Greek/Roman Mythology

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Demeter
Goddess of grain and agriculture/giver of life and civilization
Persephone’s parents
Demeter and Zeus
Eleusianian Mysteries
Big festival in Sept/Oct, harvest time. Men and women took part and praised Rhea and Demeter. Rituals included fasting, praise and cleansing in the sea.
Thesmophoria
festival in which pigs were sacrificed into a pit. Retrieved 3 days later, women lowered into pit symbolizing Persephone’s decent into Hades.
Triptolemus
Judge of the dead. The messenger of Demeter, she taught him how to plough and he taught people all over the world.
Hector
The brother of Paris, Champion of Troy. Always brave and honourable, excelled only by Achilles
Andromache
Wife of Hector, sold into slavery after the trojan war
Helenus
Has the gift of prophecy when a serpent licked his ears as an infant. Caught by Odysseus, only son of Priam to survive the war, eventually became the kind of Epirus
Cassandra
loved by Apollo who gave her the ability to foretell the future. She rejected him and he cursed her so that no-one would ever believe her prophecies
Polyxena
Daughter or Priam (?) Sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles as his share of the spoils of Troy
Aneas
son of Anchises and Aphrodite. Poseidon says that he will be the eventual king of Troy. It is said that after his exploits in Troy he left to found Rome in Italy
Antenor
Brother of Hecuba, Advised the return of Helen to the Spartans. Spared during th sack of Troy. Left with his wife Theano (a preistess of Athena) went to Italy and founded Patavium (Padua)
Sarpedon
leader of the Lycians, an ally of Troy. Son of Zeus, and was noble like Hector
Rhesus
leader of the Thracians, son of muses. Worshipped in Thrace, and was killed by Diomedes and Odysseus
Agamemnon
“Lord of men”, not the greatest fighter or diplomat. Brother of Meneleus. Wasnt as good as Achilles, had special armour that inspired fear/awe
Menelaus
King of Sparta, almost kills Paris but Aphrodite saved him. Real husband of Helen
Diomedes
King of Argos, better warrior than Menelaus, second only to Agamemnon. Favourite of Athena, wounded Ares and Aphrodite. Helped Odysseus get Achilles, also stole the Palladium with Odysseus
Ajax the Greater
2nd only to Achilles, foil/rival of Odysseus
Ajax the Lesser
Prince of Locrians, violates Cassandra and is killed on the way back from Troy as a result
Idomeneus
son of Deucalion, leader of the Cretans. Voluntary ally of Greeks buddy of Agamemnon and Menelaus
Odysseus
King of Ithaca, craftiest and wisest of the Greeks, didn’t want to fight in Trojan war and pretended to be mad. Skilled Speaker. During the Trojan war he is often associated with Diomedes.
Achilles
Greates warrior and most handsome. Son of Peleus and Thetis (daughter of Neleus, a sea god). Thetis made him immortal, except where she was holding him at the heel. Educated by centaur Chiron. Has a son named Pyrrhus. Thetis tried to prevent him from entering the war. The embodiment of arete
The Sacrifice of Iphigenia
Artemis was causing bad weather on the seas for the Greeks, because Agamemnon insulted her. After talking to the prophet Calchas, they decided to ____ Agamemnon’s daughter ____. (in some versions Artemis helps her)
Theomachies
when gods fight eachother. Hera and Athena decended to fight together in a chariot. Posiedon challenges Apollo (the don’t fight tho) Allows us to observe the gap between mortals and the divine. The Triviality of divine pain illuminates human suffering
Nostoi
The return of the greek leaders from Troy narrated in an epic entitled ____

(except Odysseus)

