agricultural products, poppy, narcissus and the crane. Demeter is intimately associated with the seasons. Her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. In her anger at her daughter's loss Demeter laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, the land became desolate. Zeus became alarmed and sought Persephone's return. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that Persephone would spend four months each year in the underwold. During these months Demeter greves her daughters absence, and withdraws her gifts from the world, creating winter. Her return brought the spring. Demeter is also known for founding the Eleusinian Mysteries. These were huge festivels held every five years. They were importaint events for many centuries. Yet, little is known of them as those attending were sworn to secrecy. The central tenant seems to have been that just as grain returns every spring after its harvest and wintery death, so too the human soul could be reborn after the death of the body.
Hebe Hebe is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is the goddess of youth. She, along with Ganymede are the cupbearers to the gods. Hebe is Hercules wife.
Eris Hebe is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is the goddess of discord. In addition to her main activity of sowing discord, she frequently accompanies her brother Aris to battles. On these occasions she rides his chariot and brings her son Strife. Eris is unpopular and frequently snubbed as a guest by the other gods and mankind. This was not always a safe thing to do. The most dramatic example being the Trojan War, which was an indirect result of not inviting Eris to a wedding.
Helios Helios was the greek sun god. He may be thought of as a personification of the sun. He plays little role in the myths. He became rather overshadowed by Apollo the lord of the sun. He was the son of Hyperion.
Thanatos Thanatosos was the greek god of death. He may be thought of as a personification of death. He plays little role in the myths. He became rather overshadowed by Hades the lord of death.
Pan He was the son of Hermes and Penelope (later married to Odysseus) in some myths and the son of Zeus and the nymph Callisto in others. He was the god of flocks and shepherds. He is the god of goatherds and shepherds. He is mostly human in appearnce but, with goat horns and goat feet. He is an excellent musician and plays the pipes. He is merry and playful frequently seen dancing with woodland nymphs. He is at home in any wild place but, is favorite is Arcady, where he was born. He is always in pursuit of one of the nymphs but, always rejected because he is ugly. His name is the basis for the word "panic". There are two differing explanations for this. The first is that he was present when Zeus defeated the Titans and claimed that it has his yelling that caused the Titans to flee. However, this seems at odds with his being Hermes son. The second is that he created the noises in the woods at night the scared travelers.
Nemesis Nemesis means righteous anger, due enactment, or devinevengence. This god helped to avenge those who were wronged.
The Graces They are the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. There are three Graces: Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer). The are known for singing and dancing for the gods
The Muses They are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They are known for the music of their song, which brings joy to any who hear it. There are nine Muses, each with her own specialty: Clio (History), Urania (Astronmy), Melpomene (Tragedy), Thalia (Comedy), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Erato (Love Poetry), Polyhymnia (Songs to the Gods), Euterpe (Lyric Poetry).
The Erinnyes Also known as the Furies, punish crime. They persue wrong doers relentlessly, until death, often driving them to suicide. They are particularly concerned with matricide. There are three Erinnyes, Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto. The Erinnyes came from the blood of Uranus when he was castrated.
The Fates The Fates have the subtle but, awesome power of deciding a mans destiny. The assign a man to good or evil. There most obvious choice is chosing how long a man lives. There are three Fates. Clotho, the spinner, who spins the thread of life. Lachesis, the measurer, who choses the lot in life one will have and measures off how long it is to be. Atropos, she who can not be turn, who at death with her shears cuts the tread of life. The Fates are old and predate the gods. It is not entirely clear how far their power extends. It is possible that they determine the fate of the gods as well. In any case, not even the most powerful is willing to triffle with them.
Minos I Minos was the King of Create. He was the son of Zeus and Europa. He created a famous legal code. His success as a law giver was such that after his death he was made one of the three judges of the dead in the underworld. During his rule Create became a major power with an excellent education system, wide spread trade, impressive buildings, and flourishing arts. It became the strongest navel power.
Rhadamamanthus Rhadamanthus was the son of Zeus and Europa. After his death he was made one of the three judges of the dead in the underworld.
Heroes Heroes are the son of a god and a human the have three names, heroes, half-blood's, and demigods
Perseus Once there was a king named Acrisius, he had a beautiful daughter named Danae. The oracle of Apollo told Acrisius that Danae's son would one day kill him. Acrisius could not let that happen, so he locked Danae in a bronze tower so that she would never marry or have children. The tower had no doors, but it had one very small window. Danae was very sad, but one day a bright shower of gold came through the small window. A man appeared, he had a thunderbolt in his hand and Danae knew he was a god, but she didn't know which. The man said, "Yes, I am a god and I wish to make you my wife. I can make this dark prison a wonderful sunny land with many flowers " All happened as he said, the horrible prison became fields almost as wonderful as the Elysian Fields themselves, but one day Acrisius saw light coming out of the small window. He told his men to tear down one of the walls. He walked into the tower and saw Danae with a baby on her lap, smiling she said, "I have named him Perseus." Acrisius was furious, he shut Danae and baby Perseus up in a large chest and cast them out to sea. Somehow they got safely to the island of Seriphos where Polydectes was king. The kings brother who was a fisherman, caught them in his net and pulled them to shore, his name was Dictys. Perseus grew up to become a strong young man. Polydectes heard about Danae and wanted her to marry him, but she rejected him. Polydectes would have married Danae by force if Perseus wasn't there to protect her.
Cont… Polydectes decided on a plan to get rid of Perseus. Polydectes pretended to be marrying a daughter of a friend of his. Everybody had to bring a present, including Perseus. Polydectes pretended to be furious when Perseus arrived empty-handed, for he was not only very strong and brave but very poor. "What, no wedding present?" yelled Polydectes. " I don't have any money." exclaimed Perseus. " That's what you get for a lazy good-for-nothing." said Polydectes. Perseus was furious. "I can bring you any present in the world, anything." he said. "Then bring me the head of the gorgonMedusa!" replied Polydectes. "Fine!" said Perseus. So he went of on his perilous voyage. For days he wandered, searching for the gorgons lair. One night in an unknown country he realized how hopeless things were. The gorgons were horrible, instead of hair they had black serpents that writhed on their head, they had brazen hands that could have squashed poor Perseus, but worst of all if you looked a gorgon you were instantly turned to stone. Then suddenly a tall woman and a young man with winged sandals appeared. The man said, "I am Hermes and this is our sister Athena. Yes, you are a son of Zeus. We have some things that may help you in slaying Medusa. Here are my winged sandals and the sickle which Cronos used to overpower Uranus and Zeus used against mighty Typhoeus." "And here is a gifts from me." said Athena, "Use this shield to reflect the image of Medusa so you won't be turned to stone." "You must find the Graeae and get them to tell you how to get to the Nymphs of the North, they will give you the cap of darkness and give you a magic wallet and tell you how to get to the Gorgons' lair." Hermes said
Cont… So Perseus went to the cave of the Graeae. The Graeae were strange women, there were three of them having only one eye for all three of them which they constantly fought over. Perseus hid behind some bushes and watched them. When one took out the eye to give to another Perseus sprang from his hiding place and snatched the eye from them. Then he said, "I have your eye and if you don't tell me how to find the Nymphs of the North you shall never have it back!" So they reluctantly told them how to find the Nymphs of the North. He gave them back their eye and flew off on his winged sandals. The kindly Nymphs of the North gave him the Cap of Darkness which has the power to make it's wearer invisible and the magic wallet. They told him how to reach the gorgons' lair. Perseus went farther north until he found an island surrounded by rocks and statues which used to be men. Perseus raised his shield and saw Medusa and her sisters asleep, he put on the Cap of Darkness and flew down. He swung the sickle and felt it tearing through sinew and bone. Still looking into the shield, he put Medusa's head in the magic wallet. Medusa's sisters woke up and attacked Perseus. He flew quickly away on his winged sandals and was not hurt.
Cont… On his way back to Seriphus he had many adventures, one was that when he saw the Atlas holding up the sky Perseus was sorry for Atlas and turned him to stone by showing him the head of Medusa so he could no longer feel the weight of his burden. Later he saw what looked like a statue chained to a rock, he flew down. He saw that it was not a statue, but a woman. He asked why she was chained to the rock. "My name is Andromeda and I have been punished because of my vain mother. She boasted that I was more beautiful then the Nereids. Poseidon was angered and said that I must be sacrificed to a sea monster," she said. Even as she spoke a monster rose from the sea. Perseus pulled Medusa's head out of the wallet and the sea monster turned to stone and crumbled to pieces. Perseus cut Andromada's chains and took her to her father, King Cepheus of Phoenicia. When Perseus asked Andromeda's hand in marriage Cepheus gladly agreed. So Perseus - with Andromeda in his arms set off for Seriphus. On the way they stopped at Larisa so Perseus could compete in some games, but when he threw a discus it hit an old man in the stands who was Acrisius. So the prophecy came true and after mourning for a while Perseus and Andromeda left. When they arrived at Seriphus, the first person they met was Dictys the fisherman who brought Danae and Perseus to shore after they sailed in the trunk. Dictys told Perseus and Andromeda how Polydectes had never really married, but since Danae wouldn't marry Polydectes, he forced her to be his handmaiden. Perseus was furious. He told Dictys to take care of Andromeda. Perseus stormed to the palace, walked in and said, "Let all who are my friends shield their eyes!" So saying he raised Medusa's head and Polydectes and his courtiers were changed to statues. Perseus and Andromeda lived happily for many years and their descendants became great kings, but the greatest of these was Heracles the strongest man in the world. Later Perseus was killed by Dionysus. Perseus and Andromeda were put up in the sky as constellations.
Theaseus Theseus was Athens's great hero. While having all the qualities of a traditional hero, such as strength and courage, he was also intelligent and wise. His early adventures benefited the city and region. He was a successful king. He consolidated Athens's position in the region through shrewd political maneuvering. He led Athens's army on victorious campaigns. He is credited as the founder of Athens's democracy voluntarily turning many of his powers as king over to an elected assembly. He gained a reputation for helping the poor and oppressed. His shedding of power also made it easier for him to continue going on adventures after he was king. "Not without Theseus" became a popular Athenian saying, reflecting the belief he should be included in any important undertaking. While growing up he wanted to be like his older cousin Heracles. Perhaps the only example of conscious emulation by one Greek Hero of another. He became a fast friend of Heracles and they saved each others lives. Heracles through his strength. Theseus through his wisdom. In middle age his wisdom deserted him. He began going on foolish adventures. He started making bad decisions. His efforts to produce an heir for the throne led to more problems. The people of Athens's grew tired on the turmoil he produced. Ultimately, he died in exile from Athens's. The city did not bother to bring his body home. Generations pasted without much thought being given to Theseus. Then during the Persian wars Athenian solders reported seeing the ghost of Theseus and came to believe him responsible for their victories. The Athenian general Cimon received a command from the Oracle at Delphi to find Theseus's bones and return them to Athens. This he did and he was reburied in a magnificent tomb that also served as a sanctuary for the defenseless.
