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Title: Greek Pantheon
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(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:33 AM)
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Gods of the Greek Pantheon

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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:34 AM)

PAN
 
Pan is a Greco-Roman God (Roman name: Faunus) who was worshipped between 800 BCE – 400 CE (Christianization). He is Arcadian, originating in the mountains of Peloponnese. Because his followers were so highly civilized, we have many written records of Pan and his legends. In fact there are several versions of just about everything written about him, including 14 versions of his mythology, written after 490 BCE, and at least 20 versions of his birth.

He was born on Mount Lycaeum – that seems to be a common fact. But to whom? Although there is some allusion to Zeus or Apollo as the father, by far the most popular choice is Hermes. Now the mother is another matter. Choices are: Penelope-Daughter of Dryopos, Thymbris, Penelope, Kallisto, or Orneios. Penelope-daughter of Dryopos is by far the most accepted choice. The story goes like this:

Penelope, daughter of Dryopos, bore Hermes a son with goat’s feet, horns, a full beard, and covered with hair. (The explanation for his physical appearance may lie in the legend that Penelope was raped by Hermes while he was in the form of a billy goat! Shape-shifting was quite common amongst the Gods.)

Pan was a noisy, merry, laughing child at birth, but his looks frightened his Nurse (some sources say his mother) and she abandoned him and fled. Whereupon his father, Hermes, picked him up in his arms, wrapped him in the skins of mountain hares, and took him directly to Zeus, who promptly showed him to all of the other Gods. They were all delighted with him – especially Dionysus.
Dionysus’ special fondness for Pan is not surprising considering the fact that Pan was very Satyr-like. Satyrs are deities of the woods and mountains which are half human and half beast. They typically have the horns, flanks, tail and hooves of a goat, and are known companions of Dionysus. They spend most of their time drinking, dancing, and fornicating.

In addition to the physical description already given, Pan was a diminutive man with a snub nose, pointed ears and a very prominent chin. He also had long unkempt hair and was always naked, presumably because of his close association with nature. But also because of an incident involving Hercules and the Lydian Queen Omphale, who came to a cave while supper was being prepared, and swapped clothing. After the meal they fell asleep still in each others clothing, and were seen by Pan as they slept. Pan, being Pan, tried to "lie" with the one he thought was the "girl." Needless to say he was not warmly welcomed by Hercules (although I have heard stories … ) who proceeded to kick Pan across the room! Pan got even by spreading rumors that Hercules was a transvestite! And to avoid a possible recurrence of this situation, Pan insisted from that time forward that his followers, the Luperci, be naked at the ceremonies – in case of further painful mistakes!

Pan was also very well endowed, and was quite often represented in ithyphallic form (with a full erection). One Greek vase even shows his large member caught in a trap meant for wild animals! He was usually portrayed as a very swift runner who climbed rocks with ease. He was usually seen carrying a shepherd’s crook in one hand, his Pan Pipes in the other, and wearing a garland of pine boughs around his neck.
The most commonly accepted definition of the name "Pan" is "All." This is usually interpreted to mean "symbol of the universe," "personification of Nature," or "representative of ALL of the Gods." However there are those, including myself, who do not agree with this theory. We believe that the name "Pan" does NOT mean "All" although this meaning was so often applied to his name that it gained a certain degree of authority through repeated use, and is certainly an accepted definition of the word today. Rather, the name "Pan" may have been derived from the Greek work "paein," which means "herdsman" or "pasture." I think this interpretation makes much more sense.

Another word which is closely associated with Pan is "panic." There are actually two interpretations of this word. One is that Pan would cause a sudden horrific noise, causing "panic." Pan used this weapon quite effectively against the Titans when he was fighting with the Olympians. He invented a type of trumpet made from a sea shell which, when he blew on it, raised such a frightful noise the Titans withdrew, thinking a terrible monster was after them.
The other "Panic" which Pan caused was a very quiet one, by contrast. The lonely traveler, walking through the woods at night, would suddenly become very frightened for no apparent reason, and would experience a "panic terror."

Many books on mythology classify Pan as a "lesser God" – greater than humans, but "inferior" to the "greater Gods." This was perhaps because Pan was not immortal, and was never allowed on Mount Olympus. Those who worshipped him did NOT see him that way, however. And there were MANY worshippers – so many that the Christians had to demonize him, and suppress or absorb his beliefs.
Although referred to by the Gods as a "newcomer," he was actually one of the most ancient of Gods. Pan may have been one of the male consorts of the Mother Goddess, and her Overlord of Nature and Lord of Beasts.

Some of the symbolism which is ascribed to Pan is as follows:

"The horns of Pan are like the rays of the sun and the horns of the moon; his face is ruddy, in imitation of the aether; he has spotted faun-like skin on his breast, in likeness of the stars; his lower parts are shaggy, on account of the trees, shrubs, and wild beasts; he has goat’s feet, to denote the stability of the earth; he has pipes of seven reeds, on account of the harmony of the heavens, in which there are seven sounds; he has a crook, that is a curved staff, on account of the year, which runs back on itself, because he is God of all Nature." [www.belinus.co.uk/mythology/GreatGodPan.htm]

"From the waist downwards, Pan is the very representation of nature, of the woods and the trees, man’s lower nature. But as we look above, he has become the man of strength but also of sensitivity. His love of music, his often hopeless pursuit of the Nymphs…And his horns, symbols both of power and the symbol of his divinity and connection to the universe. As above, so below."  [www.belinus.co.uk/mythology/GreatGodPan.htm]

Pans nature and temperament are complex and often hidden – the mask beneath the mask. Socrates refers to Pan as "the double-natured son of Hermes." His piping can be as soft and seductive as a gentle breeze, but when angered, his bellow and howl can be heard for miles. He is jolly…and he is terrifying, for his temper is great! He can be unpredictable and is not tameable or capable of being confined.

