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Achelous [ak-e-loh'us] or Acheloos, "he who washes away cares"
A river god who fought unsuccessfully with Heracles for Deianira, he is the source of the cornucopia, or horn of plenty (Sophocles, Trachiniae 9-22; Apollodorus 2.7.5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.1-97; Hyginus, Fabulae 31; Diodorus, Siculus 4.35.3-4). He also purified Alcmaeon for the murder of his mother (Apollodorus 3.7.5). Family Tree 9.
Achilles [a-kil'leez] or Achilleus , "lipless" or "one who grieves"(?)
He is the son of Peleus and Thetis, raised by the centaur Chiron (Apollodorus 3.13.6). He was hidden by his mother among the daughters of Lycomedes on the island of Scyros so he would not have to fight at Troy, but was found by Odysseus and Diomedes (Apollodorus 3.13.8; Hyginus, Fabulae 96). He became the fiercest fighter for the Greeks at Troy and leader of the Myrmidons. He refused to fight after Briseis was taken from him by Agamemnon, but reentered the war after Hector killed his friend Patroclus. He killed Hector in return (Homer, Iliad), but died when Paris hit him in the ankle, his only weak spot, with an arrow (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.3). Family Tree 8.
Actaeon [ak-tee'on], or Aktaion, "one must lead" or "seashore"
He is the son of Aristaeus and Autonoe and a member of the ill-fated family line of Cadmus. Taught by the centaur Chiron to be a hunter, he stumbled upon Artemis bathing in a forest cavern (Apollodorus 3.4.4). When Artemis threw water from the spring at him, he was immediately turned into a stag and his hunting dogs tore him apart (Apollodorus 3.4.4; Diodorus Siculus 4.81.3-5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.138-252; Hyginus, Fabulae 180, 181). Family Tree 7. Family Tree 47.
Admetus [ad-mee'tus] or Admetos, "untamed"
He was the king of Pherae, in Thessaly. He participated in the Calydonian boar hunt and was one of the Argonauts. Apollo served him for one year as his penalty for killing the Cyclopes (Apollodorus 3.10.4). His wife, Alcestis, died for him, but Heracles wrestled with Thanatos and restored her to Admetus (Euripides, Alcestis; Apollodorus 1.9.14-15; Hyginus, Fabulae 51).
Adonis [a-don'is], "lord"
He is the son of Cinyras and Myrrha-a handsome young man with whom Aphrodite fell in love (Hyginus, Fabulae 58). When Adonis was mortally wounded by a wild boar, Aphrodite caused an anemone to spring up from his blood and she instituted sacred rites to memorialize his death (Apollodorus 3.14.3-4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.519-552, 10.708-739). Family Tree 13.
Adrastus [a-dras'tus] or Adrastos
He is the son of Talaus and Lysimache and one of the Seven against Thebes. He instituted the Nemean Games in honor of the infant Opheltes, who died tragically at Nemea. Adrastus survived the disaster at Thebes because Arion, his swift horse, carried him from the route. He accompanied the Epigoni against Thebes, but died of grief when his son was the only Argive leader to die in the attack (Pindar, Nemean Odes 9.9; Euripides, Suppliants; Apollodorus 3.6.2-8; Hyginus, Fabulae 242). Family Tree 29.
Aeacus [ee'a-kus] or Aiakos, "bewailing" or "earth-born"
The son of Aegina and Zeus, he became king of the island of Aegina. Hera, jealous that Zeus had carried on with Aegina, sent a plague to the island but Zeus repopulated the island by turning ants into humans (Apollodorus 3.12.6). Aeacus became the leader of these people, who were known as Myrmidons. He had two sons, Telamon and Peleus. After his death, he became a judge in the Underworld (Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.517-660; Hyginus, Fabulae 52). Family Tree 8.
Aeëtes [ee-ee'teez], "eagle," "light up," or "man from Aea (earth)"
The son of Helios and the Oceanid Perse, he possessed the Golden Fleece that Jason had been sent to obtain. After he gave Jason a list of impossible tasks to perform, Aphrodite caused Medea, the daughter of Aeëtes, to fall in love with Jason; Medea used magic to help Jason complete the tasks. Aeetes pursued them unsuccessfully when they fled with the Golden Fleece (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.1140-4.241; Apollodorus 1.9.23; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.1-158; Hyginus, Fabulae 22; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 5.177-8.139). Family Tree 12.
Aegeus [ee'je-us] or Aigeus
The king of Athens and the father of Theseus, he is generally recognized as a humanization of the god Poseidon. He fathered Theseus in Troezen (Apollodorus 3.15.5-7; Hyginus, Fabulae 37) and, when he thought that Theseus had been unsuccessful against the Minotaur, Aegeus drowned himself in the waters that were later named the Aegean Sea (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.10; Hyginus, Fabulae 43). Family Tree 16.
Aegisthus [ee-jis'thus] or Aigisthos
He was the son of his own sister (Pelopia) and Thyestes. He became the lover of Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's wife, and helped kill Agamemnon when he returned from Troy (Homer, Odyssey 4.528-537, 11.404-420; Apollodorus, Epitome 6.23; Aeschylus, Oresteia; Sophocles, Electra; Seneca, Agamemnon). Family Tree 15.
Aegyptus [ee-jip'tus] or Aigyptos, and Danaüs [dan'a-us] or Danaos
They are brothers, sons of Belus, who gave the kingdom of Libya to Danaüs and the kingdom of Arabia to Aegyptus. When the two quarreled, Danaüs fled from Libya to Argos, where he became king. The fifty sons of Aegyptus married the fifty daughters of Danaüs, but forty-nine of the daughters killed their husbands on their wedding night (Apollodorus 2.1.4-5; Hyginus, Fabulae 168). Family Tree 34.
The son of Venus and Anchises, he was a noble fighter for Troy during the Trojan War. He escaped from Troy as the Greeks were sacking the city and went off in search of a place to establish the new Troy. He settled in Italy, where his descendants founded the city of Rome (Virgil, Aeneid; Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.623-726, 14.72-157, 14.441-622). Family Tree 42.
Aeolus [ee'o-lus] or Aiolos
He was god of the winds who lived on a floating island; he had six daughters and six sons who were married to one another. He gave Odysseus a bag of winds to aid him on his journey home from Troy, but when Odysseus' men opened the bag and released the winds, Aeolus refused to help him again (Homer, Odyssey 10.1-76).
She was the daughter of Catreus, king of Crete. Catreus had her and her sister Clymene sold into slavery. She was bought by Atreus and became his wife, but she had an affair with his brother, Thyestes, which began the feud between the two brothers (Apollodorus 3.2.1-2, Epitome 2.10). Family Tree 15.
Aesacus [ee'sa-kus] or Aisakos
The son of Priam and Arisbe (Priam's first wife), he learned to interpret dreams from his maternal grandmother, Merops. Some sources say it was he, not Cassandra, who interpreted the dream of Helenus to mean that Paris would be the destruction of Troy if he was not put to death. Some sources say Aesacus married Asterope, daughter of the river god Cebren, and that he was turned into a bird when he mourned her death. Other sources say Aesacus was in love with Cebren's daughter, Hesperia, that he chased her through the woods, and that Tethys turned him into a diver bird when he threw himself into the sea after Hesperia was killed by a snakebite (Apollodorus 3.12.5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.749-795).
Aether [ee'ther], "upper air"
The offspring of Erebus and Nyx, he is the personification of the bright, upper atmosphere (Hesiod, Theogony 124-125). Family Tree 2.
Agamemnon [ag-a-mem'non], "very determined"
The son of Atreus and Aërope and brother of Menelaus, he led the Greek army that sailed to Troy to bring back Helen. He sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to appease Artemis so the Greeks could sail to Troy (Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis; Hyginus, Fabulae 98). He also caused Achilles to withdraw from the war by demanding Brise‹s. When he returned to Mycenae after the war with Cassandra, his concubine, he and Cassandra were killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, and Aegisthus, her lover (Aeschylus, Agamemnon; Seneca, Agamemnon; Homer, Odyssey 4.519-537). Family Tree 15.
Ajax the Greater [ay'jaks] or Aias
The son of Telamon and one of the fiercest Greek warriors at Troy, he contended unsuccessfully with Odysseus for the armor of Achilles. He committed suicide when the armor was awarded to Odysseus (Sophocles, Ajax; Homer, Iliad; Pindar, Isthmian Odes 6.41-54; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.4, 6-7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.624-13.398; Hyginus, Fabulae 107). Family Tree 17.
Ajax the Lesser [ay'jaks] or Aias
The son of Oileus and leader of the Greeks from Locris in the Trojan War, he desecrated the temple and statue of Athena by raping Cassandra during the sack of Troy (Euripides, Trojan Women 48-97; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.22-23). He was shipwrecked off the island of Tenos; when Ajax boasted that the gods could not keep him from escaping death at sea, Poseidon caused him to drown (Homer, Odyssey 4.499-511; Apollodorus, Epitome 6.6; Virgil, Aeneid 1.39-45). Family Tree 10.
Alcmaeon [alk-mee'on] or Alkamaion
The son of Amphiaraüs, who was one of the Seven against Thebes, he avenged the death of his father by leading the Epigoni in a successful attack against Thebes and by killing his mother, who had been bribed to induce Amphiaraüs to join in the earlier, ill-fated expedition to Thebes (Apollodorus 3.6.2). He married the daughter of King Phegeus, but had to leave because he had committed matricide (Hyginus, Fabulae 73). He was purified by the river god Acheloüs and married Callirhoë, daughter of Acheloüs. He was killed by the sons of Phegeus (Apollodorus 3.7.2-7). Family Tree 11.
Alcyone [al-seye'on-ee] or Alkyone
The daughter of the wind god Aeolus, she found the body of her husband, Ceyx, on the beach after she dreamed he had died at sea. She and her dead husband were turned into kingfishers (Apollodorus 1.7.4; Lucian, Halcyon 1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.410-748; Hyginus, Fabulae 65).
Althaea [al-thee'a] or Althaia
The daughter of Thestius and Eurythemis, she married her uncle Oeneus and became the mother of Gorge, Deianira, and Meleager. She was told that Meleager would live until a particular log on the fire burned through, so she preserved the log until Meleager angered her by killing her brothers Toxeus and Plexippus in an argument at the Calydonian boar hunt. She burned the log, Meleager died, and then she killed herself (Homer, Iliad 9.533-599; Apollodorus 1.8.2-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.268-546; Hyginus, Fabulae 171-174). Family Tree 48.
Amazons, "missing one breast"
They were a race of warlike women. Heracles, Theseus, and Bellerophon made military campaigns against them. They fought on the side of Troy in the Trojan War, where Achilles killed Penthesilea, their leader. Theseus won the Amazon, Antiope (or Hippolyta), and their son was Hippolytus (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.1).
The son of Oecles and Hypermestra, he was a prophet who took part in the Calydonian boar hunt. He refused to attack Thebes until his wife Eriphyle was bribed by Polynices and she persuaded him to be one of the Seven against Thebes, even though he knew he would be killed. At Thebes, he would have been speared in the back by Periclymenus, but Zeus split the earth open with a thunderbolt. Amphiaraüs fell into the hole along with his chariot and charioteer and vanished (Pindar, Nemean Odes 9.13-27; Euripides, Suppliants; Apollodorus 1.8.2, 3.6.2-8). Family Tree 11.
She was one of the Nereids. Married to Poseidon and mother of Triton, she played the role of jealous and angry wife because of Poseidon's many affairs (Hesiod, Theogony 243, 252-253; Apollodorus 1.2.2, 1.4.5; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.17). Family Tree 53.
He ruled Mycenae while his uncle Electryon was away at war, but was banished for accidentally killing Electryon. His wife, Alcmene, refused to sleep with him until he finished Electryon's war against the Teleboans and Taphians. He got help from Creon, the king of Thebes, after solving Creon's problem with a fox by borrowing Laelaps the hound from Cephalus. The night before Amphitryon returned from the battle, Zeus, disguised as Amphitryon, slept with Alcmene and they conceived Heracles; Amphitryon lay with Alcmene the next night and fathered Iphicles (Apollodorus 2.4.5-8; Hyginus, Fabulae 29). Family Tree 31.
Amycus [am'i-kus] or Amykos
The son of Poseidon and king of the Bebryces, he compelled all visitors to compete with him in a boxing match. He had killed all of his opponents before Jason and the Argonauts arrived, when Polydeuces, one of the Dioscuri, boxed with and killed Amycus (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.1-144; Apollodorus 1.9.20; Hyginus, Fabulae 17; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 4.99-343).
The descendant of Dardanus and Ilus and king of the Dardanians, he mated with Aphrodite and became the father of Aeneas. Anchises vowed not to tell anyone of his affair with Aphrodite. When the Greeks were sacking Troy, Aeneas carried Anchises from the city, but Anchises died in Sicily before the Trojans landed in Italy (Homer, Iliad 5.268-272, 13.428-431; Pausanias 8.12.8-9; Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5; Virgil, Aeneid 2.647-649, 707-789; Hyginus, Fabulae 94). Family Tree 42.
Anticlea [an-ti-klee'a or an-ti-kleye'a] or Antikleia
She was the daughter of Autolycus and mother of Odysseus. One account says Sisyphus seduced her to avenge the theft of his cattle by Autolycus and that she gave birth to Odysseus shortly after Autolycus married her off to Laertes. Another account says Laertes was the father of Odysseus. She died of grief while Odysseus was fighting at Troy (Homer, Odyssey 11.84-89, 11.153-224; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.12, 7.17; Hyginus, Fabulae 201, 243). Family Tree 37.
Antigone [an-tig'o-nee], "contrary birth"
This daughter of Oedipus and sister of Polynices and Eteocles buried Polynices despite Creon's decree that whoever buried him should be killed. Creon confined her to a sealed cave, where she would die-she hanged herself; Haemon, Creon's son, who was engaged to Antigone, killed himself with his sword; Creon's wife, Eurydice, then took her own life (Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes; Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone; Euripides, Phoenician Women; Apollodorus 3.5.8-9, 3.7.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 72). Family Tree 19.
Aphrodite [a-froh-deye'tee], "foam born"(?)
The goddess of beauty, love, and marriage was born from the foam that frothed up in the sea where the genitals of Uranus were cast by Cronus (Hesiod, Theogony 168-200; Apollodorus 1.1.1-4). One account makes her the daughter of Zeus and Dione, a goddess who is virtually unknown (Homer, Iliad 5.370-416; Euripides, Helen 1098; Apollodorus 1.3.1). The islands Cyprus and Cythera were special centers of Aphrodite's worship. Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, but she had affairs with Hermes, Poseidon, Ares, and Dionysus, as well as the mortal Anchises (Homer, Odyssey 8.266-366; Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5). Family Tree 50.
Apollo [a-pol'loh], "destroy," or "excite"
The brother of Artemis and son of Leto and Zeus, he was born on the island of Delos (Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo 30-90; Apollodorus 1.4.1). As one of the twelve Olympians-sun god as well as a god of prophecy, music, poetry, and medicine-he represents reason and intellect. He established the famous oracle of Delphi on Mount Parnassus (Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo; Apollodorus 1.4.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 140). He obtained attendants for his temple by turning himself into a dolphin and commandeering a ship (Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo 388-544). The Romans had no equivalent for Apollo. Family Tree 21.
Apsyrtus [ap-sir'tus] or Apsyrtos, also called Aegialeus
The son of Aeëtes and Eidyia and brother of Medea, Apollodorus says he accompanied Medea and Jason from Colchis and that Medea cut him up and threw his body parts into the ocean to slow the pursuit of Aeetes, their father (Apollodorus 1.9.23-24). Apollonius says Apsyrtus pursued Jason and Medea and that Jason killed him in the Danube (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.576-591; Hyginus, Fabulae 23). Family Tree 12.
Arachne [a-rak'nee], "spider."
She was a young maiden who challenged Athena to a weaving contest. When Athena could find no fault with Arachne's tapestry, she tore Arachne's work to shreds and began hitting the girl with her shuttle. Arachne hanged herself, but Athena turned her into a spider (Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.1-145).
Ares [ar'eez] (Mars), "man," "male," "manhood," or "strife."
This son of Zeus and Hera, and god of war, was not popular with the Greeks who saw him as a "butcher." He had a long-term affair with Aphrodite-with whom he produced Eros, Deimos (Panic), Phobus (Fear), and Harmonia-but was trapped in bed with Aphrodite by her husband, Hephaestus (Homer, Odyssey 8.266-366; Homeric Hymn to Ares). Family Tree 22.
They were the heroes who accompanied Jason on his quest to obtain the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from Argo, the ship built by Argus for the expedition, and nautes, the Greek word for sailor-they were the most noble and heroic men in all of Greece (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.23-227; Hyginus, Fabulae 14).
Ariadne [a-ri-ad'nee], "very chaste," or "very pleasing"
This daughter of King Minos of Crete fell in love with Theseus and betrayed her father by giving Theseus a thread to find his way out of the labyrinth (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.7-9; Plutarch, Theseus 19.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.152-173; Hyginus, Fabulae 40-42). She escaped from Crete, but, according to most popular accounts, was left on the island of Naxos, where Dionysus found her and made her his wife (Homer, Odyssey 11.321-325; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.9; Diodorus Siculus 4.61.5; Plutarch, Theseus 20.2-4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.174-182; Hyginus, Fabulae 43). Family Tree 23.
Arion [a-reye'on], "swift," or "the one who flows quickly"
This swift horse was a child of Poseidon, who had turned himself into a stallion, and Demeter who had turned herself into a mare. He was the horse of Adrastus, one of the Seven against Thebes, and saved him from death (Homer, Iliad 23.346-347; Pausanias 8.25.7-10). Family Tree 20.
Artemis [ar'te-mis] (Diana), "fashion," or "cut"(?)
She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin of Apollo. One of the twelve Olympians, she was born on the island of Delos. As goddess of childbirth, nature, and the hunt, she carried a bow and arrows, which she used to avenge misdeeds, particularly crimes against her mother. She also became a moon goddess and took on the characteristics of Selene and Hecate (Homeric Hymn to Artemis). Family Tree 21.
Asclepius [as-klee'pi-us] (Aesculapius) or Asklepios, "cut up," or "turn round and round"(?)
The son of Apollo and Coronis, he was god of medicine and healing, but was raised by the centaur Chiron, who taught him medicine (Pindar, Pythian Odes 3.5-7). He could restore the dead to life, for which offense Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt (Pindar, Pythian Odes 3.54-58; Euripides, Alcestis 3-6; Apollodorus 3.10.4; Hyginus, Fabulae 49; Diodorus Siculus 4.71.2-3). The most famous temple of Asclepius was at Epidaurus. His children included Machaon, Podalirius (Diodorus Siculus 4.71.4), Hygeia (Health), and Panacea (Cure-all). Family Tree 21.
Asopus [a-soh'pus], "slimy muck," or "never silent"
A river god, he was sometimes called the son of Oceanus and Tethys, sometimes the son of Poseidon and Pero, and sometimes the son of Zeus and Eurynome. He married Metope and became the father of Aegina. He caught Zeus lying with his daughter-Zeus fled, but later blasted Asopus with a thunderbolt. Aegina became the mother of Aeacus (Apollodorus 3.12.6; Pausanias 2.5.1; Diodorus Siculus 4.72.1-5). Family Tree 17.
Atalanta [at-a-lan'ta], "balanced," or "not suffering much"
She is sometimes called the daughter of Schoeneus (Apollodorus 1.8.2; Diodorus Siculus 4.34.4, 4.65.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.609; Hyginus, Fabulae 185) and sometimes the daughter of Iasus (Apollodorus 3.9.2), or Iasius (Hyginus, Fabulae 99). She participated in the Calydonian boar hunt and refused to marry anyone who could not beat her in a footrace. Melanion (Hippomenes in Theocritus, Ovid, and Hyginus) outraced her by throwing golden apples to the side of the course, which she slowed down to pick up. In their haste to consummate the marriage, they had sex in a place sacred to Zeus and were turned into lions (Theocritus 3.40-42; Apollodorus 1.8.2-3, 3.9.2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.560-704; Hyginus, Fabulae 99, 174, 185).
Athamas [a'tha-mas], "rich harvest," or "not crowded"(?)
As king of Boeotia, he married a cloud named Nephele and became the father of Phrixus and Helle. He was abandoned by Nephele. Ino, his new wife, tricked him into sacrificing Phrixus and Helle, but Nephele saved them by placing them on a flying ram with a Golden Fleece. Helle fell off at the Hellespont, but Phrixus flew on to Colchis, where he sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave its Golden Fleece to Aeetes (Apollodorus 1.9.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 2, 3)-this was the fleece that Jason and his Argonauts had to obtain. Family Tree 25.
Athena [a-thee'-na] or Athene (Minerva), "protectress"(?)
Born from the head of Zeus, she was goddess of wisdom, war, arts and crafts-a virginal goddess-known as a protector and benefactor of heroes. She was the patron deity of Athens, which was named for her. She beat Poseidon in a contest for this honor by causing an olive tree to grow after Poseidon had created the first horse or caused a spring to gush forth by hitting a rock with his trident (Apollodorus 3.14.1). Family Tree 51.
Atlas [at'las], "he who bears."
This son of Iapetus and Clymene fought on the side of Cronus against Zeus in the Titanomachy, so Zeus condemned him to hold the sky on his shoulders (Apollodorus 1.2.3; Hyginus, Fabulae 150). He helped Heracles obtain the apples of the Hesperides (Apollodorus 2.5.11). Perseus showed him the head of Medusa and turned him into a stone mountain (Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.627-662). Family Tree 49.
The son of Pelops and Hippodamia, he carried on a long term feud with his brother Thyestes and served him a banquet of his own sons. Thyestes cursed the family of Atreus. Among the many dire consequences of this curse, Aegisthus, a later-born son of Thyestes, became the lover of Clytemnestra, and they murdered her husband Agamemnon, the son of Atreus (Hesiod, Catalogue of Women 69; Aeschylus, Agamemnon; Apollodorus 2.4.6, Epitome 2.10-15; Seneca, Thyestes). Family Tree 15.
Atropos [at'ro--pos], "unchangeable," or "inflexible."
