Greek History vs Mythology

Greek History vs Mythology


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I am having trouble distinguishing History from Mythology, especially in the context of Greek Mythology.

The internet sources have a narrative that intermixes both. After reading for a few minutes I easily lose track of whether I am reading history or mythology.

I understand that it is not easy to identify ancient history and find credible sources. But can you recommend a few sources where there is at least a decent attempt to discern history from mythology?


Short answer: Greek history, as opposed to myth and legend, begins about one hundred to three hundred years before the time of Herodotus.

Long answer:

Herodotus (c.484-c.425 BC) has been called "The Father of History".

he was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation-specifically, by collecting his materials systematically and critically, and then arranging them into a historiographic narrative.[2]

The Histories is the only work which he is known to have produced, a record of his "inquiry" (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars; it primarily deals with the lives of Croesus, Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius, and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Artemisium, Salamis, Plataea, and Mycale; however, its many cultural, ethnographical, geographical, historiographical, and other digressions form a defining and essential part of the Histories and contain a wealth of information. Some of his stories are fanciful and others inaccurate, yet he states that he is reporting only what he was told; a sizable portion of the information he provided was later confirmed by historians and archaeologists.

Despite Herodotus's historical significance, little is known of his personal life.

The main persons listed as subjects of the history of Herodotus were:

Croesus (595-c.546 BC) King of Lydia.

Cyrus II The Great (c. 600-530 BC) The Great King, the King of Kings, The King of Lands and Peoples, The King of the World.

Cambyses II (d. 522 BC) The Great King, the King of Kings, The King of Lands and Peoples, The King of the World.

Darius I (c.560-486 BC) The Great King, the King of Kings, The King of Lands and Peoples, The King of the World.

Xerxes I (519-465 BC) The Great King, the King of Kings, The King of Lands and Peoples, The King of the World.

The battles that are main subjects include:

Marathon (490 BC).

Thermopylae (480 BC).

Artemisium (480 BC).

Salamis (480 BC).

Plataea (479 BC).

Mycale (479 BC).

Herodotus reports on the possible mythical origins of conflict between Europe and Aisa, but most of his work covers events in the previous two centuries or about 650 to 450 BC. It is likely that the sources used by Herodotus for recent events were more accurate that the sources used for earlier events that had more time for exaggeration, confusion, and propaganda during the transmissions of those stories.

The ancient Greeks began holding Olympic games every four years at Olympus in Greece. An Olympiad was the term for a four year period beginning the summer when Olympic games were held and ending in the summer at the beginning of the fifth year right before the next next set of Olympic games was held.

It eventually became the Greek custom to date events to the year of the Olympiad in which they happened, the first second third, or fourth year of the particular Olympiad.

Any event that was recorded at the time it happened as happening in a particular year of a particular Olympiad is precisely dated.

Timaeus of Tauromenium (c.345-c.250 BC) was the first historian to use Olympiad dating to date events.

The first Olympic games were probably held in 776 BC according to our modern Gregorian calendar.

And I believe that some ancient Greek historians considered that the age of myths and legends ended about then and the age of history began about then.

Therefore a rough rule could be that most Greek events said to happen before about 776 BC are myths or legends (though they could be true) and most Greek events said to happen after about 776 BC are more or less history (although possibly distorted or falsified history).


I generally suggest anyone interested in Ancient History in the Near East start with Colin McEvedy's New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History. This is a history of all the peoples of the near-east area since the dawn of humanity to 462 AD. Every page is the same base map, but advanced a few years, and a page opposite going into details about the political changes since the last map. This gives you an invaluable base of knowledge from which you can go do more detailed reading on individual topics or peoples at your discretion.

I find a lot of people who don't have this kind of broad base of knowledge can miss how individual bits of history fit into the whole.

It may sound daunting, but its relatively short compared to a typical non-fiction novel, and its a surprisingly fun read. The main drawback is that the last revision I believe was 2002, so some of the information isn't totally up to date.*

This actually gives you a surprisingly good overview of Greek history, from the murky details we have about their entry into the peninsula, to a lot of the detail during their era of military supremacy and colonization, clean up to their eventual near-eclipse by the growing power of Rome. There's even a few words in there about how their popular mythology fits into things (answer: not a whole lot, except perhaps metaphorically).