Another example of his unpredictability: Pan usually slept in the noon-day sun. He would get very upset if disturbed from his sleep by an unwary traveller – yet he was normally very friendly to strangers, 1) helping lost travellers find their way home, 2) helping hunters track wild beasts, and 3) rescuing sailors from a becalmed ship.

His lust for Nymphs (beautiful young female spirits), Naiads (Nymphs of springs), Dryads (Nymphs of trees), and Oreads (Nymphs of the mountains) is legendary. But when he was thwarted in his amorous pursuits the results could be tragic. Here are but two examples:

1) Pan attempted to pursue Echo, who rejected him and fled from him. Pan caused such a "Panic" amongst the shepherds that they tore her to pieces, leaving only her voice untouched. From that day onward she was only a voice – and was allowed only to repeat the last words spoken to her.
2) Syrinx, a lovely Nymph devoted to Artemis, rejected the advances of the woodland spirits but caught the eye of Pan, who chased her. She ran until stopped by a river, whereupon she begged her sister Nymphs to change her form. They did so, and when Pan thought he had caught her, he held in his hand instead some marsh reeds. When he sighed, the moving winds began to utter plaintive music in the reeds. The sound was so sweet that Pan uttered, "Forever this discovery shall remain a sweet communion binding thee to me." He then joined together reeds of different lengths with beeswax and created the Syrinx or Pan Pipes. [Ovid: Metamorphoses]

Pan was known to court beautiful young boys as well. One such boy was Daphnis, whom Pan taught to "play his pipes".
Pan came by his musical abilities naturally. His father, Hermes, was a great musician. Pan played his pipes to raise the North Winds, and to charm both Gods and humans. It is said he could play so sweetly the birds would stop their singing to listen.

Pan once challenged Apollo to a musical competition. King Midas was appointed judge. Apollo played his lyre and Pan played his pipes. After hearing both, Midas declared Pan the winner, whereupon the enraged Apollo shouted, "You will have ears to match the mind you have in judging." He then caused poor Midas’ ears to grow long and pointed, like those of an ass. Midas tried to hide his ears under a turban, but to no avail.
Despite all of his amorous adventures, Pan was a family man. By his wife, Aix, he had 12 goat-legged sons (called Panes). She bore a 13th son named Aigipan who was actually fathered by Zeus.
 
No temples were built to worship Pan. His natural temples were caves, and grottos, and quiet sanctuaries in wild places or by cool streams. He is often described as wandering amongst the wooded mountains and valleys and taking part in the chase, like Herne the Hunter. There is even a shrine to Pan hidden away in a shallow cave under the Acropolis, in a suitable wild and unkempt place.
 
Because he lived in the mountains and forests with the goats, and not on Olympus, the common people identified with him more than with any other God. He was not particularly liked by the other Gods, however.
 
A typical day in the life of Pan consisted of wondering the hills, mountains, and forests – slaying wild beasts. Noon was nap-time. Evening consisted of playing sweetly on his pipes and frolicking with the singing Nymphs, and perhaps causing some panic amongst travellers wandering through the woods late at night.
 
The complexity of Pan can readily be seen in the variety of things of which he was a God:
Nature – protector of male animals, shepherds, flocks, smaller animals, bee keeping, wolves, green pastures, growth, forests, wild places, the sea; Things Sexual – fertility, earthiness, fornication, unbridled male sexuality, carnal desire; The Arts – music, dance; The Male Counterpart of Hekate – the wild things in us all, good journey, prophesy (Pan is said to have taught Apollo the Art of Prophesy), Keeper of Summerland, death and rebirth. He is Gwern, oldest of the Gods, and Lugh is his solar self.
 
Pan liked noise and merriment, orgies, sportive dances, singing and playing with the nymphs, playing his pipes, high-pitched songs, and music in general, Crocuses, and Hyacinths.

Things which were Sacred to him include: pine trees, fir trees, oak trees, plants of the meadows, perfumes of cedar and balsom, and Mount Lampeia.
His festivals include an Annual Arcadian Festival in his honor in which young men ran about naked for sport and wontonness. This festival often included sacrifices and races with torches (another tie to Hekate?). The festivals usually ended with feasting and orgy. (One must realize that the original meaning of the term "orgy" was to celebrate life and rebirth and to stimulate Nature to give of its best – not the Christian’s evil connotations that it has today.) Pan’s festivals were closely associated with those of Dionysus – God of Wine and Fertility – and were later absorbed into his rites.
 
It is easy to see where Christianity gets its "Devil." For Pan (and also Cernunnos) stood for everything that the Christians were against – love of life, fun, dancing, sex, etc. Thus the physical image of a "Devil" with horns, a tail, a goatee, and even the pitch fork (shepherd’s staff) was easily recognizable to any pagan as one of their chief Gods.

