Questions tagged [greek]

For questions about Greek mythology and legends from ancient Greece to the present day.

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What is the meaning of Hercules' self-immolation?

Per my previous question, we've established that Heracles' had committed suicide of the pain of poison. The idea that the poison will kill him, however, is not universal. The Heracles of the ...
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59 votes
3 answers
6k views

When and how did the Greek mythos transfer to the Romans?

It seems that there are a great many similarities between Roman and Greek Mythology. In fact, many people consider them synonymous and only really differ in the names. For example: Greek ⇄ Roman Zeus ...
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26 votes
1 answer
1k views

What differences were there in Greek soldiers worship of Ares and Roman soldiers worship of Mars?

I am looking for a comparison/contrast of war gods. (Feel free to mention other deities in your answer if they are relevant or helpful in explaining) Considering their direct linkage I am curious to ...
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16 votes
1 answer
997 views

What exactly did Apollo do with respect to the Sun?

My understanding is that Helios (a Titan) was actually the one who drove the Sun Chariot across the sky every day. But why, then, was Apollo the god of the Sun? Am I correct in this understanding? ...
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4 votes
2 answers
2k views

How could Heracles ensure the victory of the Olympians against the Titans if he was born mortal?

In ancient greek mythology, Heracles is the hero with the most adventures ever. There is, however, a temporal paradox between the different myths about him that bothers me a bit. Heracles was born ...
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37 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why were there exactly 12 main Olympian Gods?

Did the ancient Greeks believe that the number 12 symbolized everything? Was it random that there were 12 Olympian gods and no more (or less)?
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35 votes
3 answers
82k views

Why was it a good thing that hope remained in Pandora's box?

One thing has always confused me about the story of Pandora. When she opened her box (or jar, whatever), all sorts of evil things escaped outside the box, and this is why we have evil in the world now....
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26 votes
2 answers
4k views

How did Athena keep from being turned into stone by her shield?

After Perseus killed Medusa, he gifted her head to Athena, who mounted it on a shield and used it in battle to turn her enemies into stone. How did she keep herself from being turned into stone by ...
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25 votes
5 answers
2k views

What was Plato's inspiration for the Atlantis myth?

Did an island actually sink in ancient Greece, due to a volcanic eruption or some other cataclysmic event perhaps? Was it completely wiped off the map by a tsunami? Did Plato base his story on fact ...
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16 votes
2 answers
688 views

Why did Zeus release Cronos?

In this answer, Hamlet quotes this page: and Cronos rules over them; for the father of men and gods released him from his bonds. It is safe to assume that the "father of men and gods" is Zeus, as ...
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13 votes
5 answers
38k views

Can the Greek Gods Be "Killed"?

If Zeus and his siblings were able to hold Chronos down and chop him into pieces, effectively "killing" him, could there be a way for the gods or goddesses to die as well? Or in other words, can the ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
2k views

What was the purpose of the Labyrinth built by Daedalus?

Wikipedia reads: He also created the Labyrinth on Crete, in which the Minotaur (part man, part bull) was kept. However what was the main purpose of the Labyrinth being built? Was it just for ...
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21 votes
4 answers
3k views

Who invented writing, or who taught writing to the mortals, according to Greek myths?

There are legends in several mythologies about who invented writing, or a particular writing system (script). For example, the futhark runes used to write Norse were invented by the god Odin, and ...
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Which Greek deities do not have an "equivalent" in the Roman pantheon and vice versa?

Although this might be considered a list based questions the full answer's validity will not change with time as there was a finite list of Greek and Roman deities and that will not change in the ...
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18 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is it Lucifer or Venus?

Which deity, according to Greek and Roman mythology, is represented by the planet that we call Venus? Is it the goddess Venus (Aphrodite in Greek) or is someone named Lucifer?
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17 votes
1 answer
691 views

Was there a significant transformation of the Heracles mythos from Homeric times to classical times?

Homer, in book 5 of the Iliad, tells us that during his expedition against Neleus of Pylos (Poseidon's son), Heracles won battles against Poseidon and Apollo, and managed to wound Hera and Hades with ...
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17 votes
2 answers
5k views

How and why was Talos killed?

