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This edition is pubiished by Hermes House
Hermes House is an imprint of
Anness Publishing Ltd
Hermes House, 88-89 Blackfriars Road
tel 020 7 401 2077 ; fax 020 7633 9499
[email protected]
@ AnnessPublishlng Ltd 1996, 2006
Al1 nghts reserved No part of this publication may
be reproduced,stored in a retnevalsystem,or
transmirted in any way or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopl'rng, recording
or otherwise,wrthout the prior written permission
of the copyright holder
A CIP catalogue record is available from the British
Publisher: Joanna Lorenz
Editorial Director: Helen Sudell
Project Ediror: Belinda Wilkinson
Designer: Nigel Soper, Millions Design
lllusrrators: James Alexander, Nick Beale,
Glenn Steward
Printed and bound in China
Frontispiece: The ForglngoJthe Sampoby A GallenIGllela
This page: TheRapeoJGanymedeby PeterPaul
Author's Note
The entries in this encvcloDedia are all
Iisted alphabetically.Wft.r. more than one
name exists for a character the entry is
listed under the name used in the original
country of origin flor that particular myth.
Names in iralic caDitalletters indicate that
rhat name has an individual entry. Special
feature spreads examine specific
mythological themes in more detail. lf a
characteris included in a specialfeature
spreadit is noted at the end of their
indMdual entry.
P n e F A C E6
Introduction l0
L o v e r s o f .Z e u s 2 0
Heroes 30
Oracles and Prophecies 40
Voyagers 50
Monsters and Fabulous Beasts58
Forcesof Nature 6B
G i a nt s 7 6
Founders B4
Introduction 92
Celtic Otherworlds 104
S a g e sa n d S e e r s l l 4
Magic and Enchantment I24
Wondrous Cauldrons 132
Celtic Romance 140
Single Combat L48
Heroic Quests 156
Fabulous Voyages 164
Introduction I74
Nature Spirits 186
T r e a s u r e sa n d T a l i s m a n s 1 9 6
Norse Heroes 204
T h e Va l k y ri e s 2I2
Sorcery and Sp eIIs 220
Tragic Lovers 228
Rings of Power 236
Ragnarok 24+
P r c r u R EA c r x o w L E D G E M E N r2s 5 2
Ixnnx 2 53
successfu\ confronted the Minotaur on Crete, but
contains the three
ourstanding traditions of Europe -
later abandoned his helper, the Cretan princess
Greek, Celtic and Norse. They form
Theseus forgot the agreement made with his father
the core of European mythological thought, rhe
abour changing the sail of his ship from black if he
early ideas and notions which underlie our
escaped death himself. As a result of this moment
present-day consciousness. For the stories related
of carelessness,Theseus' father committed suicide
in Greek, Celtic and Germanic myths touch upon
by leaping from the Athenian acropolis when rhe
the fundamental issues of existence. They reveal
black sail was sighred. So in lreiand rhe inability of
Ariadne. Full of his success against the bull-man,
the power of love, with its accompanying anxiery Cuchulainn ro srop and think for a moment led to
and jealousy; the conflict between the generarions, his hlling of Conlai, his own son by the Amazon
the old and rhe new; the violence of men,
Aoifa. In Norse myth, however, it is the pride of
especially on the battlefield or in single combat;
the gods or their opponents, the frost giants,
the mischief of the trouble-maker, bored by rhe
which causes disasters ro occur. Unlike the Greel.<s
steady pace of everyday events; the sadness of
NEssuS,4 wild Greehcentaur,ties to abductHeracles'new bide whileJerryingher
illness or accidenral injury; the mystery of dearh,
acrossthe RfuerEvenus GHER^pE
. c^NvAs.
with a variety of after-life possibilities including
rebirth; the effect of enchantment upon the mind
and body; rhe challenge of the unknown, wherher
a voyage into uncharted waters or a quest fot a
sacred object; the personal danger of a contest
with a monster, even a beheading game; the
sadness of betrayal and treachery, nor least within
a family or a group of colleagues; the cycle of
fertility in human beings and animals, plus the
growth of plans; the horror of madness with its
disruption of human relations; the incidence of
misfortune and luck, plus the whole issue of fate;
rhe relation between human and divine, between
mankind and the gods; the crearion of the world
and the origins of sociery; and, last, but not least,
the nature of the universe.
Different myths rackle these great quesrions in
distinct ways. But heroes and heroines find
themselves in unreiated circumstances facing the
same basic problems in Greece, ireland and
Scandinavia. The Athenian
hero Theseus
sea to Poseidon, is real owner. ln consequence of
this sacrilege Minos' wife Pasiphae was consumed
with passion for the beast, and her mating with it
led to the birth of the bull-man known as the
Minotaur: hence Theseus and his combat with the
strange creature. The Athenian hero's entanglement with Minos' family did not stop with the
abandonment of fuiadne and the death of his own
father, however. For Theseus married Phaedra,
another daughter of Minos. She too was cursed
with an illicit passion, not for an animal this dme,
but for her stepson Hippolytus. Before Theseus
Dogda, donglestwo worriors high absvehishead, and thus
reveakhis awesomepwer, while the wariors in tum lift twoboa6, showingtheir
c lN Bc.)
supremaq overanirncls (curosrnupcauDRoN,
and the Celts, the German peoples of northern
Europe did not develop a heroic tradition of any
significance. The great hero was Thor, the slowwitted but honest champion of the gods. He
delighted the tough Northmen, who appreciated
how his allergy to frost glants naturally led to skullsmashing encounterc in fields and halls. Yet those
who undertook raids as Vikings had a more
suitable patron in Odin, the one-eyed god of batrle
and the inspirer of the dreaded berserkers.
