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Greek mythology is the body of stories used by the Ancient Greeks as a way of explaining the world around them. It is one of the most influential of world mythologies, along with Egyptian and Roman mythologies.

Mythic history

Creation of the world and rule of the Titans

Without male assistance, Gaia gave birth to Uranus (the Sky) who then fertilized her. From that union were born first the Titans—six males: Koeus, Krios, Kronos, Hyperion, Iapetos, and Okeanos; and six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys. With Gaia, Uranus also fathered the Cyclopes and the Hekatonchires. However, he did not approve of these offspring and threw them into Tartaros. [citation needed]

Tethys married her brother Okeanos and became the mother of Greece's rivers.[1]

Elis-VoO-StatueofKronos

Statue depicting Kronos eating one of his children

Kronos, upon having overthrown his father, took his place as king. Kronos and Rhea married and had six children. Upon hearing a prophecy that his children would eventually kill him, Kronos ate each of his children after they were born. When Rhea gave birth to Zeus, she hid him away from Kronos to raise him in secret. Zeus was hidden in a sanctuary on the island of Naxos.[2] Once Zeus was old enough, he rose up against his father and freed his siblings from Kronos' stomach. Together, they overthrew Kronos and became the new gods of the world.[3]

Greek pantheon

Main article: Twelve Olympians

The beginning of Zeus' reign is often referred to as the Silver age. After defeating the Titans, Zeus and his siblings became the new twelve. The Twelve Olympians included; Zeus (King of the gods, and god the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order and justice), Hera (Queen of the gods and the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth and family), Poseidon (God of the seas, water, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and horses),[4] Demeter (Goddess of the harvest, fertility, agriculture, nature and the seasons), Athena (Goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and warfare), Apollo (God of light, the sun, prophecy, philosophy, truth, inspiration, poetry, music, arts, medicine, healing, and plague), Artemis (Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, virginity, the moon, archery, childbirth, protection and plague), Ares (God of war, violence, bloodshed and manly virtues. Symbols include the boar, serpent, dog, vulture, spear, and shield), Aphrodite (Goddess of love, pleasure, passion, procreation, fertility, beauty and desire), Hephaistos (Master blacksmith and craftsman of the gods; god of the forge, craftsmanship, invention, fire and volcanoes),[5] Hermes (Messenger of the gods; god of travel, commerce, communication, borders, eloquence, diplomacy, thieves and games).

Most listings include either one or the other of the following deities as one of the twelve Olympians; Hestia (Goddess of the hearth, fire and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family) or Dionysos (God of wine, the grape vine, fertility, festivity, ecstasy, madness and resurrection).[6][7][8]

Hades, despite being Zeus' brother was excluded from the twelve as his realm of the Underworld was thought to be too far away from Mount Olympos, thus making him undeserving of a title.

When Hephaistos was born deformed, his mother Hera threw him from Mount Olympos. He landed near the island of Lemnos and was rescued by sea deities.[5]

Dionysos was born on Naxos.[9] The goddess Kybele initiated Dionysos into mysteries and ecstasy.[6] At some point, Dionysos was kidnapped by pirates for money. Enraged, Dionysos immobolized their ship and drove them all mad.[8]

The Giants, wishing to avenge the fallen Titans laid waste to the western region of Arkadia. Only being stopped when they were struck by lightning and pierced with flying arrows.[10]

Through incest with each other, the gods would also produce offspring between themselves. Poseidon transformed into a horse to pursue a furious Demeter, who had also transformed into a horse. Though non-consensual, this union produced the legendary steed known as Areion.[11]

At some point, Apollo slew the monstrously large serpent Pytho.[12] He also fathered Asklepios, the god of medicine, alone.[13]

Ages of gods and mortals

During this time, gods often co-mingled with humans. Sometimes producing offspring through the seduction or rape of Greek women. In some cases, female deities were known to have children with mortal men, like Aphrodite laying with Anchises to produce Aeneas.[14]

At some point, Sisyphos, founder of the city of Korinth and the Isthmian Games, defied Zeus and was condemned to push a boulder uphill for all eternity.[15]

Zeus also fathered Kastor and Polydeukes, who were born on Mount Taygetos, near Sparta.[16]