In all of Greek mythology there is but one legend concerning the death of a God – and that God is Pan. The legend goes like this:
 
A freight ship carrying many passengers was sailing near the island of Paxi, when a voice from the island called to the Egyptian pilot, Thamus. This was quite unusual, because hardly anyone on board the ship even knew the pilot’s name! Twice he was called and made no reply, but the third time he answered; and the caller, raising his voice, said "When you sail by Palodes, announce aloud that Great Pan is dead."…Under the circumstances Thamus made up his mind that if there was a breeze he would sail on by and say nothing. But if there was no wind and a calm sea, he would repeat what he had heard. When he came opposite Palodes there was no wind or wave – so Thamus repeated what he had heard –"Great God Pan is dead." Even before the last word had left his lips there arose from the island a great cry of grief not of one person but of many, mingled with exclamations of dismay. [Plutarch – de defectu oraculorum, 419b-e]

Another famous poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, also wrote a poem about Pan’s death. It is entitled "The Dead Pan’ and contains 39 verses.
This is the Pan of history and of legend – and all that is written here is true. But over the years I have gotten to know Pan in a different way – on a much more personal level. I cannot tell all that I know, for some things between my God and me are extremely personal. But I can tell you that Pan can be extremely loving and caring towards those who worship him. The Great God Pan is Alive! He is very much alive – and always will be, so long as there are those who will remember him and worship him.
 
Lift us, mighty Pan
Come near, excite us.
Give us creative power
And freedom from fear.
IO Pan, Pan, Pan!
IO Pan, Pan.
IO Pan!
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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:34 AM)

Chronos
 
The first race of gods were the Titans: Gaia and Uranus, and their children Kronos (Saturn), Rhea (Kronos’ wife), Oceanus, Tethys (Oceanus’ wife, mother to the 3000 ocean nymphs), Hyperion (Light, an early Sun god), Thea (mated with Hyperion, bore Helios, Eos, and Selene), Mnemosyne (memory, mother of the Muses), Themis (Justice and Order, mother of the Fates and the Seasons by Zeus), Iapetus (father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius and Atlas), Coeus (intelligence), Phoebe (the Moon, Coeus’ wife, mother of Leto), Leto (mother of Apollo and Artemis by Zeus), Crius (father of Pallas, Perses and Astraios), Prometheus (Forethought, the wisest; molded the human race out of clay), Epimetheus (Afterthought), Atlas, and Metis (Mercury). After Kronos took the throne from Uranus, the Golden age of Man, a time of harmony and prosperity, ensued. According to Greek legend, during this period man lived in a paradise like the garden of Eden, without greed, violence, toil, or the need for laws.
 
This unfortunately did not last forever. When Kronos was about to slay his own father Uranus, it was prophesied that his son would in turn someday depose him. To keep this from being fulfilled, Kronos swallowed his children as they were born, but Rhea tricked him. When their sixth child was born, she substituted a stone for the infant Zeus, and Kronos ignorantly swallowed it down.
 
Rhea hid Zeus in a cave on Crete, where he was suckled and raised by the divine goat Amaltheia until old enough to fulfill his destiny. One day while Kronos was hunting, Zeus ambushed and kicked him so hard in the stomach that he vomited up the stone and Zeus’ five undigested siblings: Demeter, Hades, Hestia, Hera and Poseidon. His immortal brothers and sisters each took a portion of creation to rule over and gratefully made him their leader. Zeus then led them in a ten-year war against their father and Kronos’ siblings, the Titans, at the end of which Kronos and the Titans were exiled to Tartarus (the lowest part of Earth, a great stormy pit beneath even Hades itself).
 
The Roman gods are often corrupted or different versions of their Greek counterparts. The Romans compared the Greek Kronos with their corn-god, Saturn, although a monthly festival to celebrate the harvest was held in Athens in honor of Kronos. Pictures of Kronos depict him carrying a sickle, used both to gather the harvest and to castrate his father.

Khronos remained as the remote, incorporeal god of time who encircled the universe, driving the rotation of the heavens and the eternal passage of time. He occasionally appeared to Zeus in the form of an elderly man with long white hair and beard, but for the most part he remained a force beyond the reach and power of the younger gods.
 
Parents
NONE - he was the first being to emerge at the creation of the universe.
Chronos rebelled against his father and deposed him; or, in other words, active, swift-flying time took the place of immovable eternity. During the reign of Chronos men were born and peopled the earth. Then Chronos was in his turn dethroned by his son Zeus, or Jupiter, the thunderer, the god who typifies the rule of intellect over mere earthly force. Thus Chronos in his old age was exiled from heaven, the region of the gods, and dwelt on earth among men. He made his home in Italy, where he taught men so much that they all lived in peace and wisdom and ever after looked back to the time of Chronos as "the golden age."
 
In Greek mythology, Chronos (often mystically confused with the Titan Cronus) was the personification of time. He emerged from the primordial chaos. He is often depicted as an elderly, gray-haired man with a long beard. His name actually means "Time" (khronos in Greek), and is altenatively spelled Khronos, Chronos, Chronus (Latin version).