* - Of particular interest to you, I believe he presented a fairly simple Dorian invasion theory for the cause of the Greek Dark Ages. These days this is considered at best an oversimplification, if it happened at all.


Tea 'n History

Hello and welcome to Tea ‘n History, with your hostess, Felicia Angel.

Now, I’m a major Greek mythology geek. I got into it when I was in 2nd grade and it’s never really left me. The stories are interesting, the gods are fairly cool and recognizable if you grew up in any of Western Civilization, and some of it is romantic while the rest is…well, you need a flow-chart to figure some of the lineages out.

One of my favorite movies to watch when I was younger was Clash of the Titans, a 1981 movie with creatures done by Ray Harryhausen and fairly good effects. It was one of two that he did with Greek Myths, the other being Jason and the Argonauts, and both being well-received and still having a good fanbase.

So in 2010, when I learned a remake of Clash of the Titans was going to be made, I was happy. The fact that I”m also a Liam Neeson fangirl also helped. Him as Zeus and Aslan? WIN!

At which point I disowned it.

Then threw it into the deepest part of the Underworld and hoped it stayed there.

However, having rediscovered my love for all things Harryhausen (and a $5 Walmart bin version of Clash of the Titans -1981), I felt it was my duty to point out the good and bad parts of them…not completely a la the Nostalgia Critic’s “Old vs. New”, but in my own way.

…which mostly includes destroy the new one after…rewatching…it…

Both films have a (general) idea of the history of Perseus, a demi-god who goes to find Medusa and cut off her head. Reasons for it, in the original, mostly are given as “I don’t have anything to give my mom on her wedding day and the douche who’s marrying her said he wanted it”. With that, and because as the son of Zeus he instantly gets cheat codes, Perseus is given Hades’ helm (a cap of invisibility), a very reflective shield, Hermes’ sandals (fly anywhere) and a sword made out of something that sounds like the metal that went into Wolverine’s claws. He’s told to go find the Graece, sisters of the Gorgons (there is more then one) to find out where they’re hiding, and to kill the only mortal one, Medusa. He does so, and on the way back, spots a princess about to be sacrificed because her mother said something about her being as pretty as goddess of the sea, which pissed off the sea god enough he’s going to cause them problems and demand the daughter, Andromeda, be sacrificed to a sea-monster, Cetus.

As Medusa’s head gives Perseus enough to be in God Cheat Mode, he kills the monster, frees Andromeda, and heads home to free his mother as well. He also, at one point or earlier, learned that he was fathered by Zeus due to his mother being locked into a tower after his grandfather, the king of Argos, found out that if his daughter gave birth, he wasn’t long for this world. So, lock her in a tall tower were only the gods, who are known for changing forms and shapes and randomly seducing/raping/sexing up women, can see her.

Zeus comes down in a beam of golden light and, 9 months later, Perseus is born. At which point the king of Argos shows how much in common with a Bond villain he has by locking Perseus and his mother in a box and dumping it into the ocean.

As the first few paragraphs detailed Perseus and his mother being alive, that worked out really well, didn’t it?

Both movies take…liberties…with the original story of Perseus, but that’s to be expected as what I gave you also demands a lot of backstory for some parts, like who certain gods are in relation to Perseus (half-siblings, mostly, or uncles/aunts), Medusa (angry at her for doing another god in their temple), and some of the mythological beasts that appear. However, the 2010 version does it’s best to not only not tell the stories well, but to really mess it up as far as motivations go.

The original Clash of the Titans had Perseus growing up on an idyllic island with his mother, her dying before the film begins, and generally not being messed with until the goddess Thetis, angry at her son’s deformity after he’d done a few too many things to piss off Zeus, sets him down in Jota, the kingdom where her son is currently tormenting his old fiancee, Andromeda. Perseus is given special items by the goddesses Aphrodite, Thetis (she’s not really playing one side or the other, just hoping her son does what he can to redeem himself), Hera, and Athena, which mostly have a magical helmet of invisibility (except for footprints), a sword, and a shield, as well as told where to find Pegasus, the last winged horse, for his steed. He figures out how to free Andromeda from Thetis’ son, then has to defeat the Kraken because…well, Andromeda’s mother is a bit of an idiot and went around saying her daughter was prettier then the patron goddess.

