Classical Mythology Quiz 2

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Story of Pygmalion
Ovid’s story of Pygmalion is most influential. Venus, enraged because the women of her own cult-place of Cyprus denied her divinity, caused them to be the first women to prostitute themselves. The sculptor Pygmalion would have nothing to do with these licentious women. In his loneliness, he fashioned an ivory statue of surpassing beauty, so realistic that he fell in love with his creation and treated it as though it were alive.
On the feast day of Venus, Pygmalion timidly prayed to Venus that his ivory maiden would become his wife. He returned home to find that his lovely statue was alive. He gave thanks to Venus, who was present at the marriage of the happy couple. The son of Pygmalion and Galatea (ivory statue girl) was Paphos, after whom Venus’ favorite city in Cyprus was named.
-Story of Aphrodite and Adonis
The classic version of this myth is by Ovid. Cinyras (the son of Paphos), had a daughter named Myrrha, who fell in love with her father. The faithful nurse of guilty Myrrha prevented her from committing suicide by convincing her to satisfy her passion. So Myrrha carried on an incestuous relationship with her father, who was unaware of her identity. When Cinyras found out, he pursued his daughter, who fled from his rage. In answer to her prayers, Myrrha was turned into a myrrh tree. She had become pregnant by her father and from the tree was born Adonis, who became a most handsome youth and keen hunter.
Aphrodite fell desperately in love with Adonis and warned him of the dangers of the hunt, but to no avail. While he was hunting a wild boar, it buried its deep tusk into his groin and Adonis died in the arms of a grief-stricken Aphrodite. The goddess ordained that from his blood a flower, the anemone, should arise. He then became a resurrection god.
Story of Aphrodite and Anchises
Anchises was a shepherd who lived in a hut. Aphrodite walked in on him, pointed to bed, they got in bed together, and he fell asleep. She felt remorse and pangs of guilt, and, when he woke up, she revealed her identity. He was terrified and she made him promise not to tell. He broke the promise and was struck by lightning. He survived but never walked again. Aphrodite had conceived and have birth to a son, Aeneas (means anguish and remorse), who later received divine armor and carried his father out of the burning city of Troy.
Plato’s Symposium
-symposium now means conference but back then it meant a wild drinking party
-speeches given by Socrates and Aristophane
Lucius Apuleius
author of Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass), which contains the story of Cupid and Psyche
Story of Cupid and Psyche
Once upon a time, a king and queen had three daughters, of whom Psyche was so beautiful that Venus was jealous. She ordered Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with the most vile of creatures, but instead Cupid himself fell in love with Psyche. She was transported to a magnificent palace, where each night Cupid, as an anonymous bridegroom, visited her and departed quickly before sunrise.
Psyche’s two sisters, who were very jealous, visited her. Cupid warned of their treacherous purpose to persuade Psyche to look upon his face. He told her that she was pregnant and that she must keep their secret. Nevertheless, Psyche was tricked by her sisters into believing that she was sleeping with a monster and, at their advice, she hid a sharp knife and a burning lamp with the intention of slashing her lover in the neck when he was asleep.
In the night her husband made love to Psyche and then fell asleep. As she raised the lamp, knife in hand, she saw the gentle and beautiful Cupid. Overcome by desire, she kissed him so passionately that the lamp dropped oil on the god’s shoulder. Cupid leaped out of bed, and as he flew away, Psyche caught hold of his leg and soared aloft with him. Her strength gave way and she fell to earth, only to be admonished by Cupid for ignoring his warnings. In her despair, Psyche attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide. As she wandered disconsolate she encountered her two evil sisters and lured each to her death.
When Venus learned from Cupid all that had happened, she was enraged and imposed upon Psyche four impossible tasks.
First, Psyche had to sort out a vast heap of a mixed variety of grains. She did this successfully with the help of an army of ants. Next, Psyche had to obtain the wool from dangerous sheep with thick golden fleeces. A murmuring reed told her to shake the trees under which the sheep had passed after which she could gather the woolly gold clinging to the branches. Then, Psyche was ordered to climb to the top of a high mountain, face the terrors of a frightening dragon, and collect in a jar chill water from a stream that fed the Underworld river of Cocytus. This she accomplished with the help of Zeus” eagle.
