Questions tagged [greek]

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

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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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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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253 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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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?
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Are there any negative connotations associated with the Caduceus?

The staff carried by Hermes/Mercury, which known as the Caduceus, is one of my favorite symbols. For those that are visual thinkers I have pictured it below: I am planning on getting a tattoo of the ...
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323 views

Why did Ovid omit the Heroic Age?

According to Wikipedia, Ovid's Four Ages of Man are very similar to Hesiod's Five Ages Man, with the exception of the Heroic Age. Why didn't Ovid include the Heroic Age?
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Are there any Greek myths of a god permanently turning into a mortal as punishment?

I'm looking for a Greek myth in which an immortal god, no matter how minor, turns into a mortal immediately because of a punishment. Things I am not looking for: A temporary punishment- Apollo ...
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552 views

Why can't a vrykolakas cross the sea?

In Paradoseis, Nikolaos Politis records the belief that a vrykolakas cannot cross the sea. More specifically, tale 933 explains how the people of Myconos kept themselves safe from vrykolakes by ...
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Odysseus raid on the Cicones at Ismaros (Odyssey Book 9 lines 40-66)

Open question for thoughts and explanations re Odysseus’ raid on the Cicones (also called Kikonians) while on his way home from the Trojan War, on any of my questions below and/or other thoughts of ...
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Are there Christian influences in the Dionysiaca?

Two works by Nonnus of Panopolis survive to this day: The Dionysiaca, an epic poem about the life of Dionysus, The Paraphrase of John, a rewording of the Gospel of John. This is a rare example of ...
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147 views

Why did Dudo consider the Greeks to be the ancestors of the Danes?

In the first book of the Gesta Danorum, Saxo Grammaticus tells us that "Dudo, the historian of Normandy, considers that the Danes are sprung and named from the Danai" 1. Dudo is presumambly Dudo of ...
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597 views

Is there a story that places the Amazons against Ares?

In the 2017 film Wonder Woman, and I assume the comics featuring the eponymous character, the Amazons are associated with Zeus and Ares is their adversary. This is bizarre. The Amazons are a warlike ...
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596 views

Why would an ancient temple be dedicated to both Poseidon and Artemis?

Why is this temple dedicated to both deities? I can't find a connection between them in either myth or theme.
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What is the moral of the myth of Icarus?

Icarus, the son of Daedalus who created the maze that held the Minotaur was given wings which allowed him to fly away from the Island of Crete. He was told not to fly too near the Sun nor too close to ...
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How did Cronos lose if he was god of time?

I have read in many articles where it is mentioned that Zeus overthrew the Titan Cronos who could control time. How is it possible? Cronos could just turn back time and correct wherever he went wrong....
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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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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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956 views

Who had a “sister wife” in Greek mythology?

The term "sister wife" occurs in ancient Greek literature, in reference to a woman who is both a wife and a (full-or-half) sister of her husband, but my question is in regards to Greek mythology: Who ...
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Was the rule of Zeus ever challenged?

Zeus became king of the gods and absolute ruler of the cosmos when he overthrew his father Cronus in the Titanomachy. I wonder if his reign was ever challenged after that?
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If Athena was born from Zeus' brain, does this mean Athena is a manifestation of Zeus' intelligence?

I have heard that Athena was born out of thoughts, sprang from Zeus' head. In that case, does this mean Athena is a manifestation of Zeus' intelligence?
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Did the Moirai (3 Fates) also control lovers destiny or was that the responsibility of another deity?

Did the Moirai / 3 Fates take precedence over the Gods responsible for love and marriage? What relationship, if any, does Greek canon state about the link between Hera, Eros and Moirai?
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Was divination a job reserved to women?

In Greek and Roman mythology, most of the famous oracles I've heard of were female. The Oracle of Delphi (Pythia) The Cumaean Sibyl (who sold books of prophecies to the king of Rome Tarquinius) ...
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250 views

Was there an epic or drama detailing Menelaus's return?

In book IV of the Odyssey (translator Robert Fitsgerald), Menelaus mentions he spent 7 years returning to Sparta. This seems like it would be something that somebody in ancient times would write about....
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What kind of snakes were the Gorgons' hair made of?

So, the Gorgons had hairs of the snakes. Was it ever recorded what kind of snakes they were? I have a couple of quotes The spattered desert gave them life as snakes, smooth snakes of many kinds, and ...
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Was Poseidon ever considered the chief deity instead of Zeus?

My friends study the history of religions and say that, once Zeus was known for being the head of Olympus, while Poseidon was considered the chief deity. One piece of evidence they give for this is ...
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Were Greek deities omniscient, like the God of Abrahamic faiths?

Did the ancient Greeks consider their deities to be omniscient? Hence does Greek mythology claim to be the definite truth like other religions often do and might this leave more room to question and ...
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Does Hercules have a tail?

I was astonished when I saw these two tapestries in a museum: Hercules fighting Centaurs Hercules fighting a multi-headed dog In both of them Hercules/Heracles seems to have a well defined tail ...
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731 views

What happens to dryads when their tree is destroyed?