A daughter of Zeus and Themis, she was one of the Fates who were also called Moirae or Parcae. She is depicted as an old woman, and cuts the thread of one's life that has been spun and measured out by her two sisters and brings one's life to an end (Hesiod, Theogony 217-222, 901-906, Shield of Heracles 248-269; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
Augeas [aw-jee'as], "bright."
He was a son of Phorbas or Poseidon or Helios and king of Elis. He had large herds of cattle, but had never cleaned their stables. Heracles cleaned them in one day as his fifth labor, but Augeas refused to give him the cattle he had promised as payment (Apollodorus 2.5.5; Diodorus Siculus 4.13.3; Pausanias 5.1.9-10; Hyginus, Fabulae 30). Later, Heracles returned with an army to defeat Augeas and capture the city (Apollodorus 2.7.2; Diodorus Siculus 4.33.1, 4; Pausanias 5.1.10-5.3.1).
Bacchus [bak'kus] or Bakchos (Dionysus), "shouting with joy."
The Romans preferred the name Bacchus for the god Dionysus.
Bellerophon [bel-ler'o-fon], "killer of Bellerus," or "bearing spears"
The grandson of Sisyphus, Bellerophon went to Argos to be purified by King Proetus after accidentally killing his own brother. He was falsely accused by Proetus' wife, Stheneboea, of trying to seduce her (Anteia in Homer, Iliad 6.160 and Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.18). Proetus sent Bellerophon to Iobates with a letter asking Iobates to kill Bellerophon, but Iobates gave Bellerophon a series of impossible tasks to perform: kill the Chimaera, subdue the Solymi, fight against the Amazons, and defend himself against the best soldiers of Lycia. With the help of Pegasus, Bellerophon completed these tasks. Bellerophon attempted to fly up to join the gods, but Pegasus hurled Bellerophon from his back and the hero spent the rest of his life as a lonely wanderer (Homer, Iliad 6.157-202; Hesiod, Theogony 319-325; Pindar, Olympian Odes 13.60-91, Isthmian Odes 7.43-47; Apollodorus 2.3.1-2; Hyginus, Fabulae 57, Poetica Astronomica 2.18). Family Tree 45.
Briseïs [breye-see'is], "she who prevails"
This young woman was the prize of Achilles for his raids on villages around Troy, but Agamemnon ordered that Achilles surrender her when Chryseïs had been taken from him. Achilles followed the order, but then refused to fight and the Trojans gained the upper hand in the Trojan War. After Patroclus had been killed, Agamemnon returned Briseïs to Achilles (Homer, Iliad 1.181-187, 318-348, 19.246-302; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.4.1, 3, 7).
Cacus [ka'kus] or Kakos, "bad"
He was a minor fire deity who stole some of the cattle of Geryon that Heracles was taking to Mycenae. When Heracles heard one of the stolen animals lowing in Cacus' cave, he broke into the cave and strangled Cacus (Virgil, Aeneid 8.252-367; Livy 1.7.4-7).
Cadmus [kad'mus] or Kadmos, "east"
The brother of Europa, he built the city of Cadmeia (Thebes), where he saw a cow lie down. He married Harmonia and became the father of Ino, Semele, Autonoë, Agave, and (according to some accounts) Polydorus (Apollodorus 3.4.1-2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.1-135; Hyginus, Fabulae 178). Later he became the leader of the Encheleans and the Illyrians. He and Harmonia were turned into snakes and went to Elysium (Apollodorus 3.5.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.563-603; Hyginus, Fabulae 6). Family Tree 46.
Caeneus [see'ne-us] or Kaineus, "new"
Originally a woman named Caenis, Poseidon raped her and then offered her whatever she desired. She asked to become a man and she changed her name to Caeneus. When Caeneus demanded to be worshiped as a god, Zeus caused him to be buried under a pile of logs-he flew away as a bird with yellow wings (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.57-64; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.22; Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.189-209, 459-531).
Calchas [kal'kas] or Kalchas, "searcher"
He was a wise and accurate prophet of the Greeks at the Trojan War. After the war he went to Colophon, where he lost to Mopsus in a contest of prophetic ability and died (Apollodorus, Epitome 6.2-4). Family Tree 27.
Callisto [kal-lis'toh] or Kallisto , "most beautiful"
She was a follower of Artemis. Zeus forced his affection on her. Some accounts say he turned her into a bear to avoid detection by Hera, but Hera convinced Artemis to shoot the bear (Apollodorus 3.8.2). Other accounts say Hera herself turned Callisto into a bear (Pausanias 8.3.6-7; Hyginus, Fabulae 177). Ovid says Artemis expelled Callisto from the ranks of her followers when she discovered that Callisto was pregnant (Metamorphoses 2.409-495). Callisto's son, Arcas, was hunting one day and happened upon his mother, who was in the form of a bear, without realizing who she was-Zeus transformed both of them into constellations to avert the matricide (Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.496-507; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.1-2).
Calydonian [kal-i-doh'ni-an] boar hunt
This was the hunt for a wild boar sent by Artemis to ravage Calydon. Meleager led the expedition, which included the greatest heroes of the age. Atalanta first wounded the boar and Meleager killed it. Meleager awarded the boar's skin to Atalanta, which enraged his uncles. Meleager killed them in the argument that ensued (Homer, Iliad 9.533-599; Apollodorus 1.8.2-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.268-546; Hyginus, Fabulae 171-174).
Calypso [ka-lip'soh] or Kalypso, "concealer"
The daughter of Thetis and Atlas (some sources say Nereus or Oceanus), she lived on the island of Ogygia where she detained Odysseus for seven years, promising him immortality if he would stay with her. After Zeus sent Hermes to tell Calypso she had to let Odysseus go, Odysseus built a raft and set sail (Homer, Odyssey 5.1-269). Family Tree 24.
Cassandra [kas-sand'ra] or Kassandra, "trapper of men."
Daughter of King Priam of Troy, she received the ability to prophesy from Apollo when she promised to sleep with him, but he fated her never to be believed when she went back on her promise (Apollodorus 3.12.5). She predicted that Paris' trip to Sparta to get Helen would be disastrous for Troy and that the wooden horse built by the Greeks contained armed soldiers (Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1202-1212; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.17). Agamemnon took her as his concubine after the war, and she predicted that both of them would be killed in Mycenae (Aeschylus, Agamemnon; Apollodorus, Epitome 6.23). Family Tree 42.
Castor [kas'tor] or Kastor.
A son of Leda and Tyndareus and "twin" of Polydeuces, he and Polydeuces were known as the Dioscuri (sons of Zeus). After he was killed in a quarrel with his cousins he lived with Polydeuces, one day in the Underworld and the next on Olympus (Pindar, Nemean Odes 10.60-91; Theocritus, 22.137ff.; Euripides, Helen 16ff.; Apollodorus 3.10.7, 3.11.2, Epitome 1.23; Hyginus, Fabulae 77, 80; Plutarch, Theseus 32, 34; Diodorus Siculus 4.63.1-5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.301-302, 373-375, Fasti 5.699ff.). Family Tree 32.
Catreus [ka'tre-us] or Katreus.
The son of Minos and Pasiphaë, he ruled a portion of Crete and was fated to be killed by one of his children. His son, Althaemenes, went to Rhodes and his daughters were sold abroad. As an old man he desired to leave his kingdom to his son, but when he sailed to Rhodes to get him, Althaemenes mistook him for an invader and killed him (Apollodorus 3.1.2, 3.2.1-2, Epitome 3.3). Family Tree 23.
Cecrops [see'kropz] or Kekrops, "tail with a face."
He was born from the earth without parents and was a snake from the waist down. He became the first king of Attica, built temples to Athena, married Agraulos and became the father of Aglauros, Herse, and Pandrosos (Apollodorus 3.14.1-2; Pausanias 1.2.6, 8.2.2-3, Hyginus, Fabulae 48).
centaurs [sen'tawrs] or Kentauroi, "bull-goaders."
A race of creatures with the head of a man and the legs and body of a horse, they were descendants of Centaurus, a son of Ixion, and the mares with whom he mated on the slopes of Mount Pelion. Chiron was the most famous of the centaurs. At the wedding of Pirithous, the centaurs tried to rape the bride and other Lapith women, causing a huge fight in which the centaurs were routed (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.21-48; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.21; Diodorus Siculus 4.69.1-70.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.210-535; Hyginus, Fabulae 33). Family Tree 33.
Cephalus [se'fa-lus] or Kephalos, "head."
This son of Hermes and Herse, and grandson of Cecrops, had an affair with Eos (Hesiod, Theogony 986-987; Apollodorus 1.9.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.700-713; Hyginus, Fabulae 270). He married Procris, though, and tested her faithfulness by trying to seduce her in disguise. When he caught her beginning to yield, she joined the followers of Artemis, where she was given a hound named Laelaps, which was destined to catch its quarry in every hunt, and a javelin that was destined to hit its mark on every throw. The hound was later employed by Amphitryon in Thebes to chase a fox that was destined to outrun any pursuer. Zeus turned both of them to stone. When Cephalus and Procris were reunited, Procris thought Cephalus was having an affair, so she followed him when he went hunting; he heard her in the foliage and thought she was his prey, so he threw the javelin that always hit its mark-Procris was killed (Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.670-862; Hyginus, Fabulae 189). Family Tree 28.
Cerberus [ser'ber-us] or Kerberos, "monster of the pit"(?).
One of the offspring of Echidna and Typhon, he is the dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld to keep the living from entering and the dead from leaving. Some accounts say Cerberus has fifty heads (Hesiod, Theogony 310-312), while others say he has three heads and a mane of snakes (Apollodorus 2.5.12). The twelfth labor of Heracles was to drag Cerberus from Hades and bring him to Eurystheus (Homer, Iliad 8.366-368, Odyssey 11.623-626; Euripides, Heracles 22-25, 1276-1280; Apollodorus 2.5.12; Diodorus Siculus 4.25.1, 4.26.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.408-419; Hyginus, Fabulae 30). Family Tree 1.
Cercopes [ser-koh'peez] or Kerkopes, "tailed men."
These twin sons of Oceanus and Theia were great tricksters. Their mother had warned them to beware of the "great Black Bottom." Heracles caught them attempting to steal his arrows, so he tied the two upside down at opposite ends of a pole, lifted the pole to his shoulders, and began to bear them away, but the Cercopes laughed uncontrollably. When Heracles learned that they were laughing because his bottom was black from years of exposure to the sun, he was amused and released them (Diodorus Siculus 4.31.7). Zeus turned the Cercopes into monkeys (Ovid, Metamorphoses 14.88-100). Family Tree 26.
Cercyon [ser'si-on] or Kerkyon, "tail."
He was a wrestler at Eleusis who compelled all visitors to wrestle to the death with him. Theseus accepted the challenge and killed Cercyon by smashing him to the ground (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.3; Diodorus Siculus 4.59.5; Plutarch, Theseus 11; Pausanias 1.39.3; Hyginus, Fabulae 38).
Ceres [see'reez] (Demeter), "one who produces."
She was an Italian grain goddess -- the equivalent of Demeter. In 493 B.C., a temple was dedicated to her on the Aventine Hill in Rome.
Ceto [see'toh], "whale."
A daughter of Pontus and Gaia, she was a sea monster, and mother of the Gorgons and the Graeae by Phorcys (Hesiod, Theogony 237-336). Family Tree 1 Family Tree 6.
Chaos [kay'os], "gaping."
This refers to an enormous mass with no limits or order from which the universe originated. From Chaos emerged Ge, Tartarus, Eros, Erebus and Night (Hesiod, Theogony 116-123). Family Tree 1.
Charon [ka'ron], "bright-eyed."
He was the ferryman who takes the souls of the dead across the River Styx on a barge. It was customary in antiquity to bury a persons with a coin between their teeth to pay Charon for passage across the river (Aristophanes, Frogs 138-140, 180-269; Euripides, Alcestis 252-259; Virgil, Aeneid 6.295-330). Several living people managed to gain passage from Charon--Orpheus accomplished it by charming Charon with his singing, Heracles intimidated him, and Aeneas bribed him with the Golden Bough (Virgil, Aeneid 6.384-416).
Charybdis [ka-rib'dis], "one who sucks down."
This is the name of a whirlpool in the narrow strait between Italy and Sicily, that sucked ships down to the bottom of the ocean. Opposite Charybdis lay the monster Scylla. Sailors who tried to avoid Scylla were destroyed by Charybdis, and those who tried to stay away from Charybdis were attacked by Scylla (Homer, Odyssey 12.101-110, 12.234-244; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.825-826).
Chimaera [keye-mee'ra or ki-mee'ra] or Chimaira, "she-goat."
A child of Echidna and Typhon, she was a lion in her forepart and a goat in the middle, with a serpent's tail. Bellerophon, at the behest of Iobates, killed the Chimaera by swooping down on it atop Pegasus and throwing spears at the monster (Homer, Iliad 6.178-183; Hesiod, Theogony 319-325; Apollodorus 2.3.1-2; Hyginus, Fabulae 57, Poetica Astronomica 2.18). Family Tree 1.
Chimaereus [ki-mee're-us] or Chimaireus.
He was a son of Prometheus and Celaeno and was buried at Troy. Menelaus made a sacrifice on his tomb to end a plague at Sparta because Apollo had said the plague would pass when a sacrifice was performed on the tomb of a son of Prometheus. Family Tree 4.
Chiron [keye'ron], "hand."
As the most noble and learned of the centaurs, he was the teacher of Achilles, Actaeon, Aeneas, Peleus, Heracles, Asclepius, and Jason. He was skilled in medicine, music, archery, and the use of plants and herbs. When he was accidentally wounded by one of Heracles' poisoned arrows, Chiron exchanged his immortality for the mortality of Prometheus so he could find relief from his pain in death (Apollodorus 2.5.4; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.38).
Chrysaor [kreye-say'or], "golden sword."
The son of Poseidon and Medusa, he sprang, fully grown and brandishing a golden sword, from Medusa when Perseus cut off her head. He married Callirhoë, an Oceanid, and became the father of Geryon and Echidna (Hesiod, Theogony 278-288, 979-983; Apollodorus 2.4.2). Family Tree 1.
Chryseïs [kreye-see'is], "gold."
The daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo, she was awarded to Agamemnon after the Greeks had captured her while they were making raids on the small towns around Troy. When Agamemnon refused to return her to her father, Apollo sent a plague to the Greek army. Agamemnon gave the girl back, but demanded that Achilles give him his girl, Briseïs. Achilles did so, but then refused to fight in the war (Homer, Iliad 1.8-474; Hyginus, Fabulae 121).
Cicones [si-koh'neez] or Kikones
These were a people who lived in the Thracian city of Ismarus. Odysseus attacked them on his way home from Troy, but the Cicones regrouped and attacked Odysseus' men while they were feasting and enjoying the spoils of the conquest. Six men from each of Odysseus' ships were lost in the counterattack (Homer, Odyssey 9.39-61).
Cinyras [sin'i-ras] or Kinyras, "wailing."
The grandson of Pygmalion and Galatea, his daughter, Myrrha, fell in love with him. Myrrha's nurse arranged for the girl to sleep with her father without her identity becoming known; later, when Cinyras did learn that it was his own daughter with whom he'd been sleeping, he pursued her in anger. She was transformed into a myrrh tree, which drips her tears. From the tree was born her son, Adonis. Hyginus (Fabulae 242) reports that Cinyras took his own life (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.15-17; Apollodorus 3.14.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.298-518; Hyginus, Fabulae 58). Family Tree 13.
Circe [sir'see] or Kirke, "hawk."
A sorceress-the daughter of Helios and the sister of Aeëtes-she lived on the island of Aeaea. She purified Jason and Medea of the murder of Medea's brother, Apsyrtus (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.559-591, 4.659-752; Apollodorus 1.9.24). Odysseus spent an entire year with Circe on his way back to Ithaca after the Trojan War. She directed him to go to the Underworld for a consultation with Tiresias. Telegonus was the son of Circe and Odysseus; when Telegonus grew up, he killed his father accidentally (Homer, Odyssey 10.133-574). Family Tree 12.
Clotho [kloh'thoh] or Klotho, "she who spins."
A daughter of Zeus and Themis, she was one of the Fates who were also called Moirae or Parcae. Usually depicted as an old woman, she spun out the thread of one's life (Hesiod, Theogony 217-222, 901-906; Hesiod, Shield of Heracles 248-269; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
Clymene [kleye'me-nee] or Klymene, "glorious might."
She was a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. According to Hesiod, she married Iapetus and became the mother of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus (Hesiod, Theogony 507-511). Ovid makes her the wife of Helius and the mother of Phaëthon (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.750-2.366). Family Tree 4.
Clytemnestra [kleye-tem-nes'tra] or Klytaimnestra, "praiseworthy wooer."
She was the daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, wife of Agamemnon, and mother of Iphigenia, Orestes, Electra, and Chrysothemis (Apollodorus, Epitome 2.16). When Agamemnon was fighting at Troy, Clytemnestra became the lover of Aegisthus; the two of them killed Agamemnon when he returned home (Aeschylus, Agamemnon; Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.21-22, 4.23; Hyginus, Fabulae 117). Orestes later avenged the murder of his father by killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus (Pindar, Pythian Odes 11.17-37; Aeschylus, Choephori; Sophocles, Electra; Euripides, Electra; Apollodorus, Epitome 4.24-25; Hyginus, Fabulae 119). Family Tree 15 Family Tree 32.
Coeus [see'us] or Koios, "one who perceives."
This son of Uranus and Gaia-one of the Titans-married his sister Phoebe and became the father of Asteria and Leto, the mother of Apollo (Hesiod, Theogony 134, 409-410; Apollodorus 1.1.3). Family Tree 3 Family Tree 21.
Coronis [co-roh'nis] or Koronis, "crow."
She was a young woman from Thessaly whom Apollo loved. The raven saw her in the arms of another young man and reported the incident to Apollo, who shot Coronis through the breast with an arrow. As Coronis lay dying, she told Apollo she was pregnant with their child. Apollo tried to save her, but it was too late; however, he was able to save the infant, whom he named Asclepius. He gave the boy to Chiron and cursed the raven with the black color that it has today (Pindar, Pythian Odes 3.8-46; Apollodorus 3.10.3; Pausanias 2.26.6; Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.533-632; Hyginus, Fabulae 202, Poetica Astronomica 2.40).
Creon [kree'on] or Kreon (1), "ruler."
He was the king of Corinth when Jason and Medea arrived there as exiles from Iolcus. When Jason arranged to marry Creon's daughter, Glauce, Medea sent a crown and a robe to Glauce, after smearing them with an ointment that would burn into Glauce's flesh. When Glauce put them on, she fell to the ground in unbearable agony. Creon tried to embrace her as she lay dying and he too was burned to death by Medea's trap (Euripides, Medea; Apollodorus 1.9.28; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.391-403; Hyginus, Fabulae 25).
Creon [kree'on] or Kreon (2), "ruler."
This son of Menoeceus and brother of Jocasta and uncle of Oedipus became king of Thebes when Oedipus' sons, Eteocles and Polynices, were killed in the attack of the Seven against Thebes. He decreed that anyone who buried Polynices would be put to death. When Antigone performed burial rites for Polynices, he sealed her in a cave where she would starve to death. His son, Haemon, who was betrothed to Antigone, killed himself; his wife, Eurydice, then committed suicide also (Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes; Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone; Euripides, Phoenician Women; Apollodorus 3.5.8-9, 3.7.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 72).
Cretheus [kree'the-us] or Kretheus, "ruler."
He was the brother of Athamas and king of Iolcus; he was also the father of Aeson, who was the father of Jason. When Cretheus died, his stepson Pelias, son of Poseidon, and Tyro, the wife of Cretheus, seized the throne, usurping it from Aeson (Apollodorus 1.9.8, 1.9.11; Homer, Odyssey 11.235-237, 11.258-259). Family Tree 45.
Creusa [kre-ou'sa] or Kreousa.
This daughter of Priam and Hecuba, wife of Aeneas, and mother of Iulus (Ascanius) became lost while following her husband out of the burning city of Troy and was killed by the Greeks (Apollodorus 3.12.5; Pausanias 10.26.1; Virgil, Aeneid 2.596-598, 2.673-674, 2.736-795). Family Tree 42.
Crius [kreye'us] or Krios, "ram"(?).
This son of Uranus and Gaia and one of the Titans married his sister Eurybia and became the father of Astraeus, Pallas, and Perses (Hesiod, Theogony 134, 375-377; Apollodorus 1.1.3). Family Tree 3 Family Tree 18.
Cronus [kro'nus] or Kronos (Saturn), "crow," "rocky," or "accomplisher"(?).
This son of Uranus and Gaia was the youngest of the Titans (Hesiod, Theogony 137-138). He dethroned his father by castrating him. He was ruler of the world during the Golden Age. He married his sister Rhea and together they produced Hestia, Hades, Poseidon, Demeter, Hera, and Zeus. Cronus swallowed his children as they were born, but Rhea gave him a rock bundled in baby blankets instead of Zeus, who was taken to Crete, where he grew up. Zeus later came back and dethroned Cronus in the Titanomachy (Hesiod, Theogony 453-506; Apollodorus 1.1.3-2.1; Pausanias 8.8.2; Diodorus Siculus 5.70.1-71.1). Family Tree 2 Family Tree 3.
Cupid [kyou'pid] (Eros [er'os]), "yearning."
He was the Roman equivalent of Eros, often depicted as a winged cherub.
Cyclopes [seye-klo'peez] or Kyklopes, "round-eyes."
These three children of Uranus and Gaia each had only one eye in the center of his forehead (Hesiod, Theogony 139-146). They were confined within Gaia by Uranus but were released when Cronus castrated Uranus (Apollodorus 1.1.2-4). The Cyclopes served Zeus by providing him with thunderbolts, which they forged with their own hands (Hesiod, Theogony 501-506; Apollodorus 1.2.1; Virgil, Aeneid 8.439-453). They were slain by Apollo, who was angry because Zeus had used one of their thunderbolts to kill Asclepius, Apollo's son (Euripides, Alcestis 3-6; Apollodorus 3.10.4; Diodorus Siculus 4.71.2-3; Hyginus, Fabulae 49). Family Tree 3.