storms on the way home for _____
Agamemnon and Ajax (with the Locrians). Parted ways with Menelaus, on the way past Mykonos Athena ______ and wrecked many ships. Ajax survived briefly, yelled at gods (Hubris) and Poseidon drowned him
what happened to Menelaus and Helen after the war
went home and lived happily ever after, ruling over Sparta
what happened to Diomedes after the Trojan war?
went back to Arogos. Wife was unfaithful because Aphrodite was angry that he wounded her at Troy. Left Argos for Italy where he founded several cities, followers were turned into birds. In some stories Athena turned him into a god.
what happened to Idomeneus after the trojan war?
went home to Crete. wife had cheated on him and the guy killed his kids and wife to make himself King. Driven out of Crete and went to Italy where we was worshipped as a hero after his death
what happened to Neoptolemus after the war?
Achille’s son, after the war at Thetis’ adivce took the land route with Helenus and Andromache. With wife Hermione ruled over Molossi, killed at Delphi and became a hero with his own cult
Calypso
name of the nymph that trapped Odysseus for 7 years on an island, and was his lover
Poseidon
god that shows alot of hostility towards Odysseus in the Odyssey
how many years did it take Odysseus to get home from Troy
10 years till he got back to Ithaca
Polyphemus
son of Poseidon and a cyclope. Odysseus and his men entered his cave. He ate Odysseus’ men, but Odysseus gave him the wine of Maron. Odysseus told him his name was “nothing”, blinded him and escaped
Aeolus
keeper of the winds. gave Odysseus a bag of winds, but the crew opened it and blew them off course.
the Laestrygonians
island that attacked Odysseus and his men, sank all their ships but Odysseus’
Circe
daughter of the sun, a witch living on the island of Aeaea. Turned Odysseus’ men into pigs, and became Odysseus’ lover when he provided an antidote (so she couldnt turn him into a pig). They lived together for a year, and had a child. She sent Odysseus to the underworld to find out how to get home from the prophet Tiresias
Nekuia
the book of the dead, the name od the rite by which ghosts were summoned and questioned. book that tells of Odysseus experience in the underworld
Phorcys
originally a sea nymph, turned into a monster by Amphrite. Ate 6 of Odysseus’ men
Penelope
wife of Odysseus, remained faithful to him while he was away. Hundreds of suitors arrived to marry her, she tried to fool them by weaving a blanket and undoing it every night. agrees to a contest of shooting an arrow through 12 axes.
Telemachus
son of Odysseus and Penelope
significance of Odysseus’ brutal treatment of the suitors and disloyal servants
reminder that Odysseus was a warrior who had taken part in the sack of troy, and was merciless to his enemies
Athena
Goddess that helped out Odysseus the most.
Telegonus
son of Circe and Odysseus, sailed to Ithaca to find his father and killed Odysseus
The Odyssey
finest example of the persistent mythological theme of the legendary Quest.
Europa
Zeus disguised as a bull took her to Crete, became the mother of Minos by Zeus
who heard persophone’s cries when she was abducted by hades?
Helius and Hecate
2 things represented in rituals of Demeter (2 major functions)
human life and death, and transfiguration
where is demeter worshipped?
eleusis and athens
male counter-part of demeter
Dionysos, represents the cycle of birth and death in the vine
styx, acheron, cocytus, phlegethon, and lethe
the 5 rivers of the underworld
2 realms in Hades
elysian fields and tartarus
Thanatos
death personified
the 3 fates (moirai)
clothos(spins the thread), atropos (cuts the thread) and lacheis (measures the thread of life)
2 judges of the underworld
Rhadamanthus and Minos
the judgement of Paris
Paris had to choose the most beautiful of Athena, Hera and Aphrodite. Athena promised victory, Hera promised Asia and Aphrodite promised Helen. Paris chose Aphrodite
The Furies
the Erinyes are responsible for justice, such as when a member of the family kills another
Homer’s idea of the Underworld
no reincarnation, dismal existence, unhappy and joyless
Pythagoras’ idea of the Underworld
the soul is reincarnated via metempsychosis. He also claimed to remember some of his previous incarnations
Plato’s idea of the Underworld
1. human soul is immortal
2. soul originated in heaven, and fell from grace (kinda like christian original sin)
3. the sould is trapped in the body – soma sema
the birth of Dionysus
born twice, as told in the Orpheric hymn. He was killed by the titans and Athena saved his heart. Zeus put the heart in his thigh and then he empregnated Semele
Ixion
one of the 3 sinners, tried to rape hera so he is forever spinning on a wheel of fire
Tantalus
one of the notorious sinners,a) to give humans ambrosia b) trick the gods by seeing if they knew everything so he chopped up his son Pelops and fed him, only demeter ate because she was grieving for persephone and she ate his shoulder so when zeus pieced him back together he gave him a marble shoulder. pelops married hippodamia and produced the house of atreus (ancestor of agamenmnon, menelaus and ageisthus) tantalus was in a pool of water, grapes above him water below but he could never eat nor drink (hence tantalize) and he is forever starving
