Van Buren Myth Terms

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Zeus (Jupiter)

The king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky, weather, thunder, law, order and fate. His symbols are the thunderbolt, royal sceptre, and eagle.

Hera (Juno)

Queen of Heaven and goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings and empires. Her symbols are the diadem, lotus-staff, peacock, cuckoo and pomegranate.

Hephaestus (Vulcan)

Crippled god of fire, metalworking, stonemasonry, sculpture and volcanism. His symbols are the hammer, tongs and anvil.

Hermes (Mercury)

God of travel, messengers, trade, thievery, cunning wiles, language, writing, diplomacy, athletics, and animal husbandry. His attributes include the herald's wand or caduceus, winged sandals, and a traveler's cap.

Hades (Pluto)

King of the Underworld and god of death, the dead, and the hidden wealth of the Earth. His attributes are the key of Hades, the Helm of Darkness, and the three-headed dog, Cerberus.

Apollo

God of music, healing, plague, prophecies, poetry, and archery; associated with sky, light, truth and the sun. His attributes include a laurel wreath, bow and quiver, raven, and lyre.

Athena (Minerva)

Virgin goddess of wisdom, warfare, strategy, heroic endeavour, handicrafts and reason. Her symbols include the aegis, the owl and the olive tree.

Artemis (Diana)

Virgin goddess of the hunt, wilderness, wild animals, childbirth and plague. In later times she became associated with the moon. In addition to the bow, her attributes include hunting spears, animal pelts, deer and other wild animals.

Ares (Mars)

God of war, bloodlust, violence, manly courage, and civil order. His attributes are golden armour and a bronze-tipped spear, and his sacred animals are the eagle owl, the vulture and the venomous snake.

Poseidon (Neptune)

God of the sea, rivers, floods, droughts, earthquakes and horses; known as the "Earth Shaker" or "Storm Bringer". His attributes are the trident, dolphins and horses.

Demeter (Ceres)

Goddess of fertility, agriculture, horticulture, grain and harvest. Her symbols are the Cornucopia (horn of plenty), wheat-ears, the winged serpent and the lotus staff.

Hestia (Vesta)

Virgin goddess of the hearth, home and cooking. Her symbols are the hearth and kettle.

Aphrodite (Venus)

Goddess of love, lust, beauty, seduction and pleasure. Her symbols include the dove, apple, scallop shell and myrtle wreath.

Persephone (Proserpina)

Queen of the Underworld, wife of Hades and goddess of spring growth

Narcissus

Remembered for having fallen in love with his own reflection and dying because he could not rip himself away.

Echo

a nymph cursed never to speak except to repeat the words of others

Arachne

A great mortal weaver who boasted that her skill was greater than that of Minerva, the Latin parallel of Pallas Athena, goddess of crafts. Ultimately, the goddess turned Arachne into a spider.

Dionysus (Bacchus)

God of wine, parties and festivals, madness, drunkenness and pleasure. His attributes include the thyrsus (a pinecone-tipped staff), drinking cup, grape vine and a crown of ivy.

Psyche

Goddess of the soul; She was portrayed in ancient mosaics as a goddess with butterfly wings.

Eros (Cupid)

God of love, sexual intercourse, cupids, desire and pleasure. His symbols were Bow, Arrows, Candles, Hearts, Cupids, Wings and Kisses.

Medea

A princess of Colchis who aided Jason in taking the Golden Fleece from her father

Daedalus

An Athenian inventor who built the labyrinth of Minos; to escape the labyrinth he fashioned wings for himself and his son Icarus

Icarus

Son of Daedalus, who escaped from Crete using wings made by his father but was killed when he flew too near the sun and the wax attaching his wings melted

Europa

A princess of Tyre who was courted by Zeus in the form of a bull. She was carried off by him to Crete, where she bore him three sons. He dropped her on Earth.

Io

An Argive princess and the daughter of Inachus who was seduced by Zeus; just before Hera discovered them Zeus turned her into a white heifer.

Amazons

Warrior women of Scythia, who are described in the Iliad as those who go to war like men-burned off the right breast in order to use a bow and arrow more effectively

Circe

A sorceress who detained Odysseus on her island and turned his men into swine

Pan

God of shepherds, pastures, and fertility; represented as a man with goat's legs and horns and ears

Midas

Received the golden touch from Dionysus after rescuing one of the satyrs; later regretted his decision and bathed in the Pactolus River allowing the gold to deposit itself in the water.