Cycnus [sik'nus] or Kyknos, "swan."
This son of Poseidon-king of Colonae, near Troy-fought on the side of the Trojans in the Trojan War, but Achilles killed him in the first battle. He was turned into a swan by his father, and flew away (Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.71-145, 580-606).
Cyrene [seye-ree'nee] or Kyrene, "lady of the rein."
She was a nymph whom Apollo saw wrestling a lion; he whisked her away to a place in Libya that was later named for her. Cyrene bore a son to Apollo named Aristaeus, who married Autonoë and became the father of Actaeon (Pindar, Pythian Odes 9.5-8; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.500-527; Diodorus Siculus 4.81-82; Virgil, Georgics 4.315-558). Family Tree 47.
Cyzicus [siz'i-kus] or Kyzikos, "exalted."
He was a king of the Doliones who lived in a small village on the coast of the Euxine Sea just inside the Hellespont. Jason and the Argonauts stopped there on their way to get the Golden Fleece. They killed Cyzicus unwittingly when a storm at sea blew them back to land and a battle ensued, with neither side realizing whom it was fighting. When daylight showed that a tragic mistake had been made, Jason and the Argonauts helped to mourn and bury Cyzicus (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.946-1077; Apollodorus 1.9.18; Hyginus, Fabulae 16; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 2.634-3.361).
Daedalus [dee'da-lus] or Daidalos, "clever worker."
He was a skilled craftsman who learned his art from Athena. Banished from his hometown of Athens after he murdered Perdix, his nephew, he went to Crete, where he worked for King Minos and his wife, Pasiphaë (Apollodorus 3.15.8; Hyginus, Fabulae 39). He constructed the Labyrinth which housed the Minotaur (Apollodorus 3.1.4), but Minos imprisoned Daedalus for telling Theseus the secret of the Labyrinth. Daedalus fashioned wings out of feathers and wax for himself and his son, Icarus, who had been imprisoned with him. Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wax melted, the feathers fell from his arms, and he plunged into the sea; the place where he fell was named the Icarian Sea after him (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.7-13; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.163-262; Hyginus, Fabulae 40). Minos searched in many lands for Daedalus but was killed in Sicily by the daughters of Cocalus, who was harboring Daedalus (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.14-15).
Daphne [daf'nee], "laurel."
She was a daughter of the river god Peneus-Apollo fell in love with her, but she fled from him. When Peneus turned her into a laurel tree to save her, Apollo vowed that he would use laurel sprigs to wreathe his head as well as to adorn his quiver and his lyre (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.452-567; Hyginus, Fabulae 203).
Dardanus [dar'da-nus] or Dardanos, "burn," or "divide."
This son of Zeus and Electra (daughter of Atlas) survived the great flood and sailed to the area that later became known as Troy. He married the daughter of Teucer, who was king of the area, built a city, and named it after himself. When Teucer died, Dardanus succeeded him as king and renamed the entire area Dardania; the inhabitants of the region were known as Dardani. The Trojan royal house traced its lineage back to Dardanus (Homer, Iliad 20.215-222; Apollodorus 3.12.1-2; Diodorus Siculus 5.48.2-3). Family Tree 42.
Deïanira [dee-ya-neye'ra] or Deianeira, "man-killer."
She was the sister of Meleager. Heracles won her hand by defeating Acheloüs in a fight, but the centaur Nessus tried to rape her after carrying her across the River Evenus. Heracles saved her by shooting Nessus with an arrow that had been dipped in the poison of the Lernaean hydra. Nessus told Deïanira to gather some of his blood as a love potion to use on Heracles should he ever begin to stray from her; later, when Heracles wooed Iole, Deïanira sent him a robe that had been dipped in the blood of Nessus. When Heracles donned the robe, his flesh was eaten away-he finally stopped the excruciating pain by ending his life on a pyre he had Poeas build and ignite. Deïanira took her life with a sword (Sophocles, Trachiniae; Apollodorus 2.7.5-7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.1-238; Hyginus, Fabulae 34, 36). Family Tree 48.
Demeter [de-mee'ter] (Ceres), "grain mother," or "earth mother"(?).
This daughter of Cronus and Rhea was one of the twelve Olympians-goddess of grain and the earth's fertility. By Iasion she is the mother of Plutus, the god of wealth, and by Poseidon she gave birth to Arion. Her affair with Zeus produced Persephone. She searched for Persephone after the maiden was abducted by Hades (Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Apollodorus 1.5.1-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.359-550). This story was the basis for the Eleusinian Mysteries-initiates into these mysteries believed in a life after death and trusted that their lot in that life would be better because they had taken part in the mysteries. Family Tree 2.
Deucalion [dou-kay'li-on] or Deukalion, "wet," and Pyrrha [pir'ra], "red-haired."
Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pyrrha was the daughter of Epimetheus. Warned by Prometheus, they built a boat and survived the great flood; they repopulated the earth by throwing stones behind their backs (Apollodorus 1.7.1-2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.318-415). Family Tree 4.
Diana [deye-a'na] (Artemis), "goddess."
She was an Italian goddess concerned with the affairs of women, particularly childbirth, who became identified with Artemis.
Dike [dee'kay], "justice, order, right."
This daughter of Zeus and Themis was one of the Seasons. She and her sisters attended the divinities of vegetation and fertility, Dionysus, Persephone, and Demeter-they often accompanied Aphrodite (Hesiod, Theogony 901-906; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
Diomedes [deye-o-mee'deez], "divine ruler."
One of the Epigoni and later one of the leading Greeks in the Trojan War, he wounded Aeneas and even the goddess Aphrodite. He stole the Palladium from Troy, helped bring Philoctetes from Lemnos, and was one of the men who hid inside the wooden horse. He had a safe voyage home from Troy (Homer, Iliad 2.559-568, 5.1-444; 6.119-236, 8.78-171, 10.219-579, 14.109-134; Apollodorus 1.8.5-6; Hyginus, Fabulae 98, 102, 108, 175). Family Tree 29.
A goddess about whom little is known, Homer says she was the mother of Aphrodite by Zeus. Her name may be a feminine form of the name Zeus (Homer, Iliad 5.370-416; Hesiod, Theogony 353; Euripides, Helen 1098; Apollodorus 1.1.3, 1.3.1). Family Tree 50.
Dionysus [deye-o-neye'sus] or Dionysos (Bacchus), "Zeus's limp"(?).
This son of Zeus and Semele (also known to the Greeks as Bakchos), was god of vegetation, particularly of the grapevine and wine. He was also a resurrection god and leader of a mystery cult and, in this capacity, represents the ecstatic, mystical, emotive side of life. His followers were bacchants or bacchantes (male or female), maenads (always female, also known as bacchae), satyrs, and sileni (both always male) (Euripides, Bacchae; Apollodorus 3.4.2-3.5.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.513-4.41, 4.389-419). Pirates kidnapped Dionysus when he was a young man but he caused wine to flow on the ship and vines to climb up the mast; he turned himself into a lion and created a bear in the middle part of the ship. The pirates jumped overboard to save themselves and Dionysus turned them into the first dolphins -- he blessed the helmsman, who had pleaded for his release, with happiness and fortune (Homeric Hymn to Dionysus 7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.582-691; Hyginus, Fabulae 134). Dionysus replaced Hestia as one of the twelve Olympians. Family Tree 23 Family Tree 46.
Dioscuri [dye-os'kou-ree] or Dioskouroi, "sons of Zeus."
This is the name for Castor and Polydeuces (also known as Pollux) -- sons of Leda said to have been fathered by Zeus (Euripides, Helen 16ff.; Apollodorus 3.10.7; Hyginus, Fabulae 77). They brought their sister Helen back to Sparta after Theseus had kidnapped her (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.23; Plutarch, Theseus 32, 34; Diodorus Siculus 4.63.1-5). They also took part in the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts and in the Calydonian boar hunt (Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.301-302, 373-375). When they quarreled with their cousins Idas and Lynceus -- Castor was killed -- Zeus offered to grant immortality to Polydeuces and to take him up to Olympus or to allow him to live forever with Castor, one day on Olympus and the next day in the Underworld. Polydeuces chose to remain with his brother (Pindar, Nemean Odes 10.60-91; Theocritus, 22.137ff.; Apollodorus 3.11.2; Cypria 1; Ovid, Fasti 5.699ff.; Hyginus, Fabulae 80). After their deaths, the Dioscuri were worshiped as gods -- they were believed to protect seafarers as Saint Elmo's fire and to defend the just (Pliny, Natural History 2.101). Family Tree 48.
Doris [dor'is], "gifted."
This daughter of Oceanus and Tethys was a sea goddess; she married Nereus and became mother of the Nereids (Hesiod, Theogony 240-264, 350; Apollodorus 1.2.2, 1.2.7). Family Tree 6.
Echidna [e-kid'na], "viper."
Half snake and half nymph -- child of Chrysaor and Callirhoë, an Oceanid -- she mated with Typhon and bore Orthus, Cerberus, the Lernaean hydra, and the Chimaera. Echidna and Orthus then produced the Theban Sphinx and the Nemean lion (Hesiod, Theogony 295-332; Apollodorus 2.1.2). Family Tree 1.
Eileithyia [eye-leye-theye'a], "she who has come."
This daughter of Zeus and Hera was goddess of childbirth. The birth of Apollo was delayed while Hera detained her (Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo 3.91-119). Hera sent her to delay the birth of Heracles (Homer, Iliad 19.96-133; Apollodorus 2.4.5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.281-323). Family Tree 22.
Eirene [eye-ree'nee], "peace."
This daughter of Zeus and Themis was one of the Seasons. She and her sisters attended the divinities of vegetation and fertility, Dionysus, Persephone, and Demeter-they often accompanied Aphrodite (Hesiod, Theogony 901-906; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
Electra [e-lek'tra] or Elektra (1), "amber."
The daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra (though Homer does not mention her among Agamemnon's children [Homer, Iliad 9.142]), she helped Orestes avenge the murder of their father by killing Clytemnestra; she married Pylades and gave birth to Medon and Strophius (Aeschylus, Libation Bearers; Sophocles, Electra; Euripides, Electra, Orestes; Apollodorus, Epitome 2.15, 4.23, 4.28; Seneca, Agamemnon; Hyginus, Fabulae 117, 122). Family Tree 15.
Electra [e-lek'tra] or Elektra (2), "amber."
She was the mother of Iris and the Harpies (Hesiod, Theogony 265-269; Apollodorus 1.2.6). Family Tree 6.
Electra [e-lek'tra] or Elektra (3), "amber."
One of the Pleiades (daughters of Atlas and Pleione), Zeus fell in love with her and carried her to Olympus from her home in Samothrace; when she clung to the Palladium for safety, Zeus threw it from Olympus. In grief at either the death of her son Dardanus or at the destruction of Troy, she withdrew to the Arctic Circle, leaving her star in the Pleiades constellation virtually invisible (Apollodorus 3.10.1, 3.12.1, 3.12.3; Hyginus, Fabulae 192, Poetica Astronomica 2.21). Family Tree 49.
Electryon [e-lek'tri-on] or Elektryon, "shining."
This son of Perseus and king of Mycenae attacked the Taphians and the Teleboans (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.747-751). He left his nephew Amphitryon in charge of Mycenae and promised to give his daughter, Alcmene, to Amphitryon. Amphitryon accidentally killed Electryon by throwing a club at one of his cows, but the club ricocheted off the cow's horns and struck Electryon (Hesiod, Shield of Heracles 11-12, 79-82; Apollodorus 2.4.5-6). Family Tree 31.
Elysium [e-liz'ee-um] or Elysion.
This home of the blessed in the afterlife -- also known as the Elysian Fields, Isles of the Blest, Blessed Isles, Heaven, and Paradise -- was originally seen as the destination of heroes only, later of anyone who led a good life. It is variously located next to the Underworld, beyond the River Ocean in the west, or in the heavens (Homer, Odyssey 4.561-569; Hesiod, Works and Days 167-173; Pindar, Olympian Odes 2.61-83; Pausanias 3.19.11-13).
Eos [ee'os], "dawn," (Aurora).
This daughter of Hyperion and Theia was goddess of the dawn. She had affairs with Ares, Orion, Cephalus, Tithonus, and others. When she asked the gods to grant immortality to Tithonus, a royal Trojan, she forgot to ask that he be ageless as well as deathless -- Tithonus got older and older, eventually he became nothing but a grasshopper (Hesiod, Theogony 371-382, 984-991; Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5.218-238; Apollodorus 1.4.5, 3.12.4, 3.14.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.576-622; Hyginus, Fabulae 189). Family Tree 30.
Epigoni [e-pig'o-neye] or Epigonoi, "later offspring."
They were descendants of the Seven against Thebes who avenged the defeat of their forebears at Thebes by attacking and sacking the city (Apollodorus 3.6.2).
Erebus [er'e-bus] or Erebos, "darkness."
One of the offspring of Chaos, together with Night, Erebus produced Air (Aether, the bright upper atmosphere) and Day. Poets later equated Erebus with the realm of Hades (Hesiod, Theogony 123-125). Family Tree 2.
Erichthonius [er-ik-thohn'i-us] or Erichthonios , "conflict with the earth"(?).
Part snake and part man, he was born from the earth when Hephaestus tried to rape Athena and his semen fell on the ground. When Gaia refused to take care of the child, Athena named him Erichthonius, placed him in a box and gave him to Aglauros, daughter of Cecrops. Aglauros was turned to stone by Hermes, and her mother and two sisters peeked inside the box; when they saw that the infant was part snake, they jumped off the Acropolis of Athens in terror. Athena then raised Erichthonius herself; he became king of Athens and instituted the annual festival known as the Panathenaea (Euripides, Ion 20-24, 260-274; Apollodorus 3.14.6; Hyginus, Fabulae 166, Poetica Astronomica 2.13).
Erinyes [er-rin'i-eez] or Furies, "strong ones"(?).
These were fierce, winged spirits who avenged wrongs against blood relatives, often by driving the criminals mad. They sprang up out of the blood that fell to the ground from the castrated genitals of Uranus. They pursued Orestes for killing Clytemnestra, but when Orestes was acquitted in the court of the Areopagus in Athens, the Erinyes were appeased by the promise of Athena that they would have a home in Athens and would be worshiped there. The Erinyes (Furies) thereafter became known as the Eumenides, which means "the kind ones" (Hesiod, Theogony 168-200; Aeschylus, Eumenides; Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 940-967; Apollodorus, Epitome 6.25; Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.451-511). Family Tree 3.
Eris [er'is], "strife."
The goddess of discord, she was not invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. She came anyway and threw into the midst of the goddesses an apple that became known as the apple of discord -- on it were inscribed the words "For the most beautiful." When Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all claimed the apple, Zeus decreed that the matter should be decided by Paris. The Judgment of Paris and its consequences eventually led to the Trojan War (Homer, Iliad 4.439-445, 11.3-14; Hesiod, Works and Days 11-19, Theogony 225-232; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.1-2; Hyginus, Fabulae 92).
Eros [er'os], "love," (Cupid).
He emerged shortly after Chaos at the first stage of creation. The male counterpart of Aphrodite (Hesiod, Theogony 120-122, 201) -- later mythology called him the son of Aphrodite and Ares -- the Romans knew this depiction of the god as Cupid (Virgil, Aeneid 1.667-722). Family Tree 2 Family Tree 22.
Eteocles [e-tee'o-kleez] or Eteokles.
This son of Oedipus and Jocasta was to alternate rule of Thebes with his brother Polynices, each brother ruling for one year at a time and then stepping down. When Eteocles refused to hand the throne over to Polynices at the end of the first year, Polynices and six other leaders (the Seven against Thebes) led an expedition against the city. Eteocles and Polynices killed each other at the same moment (Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes; Euripides, Phoenician Women; Apollodorus 3.6.5-6; Pausanias 9.5.11-13). Family Tree 19.
Eunomia [you-noh'mi-a], "good order."
This daughter of Zeus and Themis was one of the Seasons. She and her sisters attended the divinities of vegetation and fertility, Dionysus, Persephone, and Demeter -- they often accompanied Aphrodite (Hesiod, Theogony 901-906; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
Europa [you-roh'pa] or Europe, "wide-faced."
This daughter of Agenor was seduced by Zeus and carried to Crete where she bore Minos. Her brother Cadmus searched for her and founded Cadmeia (Thebes) (Apollodorus 3.1.1-2; Diodorus Siculus 5.78.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.836-875; Hyginus, Fabulae 178). Family Tree 23 Family Tree 46.
Eurybia [you-ri'bi-a] or Eurybie, "broad might."
She was the offspring of Pontus and Gaia, mother of Astraeus, Pallas, and Perses by the Titan Crius. Nothing is known of her function (Hesiod, Theogony 239, 375-377; Apollodorus 1.2.6). Family Tree 6 Family Tree 18.
Eurydice [you-ri'di-see] or Eurydike, "broad justice."
The wife of Orpheus, she was bitten by a snake on her wedding day and died. Orpheus charmed Hades and Persephone with his music, so they allowed him to lead Eurydice out of the Underworld provided that he not look behind on the way out. Orpheus became worried that Eurydice was not following, so he turned to see her -- Eurydice slipped away from him and died a second time. When Orpheus tried a second time to retrieve her, Charon refused to ferry him across the River Styx (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.23-34; Apollodorus 1.3.2; Virgil, Georgics 4.453-527; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.1-85, 11.1-84; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.7).
Eurynome [you-ri'noh-mee] (1), "wide ruling," or "wind wandering."
This daughter of Oceanus and Tethys bore the three Graces and the river Asopus by Zeus (Hesiod, Theogony 358, 907-911; Apollodorus 3.12.6; Pausanias 8.41.4-6). Family Tree 8 Family Tree 55.
Eurynome [you-ri'noh-mee] (2), "wide ruling," or "wind wandering."
The daughter of Nisus, Athena instructed her until she equaled the gods in wisdom. She married Glaucus and became the mother of Bellerophon; some sources say Poseidon lay with Eurynome and fathered Bellerophon (Hesiod, Catalogue of Women 7). Apollodorus calls her Eurymede (Apollodorus 1.9.3). Family Tree 45.
Eurystheus [you-ris'the-us], "broadly powerful."
The son of Sthenelus and the man whom Heracles had to serve for twelve years in order to become immortal, Eurystheus was born before Heracles because Hera hastened his birth and delayed Heracles' (Homer, Iliad 19.96-133; Apollodorus 2.4.5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.281-323). He became king of Mycenae (Apollodorus 2.4.12). Family Tree 31.v
Fates, Moirae, or Moirai [moi'reye].
They were generally considered offspring of Zeus and Themis, though some sources list Night or Erebus as their mother. They are also called Moirae or Parcae. They were personifications of an individual's fate and were depicted as three old women (Hesiod, Theogony 217-222, 901-906, Shield of Heracles 248-269). Family Tree 5.
Faunus [faw'nus], "kindly one."
An Italian god of woods and forests, he was associated with the Roman festival known as the Lupercalia because of his identification with Pan. He saw Hercules (Heracles in Greek mythology) and Omphale, and fell in love immediately with Omphale. He crept into their cave and located in the dark the individual wearing feminine clothing, but Hercules and Omphale had traded clothes -- Hercules thrashed him (Ovid, Fasti 2.303-358).
Five Ages of Man
These are the stages of human beings' existence on the earth. They are as follows:
Golden Age. This took place during the reign of Cronus -- harmony and peace prevailed. Humans did not grow old, but died peacefully. This race of humans died out (Diodorus Siculus 5.66.4-6).
Silver Age. These people lived for 100 years as children without growing up, then they suddenly aged and died. Zeus destroyed these people because of their impiety.
Bronze Age. These humans were fierce and warlike -- their tools and implements were made of bronze. They destroyed one another in wars.
Heroic Age. In this period lived noble demigods and heroes. This race died and went to Elysium.
Iron Age. This is the age in which we live -- humans who bicker and fight. They have to struggle to eke out their existence; Zeus will someday destroy this race (Hesiod, Works and Days 111-201).
Gaia [geye'a] or Gaea [jee'a] or Ge [gay], "earth."
She came into being shortly after Chaos in the first stage of creation. She produced Uranus, Ourea (Mountains), and Pontus without a partner, then mated with Uranus to give birth to the Hecatonchires, the Cyclopes, and the Titans. She conspired with her youngest son, Cronus, to overthrow Uranus (Hesiod, Theogony 116-187, 233-239, 459-497, 820-822, 881-885; Apollodorus 1.1.1-5). Family Tree 1 Family Tree 2.
Galatea [ga-la-tee'a] (1), "milk white."
She was the woman Pygmalion created out of ivory for himself.
Galatea [ga-la-tee'a] (2), "milk white."
A Nereid with whom the Cyclops Polyphemus fell in love, she was enamored of Acis, the son of Faunus. Polyphemus cut his beard with a scythe and combed his hair with a rake, but Galatea was still not interested. When Polyphemus caught Galatea and Acis in the act of love, he chased after them; Galatea jumped into the sea and Acis was crushed beneath a huge rock hurled by the Cyclops (Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.750-897).
Ganymede [gan'i-meed], "delighting in manliness."
The son of Tros, Zeus snatched handsome Ganymede and made him a cupbearer for the gods. Zeus sent Hermes to Tros with some swift horses to compensate for the loss of his son (Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5.202-217; Apollodorus 2.5.9, 3.12.2; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.16, 2.29). Family Tree 42.
Geryon [jer'i-on or ger'i-on], "shouter."
This child of Callirhoë and Chrysaor was a monster with three heads who lived far to the west on the island of Erythia, where he kept cattle. Orthus, a hound with two heads, and Eurytion, a giant, helped him tend his herd. For his tenth labor, Heracles had to bring these cattle back to Mycenae; Heracles killed Orthus, Eurytion, and Geryon (Hesiod, Theogony 287-294, 979-983; Pindar, Fragment 169.4-7; Herodotus 4.8; Euripides, Heracles 423-424; Apollodorus 2.5.10; Diodorus Siculus 4.17). Family Tree 1.
Giants [jee'je-nays and gay'ge-nays] or Gegeneis, "earth-born."
