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Greek Mythology

Achilles Hero of Homer's Illiad. His mother Thetis, a sea mymph, made him invincibleby dipping him in the River Styx. His only weak spot was his heel by which she held him. He killed Hector in the Trojan War, and was killed himself by a poison arrow shot by Paris that struck him in the heel.

Actaeon A hunter that surprised Artemis when he was hunting. To punish him Artemis turned him into a stag and he was destroyed by his own hounds.

Adonis A youth that was killed will boar hunting. Since Aphrodite loved him, he was allowed to return from the lower world for six months of the year to rejoin her. A fair weather god, he is worshipped as a god of vegetation.

Aeolus The god of the wind. Aeolus kept the winds imprisoned in a cave on the Lipari Islands.

Aesculapius The god of medecine. Since snakes were believed to renew life by shedding their skins, Aesculapis' emblem was a staff with a snake coiled around it.

Agamemnon A Greek hero, the son of Atreus, the King of Mycenae.

Amazon A member of the group female warriors that lived near the Black Sea. They cut off their right breasts to better shoot a bow. Achilles killed the Amazon queen Penthesilea, at the siege of Troy.

Andromeda A princess that was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster; she was saved by Perseus.

Aphrodite The goddess of love and the mother of Eros, Aphrodite was said to be either the daughter of Zeus or sprung from the foam of the sea. In Roman mythology Aphrodite is named Venus; Phoenician, Astarte; and Babylonian, Ishtar.

Apollo The God of the sun, music, poetry, prophecy, agriculture and pastoral life, and leader of the Muses. He was the son of Zeus and Leto; Artemis was his twin.

Arachne A girl turned by into a spider by Athena because she bested Athena in a weaving contest.

Ares The son of Zeus and Hera; Ares was the god of war. In Roman mythology he is known as Mars.

Argus A giant with a hundred eyes, which Hera transferred to the peacock, her favorite bird.

Ariadne The daughter of King Minos of Crete. Ariadne fell in love with the Athenian Theseus who was to be sacrificed to the minotaur of the labyrinth; she saved him by giving him a ball of thread to find his way out.

Artemis Believed to be a virgin huntress, Artemis was worshipped as the goddess of chastity, childbirth, and the young. Diana is her Roman version.

Atalanta A huntress who challenged all her suitors in footraces, if they lost they were killed. Her suitor Milanion was given three golden apples by Aphrodite to drop in the race. Atalanta stopped to pick them up and lost the race.

Athena The goddess of war, wisdom, and the arts and crafts, she sprung fully-armed from the head of Zeus. Her Roman version is Minerva.

Atlas A North African king that was transformed for his sins into a mountain believed to hold up the heavens.

Bacchus The god of fertility and wine.

Callisto The nymph loved by Zeus.

Calliope The chief of the Muses, Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.

Calypso A sea nymph that detained Odysseus for seven years.

Cassandra The daughter of Priam, whose prophecies were never believed, because she refused Apollo. She was murdered with Agamemnon.

Cassiopeia The mother of Andromeda.

Castor and Pollux (Pollydeuces) Twin brothers that as protectors of seamen were transformed into the constellation Gemini upon their deaths. They were the sons of Leda and Zeus.

Centaur Half human and half horse creatures that lived in Thessaly. They were generally wild and lawless.

Cerebus A three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades.

Charon The boatman who ferried the dead across the River Styx.

Chiron A centaur that counseled Achilles, Jason, and Hercules. He was said to be the son of Kronos and a sea nymph.

Circe An enchantress in Homer's Odyssey that that his men into pigs while she held him captive.

Clio The muse that invented epic poetry and history.

Clymenestra The wife of Agamemnon, she and her lover, Aegisthus, killed him on his return from the Trojan War.

Cyclops Giant one-eyed shepherds encountered by Odysseus. They were said to live in Sicily.

Daedulus An Athenian inventor that designed Minos' labyrinth and the wings used by his son Icarus. The wings were made of wax and feathers, so when Icarus flew too close to the sun, they melted and he fell into the Aegean Sea.

Daphne A nymph who changed into a laurel tree in order to escape Apollo.

Demeter A goddess of agriculture; her Roman counterpart is Ceres.

Dionysus A god of wine and orgiastic excess. His attendants included wild women (maeneds) and goat-like men (satyrs).

Erebus The god of darkness and the middle region between Hades and upper earth.

Eros The son of Aphrodite, Eros was the boy-god of love who fell in love with Physche. Cupid is his Roman counterpart.

Eos Goddess of dawn. Her Roman counterpart Aurora.

Europa The princess of Tyre who was carried off by Zeus in the form of a bull.

Fates The old spinners Atrophos, Cotho, and Lachesis. These women decided the length of one's live.

Furies Winged women with snake-like hair. They were spirits of vengeance.

Gaia The Goddess of the earth who sprang from Chaos. She produced Uranus, with whom she mothered the Cyclops and Titans.

Galatea A minor sea goddess that in some legends was originally a statue that Aphrodite brought to life.

Gorgon The sisters Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa that had wings, claws, enormous teeth, and snakes for hair. Medusa was the only mortal Gorgon. She was killed by Perseus.

Harpies Wind spirits in early mythology, the harpies in later legends had the bodies of vultures and frightening women's' faces.