In Greek mythology there was this ancient robot like (or god like) creature named Talos who was responsible for protecting Crete. In the Image above we can see depicted the death of Talos. But who ...
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16 votes
2 answers
552 views

Why were the Greek Gods on Olympus?

It's a well known fact that the Greek Gods resided in the fabled mountain of Olympus. However most mythology was created based on factual stories that have been twisted or altered. Why is Mount ...
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13 votes
2 answers
19k views

Did Zeus have any male lovers?

Many of the Greek gods were bisexual. Did Zeus have any male lovers?
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8 votes
1 answer
733 views

Why was dissection taboo in Greek antiquity?

Looking at the development of medicine in Greek antiquity, in particular at the time of Hippocrates, you see references made to the poor understanding Greek medicine shows of anatomy, and chalks this ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why does Hercules light himself on fire?

I mean, it's a memorable way to go and demonstrates tremendous commitment, but this is something we usually see in religions deriving from India, where Agni is both a god and integral at a fundamental,...
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3 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the good and the evil in the Pandora's Box story?

I have a essay to do on the Pandora's Box, but I get confused on which is the good and which is the evil. But I have the story where Hope also gets into the world, so its a little different.
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15 votes
4 answers
20k views

How old were Paris and Achilles at the time of the Trojan War?

Paris of Troy was presumably an adult at the time of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis and the Judgement of Paris. That would mean Paris was at least 15-20 years older than Achilles. Other than that, ...
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14 votes
1 answer
2k views

When did Hades leave the Underworld?

Although an Olympian, Hades preferred the Underworld and rarely left his kingdom. As seen in my source, Hades loved being in his "beloved" Underworld rather than being in the outside world and ...
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  • 2,067
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

How did Pan die?

From bleh's answer in Can the Greek Gods Be "Killed"?, I learned that Pan is dead 1: He returned no answer to the first calls; but at the third he replied, Here ! here! I am the man. Then ...
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7 votes
1 answer
896 views

Could you look at Medusa's head through a distorted surface?

So in Yannis' Awesome Answer It was looking directly into Medusa's eyes that would turn a mortal to stone, not the whole of her face. Using the shield as a mirror meant that even if Medusa's gaze ...
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3 votes
1 answer
87 views

Is it the Muses depicted on the façade of 100 Broadway, Manhattan?

The American Surety Building (also known as the Bank of Tokyo Building) is at 100 Broadway in Manhattan, in New York City. The building's façade is designed to look like the front of a Classical Greek ...
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20 votes
2 answers
18k views

Why is rape featured so prominently in Greek mythology?

This question may be a little controversial so try to keep your answers as academically as possible. (take an example from @DukeZhou ) If on the subject general answers are also accepted I am familiar ...
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  • 4,001
14 votes
4 answers
28k views

What is the symbolism behind Psyche's tasks?

The taskmaster in the story of Cupid and Psyche was Cupid's mother, the love goddess Venus or Aphrodite. Venus had never liked Psyche, so the opportunity of putting her to a series of tests gave Venus ...
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  • 429
21 votes
3 answers
17k views

What is the importance of the number seven in mythology and religion?

Similar question Why is 12 such a holy number? 7 is one of the most important number in history. It would be hard to ignore : The seven days of the week The seven deadly sins The lucky 7 The seven ...
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13 votes
2 answers
16k views

What would happen if you made contradictory vows on the River Styx?

It is said in Greek Mythology that a swear over the river Styx cannot be broken. So what would happen, theoretically of course, if two swears from the same person contradicted one another? For ...
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11 votes
2 answers
702 views

Why is Echidna at Arima?

In Hesiod's Theogony, he writes And there she has a cave deep down under a hollow rock far from the deathless gods and mortal men. There, then, did the gods appoint her a glorious house to dwell in:...
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15 votes
3 answers
1k views

What did the Labyrinth look like?

Did the Labyrinth have concentric circular walls with passages blocked by radials or it did it have rectangular lines? Or do we simply not know?
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  • 2,527
11 votes
3 answers
4k views

Titans as four corners of the Earth?