Usually myths reveal an interwoven pattem of
circumstances ourcide the control of both mortals
and gods. Fate and destiny in European mythology
are almost beyond manipulation. Attempts may be
made to slow down the operation of fate's decrees,
sometimes to thwart them entirely, but they never
work. Odin can do nothing about his future death
at Ragnarok, the doom of the gods. The Celtic sun
god Lugh cannot save his son Cuchulainn on the
battlefield. And even immonal Zeus, the chief god
of the Greeks, has a duty to see that fate takes its
proper course. He cannot control events.
The tangled web of difficulties which besets
Theseus can thus be traced to a number of actions,
but one stands out clearly: the refusal of King
Minos of Crete to sacrifice the white bull from the
Ieamed the truth, he banished honest Hippolytus
on Phaedra's denunciation of his evil intendons,
and then lost his exiled son in a chariot accident.
The abiding interest of mythology, European or
otherwise, is is frankness about such basic human
drives. It could almost be described as sacred
literature undisturbed by theologians. The raw and
ragged ends of existence are still visible in is tales
of both men and gods.
Srcuto,thegreatNorsehero,helpshismmtor,Regln,re-Jorgehiswondroussword With
it, Srgurd sltv the dragon, Fafnir. {wuto aavtNc,.l2rHcENruRY)
r r r , l x t I E N I C R I - F K 5 w l :nRr tr g r e a t
l l m y r h m u k , r * t r l E u r o p cT h t ' ) e r e n
J i g l r c u s r h c n r m e h 1 'w h r r h u e
refer today to the amazrngstonestold about
gods, henres,men and animals Around 400
Bc the Arhenian philosopherPlatocoined the
w o r d r n y t h o l o g i ar n o r d e r t o d r s t i n g u i s h
b e t w e e n r m a g i n a r i v e z r c c o u n t so l d i v i n e
a c t t o n sl n d f e rr u a i i t ' : t r t p t i o n r ( , { t \ ' ( n t 5 .
supemamralor othenvlse Although he lived
in an age thzrtwas increasingly scrtntrllc in
o u t l o o k , a n d n o l o n g er i n c l r n e d t o b c l i e v e
cvery detail related about gods and godd e s s c s .P l r t t o r c c , , g n i z , ' dt h e p o w r ' r r h a t
resided in myth, and warned hrs followers tcr
beu'areof its seductrve charm
The strcngth of Greek myrholog', Likeall
active traclitions,lay in rrs collecrivcnature
Unlike a story composed by a partrcular
during hrs abscnceat the
s l r r t r db y t h r ' s r ' w h ol i s r e n c t1l , 't h q 5 1 1 ' r y - t , ' l l c ru.r[eC.lytemnestra
author, a m)'th ah."'aysstood on its ou'n, *T rh
or dramattst making use o[ tt When. for
a plot and a set of charactersreadily under-
i n s t a n c e ,t h e A t h e n r a n sw a t c h e d t h e g r e a t
All this would have been famrliar to the
cyclc of plays that Aeschylusstagedabout the
Athcnians beforeAcschylus' treatment of the
thc Ettnol
two gocls of ancrent Romc, ricir over
.guarding itr mrhtary und monnmt
rntcrests At klt, an aifiomt
Trojan \Var
m u r d e r o I A g a m em n o n . t h c y r v e r ea l r e a d y
m 1 ' t h b e g a n u r t h . { g a m e m n ( ) nr e t u r n i n g
a w a r e o f t h c m a i n c h a r a c t e r sa n d t h c i r
homc liom the Trojan War Some of the audi-
putLo above Mdrs burs h$
actlons The audienceknew how the House
ence doubtlessrecalledan even older curse
symbol oJ thr god's dominion ttvar lhd watves {Mq* r:l
of Atreus, Agamemnon's father,'"vasfated to
laid on l'elops himself by the messengergod
N T P T L NBFY P 4 r r ryr r R ( ) N E sCEA, N L
c n d u r e a t e r n b l e p e n o d o [ d o m e s t i cs t n f e
H e r m e s P e l o p sh a d p r o v o k e d t h e g o d b y
Not only had Atreus and hrs brother Thycstes
relusing a promiscd gift to one of his sons
hr)rsd's h(lmcl, whiic Neptunc's putto .anies a seasheil,
bcen cursed by rherrown father, Pelops, for
Nothing that Aeschylusrncludedin hrs plays
kLllrnghis favounte chrld, their half-brother
was unexpected. neirher the murder o[
Chrysippus, but a bloody quarrel of their own
Agamemnon, nor the revenge of his son
had also added to the family mrsfbrtune A
Orcstes,nor Orestes'punuit by thc Funes for
dispute over the successionto Pelops'throne
sheddrnga mother's blood What would have
at Mycenae led Atreus to kill three oI
fascinatedthe audiencewas the dramatist's
T h y e s t e s ' s o n s ,a l t h o u g h t h e y h a d s o u g h t
approach to these tangled incidents, his'raew
sanctuaryin a temple dedicatedto Zeus, the
of motive, guilt and expiation For that rea-
supreme god Even worse, the murderer then
son another dramatist was able to tackle the
served the bocliesof his nephews up to his
same srory later in Athens during the fifth
brorher at a banquet, afrerwhich he dared to
cenrury sC It needs to be remembered that
show Th1'estestheir feet and hands Atreus
such drama remained very much part of
paid for the outrage wrth hrs life at the hands
ancient religron Today we cannot expect to
of Thyestes' sumving son, Aegisthus, who
appreciate the full meaning of these perfor-
l r r t c r h e c a m , ' t h r l o v e r r ' l A g a m e m n t t ns
mances, but we are fortunate in halrng the
raw materials from which they were made,
the myths themselves
Myths retain much of rheir power, even
Venone o
when told in summary, as rhey are in this
encyclopedia Because Greek myths were
fashioned and refashioned over so many generations, they acquired their essential form, a
shape that had been collectively recognized
for longer than anyone could remember Even
now, we conrinue to be fascinated by the
stories of Oedipus, rhe man who murdered
his father and married his morher; of the
Athenian hero Theseus, slayer of the strange
bull-headed man, rhe Minotaur, of rhe great
voyagerJason,who sailed acrossrhe Black Sea
ro disranr Colchis in order to ferch the Golden
Fleece;of Agamemnon, the doomed leaderof
the Greek expedrtion againsrTroy, o[cunning
Odysseus, one of rhe bravesr of the Greek
and the inventor of the Wooden Horse, rhe
means by which Troy was raken; of the hapless Pentheus,victim of Dionysus' ecsraric
worshippers, who included his own morher;
. .- -'!
