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The Venus de Milo




The Venus de Milo was discovered by a peasant named Yorgos Kentrotas in 1820, within the ancient city ruins of Milos, on the Aegean island of Milos, (also Melos or Milo). The statue was found in two main pieces (the upper torso and the lower draped legs) along with several herms (pillars topped with heads), fragments of the upper left arm and left hand holding an apple, and an inscribed plinth. Olivier Voutier, a French naval officer, was exploring the island.

With the help of the young farmer, Voutier began to dig around what were clearly ancient ruins. Within a few hours Voutier had uncovered a piece of art that would become renowned throughout the world. About ten days later, another French naval officer, Jules Dumont d'Urville, recognized its significance and arranged for a purchase by the French ambassador to Turkey, Charles-François de Riffardeau, marquis, later duc de Rivière.

Twelve days out of Touloun the ship was anchored off the island of Melos. Ashore, d'Urville and [fellow officer] Matterer met a Greek peasant, who a few days earlier while ploughing had uncovered blocks of marble and a statue in two pieces, which he offered cheaply to the two young men. It was of a naked woman with an apple in her raised left hand, the right hand holding a draped sash falling from hips to feet, both hands damaged and separated from the body.

Even with a broken nose, the face was beautiful. D'Urville the classicist recognized the Venus of the Judgement of Paris. It was, of course, the Venus de Milo. He was eager to acquire it, but his practical captain, apparently uninterested in antiquities, said there was nowhere to store it on the ship, so the transaction lapsed. The tenacious d'Urville on arrival at Constantinople showed the sketches he had made to the French ambassador, the Marquis de Riviére, who sent his secretary in a French Navy vessel to buy it for France. Before he could take delivery, French sailors had to fight Greek brigands for possession. In the mêlée the statue was roughly dragged across rocks to the ship, breaking off both arms, and the sailors refused to go back to search for them.

The Venus de Milo's great fame in the 19th century was not simply the result of its admitted beauty, but also owed much to a major propaganda effort by the French authorities. In 1815 France had returned the Medici Venus to the Italians after it had been looted from Italy by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Medici Venus, regarded as one of the finest Classical sculptures in existence, caused the French to consciously promote the Venus de Milo as a greater treasure than that which they had recently lost. It was duly praised by artists and critics as the epitome of graceful female beauty; however, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was clearly not following the script when he dismissed it as a "big gendarme."

The work was probably created by Alexandros of Antioch was an otherwise unknown artist of the Hellenistic age who is most well known today for the Venus de Milo (Aphrodite of Milos) at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. He is known from several ancient inscriptions including one from a now missing plinth that was a part of the Venus de Milo but was removed and "lost" due to museum politics and national pride at the Louvre Museum in the 1820s. The inscription and the style of its lettering cast into doubt the claim that the statue was an original by the master sculptor Praxiteles from Attica.

Alexandros appears to have been a wandering artist who worked on commission. According to inscriptions at the ancient city of Thespiae, near Mount Helicon, in Greece, he was a winner in contests for composing and singing. The inscriptions date to around 80 BCE. His father's name was Menides according to all the inscriptions. Alexandros is also thought to have sculpted a statue of Alexander the Great that is also displayed at the Louvre Museum. This statue was discovered at the Greek island of Delos. His dates of birth and death are unknown.




As for Dumont, on 8 May 1842 Dumont and his family boarded a train from Versailles to Paris after seeing water games celebrating the king. Near Meudon the train’s locomotive derailed, the wagons rolled and the tender’s coal ended up on the front of the train and caught fire. Dumont's whole family died in the flames of the first French railway disaster, generally known as the Versailles train crash. Dumont's remains were identified by Dumontier, doctor on board the Astrolabe and a phrenologist. Dumont was buried in the cemetery of Montparnasse in Paris. This tragedy led to the end of the practice in France of locking passengers in their train compartments.

Aphrodite


Aphrodite (Latin: Venus) is the Greek goddess of love and beauty. According to Greek poet Hesiod, she was born when Ouranos was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw his severed genitals into the sea, and from the aphros (sea foam) arose Aphrodite.

Because of her beauty other gods feared that jealousy would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, and so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who was not viewed as a threat. However, Aphrodite became instrumental in the Eros and Psyche legend, and later was both Adonis' lover and his surrogate mother.

Aphrodite is also known as Kypris (Lady of Cyprus) and Cytherea after the two places, Cyprus and Kythira, which claim her birth. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus. Myrtle, dove, sparrow, and swan are sacred to her. The Greeks identified Aphrodite with the Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor.

Aphrodite has numerous equivalents: Inanna (Sumerian counterpart), Astarte (Phoenician), Astghik (Armenian), Turan (Etruscan), and Venus (Roman). She has parallels to Indo-European dawn goddesses such as Ushas or Aurora. The Hellenes were well aware that her origins lay in the East: according to Pausanias, the first to establish her cult were the Assyrians, after the Assyrians the Paphians of Cyprus and the Phoenicians who live at Ascalon in Palestine; the Phoenicians taught her worship to the people of Cythera. It was said Aphrodite could make any man fall in love with her at their first sight of her.

Aphrodite also has many other names, such as Acidalia, Cytherea, Pandemos and Cerigo. These names were used in specific areas of Greece. When the Greek cities combined, these lesser names were abandoned and a single name, Aphrodite, was adopted. Each goddess represented a slightly different religion, but with overall similarities.

The name probably means "she who (comes) at dusk," a manifestation of the planet Venus as the evening star, a well known attribute of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna/Ishtar.

One aspect of the cult of Aphrodite and her precedents that Thomas Bulfinch's much-reprinted The Age of Fable; or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855 etc.) elided was the practice of ritual prostitution in her shrines and temples. The euphemism in Greek is hierodule, "sacred servant." The practice was an inherent part of the rituals owed to Aphrodite's Near Eastern forebears, Sumerian Inanna and Akkadian Ishtar, whose temple prostitutes were the "women of Ishtar," ishtaritum.

The practice has been documented in Babylon, Syria and Palestine, in Phoenician cities and the Tyrian colony Carthage, and for Hellenic Aphrodite in Cyprus, the center of her cult, Cythera, Corinth and in Sicily (Marcovich 1996:49). Aphrodite is everywhere the patroness of the hetaira and courtesan. In Ionia on the coast of Asia Minor, hierodules served in the temple of Artemis. The practice however is not attested in Athens and can be considered a foreign import.

Aphrodite figures as a secondary character in the Tale of Eros and Psyche, which first appeared as a digressive story told by an old woman in Lucius Apuleius' novel, The Golden Ass, written in the second century A.D.. In it Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of a mortal woman named Psyche. She asked Eros to use his golden arrows to cause Psyche to fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. Eros agreed, but then fell in love with Psyche on his own, by accidentally pricking himself with a golden arrow.

Meanwhile, Psyche's parents were anxious that their daughter remained unmarried. They consulted an oracle who told them she was destined for no mortal lover, but a creature that lived on top of a particular mountain, that even the gods themselves feared. Eros had arranged for the oracle to say this. Psyche was resigned to her fate and climbed to the top of the mountain. She told the townsfolk that followed her to leave and let her face her fate on her own. There, Zephyrus, the west wind, gently floated her downwards. She entered a cave on the appointed mountain, surprised to find it full of jewelry and finery. Eros visited her every night in the cave and they made passionate love; he demanded only that she never light any lamps because he did not want her to know who he was (having wings made him distinctive). Her two sisters, jealous of Psyche, convinced her that her husband was a monster, and she should strike him with a dagger. So one night she lit a lamp, but recognizing Eros instantly, she dropped her dagger. Oil spilled from the lamp onto his shoulder, awaking him, and he fled, saying "Love cannot live where there is no trust!"

When Psyche told her two jealous elder sisters what had happened, they rejoiced secretly and each separately walked to the top of the mountain and did as Psyche described her entry to the cave, hoping Eros would pick them instead. Eros was still heart broken and did not pick them and they fell to their deaths at the base of the mountain.

Psyche searched for her love across much of Greece, finally stumbling into a temple to Demeter, where the floor was covered with piles of mixed grains. She started sorting the grains into organized piles and, when she finished, Demeter spoke to her, telling her that the best way to find Eros was to find his mother, Aphrodite, and earn her blessing. Psyche found a temple to Aphrodite and entered it. Aphrodite assigned her a similar task to Demeter's temple, but gave her an impossible deadline to finish it by. Eros intervened, for he still loved her, and caused some ants to organize the grains for her. Aphrodite was outraged at her success and told her to go to a field where deadly golden sheep grazed and get some golden wool. Psyche went to the field and saw the sheep but was stopped by a river-god, whose river she had to cross to enter the field. He told her the sheep were mean and vicious and would kill her, but if she waited until noontime, the sheep would go into the shade on the other side of the field and sleep; she could pick the wool that stuck to the branches and bark of the trees. Psyche did so and Aphrodite was even more outraged at her survival and success.