In front of said patron goddess’ statue.

So to save his beloved, Perseus travels to the Stygian witches (evil version of the Graece) and then to near the underworld to defeat Medusa and bring back her head so he can defeat the Kraken. He does so, and the two live happily ever after and are put in the stars.

The remake Clash of the Titans has Perseus growing up doubting who he is because he was found with a dead mother in a box out at sea. His family is somewhat divided on if thanking or cursing the gods is in order for failed harvest of fish, and end up dying when Hades attacks some men for being dicks and throwing down a statue dedicated to Zeus. Hades, still pissed for his lot after helping win the war against the Titans, decides to play both sides by having men start to doubt the gods, as well as having the gods kill the humans. Perseus, as a demi-god, is not easily killed and, with Andromeda’s mother saying something stupid (because it’s her lot in the story, though in this one the father joins in as well), Perseus must head out to kill Medusa and save the kingdom from the evil Kraken…after being beaten up because he has god-blood in him (seriously, what the hell?). Along the way, he is offered up a winged horse, and all the other cool things by his dad, Zeus, but says ‘no’ to them because he is a man and can do it himself.

He also meet Io who has nothing to do with the story but to show how much of a player and a dick Zeus can be while hiding his affairs from a very vengeful wife.

Finally accepting that he’s part god and deserves a winged horse, Perseus rides back and saves both Olympus from Hades’ schemes and Andromeda from being eaten. Then thinks about running off from being a king to find adventures with his love-forever, Io.

You see the problem. The story itself doesn’t really have a ‘bad guy’ but both try to create one: the original created Calibos, Thetis son who is punished and becomes vengeful, but that you feel a bit for (just a tiny, tiny bit) when he speaks to Andromeda’s spirit. Afterwards, his actions are just that of a straight-up villain who wants things his way and the story doesn’t really suffer him being in the story or not, save for the times he makes things go from dull to action.

Hades as the antagonist is…well, seriously, I’ve never seen him as an antagonist. The two movies I’ve known of him as the major antagonist (Disney’s Hercules and this remake) just make him come off as a very one-dimensional and jealous character, as well as not that much of a threat. Kingdom Hearts makes him a better antagonist!

In both movies, Perseus’ lineage becomes important to his ultimate purpose. In the original, it’s because he’s the son of Zeus and getting some special-treatment that Thetis sends him to Jota, and later it’s what earns him a mechanical all-knowing owl, special equipment, and in general added special treatment, but it’s never quite hand-holding either. He’s put in situations where he has to figure things out for himself or have someone with him help figure it out, but he’s ready to ask for help and take what’s given to him, or to do what seems impossible so he can get things done. He’s a bit optimistic but not to the point of being annoying, and in general is also likable. In the remake, Perseus has a good reason for disliking a god, but not all of them, and is obviously not one who wants to get into trouble, despite the fact that his lineage demands it, though the people of Argos are a bit…annoying when it comes to treatment of one person who might be able to save them (believing himself to be a demi-god or not). Perseus’ backstory is also a mix of his and that of Hercules (which makes a better story, I guess, then “Zeus went to sex up a lady in a tower because she was alone and pretty”) along with a continued line of “men challenging the gods and the gods saying ‘really?'”. Io is also given a story that isn’t her own (she didn’t deny the love to a god and become cursed with everlasting life…she went with a god and was turned into a cow to be hidden from a jealous goddess), and in general the only person in this movie that I even like a bit is Andromeda, and only because she at least shows SENSE. Perseus attempting to be Kratos doesn’t quite work, them being all “we can do this for we are men…right up until those particular monsters, then we’re screwed” doesn’t quite work, and Perseus isn’t really a good example for a hero or even someone I’d follow in the story.

The base comparison is: the newer Clash of the Titans isn’t that good of a movie. It attempts to have some parts of the old and show it off, but in general is a worst movie for being the ‘gritty revisit’. 300 and the God of War games have more in common with Greek mythology then this does, and in God of War, you spend most of it killing the gods. The addition of Io as the ‘wise woman’ and love-interest for sake of a triangle doesn’t help, and neither does Perseus’ stigma for being a demi-god to a group of people who just had most of their men killed except that guy and he wasn’t even fighting. If you have someone who’s purpose in life is to actually be able to defeat or become a god, you take their help and don’t torture them. Even Hercules: The Legendary Journey got this right!