of the unbeatable champron Achilles; of rhe
labours of Heracles, Zeus' own son and the
only hero to be granted immortaliry; and
many others As Greek lMng before and afrer
Plato evidently understood, myrhs were fictitious stones rhar illusrrared rruh
The Romans were no less impressed by the
range and interesr of Greek myrhology
Indeed, rhey adopred it wholesale and iden-
people were executedbefore the cult of the
Bellerophon Something s)'nthetic can be felr
tified many of their own haiian deities wrrh
native wine god Bacchus discarded those
in the story of Aeneas, rhe leader of the
those in rhe Greek panrheon, even adopring
aspects of Dronysus which mer wrth official
refugees {rom Troy
others for whom they possessedno real equiv-
disproval This taming of a Greek god, albeir
founder-hero made him of particular concem
alent The unruly Dionysus gave Rome
Thracian rn ongin, could stand for rhe enrire
to the lirst Roman emperor Augustus, but The
considerable rrouble Thrs god ofvegetation,
processby which Greek and Roman myrh-
Aeneid,the epic poem abour Aeneas written
wine and ecstasywas by no means a comfort-
ologr merged in rhe second century BC There
by Virgil in the 20s sc, turned out ro be a
able deity for the Greeks, but the Romans
were just too many myths for rhe Romans to
balanced celebrarion of Roman aurhoriry
were more deeply disturbed by his orgiastic
resist, although rhey chose to impose a rypical
rather than an exciting heroic narrative The
rites In 186 nc rhe Roman Senarepassed
restraint on Greek extravagance
hero heededthe call ofduty and abandoned
severe laws against the excesseso[ his wor-
Roman heroes could never compare wrth
shippers h is likely rhat severalthousand
Heracles, Jason, Theseus, Perseus or
His adoption as a
the woman he loved, as Roman heroes were
expected to do rn every myth
ACUtt-leS was rhc son of Krng
Peleus of Thessaly and the sea
nymph THETISHe was the greatesr
of the Greek wamors, although in
compansonwith acar'tlllxov and
the other Greekhngs who went on
arranged the mamage of Thetis to
a mortal
Because she was scr
attached to Achilies, Thetis tried to
make him
immorral by various
mcans Thc bcst known wrs drpping
the new-born
baby in the
r h c e x p e d r t r o na g a i n s tT r o y . h e
Sryx, rhe rrver rhat ran through
a p p e a r sr o h a v eb e e n s o m c t h i n g
of a barbarian His anger was as
legendaryas his prowess
The uncerrainnatureof Achilles
is apparentin the story of his brrth
Both zEL'sand pttsr-iitrt.twanted
HADE-S, the world
of the dead
Since Thcris had to hold him by
the heel, thrs one spot was left vulnerable and at Troy brought about
A, hrlles de.rrh lrom a noisoncd
anow shot from the bow ol PeRts
Achrlles learned the skills of
to have a son by the beautiful
The tis, but PROMETIlirt.'-s,
the fire warfare from CHIRON, le ader of the
god, had wamed them that her off- c . l : N l A t / R . s , w h o a l s o f e d h i m o n
spnng would be greaterthan his wild game to increase his f'erocity
Iather Anxious ro avord the U n d e r C h r r o n ' s c a r e A c h i l l e s
emergcnceof a powcr qupenorto became renowned as a courageous
r h e m s e l v e s ,r h e g o d s c a r e f u l l y l r s h r c r b u r h i ' i m m o r t a l m o t h c r
. . b . . ' - .
knew that he was doomed to die at
Troy rf he went on the expedition
So Thetis arrangedfor him to be
disguised as a grrl and hrdden
among the women at the palaceof
Krng Lycomedeson rhe islandof
Sc1'rosThe Greek felt that wrthour Achilles therr chances of
beating the Trojanswere sLtm,but
no one could identify the hidden
hero At last, cunning oDYssEUs
was sent to discover AchiLles,
which he did by meansof a tnck
Haung tracedthe young man to
There he bitterly quanelled wrth
Agamemnon, the leader o[ the
Greeks lt may be that he was
angeredby Agamemnon'suse o[
his name to bring IPHIGENTA
Aulis, for she had been told she
was to marry Achrlles, whereas
Agamemnon intended to sacnfice
ACHILLES, reluingbnde hrstentwth
Scpos, Odysseusplacedweapons hs tompdnion,Patroclus,welcomeshrs
among some jewellery in the comratles,Odysseus(centre)arul Aiax
palace Whrle Achilles' female (right), who irnplorc tht moodyhero to
c o m p a n i o n sw c r r a d m i r i n gr h c retum Lobattle whereht s sorelyneeded
crafrsmanshipof rhejewels,a call ( A ( H i l | r ! f u i l r \ r , s A ( ; A M r M ! ( ) N ! N l l s s l \ c t : f , s
to arms was sounded and the
warrior quickly reached for the
w e a p o n s .g i v i n g h i m s e l I a w a y
Unmasked, Achilles had no choice
but to sail for Troy
Dl /l'4\ Ai ii
iI l\L'8t\
L1\t 1\
lSLil l
her to the goddess ARTEMIS,to
ensure a favourable wind for the
Greek fleer For a long time
Achilles srayed in his rent and
refused to fight the Trojans. He
even persuaded his mother to use
her influence with Zeus to let the
tide of war go against the Greels.