They sprang up from the blood that dripped to the earth from the castrated genitals of Uranus and fought against Zeus in the Gigantomachy. Some sources say Heracles helped Zeus secure the victory (Apollodorus 1.6.1-2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.151-160). Family Tree 3.
Gorgons [gor'gonz] or Gorgones, "fierce ones."
These three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto -- their names are Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale -- have serpents for hair, and anyone who looks at them is turned to stone. Perseus had to bring the head of Medusa back to Polydectes (Hesiod, Theogony 270-283; Apollodorus 2.4.2). Family Tree 35.
Graces, or Charites [kar'i-teez].
These daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, usually said to be three in number, are personifications of beauty and grace. They often serve as attendants of Aphrodite at joyous occasions such as weddings and are typically portrayed in art as nubile young women dancing nude (Hesiod, Theogony 64-65, 945-946). Family Tree 55.
Graeae [gree'ee or geye'eye] or Graiai, "old women."
These three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto were born old and had gray hair at birth. They share one razor-sharp tooth and one eye. Perseus consulted the Graeae to learn the whereabouts of the Stygian nymphs who had some implements he needed for his expedition to the Gorgons. He took the Graeae's one eye and refused to return it until they told him where he could find the Stygian nymphs (Hesiod, Theogony 270-283; Apollodorus 2.4.1-2). Family Tree 35.
Hades [hay'deez], "unseen one," (Pluto).
Although this son of Cronus and Rhea is ruler of the Underworld, he is not considered one of the Olympian gods, because he does not live on Olympus (Hesiod, Theogony 453-455). Though fixed and immovable, Hades is a just ruler. He is married to Persephone (Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Apollodorus 1.5.1-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.359-550). Family Tree 2.
Harmonia [har-moh'ni-a], "concord."
The daughter of Ares and Aphrodite (some sources say of Zeus and Electra, the daughter of Atlas), she was married to Cadmus. The marriage was a grand affair, attended by gods and mortals alike. Along with her husband, she was turned into a snake at the end of her life (Apollodorus 3.5.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.563-603; Hyginus, Fabulae 6). Family Tree 46.
Harpies [har'peez], "snatchers."
These children of Thaumas and the Oceanid Electra have wings and talons like birds, but in their upper bodies and faces they resemble women. They are personifications of the winds that carry things away (Hesiod, Theogony 265-269). Both Jason and Aeneas had adventures with Harpies on their travels. Family Tree 6.
Hebe [hee'bee], "youth."
This daughter of Zeus and Hera is goddess of youthful bloom and the first blush of puberty. She serves the immortals as a cupbearer (Homer, Iliad 4.2-3), and became the wife of Heracles after he died (Pindar, Isthmian Odes 4.55-60; Apollodorus 2.7.7). Family Tree 22.
Hecate [hek'a-tee] or Hekate, "far darter."
A descendant of the Titans, she is a fertility goddess whose home is in the Underworld. She is associated with darkness, black magic, and witchcraft, and was especially worshiped at crossroads, which were thought to be centers of ghostly activities. She became identified with her cousin Artemis (Hesiod, Theogony 409-452). Family Tree 18.
Hecatonchires [hek-a-ton-keye'reez] or Hekatoncheires, "hundred-handers."
They are three children of Uranus and Gaia, each of whom has 100 hands. Uranus imprisoned them inside Gaia, but Cronus released them and they joined the side of Zeus in the tenth year of the Titanomachy. Zeus placed them as guards over the Titans in Tartarus (Hesiod, Theogony 147-160, 617-735; Apollodorus 1.1.1-2, 4-5; 1.2.1). Family Tree 3.
Hector [hek'tor], "prop."
Son of Priam and Hecuba, he was the Trojans' greatest warrior. He was married to Andromache and father of Astyanax. After he killed Patroclus, Achilles reentered the battle and killed Hector; each day for twelve successive days Achilles dragged Hector's body around the city and each night Apollo restored the corpse. Priam ransomed his son's body from Achilles (Homer, Iliad). When the Greeks sacked Troy, Andromache was given to Neoptolemus and Astyanax was thrown to his death from the city walls (Little Iliad 14; Euripides, Andromache). Family Tree 42.
Hecuba [he'kyou-ba] or Hekabe.
Sometimes called Hecabe, this daughter of Dymas or Cisseus or the river god Sangarius and Metope, was the mother of numerous children. She was awarded to Odysseus after the Trojan War, but in Thrace she was turned into a dog with fiery eyes after blinding and killing King Polymestor, who had robbed and killed her son (Pindar, Paeans 8; Euripides, Hecuba, The Trojan Women; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.23; Pausanias 10.27.2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.536-575; Hyginus, Fabulae 91, 111). Family Tree 42.
The daughter of Zeus and Leda, Tyndareus was her earthly father. Many suitors wooed her, but she married Menelaus, king of Sparta, after Tyndareus made the suitors swear an oath to protect Helen and her husband (Hesiod, Catalogue of Women 67-68; Apollodorus 3.10.8-9; Pausanias 3.1.4-5; Hyginus, Fabulae 77, 80, 81). But Paris took her to Sparta as his prize for naming Aphrodite the most beautiful of the goddesses (Apollodorus, Epitome 3.3), and the Trojan War was fought to reclaim Helen. One account says Helen was in Egypt during the Trojan War and that it was a phantom Helen that Paris took to Troy (Herodotus 2.112-120; Euripides, Helen 31-51, Electra 1280-1283). Family Tree 32.
Helenus [hel'e-nus] or Helenos, "of the light."
The son of Priam and Hecuba, he had the gift of prophecy. When he was captured by the Greeks in the tenth year of the Trojan War, he told them that they would win the conflict only if the bones of Pelops were brought to Troy; if the Palladium was taken from the city; if Neoptolemus took the place of his father, Achilles; and if Philoctetes was fetched to use the bow and arrows of Heracles that he had acquired from his father. After the war, Helenus established the city of Buthrotum, in northwestern Greece (Homer, Iliad 6.72-101, 7.44-53, 13.576-600; Sophocles, Philoctetes 604-613, 1337-1342; Virgil, Aeneid 3.294-491; Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.437-452; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.9-10, 23, 6.12-13). Family Tree 42.
Helius [hee'li-us] or Helios, "sun."
He is son of Hyperion and Theia and a sun god (Hesiod, Theogony 371-374, 956-962). Family Tree 30.
The daughter of Athamas and Nephele, she was saved by a flying golden ram when her stepmother, Ino, tried to have her killed. She fell from the ram into the strait that became known as the Hellespont after her (Apollodorus 1.9.1; Diodorus Siculus 4.47; Hyginus, Fabulae 1-3, Poetica Astronomica 2.30). Family Tree 25.
Hemera [hee'me-ra], "day."
This offspring of Erebus and Nyx (Night) was the personification of day (Hesiod, Theogony 124-125; Pausanias 1.3.1). Family Tree 2.
Hephaestus [he-fees'tus or he-fes'tus] or Hephaestos (Vulcan), "light"(?).
This son of Zeus and Hera is the god of creative and divine fire; he is a cupbearer at the gods' banquets and a highly skilled blacksmith and artisan. He made new armor for Achilles during the Trojan War. He was a cripple at birth and his mother hurled him from Olympus; he landed in the sea, and was cared for by Thetis and Eurynome. Hera later restored him to Olympus and married him to Aphrodite (Homer, Iliad 18.394-405; Apollodorus 1.3.5). Zeus also threw him from Olympus once -- he landed on the island of Lemnos, which became an important center of his worship (Homer, Iliad 1.584-594). Family Tree 22.
Hera [hee'ra] (Juno), "she who protects."
The daughter of Cronus and Rhea, she married her brother Zeus and became his queen. One of the twelve Olympians, she is a goddess of marriage and childbirth. She figures prominently as the bane of Heracles and the protector of Jason (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica). Family Tree 22.
Heracles [her'a-kleez] or Herakles (Hercules), "glory of Hera."
This son of Zeus and Alcmene was plagued by Hera, who beset him with fits of madness. He married Megara, but killed her and their children. He had to perform twelve labors for Eurystheus. A lion skin, a club, and a bow and arrows were his trademarks. He married Deïanira, but pursued Iole. He was sold as a slave to Omphale. He was poisoned by Deïanira with blood from Nessus that was tainted with toxin from the Lernaean hydra, and had Poeas (father of Philoctetes) light a funeral pyre on which he died. He became a god, was reconciled with Hera, and married Hebe. Family Tree 31.
Hermaphroditus [her-ma-froh-dee'tus] or Hermaphroditos , "of Hermes and Aphrodite."
He was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. When he was fifteen years old, the nymph of the fountain Salmacis fell in love with him and pulled him into the fountain. She wrapped herself around him and prayed that they would never be separated. The gods made of Hermaphroditus and Salmacis one person, a hermaphrodite, neither male nor female (Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.385-388). Family Tree 38.
Hermes [her'meez] (Mercury), "pillar" or "support."
This son of Zeus and Maia is one of the twelve Olympians. He delivers messages for the gods and is also the god of travelers, roads, orators, commerce, and thieves. He accompanies the souls of the dead to the Underworld. On the first day of his life he escaped from his crib, created the first lyre from a tortoise shell and reeds, and stole some of the cattle of his half-brother Apollo. He and Apollo were reconciled, and he gave the lyre to Apollo (Homeric Hymn to Hermes; Apollodorus 3.10.2). Family Tree 38.
The daughter of Menelaus and Helen, she married Orestes and was the mother of Tisamenus. Some accounts say she had been married, or at least promised, to Neoptolemus (Homer, Iliad 3.174, Odyssey 4.5-14; Euripides, Andromache 967-981, Orestes 1653-1657; Apollodorus 3.11.1, Epitome 3.3, 6.14, 6.28; Pausanias 2.18.6; Hyginus, Fabulae 123). Family Tree 15.
Hero [hee'roh], "devoted to Hera"(?), and Leander [lee-an'der], "lion man."
They were two lovers who lived on opposite sides of the Hellespont. Each night, Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, set out a lamp on a tower and Leander swam across the Hellespont to be with her. One night, a fierce storm extinguished Hero's lamp, and Leander, unable to find his way to the shore, drowned in the storm. Hero discovered her lover's corpse and threw herself off the tower (Ovid, Heroides 18, 19).
Hestia [hes'ti-a], "hearth," (Vesta).
The daughter of Cronus and Rhea, she was one of the twelve Olympians until she was replaced by Dionysus. Goddess of the hearth and its fire, she was accorded special honor at feasts and sacrifices. She was also a goddess of chastity (Hesiod, Theogony 453-506; Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 5.21-32; Homeric Hymns to Hestia 24, 33). Family Tree 2.
Hippodamia [hip-poh-da-mee'a or hip-poh-da-meye'a] or Hippodameia, "tamer of horses."
The daughter of Oenomaus and either Sterope or Euarete, her father promised to give her to the man who could beat him in a chariot race, but he killed all those who lost to him. Pelops won the race by bribing Oenomaus' charioteer, Myrtilus, to sabotage Oenomaus' vehicle (Pindar, Olympian Odes 1.67; Apollodorus, Epitome 2.4-9; Diodorus Siculus 4.73; Pausanias 5.10.6, 5.14.6, 5.17.7, 6.20.17, 6.21.6-11, 8.14.10; Hyginus, Fabulae 84). Family Tree 15.
Hippolytus [hip-pol'itus] or Hippolytos, "releaser of horses."
The son of Theseus and his Amazon wife, Antiope, his stepmother, Phaedra, fell in love with him. He refused her advances, so she accused him of trying to seduce her and then she killed herself. Theseus believed the allegations and called on Poseidon to punish Hippolytus. Poseidon sent a bull from the sea and Hippolytus' horses were so frightened that they overturned the chariot, dragging Hippolytus. Theseus was reconciled with his son before the young man died (Euripides, Hippolytus; Seneca, Phaedra; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.18-19; Diodorus Siculus 4.62; Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.497-546; Virgil, Aeneid 7.761-782; Hyginus, Fabulae 47). Family Tree 16.
Hylas [heye'las], "of the woods."
He accompanied Heracles as one of the Argonauts. When the Argonauts stopped at Cios so Heracles could make a new oar to replace one he had broken, Hylas leaned over to drink from a spring. The nymph of the spring g.htmled his neck and pulled him into the water. Heracles searched in vain for his friend and was unwilling to leave him behind, so the Argonauts had to sail without Heracles (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.1207-1357; Apollodorus 1.9.19; Hyginus, Fabulae 14; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 3.521-610).
Hyperion [heye-per'i-on], "he who goes above."
One of the Titans -- a sun god -- he married his sister Theia, and together they bore Helius, Selene, and Eos (Hesiod, Theogony 134, 371-374; Homeric Hymn to Helios 31). Family Tree 30.
Iapetus [eye-ap'e-tus] or Iapetos, "struck"(?).
One of the Titans, he married Clymene, and was the father of Atlas, Menoetius, Epimetheus, and Prometheus (Hesiod, Theogony 132-136, 507-514; Apollodorus 1.2.3). Family Tree 4.
Iasion [i-as'i-on], "healing"(?).
He fell in love with Demeter at the wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia. They made love in a nearby field, but when Zeus realized what had happened, he killed Iasion with a thunderbolt. The offspring of this union between Iasion and Demeter was Plutus, the god of wealth (Homer, Odyssey 5.125-128; Apollodorus 3.12.1; Diodorus Siculus 5.48.3-5.49.5). Family Tree 14.
Icarius [i-kar'i-us] or Ikarios, "follower"(?).
He entertained Dionysus in his home in Attica, so the god gave him the gift of wine. When Icarius shared the wine with his countrymen, they thought they had been poisoned and they killed him. When Erigone, his daughter, found his corpse, she hanged herself. Plagues and hardships buffeted the people until, on the advice of Apollo, they instituted a festival to honor Icarius and Erigone (Apollodorus 3.14.7; Hyginus, Fabulae 130, Poetica Astronomica 2.4).
Ilus [eye'lus] or Ilos, "troop."
Founder of the city that was named Troy after his father, Tros, Ilus followed a cow until it rested, and he built a city there. When he prayed for a sign that he had chosen the right spot, Zeus dropped from the sky a statue that was sacred to Athena: the Palladium. Ilus built a temple to house the statue, and Troy was safe from foreign enemies as long as the Palladium remained within the city walls (Homer, Iliad 21.231-236; Apollodorus 3.12.2-3). Family Tree 42.
Ino [eye'noh], "sinew."
The daughter of Cadmus and sister of Semele, she married Athamas and attempted to have his children, Phrixus and Helle, destroyed. Nephele, the children's real mother, foiled her plot by helping the children escape on a golden ram with wings (Apollodorus 1.9.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 2). Ino also became the caretaker of the infant Dionysus, but Hera drove her mad, causing her to commit suicide and kill her son, Melicertes, by jumping into the sea with him (Apollodorus 3.4.3). She became a minor deity and was known as Leucothea. One of her chief functions was to rescue shipwrecked sailors (Homer, Iliad 5.333-353, 458-462; Apollodorus 3.4.3). Family Tree 46.
Io [eye'oh], "moon."
She was the daughter of the river god Inachus and a priestess of Hera. Zeus turned her into a cow to hide his affair with her. Hera claimed the cow as her own and placed it under the guard of Argus. Zeus sent Hermes to free her; Hermes was able to lull 100 of Argus' eyes to sleep at once by telling him a story (other sources say he played the flute for Argus). Hermes then killed Argus and gave his eyes to Hera, who put them on the tail of the peacock. Still in the form of a cow, Io wandered around the world, and Hera sent a gadfly to pester her; eventually Zeus restored her to human form, and she gave birth to Epaphus, Zeus' son. The Ionian Sea was named for her (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 561-886; Apollodorus 2.1.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.583-750). Family Tree 34.
Iole [eye'o-lee], "moon" and "people"(?).
The daughter of Eurytus, king of Oechalia, Heracles won her hand in an archery contest, but Eurytus refused to give her to him. Heracles returned to his home in Tiryns, but later he threw Iphitus, the brother of Iole, to his death from the city walls. When he went to Delphi to learn what he could do to be rid of the fits of madness that led him to such destructive acts, Heracles was told that he had to be sold into slavery for one year. With Hermes serving as auctioneer, Heracles was sold to Queen Omphale of Lydia; after serving her for twelve months, Heracles sacked Oechalia, killed Eurytus, and took Iole (Sophocles, Trachiniae; Apollodorus 2.6.1, 2.7.7; Diodorus Siculus 4.31).
Iphigenia [if-i-je-neye'a or if-i-je-nee'a] or Iphigeneia, "of mighty birth."
She was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. When the Greek army could not sail from Aulis to Troy because of bad weather, they sacrificed Iphigenia in order to appease Artemis, who had been offended because Agamemnon and Menelaus had killed a stag that was sacred to her. Iphigenia was brought to Aulis on the pretext that Achilles wanted to marry her before going to Troy. When she arrived, she was sacrificed, but some versions of the tale say that Artemis snatched her up at the last moment, took her to the land of the Taurians to be a priestess, and substituted a stag in her place at the altar (Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.21-23; Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.24-38; Hyginus, Fabulae 98). Family Tree 15.
Iris [eye'ris], "rainbow."
The daughter of Thaumas and the Oceanid Electra, and goddess of the rainbow, she served the gods, especially Hera, as a messenger (Hesiod, Theogony 265-269; Apollodorus 1.2.6). Family Tree 6.
Daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, and sister of Antigone, she refused to help Antigone bury the body of their brother Polynices. Later, when Ismene tried to take part of the responsibility for the action, Antigone rebuked her (Sophocles, Antigone; Apollodorus 3.5.8). Family Tree 19.
Ixion [ik-seye'on], "strength."
The son of Phlegyas, he was betrothed to Dia, but he killed her father by setting a trap for him. Zeus brought him up to Olympus to purify him, but Ixion fell in love with Hera. Zeus fashioned a cloud in the form of Hera, so when Ixion forced himself on what he thought was Hera, Zeus captured him and affixed him to a burning wheel that revolves forever. The offspring of Ixion and the cloud was Centaurus, who became the father of the race of centaurs (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.21-48; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.20; Diodorus Siculus 4.69.3-5; Hyginus, Fabulae 62). Family Tree 33.
Janus [jay'nus], "door."
He is a Roman deity for whom there is no Greek equivalent. Originally associated with water, particularly with bridges and crossing places over bodies of water, he developed into a god of comings and goings, of entrances and exits, and of beginnings. He gave his name to January, the first month of the year. He was often depicted with two faces, one looking ahead and one looking behind, because as a god of entrances and exits, he could look in two directions at once (Ovid, Fasti 1.89-144). He saved Rome from the attacking Sabines when boiling water gushed from the mouth of his statue in the Forum.
Jason [jay'son], "healer."
The son of Aeson, he was raised by Chiron (Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.111-115). Pelias sent him to Colchis to obtain the Golden Fleece. Hera was his ally and protector (Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.71-167), so with the help of Hera and Medea, Jason obtained the fleece and returned to Iolcus, where Medea caused the death of Pelias. Jason and Medea went to Corinth in exile, where Jason fell in love with Glauce, the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Medea killed Glauce, Creon, and the two sons she (Medea) had had with Jason. Years later, a piece of the Argo, Jason's ship, fell and killed the hero (Euripides, Medea 1386-1387). Family Tree 45.
Jocasta [joh-kas'ta] or Iokaste, "shining moon."
She is also called Epicaste by Homer. She was the mother of Oedipus and later became his wife, but hanged herself when it was discovered that she had married her son (Homer, Odyssey 11.271-280; Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Apollodorus 3.5.7-9).
Juno [jou'noh], "young"(?), (Hera).
The Roman equivalent of Hera, she was goddess of all.htmlects of the life of a woman, especially childbirth. Originally she was not associated with Jupiter, but when the Romans equated her with Hera, they made her the wife of Jupiter, the chief Roman god, just as Hera was the wife of Zeus, the supreme god of the Greeks. Juno's chief festival was the Matronalia, which the Romans celebrated in March.
Jupiter [jou'pi-ter], "father sky," (Zeus).
The Roman sky god, he is the equivalent of the Greeks' Zeus. He is the chief god of the Romans; he was worshiped as Jupiter Optimus Maximus (the Best and the Greatest) and his wife was Juno.
Labdacus [lab'da-kus] or Labdakos.
The son of Polydorus and Nycteis, he became king of Thebes. He warred with Pandion, king of Athens, over boundaries and died young (Apollodorus 3.5.5; Pausanias 2.6.2, 9.5.4-5). Family Tree 19 Family Tree 46.
Lachesis [lak'e-sis], "she who apportions."
A daughter of Zeus and Themis, she was one of the Fates, who were also called Moirae or Parcae; usually depicted as an old woman, she measured the thread on one's life (Hesiod, Theogony 217-222, 901-906, Shield of Heracles 248-269; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
The son of Acrisius, or of Cephalus and Procris, and king of Ithaca, he married Anticlea and became the father of Odysseus, though some sources say Anticlea was pregnant with Odysseus by Sisyphus when Laertes married her (Homer, Odyssey; Apollodorus 1.9.16; Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.143-145; Hyginus, Fabulae 201). Family Tree 37.
Laestrygonians [les-tri-goh'ni-anz] or Laistrygones.
These were cannibals with whom Odysseus had a disastrous experience on his way home from the Trojan War. When Odysseus reached the island home of the Laestrygonians, he was reluctant to dock in the harbor, but the captains of his other eleven ships anchored in the port. The Laestrygonians sank the ships in the harbor by throwing rocks at them from cliffs, then they speared the men floundering in the water for a later meal. Only Odysseus and the men on his ship were able to escape (Homer, Odyssey 10.80-132).
Laius [lay'us or leye'us] or Laios, "unlucky" or "rich in cattle"(?).
He was the king of Thebes when, while a guest in the home of Pelops, Laius fell in love with and abducted Chrysippus, the son of Pelops. His punishment was to have a son who would kill him. Later, when Jocasta, his wife, gave birth to a son, Laius drove a spike through the infant's ankles and ordered a servant to expose the child; the baby was given to a shepherd from Corinth and he was raised there as Oedipus. Oedipus later killed Laius without realizing he was committing parricide (Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Apollodorus 3.5.5-8; Pausanias 9.5.5-10, 9.26.2-3; Hyginus, Fabulae 85). Family Tree 19.
