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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Mythology

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I am a loss on what to write for you this week, so I leave you with a story I wrote over a year ago...The aegis is variously described as a shield, buckler or breast-plate. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing! Very nice.

Hellenic mythology is not known for being overtly subtle about its lessons, but very few are so apparently obvious about it as the myth about Niobe and her children. It is a story most of us know: Niobe, Queen of Thebes, daughter of Tantalos, gave birth to fourteen children, and boasted that she was far superior to Leto, mother to Apollon and Artemis, because Leto had only given birth to two children, and she to fourteen. Rushing to their mother's defense, Apollon and Artemis struck down the children of the Queen in a rain of arrows, and when her husband, Amphion, stood by his wife, Apollon killed him too. So great was Niobe's sorrow that she turned to stone, and the weeping rock still stands at the foot of Mount Siphylus. The retribution is depicted below, on the Niobic krater. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks once again for taking the time to share some important knowledge. Hubris is always a danger, as you've explained from the
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    pssst...in the third paragraph up from the bottom, you may want to change "fowl" to "foul."
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    *whistle* Never happened... (but thank you ;-) )

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Helios.jpg

Of all the myths, it is the myths of the sun that give me the most trouble.  The typical sun myth is that the divinity of the sun rides around the earth in some type of conveyance and then takes a different one or a different form to return to the original starting point.  This myth stems from the original belief that the sun travels around the earth.  It is the ancient’s explanation for the days and nights.  Yet we of the modern era know this is incorrect.

 

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  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    I've come to know AP as one of those sharp-tongued people who do not suffer fools gladly. Happily, the substance of his commentary
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    The curvature of the earth is instantly obvious to anyone who has ever traveled on the open seas. Records of such seafaring go bac
  • Melia/Merit Brokaw
    Melia/Merit Brokaw says #
    I wanted to get other view points and am glad that others are finding this useful though I admit to having harder time dealing wit
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    I shared this with Jon Cleland Host. Here's his reply. What follows are his words not mine but I thought they were very wise. For
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    First of all, the ancients did not think the earth was flat. That is a modern myth, and no one with any familiarity with ancient s

We pick up this third part of the Labours series with the second labour Hēraklēs has to complete: slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra. The funny thing about this hydra is that no one is really sure how many heads it actually has. The generally accepted number is nine, but ten, or even a hundred are also mentioned. It's also unclear if there was only one head that was supposed to be immortal (as per Apollodorus) or if the creature itself was immortal. The sequence of events, however, is quite clear.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In the blog post about sayings which can be traced back to ancient Hellas or Hellenic mythology, I make mention of Oedipus. The saying he is connected to--the Freudian Oedipus complex--introduced Oedipus and explains the saying:
 

"Oedipus was born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta. King Laius was fortold his son would kill him and marry his mother, and so he left him to die on a mountainside. The child was found, however, and raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope. Oedipus eventually heard of the prophecy about him and fled, not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents, who he believed to be his biological ones. Fate would have him end up on the same road as King Laius, and in an argument over whom would step out of the way, Oedipus killed his father. He then traveled on and eventually met and married his mother. The myth continues on, but this is the part where the figure of speech comes from."


Today, I want to go a little deeper into this myth, to a milestone in the life of Oedipus. I quite recently acquired a little vase with a depiction of Oedipus solving the riddle of the Sphinx. It's a replica of a kylix motif. This seems like a perfect opportunity to tackle this story.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Sadly, I would have been Sphinx food.
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Same, glad I'm n0t alone ;-)

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A little over a week ago, I introduced a new series for the blog: a short series about the labours of Hēraklēs. In that post, I described the life of Hēraklēs up until the point where he set out to complete the tasks. Today, I'm taking you through the first of twelve labours: Hēraklēs' challenge to slay the Nemean lion.

The Leon Nemeios (Λεον Νεμειος), or Nemean lion has been described with a large variety of parents. Selene is mentioned by Aelian and Seneca, amongst others, but one of the drakons is also possible, especially Echidna. Diodorus Siculus, in his Library of History describes the lion so: 

"This was a beast of enormous size, which could not be wounded by iron or bronze or stone and required the compulsion of the human hand for his subduing. It passed the larger part of its time between Mycenae and Nemea, in the neighbourhood of a mountain which was called Tretus from a peculiarity which it possessed; for it had a cleft at its base which extended clean through it and in which the beast was accustomed to lurk." [4.11.3]
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The constellation Draco (from the Greek Drakon, meaning dragon) is identified--funnily enough--with some dragons in Hellenic myth but not others. There are quite a few creatures, after all, who would qualify as a dragon in Hellenic myth. For a dragon or hydra not connected to the constellation, think of the one Kadmos vanquished, for example, or the one Apollon vanquished at Delphi, or even the dragon who guarded the Golden Fleece and was slain by Iásōn. In truth, only two dragons were associated with the myth in ancient times, most notably by Hyginus in his Astronomica: Drakon Hesperios, the Hesperian Dragon, and Drakon Gigantomakhios, the Gigantomachian Dragon.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Release the Kraken...er, Drakon! Great and informative post. Thanks again.

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