Questions tagged [greek]

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

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4answers
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Do the apples of the Hesperides grant immortality?

According to Wikipedia, The Garden of the Hesperides is Hera's orchard in the west, where either a single apple tree or a grove grows, producing golden apples that grant immortality when eaten. ...
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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
379 views

Why did the primordial deities not take an active role in Greek mythology?

The vast majority of Greek myths I'm familiar with concern the Olympians, the third generation of deities. The first generation seems to disappear from the story after their role in setting the scene ...
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1answer
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What happened to Prometheus after Hercules freed him?

I couldn't find much (any) info about this question. According to wikipedia: Prometheus, in eternal punishment, is chained to a rock in the Caucasus, Kazbek Mountain or Mountain of Khvamli, where ...
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2answers
716 views

First appearance of the Delphi Oracle in Greek myths

The history of Perseus begins with the oracle of Delphi, when the King of Argos is told that one day a son of his own daughter will kill him. Being Perseus one of the most ancient Greek mythological ...
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2answers
876 views

Do we know how Hercules avoided the Hydra's venomous breath?

In most all references to the Lernaean Hydra, it says that the hydra has venomous breath and blood. Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 30 : "He [Herakles] killed at the spring of Lerna the nine headed ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
336 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 ...
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942 views

Are sphinxes unigender?

In Greek mythology sphinxes are always female. Are there any text about sphinxes that explain how they breed or how they're born? Or are there male Sphinx?
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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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2answers
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Why was Europe named after Europa?

I just re-read the story of Zeus and Europa, and in the notes provided by my book, it mentions that the continent of Europe was named after the mythological Europa. It gave no more explanation, and ...
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What treasure was made by famous mortal men, who we know by name, in Greek mythology?

The stories of ancient Greek mythology mention many cases when mortal men use treasure forged by gods, usually by Hēphaistos. The most famous example might be the armor of Achilleus, which Odysseus ...
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Could all three Gorgons turn people to stone, or just Medusa?

I've come across conflicting information about Medusa's sisters and whether or not they could turn people to stone like Medusa can. A lot of places online say that all three can; but some other ...
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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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How invincible was Achilles really?

We also know the stories of Thetis dipping her son in the river Styx to make him nigh-invulnerable, but there is conflicting evidence. Those who have read the Iliad may remember the incident with ...
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494 views

How did Hades get Kerberos?

Kerberos (Latin: Cerberus) is the three headed dog that guards the entrance of the Underworld. He is most known for being captured by Heracles for his 12th labor. But it is never mentioned how ...
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527 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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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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381 views

What is the origin of the centaurs?

Can someone please explain to me how centaurs were created? Does it seem weird to anyone else that we know about it, but we don't know the full story?
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1answer
154 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, ...
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1answer
158 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 ...
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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 ...
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772 views

How did Odysseus's ship get wrecked, and how did Odysseus himself land to Ogygia?

I have tried to read Homer's Odyssey and commentaries to find out details about how Odysseus's shipwreck happened, how many men were involved and saved and so forth. It looks like the first book ...
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1answer
698 views

How does the Devil come to be horned?

One of the most popular depictions of the Christian Devil is having horns. From whence does this derive? altarpiece by Michael Pacher depicting the Devil with Saint Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg ...
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1answer
440 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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Where did the various artistic depictions of the Chimera originate?

I wasn't sure whether to ask this in history as it relates to art history, but the Chimera's appearance varies considerably in art throughout history. Designs vary in the proportion of lion, goat and ...
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648 views

Why would Aphrodite be armed?

Pausanias tells us that the Spartans worshipped Aphrodite Hoplismeni (~armed) and Aphrodite Areia (~of Ares, warlike): [Paus. 3.15.10] Not far from the theatre is a sanctuary of Poseidon God of ...
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256 views

How did the Greeks imagine the palace of the Olympians?