Hebe The daughter of Zeus and Hera, Hebe was the goddess of youth and the handmaid to the gods.

Hecate The goddess of witchcraft and magic.

Hector The greatest Trojan warrior in the Trojan War, Hector was killed by Achilles.

Hecuba The wife of Priam and the mother of Paris and Hector. The Greeks captured her after the fall of Troy.

Helen The most beautiful of women, she eloped with Paris in the absence of her husband, Menelaus, the king of Sparta. It is said her elopement started the Trojan War.

Helios The sun god who journeyed across the sky in a chariot everyday.

Hesphaetus The god of fire and metalcraft. He was the son of Zeus and Hera and was lame. His Roman counterpart is Vulcan.

Hera The protector of women and marriage and the wife of Zeus.

Heracles A hero famed for his strength and his completion of the 12 Labors while serving under Eurystheus, king of Argos, Hercules was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. Heracles was known by the Romans as Hercules.

Hermaphroditus Loved by a nymph that desired an eternal union with him, the two became a single body with both sexual characteristics. Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite.

Hero A priest of Aphrodite at Sestos who was in love with Leander who lived on the opposite shore. He drowned while swimming across during a storm. Out of grief, Leander also through herself into the sea.

Hesperides Greek maidens that guarded the tree in the Islands of the Blessed that bore golden apples.

Hestia The goddess of the hearth. She was the daughter of Chronos and Rhea; her Roman counterpart is Vesta.

Hippolytus Cursed by his father for his advances to his stepmother, Hippolytus was killed by Poseidon as he rode near the sea in his chariot. His life was restored when his innocence was proved.

Hydra A monster that originally had nine heads. When one of the heads was cut off two new ones replaced it. Heracles finally killed the monster.

Hygieia The goddess of health. She was the daughter of Aesculapius. Her Roman counterpart is Salus.

Hymen The god of marriage.

Io A princess who was transformed into a heifer by her admirer Zeus in order to hide her from the jealous Hera.

Iphigenia The daughter of Agamemnon.

Irene The goddess of peace.

Jason The leader of the Argonauts who sailed to Caochis in search of the golden fleece.

Kronos The Titan ruler of the world. He was overthrown by his son Zeus.

Leda The mother of Clytemnestra by Tyndareus, and of Helen, Castor, and Pollux by Zeus.

Lethe A river of the underworld, drinking its water caused one to forget the past.

Medea The sorceress daughter of the king of Colchis who helped Jason gain the golden fleece.

Melpomene The muse of tragedy.

Minos A king of Crete.

Minotaur A half-human half-bull monster that was the offspring by Pasiphë, the wife of King Minos. Seven male and seven female youths were sacrificed annually to the creature in the labyrinth. It was killed by Theseus.

Morpheus The God of dreams. Morpheus was the son of Somnus, the god of sleep.

Muses The nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who inspired the creative arts in people.

Narcisus Rejecting the love of the nnymph Echo, the beautiful youth was condemned to fall in love with his own shadow.

Nemesis The goddess of retribution.

Nereid A sea goddess who occasionally mated with mortals.

Nike The winged goddess of victory.

Niobe Niobe's twelve children were killed by Apollo and Artemis as punishment for her boastfulness. She suffered inconsolable grief and was turned to stone by Zeus.

Nymphs Guardian spirits of nature. The various types included: dryads, guarded trees; naiads, springs and pools; oreads, hills and rocks; and nerieds, the sea.

Oceanus A titan that encircled the earth. All river gods and nymphs were said to have come from him.

Orestes The son Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. He killed his mother and her lover, Aegisthus, to avenge their murder of his father.

Orion A giant hunter from Boeotia.

Pan A god of flocks and herds that had the horns, ears, and hoofs of a goat and the head and torso of a man. He was famous for the playing of his flute.

Pandora To counteract the blessings brought to mortals by Prometheus' gift of fire, Zeus sent Pandora, the first woman, to earth with a box of evils. When she opened it they were let out into the world. As a consolation, hope was left in the box.

Perseus The hero son of Zeus and Danae who slew Medusa, rescued Andromeda, and became kings of Tiryns.

Pleiades The seven daughters of Atlas who were changed into stars by Zeus.

Polyhmnia The Muse of singing, mime, and sacred dance.

Prometheus A Titan that stole fire from heaven and gave it to mortals. For punishment, Zeus chained him to a rock and had a vulture eat at his liver for eternity. Prometheus was, however, saved by Heracles.

Satyr A half-man half-goat creature.

Selene The goddess of the moon.

Semele The mother of Dionysus by Zeus. She was tricked by Hera to ask to see her lover in his full glory and was thus consumed by flames.

Siren Sea nymphs that caused sailors to wreck upon the rocks because of their enchanting song. The Argonauts survived them because the singing of Orpheus surpassed them; Odysseus ordered his crew to stuff their ears with wax, but he tied himself to the mast of his ship in order to hear their song.

Sisyphus. An evil king of Corinth who was condemned to eternally roll a large stone uphill, which always rolled back before it reached the top.

Tantalus A king who was tormented in Hades by food and drink he could never reach.

Thailia The muse of comedy and pastoral poetry.

Triton A merman seagod.

Uranus The father of the Titans, he was the sky god responsible for the sun and the rain.

Zeus The supreme god responsible for the dispensation of good and evil.

This page was last modified on 10 March 2005.

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