Questions tagged [greek]

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

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12
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4answers
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Symbolism of Ixion's Punishment

Ixion is punished for loving Hera by being tied to a wheel that travels through the sky: Ixion fell in love with Hera and attempted to force her; and when Hera reported it, Zeus, wishing to know if ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Did different Greek mythology sources ever explicitly acknowledge the contradictions between themselves?

Greek mythology is full of different accounts of the same exact facts, based on which source you use. As a random example, here's the assorted sourced details on Prometheus' parentage from Wikipedia: ...
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1answer
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Does Greek mythology list a calendar date for creation?

I'm reading "Apollodorus : The Library of Greek Mythology" and I've noticed that it simply starts with "Ouranos was the first ruler of the universe." There is no mention of dates that would allow for ...
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2answers
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Was Talos an intelligent machine?

I've been playing "The Talos Principle". In it, Talos is presented as a symbolic representation of an intelligent artificial being (a robot, if you're feeling less pretentious). The bronze giant ...
8
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1answer
294 views

Looking for source: Woman refuses to drink from the River Lethe

I saw a "story from Greek mythology" referenced in my morning paper, and I'd never heard it before. A woman came to the River Styx and asked to be taken across into that dark land. [The ferryman] ...
8
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2answers
772 views

What is the oldest known version of the Thessalonike legend?

Thessalonike was the daughter of Phillip II of Macedon, and a half sister to Alexander III of Macedon. Legend has it that when Alexander died, Thessalonike "became a mermaid passing judgment on ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Correct version of the Sirens scene in “The Odyssey”?

In Roman Mars's podcast, 99% Invisible, in Episode 79: Symphony of Sirens, Revisited, from 00:23-01:00, Mars recounts the Sirens scene in Homer's The Odyssey: In Homer's Odyssey, there's a story ...
7
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2answers
196 views

Etymology of “charming” (“Encantadora” in spanish) seeing from the Greek mythology point of view

I originally posted this question in the Spanish StackExchange but it seems it fits more in here, even though the significance of the word looks more direct in Spanish than English. My doubt rose ...
14
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1answer
492 views

What myth explains animal sacrifices to the Olympian gods?

I seem to remember a particular ancient Greek myth that used to explain how animal sacrifices to the Olympian gods were performed. In particular, when poultry or mammals was sacrificed, the humans ...
7
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1answer
319 views

Name of Electra's brother

In Sophocles' Electra, it is revealed at the end that one of the guards there is Electra's long lost brother. What is the name of this guard? I have looked for it online, and in the book he is ...
11
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1answer
15k views

Who were Aphrodite's parents?

I was looking up some stuff and I saw a quote about Aphrodite's genealogy from this page. One genealogy gives her parents as Zeus, King of the Gods, and Dione, an early earth/mother goddess. More ...
9
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2answers
747 views

Was the development of Greek mythology dynamic or static?

Did Greek mythology develop dynamically or statically? Let me explain a little more what I mean by "dynamic" and "static". Static: Given the religious element of the stories, I could imagine that ...
13
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1answer
791 views

What is this myth: elderly couple unwittingly feed gods, changed into tree

I studied Latin in 7th grade, and my teacher used to read some stories from Greek and Roman mythology to us. There is one of those that I wanted to learn more about, but haven't been able to find. ...
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 ...
16
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2answers
575 views

Why was the Minotaur enclosed in a labyrinth and not in jail of some sort?

Is there a specific reason the Minotaur was kept in a labyrinth instead of a normal jail? If not mentioned in the original writings, are there any speculations as to why go through the trouble of ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Why did Odysseus pretend to be Helen's suitor if he wanted to win Penelope?

An important point in the story of the Iliad is that Odysseus (hoping to win the hand of Penelope, King Tyndareus niece), proposes an "Oath of Tyndareus", which binds all the suitors of Helen to join ...
13
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1answer
297 views

How could Diomedes be married yet still be Helen's suitor?

From Wikipedia article on Diomedes: Diomedes, in turn, married Aegialeus's daughter Aegialia when he returned from battle. He was then appointed as the King of Argos and thus became one of the most ...
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4answers
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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 ...
15
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2answers
992 views

Does Poseidon rule over all the sea gods?

According to Edith Hamilton's Mythology, there are several sea gods and river gods. Since Poseidon is one of the twelve main greek god(desses), is he the ruler of or otherwise in charge of those sea ...
16
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2answers
647 views

How were Athena and Ares worshipped in relation to war?

Ares and Athena are both gods of war. About Athena: Athena is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, war strategy, the arts, crafts, and ...
8
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2answers
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Who were the Cimmerians, the Hyperboreans, and the Ethiopians? Were they races of men or something else?

Who were the Cimmerians, the Hyperboreans, and the Ethiopians mentioned in Greek mythological texts? Were they races of men or something else? The Cimmerians lived in endless night while the ...
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1answer
229 views

Who were the beings that the Titans overthrew to gain power on Olympus?