Originally I thought it was nostalgia creeping up and telling me that this wasn’t that good of a movie compared to the old one, bathed in the light of childhood and Greek Mythology geekdom, but after rewatching the two, I must say that I know where my annoyance lies. There are good points to the new one – the way they make the Gods, Neeson not seeming to be there and phoning in a few lines like Sir Lawrence Olivier was doing, slightly better special effects (which is probably the worst thing to think of…they’re only slightly better after nearly 30 years? FAIL), but as far as telling the story and having characters that, even with little backstory you care about, the 1981 version is far superior.

So is Percy Jackson and the Olympians. So is God of War…and Hercules: The Legendary Journey.


Contents

According to Hesiod, the Chimera's mother was a certain ambiguous “she”, which may refer to Echidna, in which case the father would presumably be Typhon, though possibly the Hydra or even Ceto was meant instead. [4] However the mythographers Apollodorus (citing Hesiod as his source) and Hyginus both make the Chimera the offspring of Echidna and Typhon. [5] Hesiod also has the Sphinx and the Nemean lion as the offspring of Orthus, and another ambiguous "she", often understood as probably referring to the Chimera, although possibly instead to Echidna, or again even Ceto. [6]

Homer gives a description of the Chimera in the Iliad, saying that "she was of divine stock, not of men, in the fore part a lion, in the hinder a serpent, and in the midst a goat, breathing forth in terrible wise the might of blazing fire." [7] Both Hesiod and Apollodorus give similar descriptions: a three-headed creature, with a lion in front, a fire-breathing goat in the middle, and a serpent in the rear. [8]

According to Homer, the Chimera, who was reared by Araisodarus (the father of Atymnius and Maris, Trojan warriors killed by Nestor's sons Antilochus and Trasymedes), was "a bane to many men". [9] As told in the Iliad, the hero Bellerophon was ordered by the king of Lycia to slay the Chimera (hoping that the monster would instead kill Bellerophon), but the hero "trusting in the signs of the gods", succeeded in killing the Chimera. [10] Hesiod adds that Bellerophon had help in killing the Chimera, saying "her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay". [11]

A more complete account of the story is given by Apollodorus. Iobates, the king of Lycia, had ordered Bellerophon to kill the Chimera (who had been killing cattle and had "devastated the country"), since he thought that the Chimera would instead kill Bellerophon, "for it was more than a match for many, let alone one". [12] But the hero mounted his winged horse Pegasus, "and soaring on high shot down the Chimera from the height." [13]

Although the Chimera was, according to Homer, situated in foreign Lycia, [14] her representation in the arts was wholly Greek. [15] An autonomous tradition, one that did not rely on the written word, was represented in the visual repertory of the Greek vase-painters. The Chimera first appears at an early stage in the repertory of the proto-Corinthian pottery-painters, providing some of the earliest identifiable mythological scenes that may be recognized in Greek art. The Corinthian type is fixed, after some early hesitation, in the 670s BC the variations in the pictorial representations suggest multiple origins to Marilyn Low Schmitt. [16] The fascination with the monstrous devolved by the end of the seventh century into a decorative Chimera-motif in Corinth, [17] while the motif of Bellerophon on Pegasus took on a separate existence alone. A separate Attic tradition, where the goats breathe fire and the animal's rear is serpentine, begins with such confidence that Marilyn Low Schmitt is convinced there must be unrecognized or undiscovered local precursors. [18] Two vase-painters employed the motif so consistently they are given the pseudonyms the Bellerophon Painter and the Chimaera Painter.

