APHRODITE ( TIERRA )
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture. According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros ("sea foam") arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her to either Cyprus or Cythera. Hence she is often referred to as Kypris and Cytherea. Homer calls her a daughter of Zeus and Dione.
After her birth, Zeus was afraid that the gods would fight over Aphrodite's hand in marriage so he married her off to the smith god Hephaestus, the steadiest of the gods. He could hardly believe his good luck and used all his skills to make the most lavish jewels for her. He made her a girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magic into the filigree work. That was not very wise of him, for when she wore her magic girdle no one could resist her, and she was all too irresistible already. She loved gaiety and glamour and was not at all pleased at being the wife of sooty, hard-working Hephaestus.
Aphrodite loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis. Some of her sons are Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios and Aeneas (with her Trojan lover Anchises). She is accompanied by the Graces.
Her festival is the Aphrodisiac which was celebrated in various centers of Greece and especially in Athens and Corinth. Her priestesses were not prostitutes but women who represented the goddess and sexual intercourse with them was considered just one of the methods of worship. Aphrodite was originally an old-Asian goddess, similar to the Mesopotamian Ishtar and the Syro-Palestinian goddess Ashtart. Her attributes are a.o. the dolphin, the dove, the swan, the pomegranate and the lime tree.
In Roman mythology Venus is the goddess of love and beauty and Cupid is love's messenger.
EROS ( FOLLY )
Eros, the Greek god of love and sexual desire (the word eros, which is found in the Iliad by Homer, is a common noun meaning sexual desire). He was also worshiped as a fertility god, believed to be a contemporary of the primeval Chaos, which makes Eros one of the oldest gods. In the Dionysian Mysteries Eros is referred to as "protagonus", the first born. But there are many variations to whom the parents of Eros really where. According to Aristophanes (Birds) he was born from Erebus and Nyx (Night); in later mythology Eros is the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares. Yet in the Theogony, the epic poem written by Hesiod, it mentions a typified Eros as being an attendant of Aphrodite, but not her son. Another legend says that he was the son of Iris and Zephyrus.
From the early legend of Eros it is said that he was responsible for the embraces of Uranus (Heaven or Sky) and Gaia (Earth), and from their union were born many offspring. It was also written that Eros hatched our race and made it appear first into the light (Birds, by Aristophanes). Although one of the oldest gods, he was a latecomer to Greek religion. He was worshiped in many regions of Greece, at Thespiae there was an ancient fertility cult, and in Athens he and Aphrodite had a joint cult. Also in Athens the forth day of every month was sacred to Eros. Sometimes Eros was worshiped by the name Erotes (which is the plural of Eros); this personified all the attractions that evoked love and desire, this included heterosexual and homosexual allurements. Anteros (the Returner of Love also known as the god of Mutual Love) was the brother of Eros, which comes from the version of which Aphrodite and Ares are said to be the mother and father of Eros.
Eros is usually depicted as a young winged boy, with his bow and arrows at the ready, to either shoot into the hearts of gods or mortals which would rouse them to desire. His arrows came in two types: golden with dove feathers which aroused love, or leaden arrows which had owl feathers that caused indifference. Sappho the poet summarized Eros as being bitter sweet, and cruel to his victims, yet he was also charming and very beautiful. Being unscrupulous, and a danger to those around him, Eros would make as much mischief as he possibly could by wounding the hearts of all, but according to one legend he himself fell in love. This legend tells us that Eros was always at his mothers side assisting her in all her conniving and godly affairs. The legend goes on to say that Aphrodite became jealous of the beauty of a mortal, a beautiful young woman named Psyche. In her fit of jealousy Aphrodite asked Eros to shoot his arrow into the heart of Psyche and make her fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. He agreed to carry out his mothers wishes, but on seeing her beauty Eros fell deeply in love with Psyche himself. He would visit her every night, but he made himself invisible by telling Psyche not to light her chamber. Psyche fell in love with Eros even though she could not see him, until one night curiosity overcame her. She concealed a lamp and while Eros slept she lit the lamp, revealing the identity of Eros. But a drop of hot oil spilt from the lamp awakening the god. Angered she had seen him Eros fled and the distraught Psyche roamed the earth trying in vain to find her lover. In the end Zeus took pity and reunited them, he also gave his consent for them to marry. There are variations of this legend but most have the same outcome.
The Romans borrowed Eros from the Greeks and named him Cupid (Latin cupido meaning desire). Eros has been depicted in art in many ways. The Romans regarded him as a symbol of life after death and decorated sarcophagi with his image. The Greeks regarded him as most beautiful and hansom, the most loved and the most loving. They placed statues of him in gymnasiums (as most athletes were thought to be beautiful). He was depicted on every form of utensil, from drinking vessels to oil flasks, usually showing him ready to fire an arrow into the heart of an unsuspecting victim.
ADONIS ( ITCHY )
Adonis is a complex figure, for the outlines of his tale were fully as a part of the sub-Olympian Greek mythology by Greek and Roman authors, and yet he also retains many deep associations with his Semitic origins. The name "Adonis" is a variation of the Semitic word "Adonai", which means "lord", and which is also one of the names used to refer to YHWH in the Old Testament.
At the beginning of his appearance in Greek myth, there is some confusion as to his parentage and his birth. Hesiod considers this Greek hero to be the son of Phoenix and Aephesiboea, while Apollodorus calls him the son of Cinyras and Metharme. The generally accepted version is that Aphrodite compelled Myrrha (or Smyrna) to commit incest with Theias, her father, the king of Assyria. Her nurse helped her with this trickery to become pregnant, and when Theias discovered this he chased her with a knife. To avoid his wrath the gods turned her into a myrrh tree. The tree later burst open, allowing Adonis to emerge. Another version says that after she slept with her father she hid in a forest where Aphrodite changed her into a tree. Theias struck the tree with an arrow, causing the tree to open and Adonis to be born. Yet another version says a wild boar open the tree with its tusks and freed the child; this is considered to be a foreshadowing of his death.
Once the child was born Aphrodite was so moved by his beauty that she sheltered him and entrusted him to Persephone. She was also taken by his beauty and refused to give him back.
The dispute between the two goddesses, in one version, was settled by Zeus; in others it was settled by Calliope on Zeus' behalf. The decision was that Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. He always chose to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.
This went on till his death, where he was fatally wounded by a wild boar, said to be caused by Artemis. In some versions his death was caused not by Artemis, but by Aphrodite's lover, Ares, who was jealous of Adonis. Apollo is also said to be responsible because his son, Erymanthus, had seen Aphrodite naked and she blinded him for it. The story of Adonis provides a basis for the origin of myrrh and the origin of the rose, which grew from each drop of blood that fell.
The story of Adonis, despite its variants, is certainly another example of the dying vegetation god (see: Tammuz). The close association with Aphrodite or Persephone also brings his myth into line with the many other mated couples, where the male partener dies and is reborn, that is spread across North Africa and the Near East.
HARPIES ( OLAF )
In earlier versions of Greek myth, Harpies were described as beautiful, winged maidens. Later they became winged monsters with the face of an ugly old woman and equipped with crooked, sharp talons. They were represented carrying off persons to the underworld and inflicting punishment or tormenting them. Those persons were never seen again. They robbed the food from Phineus, but were driven away by Cailas and Zetes, the Boreads, and since then they lived on the Strophades. The Harpies were probably the personification of storm winds. They are: Aello, Celaeno, and Ocypete.
SPHINX ( ROXAND )
In ancient Egypt, the Sphinx is a male statue of a lion with the head of a human, sometimes with wings. Most sphinxes however represent a king in his appearance as the sun god. The name "sphinx" was applied to the portraits of kings by the Greeks who visited Egypt in later centuries, because of the similarity of these statues to their Sphinx. The best known specimen is the Great Sphinx of Gizeh (on the western bank of the Nile) which is not a sphinx at all but the representation of the head of king Khaf-Ra (Chephren) on the body of a crouching body. It was supposedly built in the 4th dynasty (2723-2563 BCE), although others claim it dates back to the 7th-5th millennium.
The Greek Sphinx was a demon of death and destruction and bad luck. She was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. It was a female creature, sometimes depicted as a winged lion with a feminine head, and sometimes as a female with the breast, paws and claws of a lion, a snake tail and bird wings. She sat on a high rock near Thebes and posed a riddle to all who passed. The riddle was: "What animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?" Those who could not solve the riddle were strangled by her. Finally Oedipus came along and he was the only who could answer that it was "Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff." The Sphinx was so mortified at the solving of her riddle that she cast herself down from the rock and perished.
The name 'sphinx' is derived from the Greek sphingo, which means "to strangle". In ancient Assyrian myths, the sphinx usually appears as a guardian of temple entrances.
ZEUS ( VITALIS )
Zeus, the youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, he was the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus and of the Pantheon of gods who resided there. Being the supreme ruler he upheld law, justice and morals, and this made him the spiritual leader of both gods and men. Zeus was a celestial god, and originally worshiped as a weather god by the Greek tribes. These people came southward from the Balkans circa 2100 BCE. He has always been associated as being a weather god, as his main attribute is the thunderbolt, he controlled thunder, lightning and rain. Theocritus wrote circa 265 BCE: "sometimes Zeus is clear, sometimes he rains". He is also known to have caused thunderstorms. In Homer's epic poem the Iliad he sent thunderstorms against his enemies. The name Zeus is related to the Greek word dios, meaning "bright". His other attributes as well as lightning were the scepter, the eagle and his aegis (this was the goat-skin of Amaltheia).
Before the abolition of monarchies, Zeus was protector of the king and his family. Once the age of Greek kings faded into democracy he became chief judge and peacemaker, but most importantly civic god. He brought peace in place of violence, Hesiod (circa 700 BCE) describes Zeus as "the lord of justice", Zeus was also known as "Kosmetas" (orderer), "Soter" (savior), "Polieos" (overseer of the polis -city) and also "Eleutherios" (guarantor of political freedoms). His duties in this role were to maintain the laws, protect suppliants, to summon festivals and to give prophecies (his oldest and most famous oracle was at Dodona, in Epirus -northwestern Greece). As the supreme deity Zeus oversaw the conduct of civilized life. But the "father of gods and men" as Homer calls him, has many mythological tales.
His most famous was told by Hesiod in his Theogony, of how Zeus usurped the kingdom of the immortals from his father. This mythological tale of Zeus' struggle against the Titans (Titanomachy) had been caused by Cronus, after he had been warned that one of his children would depose him. Cronus knowing the consequences, as he had overthrown his father Uranus. To prevent this from happening Cronus swallowed his newborn children Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, but his wife Rhea (who was also his sister) and Gaia her mother, wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes in place of the infant Zeus. Cronus thinking it was the newborn baby swallowed the stone. Meanwhile Rhea had her baby taken to Crete, and there, in a cave on Mount Dicte, the divine goat Amaltheia suckled and raised the infant Zeus.
When Zeus had grown into a young man he returned to his fathers domain, and with the help of Gaia, compelled Cronus to regurgitate the five children he had previously swallowed (in some versions Zeus received help from Metis who gave Cronus an emetic potion, which made him vomit up Zeus' brothers and sisters). However, Zeus led the revolt against his father and the dynasty of the Titans, defeated and then banished them. Once Zeus had control, he and his brothers divided the universe between them: Zeus gaining the heavens, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld. Zeus had to defend his heavenly kingdom. The three separate assaults were from the offspring of Gaia: they were the Gigantes, Typhon (Zeus fought them with his thunder-bolt and aegis) and the twin brothers who were called the Aloadae. The latter tried to gain access to the heavens by stacking Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympus, and Mount Pelion on top of Mount Ossa, but the twins still failed in their attempt to overthrow Zeus. As he did with the Titans, Zeus banished them all to "Tartarus", which is the lowest region on earth, lower than the underworld.
According to legend, Metis, the goddess of prudence, was the first love of Zeus. At first she tried in vain to escape his advances, but in the end succumbed to his endeavor, and from their union Athena was conceived. Gaia warned Zeus that Metis would bear a daughter, whose son would overthrow him. On hearing this Zeus swallowed Metis, the reason for this was to continue to carry the child through to the birth himself. Hera (his wife and sister) was outraged and very jealous of her husband's affair, also of his ability to give birth without female participation. To spite Zeus she gave birth to Hephaestus parthenogenetically (without being fertilized) and it was Hephaestus who, when the time came, split open the head of Zeus, from which Athena emerged fully armed.
Zeus had many offspring; his wife Hera bore him Ares, Hephaestus, Hebe and Eileithyia, but Zeus had numerous liaisons with both goddesses and mortals. He either raped them, or used devious means to seduce the unsuspecting maidens. His union with Leto (meaning the hidden one) brought forth the twins Apollo and Artemis. Once again Hera showed her jealousy by forcing Leto to roam the earth in search of a place to give birth, as Hera had stopped her from gaining shelter on terra-firma or at sea. The only place she could go was to the isle of Delos in the middle of the Aegean, the reason being that Delos was, as legend states, a floating island. One legend says that Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione
Besides deities, he also fathered many mortals. In some of his human liaisons Zeus used devious disguises. When he seduced the Spartan queen Leda, he transformed himself into a beautiful swan, and from the egg which Leda produced, two sets of twins were born: Castor and Polydeuces and Clytemnestra and Helen of Troy. He visited princess Danae as a shower of gold, and from this union the hero Perseus was born. He abducted the Phoenician princess Europa, disguised as a bull, then carried her on his back to the island of Crete where she bore three sons: Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. Zeus also took as a lover the Trojan prince Ganymede. He was abducted by an eagle sent by Zeus (some legends believe it was Zeus disguised as an eagle). The prince was taken to Mount Olympus, where he became Zeus' cup-bearer. Zeus also used his charm and unprecedented power to seduce those he wanted, so when Zeus promised Semele that he would reveal himself in all his splendor, in order to seduce her, the union produced Dionysus, but she was destroyed when Zeus appeared as thunder and lightening. Themis, the goddess of justice bore the three Horae, goddesses of the seasons to Zeus , and also the three Moirae, known as the Fates. When Zeus had an affair with Mnemosyne, he coupled with her for nine consecutive nights, which produced nine daughters, who became known as the Muses. They entertained their father and the other gods as a celestial choir on Mount Olympus. They became deities of intellectual pursuits. Also the three Charites or Graces were born from Zeus and Eurynome. From all his children Zeus gave man all he needed to live life in an ordered and moral way.
Zeus had many Temples and festivals in his honor, the most famous of his sanctuaries being Olympia, the magnificent "Temple of Zeus", which held the gold and ivory statue of the enthroned Zeus, sculpted by Phidias and hailed as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". Also the Olympic Games were held in his honor. The Nemean Games, which were held every two years, were to honor Zeus. There were numerous festivals throughout Greece: in Athens they celebrated the marriage of Zeus and Hera with the Theogamia (or Gamelia). The celebrations were many: in all, Zeus had more than 150 epithets, each one being celebrated in his honor.
