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Aeschylus


A Greek playwright back in 500 BC. Many historians consider him the father of Greek tragedies.

How he died: An eagle dropped a tortoise on his head

According to legend, eagles picked up tortoises and attempt to crack them open by dropping them on rocks. An eagle mistook Aeschylus' head for a rock (he was bald) and dropped it on him instead.

Echo and Narcissus.


Pasiphae

  

Pasiphae: Daughter of the Sun, Wife of a King, and Mother of the Minotaur
Pasiphae is a figure from Greek mythology. She is best-known as the wife of Minos, the legendary king of Crete, and the mother of the Minotaur. But Greek mythology has more to say about this interesting figure. Stories show she was a strange and spellbinding character.

Her Origins
The name Pasiphae may be literally translated as ‘light for all’. This name is apt, considering that she was the daughter of Helios, the god and personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Her mother was Perseis, one of the Oceanids, i.e. the three thousand water nymphs who were the daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.
Pasiphae had several siblings. One of them was Circe, best known for her appearance in Homer’s Odyssey. She also had two brothers, Aeetes the king of Colchis and guardian of the Golden Fleece, and Perses. Whilst Aeetes and Perses were mortals, Pasiphae and Circe were both immortal.

Pasiphae and the Bull
Pasiphae was married to Minos, the son of Zeus and Europa and the stepson of Asterion, the king of Crete. When his stepfather died, Minos ascended the throne and Pasiphae became the queen of the island. In one myth, Minos had prayed to Poseidon in order to gain the throne of Crete. As a sign of his favor, Poseidon sent the king a snow-white bull, which became known as the Cretan Bull.
Minos was supposed to sacrifice the bull to the god. The king, however, refused to do so, and kept the beast alive instead. This displeased Poseidon, who punished the king by making Pasiphae fall in love with the bull.
To satiate her lust, she sought the help of Daedalus, a master craftsman at the court of Crete. Daedalus created a hollow cow out of wood and wrapped it with real cowhide. She entered the construction and was brought out into a field. When the Cretan Bull mated with the wooden cow, it was also mating with Pasiphae. The result of this union between the bull and the Cretan queen was the infamous Minotaur, a monster that was half man and half bull.
The tale of the Minotaur is one that many are already familiar with. In this myth, the Minotaur is slain by the Athenian hero Theseus, who was aided by Ariadne, one of Minos and Pasiphae’s daughters. The couple also had other children, including Deucalion, whose son Idomeneus led the Cretans in the Trojan War, and Androgeus, whose death in Athens led to the Athenians being obliged to send Minos 14 noble citizens (seven youths and seven maidens) as sacrificial victims for the Minotaur.  

Magic and Minos
Minos also had children with other women and his unfaithfulness was known by his wife. As the queen was a sorceress, she was skilled in the use of magic. In an attempt to stop her husband from having affairs with other women, she concocted a potion that made Minos ejaculate snakes and scorpions instead of semen when he had sexual intercourse with anyone other than the queen.
The king, however, was eventually cured by Procris, the daughter of Erechtheus, the king of Athens. As a reward for this deed, Procris was presented with Laelaps, a dog that never failed to catch its prey, and a javelin that always hit its target.

Nothing is known about the fate of the queen, as her story ends after her children are mentioned. There is no more about her in the surviving Greek myths. However, some ancient authors recorded that there was a cult dedicated to Pasiphae. 

The glory of Greece



Python



The slime with which the earth was covered by the waters of the
flood, produced an excessive fertility, which called forth every
variety of production, both bad and good. Among the rest,
Python, an enormous serpent, crept forth, the terror of the
people, and lurked in the caves of Mount Parnassus. Apollo slew
him with his arrows weapons which he had not before used
against any but feeble animals, hares, wild goats, and such game.
In commemoration of this illustrious conquest he instituted the
Pythian games, in which the victor in feats of strength,
swiftness of foot, or in the chariot race, was crowned with a
wreath of beech leaves; for the laurel was not yet adopted by
Apollo as his own tree. And here Apollo founded his oracle at
Delphi, the only oracle "that was not exclusively national, for
it was consulted by many outside nations, and, in fact, was held
in the highest repute all over the world. In obedience to its
decrees, the laws of Lycurgus were introduced, and the earliest
Greek colonies founded. No cities were built without first
consulting the Delphic oracle, for it was believed that Apollo
took special delight in the founding of cities, the first stone
of which he laid in person; nor was any enterprise ever
undertaken without inquiry at this sacred fane as to its probable
success" [From Beren's Myths and Legends of Greece and Rome.]