A fire-breathing lioness was one of the earliest of solar and war deities in Ancient Egypt (representations from 3000 years prior to the Greek) and influences are feasible. The lioness represented the war goddess and protector of both cultures that would unite as Ancient Egypt. Sekhmet was one of the dominant deities in upper Egypt and Bast in lower Egypt. As divine mother, and more especially as protector, for Lower Egypt, Bast became strongly associated with Wadjet, the patron goddess of Lower Egypt. [ citation needed ]

In Etruscan civilization, the Chimera appears in the Orientalizing period that precedes Etruscan Archaic art that is to say, very early indeed. The Chimera appears in Etruscan wall-paintings of the fourth century BC. [ citation needed ]

In Indus civilization are pictures of the chimera in many seals. There are different kinds of the chimera composed of animals from the Indian subcontinent. It is not known what the Indus people called the chimera. [ citation needed ]

In Medieval art, although the Chimera of antiquity was forgotten, chimerical figures appear as embodiments of the deceptive, even satanic forces of raw nature. Provided with a human face and a scaly tail, as in Dante's vision of Geryon in Inferno xvii.7–17, 25–27, hybrid monsters, more akin to the Manticore of Pliny's Natural History (viii.90), provided iconic representations of hypocrisy and fraud well into the seventeenth century, through an emblematic representation in Cesare Ripa's Iconologia. [19]

The myths of the Chimera may be found in the Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus (book 1), the Iliad (book 16) by Homer, the Fabulae 57 and 151 by Hyginus, the Metamorphoses (book VI 339 by Ovid IX 648), and the Theogony 319ff by Hesiod.

Virgil, in the Aeneid (book 5) employs Chimaera for the name of a gigantic ship of Gyas in the ship-race, with possible allegorical significance in contemporary Roman politics. [20]

Pliny the Elder cited Ctesias and quoted Photius identifying the Chimera with an area of permanent gas vents that still may be found by hikers on the Lycian Way in southwest Turkey. Called in Turkish, Yanartaş (flaming rock), the area contains some two dozen vents in the ground, grouped in two patches on the hillside above the Temple of Hephaestus approximately 3 km north of Çıralı, near ancient Olympos, in Lycia. The vents emit burning methane thought to be of metamorphic origin. The fires of these were landmarks in ancient times and used for navigation by sailors.

The Neo-Hittite Chimera from Carchemish, dated to 850–750 BC, which is now housed in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, is believed to be a basis for the Greek legend. It differs, however, from the Greek version in that a winged body of a lioness also has a human head rising from her shoulders.

Some western scholars of Chinese art, starting with Victor Segalen, use the word "chimera" generically to refer to winged leonine or mixed species quadrupeds, such as bixie, tianlu, and even qilin. [21]


How Well Do You Know Ancient Greek History?

If you live in the Western world, then it's all (or mostly) Greek to you. Everything from our democratic forms of government to the columns that hold up our buildings, to the sciences we employ, started with the Greeks. Studying Ancient Greece is not only fascinating, it shows us a lot about where we modern people get our ideas and habits.

If you've ever thought critically about anything, then asked questions to find an answer, thank the Greeks. If you've admired the way citizens get a say in their political future, thank the Greeks. Even if you're glad Western Civilization exists, thank the Greeks (especially the Spartans).

You can't get through a day without running into some sign of Ancient Greece. In the morning, you pull on your Nike shoes (named for Athena Nike, goddess of victory), listen to news about the upcoming elections (democratic government), and go for a run. Health's important to you, but you want to balance body and mind, so you also work on that book you've been reading during breakfast. Halfway through, you realize you should eat in moderation, and put back half your cereal. All that mind/body balance is what the Greeks called sophrosyne, and your modern ideas of what's good and healthy derive from it. Before work even begins, thank the Greeks.

So, do you know this part of our past well enough to avoid repeating it again? This quiz will take you from the basics, to the slightly harder, to knowledge that even might challenge a Plato or Demosthenes!


Greek Colonies

There were two main periods of colonial expansion among the ancient Greeks. The first was in the Dark Ages when the Greeks thought the Dorians invaded. See Dark Age Migrations. The second period of colonization began in the 8th century when Greeks founded cities in southern Italy and Sicily. The Achaeans founded Sybaris was an Achaean colony perhaps founded in 720 B.C. The Achaeans also founded Croton. Corinth was the mother city of Syracuse. The territory in Italy colonized by the Greeks was known as Magna Graecia (Great Greece). Greeks also settled colonies northward up to the Black (or Euxine) Sea.

Greeks set up colonies for many reasons, including trade and to provide land for the landless. They held close ties to the mother city.


