Questions tagged [greek]

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

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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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272 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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500 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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639 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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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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110 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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496 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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494 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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64 views

Are there any pre-Philostratus accounts of Apollonius of Tyana?

I am interested in the life of Apollonius of Tyana, but the account by Philostratus seems a little late. Are there any other accounts of Apollonius outside Philostratus, either before him, or ...
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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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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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747 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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248 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, ...
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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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385 views

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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618 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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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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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 ...
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460 views

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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235 views

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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441 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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175 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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218 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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598 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 ...
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190 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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624 views

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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367 views

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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349 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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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] ...
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253 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. ...
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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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175 views

How powerful were Greek gods without their items?

Many magical items Greek gods have are very powerful. But sometimes they hand them out like its Christmas. So how powerful are greek gods? Could, for example, Zeus still control weather without his ...
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745 views

How many types of Nymphs were there?

After reading and answering this question, it caused me to believe that in Greek mythology, there were a lot of nymphs. They were nature spirits, and so, there are a lot of types of nymphs. Cloud - ...
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238 views

Is there any significance to the forms Zeus took?

Zeus often takes many forms to trick his wives and other damsels and some of the more prominent forms that he had taken are: -the eagle(for Ganydeme) -the swan(for Leda) -the bull(for Eurynome) -...
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230 views

Are there any groups similar to the muses in other religions?

Are the muses - a set of deities, each corresponding to a specific form of art - a unique Graeco-Roman invention or are there parallels in other mythologies?
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Was Charybdis always a monster?

Charybdis, and its counterpart Scylla were two monsters in the Odyssey. However, according to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Scylla was once a nymph. "... had she not been transformed before they came into ...
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179 views

Did the power of Zeus grow considerably after the Titanomachy?

In my previous question, I learned of Typhon's revolt against Zeus. What puzzles me is how Zeus managed to overcome the monstrous giant without any help from the Olympians, or anyone else. In the ...
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What did Sisyphus know and when did he know it?

Each time that Sisyphus began to roll the boulder up the mountain was he aware before beginning the task that the boulder would roll back down once he had finished? In other words, in addition to ...
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School in the Sky?

I'm looking for references to schools in the sky. Was there a school that the Greek gods attended? A university frequented by the Norse pantheon? An academy in Tian? I'd love any pointers you've ...