Questions tagged [greek]

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

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24
votes
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 ...
18
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1answer
6k views

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 ...
11
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1answer
536 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?
19
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
19
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3answers
15k 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 ...
6
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1answer
211 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 ...
17
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1answer
629 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 ...
16
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2answers
759 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 the ...
11
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1answer
429 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 ...
12
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2answers
664 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 ...
13
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1answer
4k views

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 ...
21
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3answers
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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-...
16
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2answers
525 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
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 ...
15
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1answer
10k views

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 ...
20
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1answer
962 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 ...
9
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2answers
921 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 ...
21
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3answers
645 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 ...
15
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3answers
7k views

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 ...
25
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2answers
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 ...
20
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4answers
21k 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 ...
15
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1answer
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 ...
16
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2answers
2k views

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, ...
23
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2answers
7k 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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3answers
2k views

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 ...
20
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3answers
6k views

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 ...
14
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1answer
249 views

Status of Euhemerus theory on Zeus

Euhemerus (4th Century BC) is famous for his attempt to interpret myths as deformed historical events. In particular he thought that Zeus was originally a Cretan king whose tomb could be found in ...
14
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5answers
4k views

What is the significance of gods eating offspring in Greek mythology?

In Greek mythology Cronus ate his children. After he dies Zeus eats Metis, while she is pregnant with Athena. What is it with gods eating their children?
15
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1answer
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'?
14
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1answer
338 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 ...
15
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1answer
2k 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
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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 ...
27
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1answer
7k 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 ...
22
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3answers
1k 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
21k 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
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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
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?
23
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1answer
403 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
2k 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 ...
16
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2answers
4k 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 ...
15
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1answer
605 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 ...
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2answers
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 ...
10
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1answer
180 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
389 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
788 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
1k 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
3k 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, ...
36
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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)?
18
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2answers
743 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? ...
16
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1answer
820 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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