(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:34 AM)
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
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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:
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."
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]
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.
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.
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:
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
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
– 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
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
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.
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:
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
Lift us, mighty Pan
Come near, excite us.
Give us creative power
And freedom from fear.
IO Pan, Pan, Pan!
IO Pan, Pan.
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(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:34 AM)
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
NONE - he was the first being to emerge at the creation of the universe.
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."
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).
of the current English words which show a tie to khronos/chronos and
the attachment to time are chronology, chronic, and chronicle.
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
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 01:35 AM)
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.
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
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.
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).
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 ).
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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. "
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:22 AM)
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.
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.
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
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:24 AM)
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.
is also the God of great wealth as gems and minerals exist only within
the underworld, also known (rather conveniently) as Hades.
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.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:24 AM)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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:
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.
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:25 AM)
Handsome God of Desire and Manly Good Looks. Has a very high squeeel! factor.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:01/11/2009 06:26 AM)
(Message edited by Autumn_Heather On 01/11/2009 06:27 AM)
Top God of the Earth and Ruler of Mount Olympus, the lofty cloudland where the Greek Gods live and look down upon mankind.
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
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.
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
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.
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