Diogenes

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Diogenes, (born, Sinope, Paphlygonia—died c. 320 bce , probably at Corinth, Greece), archetype of the Cynics, a Greek philosophical sect that stressed stoic self-sufficiency and the rejection of luxury. He is credited by some with originating the Cynic way of life, but he himself acknowledges an indebtedness to Antisthenes, by whose numerous writings he was probably influenced. It was by personal example rather than any coherent system of thought that Diogenes conveyed the Cynic philosophy. His followers positioned themselves as watchdogs of morality.

Diogenes is the subject of numerous apocryphal stories, one of which depicts his behaviour upon being sold into slavery. He declared that his trade was that of governing men and was appointed tutor to his master’s sons. Tradition ascribes to him the famous search for an honest man conducted in broad daylight with a lighted lantern. Almost certainly forced into exile from Sinope with his father, he had probably already adopted his life of asceticism (Greek askesis, “training”) when he reached Athens. Referred to by Aristotle as a familiar figure there, Diogenes began practicing extreme anti-conventionalism. He made it his mission to “deface the currency,” perhaps meaning “to put false coin out of circulation.” That is, he sought to expose the falsity of most conventional standards and beliefs and to call men back to a simple, natural life.

For Diogenes the simple life meant not only disregard of luxury but also disregard of laws and customs of organized, and therefore “conventional,” communities. The family was viewed as an unnatural institution to be replaced by a natural state in which men and women would be promiscuous and children would be the common concern of all. Though Diogenes himself lived in poverty, slept in public buildings, and begged his food, he did not insist that all men should live in the same way but merely intended to show that happiness and independence were possible even under reduced circumstances.

The program for life advocated by Diogenes began with self-sufficiency, or the ability to possess within oneself all that one needs for happiness. A second principle, “shamelessness,” signified the necessary disregard for those conventions holding that actions harmless in themselves may not be performed in every situation. To these Diogenes added “outspokenness,” an uncompromising zeal for exposing vice and conceit and stirring men to reform. Finally, moral excellence is to be obtained by methodical training, or asceticism.

Among Diogenes’ lost writings are dialogues, plays, and the Republic, which described an anarchist utopia in which men lived “natural” lives.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


7 Beautiful Facts About Aphrodite

The worst-kept secret of womanhood is perhaps the unrelenting societal pressure to conform to arbitrary, cookie-cutter beauty norms. And while women today face an unprecedented high bar when it comes to appearances (thank you filters, Instagram, Photoshop, cosmetic procedures, and all the rest!), unreasonable beauty standards are nothing new. In fact, they date back at least to 458 B.C.E. when the playwright Aeschylus dreamt up the ultimate embodiment of unattainable beauty: Aphrodite.

Born from the foam in the waters of Paphos, on the island of Cyprus, Aphrodite has a couple of origin stories. According to Hesiod's "Theogony," she rose from the sea when the Titan Cronus killed his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea (um, yikes). But Homer's "Iliad" says Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. However she came into the world of Greek mythology, the Goddess of Love and Beauty is best known for her stunning aesthetic, but she's also a powerful, immortal deity capable of stirring up romance among gods and mortals. Here are seven of the most beautiful facts you may not know about Aphrodite.

1. Her Belt Held Special Powers

Aphrodite was such a force, even her accessories held otherworldly abilities. Her belt (sometimes called a "magic girdle") had the power to inspire desire and cause men and gods to hopelessly fall for whoever's wearing it. She was generous with that trinket too — she loaned it to Queen Hera so she could distract Zeus from the Trojan War.

2. She Was Married . but Still Looking

Zeus married Aphrodite off to Hephaestus who was known for being . well, ugly. Apparently the King of the Gods felt some kind of poetic justice in matching the stunning goddess up with someone who was less than a looker. But marriage didn't stop Aphrodite from getting hers — her long list of lovers included gods like Ares and men like Anchises. But she perhaps had the strongest connection to Adonis, who was also kind of her surrogate son? Mythology is crazy.

3. She Didn't Take Rejection Well

Aphrodite could have had just about any god or man she wanted — just about. The few who somehow resisted her allure didn't meet very happy endings. Take Hippolytus for example. He chose Artemis over Aphrodite, so the latter made his stepmother Phaedra fall in love with him and both wound up dead. No one said the goddess of beauty was merciful.