Bellerophon Bellerophon provides a lesson in the proper relationship between a mortal hero and the gods. When he was young he honored the gods and won their favor but, then his pride got the better of him and led to his downfall. Bellerophon was the son of Eurynome, wife of Glaucus, by Poseidon. He was raised by Glaucus who thought Bellerophon was his own son. Considering both his fathers involvement with horses it is not surprising that he quested after Pegasus. After many failures he asked the seer Polyeidus for help. Following Polyeidus instructions he spent the night at an alter to Athena. Here he had a dream of the goddess giving him a magical golden bridle. He awoke and found the bridle from the dream in his hands. He sensibly sacrificed to both Athena and Poseidon. This done he went to where Pegasus grazed and was able to bridle and ride the horse without difficulty. Triumphant in his success he went to King Pittheus and received permission to marry his daughter Aethra. However, before the marriage could take place he accidently killed a man, possibly one of his brothers, and was banished. He went to King Proetus to be purified for his crime. This was done but, while staying as Proetus's house guest the King's wife, Stheneboea, attempted to seduce him. As an honorable man Bellerophon rejected her advances. This infuriated Stheneboea who then falsely accused him of attempting to seduce her.
Cont… Greatly upset, Proetus wished to be rid of Bellerophon without having to accuse him publicly. He was also concerned about harming a house guest as this was an offence to the gods. So he sent Bellerophon to deliver a sealed message to his wife's father, King Iobates. Arriving on Pegasus, Bellerophon was warmly received and settled in as Iobates house guest. Iobates unsealed and read the message thus learning of Stheneboea's accusations against Bellerophon. This left Iobates in the same predicament of acting against a guest that had troubled Proetus. Iobates solution was to ask Bellerophon to undertake a series of heroic but, normally deadly tasks. However, Bellerophon's courage and skill as an archer combined with Pegasus as a mount allowed him to prevail. In addition his parentage, his sacrifices, and his acts of honor brought him the favor of the gods. His first task was to kill the terrible Chimaera. Succeeding here he was sent to conquer the neighboring Solymi tribe, who were Iobates traditional enemies. When he defeated them the King sent him to fight the Amazons. He was again victorious. In desperation Iobates laid an ambush against Bellerophon using his entire army. This army was killed to the last man. At this point Iobates had the wisdom to notice that something was very wrong. He realized that the gods favored Bellerophon and that this favor would not have been given to a dishonorable house guest. Iobates succeed in making amends by giving Bellerophon half his kingdom, including the best farm land and his daughter Philonoe in marriage.
Cont… There are two stories concerning the fate of Stheneboea. One that Bellerophon extracted revenge by taking her for a ride on Pegasus then shoving her off to fall to her death. This seems unheroic. In the other version Stheneboea hears that Bellerophon has married her sister. She knows that this means her slander will be reveled and chose to kill herself. It appeared that Bellerophon would live happily ever after. His glorious deeds were widely sung. He was happily married. Philonoe bore him two sons, Isander and Hippolochus, and two daughters, Laodameia and Deidameia. As a king his subjects loved and honored him. All this was not enough for Bellerophon. In his arrogance he decided that he could ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus and visit the gods. Zeus quickly put an end to his trip by sending the gadfly to sting Pegasus and throw Bellerophon. He survived his fall but, was crippled. He spent the rest of his life wandering the earth. No man would help him because of his offense to the gods. He died alone with no one to record his fate.
Alanta Atlanta's parentage is uncertain. One possibility is King Iasus with Clymene. She came into the world in the undesirable state of being female. As a result her Father had her carried into the woods and left exposed to die. Instead, she was raised during her childhood by a bear. As she grew older she began to spend time with hunters and was soon the best amongst them. She loved hunting and the outdoors and had no use for a man in her life. She also received an oracle that her marriage would end in disaster. She had no compunction in defending her virginity. When the centaursRhoecus and Hylaeus attempted to rape her she quickly killed them with her arrows. She wished to join the Argonauts but, Jason thought it inadvisable to have a women among the crew, fearing problems like those that would occur during the boar hunt. Her shooting skills allowed her to draw first blood during the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Her contribution to the hunt was marred when a quarrel over giving her a trophy of the hunt resulted in the death of Meleager and his uncles. At the funeral games honoring Pelias, Atlanta entered the wrestling contests. Here she gained more fame by scoring a victory over Peleus. She achieved enough that her Father forgave her for not being a son and allowed her to return home. Once there he attempted to fulfill his fatherly obligations by finding her a husband. For her to simply refuse might arouse dangerous resentment. Instead she proposed a test. The successful suitor would have to beat her in a foot race. Losing suitors would be beheaded by her. As Atlanta was one of the fastest mortals this appeared to insure her maidenhood. For quite some time this worked. Some say that she evened the odds by wearing armor while she ran. Others say that she gave the suitors a head start of half the distance. In any case the heads stacked up.
Cont… Melanion fell in love with her. He knew that he was not fast enough to win the race. So he did what many frustrated lovers have done. He prayed to Aphrodite for help. Aphrodite has a weakness for lovers and a concern about those that reject romance to the degree that Atlanta did. Aphrodite presented Melanion with three golden apples and a plan. In return Melanion was to sacrifice to Aphrodite. Melanion then ran his race with Atlanta carrying the apples with him. When Atlanta caught up to him he tossed the first apple at her feet. The sight of the magic golden apple was irresistible to Atlanta. She stopped to pick it up confident that she could make up the time. Soon enough she was once again passing Melanion. He threw the second apple, this time further to the side. Again, she lost time retrieving the apple. As she again caught up the finish line was near and chasing the third thrown apple cost her the race. Despite her resistance once won marriage seemed to suit Atlanta. Melanion's happiness and joy was so great he completely forgot his obligations to sacrifice to Aphrodite. As usual when messing up with the gods payback was severe. Aphrodite waited until Melanion and Atlanta were passing a shrine to a god, possibly Zeus. She then hit them with overwhelming desire. Melanion took Atlanta into the shrine and lay with her. At this point the infuriated god turned them both into lions. This was regarded by the Greeks as particularly poetic as they believed that lions could mate only with leopards. There is one other mystery of Atlanta. Somehow despite her vaunted virginity she had a son - Parthenopaeus. The father is uncertain. Melanion and Meleager have both been suggested but, both of them were with Atlanta only briefly. Aris has also been put forward as the father. Out of embarrassment she left the child exposed on a mountain. He was found and raised, eventually becoming a hero in his own right
Meleanger Son of King Oeneus of of Calydon and Althaea. Seven days after his birth the Fates appeared to foretell his future. Clotho and Lachesis predicted he would be noble and brave. Atropos warn that he would die as soon as one of the sticks in the fireplace burned completely. Taking the hint Althaea pulled the stick from the fire, put it out, and hid it in a safe place. While still young he came to be regarded as second only to Heracles in his abilities. He was the youngest of the Argonauts and according to some killed the Argonauts chief enemy, King Aeetes of Colchis. After he returned from this journey he married Cleopatra and had a daughter Polydora. His domestic tranquility was brought to an end when Artemis unleashed the fearsome boar in his homeland. He naturally took a leading role in killing the boar during what became known as the Calydonian Boar Hunt which lead to his death. There are two versions of Meleager's death Both start with a quarrel with his uncles over the prize boar skin. To understand what happened it is necessary to know that Althaea was married to Oeneus to help settle a blood feud that may have gone on for generations. While his uncles came to help with the boar there still would have been a lot of tension between them and the Calydonians and Althaea's brothers. Tensions that were not helped by strange choice of taking Atlanta on the hunt. In the first version the quarrel over the prize led to a new war between Curetes and Calydon. This put Meleager who had blood relatives on both sides in a terrible position. Without his leadership Calydon was on the verge of losing. His wife appealed to him to save the city. However, while leading Calydon he killed his uncles. As a result his Mother cursed him. Possibly by burning the stick from the Fates visit. With or without the curse, the Erinyes killed him to revenge his killing of blood relatives. The more romantic version of his death starts with Meleager awarding the prize to Atlanta because she drew first blood. Awarding the prize to a woman angers the rest of the hunting party but, most stay silent. However, his uncles feel their position entitle them to tell Meleager what to do. The quarrel breaks out between them and Meleager kills his uncles. On hearing of her brothers death by his hands, his mother burns the magic stick from the Fates visit. As predicted Meleager dies. Althaea then kills herself in remorse. This is followed by Cleopatra killing herself from grief.
The creation of the world In the begining there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared. Then Erebus slept with Night, who gave birth to Ether, the heavenly light, and to Day the earthly light. Then Night alone produced Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Nemesis, and others that come to man out of darkness. Meanwhile Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus, the heavens. Uranus became Gaea's mate covering her on all sides. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires, and twelve Titans. However, Uranus was a bad father and husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires. He imprisoned them by pushing them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea's womb. This angered Gaea and she ploted against Uranus. She made a flint sickle and tried to get her children to attack Uranus. All were too afraid except, the youngest Titan, Cronus. Gaea and Cronus set up an ambush of Uranus as he lay with Gaea at night. Cronus grabed his father and castrated him, with the stone sickle, throwing the severed genitales into the ocean. The fate of Uranus is not clear. He either died, withdrew from the earth, or exiled himself to Italy. As he departed he promised that Cronus and the Titans would be punished. From his spilt blood came the Giants, the Ash Tree Nymphs, and the Erinnyes. From the sea foam where his genitales fell came Aphrodite. Cronus became the next ruler. He imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires inTartarus. He married his sister Rhea, under his rule the Titans had many offspring. He ruled for many ages. However, Gaea and Uranus both had prophesied that he would be overthrown by a son. To avoid this Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea was angry at the treatment of the children and ploted against Cronus. When it came time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea hid herself, then she left the child to be raised by nymphs. To concel her act she wrapped a stone in swaddling cloths and passed it off as the baby to Cronus, who swallowed it This child was Zeus. He grew into a handsome youth on Crete. He consulted Metis on how to defeat Cronus. She prepaired a drink for Cronus design to make him vomit up the other children. Rhea convinced Cronus to accept his son and Zeus was allowed to return to Mount Olympus as Cronus's cupbearer. This gave Zeus the opertunity to slip Cronus the specially prepaired drink. This worked as planned and the other five children were vomitted up. Being gods they were unharmed. They were thankful to Zeus and made him their leader.
Cont… Cronus was yet to be defeated. He and the Titans, except Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Oceanus, fought to retain their power. Atlas became their leader in battle and it looked for some time as though they would win and put the young gods down. However, Zeus was cunning. He went down to Tartarus and freed the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. Prometheus joined Zeus as well. He returned to battle with his new allies. The Cyclopes provided Zeus with lighting bolts for weapons. The Hecatoncheires he set in ambush armed with boulders. With the time right, Zeus retreated drawing the Titans into the Hecatoncheires's ambush. The Hecatoncheires rained down hundreds of boulders with such a fury the Titans thought the mountains were falling on them. They broke and ran giving Zeus victory. Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against him into Tartarus. Except for Atlas, who was singled out for the special punishment of holding the world on his shoulders. However, even after this victory Zeus was not safe. Gaea angry that her children had been imprisoned gave birth to a last offspring, Typhoeus. Typhoeus was so fearsome that most of the gods fled. However, Zeus faced the monster and flinging his lighting bolts was able to kill it. Typhoeus was burried under Mount Etna in Sicily. Much later a final challenge to Zeus rule was made by the Giants. They went so far as to attempt to invade Mount Olympus, piling mountain upon mountain in an effort to reach the top. But, the gods had grown strong and with the help of Heracles the Giants were subdued or killed.