Finally, Venus imposed the ultimate task, descent into the Underworld itself. Psyche was commanded to obtain from Persephone a box containing a fragment of her own beauty. As Psyche, in despair, was about to leap to her death from a high tower, the tower spoke to her and told her to take sops to mollify Cerberus, the dread hound guarding the realm of Hades, and money to pay the ferryman Charon; most important of all, she was not to look into the box. Of course Psyche looked into the box, which contained not the beauty of Persephone but the sleep of the dark night of the Underworld, and she was enveloped by this deathlike sleep.
At last Cupid flew to the rescue of his beloved. He put sleep back into the box and, after reminding her that curiosity once before had been her undoing, told her to complete her final task. In the end, Venus was appeased. Psyche became one of the immortals, and on Mt. Olympus Jupiter ratified the marriage of Cupid and Psyche with a glorious wedding. A daughter was born to them called Pleasure (Voluptas) and they lived happily ever after.
Artemis
-Roman Name: Diana
-Other Greek Names: Delia (Delos-birthplace of Artemis and Apollo)
Cynthia (Mt. Cynthus-a mountain on Delos)

-beautiful and chased virgin goddess with bow and arrow and a dress to her knees
-goddess of forest, wild creatures, and hunting
-crescent moon on her forehead
-born first and helped with Apollo’s birth
-goddess of childbirth along with Hera and Eileithyia

Story of Niobe and her children
The women of Thebes greatly honored Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, and her two children. Their tributes seemed excessive to Niobe, who boasted that she was better than Leto because she was not only rich, beautiful, and the queen of Thebes, but had borne seven sons and seven daughters, whereas Leto was the mother of only one son and one daughter. Leto complained to her children about Niobe’s hubris and they exacted a swift vengeance. With unerring arrows, Apollo killed all seven sons of Leto, and Artemis all seven daughters. As Artemis was about to shoot the youngest, Niobe attempted to shield the girl and begged that this last one be spared, to no avail. Niobe herself was turned to stone and brought by a whirlwind to a mountaintop (Mt. Syphallis) in her former homeland, Phrygia. There, tears trickle down her face.
Story of Actaeon
Actaeon was an ardent hunter. Once when he wandered off alone, away from his companions, he stumbled upon, by accident or fate, a woodland cave with a pool of water, where Artemis (or Diana, in Ovid’s version of the tale) was bathing accompanied by her attendant followers, as was their custom. When they saw Actaeon entering the cave, they screamed and Diana, outraged that a man had seen her naked, took swift revenge. She splashed water in his face and immediately horns began to grow from his head and he was transformed into a stag, completely except for his mind. He ran away in fear and was sighted by his own hunting dogs, who turned on him and tore him to pieces. **some of the dogs names: Blackfoot, Hungry, Hurricane, Spot, Chop Jaws
story of callisto
Callisto was very beautiful. She joined the nymphs and became a favorite of Diana. Zeus (or Jupiter, as Ovid tells it) no sooner saw Callisto than he fell in love with her and was determined to win her. He disguised himself as Artemis, knowing full well that in this transformation he could best win her confidence and affection. When Zeus pressed his attentions too ardently, his deception became only too clear to poor Callisto, who struggled in vain. Callisto rejoined Artemis and her companions but eventually, when they bathed together, she could not disguise the fact that she was pregnant. Artemis was furious with Callisto for her betrayal and expelled her from the sacred group.
Hera (or Juno) had long been aware of her husband’s guilt, and when Callisto gave birth to a son, named Arcas, she took her revenge. She turned Callisto into a bear, but her mind remained intact; thus alone and afraid, she wandered the forests.
In his fifteenth year, while hunting, Arcas encountered his mother, Callisto, a bear whose human and relentless gaze frightened him. As he was about to drive a spear through her body, Zeus intervened and prevented the matricide. He brought the pair up to the heavens where he transformed them into constellations (catasterized). Callisto became the Great Bear (Ursa Major), and Arcas became the Little Bear (Ursa Minor).
Story of Orion
Orion was a hunter who tried to attack Artemis. She produced a scorpion out of the earth that stung him to death. Both are seen in the sky (one in winter, one in summer).