HERACLES ( CONSTANTIO )
Heracles (Latin: Hercules) is the son of the god Zeus and Alcmene. His gift was fabulous strength; he strangled two serpents in his cradle, and killed a lion before manhood. Heracles' main antagonist was Hera. She eventually drove him mad, during which time he killed his own children and his brother's. He was so grieved upon recovery that he exiled himself and consulted the oracle of Apollo. The oracle told him to perform twelve labors
These Twelve Labors were:
Kill the lion of Nemea. He strangled it without further ado.
Kill the nine-headed Hydra. Two new heads would grow on the Hydra from each fresh wound, and one was immortal. Heracles burned the eight and put the immortal one under a rock.
Capture the Ceryneian Hind. After running after it for many months, he finally trapped it.
Kill the wild boar of Erymanthus. A wild battle, but pretty straightforward: Heracles won.
Clean the Augean Stables of King Augeas. He succeeded only by diverting a nearby river to wash the muck away.
Kill the carnivorous birds of Stymphalis.
Capture the wild bull of Crete.
Capture the man-eating mares of Diomedes.
Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons (not all that easy, actually).
Capture the oxen of Geryon.
Take the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides, which was always guarded by the dragon Ladon. Heracles tricked Atlas into getting he apples by offering to hold the Earth for Atlas. When he returned with the apples, Heracles asked him to take the Earth for a moment so he could go get a pillow for his aching shoulders. Atlas did so, and Heracles left with his apples.
Bring Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Hades, to the surface world.
Heracles was now free to return to Thebes and marry Deianira. Later the centaur Nessus tried to abduct Deianira; Heracles shot him with a poisoned arrow. The dying Nessus told Deianira to keep his blood, as it would always preserve Heracles' love. When Deianira later feared she was being supplanted by Iole, Deianira sent Heracles a garment soaked in Nessus' blood. It poisoned Heracles, who was taken to Olympus and endowed with immortality after death.
ORION ( CONSTANTIO )
Orion was the son of Poseidon and Euryale. Like most of Poseidon’s children, Orion was a man of gigantic proportions. He also was quite the hunter, and the constellation that bears his name forms the shape of a great hunter in a defensive pose against Taurus, the bull.
While a young man Orion fell in love with Merope, the daughter of Oenopion, the king of Chios. (Oenopion’s name means “wine-faced,” and he was the son of Dionysus and Ariadne.) Orion sought to marry Merope and he remained in the king’s service for some time attempting to win his favor, but Oenopion dragged his feet in arranging the marriage. Impatient, Orion raped Merope. Naturally, the king decided to take revenge. He got Orion drunk, and when the giant fell asleep, Oenopion put his eyes out and threw him out towards the sea.
Orion wandered around blind until he bumped into Hephaestus, who, taking pity on him, gave him a boy to help guide him. With the boy on his shoulders as his guide Orion made his way to the east, where the rising sun restored his sight. Once again a while man and extremely angry, Orion set out to kill Oenopion. Fortunately for the king Hephaestus had foreseen this and built Oenopion an underground chamber to keep him safe. Unable to find the king of Chios, Orion gave up, and instead went with Eos, who had fallen in love with him. She took him to Delos, where he served her sexually.
How Orion became separated from Eos is unclear, but he eventually came to be a follower of Artemis. While it is agreed upon that Artemis is the one who killed Orion, the reasons for his death vary. Some say that Orion and Artemis had fallen in love and were even about to marry. Artemis’ brother, Apollo, was displeased with this arrangement, since it was inappropriate for a goddess to involve herself with anyone who was not a god. One say while the three were visiting the sea Orion went walking out into the water. Soon he was so far from shore that only his head bobbed above the surface. Apollo challenged his sister, alleging that she could not hit the small speck far out on the water. Not one to back down from a challenge to her abilities as an archer, Artemis fired an arrow out over the sea, hitting the speck squarely. The speck disappeared under the water, and a few moments later the body of Orion washed up on the shore.
Some say that Orion had raped one of Artemis’ female followers, and so Artemis killed him as punishment. She sent a scorpion after him, which stung him and poisoned him. When Orion and the scorpion were placed among the stars, they were given places far from each other, so that Orion would be out of danger. Even today you can see that when Scorpius is just rising, chasing after Orion, the hunter is just starting to disappear behind the western horizon.
KING ARTHUR ( CONSTANTIO )
Arthur, legendary king of the Britons in ancient times, and the major figure in Arthurian legend. Arthur expelled foreigners from Britain, brought peace to the country, and established a kingdom based on justice, law, and morality. He held court at his castle at Camelot and instituted an order known as the knights of the Round Table. Eventually his realm crumbled, and his illegitimate son Mordred grievously wounded him in battle. Many versions of Arthurian legend say that Arthur will someday return, when he is again needed by Britain.
LADON ( ABRAXAS )
The hundred-headed dragon who guards the garden of the Hesperides and in it the tree with the golden apples. Some sources say that he is a child of Typhon and Echidna, other mention the dragon as a child of Phorcys.
OCEANUS ( ABRAXAS )
The personification of the vast ocean. As geography became more precise, Oceanus began to refer to the water outside of the Pillars of Heracles, or the Atlantic Ocean. He was the eldest of the Titans and a son of Uranus and Gaia. He was the father of all rivers by his sister Tethys. The couple also had the Oceanids which personified springs and smaller bodies of waters, like lakes and ponds.
ERINNYES (furies) ( OCTAGOLLY )
Goddess of vengeance. They are equivalent to the Roman furies. The Furies, who are usually characterized as three sisters (Alecto, Tisiphone, and Magaera) are the children of Gaia and Uranus. They resulted from a drop of Uranus' blood falling onto the earth. Fearful dieties, they were placed in the Underworld by Virgil and it is there that they reside, tormenting evildoers and sinners. However, Greek poets saw them as pursuing sinners on Earth. The Furies are cruel, but are also renowned for being very fair.
TRITON ( OCTAGOLLY )
In Greek mythology, Triton is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite and lives with them in a golden palace in the depths of the sea. He rides the waves on horses and sea monsters and he carries a twisted conch shell, upon which he blows either violently or gently, to stir up or calm the waves. Triton is represented as having the body of a man with the tail of a fish, but sometimes also with the forefeet of a horse.
In later times there was a multiplicity of Tritons, each attending the various divinities associated with the sea.
POSIEDON ( ISOLATO )
Poseidon is a god of many names. He is most famous as the god of the sea. The son of Cronus and Rhea, Poseidon is one of six siblings who eventually "divided the power of the world." His brothers and sisters include: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Zeus. The division of the universe involved him and his brothers, Zeus and Hades. Poseidon became ruler of the sea, Zeus ruled the sky, and Hades got the underworld. The other divinities attributed to Poseidon involve the god of earthquakes and the god of horses. The symbols associated with Poseidon include: dolphins, tridents, and three-pronged fish spears.
Poseidon was relied upon by sailors for a safe voyage on the sea. Many men drowned horses in sacrifice of his honor. He lived on the ocean floor in a palace made of coral and gems, and drove a chariot pulled by horses. However, Poseidon was a very moody divinity, and his temperament could sometimes result in violence. When he was in a good mood, Poseidon created new lands in the water and a calm sea. In contrast, when he was in a bad mood, Poseidon would strike the ground with a trident and cause unruly springs and earthquakes, ship wrecks, and drownings.
Poseidon was similar to his brother Zeus in exerting his power on women and in objectifying masculinity. He had many love affairs and fathered numerous children. Poseidon once married a Nereid, Amphitrite, and produced Triton who was half-human and half-fish. He also impregnated the Gorgon Medusa to conceive Chrysaor and Pegasus, the flying horse. The rape of Aethra by Poseidon resulted in the birth of Theseus; and he turned Caeneus into a man, at her request, after raping her. Another rape involved Amymone when she tried to escape from a satyr and Poseidon saved her. Other offspring of Poseidon include: Eumolpus, the Giant Sinis, Polyphemus, Orion, King Amycus, Proteus, Agenor and Belus from Europa, Pelias, and the King of Egypt, Busiris.
One of the most notorious love affairs of Poseidon involves his sister, Demeter. Poseidon pursued Demeter and to avoid him she turned herself into a mare. In his lust for her, Poseidon transformed himself into a stallion and captured her. Their procreation resulted in a horse, Arion. Poseidon is Greek for "Husband" (possibly of wheat), and therefore it is thought that he and Demeter (goddess of wheat) are a good match because they reign as the god and goddess of fertility.
Another infamous story of Poseidon involves the competition between him and the goddess of war, Athena, for the city of Athens. To win the people of the city over, Poseidon threw a spear at the ground and produced the Spring at the Acropolis. However, Athena won as the result of giving the people of Athens the olive tree. In his anger over the decision, Poseidon flooded the Attic Plain. Eventually, Athena and Poseidon worked together by combining their powers. Even though Poseidon was the god of horses, Athena built the first chariot. Athena also built the first ship to sail on the sea over which Poseidon ruled.
Poseidon often used his powers of earthquakes, water, and horses to inflict fear and punishment on people as revenge. Though he could be difficult and assert his powers over the gods and mortals, Poseidon could be cooperative and it was he who helped the Greeks during the Trojan War. Poseidon is an essential character in the study of Greek mythology.
TYPHON & ECHIDNA ( GRIMWOOD )
TYPHON ( Hetimber ) is the offspring of Gaia and Tartarus. His mate is Echidna and both were so fearful that when the gods saw them they changed into animals and fled in terror. Typhon's hundred, horrible heads touched the stars, venom dripped from his evil eyes, and lava and red-hot stones poured from his gaping mouths. Hissing like a hundred snakes and roaring like a hundred lions, he tore up whole mountains and threw them at the gods.
Zeus soon regained his courage and turned, and when the other gods saw him taking his stand, they came back to help him fight the monster. A terrible battle raged, and hardly a living creature was left on Earth. But Zeus was fated to win, and as Typhon tore up huge Mount Aetna to hurl at the gods, Zeus struck it with a hundred well-aimed thunderbolts and the mountain fell back, pinning Typhon underneath. There the monster lies to this very day, belching fire, lava and smoke through the top of the mountain.
Echidna, his hideous mate, escaped destruction. She cowered in a cave, protecting Typhon's offspring, and Zeus let them live as a challenge to future heroes. Echidna and Typhon's children are the Nemean Lion, Cerberus, Ladon, the Chimera, the Sphinx, and the Hydra.
ECHIDA ( Shetimber ) is the hideously disgusting mate of Typhon and the daughter of Ceto. She has the head of a beautiful nymph, but the body of a serpent. Zeus spared her and her children's lives as challenges to futures heroes. Echidna's children are the Nemean Lion, Cerberus, Ladon, Chimera, Sphinx, and Hydra.
ARTEMIS ( VALENTINA )
The daughter of Leto and Zeus, and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly in cities). She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and was sometimes identified with Selene (goddess of the moon). Artemis was one of the Olympians and a virgin goddess. Her main vocation was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated land with her nymphs in attendance hunting for lions, panthers, hinds and stags. Contradictory to the later, she helped in protecting and seeing to their well-being, also their safety and reproduction. She was armed with a bow and arrows which were made by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes.
In one legend, Artemis was born one day before her brother Apollo. Her mother gave birth to her on the island of Ortygia, then, almost immediately after her birth, she helped her mother to cross the straits over to Delos, where she then delivered Apollo. This was the beginning of her role as guardian of young children and patron of women in childbirth. Being a goddess of contradictions, she was the protectress of women in labor, but it was said that the arrows of Artemis brought them sudden death while giving birth. As was her brother, Apollo, Artemis was a divinity of healing, but also brought and spread diseases such as leprosy, rabies and even gout.
Being associated with chastity, Artemis at an early age (in one legend she was three years old) asked her father, the great god Zeus, to grant her eternal virginity. Also, all her companions were virgins. Artemis was very protective of her purity, and gave grave punishment to any man who attempted to dishonor her in any form. Actaeon, while out hunting, accidentally came upon Artemis and her nymphs, who bathing naked in a secluded pool. Seeing them in all their naked beauty, the stunned Actaeon stopped and gazed at them, but when Artemis saw him ogling them, she transformed him into a stag. Then, incensed with disgust, she set his own hounds upon him. They chased and killed what they thought was another stag, but it was their master. As with Orion, a giant and a great hunter, there are several legends which tell of his death, one involving Artemis. It is said that he tried to rape the virgin goddess, so killed him with her bow and arrows. Another says she conjured up a scorpion which killed Orion and his dog. Orion became a constellation in the night sky, and his dog became Sirius, the dog star. Yet another version says it was the scorpion which stung him and was transformed into the constellation with Orion, the later being Scorpio. Artemis was enraged when one of her nymphs, Callisto, allowed Zeus to seduce her, but the great god approached her in one of his guises; he came in the form of Artemis. The young nymph was unwittingly tricked, and she gave birth to Arcas, the ancestor of the Arcadians, but Artemis showed no mercy and changed her into a bear. She then shot and killed her. As Orion, she was sent up to the heavens, and became the constellation of the Great Bear (which is also known as the Plough).
Artemis was very possessive. She would show her wrath on anyone who disobeyed her wishes, especially against her sacred animals. Even the great hero Agamemnon came upon the wrath of Artemis, when he killed a stag in her sacred grove. His punishment came when his ships were becalmed, while he made his way to besiege Troy. With no winds to sail his ships he was told by the seer Calchas that the only way Artemis would bring back the winds was for him to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Some versions say he did sacrifice Iphigenia, others that Artemis exchanged a deer in her place, and took Iphigenia to the land of the Tauri (the Crimea) as a priestess, to prepare strangers for sacrifice to Artemis.
Artemis with her twin brother, Apollo, put to death the children of Niobe. The reason being that Niobe, a mere mortal, had boasted to Leto, the mother of the divine twins, that she had bore more children, which must make her superior to Leto. Apollo being outraged at such an insult on his mother, informed Artemis. The twin gods hunted them down and shot them with their bows and arrows; Apollo killed the male children and Artemis the girls.
Artemis was worshiped in most Greek cities but only as a secondary deity. However, to the Greeks in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) she was a prominent deity. In Ephesus, a principal city of Asia Minor, a great temple was built in her honor, which became one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". But at Ephesus she was worshiped mainly as a fertility goddess, and was identified with Cybele the mother goddess of eastern lands. The cult statues of the Ephesian Artemis differ greatly from those of mainland Greece, whereas she is depicted as a huntress with her bow and arrows. Those found at Ephesus show her in the eastern style, standing erect with numerous nodes on her chest. There have been many theories as to what they represent. Some say they are breasts, others that they are bulls testes which were sacrificed to her. Which is the true interpretation remains uncertain, but each represent fertility.
There were festivals in honor of Artemis, such as the Brauronia, which was held in Brauron; and the festival of Artemis Orthia, held at Sparta, when young Spartan boys would try to steal cheeses from the altar. As they tried they would be whipped, the meaning of Orthia and the nature of the ritual whipping has been lost and there is no logical explanation or translation. Among the epithets given to Artemis are: Potnia Theron (mistress of wild animals) this title was mentioned by the great poet Homer; Kourotrophos (nurse of youth's); Locheia (helper in childbirth); Agrotera (huntress); and Cynthia (taken from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos). When young girls reached puberty they were initiated into her cult, but when they decided to marry, which Artemis was not against, they were asked to lay in front of the altar all the paraphernalia of their virginity, toys, dolls and locks of their hair, they then left the domain of the virgin goddess.