What happens to dryads, the tree nymphs of Greek mythology, when their tree is cut down, burned or otherwise destroyed? Do they die or do they move on to a new tree?
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Were there cooks for the gods on Olympus in Greek(or Roman) Mythology

I am writing a play in which Greek mythology is a worshipful act and wanted to write that the gods decided to eat the humanly harvest rather than the food (ambrosia, the nectar) of Olympus. Are ...
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Why did the gods demand Iphigenia's sacrifice?

In the Greek drama (?) Iphigenia, in order to be able to go on a war against Troy, the Greeks need wind, and for the wind, they need to sacrifice Agamemnon's daughter (the gods demand it). Menelaus ...
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Identifying the places in the Odyssey

I suppose there have been academic attempts to identify all the places mentioned in the Odyssey by Homer, specially after Heinrich Schliemann found Troy. I would like to know if there's any kind of ...
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Did the gods think Poseidōn's vengeance on Odysseus was just excessive, or entirely unfair?

The beginning of the Odyssey, the Olympian gods all want to allow Odysseus to return from his long exile, only Poseidōn is against that. So Zeus, as king of the gods, overrules Poseidōn on Athēnē's ...
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What are the differences between fauns and satyrs?

From what I've gathered fauns and satyrs are pretty much the same thing; they're all male, hircine from the waist down. They like wine, women, and song. They walk around naked all the time and have an ...
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471 views

Why is it that we say “Pandora's box” so often even thought it was a jar?

Why is it so popular to say that it was a box when it was actually a jar?
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The Odyssey lock scene (Book 21): Translations vs. original Greek?

Near the beginning of Book 21, most translators have used some peculiar language to describe Penelope's unlocking of the door behind which Odysseus' bow is kept. Fagles writes (lines 54–56) ...
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223 views

Are there any instances of defying a prophecy?

In Greek mythology, there are many prophecies. Usually, in spite of someone's effort to prevent it, what is prophesized still happens. As far as I'm aware, the only one to successfully avoid a ...
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222 views

Could Achilles have killed Hector at a later time?

Achilles was given two choices by his mother, either stay and die with imperishable fame or leave the war and live a life of peace. When he heard Hector killed Patroclus, to escape his fate and take ...
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244 views

How did Poseidon became lord of Helicon?

In Homeric Hymn 22 (to Poseidon), we learn that Poseidon is lord of mount Helicon: I begin to sing about Poseidon, the great god, mover of the earth and fruitless sea, god of the deep who is also ...
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671 views

Why was Hephaestus's mule ithyphallic?

While poking around at this question: Symbolism behind Hepheastus riding a donkey A common detail in the art struck me, and as a result, I learned a cool new word: Ithyphallic: having an erect ...
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What did the Thebans do to cause the wrath of Dionysus?

Pausanias tells the legend of the Teumessian fox, a fox destined never to be caught sent by Dionysus to destroy Thebes, the god's birthplace according to the Zeus and Semele narrative: 9.19.1 On this ...
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241 views

Did the manticore always have a human head?

I am not very fond of depictions of manticores with a human head or face. Did the manticore always have a human head, or is it an influence from the sphinx, or some other monster?
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Why does Ino help Odysseus?

In Book V of the Odyssey, Ino saves Odysseus from drowning by giving him a magic veil. Why? Ino is a water deity, I'd expect her to be aligned with Poseidon's wishes. What reason does she have to ...
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What is the significance of the three stars in Ruben's Saturn painting?

What is the significance of the three stars in Peter Paul Ruben's Saturn devouring a Son painting?
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What are the differences between the Greek Hestia and the Roman Vesta with regards to both mythology and worship?

I recall reading about Vesta, and I believe that, like Mars and Saturn, she was more important to the Roman pantheon than the Greek. I'd like to know what the differences were between Vesta and Hestia....
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Why did the Trojans believe Cassandra's recognition of Paris?

The Trojan princess Cassandra was cursed by Apollo that nobody would ever believe her. Apparently though, the curse wasn't completely effective: After Cassandra grew up, she again spent a night in ...
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378 views

Do swans [or geese?] have any medicinal-related significance in Greek mythology?

Please, have a look at this picture: It represents the Medicine. At the bottom you see a swan and a cock. The cock was sacred to Asclepius and should be one of his symbols here. But what about that ...
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326 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 ...
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681 views

What do we know of the rebellion against Zeus by Poseidon, Hera and Athena?

In the first book of the Iliad Achilles mentions that Thetis, his sea nymph mother, once saved Zeus from a rebellion by Poseidon, Hera and Athena: Help your brave son, therefore, if you are able. Go ...
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Metis' unborn son

In the myth of Athena's birth it is mentioned that Metis' second child would overthrow Zeus. When Zeus swallowed Metis, he prevented the prophecy's fulfillment and Metis never had a son. But what if ...

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