Story of Euripides’ Hippolytus
Hippolytus was the son of Theseus, the king of Athens. He never knew his mother (an Amazon queen who died in childbirth). Around the age of 18 or 20, he was not interested in girls. He didn’t worship Aphrodite; he worshipped Artemis, goddess of the hunt, instead. He built altars to Artemis and decked them with wildflowers. Aphrodite hated him because he did not pay any attention to her, and she resolved to punish him that day. Theseus got remarried to Phaedra, a young woman, and they had children. Aphrodite makes Phaedra fall in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. Her faithful nurse gets the truth from her and decides to tell Hippolytus about Phaedra’s love for him.
The nurse has Hippolytus swear an oath of secrecy, but when she tells him of Phaedra”s passion, he is enraged and cries out that his tongue swore but not his mind. Phaedra overhears the angry exchange and fears Hippolytus will tell all to her ruin (but he never does violate his oath). She hangs herself, but before doing so leaves an incriminating note to save herself and her children by claiming that Hippolytus violated her. Theseus too quickly believes her accusation against the protests of his innocent son, whose purity and religious fanaticism he had always resented. With a curse given him by his father, Poseidon, he orders his son into exile. Poseidon sends a bull from the sea which frightens the horses of Hippolytus’s chariot, entangling the youth in the wreckage. As he is dying, he is brought back to his father for a heartbreaking reconciliation, engineered by Artemis, who explains to Theseus the truth and promises Hippolytus honors after his death for his devotion and that she will get even with Aphrodite.
Apollo
-Phoebus Apollo
-Roman name is also Apollo
-long hair, lyre, bow and arrows
-born on island of Delos, which he later chained down
-Pythian Oracle (pythia=sibyl at Delphi)
-Sibyl is a priestess of Apollo (pictured on sides of Sistine Chapel)
-temple at Mr. Parnassus
-Delphiniums-dolphin tail flowers-on Delphi, Apollo turned himself into a dolphin
Apollo’s Loves
1) The Cumaean Sibyl – most famous of sibyls in Cumae, Italy and Aeneas’
guide in the Underworld.

2) Cassandra – daughter of the Trojan King Priam who agreed to give herself to Apollo. He rewarded her with the gift of prophecy. When Cassandra changed her mind and rejected his advances, Apollo asked for one kiss and spit in her mouth, thus ensuring not only that Cassandra would keep her gift, but also that her true prophecies would never be believed.

Story of Apollo and Daphne
After Apollo had just slain the Python, he boasted to Cupid that the god of love with his bow and arrows could not compete with his glorious slaying of a dragon. Cupid got even for this slight by shooting at Daphne, the daughter of the river-god Peneus, a dull, leaden arrow that repels love and piercing Apollo’s heart with a bright, short one that arouses passion.
Daphne was extraordinarily beautiful but refused her many suitors. She vowed to remain a virgin devoted to Diana, the forests, and the hunt; both her father and Jupiter respected her wishes. As soon as Apollo saw her he was inflamed by passion and he desired to marry her, but because of Cupid his hopes were doomed. Daphne fled in fear as Apollo made his appeals and pursued her. Exhausted, she reached the waters of Peneus, and her prayer that the power of the river would destroy her too-enticing beauty was granted. She was transformed into a lovely laurel tree, and the heartbroken Apollo, as he embraced its trunk and branches, promised that since she could not be his wife, she would be his tree, and from it would come the laurel wreath, a symbol of love, honor, and glory forever.
Story of Apollo and Hyacinthus
Apollo, as the archetypal Greek god, was also susceptible to the love of young men. Apollo’s devotion to Hyacinthus, a handsome Spartan youth, is told by Ovid.

The god and the youth enjoyed competing with the discus. Apollo’s first throw showed magnificent skill and great strength, for he sent the discus high up into the clouds. When it eventually came back to earth, an enthusiastic Hyacinthus dashed to pick it up, but as it hit the earth it bounced back and struck him full in the face. All of Apollo’s medical arts were of no avail, and his beloved companion died. Overcome by grief and guilt, the god vowed everlasting devotion by singing of Hyacinthus to the tune of his lyre and by causing a new flower, the hyacinth, to arise from his blood. Apollo himself marked his laments on his petals, the mournful letters of alpha and iota.