CHARITES (graces ) ( JINJING )
The Charites, or Graces, are the personifications of charm and beauty in nature and in human life. They love all things beautiful and bestow talent upon mortals. They give shape to the Muses ideas, and together they serve as sources of inspiration in poetry and the arts. Originally, they were goddesses of fertility and nature, closely associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian mysteries.
Aglaea ("Splendor") is the youngest of the Graces and is sometimes represented as the wife of Hephaestus. The other Graces are Euphrosyne ("Mirth") and Thalia ("Good Cheer"). They are usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, or Dionysus and Aphrodite. According to Homer the Graces belonged to the retinue of Aphrodite.
The Romans knew them under the collective name of the Gratiae (qv).
DEMETER ( LARA )
The Greek earth goddess par excellence, who brings forth the fruits of the earth, particularly the various grains. She taught mankind the art of sowing and ploughing so they could end their nomadic existence. As such, Demeter was also the goddess of planned society. She was very popular with the rural population. As a fertility goddess she is sometimes identified with Rhea and Gaia.
In systematized theology, Demeter is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus by whom she became the mother of Persephone. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld, Demeter wandered the earth in search of her lost child. During this time the earth brought forth no grain. Finally Zeus sent Hermes to the underworld, ordering Hades to restore Persephone to her mother. However, before she left, Hades gave her a pomegranate (a common fertility symbol). When she ate from it, she was bound to spend a third of the year with her husband in the infernal regions. Only when her daughter is with her, Demeter lets things grow (summer). The dying and blossoming of nature was thus connected with Demeter.
In the Eleusinian mysteries, Demeter and Persephone were especially venerated. When she was looking for her daughter, in the shape of an old woman called Doso, she was welcomed by Celeus, the king of Eleusis (in Attica). He requested her to nurse his sons Demophon and Triptolemus 1. To reward his hospitality she intended to make the boy Demophon immortal by placing him each night in the hearth, to burn his mortal nature away. The spell was broken one night because Metanira, the wife of Celeus, walked in on her while she was performing this ritual. Demeter taught the other son, Triptolemus, the principles of agriculture, who, in turn, taught others this art. In Demeter's honor as a goddess of marriage, women in Athens, and other centers in Greece, celebrated the feast of Thesmophoria (from her epithet Thesmophoros, "she of the regular customs"). Throughout Classical times members of all social strata came from all parts of the Mediterranean world to be initiated in and celebrate her Mysteries at Eleusis.
In ancient art, Demeter was often portrayed (sitting) as a solemn woman, often wearing a wreath of braided ears of corn. Well-known is the statue made by Knidos (mid forth century BCE). Her usual symbolic attributes are the fruits of the earth and the torch, the latter presumably referring to her search for Persephone. Her sacred animals were the snake (an earth-creature) and the pig (another symbol of fertility). Some of her epithets include Auxesia, Deo, Chloe, and Sito. The Romans equated her with the goddess Ceres.
HERA ( LARA )
The queen of the Olympian deities. She is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and wife and sister of Zeus. Hera was mainly worshipped as a goddess of marriage and birth. It is said that each year Hera's virginity returns by bathing in the well Canathus. The children of Hera and Zeus are the smith-god Hephaestus, the goddess of youth Hebe, and the god of war Ares. According to some sources, however, her children were conceived without the help of a man, either by slapping her hand on the ground or by eating lettuce: thus were born, not out of love but out of lust and hatred.
Writers represented Hera as constantly being jealous of Zeus's various amorous affairs. She punished her rivals and their children, among both goddesses and mortals, with implacable fury. She placed two serpents in the cradle of Heracles; she had Io guarded by a hundred-eyed giant; she drove the foster-parents of Dionysus mad, and tried to prevent the birth of Apollo and Artemis. Even Zeus usually could not stand up to her. Sometimes when he got angry, he chained her to the mountain of Olympus by fastening anvils to her feet. However, most of the time Zeus resorted to stratagems: he either hid his illegitimate children, or he changed them into animals.
Hera's main sanctuary was at Argos in the Peloponnesus, where she was worshipped as the town goddess. Also, in this town the Heraia, public festivities, were celebrated. Other temples stood in Olympia, Mycene, Sparta, Paestum, Corinth, Tiryns, Perachora, and on the islands of Samos and Delos.
The peacock (the symbol of pride; her wagon was pulled by peacocks) and the cow (she was also known as Bopis, meaning "cow-eyed", which was later translated as "with big eyes") are her sacred animals. The crow and the pomegranate (symbol of marriage) are also dedicated to her. Other attributes include a diadem and a veil. Hera is portrayed as a majestic, solemn woman.
Her Roman counterpart is Juno.
GENIUS & LARES ( LARA )
In Roman mythology, the genius was originally the family ancestor who lived in the underworld. Through the male members he secured the existence of the family. Later, the genius became more a protecting or guardian spirit for persons. These spirits guided and protected that person throughout his life. Every man had a genius, to whom he sacrificed on birthdays. It was believed that the genius would bestow success and intellectual powers on its devotees.
Women had their own genius, which was called a juno. The juno was the protector of women, marriage and birth. It was worshipped under many names: Virginalis (juno of the virgin), Matronalis (of the married woman), Pronuba (of the bride), Iugalis (of marriage), etc. Juno was also the name for the queen of the gods.
However, not only individuals had guardian spirits: families, households, and cities had their own. Even the Roman people as a whole had a genius. The genius was usually depicted as a winged, naked youth, while the genius of a place was depicted as a serpent.
LARES, Roman guardian spirits of house and fields. The cult of the Lares is probably derived from the worshipping of the deceased master of the family. It was believed that he blessed the house and brought fertility to the fields. Just like the Penates, the Lares were worshipped in small sanctuaries or shrines, called Lararium, which could be found in every Roman house. They were placed in the atrium (the main room) or in the peristylium (a small open court) of the house. Here people sacrificed food to the Lares on holidays. In contrast to their malignant counterparts the Larvae (Lemures), the Lares are beneficent and friendly spirits.
There were many different types of guardians. The most important are the Lares Familiares (guardians of the family), Lares Domestici (guardians of the house), Lares Patrii and Lares Privati. Other guardians were the Lares Permarini (guardians of the sea), Lares Rurales (guardians of the land), Lares Compitales (guardians of crossroads), Lares Viales (guardians of travelers) and Lares Praestitis (guardians of the state). The Lares are usually depicted as dancing youths, with a horn cup in one hand and a bowl in the other. As progenitors of the family, they were accompanied by symbolic phallic serpents.
CHAOS ( BEEZLE )
Chaos is from the Greek word Khaos, meaning "gaping void". There are many explanations as to who or what Chaos is, but most theories state that it was the void from which all things developed into a distinctive entity, or in which they existed in a confused and amorphous shape before they were separated into genera. In other words, Chaos is or was "nothingness." Though some ancient writers thought it was the primary source of all things, other writers tell of Gaia (Earth) being born from Chaos without a mate, along with Eros and Tartarus. Then from Gaia came Uranus (Heaven or Sky) which gave us Heaven and Earth.
Chaos has been described as the great void of emptiness within the universe from which Eros came and it was he who gave divine order and also perfected all things. In later times it was written that Chaos was a confused shapeless mass from which the universe was developed into a cosmos, or harmonious order. For instance, Hesiod's Theogony says that Erebus and Black Night (Nyx) were born of Chaos, and Ovid the Roman writer described Chaos as an unordered and formless primordial mass. The first Metomorphoses reads, "rather a crude and indigested mass, a lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed, of jarring seeds and justly Chaos named."
ELYSIUM ( MAY-LIN )
Elysium. In Greek mythology, the abode of the blessed, paradise. Situated at the end of the world it is here that those chosen by the gods are sent to.
CHI (YMIR )
The vital force believed in Taoism and other Chinese thought to be inherent in all things. The unimpeded circulation of chi and a balance of its negative and positive forms in the body are held to be essential to good health in traditional Chinese medicine.
CIRCE ( PHAEDRA )
Circe, daughter of the sun, was a sorceress best known for her ability to turn men into animals with her magic wand. The daughter of Perse and Helios, and whose daughter is Aega (goddess of the sun) she is remembered for her encounter with Odysseus and his men, and renowned for her knowledge of magic and poisonous herbs.
When Odysseus and his men landed in Aeaea, his crew later met with Circe and were turned into pigs. Circe's spells however had no effect on Odysseus who earlier was given an herb by Hermes to resist her power. Circe realizing she was powerless over him lifted the spell from the crew and welcomed them in her home. After about a year when Odysseus leaves she warns them of the sirens they will encounter on their journey. Circe and Odysseus also bore a child together named Telegonus who later ruled over the Tyrsenians.
Circe also has the powers for spiritual purification as she purifies the Argonauts for the murder of Apsyrtus.
AMAZONS ( PHAEDRA )
Warrior women, who are described in the Iliad as "antianeirai", meaning: those who go to war like men. They were also described by Herodotus as "androktones", killers of males. It is believed they resided in Pontus, Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) but there are differing views as to how many nations of Amazons there were. The most famous came from Pontus, with Themiscyra as their capital, and it is said that it was this community who built Ephesus on the central west coast of Asia Minor (history records Ephesus as being built circa 1050 BCE. by Ionian Greeks).
The name Amazon is believed to descend from the word amazoi which in Greek means "breast less", deriving from the legend that says they removed their young girls right breast, as to facilitate the drawing of the bow, as the bow and arrows were their main weapon. They also used sword, double sided axe and carried a distinctive crescent shaped shield. Most of their fighting was done from horseback. Some say the breast was removed by cutting, others that it was burnt off while the child was young, and one legend says they removed the breast themselves. As with most mythology there are many variations from different ancient writers as to where they were from and also to the places they traveled. It has been written that they journeyed as far afield as Egypt. With Myrine leading them they defeated the Atlantians, occupied Gorgon and the greater part of Libya, and also crossed Phrygia. This according to Diodorus of Sicily. Homer wrote in his great work the Iliad that the Amazons with Penthesilea went to Troy in aid of King Priam during the Trojan War, and while doing battle Penthesilea was wounded in her right breast. It was the hero Achilles who inflicted the wound, but then fell in love with her great beauty.
The great Heracles had to travel to the lands of the Amazons to complete the ninth labor imposed on him by Eurystheus. This labor became known as the "Girdle of Hippolyte" and his task was to bring back this symbolic girdle which had been given to the Amazons by the god of war Ares. It has been said that the Amazons were descendants of Ares and Otrera. Heracles took the girdle, but unfortunately he killed queen Hippolyta. Theseus the Athenian hero abducted Antiope the sister of Hippolyta, and he took her back to Athens. In some versions Theseus married her and in others he married Hippolyta. The legend tells of the Amazons invading Attica to take back their queen, and on reaching Athens a great battle took place, but the Athenians were glorious. This scene has been depicted in art by the Greeks in many forms, but probably the most famous are the architectural marble carvings from the Parthenon, this form of sculpture is known as Amazonomachy.
They worshiped Artemis the virgin goddess of the hunt, and Ares the god of war. There are many variations to the all female tribe. As how they multiplied, some say the Amazons met with men from nearby societies, then after choosing a suitable partner would take them into the darkness of the forest and there they would couple with them. When the time came, and if they gave birth to a male, they would kill, blind or cripple the infant. If they kept them alive they would then use them when they grew into young men (if they were suitable) as a supply of male seed. They also took men prisoner in battle, after choosing the most handsome they then used them for their sexual pleasure, and would either kill them or use them as slaves once their usefulness had been expended.
SIRENS ( PHAEDRA )
In Greek mythology, the Sirens are creatures with the head of a female and the body of a bird. They lived on an island (Sirenum scopuli; three small rocky islands) and with the irresistible charm of their song they lured mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrounding their island (Virgil V, 846; Ovid XIV, 88).
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 (Odyssey XII, 39).
Homer mentions only two sirens, but later authors mention three or four. They were regarded as the daughters of Phorcys, or the storm god Achelous. According to Ovid, they were nymphs and the play-mates of Persephone. They were present when she was abducted and, because they did not interfere, Demeter changed them into birds with female faces (Ovid V, 551).
PERSEPHONE ( PHAEDRA )
Persephone is the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Persephone was such a beautiful girl that everyone loved her, even Hades wanted her for himself. When she was a little girl, she and the Oceanids were collecting flowers on the plain of Enna, when suddenly the earth opened and Hades rose up from the gap and abducted her. None but Zeus had noticed it.
Broken-hearted, Demeter wandered the earth, looking for her daughter until Helios, the all-seeing, revealed what had happened. Demeter was so angry that she withdrew herself in loneliness, and all fertility on earth stopped. Finally, Zeus sent Hermes down to Hades to make him release Persephone. Hades grudgingly agreed, but before she went back he gave Persephone a pomegranate to eat, thus she would always be connected to his realm and had to stay there one-third of the year. The other months she remained with her mother. When Persephone was in Hades, Demeter refused to let anything grow and winter began. This myth is a symbol of the budding and dying of nature. In the Eleusinian mysteries, this happening was celebrated in honor of Demeter and Persephone, who was known in this cult as Kore.
The Romans called her Proserpina.
GAIA ( TEO )
Gaia, known as Earth or Mother Earth (the Greek common noun for "land" is ge or ga). She was an early earth goddess and it is written that Gaia was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe, and with her came Eros. She gave birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (the Sky). This was achieved parthenogenetically (without male intervention). Other versions say that Gaia had as siblings Tartarus (the lowest part of the earth, below Hades itself) and Eros, and without a mate, gave birth to Uranus (Sky), Ourea (Mountains) and Pontus (Sea).
Gaia took as her husband Uranus, who was also her son, and their offspring included the Titans, six sons and six daughters. She gave birth to the Cyclopes and to three monsters that became known as the "Hecatonchires". The spirits of punishment known as the Erinyes were also offspring of Gaia and Uranus. The Gigantes, finally, were conceived after Uranus had been castrated by his son Cronus, and his blood fell to earth from the open wound.
To protect her children from her husband, (the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, as he was fearful of their great strength), Gaia hid them all within herself. One version says that Uranus was aghast at the sight of his offspring so he hid them away in Tartarus, which are the bowels of the earth. Gaia herself found her offspring uncomfortable and at times painful, when the discomfort became to much to bear she asked her youngest son Cronus to help her. She asked him to castrate Uranus, thus severing the union between the Earth and Sky, and also to prevent more monstrous offspring. To help Cronus achieve his goal Gaia produced an adamantine sickle to serve as the weapon. Cronus hid until Uranus came to lay with Gaia and as Uranus drew near, Cronus struck with the sickle, cutting the genitalia from Uranus. Blood fell from the severed genitals and came in contact with the earth and from that union was born the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees).
After the separation of the Earth from the Sky, Gaia gave birth to other offspring, these being fathered by Pontus. Their names were the sea-god Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia. In other versions Gaia had offspring to her brother Tartarus; they were Echidna and Typhon, the later being an enemy of Zeus. Apollo killed Typhon when he took control of the oracle at Delphi, which Gaia originally provided, and then the "Sibyl" sang the oracle in Gaia's shrine.
