Questions tagged [greek]

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

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Correct version of the Sirens scene in “The Odyssey”?

In Roman Mars's podcast, 99% Invisible, in Episode 79: Symphony of Sirens, Revisited, from 00:23-01:00, Mars recounts the Sirens scene in Homer's The Odyssey: In Homer's Odyssey, there's a story ...
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239 views

Were the Olympians unique in everyone being descended from single parentage?

In most sources, Olympian gods were (nearly?) all directly descended from Chaos. Were they unique in this (having a shared ancestor deity, not too far up the family tree), or was it a common thing ...
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670 views

“Decipher me or I devour you” has been cited in Brazil for decades as a challenge of the Sphinx. Is it actually made up?

"Decifra-me ou te devoro"/"Decipher me or I'll devour you" Just recently I remembered hearing this phrase when I was kid.. I'm brasilian and I was thinking how bad*ss it is and all ...
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141 views

Are Greek Myths and Heroes Rooted in actual History and People?

I completed reading a book titled "Old Greek Stories" by James Baldwin. It features some well known Ancient Heroes such as Theseus & Perseus. But the way it was told seemed like several nations ...
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678 views

Did Hera know that Perseus was Zeus's son?

We often see Hera punishing Zeus's children or the mothers because of her jealousy. But such is not the case with the hero Perseus or her mother. She isn't even mentioned trying to cause any harm to ...
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1answer
184 views

The Atlas Continuity Issue

One of Heracles's twelve labors was to retrieve the golden apples from the Hesperides, the "Daughters of the Evening". The only one who'd know where they are is the titan Atlas, who was condemned to ...
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1answer
164 views

Do gods know all other gods?

In the Odyssey, Hermes takes flight to Ogygia, Calypso's island, at Zeus's command to tell Calypso to let Odysseus go home. When he arrives Calypso recognizes him right away because: the gods all ...
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67 views

Is it a tapestry or a scroll?

I have always known it as the Fates creating a Tapestry of Fate. But an answer to a previous question states that Ovid called it a scroll of fate. ... and he remembered in the scroll of fate, ...
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How did Agamemnon win the hand of Helen for his brother?

I don't remember where I read this, but I've got the feeling that Agamemnon, somehow won Helen for his little brother Menelaus. If so, how did he do it? If not, then how was Helen's suitor chosen?
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92 views

Is Homer a good overview, or an encompassing view, of Greek Mythology?

I read philosophy, and so often is Homer referenced as giving extraordinary accounts of Greek Mythology, and it seems that he might as well be the standard for the gospel. Do his books delve deep into ...
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784 views

Is there a tale of Zeus having sex with a deer?

I heard about a myth saying Zeus had sex with a deer, but after hours of research, I hold nothing. Can anyone tell me of this myth? I am especially interested in acquiring any information about a ...
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130 views

What are some examples of ten-year-long cycles?

There are some very famous decade-long cycles in Greek epic poetry: Both the Titanomachy and the Trojan War lasted for ten years, and when the latter ended it took Odysseus another ten years to return ...
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Would the gods often take the form of another god?

Greek mythology is full of stories where gods would disguise themselves as humans, beasts or elements to deceive humans. Especially with Zeus, this appears to be a favourite plot element. A ...
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153 views

What does “distributing by lot” mean among Apollo's epithets?

I've often seen the word "Clerius" (Κληριος, "Klêrios") listed as an epithet of the Greek god Apollo, translated to "Distributing by Lot". I've searched a lot for the possible meanings of this phrase,...
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Was Helen of Troy in Egypt during the war?