Asclepius
the son of Apollo, god of healing
-had two sons (doctors in the Iliad)
-also had two daughters
-Hygeia (hygiene “clean living”)
-Panacea (penicillin “cure all”)
-Alcestis
Apollo was enraged at the death of his son Asclepius and killed the Cyclopes who had forged the thunderbolt. For his crime, he was sentenced to live in exile for a year under the rule of the king of Pherae in Thessaly. When Apollo found out that his master had only a short time to live, he induced the Fates (Moirai) to allow the king a longer life. They, however, demanded that someone else die in his place. No one was willing to do so except for his wife, Alcestis. In the end, Heracles arrived to save her from death and return her to her husband.
Hermes
-Roman name is Mercury
-Son of Zeus and Maia, a beautiful nymph
-Born in a cave
Hermes Invents the Lyre
As soon as Hermes left the cave where he was born, he encountered a tortoise and quickly devised a plan. He seized and cut up the tortoise and used the hollow shell, along with reeds, an ox”s hide, and strings of sheep gut, to make the first seven-stringed lyre. In no time at all, he tuned the lyre and was singing beautiful songs in honor of his father and his mother.
Hermes Steals Apollo’s Cattle
Very soon Hermes became intent on other pursuits; he craved meat and devised a scheme for stealing the cattle of Apollo. In the night, he cut off from the herd fifty head and cleverly made them walk backwards, their heads facing him, while he himself walked straight ahead, wearing sandals of wicker that he had woven to disguise his tracks. When an old man working in a luxuriant vineyard noticed Hermes driving the cattle, the infant god told him not to tell, promising him a good harvest of grapes and much wine. The next day, he skinned and butchered two of the cows and roasted the good parts of the meat as offerings to the gods
Apollo confronts Hermes
Apollo, anxious about the loss of his cattle (which he explains were all cows), made inquires of the old man tending the vineyard, and the old man told him that he had seen a child driving a herd backwards. He went to the cave of Maia and Hermes. In a rage, Apollo faced Hermes, who sank down into his blankets with a look of baby-innocence that failed to deceive Apollo. After a search of the surroundings, he urgently questioned the child about his stolen cattle. Hermes claimed that he did not know a thing; since he was born only yesterday, it was impossible that he could have committed such a crime. Apollo, however, was not fooled but knew Hermes for the sly-hearted cheat that he was. Their argument ended only when Apollo brought Hermes to the top of Mt. Olympus, where he sought justice from Zeus himself.
Zeus Decides the Case
Apollo spoke first and truthfully stated the facts about the theft of his cattle. Hermes’ reply was full of lies, and he even swore a mighty oath that he was absolutely innocent. Zeus gave a great laugh when he heard the protests and denials of the devious child and ordered Hermes, in his role of guide, to lead Apollo to the place where he had hidden the cattle. Hermes did as Zeus commanded, and when Apollo found his cattle, the two reconciled. Hermes took up the lyre that he had invented and played and sang so beautifully that Apollo was enthralled and exclaimed that this enchanting skill was worth fifty cows! He promised that Hermes would become the messenger of the gods and that he and his mother would have renown among the immortals (and thus Hermes’ promise to his mother was fulfilled). At this, Hermes gave the lyre to Apollo ordaining that he should become a master of the musical art, and Apollo in turn gave Hermes a shining whip and put him in charge of cattle herds. And so the two returned to Olympus, where Zeus united them in friendship.
Story of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus
As a result of an affair between Hermes and Aphrodite, a son was born, named Hermaphroditus. He was brought up in a mountain cave by nymphs, and when he was fifteen he left home to wander unknown lands. When he came to Halicarnassus, on the coast of Asia Minor, he discovered a lovely clear pool of water surrounded by fresh green grass. A nymph, Salmacis, inhabited the pool. She refused to hunt in the woods and follow the pursuits of Artemis, but instead remained at her pool, often languishing seductively on its verdant banks.
Once when she was picking flowers nearby, she caught sight of the divinely beautiful Hermaphroditus and was smitten with an irresistible desire to have him. She carefully made herself as attractive as possible before she addressed him with a fervent declaration of love that she insisted must be consummated.
The boy blushed because he did not know what love was, and when she touched his lovely neck and demanded at least the kisses of a sister, he threatened to leave. Salmacis, afraid to lose him, said that she would give him free access to the place and pretended to leave him all alone. Instead she hid behind a nearby grove of bushes to watch.