Some of the current English words which show a tie to khronos/chronos and the attachment to time are chronology, chronic, and chronicle.
 
In astronomy, the planet we now call Saturn because of Roman influence was called Khronos by the Greeks. It was the outermost planet god/deity, and was considered the seventh of the seven heavenly objects that are visible with the naked eye. Given that it had the longest observable repeatable period in the sky, which is currently around 30 years, it was thought to be the keeper of time, or Father Time, since no other objects had been seen or recorded to have a longer period. That is why it is often depicted as an elderly man with a long gray beard, as mentioned above.
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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:35 AM)

Apollo

The son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo was the god of music (principally the lyre, and he directed the choir of the Muses) and also of prophecy, colonization, medicine, archery (but not for war or hunting), poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry and the carer of herds and flocks.
 
He was also a god of light, known as "Phoebus" (radiant or beaming, and he was sometimes identified with Helios the sun god). He was also the god of plague and was worshiped as Smintheus (from sminthos, rat) and as Parnopius (from parnops, grasshopper) and was known as the destroyer of rats and locust, and according to Homer's Iliad, Apollo shot arrows of plague into the Greek camp. Apollo being the god of religious healing would give those guilty of murder and other immoral deeds a ritual purification.
 
Sacred to Apollo are the swan (one legend says that Apollo flew on the back of a swan to the land of the Hyperboreans, he would spend the winter months among them), the wolf and the dolphin. His attributes are the bow and arrows, on his head a laurel crown, and the cithara (or lyre) and plectrum. But his most famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers.

When the goddesss Hera, the wife of Zeus (it was he who had coupled with Leto) found out about Leto's pregnancy, she was outraged with jealousy. Seeking revenge Hera forced Leto to roam the earth in search of a place to give birth. Sicne Hera had forbidden Leto to stay anywhere on earth, either on terra-ferma or an island at sea, the only place to seek shelter was Delos, being in the center of the Aegean, and also difficult to reach, as there were strong under-currents, because it was said to be a floating island. Because it was a floating island, it was not considered either of Hera's prohibitions, and so Leto was able to give birth to the divine twins Apollo and Artemis (before Leto gave birth to Apollo, the island was encircled by a flock of swans, this is why the swan was sacred to him).
 
As a gesture of thanks Delos was secured to the sea-bed by four columns to give it stability, and from then on it became one of the most important sanctuaries to Apollo. (A variation of Apollo's birth was that the jealous Hera had incarcerated Ilithyia, the goddess of childbirth, but the other gods intervened forcing Hera to release Ilithyia, which allowed Leto to give birth ).

Apollo's first achievement was to rid Pytho (Delphi) of the serpent (or dragon) Python. This monstrous beast protected the sanctuary of Pytho from its lair beside the Castalian Spring. There it stood guard while the "Sibyl" gave out her prophecies as she inhaled the trance inducing vapors from an open chasm. Apollo killed Python with his bow and arrows (Homer wrote "he killed the fearsome dragon Python, piercing it with his darts"). Apollo not only took charge of the oracle but rid the neighboring countryside of widespread destruction, as Python had destroyed crops, sacked villages and polluted streams and springs. However, to make amends for killing Python, as the fearsome beast was the son of Gaia, Apollo had to serve king Admetus for nine years (in some versions eight) as a cowherd. This he did, and when he returned to Pytho he came in the guise of a dolphin bringing with him priests from Crete (Apollo's cult title "Delphinios" meaning dolphin or porpoise, is probably how Delphi was so named). After killing Python and taking possession of the oracle, the god of light (Phobus) became known as "Pythian Apollo". He dedicated a bronze tripod to the sanctuary and bestowed divine powers on one of the priestesses, and she became known as the "Pythia". It was she who inhaled the hallucinating vapors from the fissure in the temple floor, while she sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant. Delphi became the most important oracle center of Apollo, there were several including Clarus and Branchidae.

Apollo, as with Zeus his father, had many love affairs with goddesses and mortals. Apollo's infatuation for the nymph Daphne, which had been invoked by the young god of love Eros, because Apollo had mocked him, saying his archery skills were pathetic, and Apollo's singing had also irritated him. Daphne was the beautiful daughter of the river god Ladon, and she was constantly pursued by Apollo. To escape from Apollo's insistent behavior, she fled to the mountains, but the persistent Apollo followed her. Annoyed by this, she asked the river god Peneus for help, which he did. As soon as Apollo approached Daphne, he tried to embrace her, but when he stretched out his arms she transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo, distraught by what had happened, made the laurel his sacred tree. Apollo also loved Cyrene, she was another nymph, and she bore Apollo a son: Aristaeus, a demi-god, who became a protector of cattle and fruit trees, and a deity of hunting, husbandry and bee-keeping. He taught men dairy skills and the use of nets and traps in hunting.

The most famous mortal loves of Apollo was Hecuba, she was the wife of Priam, the king of Troy. She bore him Troilius. Foretold by an oracle, as long as Troilius reached the age of twenty, Troy could not be defeated. But the hero Achilles ambushed and killed him, when the young prince and his sister Polyxena secretly visited a spring. Apollo also fell in love with Cassandra, the sister of Troilius, and daughter of Hecuba and Priam. He seduced Cassandra on the promise that he would teach her the art of prophecy, but having learnt the prophetic art she rejected him. Apollo, being angry of her rejection punished her, by declaring her prophecies never to be accepted or believed.