But Achilles was roused to action
by the death of Patroclus, his
squire and lover, at the hands of
the Trojan HEcToR.Patroclus had
bonowed Achilles' armour, which
had been forged by the smith god
and entered the fray,
was the son of King
Pandion ofAthens, and farher of
tne nero THfslus Ha!1ng twrce
manied wirhout begetdng any children, Aegeuswent to consult the
Delphic Oracle bur received only
the ambiguous answer that he
suggesrion Theseus was sent to
fight the wild bull of Marathon,
which he captured alive. Once
should nor untie his wine skin
until he reachedhome. When he
sought advice from his friend
Pittheus. another ruler. the latter
realizedrhat the oracie had foretold
how Aegeuswould father a heroic
son. To securethe sewices of such
a man, Pittheus made Aegeus
uponthepoolwhae drunk and let him sleep wirh his
but he cameup againstHectorwho
daughter Aethra. When Aegeus
In brand-new arrnour Achilles outrage,thevir$ngoddess
tumedhim into undersrood what had happened,
he placed a sword and a pair of
sought out Hector, who asked for a srcgandhewastornapartbyhisovn
respect to be shown for his body if hounds,
sandals beneath an enormous
he was defeated.Achilles refused, C6srclANTreuns,
boulder. He rold the princessthat
if she bore a son who could move
slew Hector with his spear and
draggedrhe Trojan hero round rhe had been wamed about by his the rock, he was to bring these
tomb of Patroclus for rwelve days. steed XeivlHUS, before rhe FURIES rokens to him in Athens on reaching manhood. Thus it was that
Only Thetis could persuade her struck the divine creature dumb.
son to le! the Trojans recover the An arrow from the bow of Paris, Theseusgew up and was eventucorpse and arrange a funeral, a guided by rhe god of prophecy ally reunited with his father.
APOLLO,gave Achilles a mortal
Meantime, Aegeus had married
serious obligarion for the living.
whose magiBackin rhe flght, Achilles struck wound. Heroic yet also arrogant, the sorceressMEDF-A,
fear into the Trojans, of whom he Achilles was rhe myrhical figure cal powers had given him another
killed hundreds. But his own life most admired by Alexander rhe son, Medus. lt was for this reason
was coming to an end, which he Great.At the commencementof char Medea did everything she
his Asian campaign against rhe could to thwart Theseus. Ar her
Persians,the youthful Alexander
ACHIIJ-ES Jallsbneath theTrojanwalk,
pardcipared in funeral games that
were held at Troy in memory of
Jor Achilles'
Achilles. (Seealso HEROES)
partoJthehao'sbody.ln somemyths,
ApolloguidedPais' bw; in othm, thegod,
was rhe son of a
shottheanow,a seenhere
wentually causedhis death. For it
was agreed that Theseus should
travel ro Crete with the seven girls
ACHILLEry FMNZST ssEN,w^ftRconu{, 1869)
Aegeusrecognizedhis son, Medea
returned in disgust ro her native
Colchis on rhe Black Sea.But bad
Iuck continued to dog Aegeus and
and sevenboys sent as ribute each
year to feed the MINOTAUR,a bullheaded man. If Theseus was
successfulin his dangerous mission
ro kill the Minotaur, the ship bringing him home was to fly a white
sail: if unsuccessful. a black sail
would signalhis dearh. Retuming
to Arhens after an incredible adventure in the Labynnth at Knossos,
Theseus forgot the agreement to
changehis sail from black to white,
wirh the result rhar, upon seeing
the vesselwith is black sail,Aegeus
threw himself off the Athenian
acropolis to certain dearh
outto sea,sees
, Ioohing
(lrr/srMr,(,N 8v Nlck 8uLE. 1995)
minor royal god and Auronoe,
daughrer of. ceouus. A Greek
hunter trained by CHIROw,he
offended rhe goddess,rnrEMISand
paid wirh his life. There are several
reasons given for his terrible end.
Actaeon may have boasted of his
superior skill as a hunrer, or
annoyed the goddessby seeingher
bathing naked. To stop his boasring, futemis tumed him into a sug
and he was chased and devoured
byhis own hounds. But thesefaithful animals were broken-heaned at
the loss of their master, unril
Chiron carved a statue of Acaeon
so lifelike that they were satisfied.
at thedecoratwe became, and ir seemed as i[ Italy
in wonder
whileDrdo,thequeen, and the new sute to be founded on
templeIn Carthage,
its shoreswere both forgotten. But
welromahim to heraotic hingCom
are watchful;uetrrR, rhe chief Roman
god, dispatched urncuRv wirh a
with thefamousale oJ
anil theTrolans
messageto Aeneas,recalling him to
his dury and commanding him to
resume the voyage Honified by his
inrention to leave, Dido bitterly
on the eastem Adriatic coast From
there it made for Sicily, but before
reaching the Iulian mainland itwas
diverted to North Afnca dunng a
sudden storm sent by the goddess
;ulo, the Roman equivalent o[
reproachedAeneas,but his deep
sense of piety gave him strength
enough to launch the fleet again.
Then the weeping queen mounted
HERA, who
was a Trojan hero and
the son ofAnchises and vENUs,the
Roman goddess of love He was the
favourite of the Romans. who
believedthat some of their eminent
families were descended from the
Trojans who fled westwards with
him from Asia Minor, after the
Greek sack of their city. Upstart
Rome was only too aware of its
lack of tradition and history in
comparison with Greece(there was
a nouble absenceof a glorious past
peopled with mythical heroes and
gods), so the exploits o[Aeneas
conveniently provided a means of
reassertingnational pride. lt was
not a coincidence that the first
Roman emperor, Augustus, took a
personal interest in the myth.
During the Trojan WarAnchises
was unable to fight, having been
renderedblind or lame for boasdng
about his reladonship with Venus.
But young Aeneas distinguished
himself againsr the Greeks, who
fearedhim second only ro urcron,
the Trojan champion. ln gradtude
PRIAMgave Aeneas his daughter
Creusa to have as his wife, and a
son was born named AscANlus.