It was Gaia who saved Zeus from being swallowed by Cronus, after Zeus had been born, Gaia helped Rhea to wrap a stone in swaddling clothes, this was to trick Cronus in to thinking it was Zeus, because Cronus had been informed that one of his children would depose him, and so to get rid of his children he had swallowed them, Gaia's trick worked and Zeus was then taken to Crete.
Gaia being the primordial element from which all the gods originated was worshiped throughout Greece, but later she went into decline and was supplanted by other gods. In Roman mythology she was known as Tellus or Terra.
THEIA ( SHANA )
“The divine”, Theia is one of the Titans. Her husband and brother is Hyperion with whom she had three children - Helios (the sun), Eos (the dawn) and Selene (the moon).
ETHER ( Aither ) ( XANADU )
Aither was the Protogenos (first-born elemental god) of the bright, glowing upper atmosphere (as opposed to the gloomy lower Aer of the earth). His mother Nyx (Night) drew the dark mists of Erebos across the sky beneath him to create night, while his sister Hemera (Day) drew away these mists to reveal his shining glow and bring the day.
Night and day were regarded as independent of the sun in the ancient theogonies.
MINOTAUR ( HONOS )
Before he ascended the throne of Crete, Minos struggled with his brothers for the right to rule. Minos prayed to Poseidon to send him a snow-white bull, as a sign of approval by the gods for his reign. He promised to sacrifice the bull as an offering, and as a symbol of subservience. A beautiful white bull rose from the sea, but when Minos saw it, he coveted it for himself. He assumed that Poseidon would not mind, so he kept it and sacrificed the best specimen from his herd instead. When Poseidon learned about the deceit, he made Pasipha, Minos' wife, fall madly in love with the bull. She had Daedalus, the famous architect, make a wooden cow for her. Pasipha climbed into the decoy and fooled the white bull. The offspring of their lovemaking was a monster called the Minotaur.
The creature had the head and tail of a bull on the body of a man. It caused such terror and destruction on Crete that Daedalus was summoned again, but this time by Minos himself. He ordered the architect to build a gigantic, intricate labyrinth from which escape would be impossible. The Minotaur was captured and locked in the labyrinth. Every year for nine years, seven youths and maidens came as tribute from Athens. These young people were also locked in the labyrinth for the Minotaur to feast upon.
When the Greek hero Theseus reached Athens, he learned of the Minotaur and the sacrifices, and wanted to end this. He volunteered to go to Crete as one of the victims. Upon his arrival in Crete, he met Ariadne, Minos's daughter, who fell in love with him. She promised she would provide the means to escape from the maze if he agreed to marry her. When Theseus did, she gave him a simple ball of thread, which he was to fasten close to the entrance of the maze. He made his way through the maze, while unwinding the thread, and he stumbled upon the sleeping Minotaur. He beat it to death and led the others back to the entrance by following the thread.
HERMES ( NIKI )
Hermes, the herald of the Olympian gods, is son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of the Pleiades. Hermes is the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. Most importantly, he is the messenger of the gods. Besides that he was also a minor patron of poetry. He was worshiped throughout Greece -- especially in Arcadia -- and festivals in his honor were called Hermoea.
According to legend, Hermes was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Zeus had impregnated Maia at the dead of night while all other gods slept. When dawn broke amazingly he was born. Maia wrapped him in swaddling bands, then resting herself, fell fast asleep. Hermes, however, squirmed free and ran off to Thessaly. This is where Apollo, his brother, grazed his cattle. Hermes stole a number of the herd and drove them back to Greece. He hid them in a small grotto near to the city of Pylos and covered their tracks. Before returning to the cave he caught a tortoise, killed it and removed its entrails. Using the intestines from a cow stolen from Apollo and the hollow tortoise shell, he made the first lyre. When he reached the cave he wrapped himself back into the swaddling bands. When Apollo realized he had been robbed he protested to Maia that it had been Hermes who had taken his cattle. Maia looked to Hermes and said it could not be, as he is still wrapped in swaddling bands. Zeus the all powerful intervened saying he had been watching and Hermes should return the cattle to Apollo. As the argument went on, Hermes began to play his lyre. The sweet music enchanted Apollo, and he offered Hermes to keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre. Apollo later became the grand master of the instrument, and it also became one of his symbols. Later while Hermes watched over his herd he invented the pipes known as a syrinx (pan-pipes), which he made from reeds. Hermes was also credited with inventing the flute. Apollo, also desired this instrument, so Hermes bartered with Apollo and received his golden wand which Hermes later used as his heralds staff. (In other versions Zeus gave Hermes his heralds staff).
Being the herald (messenger of the gods), it was his duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld, which is known as a psychopomp. He was also closely connected with bringing dreams to mortals. Hermes is usually depicted with a broad-brimmed hat or a winged cap, winged sandals and the heralds staff (kerykeion in Greek, or Caduceus in Latin). It was often shown as a shaft with two white ribbons, although later they were represented by serpents intertwined in a figure of eight shape, and the shaft often had wings attached. The clothes he donned were usually that of a traveler, or that of a workman or shepherd. Other symbols of Hermes are the cock, tortoise and purse or pouch.
Originally Hermes was a phallic god, being attached to fertility and good fortune, and also a patron of roads and boundaries. His name coming from herma, the plural being hermaiherm was a square or rectangular pillar in either stone or bronze, with the head of Hermes (usually with a beard), which adorned the top of the pillar, and male genitals near to the base of the pillar. These were used for road and boundary markers. Also in Athens they stood outside houses to help fend off evil. In Athens of 415 BCE, shortly before the Athenian fleet set sail against Syracuse (during the Peloponnesian War), all the herms throughout Athens were defaced. This was attributed to people who were against the war. Their intentions were to cast bad omens on the expedition, by seeking to offend the god of travel. (This has never been proved as the true reason for the mutilation of the herms.)
The offspring of Hermes are believed to be Pan, Abderus and Hermaphroditus. Hermes as with the other gods had numerous affairs with goddesses, nymphs and mortals. In some legends even sheep and goats. Pan, the half man half goat, is believed to be the son of Hermes and Dryope, the daughter of king Dryops. Pan terrified his mother when he was born, so much so that she fled in horror at the sight of her new born son. Hermes took Pan to Mount Olympus were the gods reveled in his laughter and his appearance and became the patron of fields, woods, shepherds and flocks. Abderus, a companion of the hero Heracles, is also thought to be a son of Hermes, he was devoured by the Mares of Diomedes, after Heracles had left him in charge of the ferocious beasts. Hermaphroditus (also known as Aphroditus) was conceived after the union of Hermes and Aphrodite. He was born on Mount Ida but he was raised by the Naiads (nymphs of freshwater). He was a androgynous (having the characteristics of both sexes) deity, depicted as either a handsome young man but with female breasts, or as Aphrodite with male genitals.
It was Hermes who liberated Io, the lover of Zeus, from the hundred-eyed giant Argus, who had been ordered by Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, to watch over her. Hermes charmed the giant with his flute, and while Argos slept Hermes cut off his head and released Io. Hera, as a gesture of thanks to her loyal servant, scattered the hundred eyes of Argos over the tail of a peacock (Heras' sacred bird). Hermes also used his ingenuity and abilities to persuade the nymph Calypso to release Odysseus, the wandering hero, from her charms. She had kept Odysseus captive, after he was shipwrecked on her island Ogygia, promising him immortality if he married her, but Zeus sent Hermes to release Odysseus. Legend says that Calypso died of grief when Odysseus sailed away. Hermes also saved Odysseus and his men from being transformed into pigs by the goddess and sorceress Circe. He gave them a herb which resisted the spell. Hermes also guided Eurydice back down to the underworld after she had been allowed to stay for one day on earth with her husband Orpheus.
Known for his swiftness and athleticism, Hermes was given credit for inventing foot-racing and boxing. At Olympia a statue of him stood at the entrance to the stadium and his statues where in every gymnasium throughout Greece. Apart from herms, Hermes was a popular subject for artists. Both painted pottery and statuary show him in various forms, but the most fashionable depicted him as a good-looking young man, with an athletic body, and winged sandals and his heralds staff. His Roman counterpart Mercury inherited his attributes, and there are many Roman copies of Greek artistic creations of Hermes.
AUSTER-SW ( SPRING )
The personification of the south wind which brought fogs and rain or sultry heat. He is equivalent with the Greek Notus. It is the modern sirocco.
ZEPHYRUS-WW ( SUMMER )
Zephyrus is the Greek god of the west wind, believed to live in a cave on Thrace. He is the son of Eos and Astraeus, the brother of Boreas, Eurus and Notus. He abducted the goddess Chloris and gave her dominion over flowers. In Roman myth, he is Favonius, the protector of flowers and plants.
EURUS-EW ( AUTUMN )
Eurus was the child of Eos and Astraeus. Eurus is the Greek god of the east wind, and his siblings, the other winds. The Greeks were not sure whether the winds were male or female, but they knew that they had wings. Eurus was the wind who brought warmth and rain from the east. A symbol showing this was a vase inverted, pouring out rain. Eurus was the unfavorable one. His Roman equivalent is Vulturnus.
BOREAS-NW ( WINTER )
The Greek god of the North Wind who lived in Thrace. He is depicted as being winged, extremely strong, bearded and normally clad in a short pleated tunic. He is the son of Eos and Astraeus, and the brother of Zephyrus, Eurus and Notus.
Boreas has two sons, two daughters and twelve mares which can race over the ground without destroying the grain. When the Persian navy of Xerxes threatened the city of Athens, the Athenians begged his assistance. The Great Wind of the Wintery North blew his anger at the Persians and 400 Persian ships sank immediately. Among other violent acts he abducted Oreithyia, the daughter of the king of Athens, when she was playing on the banks of the Ilissus. In Latin, he is called Aquilo.
AEOLUS ( EONS )
Custodian of the four winds. A minor deity, he is the son of a king called Hippotes, and lived on one of the rocky Lipara islands, close to Sicily. In the caves on this island were imprisoned the winds, and Aeolos, directed by the higher gods, let out these winds as soft breezes, gales, or whatever the higher gods wished. Being visited by the Greek hero Odysseus, Aeolos received him favorably, and on the hero's departure presented Odysseus with a bag containing all the adverse winds, so that his friend might reach Ithaca with a fair wind. Odysseus did as Aeolos bid, but in sight of his homeland, having been untroubled by foul weather, he fell asleep and his men, curious, opened the bag, thus releasing all the fierce winds, which blew their ship far off course (Odyssey X, 2; Vigil I, 52).
Aeolus is also the name of the legendary ancestor of the Aeolians.
CHRONOS ( EONS )
Chronus ( Khronos ) was the ancient personification of time and the eldest of the PROTOGENOI (first born gods). He was described as being a wise old white-haired god who turned the wheels of time (perhaps revolving the heavenly constellations). Not to be mistaken for Cronos
CRONUS ( EONS )
Cronus ( Kronos ) was youngest of the Titans and the god of time as it affects the course of human life (as opposed to Khronos the ancient god of the ages). He was the king of the gods before Zeus. With his sicle, Cronus castrated and overthrew his own father Ouranos and ruled the world during the golden age of mankind, a time when it was said that people lived without greed or violence, and without toil or the need for laws.
But in fear of a prophecy that he would be overthrown by his son, he swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea saved the youngest Zeus, hiding him away in Krete, and fed Kronos a stone in his place. Zeus grew up and led the gods in a ten year war against Kronos and the Titanes casting them into the pit of Tartaros.
Many human generations later Zeus released Kronos and his brothers from this prison and made the old Titan the king of Elysium.
GRIFFIN ( PAX )
The Griffin is a legendary creature with the head, beak and wings of an eagle, the body of a lion and occasionally the tail of a serpent or scorpion. Its origin lies somewhere in the Middle East where it is found in the paintings and sculptures of the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Persians. In Greek mythology, they took gold from the stream Arimaspias and, neighbors of the Hyperboreans, they belonged to Zeus. The later Romans used them for decoration and even in Christian times the Griffin motif often appears. Griffins were frequently used as gargoyles on medieval churches and buildings.
HYPERBOREANS ( PAX )
A legendary people believed to live "beyond the north wind", at the edge of the world, in a land of unbroken sunshine. Here they enjoy continuous and perfect happiness. Apollo spends the winter among the Hyperboreans, and also the heroes Heracles and Perseus visited them.
DIONYSUS ( NILES )
Dionysus, also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus, appears to be a god who has two distinct origins. On the one hand, Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature, who is also the patron god of the Greek stage. On the other hand, Dionysus also represents the outstanding features of mystery religions, such as those practiced at Eleusis: ecstasy, personal delivery from the daily world through physical or spiritual intoxication, and initiation into secret rites. Scholars have long suspected that the god known as Dionysus is in fact a fusion of a local Greek nature god, and another more potent god imported rather late in Greek pre-history from Phrygia (the central area of modern day Turkey) or Thrace.
According to one myth, Dionysus is the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman, Semele (daughter of Cadmus of Thebes). Semele is killed by Zeus' lightning bolts while Dionysus is still in her womb. Dionysus is rescued and undergoes a second birth from Zeus after developing in his thigh. Zeus then gives the infant to some nymphs to be raised. In another version, one with more explicit religious overtones, Dionysus, also referred to as Zagreus in this account, is the son of Zeus and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Hera gets the Titans to lure the infant with toys, and then they rip him to shreds eating everything but Zagreus' heart, which is saved by either Athena, Rhea, or Demeter. Zeus remakes his son from the heart and implants him in Semele who bears a new Dionysus Zagreus. Hence, as in the earlier account, Dionysus is called "twice born." The latter account formed a part of the Orphic religion's religious mythology.
It does seem clear that Dionysus, at least the Phrygian Dionysus, was a late arrival in the Greek world and in Greek mythology. He is hardly mentioned at all in the Homeric epics, and when he is it is with some hostility. A number of his stories are tales of how Dionysus moved into a city, was resisted, and then destroyed those who opposed him. The most famous account of this is that of Euripides in his play the Bacchae. He wrote this play while in the court of King Archelaus of Macedon, and nowhere do we see Dionysus more destructive and his worship more dangerous than in this play. Scholars have speculated not unreasonably that in Macedon Euripides discovered a more extreme form of the religion of Dionysus being practiced than the more civil, quiet forms in Athens.
Briefly, Dionysus returns to Thebes, his putative birthplace, where his cousin Pentheus is king. He has returned to punish the women of Thebes for denying that he was a god and born of a god. Pentheus is enraged at the worship of Dionysus and forbids it, but he cannot stop the women, including his mother Agave, or even the elder statesmen of the kingdom from swarming to the wilds to join the Maenads (a term given to women under the ecstatic spell of Dionysus) in worship. Dionysus lures Pentheus to the wilds where he is killed by the Maenads and then mutilated by Agave.