The creation of the world Perhaps the most confusing aspect of this myth is the extensive use of names that seem difficult to non native Greek speakers to pronounce. This sometimes causes frustration and loss of track when trying to establish the continuing relationship between these characters in the birth of the world. So you have to be patient and try to associate these names with the characters and events that took place... It all started when Chaos, Gaia (Earth) and Eros started to mix with each other leading to the Gods. So In Greek mythology, the creation of the world starts with the creation of the different classes of Gods. in this case, Gods refers to the characters that ruled the Earth (without necessarily possessing any divine attributes) until the "real" Gods, the Olympians came. So after this brief introduction, the next step to examine in the creation of the world is the creation of the Gods (which really is the same thing, it's just that when you are interested in the creation of the world, you look at the very beginning of the creation of the Gods, while, to examine the creation of the Gods, you have to look a little deeper). Hesiod's Theogony is one of the best introductions we have on the creation of the world. According to Hesiod, three major elements took part in the beginning of creation. Chaos, Gaia, and Eros. It is said that Chaos gave birth to Erebos and Night while Ouranos and Okeanos sprang from Gaia. Each child had a specific role, and Ouranos's duty was to protect Gaia. Later on, the two became a couple andwere the first Gods to rule the world. They had twelve children who where known as the Titans. Three others known as the Cyclopes, and the three hundred handed Giants.The situation from here on however wasn't too good. Ouranos wasn't too pleased with his offsprings because he saw them as a threat to his throne. After all, there would come a time when they would grow up, and perhaps challenge his command. Ouranos eventually decided that his children belonged deep inside Gaia, hidden from himself and his kingdom. Gaia who wasn't too pleased with this arrangement agreed at first, but, later on chose to give her solidarity to her children. She devised a plan to rid her children from their tyrant father, and supplied her youngest child Kronos with a sickle. She then arranged a meeting for the two in which Kronos cut off his father's genitals. The seed of Ouranos which fell into the sea gave birth to Aphrodite, while from his blood were created the Fates, the Giants, and the Meliai nymphs.Kronos succeeded his father in taking over the throne and married his sister Rhea. He also freed his siblings and shared his kingdom with them.Okeanos was given the responsibility to rule over the sea and rivers, while Hyperion guided the Sun and the stars. And time went by... Sooner than later Kronos had his own children, and the very same fears that haunted his father came back to torment him as well.Kronos eventually decided that the best way to deal with this problem was to swallow all his children.However, what goes around comes around, and once again the mother decided it was time to free her children. Rhea, Kronos's wife, managed to save her youngest child, Zeus by tricking Kronos into swallowing a stone wrapped in clothes instead of Zeus himself.The great Zeus was then brought up by the Nymphs in Mount Dikte in the island of Crete. In order to cover the sound of his crying, the Kouretes danced and clashed their shields. As Zeus entered manhood, he had the strength few dare dream of. He dethroned his father, and freed his siblings from his father's entrails. It was now Zeus's turn to rule the world...
Cont… THE HUMAN RACE According to the myths, the immortal Gods thought that it would be interesting to create beings like them, but that were mortal. They would allow these beings to inhabit the earth. As soon as the mortals were created, Zeus, the leader of the Gods, ordered the two sons of the Titan Iapetus, Prometheus and Epimetheus, to give these beings various gifts in the hope that the mortals would evolve into interesting beings, able to amuse the Gods.So the two brothers started to divide the gifts among themselves in order to give them to the earth's inhabitants. Epimetheus asked his brother to give out the gifts first, and was granted his wish. He gave the gift of beauty to some animals, agility on other animals, strength in others, and agility and speed to some. However, he left the human race defenseless, with no natural weapons in this new kingdom. Prometheus, who liked the human race, upon realizing what had happened, promptly distributed his own gifts to mankind. He stole reason from Athena, and thus gave reason to man. He then stole fire from the gates of Hephaestus, and gave mankind this new gift, which would keep them warm. Prometheus then became the protector of the human race, and shared with it all the knowledge he had. This new situation angered Zeus, for fire until know had been a gift only reserved for the Gods.Zeus did not want the human race to resemble the Gods. Zeus's next step was to punish Prometheus. And a heavy punishment it was. Zeus chained Prometheus to a peak in the caucasus which was believed to be at the end of the world. He had an eagle eat his liver every single day for thirty years. At the end of each day, Prometheus' liver would grow back again, so he would have to suffer all over again. After thirty years, Heracles (Hercules) released Prometheus from his nightmare.
Cont… THE OLYMPIANS The Olympians refers to the twelve Gods of mount Olympus which is located in the northern central part of Greece. This mountain was believed to be sacred throughout ancient times, and, it was believed to be the highest point on earth. These Gods that ruled mount Olympus, also ruled the lives of all mankind. Each and every single God (or Goddess) had their own character and domain. Gods in mythology were very human like. They had the strengths and weaknesses of mortals (as we know them today). they were truly made to represent each and every side of human nature. They supported justice, as seen by their own point of view.Gods even had children with mortals, which resulted in semi-gods like Hercules. The most amazing observation is how the Gods expresses human nature in its complete form. Strength, fear, unfaithfulness, love, admiration, beauty, hunting, farming, education, there was a God for every human activity and expression. These Gods weren't just ideal figures. they were beings with their own limitations. They expressed anger, jealousy and joy, just like us. Each God rules his own realm. they only true omnipotent God was Zeus, who ruled all.
The Creation of Man by Prometheus Prometheus and Epimetheus were spared imprisonment in Tartarus because they had not fought with their fellow Titans during the war with the Olympians. They were given the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. Prometheus had assigned Epimetheus the task of giving the creatures of the earth thier various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good qualities out and there were none left for man. So Prometheus decided to make man stand upright as the gods did and to give them fire. Prometheus loved man more then the Olympians, who had banished most of his family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that man must present a portion of each animal they scarified to the gods Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. He created two piles, one with the bones wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in the hide. He then bade Zeus to pick. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word Zeus had to accept that as his share for future sacrafices. In his anger over the trick he took fire away from man. However, Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back again to man. Zeus was enraged that man again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrable punishment on both man and Prometheus. To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. He then had Hermes give the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creation was Pandora, the first women. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. Thus, completed Zeus sent Pandora down to Epimetheus who was staying amongst the men. Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but, Pandora's beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora's curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became to great. She opened the jar and out flew all manor of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes. However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing - hope. Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked on scarifices, stealing fire for man, and for refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus's children would dethrone him. Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, take him to the Caucasus Mountains, and chain him to a rock with unbreakable adamanite chains. Here he was tormented day and night by a giant eagle tearing at his liver. Zeus gave Prometheus two ways out of this torment. He could tell Zeus who the mother of the child that would dethrone him was. Or meet two conditions: First, that an immortal must volunteer to die for Prometheus. Second, that a mortal must kill the eagle and unchain him. Eventually, Chiron the Centaur agreed to die for him and Heracles killed the eagle and unbound him.
Cont… To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. He then had Hermes give the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creation was Pandora, the first women. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. Thus, completed Zeus sent Pandora down to Epimetheus who was staying amongst the men. Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but, Pandora's beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora's curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became to great. She opened the jar and out flew all manor of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes. However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing - hope. Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked on scarifices, stealing fire for man, and for refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus's children would dethrone him. Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, take him to the Caucasus Mountains, and chain him to a rock with unbreakable adamanite chains. Here he was tormented day and night by a giant eagle tearing at his liver. Zeus gave Prometheus two ways out of this torment. He could tell Zeus who the mother of the child that would dethrone him was. Or meet two conditions: First, that an immortal must volunteer to die for Prometheus. Second, that a mortal must kill the eagle and unchain him. Eventually, Chiron the Centaur agreed to die for him and Heracles killed the eagle and unbound him.
Adventures of Perseus The adventures of Perseus are very interesting. in fact, his whole life is interesting from his birth onwards. Let's start with a little bit of history. Perseus was the son of God Zeus and Danae. His reputation quickly made him into a hero of Argos (an area in the peloponissus part of Greece). Arcisius, Perseus' grandfather once asked an oracle if he would ever have any kids. The answer he got was shocking and lead him to live a life of paranoia. He was told by the oracle that his daughter would have a son that will eventually kill him. Arcisius being driven by the force of fear made a quick decision, a quick decision that would impact another forever. He had his daughter Danae jailed in an underground cave with brass walls. But mighty Zeus was watching. He had an eye for beauty, and a way with women few dared to compete, not even Pierce Brosnan. Zeus transformed himself into a shower of golden rain and entered the cave were Danae was held. They then formed union, and Danae gave birth to a baby boy, of which she managed to keep secret for some time.Sooner than later, her angry father Arcisius found out about the baby. He refused to believe that Zeus had anything to do with it (blame it on the milk man:)). He ordered Danae's nurse to death, as he believed that she orchestrated this affair. He thought about killing his grandson himself, what his guilt would not allow hi to. He walked back and forth with his head struck down from his shoulders desperately seeking a solution that wouldn't pose any danger to his life. By early morning, Arcisius made up his mind. he had a wooden ark built for his daughter and his grandson. he immiadetly gave the order for the two to be placed in it and to be set adrift on the sea, as far as possible. Finally, he's worries were gone. Or so he thought.Days and nights passed with everything slowly dying, but hope which dies last (Greek saying). Finally, the wooden ark washed up on the island of Seriphos. There, a fisherman named Dictes who was the brother of Polydectes the island's tyrant found it. He kindly took in young Perseus and his mother and shared his home with them. During this time, Perseus grew into a strong and brave man blessed with many gifts undoubtedly as a result from a God's grace.Things got a little confusing when the king, Polydectes fell in love with Perseus' mother, Danae. Perseus kept his mother under guard at all times, so the King couldn't get to see her alone. Then, Polydectes invited some friends for dinner, and asked them all what gift they would give him if he was ever to ask for one. The most interesting answer came from Perseus which answered that if it was necessary, he would bring the King the head of the Medusa, the Gorgon. The King took on the challenge, and asked Perseus to bring him the head of the Medusa, otherwise, he would take his mother Danae by force. Perseus had to bring the Medusa's head, which wasn't an easy task. The medusa was an ugly being. She had brazen claws, gold wings, a boar's tusks and snakes coming out of her head instead of hair. A look in her eyes would turn anyone to stone...
Cont… The Gods of course, who loved to intervene, wouldn't leave Perseus helpless. Both Athena and Hermes set out to help Perseus with this challenge. With his intelligence and wit, Perseus managed to trick the nymphs. They gave him winged sandals, so he could fly over the ground. A bag, so he could carry the head of the medusa, and last but not least, the helmet of Hades, which would make him invisible. (With all this hi tech equipment, it was probably not so difficult to cut the medusa's head off ;) )Using the winged sandals, Perseus flew over the medusa, looking only at her reflection using the shiny shield that Athena had given him. Being also invisible by wearing Hade's helmet, Perseus cut the medusa's head off, and placed it in the bag and set for home. On his way home, he met Andromeda which he rescued from a sea monster. They quickly fell in love and decided to get married. However, Andromeda's uncle which wanted her for himself disagreed and plotted to murder Perseus. Having the medusa's head gave Perseus a great advantage. He took out the head and as soon as Andromeda's uncle look at it, he turned into stone.When Perseus arrived home, he did the same thing with Polydectes which was harassing Perseus's mother. What happened to Perseus's grandfather of which we discussed earlier on? Upon hearing of Perseus's achievements, he fled far away. But that didn't save him from his fate. Later on, he was present at a special games ceremony in Larisa which was arranged by King Tentamides. When Perseus's turn came to throw the discus, it slipped from his hand and hit his grandfather on the head killing him. Perseus was very sad when he learned who the man was. He buried his grandfather with all respect and honor.