Finally, Aphrodite claimed that the stress of caring for her son, depressed and ill as a result of Psyche's unfaithfulness, had caused her to lose some of her beauty. Psyche was to go to Hades and ask Persephone, the queen of the underworld, for a bit of her beauty in a black box that Aphrodite gave to Psyche. Psyche walked to a tower, deciding that the quickest way to the underworld would be to die. A voice stopped her at the last moment and told her a route that would allow her to enter and return still living, as well as telling her how to pass the three-headed dog Cerberus, Charon and the other dangers of the route. She was to not lend a hand to anyone in need. She baked two barley cakes for Cerberus, and took two coins for Charon. She pacified Cerberus with the barley cake and paid Charon to take her to Hades. On the way there, she saw hands reaching out of the water. A voice told her to toss a barley cake to them. She refused. Once there, Persephone said she would be glad to do Aphrodite a favor. She once more paid Charon, and gave the other barley cake to Cerberus.

Psyche left the underworld and decided to open the box and take a little bit of the beauty for herself, thinking that if she did so Eros would surely love her. Inside was a "Stygian sleep" which overtook her. Eros, who had forgiven her, flew to her body and wiped the sleep from her eyes, then begged Zeus and Aphrodite for their consent to his wedding of Psyche. They agreed and Zeus made her immortal. Aphrodite danced at the wedding of Eros and Psyche, and their subsequent child was named Pleasure, or (in the Roman mythology) Voluptas.

Aphrodite was Adonis' lover and a surrogate mother to him. Cinyras, the King of Cyprus, had an intoxicatingly beautiful daughter named Myrrha. When Myrrha's mother commits Hubris against Aphrodite by claiming her daughter is more beautiful than the famed goddess, Myrrha is punished with a never ending lust for her own father. Cinyras is repulsed by this, but Myrrha disguises herself as a prostitute, and secretly sleeps with her father at night. Eventually, Myrrha becomes pregnant and is discovered by Cinyras. In a rage, he chases her out of the house with a knife. Myrrha flees from him, praying to the gods for mercy as she runs. The gods hear her plea, and change her into a Myrrh tree so her father cannot kill her. Eventually, Cinyras takes his own life in an attempt to restore the family's honor.

Myrrha gives birth to a baby boy named Adonis. Aphrodite happens by the Myrrh tree and, seeing him, takes pity on the infant. She places Adonis in a box, and takes him down to Hades so that Persephone can care for him. Adonis grows into a strikingly handsome young man, and Aphrodite eventually returns for him. Persephone, however, is loath to give him up, and wishes Adonis would stay with her in the underworld. The two goddesses begin such a quarrel that Zeus is forced to intercede. He decrees that Adonis will spend a third of the year with Aphrodite, a third of the year with Persephone, and a third of the year with whomever he wishes. Adonis, of course, chooses Aphrodite.

Adonis begins his year on the earth with Aphrodite. One of his greatest passions is hunting, and although Aphrodite is not naturally a hunter, she takes up the sport just so she can be with Adonis. They spend every waking hour with one another, and Aphrodite is enraptured with him. However, her anxiety begins to grow over her neglected duties, and she is forced to leave him for a short time. Before she leaves, she gives Adonis one warning: do not attack an animal who shows no fear. Adonis agrees to her advice, but, secretly doubting her skills as a huntress, quickly forgets her warning.

Not long after Aphrodite leaves, Adonis comes across an enormous wild boar, much larger than any he has ever seen. It is suggested that the boar is the god Ares, one of Aphrodite's lovers made jealous through her constant doting on Adonis. Although boars are dangerous and will charge a hunter if provoked, Adonis disregards Aphrodite's warning and pursues the giant creature. Soon, however, Adonis is the one being pursued; he is no match for the giant boar. In the attack, Adonis is castrated by the boar, and dies from a loss of blood. Aphrodite rushes back to his side, but she is too late to save him and can only mourn over his body. Wherever Adonis' blood falls, Aphrodite causes anemones to grow in his memory. She vows that on the anniversary of his death, every year there will be a festival held in his honor.

On his death, Adonis goes back to the underworld, and Persephone is delighted to see him again. Eventually, Aphrodite realizes that he is there, and rushes back to retrieve him. Again, she and Persephone bicker over who is allowed to keep Adonis until Zeus intervenes. This time, he says that Adonis must spend six months with Aphrodite and six months with Persephone, the way it should have been in the first place.

Adonis, as a dying god archetype, represents the cycle of vegetation. His birth is like the birth of new plants; his maturation like the ripening of the plant. Once the crop is harvested, it dies—like Adonis returning to the underworld. The new seeds are then placed again in the ground, where they grow into new life, like Adonis returning to the earth to be with Aphrodite.

The gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles). Only the goddess Eris (Discord) was not invited, but she arrived with a golden apple inscribed with the word kallistēi ("to the fairest one") which she threw among the goddesses. Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple.

The goddesses chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands of Paris. Hera tried to bribe Paris with Asia Minor, while Athena offered wisdom, fame and glory in battle, but Aphrodite whispered to Paris that if he were to choose her as the fairest he would have the most beautiful mortal woman in the world as a wife, and he accordingly chose her. This woman was Helen. The other goddesses were enraged by this and through Helen's abduction by Paris they brought about the Trojan War.

Pygmalion was a sculptor who had never found a woman worthy of his love. Aphrodite took pity on him and decided to show him the wonders of love. One day, Pygmalion was inspired by a dream of Aphrodite to make a woman out of ivory resembling her image, and he called her Galatea. He fell in love with the statue and decided he could not live without her. He prayed to Aphrodite, who carried out the final phase of her plan and brought the exquisite sculpture to life. Pygmalion loved Galatea and they were soon married.

Another version of this myth tells that the women of the village in which Pygmalion lived grew angry that he had not married. They all asked Aphrodite to force him to marry. Aphrodite accepted and went that very night to Pygmalion, and asked him to pick a woman to marry. She told him that if he did not pick one, she would do so for him. Not wanting to be married, he begged her for more time, asking that he be allowed to make a sculpture of Aphrodite before he had to choose his bride. Flattered, she accepted.

Pygmalion spent a lot of time making small clay sculptures of the Goddess, claiming it was needed so he could pick the right pose. As he started making the actual sculpture he was shocked to discover he actually wanted to finish, even though he knew he would have to marry someone when he finished. The reason he wanted to finish it was that he had fallen in love with the sculpture. The more he worked on it, the more it changed, until it no longer resembled Aphrodite at all.

At the very moment Pygmalion stepped away from the finished sculpture Aphrodite appeared and told him to choose his bride. Pygmalion chose the statue. Aphrodite told him that could not be, and asked him again to choose a bride. Pygmalion put his arms around the statue, and asked Aphrodite to turn him into a statue so he could be with her. Aphrodite took pity on him and brought the statue to life instead.

Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses

Aphrodite (Greek) - Goddess of Love (Venus)
Apollo (Greek) - God of Civilization and the Arts
Ares (Greek) - God of War (Mars)
Artemis (Greek) - Goddess of Childbirth and Hunting (Diana)
Athena (Greek) - Goddess of War, Wisdom and Arts (Minerva)
Ceres (Roman) - Goddess of Agriculture and Good Harvest (Demeter)
Cupid (Roman) - The God of Love
Demeter (Greek) - Goddess of Earth, Agriculture and Fertility (Ceres)
Diana (Roman) - Goddess of the Hunt and Protector of Children (Artemis)
Dionysos (Greek) - God of Wine
Eos (Greek) - Goddess of the Dawn, Mother of the West Wind
Hades (Greek) - God of the Underworld and the Dead (Pluto)
Hebe (Greek) - Goddess of Eternal Youth
Hecate (Greek) - Goddess of the Underworld, Witchcraft and Black Magic
Hera (Greek) - Goddess of Marriage, Family and Home
Hermes (Greek) - God of Merchants (Mercury)
Hestia (Greek) - Goddess of Hearth, Fire and Family Life
Hypnos (Greek) - God of Sleep
Jupiter (Roman) - King of the Gods (Zeus)
Mars (Roman) - God of War (Ares)
Mercury (Roman) - God of Merchants (Hermes)
Minerva (Roman) Goddess of Wisdom, War and Crafts (Athena)
Morpheus (Greek) - God of Dreams
Nemesis (Greek) - Goddess of Vengeance
Nike(Greek) - Goddess of Victory
Persephone (Greek) - Goddess of Fertility and Nature
Pluto (Roman) - God of the Underworld and the Dead (Hades)
Poseidon (Greek) - God of Horses, Earthquakes, Storms and the Sea
Selene (Greek) - Goddess of the Moon
Triton (Greek) - Merman Sea God
Venus (Roman) - Goddess of Love, Protector of Gardens (Aphrodite)
Zeus (Greek) - Ruler of the Gods (Jupiter)

Apollo, god of sun, truth and prophecy


Hymn of Apollo
by
Percy Bysshe Shelley

The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,--
Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

II.
Then I arise, and climbing Heaven's blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,
Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;
My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves
Are filled with my bright presence, and the air
Leaves the green Earth to my embraces bare.

III.
The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;
All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
Good minds and open actions take new might,
Until diminished by the reign of Night.

IV.
I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,
With their ethereal colors; the Moon's globe,
And the pure stars in their eternal bowers,
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;
Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine,
Are portions of one power, which is mine.

V.
I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven;
Then with unwilling steps I wander down
Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;
For grief that I depart they weep and frown:
What look is more delightful than the smile
With which I soothe them from the western isle?