URANUS ( SHANA )
Uranus, also known as Ouranos, was the embodiment of the sky or heavens, and known as the god of the sky. He was the first son of Gaia (the earth) and he also became her husband. According to Hesiod, their children included the Titans: six sons (Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Cronus) and six daughters (Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys). There were other offspring: the Cyclopes, (who were named Brontes, Steropes and Arges and were later known as "one eyed giants"), and also the three monsters known as the Hecatonchires, who each had one hundred hands and fifty heads. Their names were Briareus, Cottus and Gyes. Other offspring of Uranus and Gaia were the Erinyes, who were spirits of punishment and goddesses of vengeance. The Erinyes avenged wrongs which were done to family, especially murder within a family. After Uranus had been castrated, his blood fell to earth (Gaia) and conceived the Giants. These were of monstrous appearance and had great strength . Similiarly, in some versions Aphrodite is believed to have risen from the foam created by the sex organs of Uranus after they were thrown into the sea by his son Cronus.
Uranus was aghast by the sight of his offspring, the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. (In a differing version Uranus was frightened of their great strength and the fact that they could easily depose him). He hid them away in Tartarus (the bowels of the earth) inside Gaia, causing her intense pain. The discomfort became so great that she asked her youngest son, Cronus, to castrate his father, as this would cease his fertility and put an end to more monstrous offspring. To accomplish this deed Gaia made an adamantine sickle, which she gave to Cronus. That night Uranus came to lay with Gaia. And as the sky god drew close, Cronus struck with the sickle and cut off Uranus's genitals. From the blood that fell from the open wound were born nymphs and giants, and when Cronus threw the severed genitals into the sea a white foam appeared. From this foam Aphrodite the goddess of love and desire was born.
A slightly differing version tells of Uranus being so vast that he could cover Mother Earth (Gaia) and easily take advantage of her fruitfulness, but Gaia tired of her exuberant fertility and begged her sons to free her from the excessive embrace of Uranus. All refused except Cronus. Armed with a sickle he castrated Uranus, and the blood which fell from the mutilation gave birth to the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees). And when Cronus threw the sickle into the sea the island of Corfu, home of the Phaeacians, sprang up).
After Uranus (the sky) had been emasculated, the sky separated from Gaia (the earth) and Cronus became king of the gods. Later, Zeus (the son of Cronus) deposed his father and became the supreme god of the Greek Pantheon.
HYPERION ( SHANA )
Hyperion, “The One Above” , is a Titan and a son of Uranus and Gaia. He is married to his sister Theia and has three children - Helios, Selene and Eos. The name Hyperion means "he who goes before the sun" and may have arisen because he was sometimes thought of as the sun.
SOCRATES ( AMBROSE )
Socrates's contributions to philosophy were a new method of approaching knowledge, a conception of the soul as the seat both of normal waking consciousness and of moral character, and a sense of the universe as purposively mind-ordered. His method, called dialectic , consisted in examining statements by pursuing their implications, on the assumption that if a statement were true it could not lead to false consequences. The method may have been suggested by Zeno of Elea , but Socrates refined it and applied it to ethical problems.
His doctrine of the soul led him to the belief that all virtues converge into one, which is the good, or knowledge of one's true self and purposes through the course of a lifetime. Knowledge in turn depends on the nature or essence of things as they really are, for the underlying forms of things are more real than their experienced exemplifications. This conception leads to a teleological view of the world that all the forms participate in and lead to the highest form, the form of the good. Plato later elaborated this doctrine as central to his own philosophy. Socrates's view is often described as holding virtue and knowledge to be identical, so that no man knowingly does wrong. Since virtue is identical with knowledge, it can be taught, but not as a professional specialty as the Sophists had pretended to teach it. However, Socrates himself gave no final answer to how virtue can be learned.
DEMOSTHENES ( AMBROSE )
Greek orator, generally considered the greatest of the Greek orators. He was a pupil of Isaeus, andalthough the story of his putting pebbles in his mouth to improve his voice is only a legendhe seems to have been forced to overcome a weak voice and delivery.
After years of private practice in law, he became a political orator in 351 BC when he delivered the first of three Philippics. Philip II of Macedon had been steadily building power, and Demosthenes saw clearly the danger to Greek liberty in the great Macedonian state. The Philippics (the second in 344, the third in 341) and the three Olynthiacs (349), in which he urged aid for Olynthus against Philip, were all directed toward arousing Greece against the conqueror. The third of the Philippics is generally considered the finest of his orations. In On the Peace (346) Demosthenes urged an end to the Phocian War.
HESTIA ( CELESTE )
Hestia is the Greek goddess of the hearth fire, hence presiding over domestic life. She is the eldest sister of Zeus and the oldest daughter of Rhea and Cronus.
She was a virgin-goddess, and when wooed by Poseidon and Apollo, swore by the head of Zeus to remain a virgin. She had no throne, but tended the sacred fire in the hall on the Olympus and every hearth on Earth was her altar. She is the gentlest of all the Olympians.
Hestia also symbolized the alliance of the Metropolis ("mother-city") with the smaller settlements which were founded in the colonies. The colonists took fire from the hearth in the prytaneion and kept it burning in their new towns. The Romans called her Vesta, and build a temple for her in the Forum.
The MOIRAE ( KOSMOS )
The Fates, or Moirae, were the goddesses who controlled the destiny of everyone from the time they were born to the time they died. They were: Clotho, the spinner, who spun the thread of a person’s life, Lachesis, the apportioner, who decided how much time was to be allowed each person, and Atropos, the inevitable, who cut the thread when you were supposed to die. Even though the other gods were almighty, and supposedly immortal, even Hera had reason to fear them. All were subject to the whims of the Fates. Ministers of the Fates were always oracles or soothsayers (seers of the future). The Fates were very important, but it is still unknown to who their parents were. There is some speculation that they might be the daughters of Zeus, however, this is debatable.
The Fates were often depicted as ugly hags, cold and unmerciful. But the Fates were not always deaf to the pleading of others. When Atropos cut the thread of King Admetus, who happened to be Apollo’s friend, Apollo begged the Fates to undo their work. It was not in their power to do so, but they promised that if someone took Admetus’ place in the gloomy world of Hades’ domain, he would live. The king’s wife, Alcetis, said she would take his place. But Hercules, who happened to be Admetus’ guest, rescued her from the underworld, and Admetus an Alcetis were reunited.
PEGASUS ( DESERATA )
In Greek mythology, Pegasus is the winged horse that was fathered by Poseidon with Medusa. When her head was cut of by the Greek hero Perseus, the horse sprang forth from her pregnant body. His galloping created the well Hippocrene on the Helicon (a mountain in Boeotia).
When the horse was drinking from the well Pirene on the Acrocotinth, Bellerophon's fortress, the Corinthian hero was able to capture the horse by using a golden bridle, a gift from Athena. The gods then gave him Pegasus for killing the monster Chimera but when he attempted to mount the horse it threw him off and rose to the heavens, where it became a constellation (north of the ecliptic).
In another version, Bellerophon killed the Chimera while riding on Pegasus, and when he later attempted to ride to the summit of Mount Olympus, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting the horse, and it threw Bellerophon off its back.
GANYMEDES (Aquarius) ( MAX WRIGHT )
Ganymede is the young, beautiful boy that became one of Zeus’ lovers. One source of the myth says that Zeus fell in love with Ganymede when he spotted him herding his flock on Mount Ida. Zeus then came down in the form of an eagle or sent an eagle to carry Ganymede to Mount Olympus where Ganymede became cupbearer to the gods. According to other accounts, Eos kidnapped Ganymede, to be her lover, at the same time she kidnapped Tithonus. Zeus then robbed Eos of Ganymede, in return granting Eos the wish that Tithonus be immortal. Unthinkingly, Eos forgot to ask that Tithonus remain youthful. Everyday, the faithful Eos watched over Tithonus, until one day she locked him in a room and left him to get old by himself.
When Ganymede’s father, King Tros of Troy or Laomedon, found out about Ganymede’s disappearance, he grieved so hard that Zeus sent Hermes on his behalf to give Tros or Laomedon two storm footed horses. In other accounts, Zeus gave Tros a golden vine and two swift horses that could run over water. Hermes was also ordered to assure the bereaved father that Ganymede was and would be immortal. Later, Heracles asked for the two beautiful horses in exchange for destroying the sea monster sent by Poseidon to besiege the city of Troy. Tros agreed and Heracles became the owner of the bribe sent by Zeus to Tros.
Upon hearing that Ganymede was to be cup bearer as well as Zeus’ lover, the infinitely jealous Hera was outraged. Therefor Zeus set Ganymede’s image among the stars as the constellation Aquarius, the water carrier. Aquarius was originally the Egyptian god over the Nile. The Egyptian god poured water not wine from a flagon.
YANG ( MAX WRIGHT )
Masculine “positive” element: the principle of light, heat, motivation and masculinity in Chinese philosophy that is the counterpart of yin. The dual, opposite, and complementary principles of yin and yang are thought to exist in varying proportions in all things. See also yin
ATLAS ( PANDAS )
Atlas was the younger Titan-god of daring thoughts. After rebelling against Zeus he was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders. According to some he was later released from this burden and made guardian of the pillars that were set to hold the heavens aloft in his stead.
MORPHEUS and the ONEIROI ( FLUX )
The Oneiroi are the personified deities of specific types of dreams such as nightmares, dreams of passion, etc. They were thought to dwell on the shores of the Ocean in the extreme west. True dreams issue from a gate of horn, while deceptive dreams issue from a gate of ivory. The most important one is Morpheus, the god of dreams. His brothers are Icelus, Phobetor and Phantasos. At his command, they sent forth the various shapes that appear in the dreams of humans.
PROTEUS ( FLUX )
Proteus is a prophetic sea divinity, son of either Poseidon or Oceanus. He usually stays on the Island of Pharos, near Egypt, where he herds the seals of Poseidon. He will foretell the future to those who can seize him, but when caught he assumes all possible varying forms to avoid prophesying. When held fast despite his struggles, he will assume his usual form of an old man and tell the future.
NEREUS ( FLUX )
Nereus is the righteous and all-wise "old man of the sea", god of the Mediterranean Sea, son of Gaia and Pontus. His wife is Doris and she became by him the mother of the fifty Nereids, friendly sea-nymps. Nereus is a gentle and very wise old man who has the power to foretell the future, but he will not answer questions unless he was caught and to avoid that he would change his shape (such as when Heracles came to ask him the way to the Garden of the Hesperides). The domain of Nereus and his fifty daughters is especially he Aegean Sea where he has saved many ships from destruction.
ARES ( UTHOR the RED )
Ares, the Greek god of war, is tall and handsome, but vain and as cruel as his brother Hephaestus was kind. His sister Eris, the goddess of strife, is his constant companion, but he is also attended by his sons Deimos and Phobos, as well as Enyo, an old war-goddess.
When Ares heard the clashing of arms, he grinned with glee, put on his gleaming helmet, and leapt into his war chariot. Brandishing his sword, he rushed into the thick of battle, not caring who won or lost as long as blood was shed. A vicious crowd followed at his heels, carrying with them Pain, Panic, Famine and Oblivion. Once in a while, Ares was wounded. He was immortal but whenever he would get hurt he would run back to his father, Zeus and was healed. Needless to say, Zeus was very disgusted with his son. Ares was mainly worshipped in Thracia, a region known for its fierce people.
HYBRIS ( UTHOR the RED )
In Greek mythology, Hybris is the personification of a lack of restraint, insolence, arrogance and violence. Opposed to justice, peace and order, Hybris was really not so powerful as he thought and so spent much of his time among mortals.
JASON ( DAVID )
Jason, the son of Aeson, was the leader of the Argonauts and the husband of Medea. Because of a prophecy that Jason would someday do him harm, King Pelias of Iolcos sent Jason on a seemingly impossible quest to bring the Golden Fleece back from distant Colchis. For the quest, Jason assembled a crew of heroes from all over Greece; Argos built for the heroes the largest ship ever constructed, the Argo.
On the voyage to Colchis, in addition to other adventures, Jason and his crew of Argonauts became the first humans to pass through the Symplegades (the Clashing Rocks); they also freed Phineus from the curse of the Harpies. When they arrived at Colchis, King Aeetes demanded that Jason accomplish a series of tasks to get the Golden Fleece: he must yoke a team of fierce, fire-breathing oxen and plow a field with them; then he must sow the teeth of a dragon in the field, and deal with the warlike armored men who sprouted from these "seeds"; finally, he must brave the sleepless dragon who guarded the Fleece. Jason accomplished all these tasks with the help of Medea, Aeetes' daughter, who had fallen in love with him. After obtaining the Golden Fleece, Jason and Medea fled from Colchis, pursued by King Aeetes' men.
On their voyage back to Iolcos, they encountered the perils of Scylla and Charybdis and the isle of the Sirens as well as Talos the bronze guardian of Crete. In Iolcos, Medea contrived the murder of King Pelias, after which she and Jason fled to Corinth. In Corinth, after many years of marriage, Jason finally deserted Medea to marry King Creon's daughter; Medea wreaked a terrible vengeance, killing the bride and Creon, and even murdering her own children. She then escaped, leaving Jason to mourn his losses. Jason was killed years later when he was struck on the head by a timber from the Argo.
SATYRE (satrys) ( QUOTES )
In Greek mythology the satyrs are deities of the woods and mountains. They are half human and half beast; they usually have a goat's tail, flanks and hooves. While the upper part of the body is that of a human, they also have the horns of a goat. They are the companions of Dionysus, the god of wine, and they spent their time drinking, dancing, and chasing nymphs. The Italian version of the satyr is the faun.
PAN ( QUOTES )
The Greek god of shepherds and flocks, who was especially popular in Arcadia. He is a son of the god Hermes. He was depicted as a satyr with a reed pipe, a shepherd's crook and a branch of pine or crown of pine needles. He had a wrinkled face with a very prominent chin. On his forehead were two horns and his body was hairy. He was a swift runner and climbed rocks with ease. Pan belonged to the retinue of Dionysus.
Pan was also a god of fertility, unbridled male sexuality and carnal desire. He chased nymphs through the forests and mountains in the shape of a goat. Pan was not very liked by the other Greek gods.
ORPHEUS ( QUOTES )
Orpheus was the son of Calliope and either Oeagrus or Apollo. He was the greatest musician and poet of Greek myth, whose songs could charm wild beasts and coax even rocks and trees into movement. He was one of the Argonauts, and when the Argo had to pass the island of the Sirens, it was Orpheus' music which prevented the crew from being lured to destruction.
When Orpheus' wife, Eurydice, was killed by the bite of a serpent, he went down to the underworld to bring her back. His songs were so beautiful that Hades finally agreed to allow Eurydice to return to the world of the living. However, Orpheus had to meet one condition: he must not look back as he was conducting her to the surface. Just before the pair reached the upper world, Orpheus looked back, and Eurydice slipped back into the netherworld once again.
Orpheus was inconsolable at this second loss of his wife. He spurned the company of women and kept apart from ordinary human activities. A group of Ciconian Maenads, female devotees of Dionysus, came upon him one day as he sat singing beneath a tree. They attacked him, throwing rocks, branches, and anything else that came to hand. However, Orpheus' music was so beautiful that it charmed even inanimate objects, and the missiles refused to strike him. Finally, the Maenads' attacked him with their own hands, and tore him to pieces. Orpheus' head floated down the river, still singing, and came to rest on the isle of Lesbos.