Zeus Lovers As the sky god Zeus had easy access to the women of the world and took full advantage of it. Also, his power as a supreme god made him difficult to resist. Prior to his marriage to Hera he was married first to Metis, then Themis. He was interested in Demeter but she resisted him. His third wife was Mnemosyne. He was involved with Leto shortly before his marriage to Hera. The list of lovers after his final marriage, to Hera, is considerable:
Cont… Europa The Cretan moon goddess who was adopted into Greek myth as a virgin Phoenician princess abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull, raped by him, and subsequently abandoned. Europa was the daughter of the King Agenor of Sidon. She had the continent of Europe named for her. Somewhat miraculously Hera was distracted during her affair with Zeus and never punished her for it. One night Europa had a dream. In this dream two continents, which were in the forms of women were arguing over Europa. Asia maintained that since Europa had been born in Asia she belonged to it. The other continent, which was nameless, said that her birth was not important, that Zeus would give her to it. It was early morning, disturbed by the dream Europa did not go back to sleep. She summoned her companions, who were all daughters of nobility and of her age. It was a beautiful day and they went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettiest of the maidens. Some say that Eros, induced him into action with one of his darts. Although, Zeus often made due with self motivation. In any case, Zeus appeared to the group as a white bull. A white bull more beautiful then any other. A bull that smelled of flowers, and lowed musically. A bull so obviously gentle that all the maidens rushed to stroke and pet it.
Cont… The bull laid down in front of Europa. She slid on to its back. Instantly, the bull charged off, plunging into the sea, and began to swim rapidly from the shore. Europa saw that a procession had joined them, Nereids riding dolphins, Triton blowing his horn, even Poseidon. From this she realized that the bull must be a god. She pleaded with him to pity her. Zeus spoke to her and explained his love. He took her to Create, where he had been raised. He promised that she would bear him many famous sons. Her sons included Minos and Rhadamanthus.
Cont… Io Princess of Argos. Zeus fell in love with Io and seduced her. To try to keep Hera from noticing he covered the world with a thick blanket of clouds. This backfired, arousing Hera's suspicions. She came down from Mount Olympus and began dispersing the clouds. Zeus did some quick thinking and changed Io's form from being a lovely maiden. So as the clouds dispersed Hera found Zeus standing next to a white heifer. He then swore that he had never seen the cow before, it had just sprang right out of the earth. Seeing right through this Hera complemented the cow and asked to have it as a present. As turning such a reasonable request down would have given the whole thing away, Zeus presented her with the cow. She sent the cow away and arranged Argus Panoptes to watch over it. Since Argus had a hundred eyes and could have some of them sleep while others were awake he made a fine watchman. Desperate, Zeus sent Hermes to fetch Io. Disguised as a Shepard, Hermes had to employ all his skill as a musician and story teller to gain Argus confidence and lull him to sleep. Once asleep Hermes killed Argus. As a memorial, Hera took his eyes and set them into the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock. While Io was now free Hera sent the mother of all gad-flys to sting the still bovine Io. The ghost of Argus pursued her as well. This pushed her near madness, trying to escape she wandered the world. During her wanders she came across Prometheus while chained. He gave her hope. He predicted that she would have to wander for many years. But, she would eventually be changed back into human form and would bear a child. He predicted that a descendent of this child would be a great hero and set him free. His predictions came true. During her wanderings many geographical features were named after her including the Ionian Sea, and the Bosphorus (which means ford of the cow). She eventually reached the Nile where Zeus did restore her to human form. She bore Epaphus and eleven generations later her descendant Heracles would set Prometheus free.
Cont…Semele Semele was a Thebian princess. She is the only mortal to be the parent of a god. She was one of Zeus many lovers and like most came to an unfortunate end due to Hera's jealous hatred. She is best known as the mother of Dionysus. While she was killed shortly before giving birth the child was rescued by Zeus. Eventually Dionysus, who had never seen her, managed to rescue her from the underworld. and arrange for her to live on Mount Olympus.
Cont… Ganymede A Trojan prince known for his beauty. It is uncertain which of the Trojan kings was his father, probably Tros or Laomedon. While still a youth, Zeus appeared in the form of an eagle and carried him off to Mount Olympus. Some accounts say he was carried to Olympus by a whirlwind. He served Zeus as cupbearer and lover. His role was commemorated in the constellation Aquarius, the water carrier.
Cont…Callisto Daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcadia. She was one of Artemis hunting attendants. As a companion of Artemis, Callisto would have taken a vow of chastity. Zeus appeared to her in disguise, probably as Artemis, gained her confidence, then took advantage of her. As a result of this encounter she conceived a son, Arcas. She was turned into a large bear, either by Zeus as part of an attempt to hide his philandering, or by Hera out of jealously, or by Artemis out of anger that she broke her vow of chastity. Not content with Callisto¹s fate as a bear, Hera continued to work against her to get Artemis to think she was a normal bear and slay her. Zeus came to the rescue turning her into the constellation Arctos, the Great Bear, also known as Ursa Major. At Zeus direction, Hermes saved Arcas from the womb and took him to be raised by Maia. She was joined by her son who became the nearby constellation Arctophylax, the Little Bear, also known as Ursa Minor. Continuing to hold a grudge Hera persuaded Tethys and Oceanus not to allow Callisto to enter their realm, the Ocean. Due to this Callisto must circle the North Star and never set over the horizon.
Cont…Leto Leto is the daughter of Coeus and Phoebe. She was an early and favorite lover of Zeus. Zeus married Hera while Leto was pregnant. While the pregnancy began before the marriage Hera was still jealous of Leto. For the duration of Leto's pregnancy Hera created problems. First Leto was pushed out of Olympus. As she wandered no place would allow her to stay for fear Hera would be offended. Hera had the dragon Python chase her. Zeus saved her by sending the North Wind Boreas to carry her out to sea. Finally, the desolate rocky island of Delos, which had little to lose, accepted her. The other goddesses gathered to help Leto as she gave birth. Hera stayed away and managed to detain Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, until Iris fetched her. Leto first gave birth to Artemis and then after another nine days of labor to Apollo. Still fleeing Hera's wrath she went to Lycia. The peasants tried to prevent her from drinking from their well, so she turned them into frogs. Initially Leto's problems continued. But, now she had her two fast developing children, both of whom became powerful archers, to protect her. When four days old Apollo was able to slay Python. Then the Euboean giant Tityus tried to rape Leto only to be killed by the children. As they grew into their full power the twins become willing to avenge Leto's honor as well as to protect her safety. Niobe boasted that she was more deserving of adulation then Leto because she had borne seven sons and seven daughters. The twins replied to this by slaying all but one of Niobe's children. As the mother of two powerful gods Leto returned to Zeus's favor despite Hera's disapproval. After Apollo killed the Cyclopes, Leto was able to persuade Zeus to lighten his punishment. She spent much of her time hunting with Artemis. She sided with the Trojans during the war and helped heal Aeneas from his battle wounds.
Athena's Birth Zeus came to lust after Metis, and chased her in his direct way. Metis tried to escape, going so far as to change her form many times. Turning into various creatures such as hawks, fish, and serpents. However, Zeus was both determined and equally proficient at changing form. He continued his persuit until she relented. An Oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis first child would be a girl but, her second child would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus as had happened to his father and grandfather. Zeus took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis he flattered her and put her at her ease. Then with Metis off gaurd Zeus suddenly opened his mouth and swallowed her. This was the end of Metis but, possibly the beginning of Zeus's wisdom. After a time Zeus developed the mother of all headaches. He howled so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was. Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephaestus to take a wedge and split open Zeus's skull. Out of the skull sprang Athena, full grown and in a full set of armour. Due to her manor of birth she has dominion over all things of the intellect.
The Wanderings of Dionysus Once he had grown to manhood Dionysus decided to wander far and wide, including areas outside of greece. Where ever he went he taught men how to cultivate vines, and the mysteries of his cult. He was accepted until he returned to his own country of Thebes. As he journeyed back to greece he was spotted by pirates. He appeared to them as a rich young man. He might even be the son of a king. He certainly looked like his parents would pay a rich ransom for his safe return. Happy at their good luck the pirates siezed him and brought him aboard their ship. They then attempted to tie him to the ship but, the ropes refused to hold. Anyplace a rope touched him it just fell apart. Dionysus watched calmly, smiling. After some time the helmsman realized that only a god could be responsible. He called out that the crew should free Dionysus and beg his forgiveness. But, the captain mocked the helmsman as a fool and called for the crew to set sail. The crew raised the sail and caught the wind but, the ship did not move. Looking around they saw the ship quickly becoming overgrown with vines that held it fast. Dionysus then changed himself into a lion and began to chase the crewmen. To escape they leaped overboard but, as they did they were changed to dolphins. Only on the helmsman did Dionysus have mercy. As he passed through Thrance he was insulted by King Lycurgus, who bitterly opposed his new religion. Initialy Dionysus retreated into the sea but, he returned, overpowered Lycurgus and imprisoned him in a rocky cave. Dionysus planned to let him reflect and learn from his mistakes. However, Zeus did not care to have the gods insulted, so he blinded then killed Lycurgus.
Cont… He pressed on to Thebes, ruled by his cousin Pentheus. However, Pentheus did not know of Dionysus. Dionysus was with a group of his followers, who were naturally singing and dancing loudly, flushed with wine. Pentheus disliked the loud, strangers, and ordered his guards to imprison them all. He refered to their leader as a cheating sorcerer from Lydia. When he said this the blind old phophetTeiresias, who had already dressed as one of Dionysus's followers gave Pentheus a warning: "The man you reject is a new god. He is Semele's child, whom Zeus rescued. He, along with Demeter, are the greatest upon earth for men." Pentheus, seeing the strange garb Teiresias had on, laughed at him and ordered his guards to continue. The guards soon found that ropes fell apart, latches fell open, and there they could not imprison Dionysus's followers. The took Dionysus to Pentheus. Dionysus tried to explain at length his worship but, Pentheus listened only to his own anger and insulted Dionysus. Finally, Dionysus gave up and left Pentheus to his doom. Pentheuspersued Dionysus followers up into the hills where they had gone after walking away from his prison. Many of the local women including Pentheus's mother and sister had joined them there. Then Dionysus appeared to his followers in his most terrible aspect and drove them mad. To them Pentheus appeared to be a moutain lion. In a berserk rage they attacked him. Now Pentheus realized he had fought with a god and would die for it. His mother was the first to reach him, and ripped his head off, while the others tore off his limbs.