Although Venus wamed him of the
impending fall of Troy, Anchises
refused to quit the city until two
omens occurred: a small flame rose
from rhe top ofAscanius'head and
a meteor fell close by. So, carryrng
Anchises on his back, Aeneas
managed to escape Troy with his
father and his son Somehow
Creusabecame separatedlrom the
party and disappeared Later,
Aeneassaw her ghost and leamed
from it that he would found a new
Troy in distant ltaly.
After sailing through the Aegean
Sea,where the small fleet Aeneas
commanded stopped at a number
of islands, the fleet came to Epirus
a pyre which she had ordered to be
prepared and, having run herself
rhrough with a sword, was con-
harassed Aeneas
throughout the voyage Only the sumed by the flames
When the Trgans finallylanded
dmelyhelp of rurm;Nr, the Roman
seagod, saved the fleet from ship- in laly, near the city of Cumae,
wreck At the ciry of Canhage, the Aeneaswent to consult the SIBYL,
great trading port founded by the who was a renowned prophetess.
Phoenicians (which was located She took him on a visit to the
in present-day Tunisia), Venus
ensured that Aeneas fell in love A-ENE{Sandhiscomrddes
with is beauriful queen, the widow JbchoJraglnghorpieswho
canyofl the
themin thesky,waitingto
DIDO.Becauseofher own flrght to
Carthage, Dido welcomed the weahondwovndcl.Prsidclwrts sheher
Trojan refugeeswith geat hndness
htsfamily:ha blindJathcrAnchls,hs
wiJeCmtsaandthar tvtosons.(ANs AND
and unlimited hospitaliry.
Time passed pleasantly for the HE CoMpNloNs FlGm frE ll^mEs rv Fwcors
lovers, as Aeneas and Dido soon I'ERroE crwtr. 161#7)
waxha coolly ahis
daughtu, Iphignia, is ofered a a
"sacnfciallamb" to apryase theanger oJ
Artem(: but at the last moment, the
goddesshenef rebnted and, descending
Jromheavat shecarried Iphignia ofl to
BAmsr^, NEM,
underworld. There Aeneasmet his
father's ghost, who showed him
the destiny of Rome.Anchiseshad
died of old age during the smy in
Sicily, but his enthusiastic ourline
of the future encouraged his son.
Aeneas also saw Dido's ghost, but
it did not speak to him and
humedly rumed away
Afterwards, Aeneassreered for
che mouth of rhe River Tiber, on
whose river banks the ciry of Rome
would be built centuries larer.
Conflict with rhe latins, the local
inhabirants, was bloody and prolonged But peacewas made when
Aeneas mamed l-avinia, the daughter of King Larinus lt had been
foretold that for the sake of the
longdom Laviniamust marryraman
from abroad The Tro.lans,in order
to appeaseJuno, adopred the
Latins' rraditions and language.
(Seealso VOYAGERS)
according ro Agamemnon's father. On her it around his body, rendering him
Greek mythology, was the son husband's retum, Clytemnesrraar an easy targerfor Aegisthus' axe.
of erRrus and the brother of first pretended how pleased she
MENEIAUS,long of Spana. He was wzlsto seehim Thanlcng the gods A;AX -as rhe son of Telamon of
married ro CLyTEMNESTM.
for his safe retum, Agamemnon Salamisand, like ACHILLES,
was a
his citadel at Mycenae,or nearby crossed the threshold ofhis palace, powerful aid to the Greeksin their
Argos, he sent out a summons to ignoring the warning o[ his slave assault on Troy. Afrer Achilles'
the Greek to join the expedition
cAssANDM, the prophetic daugh- death there was a contest for rhe
against Troy The causeo[ the war
ter of PRIAM,the defeated Trojan armour of this great warrior, which
was the flight of Menelaus' wife,
king. He rhen rerired to a barhroom had been forged by the smirh god
HELEN,ro rhar ciry wirh PARI5.
in order to change his clothes. HEPFIAISTOS.
When ODY55EU5
However, rhe Greek fleer was Clytemnestra quickly threw a large awarded the armour, Ajax became
delayed at Auhs by conrary winds
net over Agamemnon and twisted mad with.;ealousy He planned a
Agamemnon then realized that he
nighr attack on his comrades,but
would have to make a human sac- AJAXheadsof theTrqan onslaught
rhe goddesserHrNA deceived him
rifice in order to appeaseARTEMIS, Wical mightandcourageBeside
into slaughtering a flock of sheep
the goddess o[ the forest and wild
instead. In the light of dawn, Ajax
animais. His daughter IPHTGENIA theTrojanswho,withJlamingtorches,hopewas suddenly overwhelmed by a
was therefore sent to Aulis under
to settheGreehshipsalight 0uusmnoru
fear of his evil intentions, and fell
the pretexr rhat she was to be rRoM STORIE FROM HoMER. i885 )
on his sword and died
married to the Greek champion
and hero ACHILLESAccording ro
one tradition, lphigeniawas sacrificed, but accordingto another,she
was savedby Artemrs herselfand
uken ro Taurus to becomea priesress in the goddess'stemple
Clytemnestra never forgave
Agamerhnon for lphigenia's loss,
and she took Aegrsthusfor a lover
during the ten-yearsiegeofTroy.
Aegisthus was rhe son ofThyesres,
the brother and enemy of Atreus,
according ro Greek
mythology, was the daughrer of
Krng Pelias of Thessaly When she
was o[ an age to marry, many suitors appeared and her father set a
test to discoverwho would be the
most suirable husband. Alcestis
was to be the wife of the firsr man
to yoke a lion and a boar (or, in
some versions.a bear) to a chariot.
