Only $2.99/month

Terms in this set (187)

God of the Vine; he was the last God to enter Olympus (Homer did not admit him), though he was very important on earth. The son of Zeus and the Theban princess Semele, he was the only god whose parents were not both divine (Hercules is also Theban). His mother Semele was killed when Zeus was forced to show himself, but Zeus saved the unborn child and hid him. Hermes took him to be cared for by the Nymphs of Nysa. Pirates abducted him in disguise, but he could not be bound. The helmsman understood he was a god, but the captain mocked him. The wind failed the ship, and wonder upon wonder happened. He turned himself into a lion, and everyone but the helmsman into dolphins. King Lycurgus insulted him, and he was punished. The princess of Crete, Ariadne, had been abandoned on the shore of Naxos by the Athenian Theseus, whose life she had saved. Dionysus had compassion upon her, rescuing her and loving her. Pentheus, King of Thebes, not knowing his godhead nor his cousin, found him and his maenads objectionable. Teiresias, the prophet of Thebes, warned him that this was Semele's son and a god, but Pentheus only mocked him. Again, fetters would not bind him, and Pentheus would not listen. The Maenads tore Pentheus, his mother, and other Theban women limb from limb as punishment, thinking he was a mountain lion. He was worshipped in a five-day poetry and theatre festival. He was also a god of suffering, dieing and rising again every year, showing his worshippers that the soul lives on forever.
First there was chaos, the vast immeasurable abyss; born into this shapeless nothing were Night and Erebus, the unfathomable depth where death dwells. An egg hatches Love; Love created Light and Day. The first things alive were the children of Gaia and Uranus, mother earth and father heaven, and they were huge monsters. Three of them had 100 hands and 50 heads; three others were cyclops; last came the Titans, the only not purely destructive. Uranus hated the 100-handed things and hid them away; he let the cyclopses and Titans roam free. Gaia wanted to free her other children and enlisted the help of the Titan Cronus (Saturn). Cronus ambushed his dad Heaven (Saturn ambushed Uranus) and cut his balls off. From his Uranus's blood sprang the Giants and the Erinyes (Furies). The other monsters (100-handers, cyclopses, Titans, giants) were finally banished from the earth, but the Erinyes (Furies) remained to punish sinners. Cronus became lord of the universe with his sister-queen Rhea (Ops in Latin). One of their sons, Zeus (Jupiter) rebelled against Cronus (Saturn). Cronus knew that one of his children was destined to dethrone him, so he swallowed them as soon as they were born. But when Rhea bore Zeus, she had him secretly carried to Crete, while her husband ate a decoy boulder. When Zeus was grown, he forced his father to disgorge his five brothers and sisters as well as the stone, which was set up at Delphi. There followed a terrible war between Cronus and his brother Titans against Zeus and his five siblings. The Titans were conquered; Zeus freed the 100-handers who helped him out, and also a son of the Titan Iapetus, whose name was Prometheus, sided with Zeus. After the Titans were defeated, however, Earth gave birth to her last and most frightful child, Typhon. Flaming monster with 100-heads. Zeus killed him with lightning. Still later, the Giants rebelled against Zeus, but they were hurled down to Tartarus. From then on, Zeus and his siblings were undisputed rulers of all.
Son of the Titan Iapetus, brother of Atlas, who helped Zeus defeat his father Cronus (Saturn). Atlas fought against Zeus, and was condemned to bear the world on his shoulders forever. Another brother was Epimetheus (Afterthought), a scatterbrained person. Epimetheus gave all the best gifts to the animals: strength and swiftness and courage and shrewd cunning, until no good was left for men. After this "mistake," he asked his brother Prometheus for help creating man. Prometheus took over the task of creation and made man in a nobler shape; he went to the Sun, lit a torch, and brought down fire, a protection to men far better than anything else. Prometheus also arranged that men should get the best part of sacrifices, while the gods get the worst. He duped Zeus with bones disguised as meat, but Zeus had made his choice; thereafter, only fat and bones were burned to the gods upon the altar. Zeus exacted his revenge by creating Woman, a great evil for men: Pandora, "the gift of all." Pandora and a do-not-open box were given to Epimetheus by Zeus, though he had been instructed by Prometheus to accept nothing from him. Pandora opened the box, and plagues and sorrows flew out. She shut it quickly; among many evils still remaining was one good thing: Hope. Zeus then punished Prometheus, chaining him to Caucasus, where he was bound to a rock in adamantine chains for his man-loving ways. Also, only Prometheus knew the mother of the child, son of Zeus, who was fated to unseat him. He wouldn't tell Zeus or Hermes, and so all day long an eagle ate his liver. There is a story that eventually the centaur Chiron died for him, thus releasing him, the great rebel against injustice and the authory of power.
Psyche was the lovely daughter of a king who excelled her sisters; people would say that Venus herself could not equal this mortal. Indeed, Venus' temples were neglected and everyone thronged to worship Psyche. She told her son Cupid to "make the hussy Psyche fall in love with the vilest and most despicable creature in the whole world." But as he looked upon Psyche, Cupid himself fell in love; indeed, Psyche did not fall in love at all and no one fell in love with her; only admired, never loved. Her father the king was disturbed that she was unmarried and asked an oracle of Apollo for help. The oracle said Psyche must be dressed in deep mourning and set on the summit of a rocky hill; there, her destined husband, a fearful winged serpent stronger than God would come and make her his wife. Waiting atop the hilltop in the darkness, Zephyr carried her down to a grassy meadow. She awoke beside a masion built for a god; she entered a place of delights. Her husband joined her at night, but he would not reveal himself. Psyche wanted to see her sisters; her husband said OK but don't be persuaded by anyone to try and see me. Psyche's sisters got super jealous and plotted something nasty. They suspected that she had never seen her husband; they told Psyche that her husband was actually the serpent that Apollo's oracle said it would be. She contrived to view her husband asleep and stab him. Well, she shined a light on him, accidently dropping some hot oil from the lamp. He awakened and fled from her forever. "Love cannot live where there is no trust." Cupid told Venus what had happened. Psyche went to Venus and said she would be her servent. Venus gave Psyche wheat, poppy, and millet seeds, mixed them all, and told her to sort them. Ants pitied her and helped her sort them. Next, Venus bade her go cut golden fleece from fierce sheeps. A reed told her to look on the sharp briars, and she would find wool. Next, Psyche had to fill a flask with water from the source of the river Styx. An eagle helped Psyche to do this. Next Venus gave her a box; Psyche had to go to Proserpine in the underworld and ask her to fill it with beauty. She did so, giving Charon a penny and Cerberus a cake. Psyche looked in the box, hoping to make herself more beautiful and irresistable to Cupid. This caused her to fall asleep; Cupid woke her up. Psyche completed the task and she and Cupid were formally married by Zeus.
King Athamas put his wife Nephele away so he could marry Princess Ino. Nephele was afraid that Ino, daugther of Cadmus king of Thebes, would try to kill her child Phrixus. Indeed, Ino screwed up the seed-corn, ruining the crop, and an oracle decreed that Phrixus must die as a sacrifice. When the boy got to the altar, a wonderous ram of golden fleece snatched he and his sister away; Hermes had sent the ram in answer to Nephele's prayer. While crossing the straight separating Europe and Asia, Phrixus sister Helle slipped and fell into the water; she drowned, but the strait was named after her (Hellespont). The boy came out OK, landing on the country of Colchis on the Unfriedly Sea (the Black Sea, not yet friendly). The fierce Colchians were kind to Phrixus, and their King AEetes let him marry one of his daughters. Phrixus sacrificed to Zeus the ram that had saved him and gave the Golden Fleece to King AEetes. Phrixus had an uncle who was supposed to be king, but was denied it by his nephew Pelias. The uncle's son, Jason, the rightful heir to the kingdom, had been sent away to a place of safety. When he was grown he was to reclaim the kingdom. The usurper Pelias was told oracularly to beware of any clad in a single sandal. The one-sandaled man showed up; it was Jason, long-haired and with a leopard skin, come to reclaim his father's kingdom from Pelias. Pelias says OK, but please bring the Golden Fleece back; then you can have the Kingdom. So a sailing group was assembled: Hercules, Orpheus, Castor and Pollux, Peleus (Achilles' dad), and others, set sail in the Argo under Hera's aegis. Their first stop was Lemnos, where only women lived. They had killed all the men except the old king, Hypsipyle's father. They helped the argonauts. They lost Hercules when Hylas, his armour-bearer, was drawn underwater by a nymph; he chased Hylas. They came upon a lonely old prophet, Phineus, whose foresight made Zeus angry; he had sent the Harpies, "hounds of Zeus," to swoop down and defile the food whenever the old man was about to dine. The sons of Boreas, the North Wind, could help him, and they did, chasing the harpies away. Phineus gave them advice about how to deal with the Symplegades, the Clashing Rocks that rolled against one another, using a dove to test it. Then the Argonauts ended up at the Amazon's country. These warrior-women were daugthers of the peaceloving nymph Harmony and Ares. Fortunately, there was no altercation. They saw the Caucasus and Prometheus on his rock. Finally, they reaced Colchis. Hera got Aphrodite to get Cupid to make the daughter of the Colchian King, Medea, fall in love with Jason. Medea knew powerful magic and could help the Argonauts. After finding out their business, King AEetes was angry. He tried their courage with a task: yoke two terrible bulls and plow a field, then sow the teeth of a dragon from which will spring a crop of armed men, then kill all the men. Medea guessed what her father had planned; she had a magic ointment which would him he who applied it safe for a day; the plant it was made from sprang up first when Prometheus' blood dripped down upon the earth. Anyway, Jason and Medea met up, she gave him the ointment and some advice. Jason completed the tasks. King AEetes sill wasn't going to give up the fleece, so Medea told them where it was. A serpent guarded it, but Medea put it to sleep, and Jason grabbed the Fleece. The king found out and sent Medea's brother Apsyrtus after them. She killed her brother. On the way back they had to pass Scylla and Charybdis. They almost landed at Crete, but Medea told them that Talus lived there, the last man of the ancient bronze race. Medea killed him. They reached Greece, and Jason and Medea took the Golden Fleece to Pelias. They found that Pelias had killed Jason's father and mother. Medea tricked Pelias' daughters into cutting him up by teaching them a fake charm. Jason and Medea went to Corinth and had two sons. BUT THAT ********* engaged himself to marry the daughter of the King of Corinth. Medea was banished by the King of Corinth, and Jason was cold-hearted about it. They got into a big fight, and she was exiled. Before leaving, Medea annointed Jason's bride's robe with deadly drugs and then she killed her own children. A chariot of dragons carried Medea away.
Glaucus, King of Ephyre (Corinth), son of Sisyphus, was a great horseman. He fed his horses human flesh to make them fierce in battle, angering the gods and causing his death. In this city lived a bold young man named Bellerophon, son of Glaucus, possibly son of Poseidon. His mother was Eurynome, Athena's pupil. More than anything, Bellerophon wanted Pegasus, a marvelous horse that sprung from the Gorgon's blood when Perseus killed her. The seer of Ephyre (Corinth), Polyidus, advised him to sleep in Athena's temple. There he was visited by the god, and she vanished leaving a bridle of gold. Soon after he caught sight of Pegasus drinking from the spring of Corinth, Pirene. He bridled him and mounted, now lord of the air. He accidently killed his brother, and went to Argus where the king purified him, but the King's wife Anteia fell in love with him. He refused her, and she told the king that Bellerophon must die. The king asked Bellerophon to take a letter to the King of Lycia in Asia. The letter instructed King Lycias to kill Bellerophon. He did not himself care to do so; instead, he asked him to go and slay the Chimaera, a lion in front, a serpent behind, a goat in between, held to be unconquerable. Bellerophon easily slayed the Chimaera. Proetus, the king of Corinth, had to think of other ways to dispose of him. He sent him on an expedition against the Solymi, mighty warriors, and against the Amazons, both of which he conquered. Finally, the king made friends with Bellerophon and lived happily. His ruin was trying to ride Pegasus up to Olympus. Pegasus knew better, throwing him off and forsaking him.
King Acrisius of Argos had only one child, a daughter Danae. He traveled to Delphi to see if He'd ever have a boy; the priestess said no, and worse, Danae's son would kill him. Instead of killing her, he locked her up. She sits alone, with nothing to do, until one day a shower of gold falls on her, and she bore a child by Zeus: Perseus. The king had a great chest made, and he placed Danae and Perseus inside, casting it out to sea. They washed ashore and Island and were found by the fisherman Dictys, who cared for them for some time. The ruler of the island, Dictys brother Polydectes fell in love with her and tried to get rid of her son. Polydectes told Perseus of monsters called Gorgons and tricked him into agreeing to bring him the head of Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, winged and with snaky hair who no man can behold. He searched far and wide before coming upon Hermes in the wood, who told him that what he needed was possessed by the nymphs of the North; the Gray Women could tell him the way, women who had but one eye between the three of them. Perseus was given a sword by Hermes, a mirror shield by Athena, and instructions to steal the eye from the Gray Women until they reveal the location of the nymphs of the North. He did so, and they sent him to the country of the Hyperboreans. They showed him great kindness, giving him winged sandals, a magic wallet which would always become the right size for whatever it was to carry, and a cap which made the wearer invisible. Medusa alone of the Gorgons could be killed; the other two were immortal. He hovered above them in winged sandals and his invisibility cap and looking through his shield cut Medusa's head off clean, dropping it into the wallet. On his way back he came to Ethiopia; Perseus found, as Hercules would later, a lovely maiden who had been given up to be devoured by a horrible sea serpent. Her name was Andromeda, daugther of a vain Ethiop queen Cassiopeia who offended the sea nymphs, daugthers of Nereus. Perseus fell in love with Andromeda and waited until the great snake came, cutting off its head just as he had the Gorgon's. Perseus married Andromeda. Upon his arrival back home, he leared that his mother Danae and Dictys had to flee Polydectes' wrath. He also learned that a banquet of Polydectes was going on, so he showed up and turned everyone to stone with Medusa's head. He made Dictys king, and he, Danae, and Andromeda returned to Greece. Back in Argos, Acrisius had been driven from the city. Later, Perseus accidently killed him with a discus, proving the oracle of Apollo true. Perseus and Andromeda lived happily ever after; their son, Electryon, was the grandfather of Hercules. Medusa's head was given to Athena, who bore it upon the aegis, Zeus's shield, which she carried for him.
Dearest of heroes to the Athenians, son of Athenian King Aegeus, who hid a hollow sword and and pair of shoes under a boulder. When the boy grew strong enough to roll away the stone, he could come to Athens and meet his father. He took the long way to Athens after easily lifting the stone, killing all the bandits in his path. Theseus did unto others: Sciron was kicked down to sea, Sinis was tied to two bent pine trees and released, Procrustes was placed on his iron bed. Thus, when he reached Athens he was a hero. The King of Athens, not realizing Theseus was his son, planned to poison him at Medea's urging (after the Quest). When Theseus was handed the poisoned cup, he drew his father's sword; the King instantly recognized it and dashed the cup away. Medea esacped. Aegeus proclaimed Theseus his son and heir. Years before, Minos, King of Crete, had lost his only son Androgeus in Athens, who was sent by Aegeus on a perilous quest. Minos invaded Athens and said he would raze it unless a tribute of seven maidens and seven youths was made every nine years; in Crete, these poor were given to the Minotaur to devour. The Minotaur was half bull, half human, the offspring of Minos' wife Pasiphae and a beautiful bull. Poseidon had given Minos the bull to sacrifice to him, but he wanted to keep it, so Poseidon made his wife fall in love with it. When the Minotaur was born, Minos had Deadalus build a labyrinth to contain him. Time had come for the tribute, and Theseus himself volunteer to be one of the 14. He told his father that if he succeeded, he would have the black sail changed to a white one so Aegeus would know he was safe. In Crete, Minos daughter Ariadne fell in love with Theseus; she sent for Daedalus and told him he must show her a way to get out of the Labyrinth. Ariadne said she would help Theseus if he promised to marry her; he agreed, and she gave him a ball of thread he was to fasten at the entrance so he could retrace his steps. He found the Minotaur asleep and beat him to death with his fists, then followed the string back to the entrance. The others followed and they fled with Ariadne in a ship for Athens. On the way, they put in at the island of Naxos, where somehow Ariadne was lost. When he drew near to Athens, he forgot to put up the white sail. King Aegeus saw the black sail from the Acropolis, and he threw himself off a rocky height into the sea; the sea into which he fell was called the Aegean forever. So Theseus became King of Athens, but he resigned his royal power and organized a commonwealth. In the War of Seven against Thebes, the vanquished turned to Theseus for help because the Thebans refused burial to their dead. He lead Athens against Thebes and made them bury the Argive dead. He received the aged Oedipus whom everyone else had cast out. When Hercules in his madness killed his wife and children, Theseus alone stood by him. However, all his deeds of Knight-errantry to defend the wrongs of the helpless could not restrain his love of danger. He went to the country of the Amazons and brought away one of them, Antiope or Hippolyta, and with her bore a son, Hippolytus. He went on the Quest for the Golden Fleece, took part in the Calydonian Hunt, when the King of Calydon called upon Greece's noblest to kill the terrible boar, during which he saved the life of his rash friend Pirithous, who sits forever in the Chair of Forgetfulness. Theseus married Ariadne's sister Phaedra, drawing down terrible misfortunes. He had sent his son by the Amazonian, Hippolytus, away to be brought up in his hometown. Hippolytus grew into a young athlete and hunter. When Theseus came to his old home, everything was great, until Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, but he wouldn't notice her. Phaedra determined to die, but her nurse learned everything and went to Hippolytus. Hippolytus violent refused her, and Phaedra killed herself, leaving a note to her husband Theseus that Hippolytus did it. Hippolytus was exiled by his father who disbelieved his testimony. As he was leaving, Hippolytus incurred a mortal wound, and Artemis told Theseus the truth. Hippolytus dies. Theseus ultimately died at the hand of King Lycomedes, where a few years later Achilles was to hide disguised as a girl. We are not told why he was killed.
He was what all Greece except Athens most admired; Theseus, hero of Athens, while bravest of the brave, was compassionate and clever. This hero was the strongest man on earth, and very confident, considering himself equal to the gods. Indeed, they needed his help to conquer the Giants. Once, the oracle at Delphi gave no response to him, and he stole her tripod and fought with Apollo. Undefeatable he was, only overcome by magic. Sort of dumb: threatened to shoot the sun when he was too hot, and the waters when they were rough. He was emotional, like when he deserted the Argo to go after Hylas his armor-bearer. He raged and then was penitent, spending a lot of his life expiating one unfortunate deed after another. His thinking was limited to devising a way to kill what was threatening him. He did sorrow over wrongdoing, showing greatness of soul. Favorite son of Thebes, held to be the son of Amphitryon and called Acides, or descendant of Alcaeus who was Ampitryons father; in reality, he was Zeus' son. Zeus visited his mother (Amphitryon's wife) Alcmena in the shape of her husband. Alcmena bore two children: Hercules to Zeus and Iphicles to Amphitryon. Hera, as always, was jealous and determined to kill Hercules. One evening, when Alcmena put Iphicles and Hercules to bed in their crib, two great snakes came crawling into the crib; Iphicles screamed and tried to escape, but Hercules grasped each by the throat, killing them and laughing all the while. He gave them to Amphitryon. Teiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes, told Alcmena he was to be the hero of all mankind. He brained his music teacher with a lute, killing him without meaning to. When 18 he killed the great Thespian lion in the woods of Cithaeron, and everafter wore its skin as a cloak, with its head forming a hood. He conquered the Minyans who had been exacting tribute from Thebans; they gave him in return the hand of Princess Megara, to whom he was devoted. He had three children by her, but Hera caused him to go mad and murder them and Megara too. Then his sanity returned; Theseus kept him from killing himself thereafter, taking him to Athens. He still felt very guilty, and sought purificaiton; the priestess at Delphi bade him go to his cousin Eurystheus, King of Mycenae. Eurystheus, urged on by Hera, gave him Twelve Labors, each all but impossible. In order, he (1) killed the Lion of Nemea, (2) killed the nine-headed Hydra at Lerna, (3) bring back the golden-horned stag from Cerynitia, (4) capture the great boar on Mt. Erymanthus, (5) clean the Augean stables in a single day, (6) drive away the Stymphalian birds, (7) fetch the bull Poseidon had given to Minos form Crete, (8) get the man-eating mares of King Diomedes of Thrace, (9) bring back the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, (10) bring back the cattle of Geryon, a three-bodied monster on Erythia, during which Hercules set up his pillars (at Gibraltar and Ceuta), (11) bring back the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, children of Atlas, and (12) bring Cerberus back from the underworld, where he relesed Theseus from the Chair of Forgetfulness. After doing these for Eurystheus, he was expiated. Soon after he conquered Anataeus, a Giant who forced strangers to wrestle with him; he was invicible on the ground, but Hercules lifted him in the air and strangled him. He fought with the rivergod Achelous because they loved the same woman, Deianira. At troy he rescued a maiden in a similar plight as Andromeda; she was the daughter of King Laomedon who had cheated Apollo and Poseidon of their wages after they built for him the walls of Troy. Apollo sent a pestilence and Poseidon, a serpent, but Hercules rescued the girl if her father would give him the horses Zeus had given his grandfather. Hercules saved the girl, but the king refused his end of the bargain, so Hercules killed him and captured the city, giving the rescued maiden to Telamon of Salamis. On his way to Atlas to ask him about the Golden Apples, he freed Prometheus on Mt. Caucasus and slayed the eagle. He accidently killed a boy who was washing his hands, and he killed a good friend to avenge an insult by the mans father King Eurytus, and was punished by Zeus, sent to Lydia to be a slave to Queen Omphale, who made him do women's work. When he was going to get the mares of Diomedes, he stayed with his friend Admetus, a king in Thessaly, who had just lost his wife. The cause of her death was strange: a while back, Zeus had killed Apollo's son Aesculapius, so Apollo killed Zeus's Cyclopes. Apollo was punished by having to serve on earth as a slave under Admetus. During his servitude, Apollo made friends with Admetus and his wife Alcestis; he learned how the three Fates had spun all of Admetus' thread of life, and were on the point of cutting it. Apollo talked to them, and they agreed that if someone died in his stead he could live. Neither of his parents would die for him, nor would his friends. His wife Alcestis agreed, and he accepted. At this point, Hercules arrives at Admetus' house, and he was well-recieved and not told what happened. During the funeral, Hercules stayed behind and got drunk; one of the servants told Hercules the truth, and he was very sad. He went to the underworld and fought death to make him return Alcestis. When he was free of Omphale, he started to punish King Eurytus, the cause of his slavery; he captured his city and put him to death. He sent back home from the city captive maidens, including the King's daughter Iole. The man who brought them told Hercules wife Deianira that Hercules was madly in love with Iole. Deianira remembered back to when, directly after their marriage, the Centaur Nessus insulted her and Hercules slayed him; before he died, Nessus gave Deianira some of his blood, which he said was a charm for if Hercules ever loved another woman. She got this blood out and annointed a robe with it, sending it to him. When he put it on, a fearful pain seized him but he would not die; he lived in torture, and Deianira, learning what had happened, killed herself. Hercules decided he must die too; he ordred a great pyre built on Mount Oeta. He asked his youthful follower, Philoctetes, to start the fire, and he gave him his bow and arrows, which were far-famed in Philocetetes hands at Troy. Hercules was burned, taken up to heaven, reconciled to Hera and married her daughter Hebe.
Given by Eurystheus King of Mycenae as the oracle at Delphi directed him for Hercules' purification after killing Megara and his three children. The first, kill the lion of Nemea, a beast no weapons could wound. Hercules choked him. The second, go to Lerna and kill a nine-headed creature called the Hydra. One head was immortal, and when the others were chopped off, two grew back where one had been. He was helped by his nephew Iolaus' burning brand to sear each neck so it could not sprout again. He disposed of the immortal one by burying it under a great rock. The third, bring back alive a stack with horns of gold, sacred to Artemis, which lived in Cerynitia. The fourth, capture a great boar on Mount Erymanthus, which he exhausted. The fifth, clean the Augean stables in a single day; Augeas ad thousands of cattle and their stalls had not been cleaned for years, and Hercules diverted the courses of two rivers so that they washed out all the filth. The sixth, drive away the Stymphalian birds who plagued the people of Stymphalus; helped by Athena, he shot them all. The seventh, go to Crete and fetch the beautiful savage bull that Poseidon had given Minos. The eighth, get the man-eating mares of King Diomedes of Thrace; he slew Diomedes and drove them out. The ninth, bring back the girdle of Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, whom Hera set against him. The tenth, bring back the cattle of Geryon, a monster with three bodies living on the island Erythia; on his way, Hercules reached the land at the end of the Mediterranean and he set as a memorial of his journey two great rocks, the pillars of Hercules (now Gibraltar and Ceuta). The eleventh, to bring back the Golden Apples of the Hesperides; he did not know where they were, so he visited Atlas, father of the Hesperides, and Atlas let him hold up the sky while he went to get the apples himself. Atlas tried to force Hercules to hold it up forever, but he was tricked back into it. The twelfth was to bring Cerberus, the three-headed dog, up from Hades, using no weapons; it was there he freed Theseus from the Chair of Forgetfulness, and he bore Cerberus away using his hands only, carrying him all the way up to Mycenae. Eurystheus did not want Cerberus, and made Hercules take him all the way back, but this was his final labor. When these were compelted, full expiation was made for the death of his wife and children.
Her father was disappointed that she was not a son and had her exposed on a mountainside. A she-bear took charge of her, and the baby Atalanta grew up active and daring. Then hunters found her and raised her. She shot two centaurs dead with her arrows. Then the Calydonian boar, sent to menace Calydon by Artemis to punish King Oeneus because he forgot her when he was sacrificing the first fruits to the gods. Oeneus needed help, and many who came to his aid were later heroes of the Argo. Atalanta, the pride of the woods of Arcady, came too. Oeneus' son Meleager fell in love with her, but she had no liking for men. During the hunt, the boar killed three men before Atalanta shot it with an arrow, whereupon Meleager stabbed it in the heart. Atalanta got the skin of the Calydonian boar at Meleager's request. When Meleager was just a week old, the Fates came to his mother Althea and threw a log of wood into the fire in her chamber, telling her that when it turns to ash, Meleager would die. Althea put out the fire and put the log in a chest. Anyway, his uncles were mad that he gave the skin to Atalanta, and Meleager killed them both. When news of this reached his mother, she threw his log in the fire. Meleager died, and his mother Althea killed herself over what she had done. She may well have gone with the Argonauts; afterward, in a wrestling match she beat the young man who was to be the father of Achilles, the great hero Peleus. She found out who her parents were and went to live with them. She had a great many suitors, and as a way of disposing of them, she offered her hand to he who could beat her in a footrace. By the favor of Aphrodite, always ready to subdue wild young maidens who despised love, the young man (either Melanion or Hippomenes) got possession of three wondrous golden apples as beautiful as those of Hesperides. During the race, he used the apples to distract her, and Atalanta could not resist them. She was his; the two are said to have been turned to lions because of some affront to either Zeus or Aphrodite, but before that Atalanta had borne a son, Parthenopaeus, one of the Seven against Thebes.
Judgment of Paris: At an important marriage, that of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis, the goddess of Discord, Eris, threw a golden apple into the banqueting hall marked For the Fairest. Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena asked Zeus to decide, but he wouldn't touch the matter. He told them to go to Mount Ida, near Troy, where a young man named Paris son of Priam, King of Troy, was keeping sheep. Paris was living with a nymph named Oenone, sent away because Priam was told that Paris would one day be the ruin of his country. The goddesses bribed him: Hera promised to make him Lord of Europe and Asia; Athena, that he would lead the Trojans to victory against the Greeks, and Aphrodite, that the fairest woman in the world would be his. Paris chose Aphrodite. It happened that the fairest woman in the world was Helen, daughter of Zeus and Leda, sister of Castor and Pollux, though her reputed father was King Tyndareus. Anyway, Helen had many suitors, and Tyndareus made them swear that they would all support Helen's husband, whoever he ended up being, before chosing Menelaus, the brother of Agamemnon, and made him King of Sparta. Menelaus returned to Crete to find Helen gone, and called upon all Greece to help him lay waste to Troy. Once assembled, it was clear that two of the best soldiers were missing: Odysseus, King of Ithaca, and Achilles, son of Peleus and Thetis. Odysseus tried to bail, feigning madness, but was found out. Achilles was kept back by his mother Thetis; she knew he was fated to die there, and sent him to the court of Lycomedes, the king who had treacherously killed Theseus, and made him wear women's clothes. Odysseus found him, testing the maidens of the court with weapons or womens-things. They made ready to leave from Aulis, but the North Wind kept them at port. Calchas, the soothsayer, declared that Artemis was angry because a wild hare had been slain by the Greeks; the only way to appease Artemis an ensure a safe voyage was to sacrifice a royal maiden, Iphigenia, the eldest daughter of Agamemnon; this was very sad but Agamemnon went ahead with it. When they reached Simois, one of the Trojan rivers, Protesilaus leapt ashore though an oracle had said he who did so would be first to die. When he had fallen he was distinguished; Hermes brought him up from the dead to visit his mourning wife Laodamia. A thousand ships went from Greece to Troy, but Troy was strong; Priam and his Queen Hecuba had many brave sons, above all, Hector, husband of Andromache. For nine years victory wavered; then a quarrel flared between Agamemnon and Achilles which turned the tide in favor of the Trojans. The reason was Chryseis, daughter of Apollo's priest, whom the Greeks had carried off and given to Agamemnon. Her father came to beg for her release, but Agamemnon said no. He prayed to Apollo, who briefly plagued the Greek Army. Achilles got angry, and Calchas told him the reason for the plague, and the Chryseis must be given back. When Chryseis was returned to her father, Agamemnon took Achilles' prize, the maiden Briseis, and Achilles told them that Agamemnon would pay dearly. Thetis, Achilles' mom, told him to have nothing more to do with the Greeks, and told Zeus to give Troy success. The gods had taken sides: Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, and Artemis for Troy, Hera, Athena, and Poseidon for Greece. Zeus, at the behest of Thetis, sent Agamemnon a dream promising Greek victory of they attacked; Achilles stayed in his tent during this battle. Paris and Menelaus, the two most concerned parties, faced each other. Menelaus was soundly beating him, when Aphrodite caused his helmet strap to break and bore him away in a cloud. Since Paris was nowhere in sight, Menelaus was declared victorious; the Trojans would have given Helen back, and it would've been so had Athena not interfered, who wanted to see Troy in ruins. She persuaded Pandarus, a Trojan, to shoot Menelaus. He did so, only slightly wounding him, and battle resumed. On the Greek side, the bravest besides Achilles were Ajax and Diomedes; the Trojan's second best man, Aeneas, came near to death at Diomedes' hands. Aphrodite, Aeneas' mother, tried to bear him away, but Diomedes wounded her hand; still Aeneas lived, borne away by Apollo to Pergamos, the holy place of Troy. Diomedes raged on, coming face-to-face with Hector. But he saw Ares was helping Hector. Fortunately Hera gave succor to Diomedes, and he stabbed Ares, who cried out fiercely. Hector's mom, Queen Hecuba, burned a robe for Athena, but Athena cared not. Hector's wife was Andromache, and his son Astyanax, and she pleaded with Hector to cease fighting. He said no, but was sweet with Astyanax before returning to battle. Zeus, to avenge Achilles' wrong went down to earth to help the Trojans, and when the battle had ended the Greeks were pressed back to their ships. Nestor, an old Greek and wiser than Odysseus told Agamemnon that if he had not angered Achilles they wouldn't be losing. Agamemnon said he would send Odysseus to take Briseis back with splendid gifts to get Achilles to fight again. He found Achilles with his friend Patroclus; Achilles told them he would not fight, and that he was sailing home. Hera distracted Zeus by looking lovely and making him sleepy, thus forgeting the Trojans. It worked! Ajax threw Hector to the ground but Aeneas bore him away before he could be wounded further. Troy might have been sacked that day if Zeus had not awakened, and again the battle turned against the Greeks. Apollo revived the fainting Hector and breathed into him a surpassing power; the Greeks were pushed back to the ships, and Patroclus took Achilles armor and said he must defend his people. He led the Myrmidons, Achilles' men, to battle. Everyone thought Patroclus was Achilles, but when he met Hector face to face he was killed, and Hector took Achilles' armor. Nestor's son Antilochus informed Achilles of the death; Achilles vowed now to avenge the death of his friend. His mom Thetis visited him, and brought him armor fashioned by Hephaestus himself, divine armor. At Odysseus's suggestion, everyone feasted except Achilles, who refused food. Then he led the last attack; Zeus weighed the outcome, finding that Hector was fated to die. The great river of Troy, Xanthus (Scamander) tried to drown Achilles, but he was unstoppable. The gods fought eachother, and the great Scaean gates of Troy were flung open, and the Trojans crowded the town in flight. Hector knew he must face Achilles, despite Priam and Hecuba's urging to enter the city. Apollo left Hector, but Achilles had Athena. He chased Hector three times around the wall of Troy; finally, Athena assumed the shape of Deiphobus, Hector's brother, and with this ally he faced Achilles. Achilles said, "there are no covenants between sheep and wolves, nor between you and me." He threw a spear and missed, but Athena brought it back. Hector threw, direct hit, but it could not pierce Hephaestus's armor. Achilles killed him, he who knew well the weak spots of his own armor which Hector wore. Achilles lashed Hector to his horses and dragged him round and round the walls of Troy. Zeus was displeased over this showing; he sent Iris to Priam telling him to go redeem Hector's body. Achilles accepted the poor father's plea and annointed Hector for a funeral. Thus ended the Iliad.
When Hector died, Achilles knew, as Thetis told him, his own death was near. Prince Memnon of Ethiopia, son of the Goddess of the Dawn, came to the assistance of Troy with a large army, and for a while the Greeks were hard-pressed, losing many including Antilochus son of Nestor. Finally, Achilles killed Memnon in his last combat. He then fell before the Scaean gates; he had driven the Trojans back to them, but Paris shot an arrow which, guided by Apollo, struck his foot in the one spot where he could be wounded. When he was born his mother Thetis dipped him in the river Styx to make him invincible, but she held his heel, which wasn't submerged. Ajax carried his body out of battle while Odysseus held the Trojans back; after he burned, his bones were placed with those of his friend Patroclus. The Greeks voted on who got Achilles' arms; Oddyseus was chosen over Ajax, who was furious and tried to kill Agamemnon and Menelaus. Athena confused Ajax, causing him to attack sheep and rams instead. After this he felt super disgraced and killed himself. Calchas had no prophecy for them, but Helenus, a prophet of the Trojans was made a prisoner by Odysseus. From him the Greeks learned that Troy would not fall until someone fought against them with the bow and arrow of Hercules, which had been given, upon the Hero's death, to Philoctetes. Philoctetes was with the Greeks but was left at Lemnos after being bitten by a serpent. Odysseus and either Diomedes or Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus), the young son of Achilles, when back and got Philoctetes and his bow and arrow. Back at Troy, the first person Philoctetes shot was Paris. As he fell, Paris begged to tbe carried to Oenone, the nymph he lived with on Mount Ida before the three goddesses came to him. She had a magic drug that could cure any ailment, but when he got there she refused to give it to him for his desertion. She watched him die, then killed herself. Troy did not fall because Paris was dead; the Greeks learned that there was an image sacred to Athena in the city, called the Palladium, and as long as the Trojans had it Troy could not be taken. So Odysseus and Diomedes stole the Palladium. Odysseus then had a huge wooden horse built. The greatest warriors, including Odysseus and Neoptolemus, hid inside the horse, while the rest of the Greeks acted like they had sailed away. The Greek Sinon was alone left behind with a story for the Trojans. He was seized and taken to Priam his story was thus: Athena had been angry about the Palladium, and Sinon was supposed to have been sacrificed to make amends, but he esacped. The wooden horse, he said, had been made as a votive offering to Athena; its size was to discourage the Trojans from taking it into the city. He said that the Greeks hoped that the Trojans would destroy it, and so incur the Goddesses wrath. However, when the horse was first discovered, the priest Laocoon had urged his Trojans to destroy it, and Cassandra, Priam's daughter, echoed this warning. Poseidon sent serpents out to kill Laocoon and his two sons for doubting. Everyone thought that Laocoon had been punished for opposing entry to the horse, so the brought it in, thinking the war over and Athena's favor restored. The Greeks stole out at night and lit Troy on fire, and many died in butchery. Trojans put on the armor of fallen Greeks and tried to ambush them. Achilles had spared Priam, but Neoptolemous struck him down before his wife and daughters. Aphrodite's son Aeneas alone among the Trojans escaped. He went home to his father, his wife, and his son. When they left, his wife was killed, but he bore his father on his shoulders and led his son to safety under Aphrodite's help. She helped Helen too, returning her to Menelaus who received her gladly. All that was left of Troy were the Trojan women. Priam's widdow Hecuba and Hector's widdow Andromache were there, Andromache still with Hector's son Astyanax. The Greeks came and told Andromache that Astyanax must die; they also killed Hecuba's daughter Polyxena.
Athena and Poseidon had been the Greeks allies, but when Troy fell that had changed since the Greeks had gone made with victory. Cassandra, Priam's daughter, was a prophetess thanks to Apollo, who loved her. Cassandra didn't return his love, so he made it that no one ever believed her; Cassandra had been torn out of Athena's altar during the sack of Troy by lesser Ajax. She and Poseidon gave the Greeks a bitter homecoming. A storm blew Menelaus to Egypt, and the sacrilegious Ajax was drowned. Odysseus wandered for 10 years before he was home in Ithaca, where his son Telemachus had grown to manhood and his wife Penelope was waiting. Suitors, thinking Odysseus dead, bugged her relentlessly. Penelope told them she could not marry until she wove an intricate shroud for Laertes, Odysseus' father, and Penelope unwove each night what she had woven the day before. After ten years of displeasure, Athena grew sorry for Odysseus. He had become a virtual prisoner on an island ruled by the nymph Calypso who loved him. All the gods save Poseidon had forgiven him, and Zeus sent Hermes to Calypso to tell her he must begin his voyage home. Athena appeared to Odysseus' son Telemachus as a seafarer; Telemachus told her how the suitors were ruining them and she advised him to find something out about his father's fate, pointing him to Nestor and Menelaus. Athena again appeared to Telemachus, this time as Mentor, the best-trusted of all Ithacans to Odysseus; with her (him) he set out to find Nestor at Pylos. They found him, but he knew nothing. Telemachus made his way for Menelaus' Spartan palace with Nestor's son. They were greated magnificently and lavishly. Menelaus reported that, while at Pharos in Egypt a daughter of the sea-god Proteus pitied him and told Menelaus that Proteus could tell him how to leave, but that he must catch him and make him do so. Proteus had a habit of coming out of the water and laying with seals, but when they would ambush him, he changed his shape and has hard to hold on to. Finally, the caught him. Proteus told him that Odysseus was kept on an island by the nymph Calypso. Hermes was in the process of carrying Zeus's command to Calypso. Calypso reluctantly agreed to help Odysseus build a raft equipped with necessities for his return. He journeyed 17 days and saw land, but Poseidon saw him and caused all of the winds to rage. A kindly goddess, Ino of the sli ankles, once a Theban princess, pitied him and told him his only chance was to swim to shore. Poseidon was content and left Odysseus alone, and it took him two days to swim to shore. He had arrived at the country of the Phaeacians, a kind sailing people, whose King and Queen were Alcinous and Arete, their daughter Nausicaa. She set out to do chores and found the luckless wanderer. She instructed him to go to her father's house and talk to her mother. He was well received by the Phaeacians, and he told them the story of his 10 wandering years. After departing from Troy and the storm that struck his fleet, his ships were washed upon the shore of the Lotus-eaters. Those who ate the proffered Lotus lost their longing for home, wanting to remain in Lotus Land; Odysseus had to chain them on board the ships. Their next encounter was in the cave of cyclops Polyphemus, which angered Poseidon. They then came to the country of the Winds, ruled by King Aeolus, who received them kindly; h gave them a leather sack into which he put the Storm Winds, fastened so tightly that no danger could leak out. His stupid crew opened the bag, thinking it full of gold, and they were swept away in a terrible tempest. Their ship made ground at the country of the Laestrygons, giant cannibals who destroyed all of the ships but one. After this disaster, the put in at Aeaea, the realm of Circe, a most beautiful and dangerous witch; every man who approached her, she turned to a beast. She turned some of his men into swine. He was visited by Hermes, who told him about an herb which could save him from Circe's art. When Odysseus was found impervious to her charm, she fell in love with him and did all he asked, treating he and his men kindly. Circe told them they had to beach on Persephone's shore where there was an entrance to Hades. Odysseus had to go down and talk to the spirit of the prohet Teiresias, who had been a holyman of Thebes; they had to induce his spirit to come to earth by filling a pit with sheep's blood. He had to fend off many spirits to find the ghost of Teiresias. He told them their chief danger is that they might harm the oxen of the Sun, but that in any event Odysseus would reach home and set all arights. Many other spirits visited Odysseus. Circe had also told them that they must pass the island of the Sirens; Odysseus told his men about them and that the only way to pass safely was for each to stuff his ears with wax. Odysseus was determined to hear them, and had himself chained to the boat. The next peril that awaited them was the passage between Scylla and Charybdis, where six of his crew were lost. At their next stop, the island of the sun, the men were hungry and killed the sacred oxen when Odysseus was away; the sun sank their ship, and all were drowned but Odysseus. He drifted for days, finally reaching Calypso's island. The Paeacian's heard all of this, and giving him gifts, took him back home at last to Ithaca. Athena changed Odysseus into a beggar so that he could move about unrecognized and he spent the night with Eumaeus the swineherd. Telemachus made it home from Helen and Menelaus' home and he met his father. They plotted to oust the suitors, appearing at his own house in disguise. His dog Argos recognized him, but the suitors mocked the old beggar and one hit him. Penelope had the suitors bring her lovely things, encouraging them. The disguised Odysseus met Penelope, but he did not reveal himself. Odysseus' boyhood nurse Eurycleia noticed a scar on his foot, and knew it was him. The next morning, Penelope brought out Odysseus' bow and arrow, saying that he who strings the bow and shoots an arrow through twelve rings in a line she will take as her husband. The bow was too stiff, and not one of them could bend it; not even Telemachus. Finally, Odysseus got the bow, shot through the twelve rings, and then began shooting everyone, still disguised. At last, only a priest and a bard were left; Odysseus killed the priest, but shrank from killing the bard. The maid Eurycleia went and told Penelope
Aeneas, son of Venus, was second only to Hector on the Tojan side during that war. His mother helped him to escape with his father and his little son, and he finally reached Italy where he founded a city. Aeneas was held to be the real founder of Rome because Romulus and Remus were born in the city his son built, Alba Longa. After the war, Aeneas and other Trojans were searching for a place to settle; he was told in a dream they were destined for Hesperia, the Western Country. Westward bound from Crete, they came across the Harpies just as Jason and his men had done; they were chased away. At their next stop they met Hector's widow Andromache. When Troy fell she was given to Neoptolemus, Achilles' son, the man who killed King Priam at the altar; Neoptolemus had abandoned her for Hermione, Helen's daughter, but he was killed. Andromache had married the Trojan prophet Helenus; the two were now ruling the country and welcomed Aeneas and his men. Helenus gave them useful advice: they must not land on the east coast of Italy because it was full of Greeks, and that their destined home was on the west coast, somewhat north. They must by no means take the shortest way, going between Sicily and Italy; that's where Scylla and Charybdis guard a strait. Helenus was not aware, however, the Sicily was occupied by Cyclopes, and the Trojan's landed their. One of Ulysses' sailors had been left behind in Polyphemus' cave; he approached them and urged them to leave, and they put out just before Polyphemus found them. Then Juno caused a terrible storm as they rounded Sicily; she hated all Trojans. To make it worse, Carthage, Juno's pet city, was fated to be destroyed by the Trojans. With the help of Aeolus and the interference of Poseidon, the Trojans ended up in North Africa very near Carthage. Carthage had been founded by a woman, Dido, a beautiful widow. Juno wanted Dido to fall in love with Aeneas, but Venus was determined to block this, keeping Aeneas ready to sail for Italy. Venus got Cupid to make Dido love Aeneas. Aeneas and his friend Achates left the ship to explore the strange country; Venus appeared to them disguised as a huntress and pointed them to Carthage. When the got to Dido's palace, helpfully wrapped in mist by Venus, they saw carved there all the battles of Troy in which they had taken part. Then Queen Dido found them, and fell in love with Aeneas; He too grew comfortable with this arrangement. However, Zeus dispatched Mercury to Carthage who told luxuriant Aeneas to get moving toward his destiny. He tried to leave secretly, but Dido found out. She was mad, but he was unmoved; she fled from him and went into hiding. Aeneas and his fleet set out; looking back, he saw a great fire. It was Dido's funeral pyre, for she had killed herself. The journey from Carthage to Italy was uneventful, except they lost a trusty captain Palinurus, who drowned. Aeneas had been told by Helenus to seek the cave of the Sibyl of Cumae once he reached Italy. This Sibyl could foretell the future, and guided Aeneas to the underworld so his father Anchises could tell him all he needed to know. Before the descent of Avernus, Aeneas must find a golden bough growing on a tree and break it off. Only with the golden bough would he be admitted to Hades. Two doves, the birds of Venus, guided Aeneas and Achates to Lake Avernus, where a cavern led to the underworld; the pointed him to the golden bough. He took it to the Sibyl and they began their journey. Theseus, Hercules, Orpheus, Pollux and Psyche had all made the trip before. The Sibyl's route was, however, calculated to frighten any but the boldest. First, at dead of night, she slaughtered four black bullocks to Hecate, Goddess of Night. The cavern opened, and Aeneas followed her down. They were on a road with frightful forms on either side. They finally came to the junction of Cocytus and Acheron rivers. Charon the ferryman, who only admited those to his skiff who had been duly buried. The golden bough persuaded him to take Aeneas and the Sibyl across. Cerberus, on the other bank, was placated with cake. The saw Minos, Europa's son, the inflexible judge of the dead, passing final sentence. In the Fields of Mourning, where unhappy lovers who had killed themselves dwelt, he saw Dido. She wouldn't respond to him. The Sibyl and Aeneas came to a fork in the road: she told him to fasten the golden bough on the wall facing this crossroads; the regions to the left were ruled by Rhadamanthus, son of Europa, who punished the wicked for misdeeds. To the right, the road led to the Elysian Fields where Aeneas would find his father. Here dwelt in delight the great and good dead, heroes, poets, priests. Aeneas' father Anchises saw him and greeted him with incredulous joy. Waiting by the river Lethe to return to life were a masterful company of men, the future Romans, who were pointed out to Aeneas one by one. Finally, Anchises gave his son instructions; they took leave of each other, Aeneas and the Sibyl returned to earth, and the next day the Trojans sailed up the coast of Italy. Juno made the most powerfull people in the country, the Latins and the Rutulians, fiercely oppose the Trojans. The aged Latinus, a great-grandson of Saturn and king of Latinum, had been warned by his father Faunus not to marry his daughter Lavinia to any man of the country, but to a stranger who would soon arrive; from this union would be born a master race. Latinus felt convinced that Aeneas was the son-in-law Faunus had predicted. Things would have gone well, but Juno summoned Alecto, one of the Furies, from Hades, and bade her loose bitter war over the land. She made Amata, wife of Latinus, oppose the marriage of Lavinia and Aeneas. She told the King of the Rutulians, Turnus, who himself desired Lavinia, about the Trojans. A pet stag, belonging to a Latin farmer and which everyone loved, was accidently killed by Aeneas' son Ascanius (caused by Alecto). King Latinus shut himself away, leaving the outcome to fate. There was a custom in the city that when war was decided, the gates of the temple of the god Janus should be opened; this was done by Juno herself. The Latins and the Rutulians, led by Turnus, now fought the little band of Trojans. Turnus's allies, Mezentius of the Etruscans, Camilla a warrior-woman. Father Tiber, god of the nearby river, visited Aeneas in a dream, bidding him go upstream where Evander dwelt, a King of a poor little town destined to become the proudest of Earth's cities; here Aeneas was to get the help he needed. Evander and his young son Pallas received them; they pointed out the sights like the great Tarpeian rock; near it a hill sacred to Jove. This new country Evander had called Arcady after his old country. Evander told the Trojans to enlist the help of the Etruscans, whose hated king Mezentius was helping Turnus. Turnus also entrusted the Trojans with his young son Pallas. Meanwhile, Turnus' Rutulians and Latins attacked the Aeneas-less Trojan force, but they held strong. Still, things looked dire, and two of them, Nisus and Euryalus resolved to try and pass through the enemy camp to reach Aeneas and inform him of what was happening. Ascanius gave Euryalus his sword and promised to take care of his mother. Nisus and Euryalus killed many men silently in the dead of night. The next day, the two got separated, and Euryalus was caught. Nisus fought them, one man against a whole army, and was killing many. Finally, they just stabbed Euryalus; Nisus died two, after killing the man who did it. Aeneas came back with the Etruscan army. After protracted battle, Camilla falls, the wicked Mezentius dies right after his son does, and Evander's son Pallas dies. Finally, Turnus and Aeneas meet in combat. He had changed from a mere man to something "vast as Mount Athos, vast as Father Apennine... like Aegaeon who had a hundred arms and a hudnred hands and flashed fire through fifty mouths, thundering on fifty strong shields and drawing fifty sharp swords." Virgil ends the poem with Turnus' death. Aeneas marries Lavinia and founds the Roman race.
Famous family; Agamemnon, his wife Clytemnestra, his children Iphigenia, Orestes, and Electra, his brother Menelaus. TANTALUS AND NIOBE. An ancestor, Tantalus King of Lydia, brought punishment upon the house. Tantalus was the son of Zeus and honored by the gods beyond all the mortal children of Zeus; he, however, acted atrociously. He had his only son Pelops killed, boiled and served to the gods. They knew of this horrible banquet and they put Tantalus in a pool in Hades, but whenever in his tormenting thirst he stooped to drink he couldn't reach the water. He reached for food, abundant all around him, but they were always out of reach. His son Pelops was restored to life by the gods, but they had to fashion a shoulder out of ivory; one of the goddesses had inadvertantly eaten of the loathsome dish. The rest of Pelops life was pretty good; he alone of Tantalus' descendants escaped misfortune. He married Hippodamia, but to do so he had to beat her father in a horse race. Hippodamia's dad had horses from Ares, but Pelops had horses from Poseidon. He won, possibly because Hippodamia had a man named Myrtilus pull the bolts out of her father's chariot. Pelops had a sister Niobe. Her husband was Amphion, a son of Zeus and incomparable musician. He and his twin brother Zethus fortified Thebes with a wall, Amphion enchanting the very stones with his music. Niobe was arrogant like her father Tantalus; seven sons and seven daughters had been born to her. She thought herself godlike and called upon the Thebans to worship her instead of the gods. Apollo and Artemis shot all of Niobe's sons and daugthers for this, and she changed into a stone which forever was wet with tears. Pelops had two sons, Atreus and Thyestes. Thyestes slept with Atreus' wife; Atreus found out and killed his brothers two children, then fed them to him. AGAMEMNON AND HIS CHILDREN. The two sons of Atreus, Agamemnon, Greek commander at Troy, and Menelaus, husband of Helen, ended their lives very differently. Menelaus, driven all the way to Egypt after a storm, finaly reached home and lived hapily with Helen. After the fall of Troy, Agamemnon's ship alone came safely through the storm and he entered his city a proud conqueror. But there was a sense of anxiety among the people; ten years before, he had willingly sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia; a curse hung over his house. Clytemnestra came back from Aulis where she had seen her daughter die; she was not faithful to her husband who killed her daughter, and her lover was still with her when Agamemnon returned. He brought with him Cassandra, Priam's daughter, the flower of all the captive women, the prophetess who no one believed. After Agamemnon went into his house, she told some bystanders that two would die today, one herself. She went into the house; and there was a scream, and Queen Clytemnestra emerged having killed Agamemnon. Her lover followed and stood besider her, Aegisthus, youngest child of Thyestes. Clytemnestra thought that all was well now, not realizing the curse of the House of Atreus meant that blood means more blood. Iphigenia had been one of three children; the other two, a girl and a boy, were Electra and Orestes. Aegisthus made Electra's life miserable, and her desire was for Orestes to return and avenge their father. As Orestes grew to adulthood, he felt clearly that it was a son's duty to kill his father's murderers, but that a son who killed his mother was abhorrent to the gods. In this agony of doubt he visited the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, who told him to kill. He went with his cousin and friend Pylades to his old home. That day at her father's tomb Electra made an offering to the dead and prayed for Orestes to come home just as he was arriving; he proved his brotherhood by showing her the cloak she once made for him. Electra, Pylades, and Orestes made a plan: the boys wold go to the palace claiming that Orestes had died; Clytemnestra and Aegisthus would rejoice and the boys could slay them in a suprise attack. They went in and Electra waited; Clytemnestra came calmly out, and a slave rushed out screaming that Orestes was there and that Aegisthus was dead; she knew what was happening. She was going to fight, but she saw Orestes and his sword red with blood. She tried to sway him with motherly talk. Pylades kept Orestes composed, and they took Clytemnestra inside and Orestes killed her. After, he saw delusions of black snaky-haired women whose eyes drip blood. After suffering for ages, he traveled to Athena to plead his case. "I, not Apollo, was guilty of my mother's murder," he told her, "but I have been cleansed of my guilt." The killers of the house of Atreus had never before suffered form their guilt and sought to be made clean. Athena accepted the plea, and she made the Furies accept it to. They were changed into the Benignant Ones, the Eumenides, protectors of the suppliant. The curse of the House of Atreus was ended.
In the original account, Iphigenia was slain became one of Artemis' wild hares had been killed and she needed appeasement. But to the later Greeks this was to slander Artemis. In this account, her mother Clytemnestra was forbade to go to the altar; when the executioner was dropping his axe, Iphigenia disappeared and a deer was put in her place. Artemis had taken Iphigenia to the land of the Taurians (today the Crimea) on the shore of the Unfriendly Sea. Iphigenia was made preistess of Artemis' temple. After many years, a Greek galley put in at this inhospitable shore, even though the Taurians hated the Greeks. It was Orestes and his faithful friend Pylades, some time after he had been absolved of his guilt. In this story, the Erinyes still followed him; and in despair he visited the Delphic oracle, who told him he must go to Taurian country and bring back the sacred image of Artemis. Only then would he be healed. Iphigenia was told that two young Greeks had been taken prisoner and must be sacrificed at once. She felt wrong about this, and sought audience with the men. They didn't recognize each other, but Orestes told Iphigenia that they come from Mycenae, where Agamemnon was king. Orestes told her that Clytemnestra killed him, and that her son killed her. Pylades had married Electra, and Orestes wanted him to sneak away to return home. Iphigenia brought a letter to Pylades to take back "to Orestes." Thus, they realized each other's presence. Iphigenia was unsure, wanting proof. He convinced her. They hatched a plan; Iphigenia told king Thoas that the two men were tainted, unfit for sacrifice, and that the image of Artemis must be cleansed at the seashore; only then can the sacrifice be made. So they escaped on Orestes boat, but the ship was dashed on the rocks. They were almost captured when Athena appeared to the king and told him to leave them alone. So Orestes, Iphigenia, and Pylades were allowed to return.
Just as the plays of Aeschylus in the 5th century are about Atreus' descendants, the plays of Sophocles deal with the house of Thebes. CADMUS AND HIS CHILDREN. When Europa was taken by the bull, her brother Cadmus went to the Delphic oracle to ask Apollo; the oracle told him that he would come upon a heifer and he was to follow her and build a city where she layed down to rest. In this way, Thebes was founded, and the country around it, Boeotia, the heifer's land. Cadmus had to kill a dragon; Athena told him to sow the dragon's teeth, and men sprouted up, five of whom became his helpers. Thus Thebes was built; Herodotus says he introduced the alphabet to Greece, and his wife was Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, who had a wondrous necklace made by Hephaestus. Cadmus and Harmonia had four daughters and one son. One was Semele, mother of Dionysus, who perished before Zeus' unveiled glory. Ino was another, the wicked stepmother of Phrixus, the boy who was saved from death by the ram of the Golden Fleece. Ino's mad husband Melicertes killed their son; she jumped into the sea and became a sea-goddess. Agave, a third, was driven mad by Dionysus so that she believed her son Pentheus was a lion and so killed him. Autonoe, the fourth, had a son Actaeon. He accidently saw Artemis bathing nude and she changed him to a stag, and his faithful hounds killed him. After Agave's son Pentheus died, Cadmus and Harmonia fled from Thebes. OEDIPUS, great-great-grandson of Cadmus. King Laius of Thebes was third in descent form Cadmus, married to his distant cousin Jocasta. Laius heard form Apollo's oracle at Delphi that he was to die at the hands of his son; when his child was born, he bound him and exposed him. Many years later he was slain while away by a band of robbers. At this time, the country was beset by the frightful Sphinx, a winged lion with a woman's head and bust; the Sphinx devoured man after man who couldn't answer the riddle. At this time, a man named Oedipus appeared in Thebes; he had left his home in Corinth where he was held to be the son of King Polybus; he came to Thebes in self-exile, because the Delphic oracle decreed that he was to kill his father. He, like his real father Laius, were determined to cheat fate. He answered the Sphinx's riddle (what creature goes on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening?). His right answer prompted the Sphinx to kill herself, and so Oedipus saved the Thebans. They rejoiced and celebrated him; he wedded the dead King Laius' wife Jocasta. Everything was fine; when their two sons grew up, however, a plague visited Thebes. Oedipus dispatched Jocasta's brother Creon to Delphi. Apollo's oracle decreed that the plague would lift when King Laius' murderer was punished. Oedipus was determined to find this man; he sent for Teiresias, the blind prophet of the Thebans. He told Oedipus that he was the murderer, and Oedipus ordered Teiresias out of his sight for such sillyness. But Jocasta told Oedipus that Laius was murdered by robbers where three roads meet on the way to Delphi, and one man survived. Oedipus had indeed gone to Delphi around that time, because a man told him he was not the son of Polybus. He was told he should kill his father, marry his mother, and have terrible children. He had indeed killed men on his way back, who first hit him and forced him from the path. At that time, a messenger came form Corinth to announce the death of Polybus, but the messenger told him that he was not his son, merely raised by him. Indeed, the messenger was the one who found him. Jocasta was shocked, realized what had happpend. She told Oedipus to quit investigating and she ran away. The man who survived when Oedipus killed Laius and fabricated the story was the very peasant who had found Oedipus and given him to the messenger. It turns out the Jocasta had given baby Oedipus to that peasant for him to kill. Oedipus realized all and ran to Jocasta's chamber, where he founder her dead; he stabbed out his eyes.
After Jocasta's death and Oedipus' blinding, he lived in Thebes with his children. Two sons, Polyneices and Eteocles, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene. Oedipus had resigned the throne, and so had his son Polyneices. Jocasta's brother Creon was allowed to rule. Creon urged Oedipus' expulsion from Thebes, and his sons agreed. Antigone went with him to guide him in his blindness. With dad out of the picture, his sons battled over the throne; Eteocles succeeded and expelled his brother from Thebes. In Argos, Polyneices tried to collect an army to march against Thebes. In their wanderings, Oedipus and Antigone came to Colonus, a land near Athens. He died, but Apollo said he would bring blessings to the place. Ismene and Antigone were both present when he died, and Theseus King of Athens sent them safely home. They arrived back in Thebes to find Polyneices leading an army to attack, while Eteocles fought against him for Thebes. Polyneices had been joined by six chieftains, one Adrastus King of Argos, one his brother-in-law Amphiaraus. Amphiaraus was a prophet and knew that none of them would come back alive accept Adrastus. Polyneices had bribed her to force her husband (Amphiaraus) to go even though he knew his own death by giving her the wonderful wedding necklace of Harmonia. These seven were to attack the seven gates of Thebes. Teiresias told Creon that Thebes would be saved only if his young son Menoeceus was killed. Creon refused and went to get provisions to send Menoeceus on his way to safety, when Menoeceus killed himself for his city. Both Eteocles and Polyneices killed each other, so neither was king. Creon proclaimed that none of those who fought against Thebes should be given burial; any who buried Polyneices were to be themselves killed. Antigone and Ismene were horrified, but Ismene accepted that nothing could be doen. Antigone, however, went to bury Polyneices. She was taken away to death.
The first King of Attica was Cecrops; he had no human ancestor and he was himself only half human (dragon below). Athena and Poseidon both wanted to be patron of the city; Poseidon struck open the rock of the Acropolis with his trident so that salt water leaped forth, creating a well. Athena did better, making an olive tree grow there. Cecrops decided Athena would be patron (either that or a women-versus-men vote). Poseidon was mad and flooded Athens. Another tradition says Cecrops was a man, the great-grandfather of Athens' hero Theseus. Cecrops father was King Erechteus of Athens, usually said to be the king in whose reign Demeter came to Eleusis and agriculture began. Erechtheus had two sisters, Procne and Philomela, who have a tragic story. PROCNE AND PHILOMELA. Procne, the older sister, was married to Tereus of Thrace, a son of Ares. They had a son, Itys, and Procne begged Tereus to let her sister Philomela visit her. He agreed, but said he would himself go to Athens and escort her back to Thrace. Tereus fell in love with Philomela, sister of his wife. He lied and told her that Procne was dead, and married her. She found out he was lying and threatened to tell everyone; Tereus cut out Philomela's tongue, then left her in a guarded place and went to tell Procne that Philomela died on the journey. Philomela's case looked hopeless, as she couldn't speak or write. She turned to her loom to make clear her story, making a tapestry that depicted her wrongs. The gave it to an old women to give to Procne. Procne knew from the tapestry what had happened; she rescued Philomela and made a stew of her son Itys and fed it to Tereus. He found out and the sisters fled; Tereus caught up to them but the gods turned them into birds near a place called Daulis; Procne was made a nightingale (bird of saddest song) and Philomela a swallow (twittering but never singing). PROCRIS AND CEPHALUS. Procris was the niece of Procne and Philomela; she was married happily to Cephalus, grandson to Aeolus King of the Winds. Cephalus was carried off by Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn, who was in love with him. Cephalus loved Procris and would not have Aurora; she let him go, but suggested that Procris was not so faithful as he. Irked at this suggestion, Cephalus wanted to test Procris's fidelity, and so disguised himself and tried to woo Procris. He tried and tried to get her to love the disguised him, but she wouldn't. One day, though, she hesitated, and he called her out, revealing himself. She hated him for what he had done and went to live alone in the mountains. Cephalus, realizing his wrong, searched everywhere for her and humbly begged for forgiveness. Finally, they happily reunited. One day, they were hunting together; Procris had given Cephalus a javelin that never failed to hit its target; the team got separated, and Cephalus accidently killed her. ORITHYIA AND BOREAS. One of the sisters of Procris was Orithyia. Boreas, the North Wind, fell in love with her but her father Erechtheus and the people of Athens opposed him because wicked Tereus came from the North. But one day Boreas swept down and carried Orithyia away in a great gust. They had two sons, Zetes and Calais, who went on the QoTGF with Jason. Once Socrates, the great Athenian teacher who lived thousands of years later, was walking with his friend Phaedrus. Phaedrus said, "didn't Boreas carry Orithyia from the banks of the Ilissus somewhere around here?" He said yes. Phaedrus asked him if he believed the story; "the wise are doubtful," Socrates returned. CREUSA AND ION. Creusa was the sister of Procris and Orithyia. One day, Creusa was gathering crocuses when Apollo snatched her up and took her into a cave; she bore him a son but left the boy in the cave to die. After a time, she was married to a foreign Greek named Xuthus. They wanted a son, but could not conceive, so they went to Delphi. Creusa went to the sanctuary by herself, meeting their a young man who was kind. She told him of her regret and misery over leaving her child in the cave. He said his name was Ion and that the Pythoness, Apollo's preistess and prophetess, found him. Her purpose was different than her husband's: she came to the oracle to find out what had happened to her baby. Ion convinced her not to approach the altar with the accusation that Apollo fathered a child with her. At this point, Xuthus comes in and hugs Ion, saying that Apollo declared him his son. To this group appeared the prophetess, carrying the veil and the cloak that wrapped the child. Creusa rushed forward to claim her motherhood; she proved it by telling him what was on the embroidery, and how two serpents of gold were fastened there. Athena appeared and told Ion that he was worthy to rule Athens, and to take him home.
He is the most famous of Norse heros: his story is largely that of the hero of the Nibelungenlied, Siegfried. He plays the chief part in the Volsungasaga, the Norse version of the German tale which Wagner's operas have made familiar. Brynhild, a Valkyrie, had disobeyed Odin and is punished by being put to sleep until some man shall wake her. Odin surrounds her couch with a fire only a hero would brave. Sigurd, son of Sigmund does the deed, wakening Brynhild who gives herself to him joyfully. Sigurd goes to the home of the Giukungs where he swears brotherhood with the king, Gunnar. Griemhild, Gunnar's mother, wants Sigurd for her daughter Gudrun and gives him a magic potion which makes him forget Brynhild; He marries Gudrun, then, assuming through Griemhild's magic the appearance of Gunnar, rides through the flames again to win Brynhild for Gunnar, who is not hero enough to do it himself. Sigurd spends three nights there with her, but he places his sword between them in the bed. Brynhild goes with him to the Giukungs, where Sigurd takes his own shape again without Brynhild's knowledge. She marries Gunnar, believing Sigurd was faithless and that Gunnar had ridden through the flames. In a quarrel with Gudrun she learns the truth and plans revenge. Brynhild tells Gunnar that Sigurd broke his oath to him, that he really possessed her those three nights when he declared that his sword lay between them, and that unless Gunnar kills Sigurd she will leave him. Gunnar cannot himself kill Sigurd because of the oath of brotherhood, but he pursuades his younger brother to do it, and Gudrun wakes to find her husband's blood flowing over her; she wailed and Brynhild laughed. But she will not live when Sigurd is dead; she tells them that actually Sigurd had not been false to his oath, and she kills herself wanting to be burned beside Sigurd. Gudrun was awestruck; around her, the other women share with her their life's grief, but still Gudrun could not weep. Finally one woman removes the burial shroud and implores Gudrun to kiss the dead Sigurd; she looked at him and began to cry.
Most beloved of the gods. His death was the first of the disasters the befell the gods. One night he had dreams seeming to foretell a great danger; his mother Frigga, wife of Odin overheard and determined to protect him from any danger. Frigga went through the world and exacted an oath from everything never to do him harm. Odin still feared; he rode down to Niflheim, the world of the dead, where he found the dwelling of Hela, or Hel, the Goddess of the Dead, decked out in festal array. Odin knew that Balder would die, but the other gods believed Frigga had saved him. So they played games, trying to harm him, but nothing would. Except Loki. Loki was not a god, but the son of a Giant, and wherever he came trouble followed. He was always the bane of the gods but for some reason Odin had sworn brotherhood with him so he was welcomed in Asgard. Loki hated the good and was jealous of Balder. Loki appeared to Frigga as a woman and Frigga told him how she protected Balder; everything had sworn to do him no harm except one little mistletoe shrub, so insignificant that she passed it by. He god the mistletoe and went with it to where the gods were. Hoder, Balder's brother who was blind, sat apart. Loki encouraged Hoder to join in the game and gave him the mistletoe to throw; under Loki's guidance the shrub flew and pierced Balder's heart. Frigga his mother wouldn't give up hope; she got Hermod, one of her sons to ride Sleipnir (Odin's horse) to ride down to Niflheim and ransom Balder from Hela. The others prepared a funeral, building a lofty pyre on a great ship. Nanna, his wife, on seeing his dead body, too fell to the deck dead. Her body was placed beside his and the ship was set alight. Hela told Hermod that she would give Balder back if every living creature wept for him. The gods got all the creatures the weep, except a Giantess who would not. So Balder stayed dead. Loki was punished; the gods seized him and bound him in a cavern with serpent's venom dripping forever on his face. But his wife Sigyn came to help him, catching the venom in a cup.
From Niflheim twelve rivers poured, filling hell's chasm with ice; Muspelheim melted the ice to mist and out of the mist formed the frost maidens and Ymir the first Giant. His son was Odin's father, whose mother and wife were frost maidens. Odin and his two brothers killed Ymir and made the earth and sky from him; they took sparks from Muspelheim and made the sun, moon, and stars. A great wall made of Ymir's eyebrows defended the place where mankind was to live: Midgard. Here the first man and women were created from trees, the man from an ash and the woman from an elm. They were the parents of all mankind. There wre also dwarfs, ugly creatures but master craftsmen, and elves, lovely spites, who tended flowers and streams. A wondrous ash-tree Yggdrasil, supported the universe. Yggdrasil stuck its roots through the worlds: Hel, frost-giants, and men. Another root goes up to Asgard, and beside this root is Urda's well, so holy that none might drink of it. The three Norns guarded it: Urda (the past), Verdandi (the present) and Skuld (the future). Here each day the gods came, passing over the rainbow bridge to sit beside the well and pass judgment on the deeds of men. Another well beneath another root was the well of knowledge, guarded by Mimir the Wise. Like the gods and Asgard, Yggdrasil was doomed to die: a serpent and his brood gnawed continually at the root beside Niflheim, Hel's home. The Frost Giants and Mountain Giants who lived in Jotunheim were the enemies of all that is good, fated to kill the gods. There is a prophecy in the Elder Edda, that after the defeat of the gods, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, then would come the reign of One higher even than Odin and beyond the reach of evil.