VI.
I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows it is divine;
All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine, is mine,
All light of art or nature; - to my song
Victory and praise in its own right belong.



In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo is one of the most important and many-sided of the Olympian deities. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; archery; medicine and healing; music, poetry, and the arts; and more.

Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. Apollo was worshipped in both ancient Greek and Roman religion, as well as in the modern Hellenic neopaganism.

As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god — the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing were associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius.

Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague as well as one who had the ability to cure. Amongst the god's custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musagetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.

In Hellenistic times, especially during the third century BC, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, goddess of the moon.

The etymology of Apollo is uncertain. Several instances of popular etymology are attested from ancient authors. Thus, Plato in Cratylus connects the name with "redeem", with "purification", and with "simple".
Hesychius connects the name Apollo with the Doric απελλα, which means "assembly", so that Apollo would be the god of political life, and he also gives the explanation σηκος ("fold"), in which case Apollo would be the god of flocks and herds. It is also possible[4] that apellai derives from an old form of Apollo which can be equated with Appaliunas, an Anatolian god whose name possibly means "father lion" or "father light". The Greeks later associated Apollo's name with the Greek verb απολλυμι (apollymi) meaning "to destroy".

It has also been suggested that Apollo comes from the Hurrian and Hittite divinity, Aplu, who was widely evoked during the "plague years". Aplu, it is suggested, comes from the Akkadian Aplu Enlil, meaning "the son of Enlil", a title that was given to the god Nergal, who was linked to Shamash, Babylonian god of the sun.

Apollo's most common attributes were the bow and arrow. Other attributes of his included the kithara (an advanced version of the common lyre), the plectrum and the sword. Another common emblem was the sacrificial tripod, representing his prophetic powers. The Pythian Games were held in Apollo's honor every four years at Delphi. The bay laurel plant was used in expiatory sacrifices and in making the crown of victory at these games. The palm was also sacred to Apollo because he had been born under one in Delos. Animals sacred to Apollo included wolves, dolphins, roe deer, swans, cicadas (symbolizing music and song), hawks, ravens, crows, snakes (referencing Apollo's function as the god of prophecy), mice and griffins, mythical eagle–lion hybrids of Eastern origin.

As god of colonization, Apollo gave oracular guidance on colonies, especially during the height of colonization, 750–550 BCE. According to Greek tradition, he helped Cretan or Arcadian colonists found the city of Troy. However, this story may reflect a cultural influence which had the reverse direction: Hittite cuneiform texts mention a Minor Asian god called Appaliunas or Apalunas in connection with the city of Wilusa attested in Hittite inscriptions, which is now generally regarded as being identical with the Greek Ilion by most scholars. In this interpretation, Apollo’s title of Lykegenes can simply be read as "born in Lycia", which effectively severs the god's supposed link with wolves (possibly a folk etymology).

In literary contexts, Apollo represents harmony, order, and reason—characteristics contrasted with those of Dionysus, god of wine, who represents ecstasy and disorder. The contrast between the roles of these gods is reflected in the adjectives Apollonian and Dionysian. However, the Greeks thought of the two qualities as complementary: the two gods are brothers, and when Apollo at winter left for Hyperborea, he would leave the Delphic oracle to Dionysus. This contrast appears to be shown on the two sides of the Borghese Vase.

Apollo is often associated with the Golden Mean. This is the Greek ideal of moderation and a virtue that opposes gluttony.

Athena, Greek God


In Greek mythology, Athena (also called Athene, Latin: Minerva) is the goddess of wisdom, peace, warfare, strategy, handicrafts and reason, shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patron of Athens, which built the Parthenon to worship her.

Athena's cult as the patron of Athens seems to have existed from very early times and was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. The Greek philosopher, Plato (429–347 BC), identified her with the Libyan deity, Neith, the war-goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient predynastic period, also identified with weaving. Athena became the goddess of wisdom as philosophy became a part of the cult in the later fifth century and Classical Greece.

She was the patroness of weaving, especially, and other crafts (Athena Ergane); the metalwork of weapons also fell under her patronage, and she and led battles (Athena Promachos)as the disciplined side of war. Athena's wisdom includes the cunning intelligence (metis) of such figures as Odysseus.

She appears attended by an owl, often accompanied by the goddess of victory, Nike, whom in established icons she offers upon her extended hand. Athena wears a breastplate of goatskin with serpent fringes called the Aegis, which later myths say her father, Zeus, gave to her, although in other older cultural contexts she already carries this association.

Visually, she often appears helmeted and with a shield bearing the Gorgon head, the hallmark of the early goddess cult in Greece and positioned highest in the apex of the front facade of the Parthenon. Later sources say Perseus gave her the shield as a votive gift. A serpent often accompanies this goddess at the base of the staff of her lance. The sea, ships, horses, and chariots associate with her, but with less frequency. The image to the left shows a winged lioness on her helmet, an image associated with warrior deities in many early cultures, including Egypt.

Athena, an armed warrior goddess, appears in Greek mythology as a helper of many heroes, including Odysseus, Jason, and Heracles. In Classical Greek myths she never consorts with a lover, earning the title Athena Parthenos ("Athena the virgin"), hence the name of her most famous temple, the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens. A remnant of archaic myth depicts her as the adoptive mother of Erechtheus/Erichthonius by the foiled rape by Hephaestus.

Other variants relate that the serpent who accompanied Athena, also called Erichthonius, was born to Gaia, Earth when the rape failed and the semen landed on Gaia, impregnating her, and that after the birth he was given to Athena by Gaia. In her role as a protector of the city, many people throughout the Greek world worshiped Athena as Athena Polias ("Athena of the city"). Athens and Athena bear etymologically connected names.

In The Greek Myths, Robert Graves notes early myths about the birth of Athena which describe her as a goddess from Libya, whose worship came to the Greeks from Crete after arriving there as early as 4,000 BC. According to Graves, Hesiod (c. 700 BC) relates that Athena was a parthenogenous daughter of Metis, wisdom or knowledge, a Titan who ruled the fourth day and the planet Mercury.

Other variants relate that although Metis was of an earlier generation of the Titans, Zeus became her consort when his cult gained dominance. In order to avoid a prophecy made when that change occurred, that any offspring of his union with Metis would be greater than he, Zeus swallowed Metis to prevent her from having offspring, but she already was pregnant with Athena. Metis gave birth to Athena and nurtured her inside Zeus until Athena burst forth from his forehead fully armed with weapons given by her mother.

Athena never had a consort or lover and thus, also was known as Athena Parthenos, "Virgin Athena." Her most famous temple, the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens takes its name from this title. It was not merely an observation of her virginity, but a recognition of her role as enforcer of rules of sexual modesty and ritual mystery. This role is expressed in a number of stories about Athena. Marinus reports that when Christians removed the statue of the Goddess from the Parthenon, a beautiful woman appeared in a dream to Proclus, a devotee of Athena, and announced that the "Athenian Lady" wished to dwell with him. Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, but she eluded him. His semen fell on the ground, and Erichthonius was born from the Earth, Gaia. Athena then raised the baby as a foster mother.

Athena put the infant Erichthonius in a small box (cista) which she entrusted to the care of three sisters, Herse, Pandrosus, and Aglaulus of Athens. The goddess did not tell them what the box contained, but warned them not to open it until she returned. One or two sisters opened the cista to reveal Erichthonius, in the form (or embrace) of a serpent. The serpent, or insanity induced by the sight, drove Herse and Pandrosus to throw themselves off the Acropolis. Jane Harrison (Prolegomena) finds this to be a simple cautionary tale directed at young girls carrying the cista in the Thesmophoria rituals, to discourage them from opening it outside the proper context.

Another version of the myth of the Athenian maidens is told in Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD); in this late variant Hermes falls in love with Herse. Herse, Aglaulus, and Pandrosus go to the temple to offer sacrifices to Athena. Hermes demands help from Aglaulus to seduce Herse. Aglaulus demands money in exchange. Hermes gives her the money the sisters had already offered to Athena. As punishment for Aglaulus's greed, Athena asks the goddess Envy to make Aglaulus jealous of Herse. When Hermes arrives to seduce Herse, Aglaulus stands in his way instead of helping him as she had agreed. He turns her to stone.

With this mythic origin, Erichthonius became the founder-king of Athens, where many beneficial changes to Athenian culture were ascribed to him. During this time, Athena frequently protected him.
In a late myth, Medusa, unlike her two sister-Gorgons, came to be thought of by the Classical Greeks during the fifth century as mortal and extremely beautiful, but she had sex with —or was raped by— Poseidon in a temple of Athena. Upon discovering the desecration of her temple, Athena changed Medusa's form to match that of her sister Gorgons as punishment. Medusa's hair turned into snakes, her lower body was transformed also, and meeting her gaze would turn any living creature to stone. In the earliest of myths there is but one Gorgon and the only snakes were two wrapped around her waist as a belt. In one version of the Tiresias myth, Tiresias stumbled upon Athena bathing, and was blinded by her nakedness. To compensate him for his loss, she sent serpents to lick his ears, which gave him the gift of prophecy.

Greek Gods Ares



Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera. Though often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, he is more accurately the god of bloodlust, or slaughter personified: "Ares is apparently an ancient abstract noun meaning throng of battle, war."