On Theoi.com and a couple of other Greek myth sites, they say that four of the male Titans (Koios, Hyperion, Krios and Iapetos) symbolized the four corners of the Earth. Does anyone have a source for ...
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9 votes
2 answers
329 views

The repertoire of the Sphinx

In ancient Greek tradition, what riddles did have the Sphinx in her "repertoire", besides the famous: Which creature goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the ...
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  • 2,267
7 votes
1 answer
253 views

How old was Nestor?

I am rereading the Iliad and I am wondering how old Nestor, Agamemnon, Odysseus etc. were. Nestor was and old man, but how old ? 60 ? What age was the prime of life, which I suppose Agamemnon and ...
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6 votes
1 answer
9k views

Is it possible to build a timeline for Greek mythology?

I have tried to find a timeline for Greek mythology but I either find small, unreferenced lists or timelines of Ancient Greece. Particularly, I would like to build or find one where it explains how ...
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42 votes
4 answers
21k views

Why does looking at Medusa with a mirror work?

Medusa is known for being so ugly that if men even look at her face, they would immediately be turned into stone statues. Perseus was somehow able to overcome this challenge of killing her by looking ...
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24 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why was Medusa the only mortal of the Gorgons?

As far as I understood the myth of Medusa, she was punished by Athena (either for letting herself being raped by Poseidon or for succumbing to Poseidon's woes). Her sisters, Euryale and Stheno (all ...
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  • 2,070
23 votes
3 answers
6k views

Who held the celestial sphere before Atlas?

After Zeus defeated Kronos, all Titans on the losing side were punished. Atlas in particular was tasked with holding the celestial sphere for all eternity. When Herakles later meets him, it's ...
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21 votes
4 answers
25k views

What is the difference between Hecate, Selene, Artemis, and Phoebe?

I always thought that Artemis was the Goddess of the Moon (and Hunting, stags, etc.)... until I thought about how there's Helios/Apollo which caused me to learn about Selene. But further research ...
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  • 4,409
20 votes
1 answer
897 views

Was there a cult of Hercules in Germania?

Publius Cornelius Tacitus in his De Origine et situ Germanorum tells us that 1st century Germanic tribes worshipped Hercules: They say that Hercules, too, once visited them; and when going into ...
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16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Which cities had chthonic Zeus cults?

The Wikipedia article on Zeus tells us (emphasis mine): Although etymology indicates that Zeus was originally a sky god, many Greek cities honored a local Zeus who lived underground. Athenians and ...
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15 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why was Medusa's hair made of snakes?

Medusa was a mythical creature that could turn all living beings into stone. However why was her hair made into snakes? Was it Medusa's eyes that turned people or the snakes'?
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  • 2,309
14 votes
5 answers
5k views

What was the explanation in Greek mythology for the absence of their deities?

The most well-known religions of the developed world teach about an all-powerful, transcendental God, existing in a state far beyond our understanding of space and time, who will come at the end of ...
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  • 249
10 votes
6 answers
6k views

Who is the oldest being in Greek mythology?

Who was the oldest being ever to have existed in Greek mythology? In other words, were there a set of beings before all of the primordial gods? Who was to have created the primordial gods? What was ...
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9 votes
1 answer
366 views

Was Charybdis always a monster?

Charybdis, and its counterpart Scylla were two monsters in the Odyssey. However, according to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Scylla was once a nymph. "... had she not been transformed before they came into ...
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  • 275
7 votes
1 answer
523 views

What are the 365 virtues?

I was researching and I came across Abraxas, a daemon(inferior god), an archon, an aeon, the "Supreme" god, an angel... He has a place in many mythologies, and the number 365 keeps coming up. 365 ...
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7 votes
5 answers
10k views

What is the symbolism behind Pandora's Box?

The myth of Pandora is basically the story of a woman who is given a box by the gods, and told not to open it. Of course, she opens the box, and evil is released to the world. Is it possible that the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
313 views

Could the weapons of the gods be used against them?

Ethan's answer to the How did Athena keep from being turned into stone by her shield? question puts forth an interesting idea: Athena probably wouldn't have been turned to stone from Medusa's head ...
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