The traditional view is that the palace of the Olympians resembled an ancient Greek acropolis. However, I couldn't find any actual description of the palace or even parts of it from ancient writers. ...
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380 views

Did the ancient Greeks believe the Olympians residence on Mt. Olympus to be a metaphor?

Did the ancient Greeks believe that the residence of the main Olympians on the top of Mt. Olympus to be literal? Or is Mt. Olympus used as a metaphor to explain that the gods resided on the highest ...
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1answer
706 views

Does the phrase “Zeus Pater” appear in ancient Greek sources?

The Wikipedia article "Sky Father" includes the following passage: "Sky Father" is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity ...
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1answer
183 views

Why does archaic mythic literature undercut its own pretensions to explain origins?

The myth of Prometheus is commonly understood to account for how humanity first came to possess fire. Likewise the mythic content of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter is commonly understood to account for ...
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321 views

Use of the terms “Dīs” and “Orcus” in the Aeneid

The common terms used to refer to the Greek/Roman god of death are Hades or Pluto, yet in the Aeneid, the god of death is commonly referred to as Dīs. Further, the realm of Hades (the Underworld, ...
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Odin's Counterpart

I have always wondered are: Odin, Mercury, Hermes, Thoth the same person? If so, why they are celebrated by different cultures and praised by different myths? I am in love with these deities...
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749 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 ...
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3answers
589 views

Why does the river Styx have power over the Olympians?

Zeus is supreme except when he vows on the river Styx. If he breaks such an oath, he will die. From what does the most famous of stygian watercourses derive such awesome power?
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1answer
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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? How many of these (sons of mortal mothers) ...
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2answers
137 views

Who was Zeus' first child conceived with a mortal?

Zeus was well known for his sexual escapades (both willing or unwilling). These resulted in many divine (Gods,Olympians) and heroic offspring (demi-gods) My question is : Who was Zeus' first child ...
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277 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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1answer
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Are there any children of Hades?

Are there any known children of Hades (god or mortal)? If there are any mortal children of Hades, would they have abilities related to spirits and souls?
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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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1answer
140 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 ...
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1answer
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What did Achilles look like?

(So there is this controversy about a black guy playing Achilles in some new show. Which made me wonder...) What did Achilles look like? Can we say how Achilles really looked? (From what I remember ...
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1answer
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Is Chronos Kronos?

Well, I saw a youtube comment on the latest Crash Course Mythology video- Chronus has nothing to do with time. That's Kronos, a primordial deity separate from the titans and infinitely more ...
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612 views

Is there an allegorical meaning associated with the destruction of Troy?

In many cases, a mythos can be seen as an allegory. For example, the biblical episode of Judith and Holofernes can be seen as the eradication of pride, accomplished at all costs, emphasizing the ...
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166 views

Who makes ambrosia?

I recently read that ambrosia, the food of the gods, is brought to Olympus by doves. But, who makes it? Is it natural to the earth (i.e. a plant)? Is there a deity that makes it and sends the doves to ...
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Is there a world tree in Greek mythology?

I was reading up on the world tree motif, when I realized that apparently the concept is absent from Greek mythology: Although the concept is absent from the Greek mythology, medieval Greek folk ...
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1answer
478 views

Why was Hephaestus ugly?

In Greek mythology Hephaestus is said to be the only ugly god among Olympians, but why was this the case? I know he was born this way and later thrown of Olympus by Hera, but as a god he should've had ...
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519 views

Contribution of ancient Greek pottery to mythology studies

I was wondering if the study of ancient Greek pottery art has contributed to the field of Mythology, and how, besides the cool illustrations: Heracles and Athena. Source pic: Wikipedia. For example, ...
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196 views

What sources describe the rivers of the Underworld?

Many stories about the Greco-Roman Underworld mention the rivers flowing through it: the Styx, the Acheron, the Lethe, the Pyriphlegethon, the Cocytus, the Eridanus, and sometimes others. Sources ...
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1answer
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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?