Laocoön [lay-o'coh-on], "very perceptive."
He was a Trojan who realized that Sinon was lying when he said the huge wooden horse the Greeks had left outside the walls of Troy was an offering to Athena that would make the Trojans invincible if it was brought into the city. He uttered the famous words, "I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts." But two snakes swam to shore from the open sea and strangled Laocoön and his two sons -- the Trojans mistakenly interpreted this as Laocoön's punishment for desecrating something that was holy to Athena (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.16-18; Virgil, Aeneid 2.40-56, 199-231; Hyginus, Fabulae 135).
Laomedon [lay-om'e-don], "ruler of the people."
He was the king of Troy when Apollo and Poseidon built the walls of the city. Laomedon cheated them out of their pay, so Apollo sent a plague and Poseidon unleashed a sea monster on the city. Laomedon had to sacrifice his daughter, Hesione, to the monster to save the city, but when Hesione was set out for the sea creature, Heracles saw her and arranged to save her in return for the immortal horses that Tros had received from Zeus. After Heracles had killed the monster, Laomedon refused to give him the horses, so Heracles returned later with an army, sacked Troy, killed Laomedon, gave Hesione to his companion, Telamon, and placed Laomedon's young son, Podarces, on the throne of Troy; Podarces' name was then changed to Priam (Homer, Iliad 21.441-457; Pindar, Olympian Odes 8.30-46; Apollodorus 2.5.9; Diodorus Siculus 4.42; Hyginus, Fabulae 89; Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.194-220; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 2.451-578). Family Tree 42.
Lares [lar'-eez], "lords."
Originally, these agricultural spirits brought prosperity and well-being to Roman farmers and their families; they were later seen as household spirits that protected the home. Each family had its own Lar (singular of Lares), called a Lar familiaris, to whom it made offerings. Rome itself had Lares, called guardian Lares, who were worshiped on May 1 (Ovid, Fasti 5.129-146).
The son of Athamas and Ino, he was killed by his father. One account says Athamas was driven mad by Hera, mistook Learchus for a deer, and shot him with an arrow. Another account says Athamas mistook him for a lion and pushed him from a cliff. Yet another version says Athamas learned that Ino had plotted to kill Phrixus and Helle and while attempting to punish her, he accidentally killed Learchus (Apollodorus 1.9.2, 3.4.3; Pausanias 1.44.7, 9.34.7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.481-542; Hyginus, Fabulae 2, 4). Family Tree 25.
Leda [lee'da], "lady."
The wife of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, she gave birth to two sets of twins. One version says Zeus made love to Leda in the form of a swan and she laid two eggs; from one of these eggs were born Polydeuces (also known as Pollux) and Helen, and from the other egg came Castor and Clytemnestra. Some versions say Tyndareus had sex with Leda in the same night that Zeus impregnated her and that Tyndareus was the father of Castor and Clytemnestra (Apollodorus 3.10.7; Hyginus, abulae 77). Family Tree 48.
Lernaean hydra [ler-nee'an heye'dra], "water serpent of Hydra."
It was a huge, nine-headed poisonous snake that haunted the swamps of Lerna, near Argos. Heracles killed this serpent as his second labor. Eight of the hydra's heads were mortal; one was immortal, but each time Heracles cut off one of the heads, two more grew in its place. While Heracles and Iolaus, his nephew, were grappling with the hydra's heads, a huge crab, sent by Hera, snapped at their feet. They killed the crab and then Heracles had Iolaus use his torch to cauterize each neck from which Heracles had severed a head -- new heads could not grow from the burned necks. Heracles chopped off the head that was immortal and buried it under a huge rock; he then dipped his arrows into the creature's poison, and this poison later caused his death (Hesiod, Theogony 313-318; Sophocles, Trachiniae 1094; Euripides, Heracles 419-422; Apollodorus 2.5.2; Diodorus Siculus 4.11.5-6; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.69-74; Hyginus, Fabulae 30). Family Tree 1.
Lethe [lee'thee], "forgetfulness."
This was one of the five rivers in the Underworld. When the souls of the dead drink the waters of Lethe, they forget their earthly concerns and troubles. According to some ancient religions that believed in reincarnation, the dead drank from Lethe to forget their previous existence before beginning a new life.
Leto [lee'toh], (Latona).
The daughter of Coeus and Phoebe, she slept with Zeus and became the mother of Apollo and Artemis, who avenged and protected her from such adversaries as Niobe and Tityus (Homer, Iliad 5.447-449, Odyssey 11.576-581; Hesiod, Theogony 404-410, 918-920; Homeric Hymn to Apollo 3; Apollodorus 1.4.1, 3.10.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.157-381; Hyginus, Fabulae 53, 55, 140). Family Tree 21.
Linus [leye'nus] or Linos, "flax."
He was the music teacher of Heracles. During one of their lessons, Linus struck Heracles; the youth flew into a rage and killed Linus. Although Heracles was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, Heracles' earthly father, Amphitryon, sent him to Mount Cithaeron lest the young hero lose his temper again and kill someone else (Apollodorus 2.4.9).
These were people who ate the fruit of the lotus plant, which relieved them of all their cares and troubles. They greeted Odysseus and his men warmly, but Odysseus soon realized that the lotus fruit was very dangerous; his men who had eaten the fruit were no longer interested in reboarding the ships to sail back to their homes and families. So Odysseus rounded up all his troops, kept any more of them from eating the drug, and forced those who were under the influence of the plant to get back on the ships (Homer, Odyssey 9.82-104).
Lycaon [leye-kay'on] or Lykaon, "wolf"(?).
He was the king in Arcadia who tested the divinity and omniscience of Zeus by serving him human flesh. Zeus detected the trick and turned Lycaon into a wolf (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.318-415).
Lycurgus [leye-kur'gus] or Lykurgos, "wolf work."
The king of Thrace, he chased Dionysus' nurses with an ox goad, frightening even Dionysus himself and causing him to jump into the sea. Thetis rescued Dionysus, who later returned to Thrace, cursed the crops, and drove Lycurgus mad. Lycurgus killed his son, maimed himself, and was then torn apart by his own people (Homer, Iliad 6.130-140; Apollodorus 3.5.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 132).
Lycus [leye'kus] or Lykos (1), "wolf."
He was king of the Mariandyni. Amycus, king of the Bebryces, had seized much of Lycus' kingdom, so when Polydeuces, one of the Argonauts, killed Amycus, Lycus became indebted to Jason and his men. When the Argonauts came to Lycus' kingdom on their journey, Lycus entertained them hospitably and sent his son, Dascylus, to accompany them (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.720-903; Apollodorus 1.9.23; Hyginus, Fabulae 18; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 4.733-762).
Lycus [leye'kus] or Lykos (2), "wolf."
He was son of Prometheus and Celaeno, but we have no significant stories involving him. Family Tree 4.
Marpessa [mar-pes'sa], "g.htmler."
The daughter of Evenus and granddaughter of Ares, she was loved by both Apollo and Idas, one of the Argonauts. Idas snatched her away in his chariot, and Evenus killed himself when he could not get his daughter back. Apollo then took Marpessa from Idas in the same way Idas had stolen the girl from her father. When the two rivals met to fight over Marpessa, Zeus intervened and allowed her to choose between her suitors. Marpessa chose Idas on the grounds that he was mortal and the ageless Apollo would be more likely to reject her as she got older (Apollodorus 1.7.8-9). Family Tree 41.
Mars [marz] (Ares), "to fight"(?).
The Roman equivalent of Ares, he was originally an agricultural deity. He was thought to be responsible for the regeneration and growth in springtime; March, the first month of the pre-Julian calendar, was named for him. As the Romans became more warlike, Mars took on the characteristics of a war god and his agricultural.htmlects were largely forgotten.
Marsyas [mar'si-as], "fighter."
He was a satyr who had the temerity to challenge Apollo to a contest of musical skill after picking up the flute that Athena had fashioned and then discarded. Apollo agreed to the contest on the condition that the victor be allowed to do with the loser as he wished. Apollo won and flayed Marsyas alive; his blood formed the river that bears his name (Herodotus 7.26; Apollodorus 1.4.2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.382-400; Hyginus, Fabulae 165).
Medea [me-dee'a] or Medeia, "cunning."
She was the daughter of Aeëtes. As a priestess of Hecate and a niece of Circe, she was skilled in the arts of magic; she used her skill in magic to help Jason perform the tasks Aeëtes had imposed on him as a condition for obtaining the Golden Fleece. As she and Jason fled from Colchis, she killed her brother, Apsyrtus, cut up his body, and threw the pieces one at a time into the sea so that Aeëtes would have to stop many times to retrieve his son's body (Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.213-250; Apollodorus 1.9.23-24; Hyginus, Fabulae 22-23). In Iolcus, Medea arranged the death of Pelias by tricking his daughters into boiling him alive (Apollodorus 1.9.27; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.238-349; Hyginus, Fabulae 24); for this crime Jason and Medea had to go into exile. In Corinth, Jason fell in love with Glauce, daughter of King Creon; Medea killed her, Creon, and the two sons she (Medea) had had with Jason (Euripides, Medea; Apollodorus 1.9.28; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.391-403; Hyginus, Fabulae 25). She then went to live in Athens, where she married Aegeus, father of Theseus, and became the mother of Medus. She tried to trick Aegeus into poisoning Theseus so that her son would eventually become king of Athens, but Aegeus discovered the plot (Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.404-424). She then fled from Athens with her son, who later gave his name to the people known as the Medes (Hyginus, Fabulae 27). Family Tree 12.
Medusa [me-dou'sa] or Medousa, "ruler."
One of the three Gorgons, some accounts say she was a beautiful woman until Athena caught her making love with Poseidon in one of her temples. As a punishment, Athena turned Medusa into a monster with bulging eyes, a protruding tongue, and snakes for hair. When Perseus beheaded Medusa, Chrysaor and Pegasus, the children Poseidon had fathered, sprang from her (Hesiod, Theogony 270-283; Apollodorus 2.4.2). Family Tree 35.
Megara [meg'a-ra], "temple."
The daughter of Creon, king of Thebes, she was the first wife of Heracles. In a fit of madness, Heracles killed her and their children. Heracles then went to Delphi to ask where he should live. The Pythia told him he should serve Eurystheus, king of Tiryns, for twelve years; if he completed all the labors imposed on him, Heracles would become immortal (Apollodorus 2.4.12; Diodorus Siculus 4.11.1-2). Hyginus (Fabulae 32) says Heracles killed Megara after he had completed the twelve labors and that he was sold into slavery to Queen Omphale to expiate the crime.
Melampus [me-lam'pus] or Melampos, "black foot."
The grandson of Cretheus, he was the first mortal to acquire the gift of prophecy; he could understand the speech of animals. He helped his brother, Bias, steal the cattle of Phylacus, king of Phylace, a city in Thessaly, but was caught and imprisoned for one year. In prison he heard two worms commenting that they had chewed nearly through the roof beam, so he asked Phylacus to transfer him to another cell. When the old cell collapsed, Phylacus offered to free him and to give him his cattle if Melampus would cure his son, Iphiclus, of impotence. Melampus discovered the antidote to Iphiclus' impotence from two vultures. Later, with the help of Artemis and Hera, he restored the sanity of the women of Argos, among whom were the daughters of Proetus, king of Argos (Homer, Odyssey 15.223-242; Apollodorus 1.9.11-13, 2.2.2). Family Tree 45.
Meleager [mel-e-ay'jer] or Meleagros, "guinea fowl."
The son of Oeneus and the brother of Deianira (the wife of Heracles), the Erinyes told his mother, Althaea, that Meleager would live as long as a certain log in the fire was not allowed to burn completely. Althaea removed the log from the fire and preserved it. Meleager led the expedition known as the Calydonian boar hunt; he killed the boar, but gave its skin to Atalanta, who had first wounded the boar. Meleager killed his uncles in the argument that ensued when they protested this award to Atalanta; when Althaea heard what he had done, she burned the log and Meleager died (Homer, Iliad 9.533-599; Apollodorus 1.8.2-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.268-546; Hyginus, Fabulae 171-174). Family Tree 48.
Melicertes [mel-i-ser'teez] or Melikertes.
The son of Athamas and Ino, he was drowned along with his mother when she went mad and took him down with herself. Some sources say that either Athamas or Ino threw Melicertes into a boiling cauldron before Ino took his body into the sea with her. A dolphin brought Melicertes' body to the beach, where Sisyphus retrieved it, buried it, and instituted the Isthmian Games in honor of Melicertes, who was renamed Palaemon (Apollodorus 1.9.2, 3.4.3; Pausanias 1.44.7, 9.34.7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.481-542; Hyginus, Fabulae 4-5). Family Tree 25.
Menelaüs [men-e-lay'us] or Menelaos, "strength of the people."
The son of Atreus and Aerope, he became the husband of Helen. When Paris took Helen to Troy, Menelaüs' brother, Agamemnon, led the Greek army that went to bring her back; Menelaüs aided his brother as one of the chieftains of the Greek force. After the war, Helen and Menelaüs returned to Sparta, where Menelaüs regained his position as ruler. Menelaüs and Helen became the parents of Hermione. After Helen and Menelaüs died, they were transported to the Elysian Fields, where they lived forever (Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, 4; Euripides, Helen; Apollodorus 3.10.8-3.11.2, Epitome 2.15-3.12, 3.28; Pausanias 3.19.9-13, 10.26.7-8). Family Tree 15.
Mercury [mer'kyou-ree] (Hermes), "merchandise."
He is the Roman god of commerce and trade. Because the Greek god Hermes, in his role as god of business people, had a similar function, Mercury became identified with Hermes and took on his other functions.
She is a daughter of Atlas and Pleione, thus one of the Pleiades. She married Sisyphus and her star in the constellation Pleiades is said to be very dim because of her embarrassment at having married a mortal (Apollodorus 1.9.3; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.21). Family Tree 49.
Metis [mee'tis], "wisdom."
A daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and goddess of wisdom, Zeus slept with and then swallowed her, because Gaia and Uranus warned him that her child was destined to be greater than its father. Sometime later, Athena sprang from the head of Zeus (Hesiod, Theogony 866-900, 924-929). Some accounts say that after swallowing Metis, Zeus had a painful headache, which Hephaestus treated by splitting his head open with an axe so that Athena could come out (Pindar, Olympian Odes 7.34-38). The role of Helphaestus is played by Promethetus in Euripides (Ion 453-455) and Hermes in some versions, according to the scholiast [commentator] on Pindar (Olympian Odes 7.35). Family Tree 51.
A river nymph and daughter of the River Ladon, she married the river god Asopus. She was the mother of two sons and twenty daughters, including Aegina, who was carried off by Zeus (Diodorus Siculus 4.72.1-5; Apollodorus 3.12.6). Family Tree 8.
Midas [meye'das], "seed."
The king of Phrygia, he said that Pan had outplayed Apollo in a musical contest even though Apollo had been declared the victor. Apollo turned Midas' ears into those of an ass. Midas hid the ears under a hat, but his barber saw them. The barber was unable to keep the secret, so he dug a hole and whispered into it, "King Midas has ass's ears"; he covered up the hole, but when the wind blew through the reeds that sprang up over the hole, everyone could hear the words that had been buried there (Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.146-193; Hyginus, Fabulae 191). He was given the "Midas touch" by Dionysus for returning Silenus to Dionysus -- everything he touched turned to gold (Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.85-145; Hyginus, Fabulae 191).
Minerva [mi-ner'va] (Athena), "mindful."
She is the Roman goddess of war and mental skills, the patroness of craftsmen, of skilled workers, and of schoolchildren: the Roman equivalent of Athena.
Minos [meye'nohs], "king"(?).
The son of Zeus and Europa and king of Crete, he undertook a military campaign against Megara and Athens to avenge the death of his son Androgeos, who was killed in Attica after he had aroused jealousy by winning all the contests in the Panathenaic athletic festival. Minos sacked Megara when the city was betrayed by Scylla, daughter of King Nisus, who cut the lock of purple from her father's head that made the city invulnerable. The Athenians made a treaty with Minos that required them to send seven boys and seven girls at regular intervals to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. After the Minotaur had been killed by Theseus, Daedalus, who had built the Labyrinth, escaped from Crete; Minos followed him to Sicily, where Minos was killed in the bath by the daughters of Cocalus, king of Camicus. He then became a judge in the Underworld (Apollodorus 3.1.2-4, 3.15.7-8, Epitome 1.14-15; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.6-173; Hyginus, Fabulae 41). Family Tree 23.
Minotaur [mi'noh-tawr], "bull of Minos."
The offspring of Pasiphae and a bull given to King Minos of Crete by Poseidon, it was half human and half bull. It lived in a maze called the Labyrinth which had been built by Daedalus; at regular intervals, youths from Athens were sent into the maze to be devoured by the Minotaur. Theseus came to Crete as one of these sacrificial youths and killed the Minotaur (Apollodorus 3.1.2-4, 3.15.8, Epitome 1.7-9; Plutarch, Theseus 19.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.152-173; Hyginus, Fabulae 40-42).
Mnemosyne [ne-mos'i-nee], "memory."
A daughter of Uranus and Gaia and one of the Titans, she slept with Zeus for nine nights and gave birth to the nine Muses (Hesiod, Theogony 135; Apollodorus 1.1.3, 1.3.1). Family Tree 3 Family Tree 54.
Muses [myou'zez], "memory."
They are the nine children of Zeus and Mnemosyne and patron goddesses of intellectual and creative pursuits. Their names and functions are: Calliope, epic poetry; Clio, history; Euterpe, lyric poetry; Melpomene, tragedy; Terpsichore, choral dancing; Erato, love poetry; Polyhymnia, sacred music; Urania, astronomy; and Thalia, comedy (Hesiod, Theogony 75-103, 915-917; Apollodorus 1.3.1-4). Family Tree 54.
Narcissus [nar-sis'sus] or Narkissos, "benumbing."
The son of the river god Cephisus and the nymph Liriope, he was a handsome young man who had many pursuers, but he would have nothing to do with them. The nymph Echo fell in love with him and followed him from afar through the woods, repeating the ends of his sentences (she had lost her ability to say anything more than the last part of what she heard from others). When Narcissus rejected her, she wasted away until only her voice remained. Another of Narcissus' would-be lovers cursed him to fall hopelessly in love with someone who would reject him, just as he had rejected so many others. Narcissus saw his reflection in a pool and fell in love with himself; he finally died from the grief of his unrequited love. When the nymphs came to place his body on the funeral pyre, they found only a flower, the narcissus (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.339-510).
Nemean [nee'mi-an or ne-mee'an] lion.
The offspring of Orthus and Echidna, it was a savage beast that lived in the area of Nemea. As his first labor, Heracles was required to bring the skin of this lion to Eurystheus. Heracles strangled the beast and then flayed it with its own claws; this lion skin then became Heracles' chief article of clothing (Hesiod, Theogony 326-332; Sophocles, Trachiniae 1091-1093; Euripides, Heracles 359-363; Apollodorus 2.5.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 30). Family Tree 1.
Neoptolemus [ne-op-tol'e-mus] or Neoptolemos, "young warrior."
(He was also known as Pyrrhus [pir'rus], or Pyrrhos.) A son of Achilles, he was brought to Troy after Helenus had prophesied that Neoptolemus had to enter the war in Achilles' place if the Greeks were to be victorious. He went to Lemnos with Odysseus to bring Philoctetes with the bow and arrows of Heracles to Troy. During the sack of Troy, he killed Priam, even though the king was seeking sanctuary at an altar of Zeus; he threw Astyanax, the son of Hector, to his death from the walls of Troy and took Andromache, Hector's wife, as his concubine. Later, Neoptolemus married Hermione, the daughter of Helen and Menelaus; Orestes, who had been engaged to Hermione, found Neoptolemus and killed him (Homer, Odyssey 11.504-540; Pindar, Nemean Odes 7.34-49; Sophocles, Philoctetes; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.10-12, 6.12-14; Virgil, Aeneid 2.453-558; Hyginus, Fabulae 123). Family Tree 8.
Nephele [nef'e-lee], "cloud."
The first wife of Athamas, she bore Phrixus and Helle. When Ino, Athamas' second wife, tried to have the children killed, Nephele sent a flying golden ram that Hermes had supplied to rescue the children; the fleece of this ram was the Golden Fleece that Jason retrieved from Colchis (Apollodorus 1.9.1; Diodorus Siculus 4.47; Hyginus, Fabulae 1-3, Poetica Astronomica 2.20). Family Tree 25.
Neptune [nep'toon] (Poseiden), "damp"(?).
He is the Roman sea god, and the equivalent of Poseidon.
Nereids [nee're-idz], "daughters of Nereus."
They are the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris -- sea nymphs. Among their number are Thetis, the mother of Achilles, Amphitrite, the wife of Poseidon, and Galatea, who loved Acis and was wooed by Polyphemus (Homer, Iliad 18.37-53; Hesiod, Theogony 240-264, 1003-1007; Apollodorus 1.2.7). Family Tree 6.
Nereus [nee're-us], "wet one."
The son of Pontus and Gaia, he was a a sea god. He married Doris and became father of the fifty Nereids. He had the ability to foretell the future and was called the Old Man of the Sea (Hesiod, Theogony 233-264). Some accounts say Heracles had to learn from Nereus the location of the Hesperides and the apples he was to obtain for his eleventh labor; Nereus turned himself into various shapes, but Heracles held on and eventually constrained Nereus to give him the information he needed (Apollodorus 2.5.11). Family Tree 6.
Nessus [nes'sus] or Nessos, "young bird"(?).
He was a centaur who was instrumental in bringing about the death of Heracles. He carried Deïanira across the River Evenus and then tried to rape her while Heracles was stranded on the other bank; Heracles shot him with an arrow that had been dipped in the poison of the Lernaean hydra. Nessus told Deïanira to gather some of his blood as a love potion to use on Heracles should the hero ever begin to stray from her (Sophocles, Trachiniae 555-577; Apollodorus 2.7.6; Diodorus Siculus 4.36.3-5; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 9.101-133; Hyginus, Fabulae 34). Later, when Heracles began wooing Iole, Deianira sent to Heracles a robe that had been dipped in Nessus' blood, and the poison brought about Heracles' demise (Sophocles, Trachiniae 757-805; Apollodorus 2.7.7; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.134-238; Hyginus, Fabulae 36).