The mortal woman Iphimedeia fell in love with Poseidon and so every night walked to the sea and collected its waters in her lap. In a nearby cave she became, by Poseidon, the mother of the Aloadai – Otos and Ephialtes.[17]

Aphrodite met and fell in love with another mortal man, Adonis. However, a jealous Ares killed Adonis and as punishment was imprisoned in a large bronze jar for thirteen long months by the Aloadai.[18] Alternately, Adonis was killed by kill a boar sent by an angry Artemis. As he laid dying, flowers bloomed from his spilled blood.[19]

At some point, the Aloadai were killed by the gods by threatening their existence by piling up mountains to reach Olympos. They were buried in a tomb in the eastern region of Naxos.[20]

During the mid-14th century BCE, fourty-nine of the fifty Danaides killed their husbands on instruction from their father, Danaos. However, Hypermnestra, having fallen in love with her spouse, spared him.[21]

Some time during the 13th century BCE, Zeus appeared before Princess Danae, who had been locked away by her father King Akrisios, as golden rain. Through this moment, Danae became pregnant with his child, Perseus. When Perseus was born, Akrisios shut him and his mother in a wooden crate and had them cast into the sea. Instead of dying, the two were saved by the fisherman Diktys. He took them under his wing, raising Perseus on the island of Seriphos. He taught Perseus to fish, hunt, and ride.[22]

At some point, Zeus seduced Europa and she gave birth to Minos, who would grow up to become king of Krete.[23][24]

In the 12th century BCE, Poseidon together with the Troezen princess Aethra, fathered Theseus. [citation needed]

Heroic age

The age in which the heroes lived is known as the heroic age. Although the heroic age is generally regarding as having started with the legend of Herakles, although there were several legendary heroes that preceded him.

At some point, the inventor Daidalos helped Queen Pasiphae fulfill her need to lay with the Kretan Bull.[24] As punishment for being involved in the creation of the Minotaur, King Minos ordered Daidalos to create a labyrinth to imprison the beast.[25] To appease the beast, King Minos commanded Athenians to send fourteen of their finest men and women annually to feed to the beast.[26]

Achilles was hidden in childhood on Skyros and disguised as one of King Lykomedes' daughters. It was an attempted measure his mother took to protect him from his foretold demise.[27]

Demi-god heroes

Phokis-Pronaia-PerseusMedusa

5th century BCE mural of Perseus slaying Medusa

An adult Perseus was ordered by Diktys' brother, Polydektes to slay the gorgon Medusa, and bring her head to him.[22] To aid Perseus in this quest, Zeus ordered the messenger of gods Hermes to give Perseus a shining sickle,[28] as well as winged sandals, and the goddess Athena to give him a mirror-bright shield. Equipped with these Perseus was able to engage and defeat the gorgon without falling prey to her petrifying gaze. Following her death, the Pegasos sprung forth, and he accompanied Perseus on his way home.[22]

During their journey, they came upon the maiden Andromeda, a princess of Aithopia chained to the cliffs as a sacrifice to the sea monster Ketos. Perseus saved the maiden, and married her.[22]

Perseus returned to Seriphos and showed King Polydektes the gorgon's head, turning the king into stone. Afterwards, he traveled Argos, where he participated in Olympic Games. He hurled the discus, which flew so that it struck the spectating King Akrisios, fulfilling the Oracle's prophecy. Eventually Perseus settled down to found and rule Mycenae with Andromeda, producing seven sons and two daughters, called the Perseids.[22]

At some point, Perseus buried the severed head of Medusa in Argolis.[29]

Two generations later, Herakles was born form the union of Zeus and Alcmene, granddaughter of Perseus. TWELVE LABOURS INFO.

In Korinthia, Theseus killed the sadastic bandit Sinis, who would bend trees and tie the travellers to them. When the trees were released, they pulled the victims apart.[30] At some point, Theseus killed the king of Eleusis Kerkyon in a violent wrestling match.[31] Theseus also helped king Adrastos bury the Seven Against Thebes.[32]

After traveling to Athens to reunite with his father, king Aegeus, the king's consort Medea knew of Theseus' identity and attempted to poison him. The attempt failed and Medea was exiled.[33]

During the Amazonian invasion of Attika, Theseus mortally wounded the Amazon Antiope.[34]