In the myth of Helen of Troy, there has been noted a story from Egyptian mythology of Helen coming to Egypt and staying there, her double being sent on to be imprisoned and have a war fought over. ...
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264 views

What changed in Greek culture to allow Herophilos to perform human dissections

This is a follow-up to this question: Why was dissection taboo in Greek antiquity? With such strong taboos against it (addressed in the above question), how was Herophilos able to perform systematic,...
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71 views

Quote on Romulus and Theseus from André Gide in Les Nouvelles Nourritures

In his book Les nouvelles nourritures, André Gide wrote: N'ai je pas lu ce matin dans Plutarque, au seuil des Vies de Romulus et de Thésée, que ces deux grands fondateurs de cités, pour être nés "...
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98 views

Eurydice's body

I've loved Orpheus' and Eurydice's myth for a couple of decades by now, but it never occurred to me to ask: what about her body? Is there any hint that people in the classical period would have ...
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325 views

Why wouldn't Zeus give Aphrodite to Ares when he was the obvious choice?

Why did Aphrodite have to marry Hephaistos, when Ares was the obvious choice? As I understand it, the reason for the marriage to Hephaistos, was because Aphrodites' beauty caused conflict. Wouldn't it ...
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1answer
99 views

Are there any surviving depictions/descriptions of Geryon?

One of the stranger monsters mentioned in the twelve tasks of Hercules, Geryon is described, in all the source material I've seen as having three bodies. I've always had a little trouble picturing ...
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221 views

Does Medusa's head turn one's clothing to stone together with its wearer?

Medusa and her two triplet Gorgon sisters, Sthenno and Euryale, are monsters from Greek and Roman mythology notorious for their ability to turn whoever looked upon them (or directly into their faces) ...
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1answer
184 views

Has Athena, Greek goddess of Wisdom, ever lost?

I only know of one myth in which Athena lost. I talk of Arachne, a mortal that challenged Athena to a weaving competition. In one account, Athena won. In another, it was a tie and Arachne hung herself....
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277 views

Could the weapons of the gods be used against them?

Ethan's answer to the How did Athena keep from being turned into stone by her shield? question puts forth an interesting idea: Athena probably wouldn't have been turned to stone from Medusa's head ...
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414 views

Ηοw is the pomegranate connected with New Year's celebrations?

I flew to Crete on New Year's Eve, and the flight crew offered all of us a pomegranate and instructed us to break it open at midnight. What's the story there? How is the pomegranate connected with ...
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109 views

What is the significance of the two cities on the Shield of Achilles?

In Book 18 of the Iliad, Homer describes the Shield of Achilles. The second layer from the shield's centre features scenes from two cities. In the first city a wedding and a tribunal are taking place: ...
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165 views

Did the inhabitants of the ancient Near East believe in an ocean in the sky?

An ocean in the sky shows up quite a lot in depictions, for example Psalms 148:4: Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! But finding good evidence for it in Egyptian ...
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563 views

How were titans viewed by ancient Greeks?

Prometheus was a Titan. He helped people several times. But was he praised as a god would be? Gaia was the very mother Earth. Was she loved as any other goddess would be? Atlas held the sky up from ...
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184 views

Sirens of Thassos … looking for sources

I'm trying to find sources to explain the "according to ancient myth" statement that opens almost every website on the island of Thassos that it is the Island of the Sirens. I guess it could just be a ...
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102 views

Did Helen and Stentor have voice-related “super-powers”?

Helen's Many Voices In Odyssey 4.274-289 Menelaus recounts a story from the time that he and other leaders of the Greek forces at Troy were hiding in the famous decoy wooden horse which they used as ...
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794 views

Why does Perseus carry a sickle instead of a sword?

Perseus armed with a sickle has a well established iconography in Greek mythology: From Theoi.com: But why does Perseus carry this "weapon" instead of a proper sword, like it is shown in later ...
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226 views

Why did Snorri Sturlson link the Norse Gods to the Trojans?

In the Prologue to the Prose Edda, he seems to develop a genealogy of the Norse Gods being descendants of the Trojans. Starting with the Trojan king Priam, he develops connections, like for example ...
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Why is Athena “gray eyed”?

Obviously because her eyes are that color, but I suspect there are deeper, symbolic reasons for that particular color and description. This is in regard to the epithet γλαυκῶπις, in the lexicon ...
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Who did Zeus punish by having poison/acid dripped on them?