Who were the beings that the Titans overthrew to gain power on Olympus? In the book of Encyclopedia of Mythology by Eric Flaum it discusses how Mother Earth conspired with Cronus to overthrow Uranus ...
6
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1answer
226 views

Were the Olympians unique in everyone being descended from single parentage?

In most sources, Olympian gods were (nearly?) all directly descended from Chaos. Were they unique in this (having a shared ancestor deity, not too far up the family tree), or was it a common thing ...
15
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1answer
484 views

Looking for an obscure myth where Zeus kills one of Apollo's male lovers

I remember reading a myth as a child, but have not been able to find it again ever since. It starts like a typical Apollo myth: Apollo has a young best friend/lover, and they are inseparable. Then ...
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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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1answer
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Who translated the Iliad or the Odyssey to Latin first?

Who was the first person to translate part or all of Homer's works, the Iliad and/or the Odyssey, to Latin? Have these translations survived to current times? My original motivation for the question ...
10
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1answer
436 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?
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Is Robert Graves' Greek Myths considered trustworthy?

Robert Graves wrote the widely published book Greek Myths. I have heard that classicists dispute that his account of the myths is valid1, in the sense that either: Graves' editing, translation and ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
180 views

Was Cadmus the only mortal whose wedding was attended by Olympians?

Cadmus married Harmonia. Their wedding was the first between mortals that was ever attended by Olympians, whose favor ensured Cadmus a long and successful reign. Was Cadmus the only mortal whose ...
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1answer
551 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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2answers
562 views

Why would Hades visit a battlefield?

Hades, apparently, was present in the battlefield when Hercules besieged Pylos: And so suffered monstrous Hades even as the rest a bitter arrow, when this same man, the son of Zeus that beareth ...
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245 views

Was Hermes Trismegistus a historical figure?

I am aware that Hermes Trismegistus is a combination of the greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. But he is credited as the writer of a few books with Asclepius and the Corpus Hermeticum. So in ...
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2answers
418 views

Is Erebos a deity or a place?

The Wikipedia on the Erinyes (Furies) is that they live in Erebus: The Erinyes live in Erebus and are more ancient deities than any of the Olympians. This is backed up by Homer: According to ...
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1answer
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Where was Hera called “cow-faced”?

I've been reading Edith Hamilton's anthology Mythology. In the introduction she says: Hera is often called "cow-faced," as if the adjective had somehow stuck to her through all her changes from a ...
20
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3answers
845 views

Hephaestus and Medusa had a son named Cacus. How was Hephaestus shielded from being turned to stone?

Hephaestus and Medusa had a son named Cacus. Cacus was the son of Hephaestus and Medusa. Inheriting the properties of fire from his father and monstrousness from his mother, Cacus was a fire-...
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2answers
425 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 ...
14
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1answer
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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 ...
13
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1answer
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Why is Athena often referred to as Pallas when it comes to her warrior side?

Why is Athena often referred to as Pallas when it comes to her warrior side? In one myth, it is said that Pallas was her father and another that Pallas was a friend she sparred with and accidentally ...
19
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1answer
723 views

Why did Dionysus change his mother's name?

Semele was the mortal mother of Zeus' son Dionysus. She was tricked by the jealous Hera and she ends up dying. Dionysus survived, but when he grew older, he was concerned for his mother and ...
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492 views

To the Greeks, how was the Earth created?

In Greek mythology, Cronus/Kronos and Gaea were the first gods to exist, Gaea the goddess to rule the Earth and Cronus the moon. When they first appeared, the Earth was already in existence. Neither ...
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538 views

Is there a canonical ending to the story of Antigone?

As I understand it, it was common practice for a playwright to retell a well-known story with the details changed to suit the playwright's needs. A tidy way to avoid a lot of tedious exposition. In ...
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2answers
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What happened to Metis after the birth of Athena?

Zeus swallowed Metis to prevent the prophecy of her future son overthrowing him from being fulfilled, but she was already pregnant, and later her daughter Athena sprang from Zeus' head. What happened ...
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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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3answers
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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 ...
15
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1answer
791 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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1answer
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Why is the ferry toll for Charon placed in the dead person's mouth?

In Greek mythology, the deceased pays a ferryman, Charon, to take them across the river Styx. Apparently this reflects a common custom in the funeral rites of antiquity. Sometimes, though not always, ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
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Is there any reason that Chiron and Charon have such similar names?

In Greek mythology, there is Chiron, a centaur, and Charon, the ferryman of the Underworld. They couldn't be more different, yet they have such similar names. Is there a reason for this? EDIT: As ...
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2answers
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In the Odyssey, why didn't Penelope simply turn away her suitors?

If I remember the story correctly, Penelope spends over a decade telling her suitors that she will choose one of them as a husband some day, but continues inventing elaborate reasons why she cannot ...