Asclepius, the god of healing, was also Apollo's offspring, after his union with Coronis, who was daughter of Phlegyas, king of the Lapiths. While she was pregnant by Apollo, Coronis fell in love with Ischys, son of Elatus, but a crow informed Apollo of the affair. Apollo sent his twin sister Artemis to kill Coronis, and Artemis carried out he brothers wishes. While her body was burning on the funeral pyre, Apollo removed the unborn child, and took him to Chiron, who raised the child Asclepius.

Apollo also, as did his father Zeus, fall in love with one of his own gender, Hyacinthus, a Spartan prince. He was very handsome and athletic, which inflamed the passions of Apollo. One day while Apollo and Hyacinthus were practicing throwing the discus, Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, who was also attracted to the young prince, and jealous of Apollo's amorous affection towards the boy, made the discus veer off course by blowing an ill wind. The discus, which Apollo had thrown, hit Hyacinthus, smashing his skull. Apollo rushed to him, but he was dead. The god was overcome with grief, but to immortalize the love he had for the beautiful youth, he had a flower grow were his blood had stained the earth.
 
Apollo also loved the young boy Cyparissus, a descendant of Heracles. The impassioned Apollo gave Cyparissus a sacred deer, as a love token. The young deer became tame, and was the constant companion of the boy, until a tragic accident occurred. As the young deer lay sleeping in the shade of the undergrowth, Cyparissus threw his javelin, which by chance hit, and killed the deer. Grief-stricken by what had happened, Cyparissus wanted to die. He asked Apollo to let his tears fall for all eternity. With apprehension Apollo transformed the boy into a tree, the cypress, which became the symbol of sorrow, as the sap on its trunk forms droplets, like tears.

Apollo could also be ruthless when he was angered. The mortal Niobe, boasted to Apollo's mother Leto, that she had fourteen children (in some versions six or seven), which must make her more superior than Leto, who had only bore two. Apollo greatly angered by this slew her sons, and Artemis killed Niobe's daughters. Niobe wept so much that she turned into a pillar of stone.
 
Apollo was infuriated when the satyr Marsyas challenged Apollo to music contest. After winning the competition, Apollo had Marsyas flayed alive, for being so presumptuous, as to challenge a god.

Apollo was worshiped throughout the Greek world, at Delphi every four years they held the Pythian Games in his honor. He had many epithets, including "Pythian Apollo" (his name at Delphi), "Apollo Apotropaeus" (Apollo who averts evil), and "Apollo Nymphegetes" (Apollo who looks after the Nymphs). As the god of shepherds he also had the cult titles "Lukeios" (from lykos; wolf), protecting the flocks from wolfs, and "Nomius" (of pastures, belonging to shepherds). Being the god of colonists, Apollo influenced his priests at Delphi to give divine guidance, as to where the expedition should proceed. This was during the height of the colonizing era circa 750-550 BCE. Apollo's title was "Archigetes" (leader of colonists). According to one legend, it was Apollo who helped either Cretan or Arcadian colonists found the city of Troy.

In art Apollo is at most times depicted as a handsome young man, clean shaven and carrying either a lyre, or his bow and arrows. There are many sculptures of Apollo and one of the most famous is the central figure from the west pediment of the Temple of Zeus, at Olympia, showing Apollo declaring victory in favor of the Lapiths in their struggle against the Centaurs.

A song sung in honor of Apollo is called a "paean. "
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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:22 AM)

Hercules
 
Hercules, the Latin equivalent of Heracles, was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. His jealous stepmother, Hera, tried to murder the infant Hercules by putting a serpent in his cradle. Luckily for Hercules, he was born with great strength and killed the serpent. By the time Hercules was an adult, he had already killed a lion. Eventually, Hera drove Hercules insane. Due to his insanity, Hercules killed his wife, Megara, and their three children. Hercules exiled himself because of the shame that he had brought on himself through his lack of sanity.
 
Hercules decided to ask the Delphic Oracle what he should do to regain his honor. The Oracle told Hercules to go to Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, and serve him for twelve years. King Eurystheus couldn't think of any tasks that might prove difficult for the mighty son of Zeus, so Hera came down from her palace on Olympus to help him. Together, the twosome came up with twelve tasks for Hera's mortal stepson to complete.
 
