Questions tagged [greek]

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

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6
votes
1answer
446 views

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 ...
52
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3answers
4k 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 ...
14
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1answer
434 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? ...
23
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1answer
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 ...
37
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4answers
3k 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)?
33
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3answers
46k 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....
25
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2answers
3k 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 ...
23
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5answers
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 ...
15
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2answers
488 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 ...
-2
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2answers
1k 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 ...
20
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4answers
2k 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 ...
9
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3answers
1k 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 ...
16
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1answer
542 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 ...
15
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2answers
408 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 ...
15
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2answers
3k 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 ...
14
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2answers
8k views

Did Zeus have any male lovers?

Many of the Greek gods were bisexual. Did Zeus have any male lovers?
7
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1answer
446 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 ...
6
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1answer
707 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,...
4
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1answer
2k 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.
14
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1answer
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
525 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 ...
19
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3answers
11k 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 ...
15
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3answers
829 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?
11
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3answers
2k 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 ...
9
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2answers
259 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 ...
3
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2answers
943 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 ...
40
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4answers
13k 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 ...
23
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3answers
4k 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 ...
22
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2answers
5k 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 ...
14
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1answer
3k 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'?
14
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1answer
681 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 ...
10
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6answers
5k 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 ...
9
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4answers
9k 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 ...
9
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2answers
460 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:...
8
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1answer
251 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 ...
7
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5answers
6k 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 ...
7
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1answer
156 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 ...
6
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2answers
287 views

What is the earliest source to claim that Zeus and Ganymede were lovers?

On this question, I and another poster claim on the basis of internet sources that Ganymede was Zeus' male lover. A commenter challenged that, however, and I haven't yet found a reliable source to say ...
3
votes
1answer
757 views

Hades, in Greek Mythology, was he really a bad guy, or just a hard to understand God?

I'm writing a research paper on Hades, king of the underworld, and I really wanted to know if Hades was really a bad guy. I have many pages of evidence saying that he isn't. But I would like to know ...
20
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3answers
13k 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 ...
19
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1answer
518 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 ...
16
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2answers
533 views

Who created the Primordials?

According to Hesiod's Theogony, at first there was Chaos; from Chaos came Eros and Tartarus, Erebus and Aether; from Aether came Gaia; and from Gaia came Uranus, Ourea and Pontus. Who created Chaos? ...
15
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3answers
921 views

Importance of Dionysos/Bacchus in Orphism

How did Dionysus/Bacchus become the central figure of Orphism, given the relatively modest importance he has in classical Greek and Roman mythology? From a semi-god of Wine in the latter, he becomes ...
13
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5answers
3k 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 ...
13
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3answers
635 views

Why are Kore and Persephone interchangeable in the myth regarding Hades wife?

In Greek mythology, Kore and Persephone were interchangeable as Hades' wife. Which is it? Kore or Persephone?
12
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1answer
749 views

Why does Medea escape punishment?

Medea murders her brother Absyrtus to facilitate her's and Jason's escape from Colchis. In some versions of the myth - most notably in Euripides's eponymous play - she also murders her sons to revenge ...
11
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2answers
302 views

Why did Heracles transform into a fawn, during the gods flight to Egypt?

In some tellings of Typhon's revolt, the gods take animal forms and flee to Egypt in panic. The version in the Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis references Nicander of Colophon and explicitly ...
10
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1answer
142 views

Why were the Isles of the Blest ruled over by Cronos and Rhea?

As I was researching Isles of the Blest, I came across something very confusing. According to Maicar... Rather, after three lifetimes, the souls of the good are conveyed to the Island of the Blest, ...
10
votes
1answer
411 views

How were the first children of Gaia conceived?

According to Greek Mythology, Gaia had many children. All of them were with a partner, except for three: Uranus Pontus Ourea Is it ever explained how these children were conceived?
10
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3answers
2k 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?