Sysiphus
sisyphous revealed a love affair of zeus and the gods sent thanatos after him but he trapped/chained thanatos and death could not get him, but then ares let thanatos out and sisyphus told his wife not to burry him, so when he went to hades he persuaded them to let him back up so he could “punish” his wife but he didnt and he didnt return so he died at a ripe old age and then as punishment he was made to roll a boulder up a hill, but everytime it reached the top it rolled back down.
mother of Orpheus
the mother of _______ is calliope (a muse) and either apollo or oeagrus (a river god)
Reasons for Orpheus’ death (in the case of Thracian women)
a) jealousy that only men were allowedd into his cult (unlike dionysus where it was only women)
b) that he enticed their husbands away
c) that he ignored and refused thracian women after euridice
Reasons for Orpheus’ death (divine)
taught secrets, so Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt
Process of initiation into the Orphic cult
in the initiation there needs to be a spilling of blood, drinking of wine and eating of flesh- reflecting the orhpic hymn/myth of dionysus’ birth
Orpheus’ teachings
a humanistic teacher who taught his followers about soma sema, apotheosis, metempyschosis, original sin via the titans and dionysus and therefore the need for purification to be able to perform apotheosis and metempsychosis.
Minerva
introduced to Rome by the Etruscans. Identified with Athena, godess of war, intelligence and handicraft
Vesta/Hestia
Fire godess. The essentiality of fire, all private homes had an altar/place to venerate her. Temples in the cities with the _____ virgins. They would keep the fire burning at all times. The virgins were chosen from noble families, and were treated with the heighest honour (they were highest in the social heirarchy). The Palladium was guarded by them. Associates with the Penates
Penates
Spirits of the Roman household, source of food symbolizing the life/rebirth cycle. Worshipped privately at home, and publicly. Associated with the Trojan Gods, and were intrusted with Aeneas by Hector. Associated with protection.
Vulcan
God of fire, associated with the destructive properties of fire. Associated with Hephaestion, and is found under Mt Etna in Sicily
Cacus
associated with Vulcan. Found in the Aneid (bk 8). A monster, the cattle of Geryon were taken by him and placed in a cave. Hercules came and killed him at the future site of Rome. Hercules freed the people from him.
Fight between Antony and Augustus is reflected in…
the fight between Cacus and Hercules, Hercules symbolizes Augustus and Cacus Antony in Virgil’s Aneid. You can tell that Virgil sides with Augustus
Mars
italien fertility diety.
Saturn
ancient fertility god, perhaps etruscan. Beneith the temple was the state treasury. Agricultural. it was though that ____ once ruled in Italy during the “Golden Age”. Identified with Cronos (but is a positive figure in Roman mythology)
Ceres
equivalent of Demeter. Goddess of rain, worship was entirely Hellenized, prayers were spoken in Greek
Flora and Pomona
flowers and fruit trees
Silvanus and Faunus
both identified with Pan
Venus
Italian fertility god, Phoenician Astarte (ppl who lived in Lebanon/Palestine and eventually immigrated to N Africa). Equivalent of Aphrodite, creative principle in some poetry. Ceasar and Augustus claimed to be decendants (through Aeneas)
Cloacina
goddess of sewer systems, identified with Venus
Priapus
Protector of Gardens. Represented as a Red wooden statue, with an oversized phallus
Nymphs (in roman myths)
every spring had one
Camenae
Nymphs outside of Porta Capena (out of Rome)
Tiberinius
god of the river Tiber
Parentalia
festival for the dead. celebrated during first 1/2 of february. Head of the family offers things to the spirits
Pater Familias
head of the family
Lemuria
festival of the dead celebrated in May. Performed at night by the head of the household, barefoot, throw black beans behind him uttering a formula to drive spirits (Lemures) out of the house
Jason
son of Aeson, and brother of Pelias. From Iolcus, in Thessaly. Pelias deposed him and he went into the woods to be taught by the centaur Chiron. Came back with one shoe and tried to take back the throne, Pelias said that he had to retrieve the golden fleece in order to take the crown
Medea
grandaughter of Helius, neice of Circe. Possesses magical powers, helped Jason retrieve the golden fleece by giving him an ointment to protect him from the flames of the bulls that guarded the fleece. Married Jason and returned to Iolcus. In some versions they lived happily ever after, in others she persuaded Pelias’ daughter to boil him under the pretense that it would rejuvinate him. Left for Corinth where Jason abandons her for Glauce, and she poisons Glauce’s wedding dress.