TYCHE (fortuna) ( JOJO )
A Greek goddess of happy outcomes, and associated with good fortune and chance, and then of prosperity. She was a very popular goddess and several Greek cities choose her as their protectress. In later times, cities had their own special Tyche. She is regarded as a daughter of Zeus (Pindar) or as a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys (Hesiod). She is associated with Nemesis and with Agathos Daimon ("good spirit"). Tyche was portrayed with a cornucopia, a rudder of destiny, and a wheel of fortune. The Romans identified her with their Fortuna.
THE CRUSADER KNIGHT ( AFFIRMARE )
Personification of Chivalry, the perfect knight, Galhad, Saint Geroge, this Paladin is all champions rolled into one gallant man of iron.
APOLLO ( PHOEBUS )
The son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo was the god of music (principally the lyre, and he directed the choir of the Muses) and also of prophecy, colonization, medicine, archery (but not for war or hunting), poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry and the carer of herds and flocks. He was also a god of light, known as "Phoebus" (radiant or beaming, and he was sometimes identified with Helios the sun god). He was also the god of plague and was worshiped as Smintheus (from sminthos, rat) and as Parnopius (from parnops, grasshopper) and was known as the destroyer of rats and locust, and according to Homer's Iliad, Apollo shot arrows of plague into the Greek camp. Apollo being the god of religious healing would give those guilty of murder and other immoral deeds a ritual purification. Sacred to Apollo are the swan (one legend says that Apollo flew on the back of a swan to the land of the Hyperboreans, he would spend the winter months among them), the wolf and the dolphin. His attributes are the bow and arrows, on his head a laurel crown, and the cithara (or lyre) and plectrum. But his most famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers.
When the goddesss Hera, the wife of Zeus (it was he who had coupled with Leto) found out about Leto's pregnancy, she was outraged with jealousy. Seeking revenge Hera forced Leto to roam the earth in search of a place to give birth. Sicne Hera had forbidden Leto to stay anywhere on earth, either on terra-ferma or an island at sea, the only place to seek shelter was Delos, being in the center of the Aegean, and also difficult to reach, as there were strong under-currents, because it was said to be a floating island. Because it was a floating island, it was not considered either of Hera's prohibitions, and so Leto was able to give birth to the divine twins Apollo and Artemis (before Leto gave birth to Apollo, the island was encircled by a flock of swans, this is why the swan was sacred to him). As a gesture of thanks Delos was secured to the sea-bed by four columns to give it stability, and from then on it became one of the most important sanctuaries to Apollo. (A variation of Apollo's birth was that the jealous Hera had incarcerated Ilithyia, the goddess of childbirth, but the other gods intervened forcing Hera to release Ilithyia, which allowed Leto to give birth ).
Apollo's first achievement was to rid Pytho (Delphi) of the serpent (or dragon) Python. This monstrous beast protected the sanctuary of Pytho from its lair beside the Castalian Spring. There it stood guard while the "Sibyl" gave out her prophecies as she inhaled the trance inducing vapors from an open chasm. Apollo killed Python with his bow and arrows (Homer wrote "he killed the fearsome dragon Python, piercing it with his darts"). Apollo not only took charge of the oracle but rid the neighboring countryside of widespread destruction, as Python had destroyed crops, sacked villages and polluted streams and springs. However, to make amends for killing Python, as the fearsome beast was the son of Gaia, Apollo had to serve king Admetus for nine years (in some versions eight) as a cowherd. This he did, and when he returned to Pytho he came in the guise of a dolphin bringing with him priests from Crete (Apollo's cult title "Delphinios" meaning dolphin or porpoise, is probably how Delphi was so named). After killing Python and taking possession of the oracle, the god of light (Phobus) became known as "Pythian Apollo". He dedicated a bronze tripod to the sanctuary and bestowed divine powers on one of the priestesses, and she became known as the "Pythia". It was she who inhaled the hallucinating vapors from the fissure in the temple floor, while she sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant. Delphi became the most important oracle center of Apollo, there were several including Clarus and Branchidae.
Apollo, as with Zeus his father, had many love affairs with goddesses and mortals. Apollo's infatuation for the nymph Daphne, which had been invoked by the young god of love Eros, because Apollo had mocked him, saying his archery skills were pathetic, and Apollo's singing had also irritated him. Daphne was the beautiful daughter of the river god Ladon, and she was constantly pursued by Apollo. To escape from Apollo's insistent behavior, she fled to the mountains, but the persistent Apollo followed her. Annoyed by this, she asked the river god Peneus for help, which he did. As soon as Apollo approached Daphne, he tried to embrace her, but when he stretched out his arms she transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo, distraught by what had happened, made the laurel his sacred tree. Apollo also loved Cyrene, she was another nymph, and she bore Apollo a son: Aristaeus, a demi-god, who became a protector of cattle and fruit trees, and a deity of hunting, husbandry and bee-keeping. He taught men dairy skills and the use of nets and traps in hunting.
The most famous mortal loves of Apollo was Hecuba, she was the wife of Priam, the king of Troy. She bore him Troilius. Foretold by an oracle, as long as Troilius reached the age of twenty, Troy could not be defeated. But the hero Achilles ambushed and killed him, when the young prince and his sister Polyxena secretly visited a spring. Apollo also fell in love with Cassandra, the sister of Troilius, and daughter of Hecuba and Priam. He seduced Cassandra on the promise that he would teach her the art of prophecy, but having learnt the prophetic art she rejected him. Apollo, being angry of her rejection punished her, by declaring her prophecies never to be accepted or believed.
Asclepius, the god of healing, was also Apollo's offspring, after his union with Coronis, who was daughter of Phlegyas, king of the Lapiths. While she was pregnant by Apollo, Coronis fell in love with Ischys, son of Elatus, but a crow informed Apollo of the affair. Apollo sent his twin sister Artemis to kill Coronis, and Artemis carried out he brothers wishes. While her body was burning on the funeral pyre, Apollo removed the unborn child, and took him to Chiron, who raised the child Asclepius.
Apollo also, as did his father Zeus, fall in love with one of his own gender, Hyacinthus, a Spartan prince. He was very handsome and athletic, which inflamed the passions of Apollo. One day while Apollo and Hyacinthus were practicing throwing the discus, Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, who was also attracted to the young prince, and jealous of Apollo's amorous affection towards the boy, made the discus veer off course by blowing an ill wind. The discus, which Apollo had thrown, hit Hyacinthus, smashing his skull. Apollo rushed to him, but he was dead. The god was overcome with grief, but to immortalize the love he had for the beautiful youth, he had a flower grow were his blood had stained the earth. Apollo also loved the young boy Cyparissus, a descendant of Heracles. The impassioned Apollo gave Cyparissus a sacred deer, as a love token. The young deer became tame, and was the constant companion of the boy, until a tragic accident occurred. As the young deer lay sleeping in the shade of the undergrowth, Cyparissus threw his javelin, which by chance hit, and killed the deer. Grief-stricken by what had happened, Cyparissus wanted to die. He asked Apollo to let his tears fall for all eternity. With apprehension Apollo transformed the boy into a tree, the cypress, which became the symbol of sorrow, as the sap on its trunk forms droplets, like tears.
Apollo could also be ruthless when he was angered. The mortal Niobe, boasted to Apollo's mother Leto, that she had fourteen children (in some versions six or seven), which must make her more superior than Leto, who had only bore two. Apollo greatly angered by this slew her sons, and Artemis killed Niobe's daughters. Niobe wept so much that she turned into a pillar of stone. Apollo was infuriated when the satyr Marsyas challenged Apollo to music contest. After winning the competition, Apollo had Marsyas flayed alive, for being so presumptuous, as to challenge a god.
Apollo was worshiped throughout the Greek world, at Delphi every four years they held the Pythian Games in his honor. He had many epithets, including "Pythian Apollo" (his name at Delphi), "Apollo Apotropaeus" (Apollo who averts evil), and "Apollo Nymphegetes" (Apollo who looks after the Nymphs). As the god of shepherds he also had the cult titles "Lukeios" (from lykos; wolf), protecting the flocks from wolfs, and "Nomius" (of pastures, belonging to shepherds). Being the god of colonists, Apollo influenced his priests at Delphi to give divine guidance, as to where the expedition should proceed. This was during the height of the colonizing era circa 750-550 BCE. Apollo's title was "Archigetes" (leader of colonists). According to one legend, it was Apollo who helped either Cretan or Arcadian colonists found the city of Troy.
HELIUS ( PHOEBUS )
Helios is the young Greek god of the sun. He is the son of Hyperion and Theia. By the Oceanid Perse, he became the father of Aeëtes, Circe, and Pasiphae. His other two daughters are Phaethusa ("radiant") and Lampetia ("shining"). He had a son, named Phaeton, whom he once allowed to guide his chariot across the sky. The unskilled youth could not control the horses and fell towards his death.
Each morning at dawn he rises from the ocean in the east and rides in his chariot, pulled by for horses - Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon -- through the sky, to descend at night in the west. He sees and knows all, and was called upon by witnesses.
The reverence of the sun as a god came from the east to Greece. Helios was worshipped in various places of the Peloponnesos, but especially on Rhodes, where each year gymnastic games were held in his honor. Rhodos was also where the Colossus of Rhodes (the sixth the seven wonders of the ancient world) was built in his honor. This huge statue, measuring 32 meters (100ft), was built in 280 BCE by Charès of Lindos. In the earthquake of 224-223 BCE the statue broke off at the knees. On other places where he was worshipped, there were herds dedicated to him, such as on the island of Thrinacia (occasionally equated with Sicily). Here the companions of Odysseus helped themselves with the sacred animals. People sacrificed oxen, rams, goats, and white horses to Helios.
He was represented as a youth with a halo, standing in a chariot, occasionally with a billowing cloak. A metope from the temple of Athena in the Hellenistic Ilium represents him thus. He is also shown on much more recent reliefs, concerning the worship of Mithra, such as in the Mithraeum under the St. Prisca at Rome. In early Christian art, Christ is sometimes represented as Helios, such as in a mosaic in Mausoleum M or in the necropolis beneath the St. Peter in Rome.
His attributes are the whip and the globe, and his sacred animals were the cock and the eagle.
ZIGURD ( ZIGFRIED DRAGONHEART )
Sigurd (Siegfried) was the greatest hero in Germanic legend, and central character of the Saga of the Volsungs. He was the foster-son of Regin, who sent him to recover a fabulous hoard of gold. Regin's father Hreidmar had first acquired this treasure, which once belonged to the dwarf Andvari. To get their hands on the gold Regin and his brother Fafnir had then killed Hreidmar, but Fafnir wanted the treasure for himself and turned into a dragon to guard it.
Regin wished to possess the treasure which his brother guarded, and to this end forged a great sword for Sigurd, but it broke the first time it was tested, and Sigurd had his father's sword reassembled and re-forged, and Gram stood every test. By cunningly stabbing the monster from underneath, Sigurd succeeded in slaying Fafnir, thus gaining both wealth and wisdom (by licking the blood of the slain dragon), since Fafnir was said to have understood the language of birds. When he realized that Regin intended to kill him for the gold, Sigurd slew him before carrying it away himself.
Sigurd then went to free the Valkyrie maiden Brunhilde, who lay in a magical sleep, cast there by Odin, for daring to rise above his wishes. But Brunhilde had sworn only to marry the man who could ride through the fire that surrounded her dwelling. Gunnar wanted her, but could not perform the feat, but Sigurd in Gunnar's shape did so. Thus Brunhilde agreed to marry Gunnar.
CHEIRON (Chiron) the CENTAUR ( PETER )
The centaurs of Greek mythology are creatures that are part human and part horse. They are usually portrayed with the torso and head of a human, and the body of a horse. Centaurs are the followers of the wine god Dionysus and are well known for drunkenness and carrying off helpless young maidens. They inhabited Mount Pelion in Thessaly, northern Greece. According to one myth, they are the offspring of Ixion, the king of Lapithae (Thessaly), and a cloud. He had arranged a tryst with Hera, but Zeus got wind of it and fashioned a cloud into Hera's shape. Therefore, the Centaurs are sometimes called Ixionidae.
Notorious is their bestial behavior on the wedding of Pirithous, king of the Lapiths. They violated the female guests and attempted to abduct the bride. What followed was a bloody battle, after which they were driven from Thessaly. An exception was the kind and wise centaur CHIRON, the teacher of the Greek heroes Jason and Achilles.
CHIRON Originally, Chiron was a Thessalian god of healing, but in later Greek mythology he survived as one of the centaurs. Unlike the others of his race, Chiron was wise and had an extensive knowledge of the healing arts. He had been the tutor of, among others, Asclepius, Theseus, and Achilles. When he was accidentally hit by a poisonous arrow shot by Heracles, Chiron relinquished his immortality (in favor of Prometheus) in order to escape the pain by dying. After his death he became the constellation of Sagittarius. Chiron is regarded as a son of Cronus and Philyra.
NYMPHS & DRYANDS ( MILLY )
In Greek mythology, nymphs are spirits of nature. They are minor female deities and the protectors of springs, mountains, and rivers. Nymphs are represented as young, pretty girls. Each subtype presides over a certain aspect of nature. Depending of their habitat, there are: Dryads (forests), Naiads (springs and rivers), Nereid (the Mediterranean), Oceanids (the sea) and Oreads (mountains), Limoniads (meadows), Limniads (lakes, marshes and swamps) and Napaea (valleys). They were worshipped in a nymphaeum, a monumental fountain which was raised in the vicinity of a well. The male counterpart of a nymph is the satyr.
DRYADS are female spirits of nature (nymphs), who preside over the groves and forests. Each one is born with a certain tree over which she watches. A dryad either lives in a tree, in which case she is called a hamadryad, or close to it. The lives of the dryads are connected with that of the trees; should the tree perish, then she dies with it. If this is caused by a mortal, the gods will punish him for that deed. The dryads themselves will also punish any thoughtless mortal who would somehow injure the trees.
CEREBUS ( FEARSOME )
In Greek mythology, the three-headed watchdog who guards the entrance to the lower world, the Hades. It is a child of the giant Typhon and Echidna, a monstrous creature herself, being half woman and half snake.
Originally, the dog was portrayed having fifty or hundred heads but was later pictured with only three heads (and sometimes with the tail of a serpent). Cerberus permitted new spirits to enter the realm of dead, but allowed none of them to leave. Only a few ever managed to sneak past the creature, among which Orpheus, who lulled it to sleep by playing his lyre, and Heracles, who brought it to the land of the living for a while (being the last of his Twelve Labors).
In Roman mythology, the Trojan prince Aeneas and Psyche were able to pacify it with honey cake.
HECATE ( FEARSOME )
Hecate is the Greek goddess of the crossroads. She is most often depicted as having three heads; one of a dog, one of a snake and one of a horse. She is usually seen with two ghost hounds that were said to serve her. Hecate is most often mispercepted as the goddess of witchcraft or evil, but she did some very good things in her time. One such deed was when she rescued Persephone, (Demeter's daughter, the queen of the Underworld and the maiden of spring), from the Underworld. Hecate is said to haunt a three-way crossroad, each of her heads facing in a certain direction. She is said to appear when the ebony moon shines.
