Questions tagged [greek]

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

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14
votes
1answer
4k 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
316 views

Was Zeus a compilation of gods?

Zeus is a complex character; although he is chief among gods, with many noble qualities, he is also deeply flawed. Among various sites on the internet 1 2 3 4, there's this passage which suggests that ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Did ancient Greek religion ever become monotheistic?

Unlike modern monotheistic religions that only accept one, omnipotent and omniscient god, ancient Greek religion has a pantheon of fallible gods. Yet it was also well developed, where the pantheon has ...
41
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4answers
14k 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 ...
26
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1answer
5k views

Why did Charon collect a toll at the River Styx

Charon is known as the ferryman of the River Styx, letting certain people cross the river with a fee. Charon himself is well known for helping many significant heroes in multiple Greek legends. He ...
19
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2answers
630 views

What did Danae want?

It's well known the story of Acrisius and Danae; Acrisius wants male children, and the oracle says he won't have any, but he'll have a grandson who kills him. So he locks Danae up in a prison, and ...
31
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3answers
14k views

Why did Zeus assume so many different forms for seduction?

The character of Zeus is well-known for seducing many women, both human and goddesses. In many of these stories, Zeus assumes a form other than his true self. The most famous is perhaps Leda - it is ...
10
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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 ...
15
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3answers
898 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?
22
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1answer
335 views

Why is Athena considered the goddess of both fighting and craft skills?

In all the Olympic Pantheon, Athena was revered as goddess of many things: she is a warrior, representing the "noble" part of war, but she is also the goddess of "feminine arts", like weaving. How ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Was Poseidon actually jealous of Zeus?

In Age of Mythology, there is a lot of fairly accurate background info on all the Gods and lore present in the game. Obviously the story itself is fabricated, but is based around accurate lore. It's ...
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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1answer
543 views

What was the definitive reason behind Sisyphus punishment?

Sisyphus punishment, to roll a rock on top of a moutain forever, is said to have been given because of his trickery with Thanatos. However, it seems that the reason behind this punishment was not ...
-1
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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 ...
9
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1answer
136 views

Was Apollonius of Tyana a historical figure?

Apollonius of Tyana is believed to be similar to Jesus Christ. Both "lived" during the same period in time and both made similar miracles. Was Apollonios of Tyana a historical figure that was raised ...
7
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1answer
244 views

Was Eurystheus a lover of Heracles? Did Heracles have any other male lovers?

In some versions of the 12 labors of Heracles, Eurystheus is a lover of Heracles and he undertook the 12 labors for Eurystheus' love. Did Heracles have any other male lovers?
13
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2answers
674 views

Were Sirens humans or Monsters?

I can't seem to figure out if the Sirens were, like, half human-half bird monsters, attracting men with their magical song... or if they were also very beautiful women. Were they humans with magical ...
15
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3answers
975 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 ...
22
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1answer
2k views

What happened to Medusa's sisters?

It is fairly well known that Medusa, the snake-headed Gorgon, had two sisters, Stheno and Euryale. While the story of Medusa is concluded when Perseus beheads her, in modern retellings and versions, ...
37
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4answers
4k 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)?
17
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2answers
580 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? ...
14
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1answer
459 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? ...
11
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3answers
419 views

Is there any explanation in greek mythology for the creation of Uranus and Gaea?

I was just wondering because there never seems to be a beginning. Greek mythology always seems to start with just there being Uranus and Gaea with no events before that. Is there a beginning before ...
10
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1answer
156 views

When did “Herm” images appear in Greece?

The Greek god Hermes is sometimes depicted as a plain column with a carved head at the top, and an erect phallus (a "Herm"). What's the earliest estimate on when these statues appeared? How does that ...
26
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3answers
4k views

Who worshipped the Titans?

According to Greek mythology, there was a mythical time known as the Golden Age where the Titans ruled and the gods of Olympus didn't exist. Were there any real cultures that actually worshipped the ...
5
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1answer
4k views

Why is Roman Mythology so similar to Greek Mythology or vice versa? [duplicate]

It is weird to see two different mythologies so closely related to each other. Roman mythology seems to have some Greek mythology and vice versa. For example: Greek - Zeus, Roman - Jupiter Two of ...
20
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1answer
537 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 ...
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 ...
16
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5answers
7k views

How did Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades decide who would rule what?

From Wikipedia article on Hades: Zeus got the sky, Poseidon got the seas, and Hades received the underworld, the unseen realm to which the souls of the dead go upon leaving the world as well as any ...
16
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2answers
388 views

Were there some differences in mythology between the different city-states?

I have always wondered how the Greek city-states managed to keep the same mythology before they got united into the same country. There seems to be no central authority to maintain the beliefs (it is ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Why is Heracles named after Hera if she hated him so much?

Why is Heracles named after Hera if she hated him so much? He was Zeus's favored son but not Hera's. This is from Eric Flaum's The Encyclopedia of Mythology.
17
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2answers
978 views

What is the River Styx?

The River Styx is mentioned quite a lot when a Greek hero meets his demise. However is this really a body of water in Hades? Is it made out of something else? What is the River Styx?
14
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3answers
2k 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?
16
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3answers
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Greek/Roman Mermaids

The Greeks and Romans had stories about mermaids and various other half man half fish beings. What creatures are they referring to? If it isn't a creature but more of a "fishing tale" then when was ...
22
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2answers
10k views

Who gave Hermes his winged shoes?

Many tools and weapons were given to the gods as gifts in order to perform their daily tasks. However there is no mention about how Hermes got his fabled shoes. So were they crafted or given as a gift?...
24
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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 ...
33
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3answers
48k 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....
9
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1answer
2k views

Who was the father of Theseus?

Theseus's paternity seems to be in question. He seems to be a demi-god, as the son of Poseidon. But he was also the son of Aegeus. Who was his father?
9
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1answer
10k views

How many sons did Zeus father through mortal women? [closed]

Heracles and Perseus were two well known sons of Zeus fathered by mortal women. How many other male offspring did Zeus father by human women? Included names should be sourced back only to Zeus, no ...
24
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1answer
657 views

Were any Buddhist narratives ever folded into the myths of the Greeks, or vice versa?

The cultural exchange between the Greeks (under Alexander, at first) and the Buddhists of northwestern India is known to have had impacts on both parties. I'm aware of some theological influences, at ...
42
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3answers
61k views

What is the difference between a God and a Titan?

In Greek mythology, the words "Titan" and "God" seem to be used interchangeably. For example, Zeus is a God, but Cronus (his father) was a Titan. So what is the difference between a Titan and a God in ...
14
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2answers
9k views

Did Zeus have any male lovers?

Many of the Greek gods were bisexual. Did Zeus have any male lovers?
27
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2answers
1k views

Was the Minotaur a single being, or a race?

In the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, we know that the Minotaur dwelled at the center of the maze built by Daedalus. However, the creature itself (part man, part bull) doesn't appear to show up ...
22
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1answer
387 views

Did the Greeks build temples for all of the children of Cronus?

I know that the Ancient Greeks built temples for a lot of the children of Cronus, such as the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Hera. Were temples built for all of the children of Cronus, or were they ...
22
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1answer
153 views

Where can I find the earliest literary compendium for the Greek Pantheon?

I know that much of Greek mythology was passed on by word of mouth but someone must have been the first to collect this in one source. What was that Compendium and is there a version available in ...