Greek Mythology

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Achilles

son of Peleus and Thetis; hero of the Iliad but actually absent from fighting for most of the story; returns after friend Patrocles is killed in his armor; kills Hector to break Troy

Adrastos
king of Thebes; brother of Eriphyle; father of Deipyle and Argeia who marry Tydeus and Polyneices; helps Poly against Thebes
Aegeus
one of Thesus’s possible fathers; the mortal one
Aegisthus
Clytemnestra’s lover; killed by Orestes
Aeneas
son of Aphrodite and Anchises, only male survivor of Troy, descendants found Rome
Aeschylus

(525-456); born in Eleusis (suburb of Athens); fought at battle of Marathon (490); central event of life was Persia’s attempt to annex Greece;

Aethiopis
myth after the Iliad?
Agamemnon
king of Argos; married to Clytemnestra; goes to Troy to help brother Menelaus get Helen back; sacrifices daughter Iphigeneia; son of cursed house of Atreus; murdered by wife Clytemnestra; avenged by son Orestes
Ajax

a doer not a speaker; great Greek warrior – commits suicide when Thetis gives Achilles’s armor to Odyssseus

Alcmaeon
son of Amphiaraos and Eriphyle; charged by Amph to kill Eriphyle after he dies
Althaea

mother of Meleager; has firebrand that means he will live as long as it burns – she pulls it out so he dies b/c he killed her brother

Amphion

son of Antiope and Zeus; raised in ignorance, founds Thebes w/twin Zethus – sang the walls into place

Amphiaraos

prophet who forsees disaster in Seven Against Thebes; husband of Eriphyle and father of Alcmaeon

Anchises
mortal father of Aeneas w/Aphrodite; Zeus makes Aphro fall in love w/him for taste of her own medicine, is demeaning to her; in Hymn to Aphrodite
Antigone
daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta; insists on burying Polyneices even though she will be killed
Antikleia
mother of Odysseus; died of missing him; they meet in Hades but cannot embrace
Antiope

daughter of Nycetus; impregnated by Zeus – father angry; he dies – charges his brother Lycus to punish   her; she gives birth on Mt. Cithaeron to Amphion and Zethus; together they get revenge on Lykos and Dirce and build Troy

Areopagus

ancient council of Athens; powers reduced through induction of democracy, remained as a court that heard murder trials

Ariadne
daughter of Minos who helps Theseus kill the Minotaur; gives him ball of string to unwind behind him; leaves Crete w/him but is abandoned on an island
Aristaeus

husband of Autonoe; chases Eurydice so she steps on snake and dies; must appease her shade to get his bees back

Atreus

son of Pelops; brother of Thyestes; exiles him for seducing his wife – calls back for reconciliation and serves him a stew of his illegitimate children

Aulis

gathering place of Greek troops to go to Troy; Iphaganaia sacrificed here to restart the winds

Cadmus
founder of Thebes; marries Harmonia and has children that descend down to Oedipus; ends up as a snake
Calchas

Greek prophet who interprets the eagle killing the pregnant bunny omen that the Greeks will be successful over Trojans; tells Ag he must sacrifice Iph to placate Apollo and restart the winds

Capaneus
arrogant, boastful, said he would burn the city; instead incinerated by a thunderbolt from Zeus
Cassandra

Trojan priestess; taken by Agamemnon as booty from the war as concubine/slave – killed by     Clyt; had gifts of prophecy and that no one would believe here – from Apollo

Catullus

Roman love poet; wrote little epic about marriage of Peleus and Thetis; Thetis rose up to see Argonaut Peleus and he fell in love

Cecrops
first king of Athens; judges competition btw Poseiden and Athena
Chrysippos
brother of Atreus and Thyestes; they kill him
Cleisthenes
(507) leader of the faction that promises the demos democracy and a judicial system if they support him to take over after Hippias is ousted
Clytemnestra

wife of Agamemnon; kills him in the Agamemnon because he sacrificed their daughter Iphaginia so winds would blow to Troy; killed by their Orestes as vengence

Cypria

longest and most important cyclic epic which contained info from right before the Trojan War, begins with judgment of Paris; Proclus (5th century) wrote Chrestomathia which summarizes all cyclic epics

Daedalus

constructed the hollow cow body for Pasiphae to get into to unite with the bull; built the labyrinth to house it

Dardanos

founder of the line and Dardania (city that preceeds Troy), son of Zeus


Dike
justice; central theme of Orestia
Diomedes

stand in for Achilles when isn’t fighting – but has boundaries; son of Tydeus

Dirce

evil wife of Lycus; aunt of  Antiope; killed for tormenting her

Electra

 daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, stays loyal to Ag and supports Orestes killing Clyt