These tasks are now known as the twelve labors of Hercules. Hercules' first labor was to kill the menacing Nemean Lion; Hercules strangled the creature and carried it back to Mycenae. The second task was to overcome the nine-headed snake known as the Hydra; Hercules' cousin Ioloas helped him out by burning the stumps of the heads after Hercules cut off the heads; since the ninth head was immortal, Hercules rolled a rock over it. The third task was to find the golden-horned stag and bring it back alive; Hercules followed the stag around for one full year; he finally captured the stag and took it back alive. The fourth labor was to capture a wild boar that terrorized Mycenae's people; Hercules chased the boar up a mountain where the boar fell in to a snow drift, where Hercules subdued it. The fifth task of Hercules was to clean the Augean stables, where thousands of cattle were housed, in a single day; Hercules diverted two rivers so that they would flow into the Augean stables. The sixth labor was to destroy the man-eating Stymphalian birds; Hercules drove them out of their hiding places with a rattle and shot them with poison-tipped arrows. The seventh task was for Hercules to capture a Cretean savage bull; Hercules wrestled it to the ground and took it back to King Eurystheus. The eighth labor was to capture the four man-eating mares of Thrace; Hercules threw the master of the mares to them; the horses became very tame, so Hercules safely led them back to Mycenae. Hercules' ninth labor was to obtain the girdle of the fierce Amazon warrior queen, Hippolyta; Hippolyta willingly gave her girdle to Hercules, but Hera convinced the Amazons that Hercules was trying to take Hippolyta from them, so Hercules fought them off and returned to his master with the girdle. The tenth labor was to capture the cattle of the monster, Geryon; Hercules killed Geryon, claimed the cattle, and took them back to the king. The eleventh task was to get the golden-apples of the Hesperides; Hercules told Atlas that if he would get the apples for him, he (Hercules) would hold the heavens for him; when Atlas returned from his task, Hercules tricked him into taking back the heavens. The final labor of Hercules was to bring the three-headed watchdog of the underworld, Cerberus, to the surface without using any weapons; Hercules seized two of Cerberus' heads and the dog gave in. Hercules took the dog to his master, who ordered him to take it back. Finally, after twelve years and twelve tasks, Hercules was a free man.
 
Hercules went to the town of Thebes and married Deianira. She bore him many children. Later on in their life, the male centaur, Nessus, abducted Deianira, but Hercules came to her rescue by shooting Nessus with a poison tipped arrow. The dying Nessus told Deianira to keep a portion of his blood to use as a love potion on Hercules if she felt that she was losing him to another woman. A couple of a months later, Deianira thought that another woman was coming between her and her husband, so Deianira washed one of Hercules' shirts in Nessus' blood and gave it to him to wear. Nessus had lied to her, for the blood really acted as a poison and almost killed Hercules. On his funeral pyre, the dying Hercules ascended to Olympus, where he was granted immortality and lived among the gods.
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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:24 AM)

Hades


Hades is the Greek God of Death and the Underworld. He is the brother of Zeus, son of Cronos and Rhea and the husband of Persephone.

Hades is also the God of great wealth as gems and minerals exist only within the underworld, also known (rather conveniently) as Hades.

He is depicted as a dark haired, dark bearded God driving a black chariot pulled by black horses. He carries a harpoon or sometimes a scepter, as well as a key.

Hades, the Kingdom, is a rather interesting place full of rivers and various levels. It has been described by everyone from the ancient Greeks and Romans down to Dante and his "Inferno." Piers Anthony has, during the last decade, done a credible job at giving a graphic description of Hades and it's occupants while naming it Hell, a Christianesque term.

Hades is not associated with Satan nor does he rule over the eternal torment of sinners. Instead, there are many sections of the kingdom of Hades where individuals rest, wander, lament, or engage in other activities. There are, indeed, some nasty places, but also some adequate areas. The biggest problem seems to be having the coin to pay the ferryman (Charon) to get across the River Styx, and dealing with the judges.

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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:24 AM)

Anemoi

In Greek mythology, the Anemoi (in Greek,"winds") were wind gods who were each ascribed a cardinal direction, from which their respective winds came, and were each associated with various seasons and weather conditions.
 
They were sometimes represented as mere gusts of wind, at other times were personified as winged men, and at still other times were depicted as horses kept in the stables of the storm god Aeolus, who provided Odysseus with the Anemoi in the Odyssey.
 
Astraeus, the astrological deity sometimes associated with Aeolus, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn, were the parents of the Anemoi, according to the Greek poet Hesiod.

Of the four chief Anemoi, Boreas was the north wind and bringer of cold winter air, Notus was the south wind and bringer of the storms of late summer and autumn, and Zephyrus was the west wind and bringer of light spring and early summer breezes; Eurus, the east wind, was not associated with any of the three Greek seasons, and is the only one of these four Anemoi not mentioned in Hesiod's Theogony or in the Orphic Hymns. Additionally, four lesser Anemoi were sometimes referenced, representing the northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest winds.

The deities equivalent to the Anemoi in Roman mythology were the Venti (in Latin, "winds"). These gods had different names, but were otherwise very similar to their Greek counterparts, borrowing their attributes and being frequently conflated with them.

In Norse mythology, four Dvergar (Norse dwarves), named Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri, and probably the four stags of Yggdrasil, personify the four winds, and parallel the four Greek wind gods.

North wind (Boreas)
Boreas  was the Greek god of the cold north wind and the bringer of winter. His name meant "North Wind" or "Devouring One". Boreas is depicted as being very strong, with a violent temper to match. He was frequently shown as a winged old man with shaggy hair and beard, holding a conch shell and wearing a billowing cloak.
 
Pausanias wrote that Boreas had snakes instead of feet, though in art he was usually depicted with winged human feet.
Boreas was closely associated with horses. He was said to have fathered twelve colts after taking the form of a stallion, to the mares of Erichthonius, king of Troy. These were said to be able to run across a field of grain without trampling the plants. Pliny (Natural History iv.35 and viii.67) thought that mares might stand with their hindquarters to the North Wind, and bear foals without a stallion. The Greeks believed that his home was in Thrace, and Herodotus and Pliny both describe a northern land known as Hyperborea ("Beyond the North Wind"), where people lived in complete happiness and had extraordinarily long lifespan.