Wirh rhe aid of epoLro, the god of
prophecy, a neighbounng monarch
named Admetus succeededin this
seemingly impossible task But at
the wedding he forgot to make the
necessarysacnfice in gratitude ro
the goddessof the foresr
and wrld animals. and so found his
wedding bed full of snakes Once
again Apollo came to the king's
assistanceand, by making rhe
FATESdrunk. extracted from rhem
a promise that if anyone elsewould
die on Admetus' behalf, he might
continue to live. fu no one would
volunteer, Alcescisgaveher life for
him prnstpuolr, rhe undenvorld
goddess,was so impressedby this
complete devotion rhar she
restoredAlcestis to Admetus. and
they had two sons who later took
part in the Greek expedirion
agarnstthe city ofTroy.
was rhe daughrerof
Electryon,son of pEFsrus,and the
morher of urnacrrs. She married
Amphitryon, king of Tir;'ns, near
Mycenae in the Peloponnese.
Alcmene refused to consummate
her marriagero Amphitryon undl
he had avenged the murder of her
brothers. This the king did, but
when he retumed he was amazed
to learn from Alcmene rhat she
believedshe had alreadyslept with
him. Amphitryon was enrageduntil
whoanivesin o chaiotdrawnby
Ioohsonin disbelieJ.
ALCMENE6ght) wasote oJrheslEgod
Zeus'manyloers,but wospunished
alighta pyrebeneath
her Shewassaved
a heawnly
r R o MG R r ( L A N DR o M r , 1 9 2 0 )
(lrLLsruTr)I 8YNtcKBilu. ,l995)
the seer TIRESIAS
explained that
zEUs had come ro Alcmene disguised as her husband in order to
father a monal who would aid the
gods in their forthcoming battle
against the GIANTS.
So Alcmene became pregnant
with rwins: Heracles, the son o[
Zeus, and lphicles, rhe son of
Amphirryon. Zeus could not hide
hls sarisfaction from his wife HERA
who realized what had happened
Shesent the goddessof childbirth,
Eileithyia,ro frusrate the delivery,
but a trick savedAlcmene and her
two sons. Hera then put snakes
into Heracles'cradle,
but the infant
hero strangled them
ku s never ler H era f.a:e.llyinjur e
Heracles, and always protected
Alcmene. Once Amphitryon tried
ro bum her for infidelity, but was
stopped by a sudden downpour.
When Alcmene died naturally of
to bring
old age,Zeus sent HERMES
her body to the ElysianFields,
AMUIJUS (Iet't) casts outhis nephews,
Romulusand Remus,the twin sonsoJ Rhea
Silviaand the war god Mars, ord.eing that
thq be drownedin the nver Tiber. But thq
are eventually
Jound fo a she-wolJwho
suchlesthem until a shepherd, Faustulus,
tahesthem home (ttlsrurrul rRoMsroRrEs
l ROM Ll\a,
1885 )
violent and tempestuous temper urs
wrth her. He even slew a comrade
who mentioned it Fascination
with Amazon power affectedother
heroesbesidesAchilles. The adventures of borh rurnecrES and
ll-tt5tu) lnvolveo Datlles wltn
Arnazons.One of Heracles'famous
labours was the seizure of a girdle
belonging to the Amazon queen
Hippolyta, a theft that required
god laas, Amulius imprisoned her
and ordered that her rwin sons,
be drowned
in the Tiber Bur rhe rwo boys
escapeda watery death and grew
up in the countryside Once rhey
realized their parenrage, Romulus
and Remusretumed ro Alba Longa
and lalled their uncle Amulius.
the daughter
of Eetion, a king of Mysia in Asia
AUUIIUS, in Roman my'thology, Minor, was the wlfe of nncton, rhe
was a descendant of the Trojan foremost Trojan warrior Her entire
hero AENEAS.He usurped the family - parens, brothers, husband
throne of Alba Longa from his and son - was killed during the
younger brother Numitor and Trojan War. After the sack of Troy,
forced Numitor's daughter RHEA Andromache was taken off into
SILYIAto become a Vestal Mrgin so captlvityby Neoptolemus, rhe son
as to deny her father an heir When
of the great Greek hero ACHILLES
RheaSihra was raped by the war Neoptolemus had shown rhe same
his father when he rurhlessly killed
the Trojan hng, PRIAM,ar rhe altar
of zrus'remple. Andromache bore
Neoptolemus three sons, and in
consequen'cesuffered the hatred of
his barren Greek wrfe When
Neoptolemusdied, Andromache
went on to marry Helenus who,
like her, was a Trojan captive Her
finalyearswere spent in fuia Minor
at Pergamum,which was a new ciry
founded by one of her sons.
bowsherheadin captivityOneoJthe
but mostll-starredofheroines,
thecirywalls;whilesheJallsasa pize oJ
war to Achilles' son (cAf lvr: ANDRi)MAcHli
c 1890)
(abwe) sp'inhlesmrth on
the body oJha brother, Polynices,as a
symbolicat oJbunal For the Greelu,
buial wasa sacredduty, wrthout which a
soul couV not rest;yet Creon, ha uncle,
had daied Polynicesa bunnl, iolating
diine l,||n 04usrunoN ByNrcKBilrE 1995
Q$), chainedto a roch os
a sacifice m a seamonster,can only pray,
whilehlgh owrhead,theheroPerseuss on
his way Swoopingdwtn on thewinged
hone, Pegaw, he cu* Andromedafree and
slaysthe monster (PERSEUS
in an uprising against the new ruler
cREoN, and his body was condemned to rot unburied outside
the ciry. Antigone refusedto accept
this impiety and spnnkled earth
over the corpse as a token burial
For this she was walled up in a
cave,where she hangedhenelflike
her mother Jocasta. There are a
number of different versionsof the
myth, but they all castAntigone as
the heroic victim of a family
wrecked by a terrible deed.
was the daugh- sandals carrying the head of the
ter o[ Cassiopeand Cepheus,king Gorgon Medusa He fell in love
of the Ethiopians When Cassiope with Andromeda, and obtained
boasted that Andromeda was more both her and her father's consent
beautiful than the Nereids, the sea to mamage if he defeatedthe monnymphs, they complained to the ster. This Perseusdid by using
seagod PosEIDoN He avengedthis Medusa's head, the sighr of which
insult by flooding the land and
sending a seamonster to devastate
Cepheus'kingdom To avoid complete disaster it was decided to
tumed all living things to stone.