The etymology of his name is uncertain. It is traditionally connected with the Greek word ἀρή (are), the Ionic form of the Doric ἀρά (ara), "bane, ruin, curse, imprecation".



He is an important Olympian god in the epic tradition represented by the Iliad. The reading of his character remains ambiguous, in a late 6th-century funerary inscription from Attica: "Stay and mourn at the tomb of dead Kroisos/ Whom raging Ares destroyed one day, fighting in the foremost ranks".

The Romans identified him as Mars, the god of war and agriculture, whom they had inherited from the Etruscans; but, among them, Mars stood in much higher esteem.


Among the Hellenes, Ares was always distrusted. Although Ares' half-sister Athena was also considered a war deity, her stance was that of strategic warfare, whereas Ares's tended to be one of unpredictable violence. Athena and Ares were enemies. His birthplace and true home was placed far off, among the barbarous and warlike Thracians, to whom he withdrew after his affair with Aphrodite was revealed.

"Ares" remained an adjective and epithet in Classical times, which could be applied to the war-like aspects of other gods: Zeus Areios, Athena Areia, even Aphrodite Areia Burkert (1985). .

In Mycenaean times, inscriptions attest to Enyalios, a name that survived into Classical times as an epithet of Ares. Vultures and dogs, both of which prey upon carrion in the battlefield, are sacred to him.

Ares had a quadriga – a chariot drawn by four gold-bridled (Iliad v.352) fire-emitting immortal stallions. Among the gods, Ares was recognized by his bronze armor; he brandished a spear in battle. His keen and sacred birds were the woodpecker, the eagle owl and, especially in the south, the vulture.

According to Argonautica (ii.382ff and 1031ff; Hyginus, Fabulae 30) the birds of Ares (Ornithes Areioi) were a flock of feather-dart-dropping birds that guarded the Amazons' shrine of the god on a coastal island in the Black Sea. In Sparta, the chthonic night-time sacrifice of a dog to Enyalios became assimilated to the cult of Ares. Sacrifice might be made to Ares on the eve of battle to enlist his support.

In the Iliad (v.890ff) Ares rode into battle and when he was wounded he went back to Olympus where Zeus healed him, but with angry words. Then Ares went straight back to battle with shield in hand. Though involved in the founding myth of Thebes, he appeared in few myths.

Although important in poetry, Ares was rarely included in cult in ancient Greece, save at Sparta, where he was propitiated before battle, and where youths each sacrificed a puppy to Enyalios before engaging in the all-out ritual fighting at the Phoebaeum.

Just east of Sparta there was an archaic statue of the god in chains, to show that the spirit of war and victory was never to leave the city. The temple to Ares in the agora of Athens that Pausanias saw in the second century AD had only been moved and rededicated there during the time of Augustus; in essence it was a Roman temple to Mars.

The Areopagus, the "mount of Ares" where Paul of Tarsus preached, is sited at some distance from the Acropolis; from archaic times it was a site of trials. Its connection with Ares, perhaps based on a false etymology, is purely etiological myth. A second temple has also been located at the archaeological site of Metropolis in Western Turkey. Ares was also the son of Zeus and Hera.

Deimos, "terror", and Phobos "fear", were his companions in war children, born by Aphrodite according to Hesiod. The sister and companion of murderous Ares was Eris, goddess of discord or Enyo, goddess of war, bloodshed and violence. He was also attended by the minor war-god Enyalius, his son by Enyo, whose name ("warlike", the same meaning as the name Enyo) also served as a title for Ares himself.
The presence of Ares was accompanied by Kydoimos, the demon of the din of battle, as well as the Makhai (Battles), the Hysminai (Manslaughters), Polemos (a minor spirit of war; probably an epithet of Ares, as he had no specific dominion), and Polemos' daughter, Alala, goddess/personification of the Greek war-cry, whose name Ares used as his own war-cry. His sister Hebe also drew baths for him

One of the roles of Ares that was sited in mainland Greece itself was in the founding myth of Thebes: Ares was the progenitor of the water-dragon slain by Cadmus, and hence the ancestor of the Spartans, for the dragon's teeth were sown into the ground as if a crop and sprung up as the fully armored autochthonic Spartans, a race of fighting men, the descendants of Ares. To propitiate Ares, Cadmus took as a bride Harmonia, daughter of Ares' union with Aphrodite, thus harmonizing all strife and founding the city of Thebes.

There are accounts of a son of Ares, Cycnus (Κύκνος) of Macedonia, who was so murderous that he tried to build a temple with the skulls and the bones of travelers. Heracles slaughtered this abominable monstrosity, engendering the wrath of Ares, whom Heracles wounded.

Ares also had a romance with the goddess Aphrodite. Their union created the minor gods Eros, Anteros, Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia, and Adrestia. While Eros and Anteros' godly stations favored their godly mother, Adrestia by far preferred to emulate her father, often accompanying him to war.

Ares, upon one occasion, incurred the anger of Poseidon by slaying his son Halirrhothios, who had insulted Alcippe, another daughter of the war-god. For this deed, Poseidon summoned Ares to appear before the tribunal of the Olympic gods, which was held upon a hill in Athens. Ares was acquitted, and this event is supposed to have given rise to the name Areopagus (or Hill of Ares), which afterwards became so famous as a court of justice.

In the tale sung by the bard in the hall of Alcinous, the Sun-God Helios once spied Ares and Aphrodite enjoying each other secretly in the hall of Hephaestus, and he promptly reported the incident to Aphrodite's Olympian consort. Hephaestus contrived to catch the couple in the act, and so he fashioned a net with which to snare the illicit lovers. At the appropriate time, this net was sprung, and trapped Ares and Aphrodite in a private embrace. But Hephaestus was not yet satisfied with his revenge — he invited the Olympian gods and goddesses to view the unfortunate pair. For the sake of modesty, the goddesses demurred, but the male gods went to witness the sight. Some commented on the beauty of Aphrodite, others remarked that they would eagerly trade places with Ares, but all mocked the two. Once the couple were loosed, Ares, embarrassed, sped away to his homeland, Thrace.

In a much later interpolated detail, Ares put the youth Alectryon by his door to warn them of Helios' arrival, as Helios would tell Hephaestus of Aphrodite's infidelity if the two were discovered, but Alectryon fell asleep. Helios discovered the two and alerted Hephaestus. Ares was furious and turned Alectryon into a rooster, which now never forgets to announce the arrival of the sun in the morning.

In one obscure archaic myth related in the Iliad by the goddess Dione to her daughter Aphrodite, two chthonic giants, the Aloadae, named Otus and Ephialtes, threw Ares into chains and put him in a bronze urn, where he remained for thirteen months, a lunar year. "And that would have been the end of Ares and his appetite for war, if the beautiful Eriboea, the young giants' stepmother, had not told Hermes what they had done," she related (Iliad 5.385–391). "In this one suspects a festival of licence which is unleashed in the thirteenth month."

Ares remained screaming and howling in the urn until Hermes rescued him and Artemis tricked the Aloadae into slaying each other. In Nonnus' Dionysiaca[20] Ares also killed Ekhidnades, the giant son of Echidna and a great enemy of the gods; it is not clear whether the nameless Ekhidnades ("of Echidna's lineage") was entirely Nonnus' invention or not. Zeus helped him heal after.

In the Iliad, Homer represented Ares as having no fixed allegiances nor respect for Orcan, the right ordering of things: he promised Athena and Hera that he would fight on the side of the Achaeans, but Aphrodite was able to persuade Ares to side with the Trojans (Iliad V.699). During the war, Diomedes fought with Hector and saw Ares fighting on the Trojans' side. Diomedes called for his soldiers to fall back slowly.

Hera, Ares's mother, saw his interference and asked Zeus, his father, for permission to drive Ares away from the battlefield. Hera encouraged Diomedes to attack Ares, so he threw a spear at Ares and his cries made Achaeans and Trojans alike tremble. Athena then drove the spear into Ares's body, who bellowed in pain and fled to Mt. Olympus, forcing the Trojans to fall back (XXI.391). Later when Zeus allowed the gods to fight in the war again, Ares tried to fight Athena to avenge himself for his previous injury, Ares managed to overpower Athena by throwing a boulder at her. However, when Hera during a conversation with Zeus mentioned that Ares' son Ascalaphus was killed, Ares wanted to join the fight on the side of the Achaeans discarding Zeus' order that no Olympic god should enter the battle. Athena stopped Ares and helped him take his armor off (XV.110–128).

In Renaissance and Neoclassical works of art, Ares' symbols are a spear and helmet, his animal is a dog, and his bird is the vulture. In literary works of these eras, Ares is replaced by the Roman Mars, an emblem of manly valor rather than the cruel and blood-thirsty god of Greek myth.

Greek Gods: Hebe


Hēbē s the goddess of youth. Her Roman equivalent is Juventas. She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Hercules; her successor was the young Trojan prince Ganymede. Another title of hers, for this reason, is "Ganymeda." She also drew baths for Ares and helped Hera enter her chariot.

In Euripides' play Heracleidae, Hebe granted Iolaus' wish to become young again in order to fight Eurystheus. Hebe had two children with her husband Heracles: Alexiares and Anicetus. In Roman mythology, Juventas received a coin offering from boys when they put on the adult men's toga for the first time.