BONA DEA or (Fauna) ( AUDREE )
Bona Dea ("the Good Goddess") is a Roman fertility goddess, especially worshipped by the Roman matrons. She presided over both virginity and fertility in women. She is the daughter of the god Faunus and she herself is often called Fauna. She had a temple on the Aventine Hill, but her secret rites (on December 4) were not held there but in the house of a prominent Roman magistrate. Only women were admitted and even representations of men and beasts were removed. At these secret meetings it was forbidden to speak the words 'wine' and 'myrtle' because Faunus had once made her drunk and beaten her with a myrtle stick. Her festival was observed on May 1. Similarly, no men were allowed to be present here either.
She was also a healing goddess and the sick were tended in her temple garden with medicinal herbs. Bona Dea was portrayed sitting on a throne, holding a cornucopia. The snake is her attribute, a symbol of healing, and consecrated snakes were kept in her temple at Rome, indicating her phallic nature. Her image could often be found on coins.
PROMETHEUS ( CHRISTEN )
Prometheus was son of the Titan Iapetus. Known as the god of forethought, he favored mortals over gods and in their conflicts once tricked the gods into eating bare bones instead of good meat. He stole the sacred fire from Zeus and delivered it from Mt. Olympus into the hands of mortals. He loved mankind and through his resourcefulness helped them live in happiness upon the earth and in times of strife came to their aid by teaching them skills, like forging. In the great flood, the Ark originated with Prometheus. Some even say it was Prometheus who fashioned man from the soil and streams of the earth, thus becoming the “creator of mankind “. Prometheus did not tell Zeus the prophecy that one of Zeus's sons will overthrow him. In punishment, Zeus commanded that the young Titan be chained for eternity in the Caucasus. There, an eagle (or, according to other sources, a vulture) would eat his liver, and each day the liver would be renewed. So the punishment was endless, until Heracles finally killed the bird. Prometheus is known to be one of the most interesting characters in Greek Mythology.
THANATOS ( MORS his “Jeckle” side )
The Greek personification (non-violent) death and the twin brother of Hypnos (Sleep). Unlike his sisters the Keres, the daimones of violent death, Thanatos came to men gently like his brother Sleep.
Thanatos appeared as an austere priest out of the lower world, Hades. Wearing a dark robe and bearing a sacrificial sword, he cuts off a lock of a dying person's hair, to devote to Hades and Persephone. He was depicted as a winged god.
Hesiod makes these two spirits the sons of Nyx, but mentions no father.
MORS is the personified Roman god of death. It is a translation of Thanatos.
KERES ( MORS his “Hyde” side )
The Keres (singular: Ker) are horrible, black winged, female spirits of death and doom who also act as avenging spirits. They are the daughters of Nyx and Erebus. In the festival of the Anthesteria, the Keres were ritually driven from the house. In later times they were regarded as the vengeful spirits of the dead.
ATHENA ( SUPERBIA )
Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, crafts, and justice. She was the favorite child of Zeus. She had sprung fully grown and armed out of her father's head. Her mother was Metis, goddess of wisdom and Zeus' first wife. In fear that Metis would bear a son mightier than himself. Zeus swallowed her and she began to make a robe and helmet for her daughter. The hammering of the helmet caused Zeus great pain in the form of headaches and he cried out in agony. Skilled Hephaestus ran to his father and split his skull open and from it emerged Athena, fully grown and wearing her mother's robe and helmet. She is the virgin mother of Erichthnonius.
Athena and her uncle Poseidon were both very fond of a certain city in Greece. Both of them claimed the city and it was decided that the one that could give the finest gift should have it. Leading a procession of citizens, the two gods mounted the Acropolis. Poseidon struck the side of the cliff with his trident and a spring welled up. The people marveled, but the water was as salty as Poseidon's sea and it was not very useful. Athena's gift was an olive tree, which was better because it gave the people food, oil and wood. Athena named her city Athens.
Athena's companion was the goddess of victory, Nike, and her usual attribute is the owl. Athena possessed the AEGIS. A protective device that was originally associated with Zeus, but also, and later solely, with Athena. It is variously considered to be a bright-edged thundercloud (because when Zeus used it lightning flashed and thunder sounded) fashioned by Hephaestus, or the skin of the divine goat Amaltheia. It is represented as a sort of cloak, sometimes covered with scales and fringed with serpents, and with the head of Medusa fastened in the middle. The Aegis could also serve as a shield and in that fashion Athena wears it upon her breastplate.
HADES ( NEGARE )
Hades is the lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world, which is referred to as the domain of Hades or, by transference, as Hades alone. He is the son of Cronus and Rhea. When the three sons of Cronus divided the world among each other, Hades was given the underworld, while his brothers Zeus and Poseidon took the upperworld and the sea respectively. He ruled the underworld together with Persephone, whom he abducted from the upperworld. Zeus ordered him to release Persephone back into the care of her mother Demeter, but before she left he gave her a pomegranate. When she ate it, it bound her to the underworld forever/
Hades sits on a throne made of ebony, and carries a scepter. He also has a helmet, given to him by the Cyclopes, which makes him invisible. Hades rules the dead, assisted by various (demonic) helpers, such as Thanatos and Hypnos, the ferryman Charon, and the hound Cerberus. Many heroes from Greek mythology have descended into the underworld, either to question the shades or trying to free them. Although Hades does not allow his subjects to leave his domain, on several occasions he has granted permission, such as the time Orpheus requested the return of his beloved Eurydice.
Hades possesses the riches of the earth, and is referred to as 'the Rich One'. Possibly also because, as Sophocles writes, 'the gloomy Hades enriches himself with our sighs and our tears'. Of all the gods, Hades is the one who is liked less and even the gods themselves have an aversion of him. People avoided speaking his name lest they attracted his unwanted attention. With their faces averted they sacrificed black sheep, whose blood they let drip into pits, and when they prayed to him, they would bang their hands on the ground. The narcissus and the cypress are sacred to him.
Other names include Clymenus ('notorious'), Eubuleus ('well-guessing') and Polydegmon ('who receives many').
ENDYMION ( ROLAND )
Endymion was a handsome shepherd boy of Asia Minor, the mortal lover of the moon goddess Selene. Each night he was kissed to sleep by her. She begged Zeus to grant him eternal life so she might be able to embrace him forever. Zeus complied, in eternal sleep, Endymion became deathless, and ageless. Each night Selene visited him on Mt. Latmus, near Milete, in Asia Minor. The ancient Greeks believed that his grave was situated on this mountain. Selene and Endymion have fifty daughters.
NARCISSUS ( WONG-MIN (Wiley) )
Narcissus is another example among several of a beautiful young man who spurned love and died as a result. As such, his myth has much in common with those of Adonis and Hippolytus. In the Roman poet Ovid's retelling of the myth, Narcissus is the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. Tiresias, the seer, told his parents that the child "would live to an old age if it did not look at itself." Many nymphs and girls fell in love with him but he rejected them. One of these nymphs, Echo, was so distraught over this rejection that she withdrew into a lonely spot and faded until all that was left was a plaintive whisper. The goddess Nemesis heard the rejected girls prayers for vengeance and arranged for Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. He stayed watching his reflection and let himself die. It is quite possible, however, that the connection between Echo and Narcissus was entirely Ovid's own invention, for there is no earlier witness to it.
An important and earlier variation of this tale has Narcissus living in the city of Thespiae. A young man, Ameinias, was in love with Narcissus, but he rejected Ameinias' love. He grew tired of Ameinias' affections and sent him a present of a sword. Ameinias killed himself with the sword in front of Narcissus' door and as he died, he called curses upon Narcissus. One day Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a spring and, in desperation, killed himself.
Both of these stories give an origin to the narcissus flower, which grew where Narcissus died.
YIN ( WONG-MIN (Wiley) )
Feminine “negative” principle: the principle of darkness, negativity, and femininity in Chinese philosophy that is the counterpart of yang. The dual, opposite, and complementary principles of yin and yang are thought to exist in varying proportions in all things. See also yang
HEPHAESTUS ( LAZARUS )
Hephaestus, the god of fire, especially the blacksmith's fire, was the patron of all craftsmen, principally those working with metals. He was worshiped predominantly in Athens, but also in other manufacturing centres. He was the god of volcanos. Later, the fire within them represented the smith's furnace. Hephaestus was associated with Mount Etna, which is on the island of Sicily. Known as the lame god, Hephaestus was born weak and crippled. Displeased by the sight of her son, Hera threw Hephaestus from Mount Olympus, and he fell for a whole day before landing in the sea. Nymphs rescued him and took him to Lemnos, where the people of the island cared for him. But other versions say Zeus threw him from Mount Olympus after Hephaestus had sided with his mother in a quarrel. This legend says that Hephaestus fell for nine days and nine nights, and he landed on the island of Lemnos. It was on Lemnos where he built his palace and his forges under a volcano.
To gain revenge for his rejection by Hera, Hephaestus fashioned a magic throne, which was presented to her on Mount Olympus. When Hera sat on the throne, it entrapped her, making her a prisoner. The gods on Mount Olympus pleaded with Hephaestus to return to their heavenly domain, as to release Hera, but he refused. Dionysus gave the smith god wine, and when Hephaestus was intoxicated, Dionysus took him back to Mount Olympus slumped over the back of a mule. This scene was a favourite in Greek art. Hephaestus released Hera after being given the beautiful Aphrodite as his bride. Dionysus was rewarded by being made one of the Olympian Pantheon.
Hephaestus is known as the son of Hera and Zeus, although Zeus had nothing to do with the conception. Hephaestus was parthenogenetic, meaning he was conceived without male fertilisation. Hera was jealous of Zeus after he had an affair with Metis, from which the goddess of prudence was pregnant with Athena. However, Gaia had warned Zeus that Metis would bear a daughter, whose son would overthrow him. To prevent this, Zeus swallowed Metis, so he could carry the child through to the birth himself, although Zeus could not give birth naturally. For retribution Hera produced (parthenogeny) Hephaestus, and legend says, that Hephaestus split the head of Zeus with an axe, from which Athena appeared fully armed.
The MUSES ( NOTION )
The Greek goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences. They were believed to inspire all artists, especially poets, philosophers, and musicians. The Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The number of Muses varies over time; initially there was but one, and later there is mention of three: Melete, Mneme, and Aoede. They were nymphs in Pieria, western Thrace, and their cult was brought to Helicon in Boeotia by the Aloadae. Usually there is mention of nine muses: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania.
The Muses were venerated throughout Greece, but more so in those areas with many wells and springs. The area of Boeotia, near Helicon, remained the favorite place of the Muses, and there they were more venerated than elsewhere. It is also the place of two well that were sacred to them, Aganippe and Hippocrene. Also Delphi and the Parnassus were their favorite places, and it was here that Apollo became their leader (musagetes).
The Muses sat near the throne of Zeus, king of the gods, and sang of his greatness and of the origin of the world and its inhabitants and the glorious deeds of the great heroes. From their name words such as music, museum, mosaic are derived.
NYX ( ONUS )
Nyx is the goddess and embodiment of the night. According to Hesiod in his Theogony (11.116-138), "From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night Nyx; of Night were born Aether being the bright upper atmosphere and Day Hemera, whom she conceived and bore from union with Erebus her brother". Also from the Theogony (11. 211-225); "And Night borehateful Doom Moros and black Fate and Death Thanatos, and she bore Sleep Hypnos and the tribe of Dreams. And again the goddess murky Night, though she lay with none, bare Blame and painful Woe, and the Hesperides who guard the rich golden apples and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Ocean. Also she bore the Destinies and ruthless avenging Fates who were regarded as old women occupied in spinning, Clotho the Spinner of the thread of life and Lachesis the Disposer of Lots, she who allots every man his destiny and Atropos She Who Cannot Be Turned, who finally cuts the thread of life who give men at their birth both evil and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods, and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bore Nemesis Indignation to afflict mortal men, and after her, Deceit Apate and Friendship and hateful Age and hard-hearted Strife.
From that great work we find that Nyx produced a host of offspring. Other sources give Charon who ferried the dead over the rivers of the infernal region as being the son of Erebus and Nyx, although according to the Theogony he was born from Chaos. Also according to Aristophanes, Birds 693 ff, "in the infinite bosom of Erebus, Night with black wings first produced an egg without a seed. From it, in the course of the seasons, Eros was born--the desired, whose back sparkled with golden wings, Eros like swift whirlwinds".
EREBUS ( ONUS )
Erebus was known as the embodiment of primordial darkness, the son of Chaos (who was the void from which all things developed, known also as Darkness). According to Hesiod's Theogony, Erebus was born with Nyx (Night), and was the father of Aether (the bright upper atmosphere) and Hemera (Day). Charon, the ferry-man who took the dead over the rivers of the infernal region, is also said to be the son of Erebus and Nyx.
Later legend describes Erebus as the Infernal Region below the earth. In this version, Hades was split into two regions: Erebus, which the dead have to pass shortly after they have died, and Tartarus, the deepest region, where the Titans were imprisoned. Aristophanes' Birds says that Erebus and Nyx were also the parents of Eros, the god of love.
He is often used metaphorically for Hades itself.
GIANTS ( BEEZLE the BANE )
The Giants are monstrous children of the goddess Earth; siblings of the Cyclopes and Titans, and therefore the sons of Gaea. Some say that it was Zeus's overthrow of his father Cronus and the other Titans that caused the Giants to meditate revenge. They stormed Mount Olympus by piling Mount Ossa on Pelion, and hurled boulders and burning tree trunks. The Olympians were advised that they would go down in defeat unless aided by a mortal, so they called in Hercules and prevailed with the hero's aid. After the defeat by Heracles they were destroyed and buried under volcanoes.
Giants have enormous size and strength packed in a human form. They can roar like thunder, make the earth shake, and snack on grown people. Some are men to the waist, ending in the tail of a serpent, and others are winged. Their characteristics depend on their nationalities. Irish giants are pleasant, English giants are openly evil, and Welsh giants are clever and cunning. Greek giants could be "gentle" guardians, such as Talos, the gigantic bronze man who defended the island of Crete, others, such as Geryon, were predators, preying on unwary travellers.
LARVAE ( BEEZLE the BANE )
The antithesis of the Lares, these were believed to have been the Genii of evil people, who after death wandered the Earth afflicting mankind with illness for which there was no remedy but expiatory sacrifices to the gods. If a person died without expiating every wrong they had done in life, they were pursued by the Larvae in the lower world. Larvae were also called Lemures.
PYGMIES ( BEEZLE the BANE )
The Pygmies were a nation of dwarfs, so called from a Greek word which means the cubit or measure of about thirteen inches, which was said to be the height of these people. They lived near the sources of the Nile, or according to others, in India. Homer tells us that the cranes used to migrate every winter to the Pygmies' country, and their appearance was the signal of bloody warfare to the puny inhabitants, who had to take up arms to defend their cornfields against the rapacious strangers.
ULYSSES ( AGUSTUS “GUS” )
Odysseus (called Ulysses in Latin) was the son of Laertes and was the ruler of the island kingdom of Ithaca. He was one of the most prominent Greek leaders in the Trojan War, and was the hero of Homer's Odyssey. He was known for his cleverness and cunning, and for his eloquence as a speaker.