After sorne time, Perseus and
Andromeda settled in Tirfns,
which Perseusruled. The constelIation of Andromeda lies close to
sacriliceAndromeda to the beast
and she was chained to a rock at that of Pegasus,and both Cepheus
the foot of a cliff. There PERSEUS and Cassiopewere also commemorated in the stars.
saw her as he flew past on winged
was rhe daughrerof
IEDIPUS,king ofThebes, and his
wrfe and motherJocasta On leaming of their unwitting incest,
Oedipus tore out his eyes while
Jocastahanged herself.The penitent Oedipus was then guided by
Antigone in his wanderings round
Greece. She was with him at the
sancuary of Colonus, near Athens,
when her distraught father gained
some hnd of peacejust before his
death. She retumed to Thebes, but
her troubles were not over. Her
brother Polyniceshad been killed
was the Greek
goddess o[ Iove, beauty and fertiliry Unlike her Roman counterpan
yENUs,with whom she was idendfied, Aphrodite was not only a
goddess of sexuai love but also of
the affection that sustains social
life. The meaningo[ her name is
uncertain, although the ancient
Greek came to believe it refened
to foam Quite possibly this belief
arosefrom the story ofAphrodite's
I.PHRODITE, goddessof lwe andbeauty,
was bom Jrom theJoam ol the su; sherose
lrom the waveson a seashell,stepping
ashoreon Cyprus At hu sile, the west
wtnd, Ztphyus, andFlora, the spingblow
her gently uhore in a showeroJ roses,her
sacredflower, (THE
c 1482
binh. When rheTiran CRONOS
off the penis of his farher Ouranos
with a sharp sickle, he casr rhe
immortal member into the sea,
where it floated amid white foam
Inside the penis Aphrodite grew
and was then washed up at Paphos
on C1prus. There were in fact sanctuaries dedicared to her on many
islands, which suggesrsrhar she
was a Westfuian goddesswho was
brought to Greeceby sea-traders.
Once she arrived. the ancient
Gree}<smarried her in their mythology to the crippled smith god
But Aphrodire was
not content to be a hithful wife and
she bore children by severalorher
gods, including DIONYSUSand
ARES.When Hephaisros found out
about Aphrodire's passion for rhe
war god Ares, rhe ourraged smith
god made a mesh of gold and
caught the lovers in bed togerher.
He called rhe other gods from
Mount Olympus ro see the pair,
but they only lauglred at his shame,
and posenoru, the god of the sea,
queen of the dead. Their birter
quarrel was only ended by zrUs,
who ruled that for a rhird of the
year Adonis was to dwell with
himself, for a third parr wirh
Persephone, and for a third part
with Aphrodite. So it was rhar rhe
ancient Greels accommodated a
West Asian mother goddessand
her dying-and-rising husband.
Indeed the Adonia, or annual
festivals commemorating Adonis'
death, were celebrated in many
pars of the eastemMediterranean
Roman religions, and was the god
of prophecy, archery and music
The origrn of his name is uncenain
but it is probably non-European
A light with the gigandc earthserpent Python at Delphi gave
Apollo rhe sear o[ his famous
oracle. $rthon was an offspring of
GAIA,mother earth, which issued
revelations through a fissurein the
rock so that a priestess,the $nhia,
could give answers to any questions that might be asked.After he
slew the eanh-serpent, Apollo took
its place, though he had to do
penance in Thessalyfor the hlling.
Indeed, Zeus rwice forced Apollo
to be the slave of a mortal man to
pay for his crime.
Apollo's interest in healing
suSges6 an anclent assoclatlon
with the plagueand is conrrol. His
was also identified
AnrS, the son of zr.vs and srna,
was the Greek god of war, and was
Iater idenrified with the Roman war
god uens. Although Ares had no
wife of his own, he had three children byAPHROOIr, the goddessof
Iove The rwins, Phobos, "panic",
APOILO (abate), the sun gd, urgcs the
ARES @lov,t), infuIl atmour,luik the
with healing and connected with
sitesin nonhem Greece Indeed, so
accomplished was Asclepius in
medicine that Zeus slew him with
a thunderbolt for daring to bring a
man back to life. (Seealso FORCES
and Deimos, "[ear", alwaysaccompanied him on the bardefield. ln
Greek mythology, Ares is depicted
as an instigator of vrolence, a
tempestuous and passionatelover
and an unscrupulous fnend The
Roman god Mars, however, has
nothing of Ares' fickleness
Becauseof her unruly behaviour, Zeus causedAphrodire ro fall
in love wirh Anchises, the farher of
AENEAS.ln the Roman version o[
this myth Venus herself is deeply
attracted ro rhe Trojan, but wams
him to keep the parentageof their
son Aeneasa secret.This Anchlscs
fails to do, and as a resuk suffers
blindness or a disability of the
Iimbs. While the Roman goddess
provided, througlr the leadership of
Aeneas, a means for some of the
Trojans to escape and flourish
anew in ltaly, the GreekAphrodite
actually helped to causethe Trojan
War. ln order to ensure that he
would name her zlsthe most beautiful of the goddesses,Aphrodite
promised PARIs,son of pRraU rhe
hng of Troy, the hand of the most
beaudful woman in the world. This
fatefully rumed our ro be HELEN,
wife of vrruruqus, kingof Spana.
persuaded Hephaisros to release
Aphrodite and Ares.