4. She Didn't Have a Signature Style

Aphrodite is depicted in a multitude of different ways, and the array of classical artworks dedicated to her image all portray her differently. Aside from overwhelming beauty, she's not known for any distinctive features or attributes. But she is often presented in perfectly symmetrical, totally nude glory. In addition to her magic belt, she's also often depicted with an apple, scallop shell, dove or swan.

5. Artists Are Obsessed With Her

Aphrodite has inspired more works of art than any other figure in classical mythology, and you can spot her in thousands of paintings and sculptures, as well as literary tributes. She is perhaps most famously known as the inspiration for the Venus de Milo, one of the Louvre's most prized pieces of statuary.

6. Did We Mention She Was Fierce?

Aphrodite didn't just have it out for those who denied her advances — she also wasn't down for disrespect of any kind. A man named Glaucus once insulted her, so she clapped back by feeding his horses magic water that caused them to turn on him during a chariot race. The horses not only crushed him but ate his body. Aphrodite was not bothered in the slightest.

7. She Wasn't a Regular Mom, She Was a Cool Mom

It's unclear whether his daddy was Zeus, Ares or Hermes, but Eros (a.k.a. Cupid) had one cool mom: Aphrodite. Although he's usually depicted as a mischievous little guy, Eros was a fiercely loyal kid who Aphrodite often brought along with her on official love business. Cupid may not have been her only offspring — sources say she was also mom to Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia and Aeneas.

If you think Aphrodite isn't relevant in modern times, think again: She's been referenced lyrically and visually by musicians including Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.


Greek Mythology VS Modern Beliefs - History bibliographies - in Harvard style

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Cartwright, M. and Cartwright, M.

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Hellenic Museum Melbourne | Hellenic Museum

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History TV

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Greece, A History of Ancient Greece, Mythology

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In-text: (2018)

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How did the Greeks Worship the Gods?

In-text: (How did the Greeks Worship the Gods?, 2018)

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Olympian Gods & Goddesses | Theoi Greek Mythology

In-text: (Olympian Gods & Goddesses | Theoi Greek Mythology, 2018)

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Olympian Gods & Goddesses | Theoi Greek Mythology

In-text: (Olympian Gods & Goddesses | Theoi Greek Mythology, 2018)


The 7 Most Famous Archers in Greek Mythology

#7 – Paris

Paris was a Trojan Prince famously known for eloping with Helen, queen of Sparta. He was the son of King Priam and Hecuba.

Before his birth, the mother had a dream and saw his son as a flaming torch which a seer explained that her son Paris would be the doom of ‘troy’ by causing deaths and destruction.

Unlike his brother, Hector, whose fighting skill lay in hand to hand combat, Paris was good with the bow and arrow. He killed many Achaean warriors during the Trojan War with the bow and arrow, including two Greek heroes: Menethius, the son of Areithous and Phylomedusa, and wounding most notably Achilles.

#6 – Atalanta

Atalanta was a respected and swift-footed huntress who was regarded as a less significant form of the goddess, Artemis.

The daughter of Clymene and Iasus, the King of Arcadia, she was believed to be the goddess of running and always wanted to challenge men.

Having grown up in the wilderness after she was abandoned by her father when he learned she wasn’t a boy, Atalanta developed hunting skills using a bow and arrow and became a fierce hunter.

During the Calydonian Hunt, she slew a monstrous Calydonian boar with a well-placed arrow, beating several male heroes to the beast.

#5 – Philoctetes

Philoctetes was a Greek hero and a famous archer who participated in the Trojan War. According to Greek mythology, he was the son of King Poeas of Meliboea.

He gained fame after helping Heracles to die by complying with his wish to light the funeral pyre. As a gift, Philoctetes received Heracles’ bow and arrows.

After being abandoned by his army in Lemnos, he spent many years shooting birds in the wilderness, thereby perfecting his archery skills.

His greatest achievement in war was killing Paris using a poisoned arrow. Philoctetes is also reported to have shot Admetus and three Trojan warriors: Deioneus, Peirasus, and Medon.