The famous statue of Apollo called the Belvedere [From the
Belvedere of the Vatican palace where it stands] represents the
god after his victory over the serpent Python. To this Byron
alludes in his Childe Harold, iv. 161:--

"The lord of the unerring bow,
The god of life, and poetry, and light,
The Sun, in human limbs arrayed, and brow
All radiant from his triumph in the fight.
The shaft has just been shot; the arrow bright
With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye
And nostril, beautiful disdain, and might,
And majesty flash their full lightnings by,

Developing in that one glance the Deity."

Chaos

Chaos Refers to the void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, or to the initial "gap" created by the original separation of heaven and earth. In Hesiod's Theogony (c. 700 BC), Chaos was the first of the primordial deities, followed by Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (the nether abyss), and Eros (Love). From Chaos came Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night).

Kylix, Greek and Roman Art, Medium Terracotta, The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY


Greek Astronomy


The Revival of an Ancient Science
One of the most powerful creations of Greek science was the mathematical astronomy created by Hipparchus in the second century B.C. and given final form by Ptolemy in the second century A.D. Ptolemy's work was known in the Middle Ages through imperfect Latin versions. In fifteenth-century Italy, however, it was brought back to life. George Trebizond, a Cretan emigre in the curia, produced a new translation and commentary. These proved imperfect and aroused much heated criticism. But a German astronomer, Johannes Regiomontanus, a protege of the brilliant Greek churchman Cardinal Bessarion, came to Italy with his patron, learned Greek, and produced a full-scale "Epitome" of Ptolemy's work from which most astronomers learned their art for the next century and more. Copernicus was only one of the celebrities of the Scientific Revolution whose work rested in large part on the study of ancient science carried out in fifteenth-century Italy.

Byzantine Astronomical Collection
 In Greek, Before 1308
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a number of recent Arabic and Persian astronomical works were translated into Greek by scholars who traveled to Persia under the Ilkhanid Empire. One short and confused treatise, translated by Gregory Chioniades, describes Tusi's lunar theory, illustrated, not altogether correctly, in this figure along with Tusi's device for producing rectilinear from circular motions (shown also in Vat. ar. 319 (math19)). A part of the planetary and lunar theory of the astronomers of Maragha was later utilized by Copernicus, though scholars do not know how he gained access to this material.


Ptolemy, Almagest
 In Latin, Translated by George Trebizond, ca. 1481
George Trebizond, one of the notable Greek scholars who came to Italy in the early fifteenth century, made a new translation of the "Almagest" from the Greek for Pope Nicholas V between March and December of 1451. Due to a dispute about the quality of Trebizond's commentary on the text, the translation was never dedicated to Nicholas. This very elaborate manuscript of the translation, with the figures drawn in several colors, was dedicated to Pope Sixtus IV by George's son Andreas. These pages show Book VI Chapter 7, on the computation of the duration of solar and lunar eclipses.


George Trebizond, Commentary on the Almagest
 In Latin, ca. 1482
During the same nine months that George Trebizond made his translation of the "Almagest," he also wrote a commentary as long as the original text. The commentary was severely criticized, however, which resulted in a falling out with Pope Nicholas V. This opulent manuscript was dedicated to Pope Sixtus IV by George's son Andreas along with Vat. lat. 2055 of the translation. These pages contain a large figure of the model for the planet Mercury, shown at its least distance from the earth, with a list of Mercury's parameters and distances, and then the beginning of the treatment of Venus in Book X.


Nasir ad-Din at-Tusi, Tadhkira
 In Arabic, Fourteenth century
Nasir ad-Din at-Tusi was among the first of several Arabic astronomers of the late thirteenth century at the observatory of Maragha in Persia who modified Ptolemy's models based on mechanical principles, in order to preserve the uniform rotation of spheres. This early Arabic manuscript contains his principal work on the subject, the "Tadhkira fi ilm al-Haya" (Memoir on Astronomy). The figure shown here is his ingenious device for generating rectilinear motion along the diameter of the outer circle from two circular motions.

Georg Peurbach and Johannes Regiomontanus, Epitome of the Almagest
 In Latin, Late fifteenth century
The "Epitome of the Almagest" was written between 1460 and 1463 by Georg Peurbach and Johannes Regiomontanus at the suggestion of Cardinal Bessarion. It gave Europeans the first sophisticated understanding of Ptolemy's astronomy, and was studied by every competent astronomer of the sixteenth century. 