Boreas was also said to have kidnapped Oreithyia, an Athenian princess, from the River Illissus. Boreas had taken a fancy to Oreithyia, and had initially pleaded for her favours, hoping to persuade her. When this failed, he reverted to his usual temper and abducted her as she danced on the banks of the Illissus. Boreas swept Oreithyia up in a cloud of wind and took her to Thrace, and with her, Boreas fathered two sons-the Boreads, Zetes and Calais-and two daughters-Chione and Cleopatra.

Tower of the Winds in ancient Athens, part of the frieze depicting the Greek wind gods Boreas (north wind, on the left) and Skiron (northwesterly wind, on the right)
From then on, the Athenians saw Boreas as a relative by marriage. When Athens was threatened by Xerxes, the people prayed to Boreas, who was said to have then caused winds to sink 400 Persian ships. A similar event had occurred twelve years earlier, and Herodotus writes:
Now I cannot say if this was really why the Persians were caught at anchor by the stormwind, but the Athenians are quite positive that, just as Boreas helped them before, so Boreas was responsible for what happened on this occasion also. And when they went home they built the god a shrine by the River Illisus.

The abduction of Oreithyia was popular in Athens before and after the Persian War, and was frequently depicted on vase paintings. In these paintings, Boreas was portrayed as a bearded man in a tunic, with shaggy hair that is sometimes frosted and spiked. The abduction was also dramatized in Aeschylus's lost play Oreithyia.
In late accounts, Boreas was the father of Butes and Lycurgus (from different lovers) and the lover of the nymph Pitys.

Aquilo
The Roman equivalent of Boreas was Aquilo, or Aquilon. An alternate, rarer name used for the northern wind was Septentrio, a word derived from septem triones ("seven oxen") referring to the seven prominent stars in the northern constellation Ursa Major. Septentrio is also the source of the obscure word septentrional, a synonym for boreal meaning "northern".
South wind (Notus), a rococo sculpture. Palace under the Four Winds in Warsaw
Notus, in the original Greek Notos was the Greek god of the south wind. He was associated with the desiccating hot wind of the rise of Sirius after midsummer, was thought to bring the storms of late summer and autumn, and was feared as a destroyer of crops.
Notus' equivalent in Roman mythology was Auster, the embodiment of the sirocco wind, who brought heavy cloud cover and fog or humidity. Auster is also the name of a defunct British aircraft manufacturer from the 1940s-1950s.

East wind (Eurus)
Eurus, in the original Greek Euros , was the Greek deity representing the unlucky east wind. He was thought to bring warmth and rain, and his symbol was an inverted vase, spilling water.
His Roman counterpart was Vulturnus, not to be confused with Volturnus, a tribal river-god who later became a Roman deity of the River Tiber.

West wind (Zephyrus)
Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind and the goddess Chloris, from a 1875 engraving by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Zephyrus, or just Zephyr, in the original Greek Zephuros, in Latin Favonius, is the Greek god of the west wind. The gentlest of the winds, Zephyrus is known as the fructifying wind, the messenger of spring. It was thought that Zephyrus lived in a cave in Thrace.
Zephyrus was reported as having several wives in different stories. He was said to be the husband of his sister Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. He abducted another of his sisters, the goddess Chloris, and gave her the domain of flowers. With Chloris, he fathered Carpus ("fruit"). He is said to have vied for Chloris's love with his brother Boreas, eventually winning her devotion. Additionally, with yet another sister and lover, the harpy Podarge (also known as Celaeno), Zephyrus was said to be the father of Balius and Xanthus, Achilles' horses.
One of the surviving myths in which Zephyrus features most prominently is that of Hyacinth. Hyacinth was a very handsome and athletic Spartan prince. Zephyrus fell in love with him and courted him (see also: Mythology of same-sex love), and so did Apollo. The two competed for the boy's love, but he chose Apollo, driving Zephyrus mad with jealousy. Later, catching Apollo and Hyacinth throwing a discus, Zephyrus blew a gust of wind at them, striking the boy in the head with the falling discus. When Hyacinth died, Apollo created the hyacinth flower from his blood.
In the story of Cupid and Psyche, Zephyrus served Cupid by transporting Psyche to his cave.
Zephyrus' Roman equivalent was Favonius, who held dominion over plants and flowers. The name Favonius, which meant "favorable", was also a common Roman name.

Minor winds
Four lesser wind deities appear in a few ancient sources, such as at the Tower of the Winds in Athens. Originally, as attested in Hesiod and Homer, these four minor Anemoi were the Anemoi Thuellai ( Greek: "Tempest-Winds"), wicked and violent daemons (spirits) created by the monster Typhon, and male counterparts to the harpies, who were also called thuellai. These were the winds held in Aeolus's stables; the other four, "heavenly" Anemoi were not kept locked up. However, later writers confused and conflated the two groups of Anemoi, and the distinction was largely forgotten.