Perhaps Aphrodire's grearesr APOILO
was rhe son of zEUs
Iove was for rhe handsome yourh
and the Timness LETO,and the
Adonis, another West Asian deity.
twin brother of the goddess
Killed by a wild boar, Adonis
ARTEMIS,the virgin hunrress. He
became the object of admirarion for was one of the most important
both Aphrodite and pERsEpHorur, deities of both the Greek and
sun-chaiot ta ise in the slty This unusual
gods into battle. Howarcr, in war, the gods
wsion oJ themythhas Apollo, rather tlnn
were not im4rtial;
Helios, as ider, andlbns, insteadoJ
Poseidonand Apolb (cntre) wouV oJtm
horses, pull the chaiot, ruallingthe linh
ad the Trojans, whilc Hqa anil Athena
Ares,Aphrodi? Ael),
fuween lzo anil the sun. (H{oEBUs
Arcrc By
EMoNRMEtrcANvs,c .1870)
noM SroruBrcM HoMER.
l8ll5 )
supporttt the Greek. orurmroN
LovERs oF Zr,us
is thc
op GRr,t,KN4yt-tIt)Lt)GY
s rRtKtNG
maritai conilict between the two chicf
and her
deities, Hera, an earth gc-rddess,
husband, Zcus, suprcmc power on
Olympus One of the most amorous gods in
mytholo gy,Zeus loved countlesswomen and he
courtcd them in as many forms, somctimesas a bull,
a s a s a t y r .a s a s w a n . s r r m c t i m c sa s a m o r t a l m a n ,
and erren in the form of a golden shower. Hera rvas
notoriously jealous and r,engeful,pursuing without
mercy his loversand their offspring.The antagonism
between the two could be viewed as a clashbetween
different religious traditions or local cults, each cult
recognizing a different lovcr who was often regarded
as the anccs[orof a ruling family
ANTIOPE (uhort), rlrughtir,r/u rrvergrtl,w(r\ior((1hl Zeustn tht lom LtJd sdtvr,d
gout-lihccrtaturt 5hc iorl hrn twlr soils,Atlphtotrurcl Zrlhus tlerc,Zus, dtstrtiscc,l
Eros,sucl grrd
ct vttuthlulsutl'r,gcnliv sfiaJrrAntrrpe/rom thr sunwhilcshcsicrpsbe-side
CALLI-S1-O (ahrrr'), /r,rlt nrrnph und
(()ntfdnl()il()/Atfttnl\ rn t/tr thrlSa trcts
t h ( ' \ h d 1 l i , / i r b c a L r t r / r lh u l l r . l t r , t n t t t g t d
l o \ a ( 1h
: r r i \ r t n t . /b o r r h t t t t c t s o n , A t i a s
lr.ghl) ucrs ir(rrr(/ l^ Zt'ti\ In
/ r r r n rl h t n t l l c s o n t l t a n t L t l h r t r n r l h r
-Shcw,us lhcn , hun(t r.l rnlo u bcur erlhcr la
st'a trr (.rtft
ZLus, wrshrrrg to hrclL htr lrom I lcra, or lry
srrns I ht' r'anous \tug6
Htru htrvll
A\ d btdr rhc was shol hv
Arl.mrs rn thr /orcsr aar.l wus plared among
rrprr'sr'ntcd htrt
bort hun Lhrtt
ol th( hdntu
on tht klt, ['uropu
nr()unl5 tLc bull tntouruged ht ls
fht stcrs ds tht 5h. Baar Hrre, surrounciccl
tcrflr'nrss On the nght, she ts homr
lrr th. t(rfhr( \ ry' thr Lhctsc,Arlemrs on,.l ht r
selulrlv Jown to rhr sea, w'rlh mrlnl Lltlt
m m p h s r o n r / o r t ( a i l r s t o p o s s r b i va f t er h i ' r
I:rotcs (Lrr sprnts) horenng rn lhr riry
I rnulh shc foats happiy
wrth th" ovemhclmtng god, Ztus
( l l h N AA \ r ) ( r \ | r \ r ( r t r I ' r r f RP 4 rr R rB t N \ ,
al\vAs l6J640 )
htr moukns
away, ltdvrng lo
(Trlr R{n ,r F( R(n'AB) I)^rrr)
/r r\nr\(,rr\rr)$1S{r\R8}Atr1)\rr(i)tsRr('(r),(r\l:A-\,
M YTTt o
childlry Semdt,apptarshtre
huggrnghis mothcr,whilc Apolkt
s t c r n Jhs w r t hu h u yt t r t ( l r t r i i t r '
raisedhts ntothrt
becanta goc,l,
to heavenand placedher arnongthe starsus
ThyoneThisEtmsrdnmitror is borderedwith iw,
which was l)tonysus' sutred plant (lrrr \ ru rr()Nrn()M
DRSvI Hs Cliss(il Dr(Ir()\ARY
DANAE below) u,usconfinedin a brazt'n tLtwer
lry her father whofearedan oracleprtdtctrng thut
ht woukl be hilledby o gundson In htr lout'r shs
n s/roxd ,
wds visiledby Zeusn tfu lonn oJa
anclbort hun o son, Pcrsrus When htr lttthtr
thebaby,ht tdsthothoJ thtm out to
seain a woodenchest,hut thq ftoattd ushorc
on the Isleol Senphoswherethqt wert rtt uttl
lry Dictls (llrr \rMrr()! Bl(rrr)Rc[,s(
T { \ ( , [ u ( x ) r ) T A l(t 5] 9 2 C 1
SEMELE (klt) encourugtd
14'Htro, ptrsuudtd
in all his qlenJour Whenh,'
Zcrs lo shor hrrnscl/
apptarttl beJorthcr as tht radiunt gil ttl thwtdtr
wasconsumediry thc /icrrnes
anrl lightning,-Senreic
unLl,dymg, gavcbrrth prtmuturdy to Diorrysus,
whom Zeussavedlrtnn tht Jirt In thrspowerful
veirion oJ the myth, thegeat godrodutes
Itery.bloodredhghtnrngA wingedchrldhtdrng
from thehght coulclbc Dionysus,whrle thet)arh,
homed godscemsto be a fusion oJ Hudrs und Pun
(l( filR4NrSl\1lrr
r) a,t\r4\'rM()RF;t (1\\1\