The name Hebe comes from Greek word meaning "youth" or "prime of life". Juventas likewise means "youth", as can be seen in such derivatives as juvenile. In art, Hebe is usually depicted wearing a sleeveless dress.

Greek Gods Hestia





In Greek mythology, virgin Hestia, (Roman Vesta) daughter of Cronus and Rhea, is the goddess of the hearth and of domesticity and the family, who received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household.

In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia's public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement. She sat on a plain wooden throne with a white woolen cushion and did not trouble to choose an emblem for herself.

In Roman mythology, her more specifically civic approximate equivalent was Vesta, who personified the public hearth, and whose cult round the ever-burning hearth bound Romans together in the form of an extended family. The similarity of names between Hestia and Vesta, is misleading: "The relationship hestia-histie-Vesta cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European linguistics; borrowings from a third language must also be involved," Walter Burkert has written

At a deep level her name means "home and hearth", the oikos, the household and its inhabitants. "An early form of the temple is the hearth house; the early temples at Dreros and Prinias on Crete are of this type as indeed is the temple of Apollo at Delphi which always had its inner hestia"

Among classical Greeks the altar was always in the open air with no roof but the sky, and that of the oracle at Delphi was the shrine of the Goddess before it was assumed by Apollo. The Mycenaean great hall, such as the hall of Odysseus at Ithaca was a megaron, with a central hearthfire.

The hearth fire of a Greek or a Roman household was not allowed to go out, unless it was ritually extinguished and ritually renewed, accompanied by impressive rituals of completion, purification and renewal. Compare the rituals and connotations of an eternal flame and of sanctuary lamps. At the more developed level of the polis, Hestia symbolizes the alliance between the colonies and their mother cities.

Hestia is one of the three Great Goddesses of the first Olympian generation: Hestia, Demeter and Hera. She was described as both the oldest and youngest of the three daughters of Rhea and Kronos, the sisters to three brothers Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Originally listed as one of the Twelve Olympians, Hestia gave up her seat in favour of newcomer Dionysus to tend to the sacred fire on Mt. Olympus. Every family hearth was her altar.

Of the Olympian gods, Hestia has the fewest exploits "since the hearth is immovable Hestia is unable to take part even in the procession of the gods, let alone the other antics of the Olympians,"

Sometimes this is assumed to be due to her passive, non-confrontational nature. This nature is illustrated by her giving up her seat in the Olympian twelve to prevent conflict. She is considered to be the first-born of Rhea and Kronos; this is evidenced by the fact that in Greek (and later Roman) culture ritual offerings to all gods began with a small offering to Hestia; the phrase "Hestia comes first" from ancient Greek culture denotes this.

Immediately after their birth, Kronos swallowed Hestia and her siblings except for the last and youngest, Zeus, who later rescued them and led them in a war against Kronos and the other Titans. Hestia, the eldest daughter "became their youngest child, since she was the first to be devoured by their father and the last to be yielded up again" (Kereny 1951:91) — the clearest possible example of mythic inversion, a paradox that is noted in the Homeric hymn to Aphrodite (ca 700 BCE):

She was the first-born child of wily Kronus — and youngest too.

Poseidon, and Apollo of the younger generation each aspired to court Hestia, but the goddess was unmoved by Aphrodite's works and swore on the head of Zeus to retain her virginity. The Homeric hymns, like all early Greek literature, are concerned to reinforce the supremacy of Zeus, and Hestia's oath taken upon the head of Zeus is an example of surety.


A measure of the goddess's ancient primacy—"queenly maid...among all mortal men she is chief of the goddesses", in the words of the Homeric hymn— is that she was owed the first as well as the last sacrifice at every ceremonial assembly of Hellenes, a pious duty related by the mythographers as the gift of Zeus, as if it had been his to bestow: another mythic inversion if, as is likely, the ritual was too deep-seated and essential for the Olympian reordering to overturn.

There are theories (by modern neopagans among others) that Hestia, as goddess of "home and hearth", was one of the most ancient of all gods later worshipped as Olympians; as a maternal goddess of humans finding safety and homes in caves around a fire, worship of Hestia, by other names, may literally be hundreds of thousands of years old and has continued through Classical Greek times to the present day.

Hestia, not wanting to be involved in the gods' quarrels, decided to leave Olympus to tend to her sacred hearth. She became a lesser goddess in the same ranks of Pan and Dionysus, the latter of whom later rose to the place of Olympian when Zeus chose him to take Hestia's place.

Hestia figures in few myths: she did not roam or have any adventures. The Homeric hymn To Hestia is consequently brief, simply an invocation of five lines, a prelude:

Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise: draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.

In the hymn, Hestia is located in ancient Delphi (rather than at the hearth of Zeus on Mount Olympus), which was considered the central hearth of all the Hellenes. In classical Greek art, Hestia was depicted as a woman modestly cloaked in a head veil.

Greek Gods Hades, the underground god




Hades refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. Hades in Homer referred just to the god; the genitive Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative, too, came to designate the abode of the dead.

In Greek mythology, Hades and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the universe ruling the underworld, sky, and sea, respectively; the land was given to all three concurrently. Because of his association with the underworld, Hades is often interpreted as the grim reaper.

Hades was also called Pluto (from Greek wealth), meaning "Rich One". In Roman mythology, Hades/Pluto was called Dis Pater and Orcus. The corresponding Etruscan god was Aita. Symbols associated with him are the Helm of Darkness and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.

In Christian theology, the term hades refers to the abode of the dead or Sheol (also Hell), where the dead await Judgment Day either at peace or in torment (see Hades in Christianity below).

In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead (also called Erebus), where all mortals go. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed.

There were several sections of the realm of Hades, including the Elysian Fields and Tartarus. Greek mythographers were not perfectly consistent about the geography of the afterlife. A contrasting myth of the afterlife concerns the Garden of the Hesperides, often identified with the Isles of the Blessed, where the blessed heroes may dwell.

In Greek mythology, Hades (the "unseen"), the god of the underworld, was a son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. He had three sisters, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, as well as two brothers, Zeus the youngest of the three and Poseidon his older brother, collectively comprising the original six Olympian gods.

Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus managed to force his father to disgorge his siblings. After their release the six younger gods, along with allies they managed to gather, challenged the elder gods for power in the Titanomachy, a divine war. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades received weapons from the three Cyclopes to help in the war: Zeus the thunderbolt, Hades the Helm of Darkness, and Poseidon the trident. The night before the first battle, Hades put on his helmet and, being invisible, slipped over to the Titans' camp and destroyed their weapons. The war lasted for ten years and ended with the victory of the younger gods. Following their victory, according to a single famous passage in the Iliad (xv.187–93), Hades and his two brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, drew lots for realms to rule. Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades received the underworld, the unseen realm to which the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any and all things beneath the earth.

Hades obtained his eventual consort and queen, Persephone, through trickery, a story that connected the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries with the Olympian pantheon. Helios told the grieving Demeter that Hades was not unworthy as a consort for Persephone:"Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells."- Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil; his role was often maintaining relative balance.

Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. He strictly forbade his subjects to leave his domain and would become quite enraged when anyone tried to leave, or if someone tried to steal the souls from his realm. His wrath was equally terrible for anyone who tried to cheat death or otherwise crossed him, as Sisyphus and Pirithous found out to their sorrow.

Besides Heracles, the only other living people who ventured to the Underworld were all heroes: Odysseus, Aeneas (accompanied by the Sibyl), Orpheus, Theseus, Pirithous (see note 18), and Psyche. None of them were especially pleased with what they witnessed in the realm of the dead. In particular, the Greek war hero Achilles, whom Odysseus met in Hades (although some believe that Achilles dwells in the Isles of the Blessed), said:

"O shining Odysseus, never try to console me for dying.
I would rather follow the plow as thrall to another
man, one with no land allotted to him and not much to live on,
than be a king over all the perished dead."

—Achilles' soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488-491


Hades, god of the dead, was a fearsome figure to those still living; in no hurry to meet him, they were reticent to swear oaths in his name, and averted their faces when sacrificing to him. To many, simply to say the word "Hades" was frightening. So, euphemisms were pressed into use.

Since precious minerals come from under the earth (i.e., the "underworld" ruled by Hades), he was considered to have control of these as well, and was referred to as Πλούτων (Plouton, related to the word for "wealth"), hence the Roman name Pluto. Sophocles explained referring to Hades as "the rich one" with these words: "the gloomy Hades enriches himself with our sighs and our tears." In addition, he was called Clymenus ("notorious"), Eubuleus ("well-guessing"), and Polydegmon ("who receives many"), all of them euphemisms for a name that was unsafe to pronounce, which evolved into epithets.

Although he was an Olympian, he spent most of the time in his dark realm. Formidable in battle, he proved his ferocity in the famous Titanomachy, the battle of the Olympians versus the Titans, which established the rule of Zeus.

Because of his dark and morbid personality, he was not especially liked by either the gods or the mortals. Feared and loathed, Hades embodied the inexorable finality of death: "Why do we loathe Hades more than any god, if not because he is so adamantine and unyielding?" The rhetorical question is Agamemnon's (Iliad ix). He was not, however, an evil god, for although he was stern, cruel, and unpitying, he was still just. Hades ruled the Underworld and therefore most often associated with death and was feared by men, but he was not Death itself — the actual embodiment of Death was Thanatos.