Niobe [neye'o-bee], "snowy."
The mother of seven sons and seven daughters, she boasted that as the daughter of Tantalus and the granddaughter of Atlas, she came from a lineage that was more noble than that of Leto and that she had fourteen children, whereas Leto had only two. Apollo and Artemis avenged their insulted mother -- Apollo shot and killed all Niobe's sons with his bow and arrow, while Artemis killed her daughters. Niobe threw herself over her last little girl and pleaded that this one child be spared; as she uttered these words, she was turned to stone and carried off to Phrygia, her homeland, where tears continue to trickle down her marble cheeks (Homer, Iliad 24.602-617; Apollodorus 3.5.6; Diodorus Siculus 4.74.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.146-312; Hyginus, Fabulae 9, 11). Family Tree 40.
She is mentioned only as the wife of Polydorus and the mother of Labdacus (Apollodorus 3.5.5). Family Tree 46.
Oceanids [o-see'an-idz], "daughters of Oceanus."
The are the 6,000 offspring of Oceanus and Tethys, but the term usually refers only to their female children. They are personifications of the bodies of water on the earth (Hesiod, Theogony 337-370; Apollodorus 1.2.2). Family Tree 2.
Oceanus [o-see'an-us] or Okeanos, "swiftly flowing."
One of the Titans, he is the river that flows around the perimeter of the flat and circular world of Greek mythology. He married his sister Tethys, and together they produced the Oceanids (Hesiod, Theogony 337-370; Apollodorus 1.2.2). Family Tree 9.
Odysseus [oh-dis'se-us] (Ulysses), "angry."
The son of Laertes and Anticlea, he married Penelope and fathered Telemachus. He proposed the Oath of Tyndareus, which obligated the Greeks to fight at Troy for Helen, but tried to avoid going to the war by feigning insanity. He helped discover Achilles on the island of Scyros. He was one of the best and craftiest warriors on the Greek side in the Trojan War and an excellent speaker. He had a ten-year voyage home from the war, involving adventures with the Cicones, the Lotus-eaters, Polyphemus, the Laestrygonians, Circe, Scylla and Charybdis, Calypso, and the Phaeacians. Once home, he had to kill the suitors of Penelope who had invaded his household (Homer, Odyssey). Family Tree 37.
Oedipus [e'di-pus or ee'di-pus] or Oidipous, "swollen foot."
This son of Laius and Jocasta was fated to kill his father and marry his mother. When he was born, his father drove a spike through his ankles and ordered a servant to expose him, but the servant gave him to a shepherd from Corinth, where he was raised as the child of Polybus, the king of Corinth. When a drunken companion at a banquet told him he was not the child of Polybus, Oedipus journeyed to Delphi, where he asked who his parents were. He was told he should avoid his homeland, since he was fated to kill his father and marry his mother. So Oedipus made his way toward Thebes, but along the way he killed a royal old man and his retinue, who assaulted him at a place where three roads meet (Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Apollodorus 3.5.5-8; Pausanias 9.5.5-10, 9.26.2-3; Hyginus, Fabulae 85). In Thebes, Oedipus answered the riddle of the Sphinx, became king, and married Jocasta (Hesiod, Theogony 326-329; Sophocles, Oedipus the King 391-398; Euripides, Phoenician Women 45-49, 806-811, 1019-1042, 1504; Apollodorus 3.5.8; Pausanias 9.26.2-4; Diodorus Siculus 4.64.3-4; Hyginus, Fabulae 67). Years later, Oedipus' investigation of the cause of a plague in the land revealed that he had killed his father and was married to his mother. Jocasta hanged herself and Oedipus blinded himself and went into exile (Homer, Odyssey 11.271-280; Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Apollodorus 3.5.7-9). When it became known that the land in which Oedipus was buried would enjoy great bounty, the Thebans came to bring Oedipus back to his homeland, but Oedipus did not wish to return, and Theseus, king of Athens, kept the Thebans from coercing him. In Colonus, Oedipus disappeared miraculouly before the eyes of Theseus (Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus). Family Tree 19.
The son of Porthaon or Portheus and king of Calydon, he married Althaea and became the father of Meleager, Deïanira, and others. When Althaea killed herself in remorse for causing the death of Meleager, Oeneus married Periboea and became the father of Tydeus (Homer Iliad 2.641-642, 6.216-219, 9.533-583, 14.115-118; Apollodorus 1.7.10-1.8.2, 1.8.4-6, 2.7.6, 3.7.5, Epitome 2.15; Hyginus, Fabulae 129, 171, 172, 175). Family Tree 29.
Oenomaüs [ee-noh-may'us] or Oinomaos.
The son of Alxion or Ares and Harpina or Sterope and king of Pisa, he married Sterope and fathered Leucippus and Hippodamia. He promised to give Hippodamia to the suitor who could beat him in a chariot; he defeated and killed all challengers until Pelops outraced and killed him (Pindar, Olympian Odes 1.67; Apollodorus 3.10.1, Epitome 2.4-9; Diodorus Siculus 4.73; Pausanias 5.10.6, 5.14.6, 5.17.7, 6.20.17, 6.21.6-11, 8.14.10; Hyginus, Fabulae 84). Family Tree 15.
Oenopion [ee-noh'pi-on] or Oinopion.
This son of Dionysus and Ariadne and king of Chios enraged Orion by promising and then withholding the hand of his daughter Merope. When Orion raped Merope, Oenopion blinded him. Oenopion hid in an underground chamber when Orion regained his sight and came to avenge himself (Apollodorus 1.4.3-4; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.34). Family Tree 23.
The son of Hodoedocus and Agrianome, he was loved by Apollo. He became the father of Ajax the Lesser by Eriopis (Homer, Iliad 2.726-728, 13.694-696; Hesiod, Catalogue of Women 83; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.74-76). Family Tree 10.
They were the main gods of the ancient Greeks and came into power after Zeus and his siblings defeated the Titans in the Titanomachy. They took their name from Mount Olympus, which was the base of Zeus's operations in the Titanomachy and which then became their home. They are Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Dionysus.
The Italian goddess of plenty, she was the consort of Saturn, the Roman counterpart of Cronus. She became identified with Rhea, the wife of Cronus.
Orestes [o-res'teez], "mountain dweller."
The son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, he was commanded by Apollo to kill his own mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover Aegisthus, to avenge the murder of his father (Pindar, Pythian Odes 11.17-37; Aeschylus, Choephori; Sophocles, Electra; Euripides, Electra; Apollodorus, Epitome 4.24-25; Hyginus, Fabulae 119). He was pursued and driven mad by the Furies (Erinyes). At Apollo's behest he went to Athens and pleaded his case before the Areopagus, the court of Athens; Apollo served him as defense counselor, while the Furies (Erinyes) presented the prosecution's case, and Athena acted as judge. Athena cast her deciding vote for his acquittal (Aeschylus, Eumenides; Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 940-967; Apollodorus, Epitome 6.25). Orestes ruled over Mycenae and, according to some sources, married his cousin Hermione after killing her husband, Neoptolemus. Orestes died of a snakebite (Euripides, Orestes 1652-1658; Apollodorus, Epitome 6.27-28). Family Tree 15.
Orion [oh-reye'on], "urine."
A son of Poseidon, according to some accounts, and of Gaia according to others, he was a mighty hunter. He fell in love with Merope on the island of Chios and won her hand by ridding the island of wild animals, but Oenopion, her father, refused to grant her to him and then blinded Orion. He went to the east, where he regained his eyesight and attracted the amorous attention of Eos. When he returned to take vengeance on Oenopion, Orion was unable to find his foe, so he joined the followers of Artemis. Apollo convinced Gaia to send a giant scorpion after Orion, and he tricked Artemis into killing him because he was afraid Artemis would fall in love with him. In grief, Artemis placed Orion's image and that of the scorpion in the sky. Other accounts say Orion tried to rape Artemis while he was ridding Chios of wild animals for Oenopion; she then produced the scorpion, which stung him to death and both the scorpion and Orion were then placed in the sky. Still other versions say Orion chased the Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, and that they were all transformed into constellations, along with Sirius, Orion's hunting dog (Homer, Odyssey 5.121-124, 11.572-575; Apollodorus 1.4.3-5; Hyginus, Fabulae 195, Poetica Astronomica 2.21, 26, 33-34).
Orpheus [orf'e-us], "darkness."
A son of Oeagrus, a Thracian river god, his mother was one of the Muses (most accounts say she was Calliope). A skilled musician and singer, he accompanied Jason on the quest for the Golden Fleece. He married Eurydice, but she died from a snakebite on their wedding day. He so charmed Hades and Persephone with his singing that they allowed Orpheus to take Eurydice out of the Underworld on the condition that he not look back on his way out; he feared that she was not following, so he looked back to see her, and she slipped back to the realm of the dead. He wandered through the forests and valleys, playing his lyre and singing, until a group of Thracian women stoned him to death and tore his body apart. His head and lyre were washed out to sea and ended up on the island of Lesbos, where Apollo kept a serpent from biting the head by turning the snake to stone. The Muses collected the remaining pieces of Orpheus' body and buried them; his soul went to the Underworld, where it joined the soul of Eurydice (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.23-34; Apollodorus 1.3.2; Virgil, Georgics 4.453-527; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.1-85, 11.1-84; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.7).
Orthus [or'thus] or Orthos, "straight."
This child of Echidna and Typhon was a two-headed dog. He mated with his mother to produce the Theban Sphinx and the Nemean lion. Along with Eurytion, Orthus helped Geryon guard the cattle that Heracles had to capture for his tenth labor. When he arrived to take the cattle, Heracles killed Orthus (Apollodorus 2.5.10). Family Tree 1.
Otus [oh'tus] or Otos, "push," and Ephialtes [ef-i-al'teez], "he who leaps upon."
These gigantic twins tried to depose Zeus by piling Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympus, and Mount Pelion on top of Mount Ossa. Zeus defeated them with the help of Apollo, who shot them with his arrows. They are sometimes called the Aloads after their father, Aloeus, although their mother, Iphimedeia, claimed that Poseidon was their father (Homer, Iliad 5.385-391, Odyssey 11.305-320; Apollodorus 1.7.4; Pausanias 9.22.6, 9.29.1-2; Hyginus, Fabulae 28).
Ourea [yoo're-a], "mountains."
This is the offspring of Gaia and personification of the mountains. Family Tree 1.
Pallas [pal'las], "maiden."
She was the daughter of Triton (not the sea god) and a friend of Athena, with whom she practiced fighting. Once while sparring, they became angry with each other; as Pallas was about to hit Athena, Zeus sent down his aegis to protect his daughter. Pallas was startled and Athena took advantage of Pallas' momentary lapse to strike and kill her. Athena regretted taking the life of her friend, so she constructed a wooden statue of Pallas and placed her aegis on it. This statue was the Palladium, which protected Troy until the Greeks removed it from the city (Apollodorus 3.12.3, Epitome 5.10; Sack of Ilium 2).
This son of Hermes and god of nature and shepherds is depicted as part goat and part man. He is often associated with Dionysus. His ability to inspire terror with a shout or sudden noise gave rise to the word panic, which is based on his name. He fell in love with Syrinx, a nymph; she ran from him and was turned into a bed of reeds. The sound of the wind blowing through these reeds inspired Pan to pluck two of them and join them together with wax. This instrument is known as the panpipe, which is called syrinx in Greek (Homeric Hymn to Pan 19; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.689-712).
Pandora [pan-dor'a], "all gifts."
She was a beautiful woman (perhaps the first woman) created by the gods to punish humankind. Hephaestus fashioned her out of clay, Athena clothed her, the Graces adorned her with jewelry, the Seasons crowned her with flowers, and Hermes taught her to tell falsehoods. She was given to Epimetheus, who accepted her, because he momentarily forgot Prometheus' command never to take a gift from the gods. She opened a box or jar that the gods had given her and from this container escaped all the ills and troubles that plague humans (Hesiod, Theogony 570-612, Works and Days 47-105; Hyginus, Fabulae 142).
Paris, "leather bag," (also called Alexander or Alexandros).
The son of Priam, king of Troy, and Hecuba was exposed on Mount Ida at birth because Hecuba had dreamed she gave birth to a torch that consumed the city of Troy. Suckled by a bear until he was discovered by a shepherd, he grew up to be the handsomest man alive (Apollodorus 3.12.5). When Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite argued over which was the most beautiful, Hermes, at the command of Zeus, brought the three contestants to Paris: Hera promised him political power if he chose her, Athena pledged him success in battle, and Aphrodite promised Helen. Paris chose Aphrodite (Homer, Iliad 24.25-30; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.1-2; Hyginus, Fabulae 92). Paris was reunited with his parents and he went to Sparta to pick up Helen. Most versions of the story say Aphrodite caused Helen to fall in love with Paris and to go willingly with him, other accounts say he had to use force to take her back to Troy. He was not the bravest or most industrious soldier in the Trojan War, though he killed Achilles (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.5). He was killed by Philoctetes (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.8). Family Tree 42.
The daughter of Helius and Perse, she married Minos and then fell in love with the bull that Poseidon had given her husband. Daedalus constructed a hollow wooden cow in which Pasiphaë was able to copulate with the bull; her offspring with the bull was the Minotaur. Because Pasiphaë grew tired of her husband's many love affairs, she bewitched him, with the result that he ejaculated poisonous serpents (Apollodorus 3.15.1, 3.15.8). Family Tree 23.
Patroclus [pa-tro'klus] or Patroklos, "glory of the father."
The best friend of Achilles, he donned Achilles' armor and entered the battle at Troy to make the Trojans think Achilles had reentered the war. He had promised Achilles to return after frightening the Trojans into retreat; when the Trojans fled and the Greeks fought with newfound strength, Patroclus forgot his promise and pursued the Trojans, killing many of them, including Sarpedon. Hector discovered it was not Achilles, but Patroclus in Achilles' armor, who was causing the rout of his men; he killed Patroclus and stripped him of Achilles' armor (Homer, Iliad 11.599-848, 15.390-404, 16.1-18.355, 19.23-39, 23.62-107; Apollodorus 3.13.8).
Pegasus [peg'a-sus] or Pegasos, "of the springs."
This winged horse sprang from Medusa when Perseus beheaded her; he had been fathered by Poseidon. Bellerophon tamed him with a bridle provided by Athena. He helped Bellerophon kill the Chimaera, but when the hero tried to ride him up to Olympus, Pegasus threw him off. Pegasus continued on up to heaven, where he lived with the gods and eventually became the constellation that is still known by his name (Hesiod, Theogony 319-325; Pindar, Olympian Odes 13.60-91, Isthmian Odes 7.43-47; Apollodorus 2.3.1-2; Hyginus, Fabulae 57, Poetica Astronomica 2.1). Family Tree 1.
Peleus [pee'le-us], "muddy."
This son of Aeacus and father of Achilles left his homeland, Aegina, after killing his half brother Phocus. He went to King Eurytion of Phthia in Thessaly for purification. He accidentally killed Eurytion during the Calydonian boar hunt and went to King Acastus of Iolcus, who purified him. But when Astydamia, Acastus' wife, falsely accused him of trying to seduce her, Acastus took him hunting on Mount Pelion, buried his sword in a dung heap, and left him there asleep. Peleus awoke surrounded by wild beasts and centaurs; Chiron protected him and returned his sword, a gift from Hephaestus that made him invincible. Thetis was given to him as his wife. Eris, who was not invited to the wedding, threw the apple that led to the Judgment of Paris and ultimately the Trojan War. Peleus and Thetis settled in Phthia, where Peleus became the leader of the Myrmidons, who had left Aegina. Thetis and Peleus became the parents of Achilles (Apollodorus 3.12.6-3.13.5). Family Tree 8.
Pelias [pel'i-as], "black and blue."
He usurped the throne of Iolcus from Aeson, the father of Jason, and refused to turn the rulership over to Jason, as Pelias had promised he would when Jason returned with the Golden Fleece (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.5-16; Apollodorus 1.9.16; Hyginus, Fabulae 12, 13). Medea arranged his death by showing his daughters how she was able to rejuvenate an aged ram by butchering it and boiling the parts in a cauldron with magic herbs. She then promised to help the girls rejuvenate their father in the same way if they would first kill him and cut him into pieces, but when the girls put the pieces of their father's body into the boiling water, Medea refused to add the magic herbs (Apollodorus 1.9.27; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.238-349; Hyginus, Fabulae 24). Family Tree 45.
Pelopia [pe-loh-pee'a], "dark-hued face."
She was the daughter of Thyestes. When she was a young woman, Thyestes raped her without realizing she was his daughter and she gave birth to Aegisthus. Later, when she discovered she had been raped by her father, she killed herself (Apollodorus, Epitome 2.10-15; Hyginus, Fabulae 87, 88). Family Tree 15.
Pelops [pee'lops], "dark-hued face."
This son of Tantalus came to Greece to seek the hand of Hippodamia, daughter of Oenomaüs, the king of Pisa (in Elis). To win her, he had to beat Oenomaüs in a chariot race from Pisa to the Isthmus of Corinth -- Oenomaüs killed those who lost this race. One version has Pelops pray to Poseidon, who helps him beat Oenomaüs. Another account says Pelops bribed Myrtilus, the charioteer of Oenomaüs, to remove the linchpins from Oenomaüs' chariot and to replace them with wax; in return, he promised Myrtilus a night with Hippodamia and half of the kingdom. The wheels fell off Oenomaüs' chariot and he was killed. Myrtilus tried to rape Hippodamia when he saw that Pelops was not going to keep his part of the bargain; Pelops threw him off a cliff, but as he was falling to his death, Myrtilus cursed Pelops and his descendants. This curse became the source of much misfortune for Pelops' family, the House of Atreus. Pelops named the area of Greece known as the Peloponnese after himself, and he became the father of Atreus and Thyestes (Pindar, Olympian Odes 1.67-89; Apollodorus, Epitome 2.3-10; Diodorus Siculus 4.73; Pausanias 5.10.6-7, 6.21.6-11, 8.14.10-11). Family Tree 15.
Penates [pe-nay'teez], "pantry."
These spirits of Roman households were responsible for a family's food and well-being, and later the prosperity of the entire state was tied to them. One account says the Penates were originally associated with the town of Lavinium, and when an attempt was made to move them to Alba Longa, they miraculously reappeared in Lavinium. Later Roman tradition held that the Penates were the Trojan gods given to Aeneas by the ghost of Hector on the night the Greeks sacked Troy; Aeneas then brought these gods to Italy.
Penelope [pe-nel'oh-pee], "striped duck."
She was the wife of Odysseus. She waited patiently and faithfully for her husband to return from the Trojan War. For three years she put her suitors off by saying she would choose one of them as her new husband as soon as she finished weaving a burial shroud for Laertes, her father-in-law. Each day she worked at her weaving, but at night she secretly undid what she had accomplished during the day. By the time the suitors discovered her ruse, Odysseus had returned and had begun plotting their slaughter (Homer, Odyssey 19.123-163). Family Tree 37.
Pentheus [pen'the-us], "grief."
He was son of Echion, one of the Spartoi, and king of Thebes. Agave, his mother, became a devotee of Dionysus, but Pentheus opposed him and his rites. Dionysus, in disguise, encouraged Pentheus to dress up as a maenad and infiltrate the rites of Dionysus' followers. When Pentheus went into the mountains in the garb of the bacchae, his mother and the other maenads, possessed by Dionysus, tore him apart (Euripides, Bacchae; Apollodorus 3.5.2; Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.511-733; Hyginus, Fabulae 184). Family Tree 46.
Periboea [pe-ri-bee'a] or Periboia.
She was the daughter of Alcathus, who was son of Pelops -- little more than a name to us (Apollodorus 3.12.7). Family Tree 8.
Periphetes [pe-ri-fee'teez], "notorious," also called Corynetes (Club-man)
This son of Hephaestus lived in Epidaurus, where he terrorized the community as a brigand, beating his victims to death with a club. Theseus fought with Periphetes, wrested the club from him, and killed the fiend with his own weapon; thereafter the club was one of Theseus' trademarks (Apollodorus 3.16.1; Diodorus Siculus 4.59.2; Plutarch, Theseus 8.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 38).
She is mentioned as the mother of Asopus -- little more than a name to us (Apollodorus 3.12.6). Family Tree 8.
Persephone [per-sef'o-nee] (Proserpina), "she who brings destruction," also called Kore [ko'ree], "girl," or "maiden."
The daughter of Zeus and Demeter, she was kidnapped by Hades. Hecate heard Persephone call for her father and Helius saw what happened, but otherwise no one observed the kidnapping. For nine days Demeter searched the world for her daughter; on the tenth day she learned from Hecate and Helius what had become of Persephone. She avoided the assemblies of the gods, and went to Eleusis disguised as an old woman, where she became the nurse of an infant named Demophoön. When he saw that there was no other way to appease Demeter, Zeus sent Hermes to bring Persephone up from the Underworld. Before Persephone came up from the land of the dead, Hades had her eat a pomegranate seed, which committed her to spend one-third of each year in the Underworld. Demeter once again allowed crops to grow on the earth; she then went back to Eleusis and established the Eleusinian Mysteries. Persephone is the wife of Hades and the queen of the Underworld (Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Apollodorus 1.5.1-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.359-550). Family Tree 2.
Perseus [pers'e-us], "destroyer."
This son of Zeus and Danaë, with the help of Athena, beheaded Medusa and brought the head to Polydectes. On his journey he had adventures with the Stygian nymphs, the Graeae, and Atlas; he also rescued Andromeda from a sea monster and married her. With Andromeda he became the father of Perses. He returned to his homeland of Argos and accidentally killed his grandfather, Acrisius, with a discus. He then went to Tiryns, where he exchanged kingdoms with Megapenthes, the king of Tiryns. The city of Mycenae, which Perseus founded near Tiryns, was ruled by his descendants. Perseus and Andromeda were turned into constellations at the end of their lives (Apollodorus 2.4.1-5; Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.607-5.249; Hyginus, Fabulae 63, 64). Family Tree 34.