ACOd-Statue-TheseusMinotaur-f

Statue depicting Theseus slaying the Minotaur

Swearing to slay the Minotaur of Krete, Theseus disembarked from Athens. Before leaving for Krete, Theseus had promised his father, to had the sails of his ship changed from black to white if he was successful.[35]

When Theseus arrived in Krete, he met King Minos' daughter, Ariadne. They fell in love, and Ariadne gave Theseus thread to help him find his way in the labyrinth. After Theseus' success, Ariadne joined him on his ship, and they set sail for Athens together.[35] However, they stopped at Naxos Island to celebrate. Theseus left the island alone, either because he abandoned Ariadne, or because she forgot to return to his ship in time.[35][36]

On the return journey to Attika, Theseus stopped in Argolis and killed the bandit Periphetes who was attacking unsuspecting travelers.[37] Approaching Athens, Theseus forgot to change his sails to white to signify victory, and thus his father cast himself into the sea, believing his son was dead.[35]

Some time after fathering a son, Hippolytos, with her, [citation needed] Theseus defeated the Amazonian queen Hippolyta, who shortly afterwards died from grief.[38] Later on, Theseus married Phaidra. However, she fell in love with Hippolytos.[39] When the feelings weren't mutual, Phaidra told Theseus that Hippolytos had violated her, and in anger Theseus invoked his father Poseidon. Poseidon sent a sea monster, and Hippolytos died in the Sinkholes of Herakles region of Argolis while driving in his chariot.[40]

Theseus retired to Skyros, but after he returned to Athens, other factions had seized power. He decided to leave the city and return to Skyros, but he was betrayed by King Lykomedes, who tossed him off a cliff.[41]

Journey of the Argonauts

Main article: Argonauts
Jason

Jason stealing the Golden Fleece

In the mid-to-late-12th century BCE, Jason was sent by King Pelias to retrieve an object called the Golden Fleece.[42] Argos and Athena built the ship, Argo, to be used by Jason and his adventuring group. The goddess carved the bow from one of Dodona's sacred oaks.[43] The adventuring group, named the Argonauts – after their ship the Argo – were assisted by the sorceress Medea.[44]

Before fighting the Harpies, two of Jason's men prayed at the Temenos of Zeus Ainesios for strength.[45]

In time, Jason married Medea, who bore him two sons, Mermeros and Pheres. However, when Jason left them to court the daughter of King of Korinthia, Glauke, Medea slew the boys. Afterwards, Medea also gave Glauke a poisoned cape, which drove her to throw herself into a fountain in Korinth.[46] In another account, it was a poisoned dress that set Glauke aflame.[44] After their expedition, the group dedicated their ship to Poseidon in Korinth.[43]

Trojan War and aftermath

Further information: Trojan War, Iliad, and Odyssey

In the late-12th century BCE, the Trojan War begun with the kidnapping of Menelaus' consort Helen was kidnapped by the Trojan prince Paris.[47] The war lasted ten years, and ended with the fall of Troy. The United Greek armies were led by Menelaus' brother, King Agamemnon of Mycenae.[48] Odysseus, the king of Ithaka, also joined the war.[49] Achilles, the seemingly invulnerable hero also joined the fight, although he often clashed with Agamemnon's leadership.[47]

Menelaus also sought help from Nestor, king of Pylos. Nestor was considered the oldest and wisest of heroes.[50] Ajax the Lesser also joined the war against Troy.[51]

When the United Greek armies' ships were immobilized by the goddess Artemis on their way to Troy, Agamemnon sought to appease the goddess by sacrificing his daughter, Iphigenia. However, the goddess intervened, pitying the girl and replaced her with a doe.[52]

During the Siege of Troy, the Trojan Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, managed to flee the city to Kythera where he dedicated a shrine to his mother.[14]

After the war, King Agamemnon, upon returning home with bountiful treasures and the Trojan princess Cassandra as a concubine. Unhappy by his apparent sacrifice of their daughter he was killed by either his wife,[47] or her lover (his cousin) Aigisthos.[48]