When the Greeks propitiated Hades, they banged their hands on the ground to be sure he would hear them. Black animals, such as sheep, were sacrificed to him, and the very vehemence of the rejection of human sacrifice expressed in myth suggests an unspoken memory of some distant past. The blood from all chthonic sacrifices including those to propitiate Hades dripped into a pit or cleft in the ground. The person who offered the sacrifice had to avert his face. Every hundred years festivals were held in his honor, called the Secular Games.

His identifying possessions included a famed helmet of darkness, given to him by the Cyclopes, which made anyone who wore it invisible. Hades was known to sometimes loan his helmet of invisibility to both gods and men (such as Perseus). His dark chariot, drawn by four coal-black horses, always made for a fearsome and impressive sight. His other ordinary attributes were the Narcissus and Cypress plants, the Key of Hades and Cerberus, the three-headed dog. He sat on an ebony throne. The philosopher Heraclitus declared that Hades and Dionysus are the same god. Amongst other evidence Carl Kerenyi notes that the grieving goddess Demeter refused to drink wine, which is the gift of Dionysus, after Persephone's abduction because of this association, and suggests that Hades may in fact have been a 'cover name' for the underworld Dionysus (Kerenyi 1967, p.40). Furthermore he suggests that this dual identity may have been familiar to those who came into contact with the Mysteries (Kerenyi 1976, p.240). One of the epithets of Dionysus was "Chthonios", meaning "the subterranean" (Kerenyi 1976, p.83).

Hades is rarely represented in classical arts, save in depictions of the Rape of Persephone. Hades is also mentioned in The Odyssey, when Odysseus visits the underworld as part of his journey. However, in this instance it is Hades the place, not the god.

The consort of Hades was Persephone, represented by the Greeks as daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Persephone did not submit to Hades willingly, but was abducted by him while picking flowers with her friends. Persephone's mother missed her and without her daughter by her side she cast a curse on the land and there was a great famine. Hades tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds (though some stories say they fell in love and to ensure her return to him, he gave her the pomegranate seeds): Because she ate six pomegranate seeds she must stay in the land of the dead for six months and for the remaining months she may live on Mt. Olympus with her family. While she is in the land of the dead she may not eat anything or she will have to stay there forever.

"But he on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter."

Demeter questioned Persephone on her return to light and air:

"…but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods."

Thus every year Hades fights his way back to the land of the living with Persephone in his chariot. Famine (autumn and winter) occurs during the months that Persephone is gone and Demeter grieves in her absence.

Hades imprisoned Theseus and Pirithous, who had pledged to kidnap and marry daughters of Zeus. Theseus chose Helen and together they kidnapped her and decided to hold onto her until she was old enough to marry. Pirithous chose Persephone. They left Helen with Theseus' mother, Aethra and traveled to the underworld. Hades knew of their plan to capture his wife, so he pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast; as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Theseus was eventually rescued by Heracles but Pirithous remained trapped as punishment for daring to seek the wife of a god for his own.

Heracles' final labour was to capture Cerberus. First, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. He did this to absolve himself of guilt for killing the centaurs and to learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive. He found the entrance to the underworld at Taenarum. Athena and Hermes helped him through and back from Hades. Heracles asked Hades for permission to take Cerberus. Hades agreed as long as Heracles didn't harm Cerberus. When Heracles dragged the dog out of Hades, he passed through the cavern Acherusia

Hades showed mercy only once: when Orpheus, a great player in music, traveled to the underworld to recover his wife, Eurydice. Eurydice had been bitten by a snake and had died instantly. Touched by Orpheus's skill in music, Hades allowed Orpheus to return Eurydice to the land of the living with one condition: that until they reach the surface, he was not allowed to look back to verify if she was behind him. Orpheus agreed; however, he thought that Hades had tricked him and given him the wrong soul. He glanced behind him, thus breaking his promise to Hades and losing Eurydice again. There is another story that Orphueus went to the surface and looked back but forgot they were both supposed to be outside. He would reunite with her only after his death.

According to Ovid, Hades pursued and would have won the nymph Minthe, associated with the river Cocytus, had not Persephone turned Minthe into the plant called mint. Similarly the nymph Leuce, who was also ravished by him, was metamorphosed by Hades into a white poplar tree after her death. Another version is that she was metamorphosed by Persephone into a white poplar tree while standing by the pool of Memory.

In the Greek version of an obscure Judaeo-Christian work known as 3 Baruch, a work that was never considered canonical by any known group[citation needed]. Hades is the Greek translation of a dark, serpent-like monster or dragon who drinks a cubit of water from the sea every day, and is 200 plethra (20,200 English feet, or nearly four miles) in length.

Like other first-century Jews literate in Greek, early Christians used the Greek word Hades to translate the Hebrew word Sheol. Thus, in Acts 2:27, the Hebrew phrase in Psalm 16:10 appears in the form: "you will not abandon my soul to Hades." Death and Hades are repeatedly associated in the Book of Revelation

Greek Gods Poseidon, in deep


In Greek mythology, Poseidon was the god of the sea and, as "Earth-Shaker," of earthquakes. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon. Linear B tablets show that Poseidon was venerated at Pylos and Thebes in pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece, but he was integrated into the Olympian gods as the brother of Zeus and Hades. Poseidon has many children. There is a Homeric hymn to Poseidon, who was the protector of many Hellenic cities, although he lost the contest for Athens to Athena.
Poseidon was a major civic god of several cities: in Athens, he was second only to Athena in importance; while in Corinth and many cities of Magna Graecia he was the chief god of the polis. In his benign aspect, Poseidon was seen as creating new islands and offering calm seas. When offended or ignored, he supposedly struck the ground with his trident and caused chaotic springs, earthquakes, drownings and shipwrecks. Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe voyage, sometimes drowning horses as a sacrifice.
According to Pausanias, Poseidon was one of the caretakers of the oracle at Delphi before Olympian Apollo took it over. Apollo and Poseidon worked closely in many realms: in colonization, for example, Delphic Apollo provided the authorization to go out and settle, while Poseidon watched over the colonists on their way, and provided the lustral water for the foundation-sacrifice. Xenophon's Anabasis describes a group of Spartan soldiers in 400-399 BCE singing to Poseidon a paean - a kind of hymn normally sung for Apollo.
Like Dionysus, who inflamed the maenads, Poseidon also caused certain forms of mental disturbance. A Hippocratic text of ca 400 BCE, On the Sacred Disease says that he was blamed for certain types of epilepsy.
The name seems to rather transparently stem from Greek pósis "lord, husband" with a less-transparent -don element, perhaps from dea, "goddess'. If surviving Linear B clay tablets can be trusted, the name PO-SE-DA-WO-NE ("Poseidon") occurs with greater frequency than does DI-U-JA (Zeus). A feminine variant, PO-SE-DE-IA, is also found, indicating a lost consort goddess, in effect a precursor of Amphitrite. Tablets from Pylos record sacrificial goods destined for "the Two Queens and Poseidon" and to "the Two Queens and the King". The most obvious identification for the "Two Queens" is with Demeter and Persephone, or their precursors, goddesses who were not associated with Poseidon in later periods.
Poseidon is already identified as "Earth-Shaker"— E-NE-SI-DA-O-NE— in Mycenaean Knossos,[3] a powerful attribute where earthquakes had accompanied the collapse of the Minoan palace-culture. In the heavily sea-dependent Mycenean culture, no connection between Poseidon and the sea has yet surfaced; among the Olympians it was determined by lot that he should rule over the sea (Hesiod, Theogony 456): the god preceded his realm.
Demeter and Poseidon's names are linked in one Pylos tablet, where they appear as PO-SE-DA-WO-NE and DA, referred to by the epithets Enosichthon, Seischthon and Ennosigaios, all meaning "earth-shaker" and referring to his role in causing earthquakes.
Poseidon was a son of Cronus and Rhea. In most accounts he is swallowed by Cronus at birth but later saved, with his other brothers and sisters, by Zeus. However in some versions of the story, he, like his brother Zeus, did not share the fate of his other brother and sisters who were eaten by Cronus. He was saved by his mother Rhea, who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which she gave to Cronus to devour. According to John Tzetzes the kourotrophos, or nurse of Poseidon was Arne, who denied knowing where he was, when Cronus came searching; according to Diodorus Siculus Poseidon was raised by the Telchines on Rhodes, just as Zeus was raised by the Korybantes on Crete.
According to a single reference in the Iliad, when the world was divided by lot in three, Zeus received the sky, Hades the underworld and Poseidon the sea. In the Odyssey (v.398), Poseidon has a home in Aegae.
Athena became the patron goddess of the city of Athens after a competition with Poseidon. Yet Poseidon remained a numinous presence on the Acropolis in the form of his surrogate, Erechtheus. At the dissolution festival at the end of the year in the Athenian calendar, the Skira, the priests of Athena and the priest of Poseidon would process under canopies to Eleusis. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and the Athenians would choose whichever gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring sprang up; the water was salty and not very useful, whereas Athena offered them an olive tree. The Athenians (or their king, Cecrops) accepted the olive tree and along with it Athena as their patron, for the olive tree brought wood, oil and food. After the fight, infuriated at his loss, Poseidon sent a monstrous flood to the Attic Plain, to punish the Athenians for not choosing him. The depression made by Poseidon's trident and filled with salt water was surrounded by the northern hall of the Erechtheum, remaining open to the air.
"In cult, Poseidon was identified with Erechtheus," Walter Burkert noted."the myth turns this into a temporal-causal sequence: in his anger at losing, Poseidon led his son Eumolpus against Athens and killed Erectheus." The contest of Athena and Poseidon was the subject of the reliefs on the western pediment of the Parthenon, the first sight that greeted the arriving visitor.
This myth is construed by Robert Graves and others as reflecting a clash between the inhabitants during Mycenaean times and newer immigrants. It is interesting to note that Athens at its height was a significant sea power, at one point defeating the Persian fleet at Salamis Island in a sea battle.
Poseidon and Apollo, having offended Zeus, were sent to serve King Laomedon of Troy. He had them build huge walls around the city and promised to reward them well, a promise he then refused to fulfill. In vengeance, before the Trojan War, Poseidon sent a sea monster to attack Troy (it was later killed by Perseus).
His consort was Amphitrite, a nymph and ancient sea-goddess, daughter of Nereus and Doris.
Poseidon was the father of many heroes. He is thought to have fathered the famed Theseus.
A mortal woman named Tyro was married to Cretheus (with whom she had one son, Aeson) but loved Enipeus, a river god. She pursued Enipeus, who refused her advances. One day, Poseidon, filled with lust for Tyro, disguised himself as Enipeus, and from their union were born the heroes Pelias and Neleus, twin boys. Poseidon also had an affair with Alope, his granddaughter through Cercyon, begetting the Attic hero Hippothoon. Cercyon had his daughter buried alive but Poseidon turned her into the spring, Alope, near Eleusis. Poseidon rescued Amymone from a lecherous satyr and then fathered a child, Nauplius, by her.After having raped Caeneus, Poseidon fulfilled her request and changed her into a male warrior.
Not all of Poseidon's children were human. In an archaic myth, Poseidon once pursued Demeter. She spurned his advances, turning herself into a mare so that she could hide in a herd of horses; he saw through the deception and became a stallion and captured her. Their child was a horse, Arion, which was capable of human speech. Poseidon also had sexual intercourse with Medusa on the floor of a temple to Athena. Medusa was then changed into a monster by Athena. When she was later beheaded by the hero Perseus, Chrysaor and Pegasus emerged from her neck. There is also Triton, the merman; Polyphemus, the cyclops; and Oto and Ephialtae, the giants.
Poseidon was known in various guises, denoted by epithets. In the town of Aegae in Euboea, he was known as Poseidon Aegaeus and had a magnificent temple upon a hill. Poseidon also had a close association with horses, known under the epithet Poseidon Hippios.
In Greek art, Poseidon rides a chariot that was pulled by a hippocampus or by horses that could ride on the sea. He was associated with dolphins and three-pronged fish spears (tridents). He lived in a palace on the ocean floor, made of coral and gems.
In the Iliad, Poseidon favors the Greeks, and on several occasion takes an active part in the battle against the Trojan forces. However, in Book XX he rescues Aeneas after the Trojan prince is laid low by Achilles.
In the Odyssey, Poseidon is notable for his hatred of Odysseus who blinded the god's son, the cyclops Polyphemus. The enmity of Poseidon prevents Odysseus's return home to Ithaca for many years. Odysseus is even told, notwithstanding his ultimate safe return, that to placate the wrath of Poseidon will require one more voyage on his part.
In the Aeneid, Neptune is still resentful of the wandering Trojans, but is not as vindictive as Juno, and in Book I he rescues the Trojan fleet from the goddess's attempts to wreck it, although his primary motivation for doing this is his annoyance at Juno's having intruded into his domain.
A hymn to Poseidon included among the Homeric Hymns is a brief invocation, a seven-line introduction that addresses the god as both "mover of the earth and barren sea, god of the deep who is also lord of Helicon and wide Aegae, and specificies his twofold nature as an Olympian: "a tamer of horses and a saviour of ships."