Phaeacians [fee-ay'shi-anz] or Phaiakians.
They were a seafaring people who helped both Jason and Odysseus. Aeëtes' men caught up to Jason and Medea at Phaeacia, the island home of the Phaeacians, so the Phaeacians arranged for the two to be married (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.982-1222; Apollodorus 1.9.25; Hyginus, Fabulae 23). They entertained Odysseus hospitably, gave him many gifts, and conveyed him safely to Ithaca (Homer, Odyssey 5.382-13.124). While the Phaeacians were returning to their own island after taking Odysseus home, Poseidon became angry that they had once again shown their disregard for him by conveying a mortal over his domain. He turned their ship into a huge rock and threw up a mountain around the island, so the Phaeacians could no longer be masters of the sea (Homer, Odyssey 13.125-187).
Phaedra [fee'dra] or Phaidra.
This daughter of Minos, king of Crete, married Theseus and became the mother of Demophon and Acamas, but she fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus' son with Antiope (or Hippolyta). She accused him of seducing her and then killed herself. Theseus had Poseidon kill Hippolytus (Euripides, Hippolytus; Seneca, Phaedra; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.18-19; Diodorus Siculus 4.62; Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.497-546; Virgil, Aeneid 7.761-782; Hyginus, Fabulae 47). Family Tree 23.
Phaëthon [fay'e-thon], "shine."
This son of Helius (Apollo in some accounts) and Clymene (Rhode or Prote in some accounts) drove his father's chariot recklessly until Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.597-611; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.750-2.380; Hyginus, Fabulae 152A, 154).
Philoctetes [fi-lok-tee'teez] or Philoktetes, "lover of possessions."
This son of Poeas inherited the bow and arrows of Heracles from his father, who had lit the funeral pyre for the hero (Apollodorus 2.7.7). Some sources say Philoctetes himself lit the pyre and received the bow and arrows directly from Heracles (Diodorus Siculus 4.38.3-8; Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.229-238; Hyginus, Fabulae 36). On the way to the Trojan War, Philoctetes led the Greeks to the isle of Chryse (Tenedos in Apollodorus), where he was bitten by a poisonous snake; his wound gave off such a stench that the Greeks left him behind on the island of Lemnos. In the last year of the war, the Greeks needed the bow and arrows of Heracles, so Odysseus and Diomedes sailed back to Lemnos to get Philoctetes. Podalirius and Machaon, sons of Asclepius, healed the wound; Philoctetes then killed Paris (Homer, Iliad 2.716-728; Sophocles, Philoctetes; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.27, 5.8; Hyginus, Fabulae 102). Family Tree 52.
She was the daughter of Pandion and Zeuxippe. When she visited her sister, Procne, Tereus, her brother-in-law, raped her, secluded her in a remote outpost, and cut her tongue off. In a tapestry that she smuggled to her sister, Procne, Philomela depicted the crime against her. Procne freed her from the outpost and together they cooked Itys and served him to Tereus; when Tereus chased Procne and Philomela, they were all turned into birds (Apollodorus 3.14.8; Pausanias 1.5.4, 1.41.8-9, 10.4.8-9; Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.424-674; Hyginus, Fabulae 45). Family Tree 39.
Phineus [feyen'e-us], "sea bird."
The king of Salmydessus, he was a blind prophet whom Jason and the Argonauts encountered on their way to get the Golden Fleece. Harpies snatched away most of his food and befouled the rest. Zetes and Calaïs, the winged sons of Boreas, the North Wind, chased the Harpies away; in return, Phineus foretold the rest of the Argonauts' journey and warned them of many dangers that lay ahead, and he told them how to get through the Symplegades (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.178-536; Apollodorus 1.9.21-22; Hyginus, Fabulae 19; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 4.423-636).
Phoebe [fee'bee] or Phoibe, "bright."
She was a daughter of Uranus and Gaia and one of the Titans. By her brother, Coeus, she was the mother of Leto and Asteria (Hesiod, Theogony 404-410; Apollodorus 1.1.3, 1.2.2). Family Tree 3 Family Tree 21.
Pholus [foh'lus] or Pholos, "lair."
He was a centaur who entertained Heracles when the hero was preparing to capture the Erymanthian boar for his fourth labor. He served a jar of wine to Heracles that belonged to all the centaurs, a deed that caused the centaurs to attack Heracle. While driving the centaurs away, Heracles inadvertently hit Chiron with one of his poisoned arrows; Chiron found relief by trading his immortality for the mortality of Prometheus. Pholus also met his death in this battle when he accidentally dropped one of Heracles' arrows on his foot (Sophocles, Trachiniae 1095-1096; Euripides, Heracles 364-374; Apollodorus 2.5.4; Diodorus Siculus 4.12.3-8; Hyginus, Fabulae 30).
Phorcys [for'sis] or Phokys, "pig."
This son of Gaia and Pontus was a sea god who married Ceto and became the father of the Gorgons and the Graeae. Some accounts call him the father of Scylla, Echidna, Ladon, the Hesperides, and the Eumenides (Homer, Odyssey 1.71-73, 13.96; Hesiod, Theogony 237-336; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.828-829). Family Tree 1.
Phrixus [friks'us] or Phrixos.
This son of Athamas and Nephele, a cloud, was rescued by a flying golden ram when Ino, his stepmother, tried to have him killed. Phrixus' sister, Helle, fell from the ram at the Hellespont, but Phrixus rode it to safety in Colchis, where he sacrificed the ram and flayed it -- this was the Golden Fleece that Jason retrieved (Apollodorus 1.9.1; Diodorus Siculus 4.47; Hyginus, Fabulae 1-3, Poetica Astronomica 2.20). Family Tree 25.
Pirithoüs [pi-ri'thoh-us] or Pirithoos, "run around."
The son of Ixion and king of the Lapiths, he invited the centaurs to his wedding, but they became drunk and tried to rape the bride and other Lapith women. A fight broke out and the centaurs were routed; this battle became famous and was a popular theme in Greek art (Pindar, Pythian Odes 2.21-48; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.21; Diodorus Siculus 4.69.1-70.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.210-535; Hyginus, Fabulae 33). Pirithoüs and Theseus went to the Underworld to capture Persephone to be the bride of Pirithoüs. They were captured and held by coils of snakes; Pirithoüs was never released, but Theseus was freed by Heracles (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.23; Plutarch, Theseus 32, 34; Diodorus Siculus 4.63.1-5). Family Tree 44.
Pluto [plou'toh] (2), "wealth."
She is an obscure goddess, daughter of Cronus and Rhea or of Oceanus and Tethys (Hesiod, Theogony 355). Family Tree 15.
Pluto [plou'toh] (Hades) (1), "wealth."
This is one of the names the Romans commonly used for the god of the Underworld. It comes from the Greek word ploutos, meaning "wealth"; the Romans also used the name Dis or Dis Pater, from Latin dives ("wealth") and pater ("father"), for the ruler of the Underworld. The god of the Underworld was considered wealthy not only because he controlled the many precious metals inside the earth, but also because grain and other life-giving crops were thought to grow from inside the earth.
Poeas [pee'as] or Poias, "keeper of pastures."
This son of Thaumacus was one of the Argonauts. When Heracles came to Mount Oeta, in Trachis, suffering unendurable pain from the poison in the robe that had been dipped in the blood of Nessus, Poeas was the only one who had the courage to light the funeral pyre that Heracles had arranged to be built for himself. In return for Poeas' kindness, Heracles gave to him his bow and arrows; these weapons were later passed on to Poeas' son, Philoctetes, although one version of the story says Philoctetes lit the pyre himself and received the weapons directly from Heracles (Apollodorus 2.7.7). Family Tree 52.
Polydorus [po-li-do'rus] or Polydoros.
This son of Cadmus and Harmonia became king of Thebes. He was the father of Labdacus, but he died while Labdacus was still a child (Pausanias 9.5.3-4). Family Tree 46.
Polynices [pol-i-neye'seez] or Polynikes.
This son of Oedipus and Jocasta was also brother of Eteocles, with whom he was to alternate as ruler of Thebes, each brother ruling for one year at a time and then stepping down. When Eteocles refused to hand the throne over to Polynices at the end of the first year, Polynices and six other leaders (the Seven against Thebes) led an expedition against the city; Eteocles and Polynices killed each other at the same moment. Creon decreed that Polynices was not to be buried, but Antigone disobeyed and buried her brother at the cost of her own life (Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes; Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 1254-1447, Antigone; Euripides, Phoenician Women, Suppliants; Apollodorus 3.6.1-3.7.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 68-74). Family Tree 19.
Polyphemus [po-li-fee'mus] or Polyphemos, "many words."
This son of Poseidon was a Cyclops, with a single eye in the middle of his forehead. In vain he pursued Galatea (Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.750-897). He trapped Odysseus and twelve of his men in his cave; he ate some of the men. Odysseus masterminded their escape by getting Polyphemus drunk and blinding him. They left the cave tied to the bottoms of his sheep and rams. Polyphemus prayed to his father, Poseidon, and uttered the curse that made the rest of Odysseus' voyage so difficult (Homer, Odyssey 9.105-542).
Pontus [pon'tus] or Pontos, "sea."
This offspring of Gaia and personification of the sea mated with Gaia to produce Thaumas, Eurybia (or Eurybië), Ceto, Nereus, and Phorcys (Hesiod, Theogony 131-132, 233-239). Family Tree 6.
Poseidon [po-seye'don] (Neptune), "husband of Da (=Demeter)"(?).
This son of Cronus and Rhea supported Zeus in the Titanomachy. He drew lots with Zeus and Hades to divide up the universe and became ruler of the sea (Apollodorus 1.2.1). He had a competition with Athena for control of Athens. He struck a rock on the Acropolis with his trident and created the first horse (other sources say he created a salt spring), but Athena won the contest by causing an olive tree to spring up. Poseidon was so angry at losing that he flooded the nearby Thriasian plain, but the Athenians appeased him by promising to worship him even though Athena would be their patron deity (Apollodorus 3.14.1). His weapon was the trident (Apollodorus 1.2.1). He was also the god of earthquakes (Homeric Hymn to Poseidon). He was married to Amphitrite and was the father of Triton (Hesiod, Theogony 930-933; Apollodorus 1.4.5). By Gaia he was the father of Antaeus and by Demeter he fathered Arion; he was also the father of Polyphemus. Family Tree 2 Family Tree 53.
Priam [preye'am], "redeemed."
This son of Laomedon was king of Troy during the Trojan War. He became king when Heracles killed his father (Apollodorus 2.6.4). Among his children with his wife Hecuba were Hector, Paris, Cassandra, Helenus, Deïphobus, Troilus, and Creusa; he also had numerous offspring through concubines (Apollodorus 3.12.5). Neoptolemus killed Priam at the altar of Zeus in Priam's house (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.21; Pausanias 4.17.4; Virgil, Aeneid 2.533-558). Family Tree 42.
Priapus [preye-ay'-pus] or Priapos , "pear tree pruner"(?).
This son of Aphrodite -- Hermes, Dionysus, Pan, Adonis, and even Zeus are named in various accounts as his father -- is a fertility god who is usually depicted as deformed, with a huge, erect phallus. Some sources say Hera gave him this obscene appearance because she was upset at Aphrodite's promiscuity. Priapus was a gardener and was found at the doors of houses (Pausanias 9.31.2; Hyginus, Fabulae 160, Poetica Astronomica 2.23).
Procne [prok'nee] or Prokne, "older"(?).
This daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, and sister of Philomela married Tereus, king of Thrace, and became the mother of Itys. When Philomela came to visit them, Tereus raped her, sliced off her tongue, and locked her in a remote outpost in the woods. Philomela wove a tapestry on which the crime was depicted and sent it to Procne, who freed her sister; together they cooked Itys and served him to Tereus. When Tereus realized he had eaten his own son, he chased Procne and Philomela with his sword; all three of them were changed into birds (Apollodorus 3.14.8; Pausanias 1.5.4, 1.41.8-9, 10.4.8-9; Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.424-674; Hyginus, Fabulae 45). Family Tree 39.
Procrustes [prokrus'teez] or Prokrustes, "he who stretches out,"
also known as Damastes or Polypemon. He lived between Eleusis and Athens, where he entertained visitors at his inn, which had only one bed. He cut the legs off those who were longer than the bed and he hammered out or stretched those guests who were too short (Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch). Some accounts say he had two beds, one long and one short: he put short visitors on the long bed and hammered them to make them fit; long guests he placed on the short bed, and he cut off the portion of their legs that extended beyond the length of the bed (Apollodorus, Hyginus). Theseus killed him in the same way Procrustes had killed his victims (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.4; Diodorus Siculus 4.59.5; Plutarch, Theseus 11; Hyginus, Fabulae 38).
Prometheus [proh-mee'the-us], "forethought."
The son of Iapetus and Clymene, he joined the side of Zeus in the Titanomachy even though he was one of the Titans by birth; later he challenged Zeus by championing the cause of man. Some sources say it was he who created humans (Apollodorus 1.7.1; Pausanias 10.4.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.82-88). He prepared two sacrifices for Zeus and let him choose between them: one of the sacrifices was the fine meat and organs of an ox wrapped in the paunch, while the other was only bones covered with rich fat. Zeus chose the less desirable offering, thus setting the precedent for the kind of sacrifices to be made by men. Zeus refused to give men the gift of fire, but Prometheus smuggled it out of heaven and brought it to earth. Zeus punished mankind by creating women, with Pandora as the prototype, and he chained Prometheus to a cliff in the Caucasus Mountains; each day an eagle pecked at his liver and each night the wounds healed and the liver grew back (Hesiod, Theogony 507-616, Works and Days 47-105; Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound; Apollodorus 1.7.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 54). Heracles killed the eagle with his bow and arrow and freed him; Prometheus traded his mortality for the immortality of Chiron, who had been wounded by one of Heracles' arrows (Apollodorus 2.5.4; Hyginus, Fabulae 144, Poetica Astronomica 2.15). Family Tree 4.
Protesilaüs [proh-te-si-lay'us] or Protesilaos, "first of the army."
He was the first Greek to leap from the ships onto Trojan soil at the beginning of the Trojan War, and the first Greek to die -- Hector killed him. His wife, Laodamia, was so distraught that Hermes brought Protesilaüs back from the Underworld for a few hours. When her husband had to return to the realm of Hades, she killed herself (Homer, Iliad 2.695-710; Cypria 17; Apollodorus, Epitome 3.30; Hyginus, Fabulae 103).
Psyche [seye'kee], "soul."
The youngest of three daughters born to a certain king and queen, the oracle of Apollo said she should be laid out like a corpse and placed on a mountaintop, where she would be wed to a horrible serpent. On the mountaintop she fell asleep and was transported to a castle, where Eros came to her each night after dark; because he left before sunrise, she had no idea who her lover was. She became pregnant and Eros told her the child would be divine if she did not try to find out who he was. Eventually her sisters found her and convinced her to learn the identity of her lover-when she discovered it was Eros, he fled from her-Aphrodite imposed a series of nearly impossible tasks on Psyche-when she completed the tasks, Aphrodite allowed Eros to marry her-she was taken up to Olympus and fed ambrosia, which made her immortal (Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4.28-6.26).
Pygmalion [pig-may'li-on], "cubit"(?).
He was a craftsman on the island of Cyprus who created his own wife. All the women on the island were prostitutes, so he carved an ivory statue of a woman and treated it as his wife; Aphrodite caused the statue to come alive for him. He named his wife Galatea and together they had a son named Paphos, who became the father of Cinyras (Apollodorus 3.14.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.243-297).
Pyramus [pi'ra-mus] or Pyramos, "pyramid"(?), and Thisbe [thiz'bee], "divine"(?).
They were two young lovers in Babylon whose parents forbade them to see each other. They communicated in secret through a small hole in the wall that divided their living quarters, until the distance between them became unbearable and they eloped. Thisbe arrived first at their meeting place, but she was frightened into a nearby cave when a lion appeared; as she fled, her veil fell to the ground and the lion chewed on it. When Pyramus arrived, he assumed the lion had consumed Thisbe, so he ran himself through with his sword. Thisbe found him dead when she came out from the cave, and she killed herself with his sword (Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.55-166).
Rape of the Sabines [sayb'eyenz].
This refers to the Romans' scheme for populating their city. Most of the early inhabitants of Rome were men, and when neighboring peoples refused to marry their daughters to the Romans, the Romans invited the Sabine tribe to a festival in the city; then, at a given signal, they seized the Sabine women. The Sabine men fled, but later they launched an attack: Tarpeia, the daughter of the Roman commander, showed them a path to the Capitoline Hill, but they were unable to take the Forum, because Janus caused jets of boiling water to spring forth at the entrance to the Forum. The war came to an end when the Sabine women walked between the battling forces and pleaded for peace. The Sabines became citizens of Rome and their leader was named Romulus' colleague (Livy 1.9.6).
Rhadamanthus [ra-da-man'this] or Rhadamanthys.
A son of Zeus and Europa, he was driven from Crete by his brother Minos after they both lost to Sarpedon in a contest for the attention of a handsome young man named Miletus (also named Atymnius). He married Alcmene, the mother of Heracles, after she was widowed by Amphitryon. Rhadamanthus became a judge of the dead in the Underworld after his death (Homer, Odyssey 4.561-569; Apollodorus 2.4.11, 3.1.1-2; Diodorus Siculus 5.79.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 178). Family Tree 23.
Rhea [ray'a and ree'a], "earth"(?).
One of the Titans and a goddess of the earth and fertility, she married her brother Cronus, who insisted on swallowing their children as they were born because of a prophecy that one of his offspring would overthrow him. When Zeus was born, Rhea gave Cronus a rock wrapped in a baby's blanket. Zeus escaped, grew up in secret on Crete, and then returned to dethrone his father in the Titanomachy (Homer, Iliad 14.201-204; Hesiod, Theogony 135, 453-506; Apollodorus 1.1.3-1.2.1; Pausanias 8.8.2-3, 8.36.2-3; Hyginus, Fabulae 139). Family Tree 2 Family Tree 3.
Romulus [ro'myou-lus], "Rome"(?), and Remus [ree'mus], "Rome"(?).
They established the city of Rome. Their grandfather, Numitor, was sent into exile by his brother, Amulius, who usurped the throne of Alba Longa; their mother, Rhea Silvia, was made a Vestal Virgin, but Mars lay with her and she gave birth to Romulus and Remus. Amulius had Rhea put to death for violating her vows and he exposed the twins by setting them adrift on the Tiber in an ark. The ark came to rest near what later became the Palatine Hill in Rome, and a she-wolf suckled the twins; later a man named Faustulus found the boys and took them home to raise them. When they were young men, Remus was captured by one of Numitor's shepherds in a quarrel and brought before Numitor; Romulus arrived and told the story of their rescue by the she-wolf and their upbringing in the home of Faustulus. Numitor recognized the two young men as his own grandchildren, and together they conspired to overthrow Amulius and return Numitor to the throne. Romulus and Remus established their own city where the she-wolf had saved them from starvation and exposure. When they argued over who should rule the new city, Romulus killed Remus -- he then built a city and named it Rome after himself (Plutarch, Romulus; Livy 1.3.10-1.16.8). Family Tree 43.
Sarpedon [sar-pee'don], "rape."
A son of Zeus and one of the leaders of the Lycians, who fought on the side of the Trojans in the Trojan War, Patroclus killed him in the tenth year of the war. Zeus rained drops of blood on the ground to honor his son before his death, and then pulled his body from the skirmish before it could be defiled by the Greeks (Homer, Iliad 5.470-492, 627-698, 12.290-416, 16.419-683). Family Tree 45.
Saturn [sa'turn] (Cronus), "sown."
An Italian agricultural deity who became identified with Cronus, his festival, the Saturnalia, was originally celebrated on December 17. Later, it was combined with the festival of his consort, Ops, which occurred two days later, to form a weeklong celebration. During the festivities, social mores were largely ignored and slaves enjoyed almost complete freedom of speech.
Satyrs [say'ters], "wild ones"(?).
Spirits of nature, part man and part animal, they were usually depicted with a horse's tail and ears and the beard and horns of a goat. Often associated with Dionysus, they loved wine, music, and dancing. They were in a state of constant sexual arousal and spent much of their time chasing maenads through the forest.
Sciron [skeye'ron] or Skiron, "having a parasol"(?).
A brigand who terrorized those who journeyed on the path that ran past Megara to Athens, he forced passersby to wash his feet, but when they stooped over, he kicked them over a cliff into the sea where a huge turtle devoured them. Theseus killed Sciron in the same manner he had killed so many others (Apollodorus, Epitome 1.2; Diodorus Siculus 4.59.4; Plutarch, Theseus 10; Pausanias 1.44.8; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.443-447; Hyginus, Fabulae 38).
Scylla [sil'la] or Skylla, "puppy," or "flayer."
She was a beautiful sea nymph with whom Glaucus, a minor sea god, fell in love. He went to Circe for magical help, but Circe had designs on Glaucus, so she encouraged him to forget Scylla. When Glaucus said his love for the nymph would never die, Circe threw herbs into the water in which Scylla often swam, and Scylla was turned into a horrible monster, with an upper body consisting of six snakes, each with a dog's head and three rows of knifelike teeth. Another version says that Poseidon made advances to Scylla, and Amphitrite in her jealousy threw magic herbs into Scylla's water, and thus she was transformed into a terrifying monster (Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.730-741, 13.898-14.74). Scylla was submerged up to the waist in the strait between Italy and Sicily, where she teamed with Charybdis to present a dual hazard to ships. She threatened Jason and the Argonauts (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.922-964; Apollodorus 1.9.25) and ate six of Odysseus' men (Homer, Odyssey 12.201-259).
Seasons or Hours or Horae [hoh'ree] or Horai.
Children of Zeus and Themis, they are variously depicted as two, three, or four in number. In addition to serving as attendants of the divinities of vegetation and fertility, such as Dionysus, Persephone, and Demeter, they often accompanied Aphrodite (Hesiod, Theogony 901-906; Apollodorus 1.3.1). Family Tree 5.