Epigonoi –

sons of the heroes at Thebes; go back 10 years later to avenge their fathers; are successful and sack Thebes

Eriphyle – 

wife of Amphiaraos; forces him to go w/Polyneices against Thebes; mother of Alcmaeon

Eteocles –

“true glory”; son of Oedipus and Jocasta; ruler of Thebes

Europa – 

daughter of Agenor and Telephassa; brother of Cadmus; unites with Zeus and has sons Minos, Sarpedon, and Rhadamanthys

Eurydice – 

wife of Orpheus; wanted by Aristaeus (husband of Autonoe, daughter of Cadmus); steps on a snake and dies; Aristaeus must appease her shade to get his bees back 
Ganymede – 
very handsome Trojan young man, stolen by the gods to be a cupbearer; can have erotic dimension of Zeus wanting him

Harmonia

wife of Cadmus; mother of Autonoe, Ino, Semele, and Agave; ends up as a snake

Hector –

“holder” or “protector”, leader of the Trojans, killed by Achilles

Hecuba –

Priam’s wife

Helen –

most beautiful woman in the world; married to Menelaus; Paris steals her to start the Trojan War


Hesione – 
daughter of Laomedon; supposed to be sacrificed to the sea monster Poseiden sent against the city; Heracles rescues her

Hippodameia

daughter of Oenomeus; marries Pelops; mother of Atreus and Thyestes

Hippolytus

son of Theseus and an Amazon; devoted to Artemis but won’t worship Aphrodite; she decides to destroy him

– makes stepmother Phaedra fall in love with him

– she commits suicide leaving note that he raped her – Theseus asks Poseiden to kill Hipp and he does

Hypsipyle –

only Lemnian woman to spare a man, all the rest killed for having concubines

Idomeneus – 

most important Greek from Crete, son of Deucalion, grandson of Minos, central fighter in Book 13 of Iliad


Iphigeneia – 
daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra; sacrificed at Aulis so the winds would blow to Troy

Jocasta – 

wife of Laios; mother and husband of Oedipus; mother of Polyneices, Eteocles, Antigone,           Ismene

Labdacus

son of Polydorus; father of Laios

Laertes –

father of Odysseus

Laios – 

son of Labdacus, may be ousted from the throne by Lycus and resumes it after Amphion and Zethus     kill him and eventually die themselves; eventually marries Jocasta and is father of Oedipus

Laomedon –

king of Troy; doesn’t pay Apollo and Poseiden for their labors – gets a plague and sea monster    against Troy; also doesn’t pay Heracles for saving Hesione – gets city sacked


Lycus –
brother of Nyceus; uncle of Antiope; kidnaps her and makes her abandon Amphion and Zethus

Memnon –

cousin of Hector; child of Eos (Dawn) and Tithonus (mortal); from Ethiopia but fights on Trojan side – killed; Book 2 of Quintus

can

Merope – 

adopted mother of Oedipus, queen of Corinth

Menelaus –

brother of Agamemnon; husband of Helen; wimps out protecting Orestes

Minos – 

son of Europa and Zeus; marries Pasiphae; doesn’t sacrifice the bull like he vowed to so Pasiphae       unites with it

Minotaur – 

offspring of Pasiphae and the bull; mixed body; ate people

Neoptolemus – 

son of Achilles; one who was supposed to convince Philoctetes to come back but can’t do it


Nestor – 
grandson of Poseiden, son of Neleus; embodiment of common sense; he can’t solve the quarrel btw   Achilles and Agamemnon – no one

Odysseus

married to Penelope; father of Telemachus; creates oath of the suitors – has to go to Troy;             known for being cunning, intelligent, wily, sometimes manipulative; 10 years to get home – adventures in the Odyssey

Oenomaus – 

father of Hippodomaia; sets up chariot race for her hand in marriage

Orestes –

son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra; avenges Ag’s murder by Clyt by murdering her; central          character in the Orestia

Palamades –

the one who proves Odysseus is not insane – has to go to Troy; Odysseus gets revenge by          planting gold and fake letters saying he betrayed Greece; stoned to death

Paris – 

born Alexander (see birth narrative below) as son of Priam; his judgment; was the one who violated the xenia by stealing Helen from Menelaus causing the Trojan War

Pasiphae – 

“all shining”; daughter of the sun; marries Minos; unites with a bull to give birth to the Minotaur


Patroclus – 
“glory from the father” – son of Menoitios; cousin and best friend of Achilles; borrows Achilles       armor and when is killed this motivates Achilles to return to the fighting

Peisistratus – 

(560s-527); strongest of the Tyrranoi

Peleus –

mortal man who laid with Aphrodite, father of Anchises

Pelops – 

son of Tantalus; chariot raced against Oenomeus to marry Hippodomaia – wins by cheating; has         sons Atreus and Thyestes