Kaikias was the Greek deity of the northeast wind. He is shown as a bearded man with a shield full of hail-stones, and his name derives from the Ancient Greek kakía, "badness" or "evil". Kakia is also the name of a spirit of vice, the sister of Arete ("virtue"). The Roman deity equivalent to Kaikias was Caecius.

Apeliotes, sometimes known to the Romans as Apeliotus, was the Greek deity of the southeast wind. As this wind was thought to cause a refreshing rain particularly beneficial to farmers, he is often depicted wearing gumboots and carrying fruit, draped in a light cloth concealing some flowers or grain. He is cleanshaven, with curly hair and a friendly expression. Because Apeliotes was a minor god, he was often synthesized with Eurus, the east wind. Subsolanus, Apeliotes' Roman counterpart, was also sometimes considered the east wind, in Vulturnus' place. Apeliotes is also the name of a New Zealand unmanned aerial vehicle flight control system
Skiron, or Skeiron, was the Greek god of the northwest wind. His name is related to Skirophorion, the last of the three months of spring in the Attic festival calendar. He is depicted as a bearded man tilting a cauldron, representing the onset of winter. His Roman counterpart is Caurus, or Corus. Corus was also one of the oldest Roman wind-deities, and numbered among the di indigetes ("indigenous gods"), a group of abstract and largely minor numinous entities.

Lips, or Livos, was the Greek deity of the southwest wind, often depicted holding the stern of a ship. His Roman equivalent was Afer ventus ("African wind"), or Africus, due to Africa being to the southwest of Italy. This name is thought to be derived from the name of a fanciful North African tribe, the Afri. However, Africus was, like Corus, one of the few native Roman deities, or di indigetes, to endure in later Roman mythology. The di indigetes ("indigenous gods") were a group of Roman gods, goddesses and spirits not adopted from other mythologies, as opposed to the di novensides ("newcomer gods") in Georg Wissowa's terminology. This goes some way toward ruling out any tribal name as the basis for the Roman wind god Africus.
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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:25 AM)

adonis.jpg picture by gemsylb

Adonis
 
 
 
Handsome God of Desire and Manly Good Looks. Has a very high squeeel! factor.

For reasons we won't go into, APHRODITE turned his mother Myrrha into a pregnant myrrh tree. When it split and the baby was revealed, APHRODITE was enchanted. "Ooh, he's gorgeous. I'm saving him for later", she decided.

So she put him in a box and checked him in at the Underworld Bank Vault under the care of PERSEPHONE, who took a quick peek and had the same thought.

When ADONIS grew old enough to be 'Gods Gift to Women', PERSEPHONE refused to hand him over. The case went to arbitration and CALLIOPE was asked to bring about a settlement.

Her final judgment was this: For four months of the year, he would live with APHRODITE. Then she must hand him over for four months with PERSEPHONE. For the remaining four months the choice was up to him.

As APHRODITE was the first to find him, she had the first go. Using her girdle of desire, she declared that ADONIS loved only her and PERSEPHONE could take a running jump.

So PERSEPHONE took a running jump to ARES (who was very struck on APHRODITE himself) and said: "Your fancy woman has got herself a mortal lover. And you don't stand a chance, he's absolutely gorgeous!"

ARES was furious, and being of a boorish disposition, changed himself into a boar and killed ADONIS in a hunting accident. This resulted in much hair-pulling and scratching and shrieking in Olympus.

Eventually ZEUS decided it was time for a bit of peace. He declared that ADONIS was not totally dead, but could spend six months with each of them.

So now APHRODITE has him in the spring and summer, and he goes down to the Underworld for autumn and winter. This is why everything fades and gets miserable during the winter months. So the Underworld would seem a good place to choose for a winter break.
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RE:Greek Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:26 AM)


 
ZEUS
 
Top God of the Earth and Ruler of Mount Olympus, the lofty cloudland where the Greek Gods live and look down upon mankind.

He is a real high-flyer, an Olympic champion, battling with the giant TITANS, casting thunderbolts and engaged in all manner of gut-busting glorious Godly pursuits.

His father CRONUS was so terrified of the newborn baby ZEUS's awesome power that he swallowed him up. And lived to regret it. It was left to AMALTHEA (and her goat) to protect the budding SuperGod while he learned to walk, talk, and rule the Universe. Since then he's never looked back.

ZEUS is married to the long-suffering HERA, but spends most of his time lusting after Goddesses, mortals, animals, and indeed anything that will keep still long enough.

It's tough at the top being the most fantastic hunky irresistible God of all time and having constantly to prove it. And never a quiet night in with slippers and a mug of cocoa because he has to keep his long-suffering wife HERA happy too. Their trials and tribulations form the basis of half the Greek entries in our database.

ZEUS has had so many mistresses and fathered so many children that there's no point in giving a list here. Just take our word for it. See also CRONUS, RHEA, HEPHAESTUS, ATHENA... and in fact most of the other Greek Gods.

Moving on to more Godly matters, ZEUS was also known to the ancient Greeks as Epiphanes, the Magnificent One, whenever a certain star appeared in the east. This was celebrated with piph-ups known as epiphanies.

When he's not running around after nubile Goddesses in the form of a lusty animal, ZEUS looks after Law, upholds Justice, and casts thunderbolts on those deserving it.


(Message edited by Autumn_Heather On 01/11/2009 06:27 AM)
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