Hermaphroditus, captivated by the pool, threw off his clothes, and dove into the water, and Salmacis, inflamed by passion, quickly dove in after him. She grabbed hold of him and held him, enveloping him with kisses as he struggled to be free. Salmacis clung to Hermaphroditus with her whole body, and it was as though they were one. The gods granted her prayer that they never be separated. Their two bodies were joined together, and they no longer were boy or girl but partook of both sexes.
Birth of Dionysus
Zeus, disguised as a mortal, loved Semele, daughter of Cadmus. Hera was jealous and disguised herself as an old woman. She asked Semele who her lover was and told her to get him to swear on the river Styx to let her see him as he really was (a blinding flash of lightning). Semele was burnt to a crisp, but her unborn son, Dionysus, was rescued from his mother’s ashes and nursed by Semel’s sister Ino and nymphs.
Euripides play called Bacchae
Dionysus himself is angry because he is not recognized as a god in Thebes. They call him a fraud and an imposter. Cadmus has retired as king of Thebes, and his young grandson Pentheus is vehemently opposed to this new religion.
Through the power of Dionysus, the women of Thebes (Bacchae) have become possessed by frenzy, and dressed in fawn skins, they raise the Bacchic cry on Mt. Cithaeron to the musical beat of tambourines, with the thyrsus (an ivy-covered pine-shaft) in their hands. Led by Dionysus to Mt. Cithaeron, Pentheus is torn to pieces by the fury of the Bacchae, with his mother Agave as their leader in the slaughter. They think Pentheus is a mountain lion up a tree, which they shake off and rip to shreds (his mother and his aunts do). Agave returns to Thebes with the head of her son affixed to the tip of her thyrsus and awakens from her madness to realize the horror of her deed.

-Orgies, dances, and omophogy (eating of raw flesh)
-Satyrs are his male followers that have pointed ears, golden hooves, and tails

-Story of Midas and the Golden Touch
Dionysus was so grateful to Midas for the release of Silenus, one of his followers who Midas recognized and protected, that he promised to give the king any gift that he wished. Midas foolishly asked that whatever he should touch might be turned to gold. At first Midas was delighted when he saw everything turn into gleaming riches by the mere touch of his hand. Soon, however, this blessed power turned out to be a curse. Everything he tried to eat and drink was immediately turned into a solid mass of gold, and even his beloved daughter was transformed. He begged Dionysus for release, and the god took pity. He ordered Midas to cleanse himself in the river Pactolus, near Sardis, and his power of the golden touch passed from his person into the stream.
Pan
he is part man with the horns, ears, and legs of a goat and is a god of shepherds and music, plays the panpipe
Story of Echo and Narcissus
Narcissus was a beautiful, Athenian youth who would have nothing to do with lovers. They prayed for him to fall in love with something unattainable. Hera had already punished Echo, who had no voice and could only repeat what others had already said. Once when Narcissus was hot and tired from the hunt, he came upon a pool of glistening clear water amidst a lovely, cool grove. As he continued to drink, he was captivated as he gazed upon his own beauty, and he fell hopelessly in love with his reflection. As he bestowed kisses and tried to embrace himself, he could never get and possess his deceptive image. Gradually he was so weakened and consumed by love of his own reflection that he wasted away and died. While he was dying, poor Echo watched and felt sorry for him as she repeated his cries of woe and his last farewell.
Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries
-The lengthy Homeric Hymn to Demeter provides the most important and complete
information about Demeter (Ceres) and Persephone, daughter of Zeus and
Demeter, and is in itself a literary gem.
The abduction of Persephone
While picking beautiful flowers with the daughters of Ocean, Earth, at the will of Zeus and to please Hades, produced a most wondrous and radiant narcissus. As Persephone reached out to pluck the flower, Earth yawned open, and Hades appeared in his golden chariot and carried her away in tears. Persephone shouted and called out to Zeus, but he did not hear her for it was by his will that Hades, his brother and her uncle, carried her off to be his wife and queen of the Underworld
Demeter comes to the home of Celeus and Metaneira
After being found and taken in as Doso by the daughters of Celeus and Metaneira, Doso is hired by Metaneira to care for her only son, who was in need of care. Metaneira promised Demeter great rewards if she would nurse her child Demophoon and bring him up. Demeter took the child to her bosom, promising that he would not be harmed by evil charms. She nourished him on ambrosia, and she breathed sweetness upon him, and he grew like a god. At night, she hid him in the fire, without the knowledge of his parents, who were amazed how their child grew and flourished. Demeter would have made Demophoon immortal, if foolish Metaneira had not spied upon her and cried out in terror because this stranger was burying her son within the blazing fire. Demeter was enraged at the stupidity of Metaneira, who by her interference had ruined Demeter’s plan to make the boy immortal. Nevertheless, Demeter would still allow Demophoon to flourish as a mortal and grant him imperishable honor because he had slept in her arms. She revealed herself, and ordered that the people of Eleusis build her a great temple and an altar below the town on a rising hill. Then she disappeared.