Penthesileia – 

Amazon woman; killed her sister – exiled – fighting at Troy to atone; killed by Achilles – he       falls in love when he sees her beauty but she’s already dead

Pentheus – 

son of Agave and Echion; king of Thebes who resists the coming of Dionysus; he turns women       into Bacchants and they tear Pentheus to pieces, led by his mother

Peripateia –

role reversal; ultimate in OT, also reverse in OC

Phaedra –

second wife of Theseus; Aphrodite makes her fall in love with his son Hippolytus; she commits         suicide leaving note that he raped her (not true)


Philoctetes – 
lit Heracles’ funeral pyre – has his bow as thanks; abandoned on the way to Troy with smelly      snake bite but is needed to take the city

Phoenix – 

tutor to Achilles who acts as father figure to encourage him to return to fighting;         disproportionately many lines to importance; possibly made up by Homer

Pindar –

Polybus – 

adopted father of Orestes; king of Corinth

Polyneices – 

“many quarrels”; son of Oedipus and Jocasta; attacks Thebes

Priam – 

“bought”; son of Laomedon who opposed him, survives the attack by Heracles, renamed from Podacres b/c Hesione buys his freedom; Heracles makes him king of Troy; father of Paris and Hector

Proclus – 

summarized the Cypria cyclic epic in his Chrestomathia in the 5th century, provides tale of judgment of Paris

Pylades – 


friend of Orestes; tells Orestes he must kill Clyt because it is better to be hated by men than gods
Quintus of Smyrna – 
wrote epic poem called Posthomerica in 14 books (all survive) about action btw the       end of the Iliad and the fall of Troy

Scylla –

cuts off her father’s magic lock of hair and gives to Minos – gives him the city – because she likes        him and wants to marry him

Semele –

daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia; unites with Zeus to have Dionysus; only mortal mother of a god

Seneca – 

Roman author and philosopher; wrote essays about Roman morals and values; tutor to Nero; also     wrote some tragedies – have Thyestes

Sisyphus –

in Underworld, eternally pushing a rock up a hill b/c interfered w/one of Zeus’s love affairs; can       be considered Odysseus’s illegitimate father to make him more negative

Six Labors of Theseus – 

Periphetes of Epidauros (club bearer); Sinis (tree bender); the sow of Crommyon;    Sciron of Megara (kicks people off cliffs); Cercyon of Eleusis (wrestler); Procrusetes (fit the bed)

Spartoi – 

Cadmus kills a dragon at the future site of Thebes; sows the teeth in the ground; grow into      warriors called the Spartoi; fight each other until only 5 remain to be first citizens of Thebes; are      symbol of intimate connection between the Thebans and their land and their fierce warrior history

Sphinx –

mythic monster – head of a woman, body of a lion, wings of a bird; originally abducted young             boys, later evolved to riddle; kills herself after Oedipus solves it


Tantalus – 
son of Zeus; tried to test gods by serving him his son Pelops/stole ambrosia; in Hades eternally        hungry and thirsty, surrounded by food and water but cannot eat or drink

Telamon – 

got Hesione from Heracles after first sacking of Troy; father of Ajax and Teucer

Telegonus – 

son of Odysseus w/Circe; accidentally kills his father; marries Penelope

Telegony – 

story of Telegonus searching for Achilles, kills him, takes Penelope and Telemachus back to Circe’s island and they cross marry

Thebaid –

archaic period epic, most important telling of Theban myth before tragedy evolved

Thebes – 

founded by Cadmus; home of the Oedipus Rex material

Thetis – 

nymph; mother of Achilles; tells him die in Troy with glory or live long boring life at home

Thyestes – 

son of Pelops; brother of Atrues; seduces Atreus’s wife; has children with her; exiled by Atreus – at reconciliation he eats a stew of his children; has son Aegisthus with his daughter for revenge on other side of the family

Time (τϊμη)– 

the greatness of the opponent and that enemies respect each other for that greatness; ex: Hector vs Ajax – duel then exchange armor

Tithonus – 

Eos (Dawn) falls in love with him, asks Zeus to make him immortal but forgets to request eternal youth so he ages continually

Tydeus – 

son of Oineus of Calydon; goes into exile for killing a man; goes to Argos and meets Polyneices; marries a daughter of Adrastos; fights in Seven Against Thebes – is mortally wounded by Melanippus but chews on his brain as he is dying; was going to get immortality from Athena but because of that he does not

Tyrannoi – 

series of  strong men who took power over Athens and controlled the city in 6th century


Zethus
son of Antiope and Zeus; raised in ignorance; founds Thebes with twin brother Amphion

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