Greek Gods Zeus, the Big Gyro Himself



In Greek mythology, Zeus is the king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky and thunder. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.

Zeus was the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he was married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort was Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione. He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.

In Greek, the god's name is Ζεύς Zeús /zdeús/ (Modern Greek /'zefs/) in the nominative case and Διός Diós in the genitive case. His Roman counterpart was Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart Tinia. In Hindu mythology his counterpart was Indra with ever common weapon as thunderbolt, which he could hold like a staff.

The major center where all Greeks converged to pay honor to their chief god was Olympia. Their quadrennial festival featured the famous Games. There was also an altar to Zeus made not of stone, but of ash, from the accumulated remains of many centuries' worth of animals sacrificed there. Outside of the major inter-polis sanctuaries, there were no modes of worshipping Zeus precisely shared across the Greek world. Most of the titles listed below, for instance, could be found at any number of Greek temples from Asia Minor to Sicily. Certain modes of ritual were held in common as well: sacrificing a white animal over a raised altar, for instance.

Zeus played a dominant role, presiding over the Greek Olympian pantheon. He fathered many of the heroes and was featured in many of their local cults. Though the Homeric "cloud collector" was the god of the sky and thunder like his Near-Eastern counterparts, he was also the supreme cultural artifact; in some senses, he was the embodiment of Greek religious beliefs and the archetypal Greek deity.


With one exception, Greeks were unanimous in recognizing the birthplace of Zeus as Crete. Minoan culture contributed many essentials of ancient Greek religion: "by a hundred channels the old civilization emptied itself into the new", Will Durant observed, and Cretan Zeus retained his youthful Minoan features. The local child of the Great Mother, "a small and inferior deity who took the roles of son and consort", whose Minoan name the Greeks Hellenized as Velchanos, was in time assumed as an epithet by Zeus, as transpired at many other sites, and he came to be venerated in Crete as Zeus Velchanos, the "boy-Zeus", often simply the Kouros.

In Crete, Zeus was worshipped at a number of caves at Knossos, Ida and Palaikastro. In the Hellenistic period a small sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Velchanos was founded at the Aghia Triada site of a long-ruined Minoan palace. Broadly contemporary coins from Phaistos show the form under which he was worshiped: a youth sits among the branches of a tree, with a cockerel on his knees.
On other Cretan coins Velchanos is represented as an eagle and in association with a goddess celebrating a mystic marriage. Inscriptions at Gortyn and Lyttos record a Velchania festival, showing that Velchanios was still widely venerated in Hellenistic Crete.

The stories of Minos and Epimenides suggest that these caves were once used for incubatory divination by kings and priests. The dramatic setting of Plato's Laws is along the pilgrimage-route to one such site, emphasizing archaic Cretan knowledge. On Crete, Zeus was represented in art as a long-haired youth rather than a mature adult, and hymned as ho megas kouros "the great youth". Ivory statuettes of the "Divine Boy" were unearthed near the Labyrinth at Knossos by Sir Arthur Evans. With the Kouretes, a band of ecstatic armed dancers, he presided over the rigorous military-athletic training and secret rites of the Cretan paideia.

The myth of the death of Cretan Zeus, localised in numerous mountain sites though only mentioned in a comparatively late source, Callimachus, together with the assertion of Antoninus Liberalis that a fire shone forth annually from the birth-cave the infant shared with a mythic swarm of bees, suggests that Velchanos had been an annual vegetative spirit. The Hellenistic writer Euhemerus apparently proposed a theory that Zeus had actually been a great king of Crete and that posthumously his glory had slowly turned him into a deity. The works of Euhemerus himself have not survived, but Christian patristic writers took up the suggestion with enthusiasm.

After reaching manhood, Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge first the stone (which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, the Omphalos) then his siblings in reverse order of swallowing. In some versions, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the babies, or Zeus cut Cronus' stomach open. Then Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, from their dungeon in Tartarus, killing their guard, Campe. As a token of their appreciation, the Cyclopes gave him thunder and the thunderbolt, or lightning, which had previously been hidden by Gaia. Together, Zeus and his brothers and sisters, along with the Gigantes, Hecatonchires and Cyclopes overthrew Cronus and the other Titans, in the combat called the Titanomachy. The defeated Titans were then cast into a shadowy underworld region known as Tartarus. Atlas, one of the titans that fought against Zeus, was punished by having to hold up the sky.

After the battle with the Titans, Zeus shared the world with his elder brothers, Poseidon and Hades, by drawing lots: Zeus got the sky and air, Poseidon the waters, and Hades the world of the dead (the underworld). The ancient Earth, Gaia, could not be claimed; she was left to all three, each according to their capabilities, which explains why Poseidon was the "earth-shaker" (the god of earthquakes) and Hades claimed the humans that died. (See also: Penthus)

Gaia resented the way Zeus had treated the Titans, because they were her children. Soon after taking the throne as king of the gods, Zeus had to fight some of Gaia's other children, the monsters Typhon and Echidna. He vanquished Typhon and trapped him under a mountain, but left Echidna and her children alive.