Theseus's Birth Once there was a young boy named Theseus. Nobody knew who his father was, for both King Aegeus of Athens and Poseidon had been fond of his mother Aethra. Right before Theseus was born Aegeus said to Aethra, "If we shall have a son, when he is old enough tell him to lift this rock and take my sword and sandals from under it." Then Aegeus placed both his sword and his sandals under a large boulder and then set sail for Athens. Now this all happened in a small town called Troezen where Theseus grew into a strong young man. When Aethra thought it was time she took Theseus to the large boulder and told him to lift it. Theseus wrapped his mighty arms around the boulder lifted it as if it were paper. Then he threw the boulder into a nearby forest. Aethra then told him to take the sword and sandals and go to Athens
Cont…Theseus journeys to athens Aethra and her father begged Theseus to go to Athens by sea, for horrible robbers and bandits inhabited the road, but Theseus was bold and went overland. After a few miles he met a large man with a shiny club. "I am Periphetes the cudgel man and I'm going to bash you're head with this club," he said. "That's a mighty fine club you have there," replied Theseus. "Pure brass." "I bet it isn't." "Yes it is." "It's just wood wrapped in brass." "Here, look at it to make sure." Periphetes handed the club to Theseus. Theseus knocked Periphetes in the side of the head with it. "Not bad," thought Theseus, "not bad at all. I think I'll keep this." Theseus started walking again. Not much farther he saw giant man holding a battle-ax on the side of the road. "I am Sciron and these are my cliffs. To pass you must wash my feet as a toll!" the man said. "What would happen if I didn't?" replied Theseus. "I will chop of your head with this ax, and don't think that puny little twig you're carrying will save you, you're absolutely...WRONG!!!!" Sciron yelled. So Theseus sat down and started to wash Sciron's feet. Theseus looked over the side of the cliff, there was a monstrous turtle at the bottom. Then Theseus knew that this was the Sciron that kicked people off the cliff where a man-eating turtle waited. When Sciron's foot came towards him, Theseus jerked aside and hurled Sciron off the cliff. Theseus walked a ways longer until he saw a man that looked remarkably like Sciron. The man said, "Could you do me a favor young man? Hold this pine tree down for me." The man's name was Sinis the pine-bender. Sinis bent a pine tree down and waited for Theseus to hold the tree down with him. Then Sinis let go! He was expecting Theseus to be catapulted in the air, but Theseus held it down. Sinis stooped down to get a better look at the tree, thinking that it had broken. Theseus let go of the tree. It hit Sinis in the chin knocking him unconscious. Theseus then tied Sinis' legs to one bent pine tree, his arms to another. Then Theseus let go, the trees ripped Sinis in half. Vultures screamed with delight. Theseus went on his way again. After a few miles it got dark. Theseus saw a large house up ahead of him. He decided to ask the owner for a bed for the night. He walked up to the door and knocked. A man came to the door and said, "Welcome young man. Come in, you look tired. My name is Procustes. I have a magic bed for you to stay the night on. It is exactly six feet long, but can fit anyone, be they short or tall." Theseus had been warned about a man named Procustes. His so called "magic" bed did fit anyone, but in an unpleasant way. If you were to short he would fasten chains on to your arms and legs and stretch you. If you were too tall he would chop of your legs until you were just right. Procustes led Theseus into the room where the bed was. Theseus pushed Procustes on to the bed and chopped off his legs. So Procustes wouldn't feel pain Theseus sliced his head off to.
Theseus Recognized The next morning Theseus reached Athens. It was the largest city he had ever seen. He went to the castle where Aegeus lived. Aegeus had married Medea who (being a sorceress) had him under her power. With her powers Medea recognized Theseus and knew that he would get rid of her. So she told Aegeus that Theseus had come to kill him and that she would give Theseus poisoned wine. Aegeus-not knowing that Theseus was his son-agreed. Aegeus invited Theseus to a banquet. When Theseus was just about to drink his wine Aegeus recognized the sword and dashed the wine cup to the floor. Theseus and Aegeus were filled with happiness. Medea left in a chariot drawn by dragons.
Theseus Journeys to Minos Theseus and Aegeus were happy for a long time, but when the time of the spring equinox came all the Athenians became mournful as a ship with black sail approached Athens. Theseus begged his father to tell him why the Athenians were sad, but Aegeus said nothing. Theseus went down to the harbor and asked the captain of the black-sailed ship what was happening. The captain told him about how King Minos of Crete's eldest son Androgeus had accidentally been killed in Athens. Minos was very angry. He attacked Athens and demanded that the Athenians pay a yearly tribute of seven young man and seven young women to be fed to the Minotaur. The Minotaur was half man and half bull. It lived in the Labyrinth, a large maze that once one is in he or she will be aimlessly lost in it's many tunnels. Theseus went back to Aegeus and said, "I will go to Crete as one of the victims and I will slay the Minotaur!" "No my son," said Aegeus, "you mustn't go. You are my only son. The only heir to the throne." "I must go father. I must prove that I am a hero." said Theseus. In the end Aegeus let Theseus go, but made him promise that if he return alive, to change the sails from black to white. So Theseus volunteered to go as one of the fourteen victims. When Theseus and his companions landed at Crete, Minos was there to welcome them. He asked each who they were. When it came to Theseus' turn he said, "I am Theseus, prince of Athens, son of Poseidon!" To this Minos replied, "If you were the prince of Athens wouldn't old Aegeus be your father. To prove you are son of Poseidon fetch my ring." Minos threw his ring into the sea. Praying to Poseidon Theseus dived into the water. He saw the nymph Thetis who gave him the ring and an old crown. Theseus came to the surface holding the ring and the crown. Minos laughed. That night Theseus was visited by Minos' daughter Ariadne. She said to him, "Theseus, I have decided to help you kill the Minotaur if you will take me back to Athens and make me your queen." Theseus was glad of the help and promised to Ariadne that he would take her back to Athens. She gave Theseus a ball of silk thread and told him to tie it to the entrance of the Labyrinth and unwind it as he went. The string would lead him back to the entrance. The next day Theseus and his companions were forced into the Labyrinth. Theseus tied the string onto a rock and told everyone to follow him. He led them towards the center of the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was. When they got there they saw the beast sleeping. Theseus jumped on it and ripped of one of it's horns. Theseus started poking at the Minotaur (who was very angry) with the horn. Then Theseus ran to a safer distance and threw the horn like a javelin. The horn ripped into the monsters neck and stuck there. The Minotaur now enraged charged at Theseus, but fell dead before it was half way. Everyone cheered. Theseus was a hero! They followed the thread back to the entrance of the Labyrinth.
Cont… Theseus, Ariadne, and the others went on board the black-sailed ship and set sail for Athens. One night the god Dionysus came to Theseus and said, "You mustn't marry Princess Ariadne for I have chosen her as my own bride. Leave her on the island of Naxos." Theseus did as the god told him. He was so sad, he forgot to change the sails from black to white. Old Aegeus sat on a cliff watching and waiting for Theseus to come, but when he saw the black sails he jumped into the sea. That fatal stretch of water was named after him. It still is called the Aegean.
Cyclopes The Cyclopes were gigantic one eyed monsters. The most famous is Polyphemus, the Cyclops blinded by Odysseus. Hesiod mentions only three (not a race or tribe): Arges (thunderbolt), Steropes (lightning), and Brontes (thunder), obviously storm gods.They were born to Gaea and Uranus. They were also the first smiths. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. The were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans. As a reward for their release the Cyclopes gave Zeus his weapons of lighting and thunder. They continued as his workers at Mount Olympus forging his thunerbolts Arges was killed by Hermes while he guarded Io for Hera Apollo killed at least one of the Cyclopes to retribution for Zeus killing his son Aesculapius
Hecatoncheires Hecatoncheires means "hundred handed". They were gigantic and had fifty heads and one hundred arms each of great strength. There were three of them: Briareus also called Aegaeon, Cottus, and Gyges also called Gyes. They were born to Gaea and Uranus. Their mutual hatered of Uranus caused him to force the Hecatoncheires back into Gaea's womb. This parcipatatedGaea's rebellion against Uranus. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. The were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans. They were able to hurl huge boulders as many as a hundred at a time against their opponents. One of them, Briareus, served as Zeus's bodygaurd.
Giants The Giants were generated from Uranus blood resulting from his castration by Cronus. They became powerful enough to try to unseat Zeus and the Olympians early in their rule. When the gods won they imprisoned the Giants in Tartarus.
Ash Tree Nymphs The Ash Tree Nymphs were generated from Uranus blood resulting from his castration by Cronus.
Typhoeus Typhoeus, was a fire breathing dragon with a hundred heads that never rest. It was birthed by Gaea as a last ditch effort to keep the Olympians from defeating her children the Titans. It came close to succeeding, setting most of the gods to flight and capturing Zeus. Hermes was able to free Zeus. Zeus was then able to dispatch Typhoeus with his lighting bolts. Typhoeus is buried under Mount Etna in Sicily.
Cerberus Cerberus is the three headed dog with a dragon tail which guards the entrance to the underworld. Allowing the dead to enter but, never leave. Fetching Cerberus was the last labor of Heracles.
Sirens Beautiful half-woman, half-birdlike creatures who sang such sweet songs that listeners forgot everything and died of hunger. The Sirens are sisters who lure sailors to their death. The song of the Sirens is irrestable but, the they reside beyoundunpassable reefs which destroy the sailors boat when they try to reach the Sirens. Among those tempted were Jason on the Argo and Odysseus. Odysseus escaped from them by filling his crew's ears with wax while he tied himself to the ship's mast. The Argonauts were saved by Orpheus' music. Aglaope (beautiful face), Aglaophonos (beautiful voice), Himeropa, Leucosia (white being), Ligeia (shrill), Molpe (music), Parthenope (maiden face), Peisinoλ? (persuading mind), Raidne (improvement), Teles (perfect), Thelchtereia, Thelxepeia (soothing words), Thelxiope (persuasive face) are their names. The three most famous were Parthenope, Ligea, and Leucosia.
Centaur The Centaur's are half man, and half horse. They have the body of a horse but, in place of the horse's head the have the torso, head and arms of a man. Most are wild and savage, known for lustfulness and drunkeness. The exception is the wise Centaur Chiron.
Chiron Chiron was known for his exceptional goodness and wisdom. He was the only immortal centaur. He became the tutor for a number of famous greekheros including: Achilles, Aesculapius, Actaeon. Despite his immortality he was to end up dying. Hercules stopped to vistPholus. Hercules was thirsty and persuaded Pholus to open a jar of wine that was the common property of the centaurs. The other centaurs smelled the wine and came running. A fight broke out between Hercules and the centaurs. Chiron took no part in the fight but, was accedentally wounded by Hercules. As an immortal Chiron could not die but, lived in terrible pain. Chiron then chose to trade his life for the release of Prometheus.
THE MEDUSA The medusa was an ugly creature. Let's have a look at how she came into existance, for she wasn't always that ugly... Again, the Gods played their role.The Medusa was the daughter of Phorkys and Keto, the children of Gaia (Earth) and Okeanos (Ocean). She was one of the three sisters known as the Gorgons. The other two sisters were Sthenno and Euryale. Medusa was the only mortal out of the three. She was once very beautiful and lived far in the north were the sun didn't visit. Being very curious, she wanted to see the sun, and asked the Goddess Athena for permission to visit the south. Athena refused to allow her to visit. The medusa got angry and dared to say that Athena hadn't given her permission because she was jealous of her beauty. that was it! Athena was angered and punished her by turning her hair into snakes and cursing her by making her so ugly that who ever lookes at her eyes would turn into stone.
Argus Panoptes The all seeing. A man with many eyes. Early accounts say he had four eyes, later a hundred. There are many accounts of his parentage. He was in a number of adventures: He killed a bull ravaging Arcadia. He killed a satyr for stealing cattle. He killed Echidna. He avenged the death of Apis. Argus was killed by Hermes while he guarded Io for Hera
Chimaera Spawned by Typhoeus and Echidna, the Chimaera had three heads - lion, goat, and snake .Its body was also mixed having the front part of a lion, middle of a goat, and snake for a tail. It breathed fire. It ravaged Lycia, killing cattle and setting fires until it was killed by Bellerophon.
Echidna A female monster consisting of half nymph, half speckled snake. It lived in a cave coming out to snatch up and eat those passing. The critter was ageless but, not immortal. It was killed by Argus Panoptes while sleeping. It mated frequently with Typhoeus producing a variety of offspring.
Gorgons These are female monsters with snakes for hair. Their faces are so ugly that any man that see the face will turn to stone. Oddly the three gorgons have very different origins. Stheno and Euryale were born as gorgons from Phorcys and Ceto. They are immortal. Medusa was not.
Pegasus Pegasus was a winged horse and good flyer. The Pegasus was the result of the ill fated mating of Medusa and Poseidon. It was born from Medusa when her head was cut off by Perseus. Tamed by Bellerophon it served as his mount during his adventures including his slaying of the Chimaera. When Bellerophon attempted to fly Pegasus to Mount Olympus he was dismounted by Zeus. Pegasus continued on and made it to Mount Olympus. Here Pegasus spent his days carrying lighting bolts for Zeus.
Chrysaor Chrysaor was the result of the ill fated mating of Medusa and Poseidon. He was born from Medusa when her head was cut off by Perseus. Little is known of Chrysaor other then he was considered a stout hearted warrior. His name means Golden Sword. He fathered Geryon. His appearance is unknown but, given his family it is likely to have been unusual. He was possibly a giant.
Epaphus Epaphus is the son of Zeus and Io. He founded the city of Memphis in Egypt
The Pleiades The Pleiades are the daughters of Atlas seven in number: Electra, Maia, Taygete, Alcyone, Merope, Celaeno, and Sterope. They were always persued by Orion but, they always fled him successfully. Zeus took pity on them and placed them in heaven as stars, to keep them out of Orion's reach. Maia, was the mother of Hermes. Electra, was the mother of Dardanus, the founder of Troy.
Pontus Pontus means Deep Sea. He is the son of Gaea and the father of Nereus.
Nereus Nereus is also called The Old Man of the Sea. He is known as a gentle and trustworth god, who never lies, and is full of kind thoughts. He is the son of Pontus. With his wife Doris he fathers fifty lovely daughters, known as Nereids in his honor.
Doris She is the daughter of Oceanus and the wife of Nereus. Together they have fifty lovely daughters, known as Nereids in her husbands honor.
The Nereids They are the daughters of Nereus and Doris, fifty in number. They are named in honor of their father. All of them lovely, they are the nymphs of the sea. Some of the better known are Thetis and Amphitrite.
Amphitrite One of the Nereids. She is the wife of Poseidon. Her son is Triton.
Triton The trumpetor of the sea. His trumpet is a great shell. He is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite.
Teiresias A famous prophet of Thebes. Teiresias accidentally came across Athena while she was bathing, so she blinded him. At his mother pleading Athena gave Teiresias the gift of prophecy to compensate for his blindness. Amoung his prophecies were: A warning to Pentheus to recongnize and honor Dionysus when he first appeared in Thebes. A prediction of the greatness of Hercules. He reveled to Oedipus that Oedipus had unknowningly murdered his own father. Advice to Odysseus on how to placate Poseidon.
Mount Olympus Mount Olympus towers up from the center of the earth. Here the major gods live and hold court. The myths are somewhat vague on weather it is an actual mountain or a region of the heavens.
The Underworld The underworld is hidden in the earth. It is the kingdom of the dead and ruled over by Hades. Hades is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects. Those whose calling increase the number of dead are seen favorably. The Erinnyes are welcomed guests. He is exceedingly disinclined to allow any of his subjects leave. For most, life in the underworld is not particularly unpleasent. It is rather like a miserable dream, full of shadows, without sunlight or hope. A joyless place where the dead slowly fade into nothingness. Geographically, the underworld is surrounded by a series of rivers: The Acheron (river of woe), The Cocytus (river of lamentation), The Phlegethon (river of fire), The Styx (river of unbreakable oath by which the gods swear), and The Lethe (river of forgetfulness). Once across the rivers an adamantine gate, guarded by Cerberus, forms the entrance to the kingdom. Deep withen the kingdom is Hades vast palace, complete with many guests. Upon death a soul is lead by Hermes to the entrance of the underworld and the ferry across the Acheron. There is a single ferry run by Charon to take the souls across the river. Only those who can pay the fare, with coins placed on their lips when buried, receive passage. The rest are trapped between two worlds. The souls then enter through the gates. Cerberus will allow all to enter but, none to leave. The souls then appear before a panel of three judges, Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus, who pass sentence. The very good go to the Elysian Fields. Others are singled out for special treatment. Sisyphus and Tantalus being prime examples of the later.
Tartarus Tartars lies far beneath the disk of the world. Deeper then Hades kingdom of the underworld. It is used as the ultimate of prisons, unpleasant and inaccessible.
Zeus claim of the Throne wouldn't be as easy as Cronos's onehad been. Cronos refused to acknowledge Zeus claim for the throne,and refused to recognize his power. So Cromos called forthe other Titans to help him, and a 10-year long war betweenthe Titans and Zeus and his brothers and sisters,calledthe "Titanomachy" started. Zeus and his brothers and sisters entrenched themself onMount Olympus, the Titans and their children occupiedMount Othrys in southern Greece. Zeus, being in the minority, tooka daring chance. He set the Cyclopes free, on the condition that theywould make weapons for him. they agreed, and made a Helmet of Invisibilityfor Hades, a trident for Poseidon, and the ligtning for Zeus.Next, Zeus gave the onehundred armed Giants their freedom back, whoturned out to be valuable allies. With their hundred arms, theycould very accurately throw giant rocks. Because Zeus did this,he also gained Gaea's support, who had been trying for yearsto free her children from their imprissonment. Gaea triedto talk the Titans into acknowledging Zeus as the new Supreme God,and although the wisest of them did, most did not and joined Cronosin his figth against Zeus. The Titans made Atlas, one of Iapetus sonstheir supreme commander, and under his command the battle started. In the beginning, Zeus and his companions seemed to be winning, mostlybecause of his lightning flashes, but Atlas and the Titans fought backand resisted the attacks made by Zeus. In the end however, Zeus andhis forces gained the upper hand, and lay siege on Mount Othrys.The three brothers, Zeus. Poseidon and Hades came up with a plan.first, Hades, aided by his helmet, sneaked in to steal Cronos weapons.After that, Poseidon would attack Cronos, allowing Zeus toget a clear shot with his lightning bolts. Meanwhile, the Giants wouldoccupy the other Titans by attacking them with huge rocks.they succeded, and the Titans were threw in the Tartarus,where they were being guarded by the giants. Atles, theircommander, was forced to carry the skies on his shoulder. According to some versions of the myth, Zeus later pardonedthe Titans, and send them away to the Elysium, an idyllic islandwere they would remain forever. Only Atlas wasn't forgiven,and forced forever to carry the vault of heaven on his shoulders.Before Zeus' control over the World is undisputed, he needsto fight two more battles to secure his position as supreme God.The first was called the "Giantomachy", a fierce battle hehad to fight against these monsters, who were born from the bloodof Uranus, spilled when Cronos castrated him.Although Gaea has first joined forces with Zeus, his arrogantbehavior made her very angry, and she ask the Giants to overthrowZeus. They threw rocks and burning treetrunks against the Gods,who were aided by their children Ares, Hermes, Apolla, Artemis and Athena.Although they could injure the Giants, they were unable to kill them.An oracle had foreseen that only a mortal could kill them, so Athenaasked Heracles to join forces with the Gods. With his help, the OlympicGods were finally able to kill the monsters.Gaea's rage hadn't cooled down yet. She gave birth to the Typhon,a monster with hundred dragonheads, snakes as legs and one hundred hands.Zeus decided to face this enemy alone, thus starting a series of duelsfought so fierce that even the Titans, locked away in theTartarus shivered with fear.Typhon managed to remove Zeus' tendon's, but Hermes found themand placed them back into Zeus' body. After he had regained his strength,he fought another battle with the Typhon and managed to kill itunder Mount Etna.After gaining undisputed control, Zeus and his brothersdevided the world among them. Zeus would rule the Skies andthe Land, while Poseidon gained control over the Sea and Hadesover the Underworld. This marked the beginning of the thirth generationof Gods, the Olympic Gods as we known them.
Prometheus and man The two Titans, clever Prometheus and his intelligence-challenged brother Epimetheus, were sparedimprisonment after the war between the Olympians and the Titans because they had stayed neutral. According to one legend Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into the clay figure. Then Prometheus allowed Epimetheus to dispense various qualities to the animals and man. Epimetheus started off with the animals to whom he gave the best traits (swiftness, courage, cunning, stealth, etc.) and soon found he had nothing left to give man. So Prometheus took over, and after long deliberation, gave man an upright posture like the gods. This enabled man to survive. Prometheus' primary affection was to the man he had created and endowed, and not to the Olympic gods who had banished his relatives (the rest of the Titans) to Tartarus. It was decided by the Olympians that man would sacrifice animals to the gods to show their respect. Zeus was to decide which parts of the animals would go to the gods and which parts would go to man. Prometheus made two piles of various parts of an animal so Zeus could make his choice. But wily Prometheus (remember he favored man over gods) made one pile of bones which he wrapped in the juicy fat of the animal and another pile of the edible meat which he wrapped in the ugly hide of the animal. Naturally Zeus chose the fat-wrapped package, and was livid with anger when he saw that he had been duped. In revenge he deprived man of fire. But Prometheus was not done yet. He ascended into heaven and lighted a torch at the sun; then returned to earth and gave the fire to man. Now Zeus went ballistic with rage. He ordered Hephaestus to create a mortal of stunning beauty, to whom Hermes gave a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This was the first woman, Pandora, and a worse calamity never befell man. Prometheus had warned his brother about accepting gifts from Zeus, but Epimetheus could not resist this radiant creature and brought her to man. The gods had given her a jar, which they forbade her to open, but being a woman, her curiosity won out (as the gods had planned). As she opened the lid a multitude of evils flew out and scattered over the world to afflict man. Remaining in the jar was Hope, the only thing that could keep man going. For Prometheus, Zeus reserved a special punishment. He had Prometheus chained to a rock, and every day he sent an eagle to peck out the Titan's liver, which grew back again every night. This agony was to last for eternity, or until, first, an immortal would sacrifice his life for Prometheus and, second, a mortal would kill the eagle and unchain Prometheus. Eventually, after many ages, the centaur Chiron agreed to die for Prometheus, and Heracles (Hercules) killed the eagle and unbound Prometheus.
Orion's Constellation Orion was a son of Poseidon, and famous as a hunter. He fell in love with, and courted, Merope, but grew impatient at her father's conditions, and raped her. Her father blinded him as punishment. Orion, upon the advice of an oracle, traveled east to the point where Helios arose from the ocean. Dawn fell in love with Orion and slept with him, whereupon Helios (the sun) cured his sight. Orion decided to seek out Merope's father to get revenge, but Artemis persuaded him to become her hunting companion instead. Apollo, fearing for the chastity of his sister Artemis, sent a giant scorpion to chase Orion. Unable to slay the scorpion, Orion set out across the water to escape it. Apollo convinced Artemis to shoot the bobbing object out on the waves. Her arrow pierced Orion's head and killed him. In grief she placed him in the heavens as the constellation Orion. Apollo then placed the scorpion in the sky as a constellation, where it still chases Orion
Titonus One time Eos (dawn) slept with Ares, the lover of Aphrodite. Aphrodite took her revenge by giving Eos an insatiable appetite for young men. Eos took the Trojan prince Tithonus, among many others, as a lover, and eventually asked Zeus to grant him immortality, but she forgot to ask for eternal youth along with the immortality, so Tithonus was fated to live forever and grow increasingly older. In time he withered into a parody of a man, and his voice grew shrill. Eos shut this loathsome creature away in a closet, where it turned into a cricket.