-Demeter’s Determined Grief
Demeter, still wasted with longing for her daughter, caused for mortals a most devastating year with no harvest. The earth would not send up a single sprout. By continuing in this fashion, she would not only have destroyed the entire human race with cruel famine but would also have deprived the Olympian gods of their glorious prestige from gifts and sacrifices. Zeus finally took notice. He sent Iris to Demeter in her temple at Eleusis with his command that she rejoin the company of the gods. Demeter refused to obey. So Zeus sent down all the immortal gods, who approached Demeter one by one, offering any gifts or honors that she might choose. Demeter stubbornly insisted that she would never set foot on Olympus until she with her own eyes saw her daughter again.
-Zeus’s Orders to Hades and Persephone Eats the Pomegranate
Zeus was forced to send Hermes down to explain to Hades all that Demeter had said and done; Hermes also delivered the command that Persephone return with him out of the Underworld so that her mother might see her and desist from her wrath. Hades smiled grimly and immediately obeyed Zeus the king. He ordered Persephone to return with a loving heart to her mother; but he also told her that he was not an unworthy husband for her, since he was the full brother of her father Zeus and that while she was with him she would rule as his queen, a great goddess.
Hades secretly gave his wife the fruit of the pomegranate to eat to ensure the fulfillment of his words to her as her husband; she should not remain the whole year above with her mother Demeter but would rule with him below for part of the time.
The end of the story
Zeus granted Demeter the honors among the immortals that she would choose, and he consented that her daughter live a third part of the year below and the other two thirds above, with her mother and the other gods. Rhea swiftly rushed down and delivered Zeus’ pronouncements and encouraged Demeter to comply, first by restoring the earth’s fertility for mortals. Demeter obeyed. She miraculously caused fruit to spring up from earth that had previously been barren, and the whole land blossomed with flowers.
Triptolemus
only mentioned in the hymn, but elsewhere he is made the messenger of
Demeter, traveling to teach her agricultural arts in a magical car drawn by winged
dragons.
Tartarus (also Erebus and Orcus)
hell
Elysium
Paradise
3 judges
Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus
5 Rivers
Styx (hate), Acheron (woe), Lethe (sleep & forgetfulness), Cocytus (wailing), and Phlegethon (fire)
5 main sinnera
Tityrus, Ixion, Danaids, Sisyphus, and Tantalus

Tityrus – a vulture tears at his ever-renewed liver
Ixion – bound forever to a revolving wheel
Danaids – the forty-nine daughters of Danaus who killed their husbands on their
wedding night and endlessly attempt to draw water with sieves
Sisyphus – continually attempts to roll a rock to the top of a hill, only to have it
roll down
Tantalus – “tantalized” forever by the fruit of a tree and water from a pool, just
out of his reach

Furies
Allecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone
Watchdog
Cerberus! And ferryman is Charon
The Book of the Dead: the 11th book of the Odyssey
tells adventures of Odysseus’s visit to Phaecians and their king Alcinous
-souls need blood to talk and answer his questions
-was able to talk to his companion Elpenor, Tiresias, and his mother Anticlea
(who died of grief because he left)
Plato’s myth of Er
Plato concludes his Republic with a religious and philosophical vision of the afterlife. A man named Er died in war; after twelve days his body was uncorrupted and he returned to life, sent as a messenger from the other world to describe all that he had seen.
After his soul had departed, it traveled with many other souls and came to a divine place where there were two openings in the earth; opposite were two other openings in the upper region of the sky. In the space between these four openings were judges who passed sentence. They ordered the just to go to the right through one of the openings upward into the sky, but they sent the unjust to the left through one of the downward openings.