the barbaric woman gives up everything for a Greek man, who was unfaithful to her.

elements of Apollo (reflected by orpheus)
the music, magic, prophecy and civilization. The lyre evokes feeling of harmony and serenity with its limpid melodies. Thus it is the opposite of the timbrel of Dionysus, the hand drum beat en to furious, erratic rhythms that express Dionysos’ passionate, impulsive nature
elements of Dionysos (reflected by orpheus)
Orphic initiation and mysteries. Like ____ Orpheus was torn to pieces. went to the underworld, to fetch his mother semele.
similarities between Apollo and Dionysos
same father (Zeus), creative drive, both gods spend their early youth recruiting new worshippers, establishing their respective cults. both gods are associated with ecstasy (to abandon rational control and to surrender oneself to an overwhelming emotion–dancing or trances). Both inspire poetry, song and dance
Children of Agamemnon
Orestes, Electra and Iphigenia
mother of Orestes
Clymenestra
were the idea for the electra complex came from
in sophocles electra urges her brother to kill their mother
Why was Orestes haunted by the furies?
He had killed his mother (Clymenestra) and her lover Agistus to avenge the death of his father Agamemnon. Apollo instructed him to go to Delphi to be purified, but that didn’t work, so he had a formal trial in Athens where he was aquitted. Then Apollo told him to go to Tauris and retreive the statue of Artemis.
Iphigenia (the story)
myth by Euripides that tells the story of Orestes and Pylades’ journey to Tauris to retrieve the statue of Artemis. Iphigenia is in Tauris as a preistess, and she tricks the king into leaving her alone with Orestes and Pylades so that they can return to Greece together
The Nimean Lion
first labour of Heracles. Had to bring the skin of the _____ lion to Eurystheus. Either killed it with a club, or he strangled it and flayed it with its own claws. The skin of the lion and the club became Heracles’ attributes
The Lernaean Hydra
9 headed monster. One head was immortal, Iolaus helped Hercules kill it by cauterizing the wounds of the monster. A crab sent from Hera also helped the monster, and was turned into the constellation of Cancer
The Ceryean Hind
Sacred to Artemis. Heracles was ordered to retrieve it for Eurystheus. It was supposed to be very fast but harmless, and was given up by Artemis when she was told by Heracles why he was trying to get it
The Erymanthian Boar
fourth labour of Heracles, told to bring it back alive to Eurystheus, who was so terrified by it that he jumped in a jar and hid.
The Augean Stables
son of helius’ stables. Heracles was instructed to clean it for his fifth labour. Diverted the rivers Alpheus and Peneus so it followed through the stables cleaning them in a day. Augeas cheated Heracles of his payment, and kicked him out (along with his son who sided with Heracles). Later, Heracles comes back kills Augeas and makes his son king
The Stymphalian Birds
6th labour, birds lived in woods by Arcadian Lake Stymphalus. Heracles used casanets given to him by Athena to scare the birds and then he shot them
The Cretean Bull
7th labour. The bull Minos refused to sacrifice to Poseidon. Heracles caught it and brought it to Eurystheus who turned it loose, and eventually made it’s way to Marathon
The Girdle of Hippolyta
9th labour. Hippolyta is the queen of the amazons, Heracles kills her in battle and takes her girdle (that has magic properties) The girdle was on display in Argos until historical times.

On the way back travelled through Troy, and saved Hesione from a sea monster. Laomedon (her daddy) cheated him, so Heracles came back later killed him and made Priam king.

The Cattle of Geryon
10th labour. one of the conquests over death. Geryon lived in Erythia, and was a 3 bodied monster the offspring of the Oceanid Callirhoe and Chrysaor

Geryon was helped by a giant herdsman named Eurytion and a 2 headed dog named Orthus.

Heracles was given a golden cup to sail there, in which he brought back the cattle with him (sailing on the river ocean)

The Apples of the Hesperides
11th labour. the hesperides are the 3 daughters of the night. Protected a tree (of Hera’s) with the help of a serpent naed Ladon. The apples had been a wedding gift from Ge to Hera. the apples represent immortality and the tree–the tree of life. Making this a conquest of death.

a bunch of other adventures happened during this labour–freeing Prometheus, killing the king of Egypt that killed all foreigners and killing the giant Antaeus by lifting him up and crushing him

Cerberus
12th labour. conquest of death. Heracles went to the underworld to retrieve the dog and brought him to Eurystheus. He helped Theseus in the underworld, and couldnt have even made it there without the help of Athena and Hermes

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