Heracles (Hercules)

Strongest of all mortals; stronger then many gods. Deciding factor in allowing the Olympian Gods to win their battle with the giants. Last mortal son of Zeus; Only man born of mortal woman to become a god upon his death.

Agamemnon

King who lead the Greeks against Troy in the Trojan War

Menelaus

King of Sparta at the time of the Trojan War; brother of Agamemnon; husband of Helen

Antigone

Daughter of King Oedipus who disobeyed her father and was condemned to death

Cassandra

Prophetess in Troy during the Trojan War whose predictions were true but were never believed

Oedipus

Mythical Greek king of Thebes; fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family

Jocasta

Oedipus' mother whom he accidentally married; Queen of Thebes

Zephyr

God of the west wind

Tiresias

The blind prophet of Thebes who revealed to Oedipus that Oedipus had murdered his father and married his mother

Priam

Last king of Troy; father of Hector and Paris and Cassandra

Styx

River in Hades across which Charon carried dead souls

Jason

Husband of Medea and leader of the Argonauts who sailed in quest of the Golden Fleece

Polyphemus

Cyclops who trapped Odysseus and some of his companions in a cave, from which they escaped by putting out his one eye while he slept

Argus

Giant with 100 eyes; was guardian of the heifer Io and was slain by Hermes

Iphigenia

Daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon; Agamemnon was obliged to offer her as a sacrifice to Artemis when the Greek fleet was becalmed on its way to Troy; Artemis rescued her and she later became a priestess

Nemesis

Goddess of divine retribution and vengeance

Prometheus

Titan who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to mankind; Zeus punished him by chaining him to a rock where an eagle gnawed at his liver until Hercules rescued him)

Epimetheus

Brother of Prometheus; despite Prometheus's warning against gifts from Zeus he accepted Pandora as his wife

Pandora

First woman; created by Hephaestus on orders from Zeus who presented her to Epimetheus along with a box filled with evils

Cyclops

One of a race of giants having a single eye in the middle of their forehead

Cerberus

Three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades; son of Typhon

Centaur

Mythical being that is half man and half horse

Minotaur

Mythical monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man; slain by Theseus

Theseus

Hero and king of Athens who was noted for his many great deeds: killed Procrustes and the Minotaur and defeated the Amazons and united Attica

Odysseus (Ulysses)

Famous mythical Greek hero; his return to Ithaca after the siege of Troy was described in the Odyssey

Golden Fleece

Fleece of gold owned by the king of Colchis and guarded in a sacred grove by a dragon; recovered by Jason and the Argonauts

Argonauts

The heroes who sailed with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece

Paris

Prince of Troy who abducted Helen from her husband Menelaus and provoked the Trojan War

Charon

Ferryman who brought the souls of the dead across the river Styx or the river Acheron to Hades

Odin

Ruler of the Aesir; supreme god of war and poetry and knowledge and wisdom (for which he gave an eye) and husband of Frigga; identified with the Teutonic Wotan

Frigga

Goddess of the heavens and married love; wife of Odin

Thor

God of thunder and rain and farming; pictured as wielding a hammer emblematic of the thunderbolt; identified with Teutonic Donar

Tiu (Tyr)

God of war and sky in Norse tales

Freya

Goddess of love and fecundity; daughter of Njorth and sister of Frey

Frey

God of earth's fertility and peace and prosperity; son of Njorth and brother of Freya; originally of the Vanir; later with the Aesir

Bragi

God of poetry and music; son of Odin

Balder

God of light and peace and noted for his beauty and sweet nature; son of Odin and Frigg and husband of Nanna; killed by Hoth

Hoder

Blind god; misled by Loki, he kills his brother Balder by throwing a shaft of mistletoe

Vidar

One of the Aesir; son of Odin; avenges his parent by slaying Fenrir at Ragnarok

Loki

Trickster; god of discord and mischief; contrived death of Balder and was overcome by Thor

Hel

Goddess of the dead and queen of the underworld

Asgard

Heavenly dwelling of the Norse gods (the Aesir) and slain war heroes

Valhalla

The hall in which the souls of heros slain in battle were received by Odin

Valkyrie

One of the maidens of Odin who chose heroes to be slain in battle and conducted them to Valhalla

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