Zeus was brother and consort of Hera. By Hera, Zeus sired Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus, though some accounts say that Hera produced these offspring alone. Some also include Eileithyia and Eris as their daughters. The conquests of Zeus among nymphs and the mythic mortal progenitors of Hellenic dynasties are famous. Olympian mythography even credits him with unions with Leto, Demeter, Dione and Maia. Among mortals were Semele, Io, Europa and Leda.
Many myths render Hera as jealous of his amorous conquests and a consistent enemy of Zeus' mistresses and their children by him. For a time, a nymph named Echo had the job of distracting Hera from his affairs by incessantly talking: when Hera discovered the deception, she cursed Echo to repeat the words of others. Hera is also represented as having despised Ganymede, a Trojan boy whom he brought into Olympus to be cup-bearer to the gods as well as his lover.



Zeus miscellany


Zeus turned Pandareus to stone for stealing the golden dog which had guarded him as an infant in the holy Dictaeon Cave of Crete.

Zeus killed Salmoneus with a thunderbolt for attempting to impersonate him, riding around in a bronze chariot and loudly imitating thunder.

Zeus turned Periphas into an eagle after his death, as a reward for being righteous and just.

At the marriage of Zeus and Hera, a nymph named Chelone refused to attend. Zeus transformed her into a tortoise (chelone in Greek).

Zeus, with Hera, turned King Haemus and Queen Rhodope into mountains (the Balkan mountains, or Stara Planina, and Rhodope mountains, respectively) for their vanity.

Zeus condemned Tantalus to eternal torture in Tartarus for trying to trick the gods into eating the flesh of his butchered son.

Zeus condemned Ixion to be tied to a fiery wheel for eternity as punishment for attempting to violate Hera.

Zeus sunk the Telchines beneath the sea for blighting the earth with their fell magics.

Zeus blinded the seer Phineus and sent the Harpies to plague him as punishment for revealing the secrets of the gods.

Zeus rewarded Tiresias with a life three times the norm as reward for ruling in his favour when he and Hera contested which of the sexes gained the most pleasure from the act of love.

Zeus punished Hera by having her hung upside down from the sky when she attempted to drown Heracles in a storm.

Of all the children Zeus spawned, Heracles was often described as his favorite. Indeed, Heracles was often called by various gods and people as "the favorite son of Zeus", Zeus and Heracles were very close and in one story, where a tribe of earth-born Giants threatened Olympus and the Oracle at Delphi decreed that only the combined efforts of a lone god and mortal could stop the creature, Zeus chose Heracles to fight by his side. They proceeded to defeat the monsters.

Athena has at times been called his favorite daughter and adviser.

His sacred bird was the golden eagle, which he kept by his side at all times. Like him, the eagle was a symbol of strength, courage, and justice.

His favourite tree was the oak, symbol of strength. Olive trees were also sacred to him.

Zelus, Nike, Cratos and Bia were Zeus' retinue.

Zeus condemned Prometheus to having his liver eaten by a giant eagle for giving the Flames of Olympus to the mortals.

Greek Gods Cassandra, don't believe a word of it


In Greek mythology, Cassandra (Greek: Κασσάνδρα, "she who entangles men" ; also known as Alexandra) was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions.
In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo's temple, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future. This is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future.
Apollo loved Cassandra, and when she did not return his love, he cursed her so that her gift would become a source of endless pain and frustration. In some versions of the myth, this is symbolized by the god spitting into her mouth; in other Greek versions, this act was sufficient to remove the gift so recently given by Apollo, but Cassandra's case varies. From the play Agamemnon, it appears that she made a promise to Apollo to become his consort, but broke it, thus incurring his wrath: though she retained the power of foresight, no one would believe her predictions.
Telephus, the son of Heracles, loved Cassandra but she scorned him and instead helped him seduce her sister Laodice.
While Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy (she warned the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon, and her own demise), she was unable to do anything to forestall these tragedies since they did not believe her. Coroebus and Othronus came to the aid of Troy out of love for Cassandra. Cassandra was also the first to see the body of her brother Hector being brought back to the city.
At the fall of Troy, she sought shelter in the temple of Athena, where she was violently abducted and raped by Ajax the Lesser. Cassandra was then taken as a concubine by King Agamemnon of Mycenae. Unbeknownst to Agamemnon, while he was away at war, his wife, Clytemnestra, had begun an affair with Aegisthus. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus then murdered both Agamemnon and Cassandra. Some sources mention that Cassandra and Agamemnon had twin boys, Teledamus and Pelops, both of whom were killed by Aegisthus.
Homer. Iliad XXIV, 697-706; Homer. Odyssey XI, 405-434; Aeschylus. Agamemnon; Euripides. Trojan Women; Euripides. Electra; Apollodorus. Bibliotheke III, xii, 5; Apollodorus. Epitome V, 17-22; VI, 23; Virgil. Aeneid II, 246ff; Lycophron. Alexandra
A modern psychological perspective on Cassandra is presented by Eric Shanower in Age of Bronze: Sacrifice. In this version, Cassandra, as a child, is molested by a man pretending to be a god. His warning "No one will believe you!" is one often spoken by abusers to their child victims.
A similar situation occurred in Lindsay Clarke's novel The Return from Troy (presented as a reawakened memory), where a priest of Apollo forced himself upon Cassandra and was stopped only when she spat in his mouth. When the priest used his benevolent reputation to convince Priam that he was innocent of her wild claims, Cassandra subsequently went insane.
The myth of Cassandra is also retold by German author Christa Wolf in Kassandra. She retells the story from the point of view of Cassandra at the moment of her death and uses the myth as an allegory for both the unheard voice of the woman writer and the oppression and strict censorship laws of East Germany.
Author William Faulkner, in his novel Absalom, Absalom!, writes of Rosa Coldfield, a principal character in the Sutpen Dynasty/Tragedy, and how her "childhood ... consisted of a Cassandra-like listening beyond closed doors", alluding to both mythological concerns that (1) Cassandra was locked away, or behind closed doors (as with Rosa's youth), and (2) that Cassandra's prophecies were true, yet fated to be ignored (as with Rosa's premonitions about Thomas Sutpen and his desire to forge a dynasty).
The author Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote a historical novel called Firebrand, which presents a story from Cassandra's point of view. Marcus Sedgwick's novel The Foreshadowing features a protagonist named Alexandra who has the gift of foresight, though she sees mainly others' pain and death.
In Clemence McLearn's Inside the Walls of Troy, Cassandra has a strong friendship with Queen Helen of Sparta when she came to Troy with Prince Paris. Cassandra essentially hates Helen but gives in to her unbearable joy and happiness and becomes Helen's "confidante". At the end of the story instead of Cassandra being raped and taken as Agamemnon's "battle prize", she simply joins her two sisters, Polyxena and Laodice, at the temple of Athena. The rest of her story is left untold.
In David Gemmell's Troy trilogy, Cassandra is credited with opening the mind of exiled Egyptian prince Gershom (Moses) to his own gift of prophecy. Cassandra got her gift after suffering from 'brain fever' as a young child, and dies in the volcanic eruption of Thera.
In the section Cassandra of Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truth, Florence Nightingale protests the over-feminization of women into near helplessness, such as what Nightingale saw in her mother's and older sister's lethargic lifestyle despite their education. The work also reflects her fear of her ideas being ineffective, as were Cassandra's.
In Hercules: The Animated Series (presented by Disney), Hercules befriends Icarus and Cassandra at his local high school.
Cassandra is also noticed in an acclaimed novel that was originally a comic book written by Greg Rucka: Batman: No Man's Land. In the book she is known as "the future" of weapons. Other alternate meanings of 'Cassandra' are: 1. seductress of man 2. Queen of intercourse 3. Doomsayer (one who brings news of terrible future events) Cassandra was also said to be even more desireable than Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, who envyed cassandra.
In more modern literature, Cassandra has often served as a model for tragedy and Romance, and has given rise to the archetypal character of someone whose prophetic insight is obscured by insanity, turning their revelations into riddles or disjointed statements that are not fully comprehended until after the fact. Notable examples are the character of River Tam from the science fiction TV series Firefly, the character Cassandra in the TV series The X-Files (an alien abductee that nobody took seriously), and the science fiction short story "Cassandra" by C. J. Cherryh.
The Cassandra syndrome is a fictional condition used to describe someone who believes that he or she can see the future but cannot do anything about it. Comic writer Chris Claremont has used this syndrome as the motivation for the villainous actions of mutant terrorists Mystique and Destiny, the latter being a blind precognitive, whose attempts to prevent the destruction of the mutant race at the hands of humanity often lead to further anti-mutant hysteria.
In Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite, which features several appearances by classical Greek figures, Cassandra appears warning Allen's character not to move to the countryside. As usual, she is not listened to. She makes a later appearances, delivering the following line: "I see disaster. I see catastrophe. Worse, I see lawyers!" She is played by Danielle Ferland. In his 2007 movie Cassandra's Dream the main characters' boat is called "Cassandra's Dream". During the movie many characters have bad dreams. The final sequence is on board the boat.
The Cassandra effect is when a person believes he or she knows the future happening of a catastrophic event, having already seen it in some way, or even experienced it first hand; however, the person knows there is nothing that can be done to stop the event from happening and that nobody will believe it even if he or she tries to tell others. For example, in finance, the more you warn your colleagues about the tail risks—the rare but devastating events that can bring the bank down—the more they roll their eyes, give a yawn and change the subject. This eventually leads to self-censorship.