#4 – Orion

Orion was a legendary hunter in Greek mythology. He was famous for his physique, great looks, and many love affairs.

Ancient sources give two versions of his birth. In the first one, he is identified as the son of the sea-god Poseidon (father) and Queen Euryale of the Amazon. He was believed to have inherited a hunting talent from his father, making him the greatest hunter in the world.

In the second version, Orion had no mother and was only a gift to a peasant farmer. Using the bow and arrows, Orion got rid of fierce beasts that infested the island of Chios in order to gain the hand of King Oenopion’s daughter, Merope.

#3 – Eros

In Greek mythology, Eros was the god of love and sexual attraction. He was often viewed as the disobedient but very loyal son of Aphrodite.

Ancient pictures portray him as a young man carrying a bow and arrow. It was believed that Eros made people fall in love by shooting his randomly aimed arrows or a flaming torch at them.

A famous episode was when Apollo doubted his skills as an archer and Eros fired an arrow at the god, making him fall in love with the nymph Daphne.

#2 – Artemis

Artemis was the Ancient Greek goddess of virginity, the wilderness, hunting, wild animals and protector of young children and women.

In ancient Greek art, Artemis is depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. As the daughter of the King of all gods, Zeus, Artemis was well-respected in Greek mythology.

She was renowned for her hunting prowess, and her arrows could cause sudden death and disease to girls and women.

In one of the stories, Artemis teamed up with Apollo, her brother, and they hunted and killed the children of Niobe with their bows and arrows. She fought with the Trojans during the Trojan War and killed many warriors using her bow and arrows.

#1 – Apollo

Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto, was born on the Greek island of Delos together with his twin sister Artemis.

He was a god of music, poetry, truth, art, oracles, medicine, plague, sun, light, and knowledge.

Also known as the Archer, Apollo had an aptitude for archery and used a golden bow. When he was a child, he begged Hephaestus to give him the bow and arrow to kill Python to protect his mother.

He managed to corner Python and was able rescue his mother. As the god of plagues, he participated in the Trojan War and shot plague arrows at the enemies.


Leonidas, the king of Sparta

Leonidas (540-480 BC), the legendary king of Sparta, and the Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most brilliant events of the ancient Greek history, a great act of courage and self-sacrifice. This man and the battle itself has inspired since then many artists, poets and film-makers that hymn the spirit of him and his Spartans.

Little is known about the life of Leonidas before the Battle of Thermopylae. Historians believe that he was born around 540 BC and the he was son of King Anaxandrias II of Sparta, a descendant of Hercules, according to the myth. Leonidas was married to Gorgo and had a son. He must have succeeded his half-brother to the throne at around 488 BC, till his death in 480 BC. His name meant either the son of a lion or like a lion.

In summer of 480 BC, Xerxes, the king of Persia, was attacking Greece with a big and well-equiped army. As he had already conquered northern Greece and he was coming to the south, the Greeks decided to unite and confront him in Thermopylae, a narrow passage in central Greece. Leonidas and his army, 300 soldiers, went off to Thermopylae to join the other Greek armies. The Greeks altogether were about 4,000 soldiers, while the Persian army consisted of 80,000 soldiers.

Xerxes waited for 4 days before he attacked, believing that the Greeks would surrender. When Xerxes sent his heralds to the Greeks, asking for their weapons, as a sign of submission, Leonidas said the historical phrase Come and get them!, declaring the beginning of the battle.

The first days, the Greeks were resisting, until a local man, Ephialtes, revealed to the Persians a secret passage to circle the Greeks and win the battle. Seeing that the Persian army were about to circle them, Leonidas asked the other Greeks to leave the battlefield. He proposed that he and his army would stay back to cover their escape, while the other Greeks would leave to protect the rest of Greece from a future Persian invasion.

Therefore, Leonidas with his 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians, who refused to leave, stayed back to fight the huge Persian army. They were all killed in the battlefield, in this deathtrap, protecting theie homeland and their values. After all, it was disgraceful for a Spartan to return to Sparta beaten in war. A Spartan would either return from war as a winner, or he should not return at all.

Today, a modern monument lies on the site of the battle in Thermopylae to remind of this courageous action, while the tomb of this legendary king lies in his homeland, Sparta.

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