Ptolemy, Geography
 In Greek, Fifteenth century
Ptolemy's "Geography" contains instructions for drawing maps of the entire "oikoumene" (inhabited world) and particular regions, along with the longitudes and latitudes of about eight thousand locations in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The maps in manuscripts of the "Geography," however, date only from about 1300, after the text was rediscovered by Maximus Planudes. There are two versions, the A recension with twenty-six large regional maps, and the B recension, displayed here, with sixty-four smaller regional maps and four large additional maps. Shown here is the additional map of Europe which reveals Ptolemy's systematic exaggeration of west to east distances, particularly in the eastward extension of Scotland and the west to east slope of Italy.


Pontic Greek resistance group

Members of a Pontic Greek resistance group. During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire’s Young Turk leaders began a policy of nationalist ethnic cleansing. It aimed primarly at the Armenian minority, but also at Assyrians and Anatolian Greeks. By the end of the war over 1,200,000 Armenians had been forcibly deported and left to die in desert camps. 


Humans


Laelaps

Laelaps was a Greek mythological dog who never failed to catch what she was hunting. In one version of Laelaps' origin, she was a gift from Zeus to Europa. The hound was passed down to King Minos. Procris's husband, Cephalus, decided to use the hound to hunt the Teumessian fox, a fox that could never be caught. This was a paradox: a dog who always caught his prey versus a fox that could never be caught. The chase went on until Zeus, perplexed by their contradictory fates, turned both to stone and cast them into the stars as the constellations Canis Major(Laelaps) and Canis Minor (the Teumessian fox). At least one version of the Procris story asserts that Laelaps was a gift to her from the goddess Artemis.


The Course of Empire,Destruction


The Minoans



The Minoans are best known for the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, but it is in fact the demise of this once-great civilization that is more interesting. While many historians concentrate on the fall of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Minoans, who resided on the island of Crete, is an equal, if not greater mystery. Three and a half thousand years ago the island was shaken by a huge volcanic eruption on the neighboring Thera Island. Archeologists unearthed tablets which have shown that the Minoans carried on for another 50 years after the eruption, before finally folding. Theories of what finally ended them have ranged from volcanic ash covering the island and devastating harvests to the weakened society eventually getting taken over by invading Greeks.

The great city of Helike



In the late 2nd century AD, the Greek writer Pausanias wrote an account of how (4-500 years earlier?) in one night a powerful earthquake destroyed the great city of Helike, with a Tsunami washing away what remained of the once-flourishing metropolis. The city, capital of the Achaean League, was a worship center devoted to the ancient god Poseidon, god of the sea. There was no trace of the legendary society mentioned outside of the ancient Greek writings until 1861 when an archeologist found some loot thought to have come from Helike – a bronze coin with the unmistakable head of Poseidon. In 2001, a pair of archeologists managed to locate the ruins of Helike beneath the mud and gravel of the coast, and are currently trying to piece together the rise and sudden fall of what has been called the “real” Atlantis.

The Greek God Family Tree


The Drunken Hercules, 1611, Peter Paul Rubens


Agonistic has its roots in ancient Greece

 Agonistic has its roots in ancient Greece—specifically in the agonistic (to use the oldest sense of the word) athletic contests called agons featured at public festivals. From physical conflict to verbal jousting, agonistic came to be used as a synonym for argumentative and later to mean "striving for effect" or "strained." Common current use, however, is biological, relating to confrontational interaction among animals of the same species and the responsive behaviors—such as aggression, flight, or submission—they exhibit. Agonistic is also sometimes used to describe an agonist muscle, a muscle that on contracting is automatically checked and controlled by an opposing muscle, that other muscle being an antagonist. For example, during a bicep curl in weight lifting, the (contracted) bicep is the agonistic muscle and the (relaxed) triceps muscle is the antagonist.

Diana hunting..


Diana (Classical Latin: [dɪˈaː.na]) was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature in Roman mythology, associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis,  though she had an independent origin in Italy.
Diana was known as the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, along with Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry. Oak groves and deer were especially sacred to her. Diana was born with her twin brother, Apollo, on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. She made up a triad with two other Roman deities; Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.
Diana is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria.
Diana (pronounced with long 'ī' and 'ā') is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later 'divus', 'dius', as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky.] It is derived from Proto-Indo-European *d(e)y(e)w, meaning "bright sky" or "daylight"; the same word is also the root behind the name of the Aryan Vedic sky god Dyaus, as well as the Latin words deus (god), dies (day, daylight), and "diurnal" (daytime).

Orpheus



Orpheus (/ˈɔːrfiəs, ˈɔːrfjuːs/; Greek: ρφεύς) is a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld, and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music. As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, film, opera, music, and painting.

For the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries. He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which only two have survived.

Ceres by Augustin Pajou, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts