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Classical Mythology Keywords
Terms in this set (111)
the study of ancient Greece and Rome, primarily their languages and literature
originally meant "story, account, utterance"
in the academic sense, it refers to religious story, usually set in a primordial past, involving gods or monsters or other divine beings or "heroic" humans
"land between the rivers"
languages - Sumerian and Akkadian
many myths derive from this place of origin
myths don't appear as stories by themselves
only mentioned in passing texts
The Levant/Northwest Semitic People
ugaritic myths (epics poems, ritual texts)
Greece and Rome
Romans adopted Greek mythology as their own with Latin
- poems, proems, pose, plays, scholarly collections
a creation story of the world or universe
a creation story of God(s) or deities
a creation story of humankind
collection of all the gods
(temple dedicated to all the gods like Nippur's pantheon)
highly important god (along with Anu and Ea)
normally king of the gods/head god
the chief diety in Nippur
Esharra = temple of Enlil
focus of Enuma Elish -- main hero
worthy hero proves himself with power and defeats enemy
gets 51 names and is king
Egyptian god of the underworld and judge of the dead
Wife of Osiris
brother of Osiris
Son of Osiris and Isis
theme in Egyptian creation stories
primordial earth mound
life rising out of the flooded mud, Egyptian theme
group of 9 gods
King of the gods
represents union of power and wisdom when Zeus sleeps with her o
a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor
gods from gods to humans
displacement of strife
from divine realm to human realm
proem purpose is to invoke them
goddesses who inspire poets
9 daughters of memory
the process by which absurd or fantastical elements are stripped out of a mythological story to make it more believable
Atra-hasis - "surpassingly-wise"
Associated in this story with Ea/Enki (wisdom)
Uta-napishtim - "He found life"
A legendary Sumerian king who was the hero of an epic collection of mythic stories
The Atra-hasis Epic
humans created out of elements
limit human constraint on humans
The Epic of Gilgamesh
The most famous extant literary work from ancient Mesopotamia, it tells the story of one man's quest for immortality.
wipe out human kind
new creation starts after
followed by sacrifice
the name for a type of mythological story that explains the origin or cause of something
name means human
made from man
The righteous man who, with his family and the animals, survived the Flood.
Gender/comparison with Adam and Eve story
women chooses evil and attributed with messing up
wives submit to husbands idea
Ages of Man
an account of the different ages/races of man
Deucalion & Pyrrha
repopulated earth with stones thrown over their shoulders
Augustus, Julius Caesar, and the Civil Wars
flood in ovid's ages of man
Sargon the Great
Mesopotamian rule and created the worlds first empire of nations and city-states
mimicked sargon the great
(Old Testament) the Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites from Egypt across the Red sea on a journey known as the Exodus
Birth Legend (general characteristics)
Often something special is noticed before/during/after birth
Often gods or a god is involved
Frequently there is a prophecy involving the birth
Sometimes the mother gives birth in secret
the birth is a threat to the powers-
that-be in some way
As a result: the baby needs to be either
abandoned or the family needs to go into
The hero then usually grows up in relative
obscurity before regaining throne/accomplishing great deeds
If the baby was abandoned, he is adopted
by someone (or something else)
Cyrus the Great
A remarkable leader who managed to reunite he Persian Empire in a powerful kingdom. Under Cyrus, Persia began building an empire larger than any yet seen in the world
Persia's first great dynasty. Founded by Cyrus and peaked under Darius.
hero theme: raised by wild animals
a tragic king of Thebes who unknowingly killed his father Laius and married his mother Jocasta
Romulus and Remus
Twins who according to legend founded the city of Rome in 753 BC. According to legend, they were twin sons of the god Mars and a Latin princess. They were abandoned on the Tiber River as infants and raised by a she-wolf. The twins then decided to build a city near the spot.
Son of Aeneas
Julius Caesar lineage
a city near where Rome would
eventually be founded
The head of the pantheon; a sky-god who controls thunder and lightning. He lives on Mt. Olympus. He is (usually) the youngest son of Kronos and Rhea.
The wife of Zeus, she is the queen of the gods. She is a daughter of Kronos and Rhea. Typically, she controls marriage and political power. She is frequently upset at Zeus' (many) dalliances with other gods and mortals.
God of the sea, horses, and earthquakes. Brother of Zeus.
God of the Underworld. Brother of Zeus, married to Persephone.
Goddess of love, marriage, and sex. Usually, she is born from the sea-foam created when Uranus' testicles are thrown into the sea.
Goddess of crafts and war-fare. Born directly out of Zeus' head.
God of communication, messengers, and language.
Goddess of grains, fertility, and agriculture. Mother of Persephone.
Son of Zeus and Leta, twin brother of Artemis. God of the sun, prophecy, medicine, structure.
Daughter of Zeus and Leta, twin sister of Apollo. Goddess of the hunt and the moon.
Dionysus/Bacchus ((Father) Liber)
God of wine, music, dance, and insanity. Son of Zeus and Semele.
Originally mortal son of Zeus. The paradigmatic monster killer. He dies after his wife is tricked into putting a poisoned cloak on him, but he is resurrected as a god.
A mortal son of Zeus. Kills Medusa.
A mythological king of Athens. He killed the Minotaur.
The paradigmatic Greek hero. In most traditions, he is invulnerable except on his heel. He is the son of Peleus and the sea-goddess Thetis. He is fated to either have a short life and eternal glory or a long life but die in obscurity.
The other paradigmatic Greek hero. He is renowned for his cleverness.
The most beautiful woman in the world. She is abducted from the Spartan king Menelaos by the Trojan prince Paris. This act starts the Trojan War.
Enlil (sometimes Illilu in Akkadian)
The head of the Mesopotamian pantheon usually. He is the god of wind, his wife is Ninlil
The former head of the Mesopotamian pantheon. He is the god of heaven/the sky. His wife is Antu.
Ea/Enki (sometimes Nudimmud)
The god of cleverness, wisdom, planning. His home is the Apsu - the primordial freshwater beneath the surface of the earth.
The goddess of love, sex, war, and kings. One of the most powerful of all of the Mesopotamian gods.
Goddess of the Underworld
A god who is renowned for fighting monsters. He helps maintain the celestial order, and so often is a patron of kings.
The patron god of Babylon, originally a shepherd and storm-god. In later periods of Mesopotamian history, he largely replaces Enlil as head of the pantheon.
God of scribes and wisdom.
The sun-god. He also is an important patron of justice and prophecy
The sole mortal survivor of the primordial flood
The paradigmatic Mesopotamian hero. He is the sun of Lugalbanda and the goddess Ninsun. He goes on a quest to try to achieve immortality.
Gilgamesh's best friend. The gods create him to be a match for Gilgamesh.
kind of freaks out
The aging former head of the pantheon. Lives atop a mountain. Fuses with Yahweh in Israel/Judah and so is also used as a name for the Jewish god.
The younger storm-god who takes over the pantheon after fighting monsters. Also a generic name for non-Israelite gods (baalim is the plural).
A younger goddess, sister of Baal. She is a goddess of warfare.
A goddess of love and sexuality, the hunt, and kings. The West Semitic equivalent of Ishtar.
An older goddess, the consort of El (and maybe Yahweh?)
The god of death
A giant sea-dragon that Baal/El/Yahweh defeats.
The god of Israel and Judah. Originally a storm-god, he fuses with El (often called "Elohim" in the Bible) to become the sole god of the Jews. His name is sacred however, and, following the commandment "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain, " his name is generally rendered as either "Adonai" or "the Lord" in translation.
the sun god and often a primordial god, ruler of the gods. He paddles his boat across the sky each day. Frequently is equated with Amun (sometimes spelled Amon) as Amon-Ra. Has a vulture's head.
a god representing the pharaoh's power. In a dispute with his brother Seth, Seth killed him and cut up his body and put the body parts all over Egypt. His wife Isis collected them and put them back together (essentially making Osiris into a mummy). His son Horus avenges his death and kills Seth. Osiris judges the souls of the dead when they enter the underworld and helps shepherd them through to the correct place.
The wife of Osiris and a fertility goddess. See Osiris for more information. In later antiquity, the Greeks and Romans adopted her and spread her worship all throughout the Roman Empire. She was so popular, in fact, that the "celtic cross" is derived from her symbol.
The son of Osiris and Isis. See Osiris for more information. Each pharaoh was believed to be the incarnation of Horus on earth. Has the head of a hawk.
A sky god, often associated with Ra/Re. He was the head of the pantheon at Thebes (modern Luxor)
A complex goddess, generally having control of love, sex, fertility, but also the sun and war. Sometimes the mother or wife of Horus and/or Ra. She is the celestial mother of the pharaoh. Often has cow characteristics.
The god of intelligence, writing, craft. Has the head of an ibis.
An underworld god, he escorts the souls of the dead to the underworld to be judged. Has the head of a jackal.
Important Mesopotamian god
• Also called by Sumerian name
Ningirsu • Sometimes son of Enlil, sometimes
agricultural and healing god
become guarantor of Mesopotamian kingship
Anzu is the thunderbird, who controls the spring floods of the
Euphrates and Tigris
parallel to ninurta
underlying orders for forming the universe
means both mountain and the underworld
themes of monster fighting
first the monster (animal) terrorizes people/gods (
civilization) in some way
• Important dichotomies:
• Civilization vs. wildnerness
• Human/divine vs. animal
Therefore, monster = chaos, lack of civilization • Hero = bringer of order, civilization
The oracle was a priestess
mythical snake that apollo defeats
oracle at delphi
The island of Delos is the site of Apollo's birth.
fleeing, twisting serpent
myth and ritual
cyclical going and leaving of vegetation and agriculture
dead and rising gods
earth's fertility explained by this concept
commenting on a political situation
allegory for king of ugarit
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