I am not sure if this is a real myth, as I learned about it from a Tumblr post: charlesoberonn: Hades was the least evil entity in the entire Greek pantheon. Just look at the ...
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4answers
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What happened if a god or goddess had his/her head cut off?

So in mythology, most gods and goddesses are immortal. But you can't really live once you have your head cut off. So, specifically Greek mythology, what would happen if your head got cut off, and you ...
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949 views

What happened to Theseus after Herakles found him?

So Herakles found Theseus in the Underworld after he went and finished his last labor of bringing Cerberus back. What resulted of Theseus?
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Why was Odysseus needed for killing the suitors in the Odyssey?

Is his kingdom so short on soldiers that the family can't deal with a few suitors?
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6k views

Poseidon has two wives when/why/how?

Poseidon's wife is Amphitrite. Some say she is a Nereid, others say an Oceanid. When Poseidon first pursued her for marriage, she fled. Later the dolphin god, Delphin, persuaded her to marry the sea ...
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293 views

What is the connection between Poseidon and horses?

Since Poseidon is well known as the god of the God of the sea, storms, earthquakes and horses? What is the connection between Poseidon and horses? As a god of the sea the storms and earthquakes part ...
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Is Phoebus an alternate name for Apollo or is a description of Apollo?

Is Phoebus an alternate name for Apollo or is a description of Apollo? In other words, I want to know if Phoebus is a name or simply a common noun that means "light" or "brightness". There was also a ...
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98 views

Is there a myth were Heracles chooses duty over pleasure?

Last year, I was handed a worksheet. It was an excerpt of an autobiography if I recall correctly. One part I remember in particular involved Heracles, that he was given a choice between duty and ...
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4k views

Why did Hercules murder his first wife?

I am speaking, of course, of the ill-fortuned Megara. (Literal answer is fine, although I'd welcome commentary and analysis. Ideally, links will come from Academic sources where possible.)
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135 views

Goods reads about Herakles/Hercules twelve labors?

I would like to read more about Herakles twelve labors. I would like to know if there are any remaining work about it ? I am looking for work dating from the Greek or Roman era.
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Why is the virgin goddess Artemis associated with childbirth?

Orphic Hymn I to Prothyrea ("Προθυραία"), identifies Artemis as the goddess of childbirth, and relegates Eileithyia to the role of "assisting goddess": O venerable goddess, hear my pray'r, For ...
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158 views

What is the significance of Medusa having hands of bronze?

I was reading Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles, and it says of the Gorgon Medusa, Manus etiam ex aere factae erant. ("Indeed, her hands were made out of bronze.") What is the significance or ...
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How is Wonder Woman related to the Amazons of Greek Mythology and Atlantis?

Does anyone have any real proof not from comics or movies that Diana of Themyscira is an actual figure from mythology? How does Atlantis relate to this? For background, Diana of Themyscira is name ...
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158 views

An ancient source for the myth of Venus' creation of red roses?

I asked a question Literature SE a few days ago, trying to make sense of some of the references in an English poem by William Drummond of Hawthornden. One portion of the poem describes Venus/Aphrodite ...
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3answers
213 views

Is there a Greek myth where a father tries to protect his son, but the son dies anyway?

I heard a myth when I was a child and I think it was about how a father had a prophecy that his son would die. He took it seriously and attempted to protect his son but in doing so his son died. Sort ...
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132 views

Did Narcissus have a twin sister?

It's been over twenty years when I was reading about the story of Narcissus. I don't have any of my notes or references saved, but I distinctly remembered I read one or two stories mentioning ...
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1answer
359 views

Why did Kronos swallow his children up, instead of killing them?

As the myth goes, Kronos swallowed this children as they were presented to him, so he could prevent the prophecy. But why couldn't he kill them?
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595 views

Are Krishna and Hermes related?

Both gods have legends involving extraordinary powers as children. This link discusses the infant Krishna, as an incarnation of Vishnu, instructing his father Vasudeva on how to escape the wrath of ...

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