The first group from out of the earth wept as they recounted their torments, which lasted one thousand years. Everyone had to suffer an appropriate penalty for each sin, ten times over. Those who were extraordinarily wicked (such as the evil tyrant Ardiaeus), guilty of many murders and other unholy deeds were never allowed to return out of the earth; but wild men of fiery aspect seized and flayed them and hurled them down into Tartarus. The second group, on the other hand, who had descended from the opening in the sky, told of the great happiness that they had felt and the sights of indescribable beauty that they had seen as they completed their cycle of one thousand years.
All these souls, sinful and virtuous alike, proceeded on another journey to arrive at a special place which provided a cosmic view of the universe, controlled by the spindle of Necessity and her daughters, the three Fates, and where the Sirens’ song echoed the harmony of the spheres. In this place, each soul had to pick a lot and choose from examples of lives before beginning the next cycle of mortality. In front of these souls were placed the examples of every kind of life possible for human beings and for all living creatures. All-important was the choice that a soul would make; it must have learned from its experiences in life and in death to know the difference between the good life and the wicked, and always choose the better rather than the worse. This is the crucial choice for a human being always, whether living or dead, and the choice is the individual;s own; god is blameless.
When all the souls had chosen their lives, whether wisely or foolishly, each was given a divine guardian spirit. After certain ordained procedures, they came to Lethe, the river of “forgetfulness,” where it was necessary that they drink a certain amount (some were unwise and drank too much). As they drank, they became forgetful of everything and fell asleep. In the middle of the night, amidst thunder and an earthquake, suddenly they were carried upward just like shooting stars, each in a different direction, to be reborn.
Vergil’s Book of the Dead
-In Book 6, Vergil talks about the Underworld
-At Cumae, in Italy, the Sibyl (prophetess of Apollo) tells Aeneas the
requirements to visit his father in the realm of Hades
-He must get a golden bough (sacred to Persephone) and bury Misenus, his friend
-It is easy to get down to the Underworld, but much more difficult to return
-He talks to Dido and tells her that the gods forced him to leave her
-Charon-the ferryman of the dead-took them to cross the river Styx
-they got to the high gates of Tartarus
Story of Orpheus and Eurydice
The musician Orpheus fell in love and married Eurydice. The omens, however, were bad, and the new bride was bitten on the ankle by a snake and died.
The grieving Orpheus was so inconsolable that he dared to descend to the Underworld, where he made his appeal to the king and queen themselves, Hades and Persephone, in a song sung to the accompaniment of his lyre. In the name of Love, Orpheus asked that his Eurydice be returned to him in life; if not, he would prefer to remain there in death with his beloved. His words, his music, and his art held the shades spellbound, and the king and queen were moved to grant his request, but on one condition: Orpheus was not to turn back to look at Eurydice until he had left the Underworld.
As they approached the border of the world above, Orpheus, anxious and yearning, turned and looked back, through love. At his gaze, Eurydice slipped away from her husband’s embrace with a faint farewell, to die a second time. Orpheus was stunned, and his appeals to Charon that he cross the Styx again were denied. Overwhelmed by grief, he withdrew to the mountains and for three years rejected the many advances of passionate women.
While he was charming the woods, rocks, and wild beasts to follow him, a group of Bacchic women, clad in animal skins, caught sight of him and, angry at his rejection of them, hurled weapons and stones, which at first did no harm because they were softened by his song. As the madness and the frenzied music of the maenads grew more wild and the bard’s song was drowned out, he was overcome and killed and finally torn to pieces by their fury. His limbs were scattered, but his head and lyre floated on the river Hebrus out to sea, both all the while making lamentations.
Orpheus now at last was reunited with his Eurydice in the Underworld, where they remain together, side by side, forever.
Aphrodite Urania
-Arose from the foam from the severed genitals of Uranus that were cast
upon the sea
-Characterized as the goddess of pure love that has spiritual gratification
-Sensual, sprung from Uranus, god of the heavens, became the
Heavenly, or Celestial Aphrodite of philosophy and religion
Aphrodite Pandemos
-Daughter of Zeus and Dione
-Pandemos means “of the people,” “common,” or “earthly”
-Goddess of sex and the procreation of children, whose concerns are of the
body and NOT of the mind, spirit, or soul
-She received two epithets in connection with her birth on the sea
-Cytherea (brought first to island of Cythera)
-Cypris (later brought to island of Cyprus & worshipped there)

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