Ariadne and Theseus: The Labyrinth King Minos of Crete angered Poseidon, for he had promised to sacrifice to the Sea God his most beautiful bull, but when the time came he could not bring himself to do so. Queen Pasiphaê, his wife, had also neglected the Rites of Aphrodite, thereby incurring that goddesses' wrath. Therefore Poseidon and Aphrodite caused Pasiphaê to fall in love with the bull. Through the contrivance of Daidalos, a master craftsman from Athens, they were able to mate, and so was born the minotaur, who was named Asterios (Star). Minos, in shame, ordered that Daidalos build the labyrinth to house it so that his wife's perfidy not be seen by the public. The labyrinth was so designed that it was easy to go in, but difficult, if not impossible, to come out again. At this time Crete was in conflict with Athens, and when the Athenians, struck by a terrible drought, asked advice from the oracle they were told they must appease Minos. Whereupon Minos demanded that every nine years, seven youths and seven maidens, chosen from the noblest of Athenian families, were to be sacrificed to the minotaur. When Minos came for the sacrificial victims, Theseus was chosen to be among them. Theseus picked six valiant youths and seven brave maidens to go with him to try to slay the beast. Ariadne (means "Very Holy") was the daughter of Minos. She hoped for some means of escape from her father's tainted kingdom, where she was Mistress of the Labyrinth. When she beheld Theseus disembarking from the boat, she immediately fell in love with him. She consulted with Daidalos and he taught her that the only way to exit the labyrinth was by the exact same path by which one had entered into it. And so she came up with the method called Ariadne's Thread, the use of a string to mark the way, by which Theseus might escape after the monster was killed. The minotaur was slain by Theseus and his companions and the Athenians were able to return from the labyrinth by using the string. The Athenians then set sail back to Athens with Ariadne. However, an ill wind blew the ship off course to the isle of Dia. There, Theseus and Ariadne were drugged and put to sleep. While they slept, Dionysos came to Theseus in a dream and claimed Ariadne as his bride, and when Theseus awoke, Athena led him away and told him that his destiny was in Athens, and that he must leave Ariadne behind. Theseus sadly boarded his ship and sailed for home. Theseus forgot, either because he was consumed with sorrow for having to leave Ariadne behind, or because Athena or Dionysos made him forget, that he had promised his father that if he was successful and killed the Minotaur he would take down the black sail and put up a white one. When King Aigeus saw the black sail come over the horizon, he threw himself in grief from the Acropolis and drowned. Ariadne and Dionysos meanwhile ascended together into the heavens where her crown is still visible (the constellation Corona). She became a goddess and dwells with Dionysos. She bore him two boys, Oinopion (from oinos, means wine) and Staphulos (from staphulê means a bunch of grapes).
The Story of Glaukos (Glaucus) Anthêdôn was born to the Minôs of Crete and his wife Pasiphaê. One day the child went into a cave that was used to store mead. In ignorance he drowned himself in the liquor, but nobody knew what had happened to him. Therefore Minôs sent for the Curetes, who were known as great seers, and they told him that whoever could best describe Minôs' miraculous cow would be able to restore Anthêdôn alive to him. This cow changed colors every four hours: from the black of chaotic night, to the pure white of day, to the vital red of blood, then back to black again. So Minôs had all the diviners in the land brought together, and the Curetes judged the best description to be that of Poluidos. Poluidos said that the cow was like the ripening mulberry, which is first pure white, then vibrant red, and finally a rich dark purple. Therefore, Poluidos was entrusted with finding Anthêdôn, and by divination he came to the cave. Looking inside he found the drowned boy, and brought him to Minôs. However, the grief-stricken Minôs was not satisfied, because the boy was dead, so he ordered that Poluidos be shut up with the boy's body in a tomb, until he brought Anthêdôn back to life. This was beyond Poluidos' power, and so he prayed to the Gods for help. After a while, as his eyes became accustomed to the dark, he saw a snake approaching the corpse. He killed the snake, because he feared it would nibble on the corpse. Shortly thereafter a second snake came forth and discovered the body of the first. Then it went away and came back holding in its mouth a twig with three blue-green leaves. The second snake laid this twig upon the first snake, which immediately came to life and left with its companion. Poluidos was astonished, but quickly took the serpent's twig and applied it to the boy. Like the snake, the boy immediately returned to life. Anthêdôn had a shiny blue-green scar over his heart where the twig had touched him, and so he was thereafter called Glaukos (Blue-Green).
Scylla Glaukos (see above myth) eventually goes through a transformation after eating a mysterious herb, and becomes a sea-creature with a thick green beard, and bluish skin, and feet like the tail of a fish. Not long after Glaukos' transformation, Scylla, a beautiful Nêreid, came down to the seashore at night to bathe. There she disrobed and refreshed herself in a shallow pool. In the moonlight she saw a beautiful boy floating with his chest and arms out of the water. She pulled her long hair over her breasts and called to him.They bantered for a time, with ever increasing mutual attraction, but when he got close she saw that his thick hair was green and that his skin was blue, for he was Glaukos. When Scylla saw that he became a fish at his groin, she shrieked, jumped from the pool and ran to the top of a cliff. Then she donned her robe and ran away laughing and yelling about what a disgusting creature he was. Glaukos was furious, but was still burning with love for her. He made his way to the hidden kingdom of Kirkê (Circe), sorceress and sister of Pasiphaê, his mother. There he called for audience with the sorceress and explained that he was filled with passion for a nymph. He begged her to cast a spell that would turn Scylla's heart so that it would burn with as much passion for him as his did for her. Kirkê, instead, used her powers so that he felt the same lust for her that she felt for him. In a pool in her underground palace they tangled their limbs, hers soft and white, his glossy and blue, and spawned like fish. And through the night they enjoyed every pleasure afforded by their bodies. But in the morning Glaukos admitted to Kirkê that he would never stop loving Scylla. Kirkê was furious and would have destroyed Glaukos, but she loved him too much. Therefore she turned her wrath toward Scylla. She gathered secret herbs and mixed them together while she sang a magic spell. When she was done, she went to that pool where Scylla was accustomed to refresh herself. She poured her magic potion into the water, intoning over it a complex spell thrice seven times. At her usual time Scylla came to the pool, loosened the robe from her shoulders, and waded waist deep into the pool when suddenly she felt something churning in the water around her thighs. Then the water around her waist erupted with snarling dogs' heads. She jumped from the pool to escape them, but discovered to her horror that they were part of her; her legs were covered with shaggy hair and shaped like dogs; each of her beautiful buttocks had become a yapping dog head, and her place of love had become a snarling dog. That was the revenge of Kirkê. Scylla went to hide in a cave by the shore, where she would show her beautiful torso to lure sailors into her cave. When they came to lie with her, her lustful hunger was satisfied by the ravening dog-heads, for this was the only way they could be fed. Scylla stayed in this place for many years, until she was mercifully turned to stone.
Daphne and Apollo Daphne, a river nymph; the daughter of the Peneus River (or Pheneus River or Ladon River), was Apollo's first love, and it was not blind chance which brought this about, but Eros' savage spite. Not long before, Apollo, still exultant over his slaying of the serpent, had seen Eros bending his taut bow, and had taunted him unmercifully as being a boy with a soldier's weapon. But Eros got even. He swiftly winged his way through the air, till he alighted on the shady summit of Parnassus. From his quiver, full of arrows, he drew two darts, with different properties. The one puts love to flight, the other kindles it. That which kindles love is golden, and shining, sharp-tipped; but that which puts it to flight is blunt, its shaft tipped with lead. With this arrow the god pierced the nymph, Daphne, but Apollo he wounded with the other, shooting it into the marrow of his bones. Immediately the one fell in love; the other, fleeing the very word "lover," took her delight in woodland haunts and in the spoils of captured beasts, emulating Diana, the maiden goddess, with her hair carelessly caught back by a single ribbon. Many a suitor wooed her but, turning away from their entreaties, she roamed the pathless woods, knowing nothing of men, and caring nothing for them, heedless of what marriage or love or wedded life might be. As soon as Apollo saw Daphne, he fell in love with her, and wanted to marry her. His own prophetic powers deceived him and he hoped to achieve his desire. As the light stubble blazes up in a harvested field, or as the hedge is set alight, if a traveller chance to kindle a fire too close, or leaves one smouldering when he goes off at daybreak, so the god was all on fire, his whole heart was aflame, and he nourished his fruitless love on hope. He eyed her hair as it hung carelessly about her neck, and sighed: "What if it were properly arranged!" He looked at her eyes, sparkling bright as stars, he looked at her lips, and wanted to do more than look at them. He praised her fingers, her hands and arms, bare almost to the shoulder. Her hidden charms he imagined lovelier still. But Daphne ran off, swifter than the wind's breath, and did not stop to hear his words. The frightened maiden fled from him; even then, she was graceful to see, as the wind bared her limbs and its gusts stirred her garments, blowing them out behind her. Her hair streamed in the light breeze, and her beauty was enhanced by her flight. But the youthful god could not endure to waste his time on further blandishments and, as love itself prompted, sped swiftly after her. Even so, when a Gallic hound spies a hare in some open meadow he tries by his swiftness to secure his prey, while the hare, by her swiftness, seeks safety: the dog, seeming just about to fasten on his quarry, hopes at every moment that he has her, and grazes her hind quarters with outstretched muzzle, but the hare, uncertain whether she has not already been caught, snatches herself out of his very jaws, and escapes the teeth which almost touch her. Thus the god and the nymph sped on, one made swift by hope and one by fear; but he who pursued was swifter, for he was assisted by love's wings. He gave the fleeing maiden no respite, but followed close on her heels, and his breath touched the locks that lay scattered on her neck, till Daphne's strength was spent, and she grew pale and weary with the effort of her swift flight. Then she saw the waters of the Peneus: "Oh, father," she cried, "help me! If your rivers really have divine powers, work some transformation, and destroy this beauty which makes me please all to well!" Her prayer was scarcely ended when a deep languor took hold on her limbs, her soft breast was enclosed in thin bark, her hair grew into leaves, her arms into branches, and her feet that were lately so swift were held fast by sluggish roots, while her face became the treetop. Nothing of her was left, except her shining loveliness. Even as a tree, Apollo loved her. He placed his hand against the trunk, and felt her heart still beating under the new bark. Embracing the branches as if they were limbs he kissed the wood: but, even as a tree, she shrank from his kisses. Then the god said: "Since you cannot be my bride, surely you will at least be my tree. My hair, my lyre, my quivers will always display the laurel. Further, as my head is ever young, my tresses never shorn, so do you also, at all times, wear the crowning glory of never-fading foliage." The laurel tree inclined her newmade branches, and seemed to nod her leafy top, as if it were a head, in consent.