Odysseus was one of the original suitors of Helen of Troy. When Menelaus succeeded in winning Helen's hand in marriage, it was Odysseus who advised him to get the other suitors to swear to defend his marriage rights. However, when Menelaus called on the suitors to help him bring Helen back from Troy, Odysseus was reluctant to make good on his oath. He pretended to have gone mad, plowing his fields and sowing salt instead of grain. Palamedes placed Odysseus' infant son in front of the plow, and Odysseus revealed his sanity when he turned aside to avoid injuring the child.
However reluctant he may have been to join the expedition, Odysseus fought heroically in the Trojan War, refusing to leave the field when the Greek troops were being routed by the Trojans, and leading a daring nocturnal raid in company with Diomedes. He was also the originator of the Trojan horse, the strategem by which the Greeks were finally able to take the city of Troy itself. After the death of Achilles, he and Ajax competed for Achilles' magnificent armor; when Odysseus' eloquence caused the Greeks to award the prize to him, Ajax went mad and killed himself.
Odysseus' return from Troy, chronicled in the Odyssey, took ten years and was beset by perils and misfortune. He freed his men from the pleasure-giving drugs of the Lotus-Eaters, rescued them from the cannibalism of the Cyclopes and the enchantments of Circe. He braved the terrors of the underworld with them, and while in the land of the dead Hades allowed Thiresias, Odysseus' mother, Ajax and others to give him adivice on his next journey. They gave him important advice about the cattle of the sun (which Apollo herds), Scylla and Charybdis and the Sirens. From there on the travels were harder for Odysseus, but they would have been much worse of it wasn't for the help of the dead.
With this newly acquired knowledge, he steered them past the perils of the Sirens and of Scylla and Charybdis. He could not save them from their final folly, however, when they violated divine commandments by slaughtering and eating the cattle of the sun-god. As a result of this rash act, Odysseus' ship was destroyed by a thunderbolt, and only Odysseus himself survived. He came ashore on the island of the nymph Calypso, who made him her lover and refused to let him leave for seven years. When Zeus finally intervened, Odysseus sailed away on a small boat, only to be shipwrecked by another storm. He swam ashore on the island of the Phaeacians, where he was magnificently entertained and then, at long last, escorted home to Ithaca.
There were problems in Ithaca as well, however. During Odysseus' twenty-year absence, his wife, Penelope, had remained faithful to him, but she was under enormous pressure to remarry. A whole host of suitors were occupying her palace, drinking and eating and behaving insolently to Penelope and her son, Telemachus. Odysseus arrived at the palace, disguised as a ragged beggar, and observed their behavior and his wife's fidelity. With the help of Telemachus and Laertes, he slaughtered the suitors and cleansed the palace. He then had to fight one final battle, against the outraged relatives of the men he had slain; Athena intervened to settle this battle, however, and peace was restored.
BEOWULF ( AGUSTUS “GUS” )
The oldest piece of Anglo-Saxon literature extant today, Beowulf is an epic poem that simply chronicles the adventures of its namesake, as he battles various and sundry fell beasts. It is divided into three major parts, or battles: Grendel, Grendel's mother in the lake, and the dragon.
The beginning of the poem details the trials and tribulations of Hrothgar, king of the Danes; his beautiful hall Heorot is besieged by the demon Grendel. When Beowulf hears of this, he comes straightaway to Heorot and battles the monster, ultimately ripping its arms off. The resulting celebration is cut short when Grendel's mother, in a frenzy of grief, kills several of the revelers. Beowulf then follows her to a lake, where he descends into the depths and battles her with a sword he finds there, killing her.
The third part of the tale jumps forward many years. Beowulf is now an ageing king of his people, and a dragon is enraged and begins to ravage the land. Good king that he is, Beowulf meets the dragon in battle, defeating it but receiving a death-blow in turn. The funeral of this great hero marks the tragic end of the tale.
ERIS (Discordia) ( MALFOR “his inner self” )
Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife. She is Ares' constant companion and follows him everywhere. Eris is sinister and mean, and her greatest joy is to make trouble. She has a golden apple that is so bright and shiny everybody wants to have it. When she throws it among friends, their friendship come to a rapid end. When she throws it among enemies, war breaks out, for the golden apple of Eris is the Apple of Discord. She did this once during the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and this act brought about the Trojan War.
JANUS ( MALFOR “his façade” )
Janus was the god in Roman mythology that had two faces that looking in opposite directions, one in the past and one in the future. The month of January is named for him. Janus means "gate". Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people. Janus, as the first king of Latium, brought the people a time of peace and welfare; the Golden Age. He introduced money, cultivation of the fields, and the laws. After his death he was deified and became the protector of Rome.
PHOENIX ( AEGIS )
In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix is a mythical bird and associated with the Egyptian sun-god Re and the Greek Phoibos (Apollo). According to the Greeks the bird lives in Arabia, nearby a cool well. Each morning at dawn, it would bathe in the water and sing such a beautiful song, that the sun-god stops his chariot to listen. There exists only one phoenix at the time.
When it felt its death approaching (every 500 or 1461 years), it would build a nest of aromatic wood and set it on fire, and was consumed by the flames. When it was burned, a new phoenix sprang forth from the pyre. It then embalmed the ashes of its predecessor in an egg of myrrh and flew with it to Heliopolis ("city of the sun"). There it would deposit the egg on the altar of the sun god.
In Egypt is was usually depicted as a heron, but in the classic literature as a peacock, or an eagle. The phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death. In that aspect it was often placed on sarcophagi. It is associated with the Egyptian Benu, the Garuda of the Hindus, and the Chinese Feng-huang.
NIKE ( AEGIS )
Nike is the Greek personification of victory. She can run and fly at great speed. She is a constant companion of Athena. Nike is the daughter of Pallas and Styx and the sister of Cratos, Bia, and Zelus. She was represented as a woman with wings, dressed in a billowing robe with a wreath or staff.
EAGLE ( AEGIS )
The Eagle is Zeus' bird. An Eagle was seen by Zeus as an omen for attacking the Titans, and an Eagle snatched Ganymedes. Zeus approached Aegina in the form of an Eagle. An Eagle punished Prometheus who defied Zeus, and an Eagle retrieves thunderbolts, Zeus’ main attribute. This is why an Eagle is often depicted at his feet. Zeus' Aegis, which was made by Hephaestus, is indestructible, and when he shakes it a storm and thunder ensues.
HYPNOS ( GLIB )
Hypnos is the personification of sleep in Greek mythology. He is the son of Nyx and Erebus, and the twin of Thanatos ("death"). Both he and his brother live in the underworld. He gave Endymion the power of sleeping with open eyes so he could see his beloved, the moon goddess Selene.
Hypnos is portrayed as a naked young man with wings attached to his temples, or as a bearded man with wings attached to his shoulders.
YMIR ( YMIR the Glass Egg )
In Norse mythology, Ymir is the primordial giant and the progenitor of the race of frost giants. He was created from the melting ice of Niflheim, when it came in contact with the hot air from Muspell. From Ymir's sleeping body the first giants sprang forth: one of his legs fathered a son on his other leg while from under his armpit a man and women grew out.
The frost kept melting and from the drops the divine cow Audumla was created. From her udder flowed four rivers of milk, on which Ymir fed. The cow itself got nourishment by licking hoar frost and salt from the ice. On the evening on the first day the hair of a man appeared, on the second day the whole head and on the third day it became a man, Buri, the first god. His grandchildren are Odin, Ve and Vili.
Odin and his brothers had no liking for Ymir, nor for the growing number of giants, and killed him. In the huge amount of blood that flowed from Ymir's wounds all the giants, except two, drowned. From the slain body the brothers created heaven and earth. They used the flesh to fill the Ginnungagap; his blood to create the lakes and the seas; from his unbroken bones they made the mountains; the giant's teeth and the fragments of his shattered bones became rocks and boulders and stones; trees were made from his hair, and the clouds from his brains. Odin and his brothers raised Ymir's skull and made the sky from it and beneath its four corners they placed a dwarf. Finally, from Ymir's eyebrow they shaped Midgard, the realm of man. The maggots which swarmed in Ymir's flesh they gave wits and the shape of men, but they live under the hills and mountains. They are called dwarfs.
ORACLE at DELPHI ( GLIB )
In ancient Greece, the oracle was a place where divinely-inspired prophesies of the future were passed down to mortals. Usually these prophesies were given in response to questions, but sometimes they flowed out randomly from the priest or priestess acting as an intermediary. To be an oracle, the place needed to have a variable and periodic attribute that could be subject to the interpretation of the priesthood. The priests would then ascribe both the event and the interpretation of the event to their patron god or goddess. For example, the ancient oracles of Zeus were areas where priests could interpret the wind rustling through the trees.
The most famous oracle was that of Apollo at Delphi, discovered as a fissure in the side of Mt. Parnassus emitting a gas that would cause seizures among the goats that grazed nearby. The convulsions and wild ravings of a goatherd who was also affected were interpreted by the locals as "divine inspiration", and the priesthood moved in rapidly to take advantage of the unusual situation. The oracle was ascribed to a few other deities before the temple of Apollo was established. The Pythia was the priestess of this oracle who was crowned in laurel and seated on a tripod perched over the cleft that produced the intoxicating vapors. Her utterances while under the influence were usually so disjointed that additional clergy were needed to provide interpretation.
SIBYL ( GLIB )
In ancient times a prophetess who, in a state of ecstasy and under influence of Apollo, prophesized without being consulted. Famous Sibyls are the Cumaean Sibyl and the Erythraean Sibyl, who revealed to Alexander the Great his divine descent. The Cumaean Sibyl owned, according to tradition, nine books of prophecies, which she sold the remaining three to the Roman king Tarquin.
PSYCHE ( MAY-LIN )
The personification of the human soul. In the well-known fable of the Roman writer Apuleius (ca. 125 - ca. 180), Psyche is the youngest of three daughters. She was of such extraordinary beauty that Aphrodite herself became jealous of her. The goddess then sent her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly man. However, the god himself fell in love with the girl and visited her every night, but forbade her to see his face, so she did not know who her lover was. On her sisters' instigation she tried to discover the true identity of her beloved. When he lay asleep in her bed, she lit an oil lamp but when she bent over to see Eros' face, a drop of oil from her lamp fell on him and he awakened. When he noticed her intent, he left her. Psyche wandered the earth in search of her lover, until she was finally reunited with him.
On ancient Greek vases, Psyche is portrayed in the shape of a bird with a human head, sometimes with a beard. Later she is shown in the shape of a cock, butterfly, or a small human figure. As the beloved of Eros she is a fair maiden, often with butterfly wings.
THEMIS ( CLARISSIMA, “CLARISS” )
Themis is one of the daughters of Uranus and Gaia. She is the personification of divine right order of things as sanctioned by custom and law. She has oracular powers and it is said that she build the oracle at Delphi. By Zeus she is the mother of the Horae and the Moirae.
Themis is depicted as a stern looking woman, blindfolded and holding a pair of scales and a cornucopia. The Romans called her Justitia.
METIS ( CLARISSIMA, “CLARISS” )
The Greek personification of wisdom and its goddess. She is a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Metis is regarded as the first wife of Zeus, whom he swallowed when he discovered that she was pregnant, fearing she might give birth to a son mightier than he. Subsequently, the goddess Athena sprang fully armed from his head. It was also Metis who delivered the remedy that made Cronus disgorge the children he had swallowed.
HEMERA ( GLORIA )
Hemera is the Greek goddess of day. She was born from Erebus, darkness, and Nyx , night. Nyx was the daughter of Chaos, and sister of Erebus. Erebus was among the first beings, dwelling in Hades. He sprang from Chaos at the beginning of time. Erebus’ name was given to the gloomy underground cavern which the dead walk through on their way to the Underworld. Hemera emerged from Tartarus as Nyx left it and returned to as she was emerging from it. Thalassa, the sea, is the daughter of Hemera and her brother Aether, light.
HESPERUS ( GLORIA )
Hesperus was the Star-God of the Evening & Morning Star (the Planet Venus). He was depicted as a white-winged god crowned with a starry oreole - a male version of Astraia.
Hesperus was the son of Atlas or his brother and father of the Hesperides. He was distinguished by his piety, justice, wisdom, and above all his love of mankind. Having once climed to the peak of Mt. Atlas to observe the stars, Hesperus was carried away by a mighty wind and was never seen again. It is held that he became the brightest and most beautiful star in the sky which is called Hesperus the evening star ( “hesper”, evening ) named after him. Hesperus is called the star of Venus because it rises in the evening and is dear to those who love one another.
ARGUS ( MISS WINDY )
In Greek mythology, Argus is a giant with a hundred eyes. After Zeus had changed his lover Io into a heifer to protect her from the wrath of Hera, Hera demanded that the cow was given to her. She then charged Argus with the task of guarding it.
Argus was lulled to sleep by Hermes who then killed him, as Zeus had ordered him to do. Hermes brought Io back to Egypt, where she returned to her human form again. After Argus' death, Hera placed his hundred eyes on the tail of the peacock, her favorite animal.
ARGO ( MISS WINDY )
The Argo was the ship, built by Argos with the help of Athena, in which Jason and the Argonauts sailed in quest of the Golden Fleece. It was the largest ship ever built, and its crew included Heracles, Orpheus, and a host of other heroes from all over Greece. Athena fitted the bow of the ship with a speaking timber, cut from the sacred oaks of Dodona.
GALATEA ( MISS WINDY )
Galatea was the ivory creation of a brilliant artist named Pygmalion, who lived on Cyprus. He hated and abhored women and promised himself that he would never get married. Perhaps in trying to create a perfect woman, Pygmalion sculpted a work of art.
The statue he created looked very much alive and he perfected it each and every day until there was nothing left to perfect. The statue was beautiful and Pygmalion fell in love with it. He began to realize how lonely he was when his kisses and caresses where not returned from the inanimate object. He was terribly sad and tried to pretend very hard that his creation was alive.
Aphrodite was very much impressed by this original and devoted love and decided to make Pygmalion's wish come true. At a festival honoring Aphrodite, Pygmalion asked the Goddess of Love if she might assist him in finding a maiden like his statue, but Aphrodite knew what he really wanted. She acknowledged his prayer by causing the altar flame to leap three times.
When Pygmalion returned to his home, he walked over to touch his statue and discovered that it was warm to the touch. So he kissed it, and its lips became soft. His creation was coming to life before his eyes! He joyfully thanked Aphrodite. She was present and their wedding, and Pygmalion and Galatea (what he named his statue) had two children, Paphus and Metharme.
PANDORA ( SCARLETT )
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, to create her and he did, using water and earth. The gods endowed her with many talents; Aphrodite gave her beauty, Apollo music, Hermes persuasion, and so forth. Hence her name: Pandora, "all-gifted".
When Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Epimetheus, Prometheus' brother. With her, Pandora had a jar which she was not to open under any circumstance. Impelled by her natural curiosity, Pandora opened the jar, and all evil contained escaped and spread over the earth. She hastened to close the lid, but the whole contents of the jar had escaped, except for one thing which lay at the bottom, and that was Hope.