ACOd-mural-OdysseusPolyphemos

5th century BCE mural of Odyssey blinding the Cyclops Polyphemos

Following the ten-year siege of the city, Odysseus was lost for another ten years on his way home to Ithaka.[49] During that time, Odysseus experienced numerous adventures, among them defeating the Cyclops Polyphemos, and eluding the monstrous creatures Skylla and Charybdis.[53] After those twenty years, Odysseus returned to Ithaka, as he neared the island his first sight was that of the Phorkys Anchorage.[54] Overjoyed at his triumphant return, Odysseus prayed to the Naiads in thanks.[55] Odysseus' goatherd, Melanthios, mistaking him for a beggar upon his return and hit him. He did so thinking that his master had died in Troy and to impress Penelope's suitors.[56] Odysseus' swineherd Eumaios, on the other hand, recognized his master and vowed to help him get rid of his wife's suitors.[57] He then plotted and carried out the murders of her suitors on Raven's Rock.[58]

Syncretizing trends

See also: Roman mythology and Egyptian mythology

Ancient Rome had little mythology of its own and so resorted to the stealing of other cultures' deities. The Romans borrowed largely from the Greeks, and made their deities adopt characteristics of the Greek ones. The gods Zeus and Jupiter are an example of this mythological overlap.

During Ptelomaic Egypt, the Greek god Hermes was fused with the Egyptian god Thoth to create Hermes Trismegistus.

Appearances

References

  1. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKephallonia: Cave of Tethys
  2. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos: Sanctuary of Mt. Zas
  3. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Fate of AtlantisBios of the Gods: Hades
  4. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMessara: Temple of Poseidon
  5. 5.0 5.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLemnos: Temple of Hephaistos
  6. 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLesbos: Temple of Kybele
  7. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMegaris: Pillar of Dionysos
  8. 8.0 8.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos: Shipwreck of Dionysos and the Pirate
  9. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos: Naxos
  10. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArkadia: Battle of the Giants and Gods
  11. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArkadia: Statue of Fury Demeter
  12. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyPhokis: Snake Temple
  13. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Altar of Apollo Maleatas
  14. 14.0 14.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKythera: Shrine of Aphrodite
  15. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKorinthia: Grave of Sisyphos
  16. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLakonia: Altar of the Dioskouroi
  17. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos: Cave of Iphimedeia
  18. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos: Bronze Vessel of Ares
  19. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "The Urban Household" – Rooftops
  20. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos: Giant Heroes Burial Ground
  21. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Hall of the Forty-Nine Skulls
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyA Treasury of Legends
  23. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyBoeotia: Kadmeia
  24. 24.0 24.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMessara: Gortyn
  25. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMessara: Daidalos Armory
  26. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Knossos" – Reparation
  27. Assassin's Creed: OdysseySkyros: Temple of Achilles
  28. Assassin's Creed IIGlyph 5: "Instruments of Power"
  29. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Buried Head of Medusa
  30. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKorinthia: Sinis Torture Grounds
  31. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAttika: Kerkyon Wrestling Ground
  32. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAttika: Tomb of the Epigones
  33. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Long Game
  34. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAttika: Memorial of the Amazons
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Knossos" – The Minotaur's Death
  36. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos Island: Deathbed of Ariadne
  37. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Bronze Club of Periphetes
  38. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMegaris: Tomb of the Amazons
  39. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAttika: Chariot of Hippolytos
  40. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Chariot of Hippolytos
  41. Assassin's Creed: OdysseySkyros: Statue of Theseus
  42. Assassin's Creed IIGlyph 7: "Keep On Seeking, And You Will Find"
  43. 43.0 43.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKorinthia: Argo Wreckage
  44. 44.0 44.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient GreeceKorinthia: Jason and Medea
  45. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKephallonia: Temenos of Zeus Ainesios
  46. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKorinthia: Fountain of Glauke
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Mycenae" – King Agamemnon
  48. 48.0 48.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArgolis: Agamemnon's Tomb
  49. 49.0 49.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyIthaka: Odysseus' Palace
  50. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMessenia: Shipwreck of Nestor
  51. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyMykonos: Shipwreck of Ajax
  52. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyBoeotia: Site of Iphigenia's Sacrifice
  53. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyA Small Odyssey
  54. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyIthaka: Phorkys Anchorage
  55. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyIthaka: Cave of the Nymphs
  56. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyIthaka: Melanthios' Goat Farm
  57. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyIthaka: Eumaios' Swine Farm
  58. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyIthaka: Raven's Rock
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