Selene [se-lee'nee], "moon."
This moon goddess was a daughter of Hyperion and Theia. One night she came down from the sky and lay with a young shepherd named Endymion; later Endymion fell into a dreamless, perpetual sleep, in which he never aged. Some sources say this endless sleep came upon him because of his wish not to grow older. Others say Zeus brought on the sleep because he suspected Endymion of having an affair with Hera. Still other sources relate that Selene induced the sleep because she preferred the motionless beauty of her lover to his amorous passion (Hesiod, Theogony 371-374; Homeric Hymn to Selene 32; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.57-65; Apollodorus 1.7.5; Pausanias 5.1.4; Virgil, Georgics 3.391-393; Hyginus, Fabulae 271). Family Tree 30.
Semele [sem'e-lee], "earth"(?).
She was the daughter of Cadmus and mother of Dionysus. When Zeus became Semele's lover, Hera visited her disguised as an old woman, arguing that Semele should ask her lover to prove he really was Zeus by appearing in his full glory. The next time Zeus came to her, Semele extracted a promise from him to grant her whatever she asked and then requested that he appear in his full magnificence. Semele was incinerated by Zeus's glory, but Zeus snatched her unborn baby from the flames and placed it in his thigh until it was time for the infant to be born (Apollodorus 3.4.3; Hyginus, Fabulae 167, 179). Family Tree 46.
Seven Against Thebes
This refers to a battle between Eteocles and Polynices, the sons of Oedipus, for control of Thebes. They had agreed to take turns as king, but Eteocles did not relinquish the throne at the end of his appointed year, so Adrastus, king of Argos, helped Polynices organize an army to attack Thebes. This army had seven leaders: Adrastus, Polynices, Capaneus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeus, Amphiaraüs, and Tydeus. The expedition failed, and all seven were killed except Amphiaraüs and Adrastus. Polynices and Eteocles struck and killed each other at the same moment (Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes; Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 1254-1447, Antigone; Euripides, Phoenician Women, Suppliants; Apollodorus 3.6.1-3.7.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 68-74).
Sibyl [sib'il] or Sibylla [si-bil'la], "counsel of Zeus," or "godly counsel," or "hisser."
This is the generic name for prophetesses other than the Pythia at Delphi. Apollo granted that the sibyl at Cumae would live as many years as the grains of sand she held in her hand, but when she then refused to sleep with him, he withheld the gift of agelessness. She lived on and on, but each year got older, more wrinkled, and more decrepit (Ovid, Metamorphoses 14.131-153).
Silenus [seye-lee'nus], "roll"(?), (plural Sileni [seye-lee'neye]) or Silenoi (singular Silenos).
This is the name both of a kind of minor Greek deity that is similar to a satyr and of a particular member of this group who became the tutor of Dionysus. Sileni are part goat and part man and are usually depicted as older than satyrs; they share the satyrs' fondness for lechery and drunkenness. Silenus, the tutor of Dionysus, was gentle and wise (Pausanias 3.25.2-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.89-101).
Sinis [seye'nis], "plunderer," also called Pityocamptes, "pine-bender."
He was a robber who bent the tops of two pine trees down to the ground and tied each end of his victims to one of the trees; when he released the trees, his captives would be ripped in half. Theseus killed Sinis in this same manner (Apollodorus 3.16.2; Diodorus Siculus 4.59.3; Plutarch, Theseus 8.2; Pausanias 2.1.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.440-442; Hyginus, Fabulae 38).
Sinon [seye'non], "hurt."
This clever liar was left behind by the Greeks to convince the Trojans to bring the wooden horse inside their city. Sinon pretended he had deserted from the Greek army and was being traitorous in relating to the Trojans that they would be victorious if they could get the horse inside their city (Apollodorus, Epitome 5.15-19; Virgil, Aeneid 2.57-198, 254-259; Hyginus, Fabulae 108).
Sirens [seye'rens], "chains" or "hot."
These daughters of Achelous (some sources say of Phorcys) and Terpsichore or Sterope, one of the Muses, were birdlike women who lured sailors to their deaths on the treacherous rocks along the shore with their beautiful singing. Jason and the Argonauts made it past the Sirens because Orpheus outsang them (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.891-921; Apollodorus 1.9.25; Hyginus, Fabulae 14). Odysseus stopped up the ears of all his men with wax and had himself tied to the mast so he could hear the Sirens' singing, but could not do anything to steer the ship toward them (Homer, Odyssey 12.166-200).
Sisyphus [sis'i-fus] or Sisyphos, "very wise."
This son of Aeolus was the craftiest of men. He told Asopus that Zeus was seducing his daughter. After Sisyphus died, he cheated Thanatos (Death) by begging permission to go back to earth long enough to arrange a proper burial for his corpse; when he got back up to the land of the living, he stayed there and did not return to the Underworld until many years later, when he died for the second time. He was condemned to push a huge boulder up a hill for all eternity; just before he reached the crest of the hill, the rock slipped away from him and rolled to the bottom. He must then begin his task anew (Homer, Odyssey 11.593-600; Apollodorus 1.9.3; Pausanias 2.5.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 60, 201). Family Tree 45.
This child of Echidna and Orthus was a monster with the face of a woman, the body of a lion, and birdlike wings. It attacked the city of Thebes and devoured anyone who could not answer this riddle: "What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?" When Oedipus answered correctly, "Man," the Sphinx threw itself off the acropolis of Thebes and died (Hesiod, Theogony 326-329; Sophocles, Oedipus the King 391-398; Euripides, Phoenician Women 45-49, 806-811, 1019-1042, 1504; Apollodorus 3.5.8; Pausanias 9.26.2-4; Diodorus Siculus 4.64.3-4; Hyginus, Fabulae 67). Family Tree 1.
Sterope [ster'oh-pee] also called Asterope.
One of the Pleiades (daughters of Atlas and Pleione), she is said by most sources to be the mother of Hippodamia by Oenomaus (Apollodorus 3.10.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 192, Poetica Astronomica 2.21). Family Tree 49.
Styx [stiks], "hated."
This daughter of Oceanus and Tethys is the river that surrounds the Underworld. To gain admittance to the land of the dead, a soul has to be ferried across Styx by Charon. Because Styx, the personification of the river, was the first to aid Zeus in the Titanomachy, Zeus ordained that the gods should swear their oaths by the River Styx (Hesiod, Theogony 360-363, 383-403, 775-806). Family Tree 36.
Symplegades [sim-pleg'a-deez], "striking together."
These were two rocks near the western end of the Euxine (Black) Sea that clashed together periodically, smashing whatever happened to be between them. Before Jason and the Argonauts, nothing had ever passed safely between them, but Jason made it through by following the advice of Phineus, who had told him to send a dove flying between the rocks and then to sail through while the rocks were recoiling (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.549-610; Apollodorus 1.9.22; Hyginus, Fabulae 19; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 4.561-702).
Talus [ta'lus] or Talos, "sufferer."
A giant that lived on the island of Crete, Zeus had given him to Europa to guard the island for her. His weak spot was a vein above one ankle that was plugged by a nail; if the nail was removed, his ichor would flow from his body and he would die. Jason and the Argonauts were able to land on the island in the darkness of night. Medea recited incantations against Talus that made him graze his ankle on a sharp rock; the nail came loose and he died (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.1639-1693; Apollodorus 1.9.26).
Tantalus [tan'ta-lus] or Tantalos, "wretched."
Sometimes called a son of Zeus, sometimes of Tmolus-cut up and served his son, Pelops, to the gods at a banquet-Demeter was the only one who failed to recognize that the meat was human flesh; she ate Pelops' left shoulder-Zeus caused Pelops to be put back together, and Demeter replaced the shoulder she had eaten with an ivory shoulder-Tantalus' punishment was to stand in a pool of water that receded whenever he bent over to get a drink-over his head dangled a bough laden with luscious fruit-when he reached for a piece of the fruit, a gust of wind blew the bough just out of his g.html (Homer, Odyssey 11.582-592; Apollodorus, Epitome 2.1). Family Tree 15.
Tartarus [tar'ta-rus] or Tartaros, "place in the far west."
This gloomy region in the depths of Earth (Gaia) emerged shortly after Chaos in the earliest stages of creation. It was in Tartarus that Zeus imprisoned the Titans and other figures guilty of serious crimes, such as Sisyphus, Tityus, Ixion, and Tantalus. In later mythology, Tartarus became the place in the land of the dead for the souls of wicked humans (Homer, Iliad 8.13-16; Hesiod, Theogony 119, 713-735, 820-822; Apollodorus 1.6.3). Family Tree 1.
This son of Aeacus and brother of Peleus and Phocus plotted with Peleus to kill Phocus and was exiled. He accompanied Heracles on expedition to punish Laomedon for cheating Heracles. He received Hesione as his wife; he was the father of Teucer by Hesione and of Ajax the Greater by Periboea. He refused to accept Teucer back from the Trojan War because Teucer had not prevented the suicide of Ajax (Pindar, Isthmian Odes 6.26-54, Nemean Odes 3.36-39; Euripides, Helen 87-94; Apollodorus 2.6.4, 3.12.6-7; Pausanias 8.15.6-7; Hyginus, Fabulae 89). Family Tree 8.
This Thracian king aided Pandion in a boundary war with the Theban Labdacus., so Pandion gave Tereus his daughter Procne in marriage. Tereus raped Procne's sister Philomela, sliced off her tongue, and locked her in a remote outpost. Philomela depicted the crime on a tapestry and sent it to Procne, who freed her sister; together they cooked Itys and served him to Tereus. When Tereus realized he had eaten his own son, he chased Procne and Philomela with his sword -- all three of them were changed into birds (Apollodorus 184.108.40.206; Pausanias 1.5.4, 1.41.8-9, 10.4.8-9; Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.424-674; Hyginus, Fabulae 45). Family Tree 39.
Tethys [tee'this], "grand mother."
This daughter of Uranus and Gaia was one of the Titans. By her brother Oceanus she was the mother of 6,000 children, known as the Oceanids. During the Titanomachy she raised Hera, who had been entrusted to her by Rhea. Out of respect for Hera, she did not allow the constellation Ursa Major to set in Oceanus, since Zeus had had an affair with Callisto. When Aesacus plunged into the sea out of grief for Hesperia, Tethys changed him into a diver bird (Homer, Iliad 14.201-204; Hesiod, Theogony 337-370; Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.784-795; Hyginus, Fabulae 17, Poetica Astronomica 2.1). Family Tree 2.
Teucer [tou'ser] or Teukros, "builder."
This son of Telamon and Hesione, who was the daughter of King Laomedon of Troy, Teucer demanded that Ajax the Greater, his half brother, be given a hero's funeral after he committed suicide. When he returned home after the war, Telamon would not let him land because he felt Teucer should have been able to prevent his brother's suicide. He went on to Cyprus, where he founded a city and named it Salamis (Homer, Iliad 8.266-334, 12.370-403, 13.169-185, 15.437-483, 23.859-883; Sophocles, Ajax; Pausanias 1.28.11, 8.15.6-7; Virgil, Aeneid 1.619-622). Family Tree 17.
Thanatos [than'a-tos], "death."
He was the child of Night and god of death. Heracles defeated him in a wrestling match to retrieve Alcestis, the wife of Admetus, from the dead (Hesiod, Theogony 211-212, 758-766; Euripides, Alcestis).
Thaumas [thaw'mas], "wonder."
He was the offspring of Pontus and Gaia, and the father of Iris and the Harpies by Electra, the Oceanid. Nothing is known of Thaumas's function (Hesiod, Theogony 232-239, 265-269; Apollodorus 1.2.6). Family Tree 6.
Theia [thee'a or theye'a], "goddess."
This daughter of Uranus and Gaia was one of the Titans. By her brother Hyperion she was the mother of Helius, Selene, and Eos; she was also the mother of the Cercopes by Oceanus. She was called Euryphaëssa in the Homeric Hymn to Helios (Hesiod, Theogony 371-374; Apollodorus 1.1.3, 1.2.2). Family Tree 3 Family Tree 12.
Themis [thee'mis], "order."
One of the Titans and an earth goddess, she fought on the side of Zeus in the Titanomachy. She is sometimes called Ge-Themis. She enacted the holy marriage of sky and earth by mating with Zeus, the sky god, and gave birth to the Fates and the Seasons. Some scholars believe that her oracle originally occupied the site at Delphi that later became the oracle of Apollo (Hesiod, Theogony 901-906; Aeschylus, Eumenides 2-8; Apollodorus 1.4.1). Family Tree 3 Family Tree 5.
Theseus [thee'se-us], "he who puts in order."
This son of Aegeus, sometimes called a "second Heracles,"was the hero of Athens. Born in Troezen, he journeyed to Athens to meet his father, having adventures along the way with Periphetes, Sinis, Sciron, Cercyon, a man-eating pig, and Procrustes. In Athens, his stepmother, Medea, tried to have him killed, but Aegeus recognized and saved him. He was sent to Crete to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, but with Ariadne's help he killed the beast and escaped from the island; Ariadne accompanied him, but he left her behind on the island of Dia (Naxos). He unintentionally caused his father's death by forgetting to change his black sail for a white sail to show he was still alive. He became king of Athens, made an attack on the Amazons, and went with Pirithoüs to Sparta to kidnap Helen as his wife. They then went to the Underworld to kidnap Persephone to be the wife of Pirithoüs; they were imprisoned, but Heracles later freed Theseus. He married Phaedra, who accused his son, Hippolytus, of trying to seduce her; Theseus believed the allegations and had Poseidon kill his son (Euripides, Hippolytus; Seneca, Phaedra; Apollodorus, Epitome 1.18-19; Diodorus Siculus 4.62; Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.497-546; Virgil, Aeneid 7.761-782; Hyginus, Fabulae 47). Theseus, while in exile, was killed by Lycomedes, king of Scyros. Family Tree 16.
Thespius [thes'pi-us], "prophetic."
This king of Thespiae entertained Heracles, who killed a lion that was ravaging his herds: he sent his fifty daughters (one each night) to sleep with the hero (Diodorus Siculus 4.29.2-3). Pausanias (9.27.6) says Heracles slept with all fifty daughters in one night (Apollodorus 2.4.9-11).
Thetis [thee'tis], "she who sets aside."
A daughter of Nereus and Doris and a sea goddess, Zeus and Poseidon spurned her when they learned that her son would be greater than his father. She married Peleus, and their son was Achilles. She tried to make Achilles immortal by burning his body in a fire and then rubbing it with ambrosia, but Peleus stopped her when she had done all but his ankle. She abandoned them both, although she did aid and protect Achilles later in his life (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.866-879; Apollodorus 3.13.6; Hyginus, Fabulae 54). Family Tree 8.
This son of Pelops and Hippodamia carried on a bitter feud with his brother Atreus. He had an affair with Atreus' wife, Aërope, so Atreus killed the sons of Thyestes and served them to him at a banquet. Thyestes fathered Aegisthus on his daughter, Pelopia (Aeschylus, Agamemnon; Apollodorus 2.4.6, Epitome 2.10-15; Hesiod, Catalogue of Women 69; Hyginus, Fabulae 87, 88). Family Tree 15.
Titanomachy [teye-ta-no'ma-kee], "battle of the Titans."
This refers to a great battle between Cronus and Zeus for control of the universe. On the side of Zeus were his brothers and sisters, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon, as well as the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires. Cronus had the Titans as allies, with the exception of Themis and Prometheus, the son of Iapetus (in some accounts Prometheus is called the son of Themis), who chose to fight on the side of Zeus. Like all serious wars in Greek mythology, the Titanomachy lasted ten years. Cronus fought from Mount Othrys, while Zeus took his stand on Mount Olympus. Zeus won by unleashing the firepower of the Hecatonchires; he imprisoned the Titans in Tartarus under the guard of the Hecatonchires and he sentenced Atlas, who had been in Cronus' ranks, to hold the sky on his shoulders (Hesiod, Theogony 453-506; Apollodorus 1.1.5-2.1; Hyginus, Fabulae 150).
Titans [teye'tanz], "honored ones."
These twelve children of Uranus and Gaia are Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys, and Cronus. Most of them are deifications of various.htmlects of nature. They were the first group of ruling gods, with Cronus as their leader, but Zeus deposed them in the Titanomachy. For the most part they are important in Greek mythology only for their offspring (Hesiod, Theogony 132-138; Apollodorus 1.1.3; Diodorus Siculus 5.66.3). Family Tree 3.
Triptolemus [trip-tol'e-mus] or Triptolemos , "threefold warrior."
Said by some to be the first person to whom Demeter revealed her mysteries in Eleusis, he spread Demeter's agricultural arts to new lands by teaching people how to use a plow and to grow wheat and corn. Demeter gave him a chariot drawn by winged dragons for his travels. After his death he was worshiped as a god (Homeric Hymn to Demeter 2; Apollodorus 1.5.2; Pausanias 1.14.1-3, 7.18.2-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.646-661; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.14).
Triton [treye'ton], "third."
This son of Poseidon and Amphitrite is a sea god who conveys his father's edicts to all inhabitants of the ocean by blowing a shell (Hesiod, Theogony 930-933; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.330-347). Family Tree 53.
This son of Oeneus and father of Diomedes was one of the Seven against Thebes. He was gravely injured by Melanippus in the attack on Thebes, but he killed Melanippus and ate his brains (Homer, Iliad 4.376-398; Apollodorus 1.8.4, 3.6.1-8). Family Tree 29.
Tyndareus [tin-dar'e-us], "pounder."
The earthly father of Helen, he would neither send away any of Helen's suitors nor give his daughter to any of them for fear of starting a bloody conflict. Odysseus advised him to get all the suitors to swear an oath that they would honor the man chosen to be Helen's husband and that they would protect her husband from anyone who should resent or threaten his fortune; this promise, which became known as Tyndareus' Oath, was sworn by each of the suitors. Menelaüs became the husband of Helen, and when Paris took Helen away to Troy, the Greeks were bound by their oath to avenge Menelaüs and retrieve Helen (Hesiod, Catalogue of Women 67-68; Apollodorus 3.10.8-9; Pausanias 3.1.4-5; Hyginus, Fabulae 77, 80, 81). Family Tree 32.
Typhon [teye'fon] or Typhoeus [teye-fee'us], "smoke," also called Typhaon [teye-fay'on].
This son of Gaia and Tartarus had the body of a dragon and 100 burning snake heads. He was the father of Cerberus, Orthus, the Lernaean hydra, and the Chimaera. When he attacked Olympus, Zeus wounded him, first with a thunderbolt and then with the same sickle that Cronus had used to castrate Uranus. Typhon wrested the sickle from Zeus and with it cut the sinews from Zeus's hands and feet. He imprisoned Zeus in a cave under the guard of a dragon, but Hermes and Pan rescued Zeus and reconstructed his sinews. Typhon threw entire mountains at Zeus, but Zeus used his thunderbolts to rebound the mountains back on the monster. Zeus ended the battle by putting Mount Etna on top of Typhon (Hesiod, Theogony 820-870; Pindar, Pythian Odes 1.15-28; Apollodorus 1.6.3; Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.321-331, 346-378; Hyginus, Fabulae 151, 152). Family Tree 1.
Uranus [ou'ra-nus and you-ray'nus] or Ouranos, "sky."
He was produced by Gaia, without a partner. Gaia then mated with him to produce the twelve Titans, the three Cyclopes, and the three Hecatonchires. He was so embarrassed by the appearance of the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires that he hid them inside Gaia, who forged a sickle and conspired with Cronus, one of the Titans, to punish Uranus. Cronus reached up with the sickle and castrated his father; from the blood that fell to the earth when Cronus tossed the genitals behind himself, the Erinyes (Furies) and the Giants were born. Aphrodite emerged from the foam that was whipped up when the genitals landed in the ocean. Cronus then became ruler of the world in place of his impotent father (Hesiod, Theogony 168-200; Apollodorus 1.1.1-4). Family Tree 2 Family Tree 3.
Venus [vee'nus] (Aphrodite), "desire."
She was a minor Italian fertility goddess who took on new significance and honor when she became identified with Aphrodite. Originally a protector of gardens who brought luck and favor, she became a goddess of love and beauty under the influence of Greek mythology.
Vesta [ves'ta] (Hestia), "hearth."
Goddess of the hearth, her temple in the Roman Forum housed an altar with a fire that symbolized the hearth or the center of the life of the Roman Republic; this fire was never allowed to go out. Her priestesses, the Vestal Virgins, were chosen before they were ten years old and they served until the age of forty, after which they could continue as semiretired priestesses, if they desired. They took a vow of chastity, and those few who violated their vow were buried alive. They had the power to pardon criminals sentenced to die, and in courts of law they were not required to take an oath of honesty. A Vestal Virgin who died in office was granted the privilege of burial in the city of Rome.
Zeus [zous] (Jupiter), "sky."
Son of Cronus and Rhea, he became the king of gods and humans, the ruler of the universe. Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born because of a prophecy that one of his offspring would overthrow him, but when Zeus was born, Rhea gave Cronus a stone wrapped in baby blankets instead of the infant. Zeus was raised on Crete in secret. Cronus was tricked into vomiting up the children he had swallowed, and Zeus then rallied his brothers and sisters to defeat Cronus in the battle known as the Titanomachy (Hesiod, Theogony 453-506; Apollodorus 1.1.3-2.1; Pausanias 8.8.2; Diodorus Siculus 5.70.1-71.1). He drew lots with his brothers, Hades and Poseidon, to divide up the universe: his lot made him the ruler of the sky (Apollodorus 1.2.1). He dwelt on Mount Olympus, used lightning and thunderbolts as his weapons, and had epithets such as Thunderer, Rainer, Cloud Gatherer, and Sender of Fair Winds. The eagle and the oak tree are his symbols, and he wears the aegis, a goatskin with miraculous protective powers. His most famous centers of worship are Olympia and Dodona. Though married to Hera, his sister, Zeus had many affairs with goddesses and mortals alike, including Metis, Themis, Eurynome, Demeter, Mnemosyne, Leto, Semele, Danaë, Alcmene, Leda, and Io. Family Tree 2 Family Tree 22.
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