Aristaeus and the Bees He was a keeper of bees, the son of Apollo and a water nymph Cyrene. When his bees all died from some unknown cause he went for help to his mother. She told him that Proteus, the wise old god of the sea, could show him how to prevent another such disaster, but that he would do so only if compelled. Aristaeus must seize him and chain him, a very difficult task as Menelaus on his way home from Troy found. Proteus had the power to change himself into any number of different forms. However, if his captor was resolute enough to hold him fast through all the changes, he would finally give in and answer what he was asked. Aristaeus followed direction. He went to the favorite haunt of Proteus. There he seized Proteus and did not let him go, in spite of the terrible forms he assumed, until the god was discouraged and returned to his own shape. Then in answer to the question he told Aristaeus to sacrifice to the gods and leave the carcasses of the animals in the place of sacrifice. Nine days later he must go back and examine the bodies. Again Aristaeus did as he was bid, and on the ninth day he found a marvel, a great swarm of bees in one of the carcasses. He never again was troubled by any blight or disease among them
Hephaestus No one celebrated the birth of Hephaestus. His mother, Hera, had awaited him with great eagerness, hoping for a child so beautiful, so gifted, that it would make Zeus forget his heroic swarm of children from lesser consorts. But when the baby was born, she was appalled to see that he was shriveled and ugly, with an irritating bleating wail. She did not wait for Zeus to see him, but snatched the infant up and hurled him off Olympus. For a night and a day he fell, and hit the ground at the edge of the sea with such force that both of legs were broken He lay there on the beach mewing piteously, unable to crawl, wracked with pain, but unable to die because he was immortal. Finally the tide came up. A huge wave curled him under its arm and carried him off to sea. And there he sank like a stone, and was caught by the playful Thetis, a naiad, who thought he was a tadpole. When Thetis understood it was a baby she had caught, she made a pet of him and kept him in her grotto. She was amazed at the way the crippled child worked shells and bright pebbles into jewelry. One day she appeared at a great festival of the gods, wearing a necklace he had made. Hera noticed the ornament and praised it and asked her how she had come by it. Thetis told her of the strange twisted child whom someone had dropped into the ocean, and who lived now in her cave making wonderful jewels. Hera divined that it was her own son and demanded him back. Hephaestus returned to Qlympus. There Hera presented him with a broken mountain nearby, where he could set up forges and bellows. She gave him the brawny Cyclopes to be his helpers, and promised him Aphrodite as a bride if he would labor in the mountain and make her fine things. Hephaestus agreed because he loved her and excused her cruelty to him. "I know that I am ugly, Mother," he said, "but the fates would have it so. And I will make you gems so beautiful for your tapering arms and white throat and black hair that you will forget my ugliness sometimes, and rejoice that you have taken me back from the sea." He became the smith-god, the great artificer, lord of mechanics. And the mountain always smoked and rumbled with his toil, and he has always been very ugly and very useful.
The Myth of Sisyphus Sisyphus was the founder and king of Corinth, or Ephyra as it was called in those days. He was notorious as the most cunning knave on earth. His greatest triumph came at the end of his life, when the god Hades came to claim him personally for the kingdom of the dead. Hades had brought along a pair of handcuffs, a comparative novelty, and Sisyphus expressed such an interest that Hades was persuaded to demonstrate their use - on himself. And so it came about that the high lord of the Underworld was kept locked up in a closet at Sisyphus's house for many a day, a circumstance which put the great chain of being seriously out of whack. Nobody could die. A soldier might be chopped to bits in battle and still show up at camp for dinner. Finally Hades was released and Sisyphus was ordered summarily to report to the Underworld zone of Tartarus for his eternal assignment. But the wily one had another trick up his sleeve. He simply told his wife not to bury him and then complained to Persephone, Queen of the Dead, that he had not been accorded the proper funeral honors. What's more, as an unburied corpse he had no business on the far side of the river Styx at all - his wife hadn't placed a coin under his tongue to secure passage with Charon the ferryman. Surely her highness could see that Sisyphus must be given leave to journey back topside and put things right. Kindly Persephone assented, and Sisyphus made his way back to the sunshine, where he promptly forgot all about funerals and such drab affairs and lived on in dissipation for another good stretch of time. But even this paramount trickster could only postpone the inevitable. Eventually he was hauled down to Hades, where his indiscretions caught up with him. For a crime against the gods - the specifics of which are variously reported - he was condemned to an eternity at hard labor. And frustrating labor at that. For his assignment was to roll a great boulder to the top of a hill. And every time Sisyphus, by the greatest of exertion and toil, attained the summit, the darn thing rolled back down again.
The Myth of Midas Midas was a king of Phrygia, a region nowadays part of Turkey. One day some of his farmhands brought him a satyr they had caught napping in the vineyard. This creature, part man, part goat, still groggy and much the worse for wear, had been thoroughly trussed up to keep him from escaping. Midas immediately recognized Silenus, right-hand satyr to the god Dionysus, and ordered him set free. Silenus explained that he and his master had just returned from the East where they had been engaged in spreading the cultivation of the grape. Dionysus had brought back a tiger or two, an ever-expanding flock of followers and one very drunken satyr. Silenus had conked out in Midas's vineyard to sleep it off. Now he was grateful to the king for treating him with dignity, and so was Dionysus. The god was so pleased, in fact, that he offered to grant whatever Midas should wish for. Now, you didn't get to rule a kingdom in those days without a pretty active grasp of what makes for a successful economy. Midas didn't have to think twice. As the simplest plan for the constant replenishment of the royal treasury, he asked that everything he touch be turned to gold. Arching a godly eyebrow, Dionysus went so far as to ask if Midas were sure. To which the king instantly replied, "Sure I'm sure." So Dionysus waved his pinebranchsceptre and conferred the boon. And Midas rushed back home to try it out. Tentatively at first, he laid a trembling fingertip upon a bowl of fruit and then a stool and then a wooly lambkin. And when each of these had been transmuted in a trice into purest gold, the king began to caper about like the lambkin before its transformation. "Just look at this!" he crowed, turning his chariot into a glittering mass of priceless-though-worthless transportation. "Look what daddy can do!" he cried, taking his young daughter by the hand to lead her into the garden for a lesson in making dewy nature gleam with a monotonous but more valuable sheen. Encountering unexpected resistance, he swung about to see why his daughter was being such a slug. Whereupon his eyes encountered, where late his child had been, a life-size golden statue that might have been entitled "Innocence Surprised". "Uh oh," said Midas, and from that point on the uh-oh's multiplied. He couldn't touch any useful object without it losing in utility what it gained in monetary value, nor any food without it shedding all nutritional potency on its leaden way down his gullet. In short, Midas came to understand why Dionysus had looked askance when asked to grant the favor. Fortunately, the god was a good sport about it. He allowed Midas to wash away his magic touch in the river Pactolus, which ever after enjoyed renown for its shimmering deposits of gold
The Myth of Atlas Atlas was a Titan, one of the firstborn sons of Earth. Atlas made the mistake of siding with his brother Cronus in a war against Zeus. In punishment, he was compelled to support the weight of the heavens by means of a pillar on his shoulders. He was temporarily relieved of this burden by Heracles, who needed the Titan's aid in procuring the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. In connection with another heroic quest, Atlas divulged the whereabouts of the Graeae to Perseus. The encounter of Atlas and Heracles came about when Eurystheus, the great hero's cousin and taskmaster, challenged him to retrieve the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. The Hesperides, or Daughters of Evening, were nymphs assigned by the goddess Hera to guard certain apples which she had received as a wedding present. These were kept in a grove surrounded by a high wall and guarded by a dragon named Ladon, whose many heads spoke simultaneously in a babel of tongues. The grove was located in some far western land in the mountains named for Atlas. Heracles had been told that he would never get the apples without the aid of Atlas. The Titan was only too happy to oblige, since it meant being relieved of his burden. He told the hero to hold the pillar while he went into the garden of the Hesperides to retrieve the fruit. But first, Heracles would have to do something about the noisily vigilant dragon, Ladon. This was swiftly accomplished by means of an arrow over the garden wall. Then Heracles took the pillar while Atlas went to get the apples. He was successful and returned quickly enough, but in the meantime he had realized how pleasant it was not to have to strain for eternity keeping heaven and earth apart. So he told Heracles that he'd have to fill in for him for an indeterminate length of time. And the hero feigned agreement to this proposal. But he said that he needed a cushion for his shoulder, and he wondered if Atlas would mind taking back the pillar just long enough for him to fetch one. The Titan graciously obliged, and Heracles strolled off, omitting to return
The story of Io Io was the beautiful daughter of Inachus of Argos. She began having strange dreams with voices and visions telling her to leave her bed and go into a field where Zeus could ’see’ her. She told her father of the dreams and he sought advice of the oracles at Pytho and Dodona but they could offer no help. Finally, he sent an embassy to Loxias. For the oracles of Loxias, the meaning was crystal clear. They advised Inachus to disown his daughter, cast her into the streets and drive her from his country. If this was not done, the oracles warned, Zeus would eradicate Inachus and his people without mercy. With heavy heart, Inachus obeyed the oracles and forced his young daughter, Io, from his house. Hera had not missed the drama unfolding in Argos. She was angered by Zeus’ (attempted) infidelity so she punished Zeus by punishing Io. As Io fled in tears from her father’s house, she began to change. Horns popped out on her head and, as she ran, she completely transformed into a black and white heifer. A gad-fly began to sting and pester her, forcing her to run farther and farther from her home and happiness. Hera wanted to be sure that her husband, Zeus, could not be alone with his new infatuation so she set the herdsman, Argos to follow the heifer-girl. Argos was called Argos Panoptes, meaning ’all seeing’ because he had one hundred eyes placed all over his body. Io was terrified of Argos and she fled from him as much as she did from the sting of the ever present gad-fly. Zeus was inflamed. With Argos on guard he couldn’t secretly meet with the lovely Io. He instructed his son, Hermes, to kill Argos. To this day, Hermes is often called Argeiphontes, ’the slayer of Argos’. He lulled the herdsman to sleep with sweet music and then beheaded the sleeping watchman before he could defend himself. Io was now free of the all seeing Argos. The punishment was not over yet. The gad-fly was still goading the heifer-girl to the ends of the earth. As Io fled through the Caucasus mountains she saw Prometheus bound to the stony crag. Prometheus was a Titan who had angered Zeus with his reckless affection for the lowly mortals who populated the earth below Olympus. Prometheus was chained, spread-eagle to the pitiless rockface by the plan of Zeus and by the hand of Hepheistos. Prometheus had been left to suffer in solitude and misery until Zeus’ fury subsided. Io’s conversation with Prometheus is quite moving. She told him of her sorrowful past, how she can never sleep in the same place two nights in succession because of the insistent gad-fly. She begged the Titan for his prediction of her future. The name ’Prometheus’ means ’forethought’. She wanted to know: when will her suffering end? Even in his tortured condition, Prometheus tried to spare her feelings. She asked why he would not be forthright. He replied that he was afraid that if he told her the depth and duration of her suffering, the knowledge might break her spirit. She wanted to hear it all, no matter how dismal her future may be, she wanted to hear it all. Prometheus told her of her long, lonely road. He advised her on which way to travel and where she might find help along the way. He told her to be strong because she would eventually be freed from the curse of Hera. Her journey would end in Egypt. He told her that she would be restored to her original beauty and have a glorious son named Epaphos. Prometheus also foresaw the ironic fact that one of her descendants would, after thirteen generations, come back to that lonely mountain and cut the bonds that made him famous. The predictions of Prometheus came true. Io’s flight took her East towards Asia, South to the land of the Amazons and, after years of tortuous wandering, she came to Egypt. When the hand of Zeus reached out and touched Io, Hera’s curse was lifted. Io was restored to her youthful beauty and was allowed to live out her mortal life in peace.
The sirens In Greek mythology, the Sirens are creatures with the head of a female and the body of a bird. They lived on an island (Sirenumscopuli; three small rocky islands) and with the irresistible charm of their song they lured mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrounding their island. The Argonauts escaped them because when he heard their song, Orpheus immediately realized the peril they were in. He took out his lyre and sang a song so clear and ringing that it drowned the sound of those lovely fatal voices. When on another journey the Odysseus' ship passed the Sirens, had the sailors stuff their ears with wax. He had himself tied to the mast for he wanted to hear their beautiful voices. The Sirens sang when they approached, their words even more enticing than the melody. They would give knowledge to every man who came to them, they said, ripe wisdom and a quickening of the spirit. Odysseys' heart ran with longing but the ropes held him and the ship quickly sailed to safer waters.