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Greek Mythology - This PPT Includes the Following Information:
The sources for ancient Greek myth are myriad. References to myth range from those written by contemporary Greek historians and authors, to poems composed in honor of the gods and goddesses; to plays (comedies, tragedies, even films and videos).
These are meant to dramatize man's relationships with the divine and sometimes man's aspirations to be divine.
There are four major categories of characters we will look at:
Gods & Goddesses:
featuring the Greek pantheon (from Aphrodite to Zeus), the Titans, and other free spirits (the Muses, for example)
Heroes & Heroines:
Greek mortals of myth and legend, such as Odysseus, Theseus, and Ariadne, are featured in this section
Lovers & Legends: myths and stories about Greek mythological characters - for example the legend of Echo and Narcissus, and the story of Eros and Psyche
Creatures & Chimerae: | the monsters of Greek mythology--the Sphinx, Medusa, and of course the Chimera--are categorized.
Within the category “Gods and Goddesses” we have four more categories:
These are the Greek gods and goddesses of Earth and the Underworld - examples are Hades and Persephone
Were beings who ruled before the coming of the Olympians - Gaia and Hyperion are two examples of Titans
There is a list of important Greek gods and goddesses who do not fit into a specific category--includes the Muses, Nike, nymphs, etc.
These immortals therefore acquired a slightly more dark and shadowy aspect than their bright Olympian counterparts.
Nevertheless, the following gods had their place in the Greek pantheon, for they fulfilled certain fundamental needs, including providing an explanation for what happens to mortals after death.
Erinyes: (Furiae) also known as Furies, these were female spirits who exacted vengeance against those who committed specific crimes
Keres were female spirits of death and destruction in ancient Greece
Was the god of the Underworld and ruler of the dead husband of Persephone
A goddess of magic, an alternate spelling of her name is Hecate
A goddess of the Underworld and wife of Hades; also known as Kore (the maiden)
God of death
The Titans were a race of gods who were the parents and precursors of the Olympians.
Wrong Titans again!!
The Titans were defeated by this younger generation of deities, who were led by Zeus.
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod, in his Theogony, claims that the goddess Gaia first gave birth to Ouranos, then mated with him to produce these offspring.
Later, Ouranos was to name his children Titans, which translates into “overreachers.”
Atlas led the struggle between the Titans and Olympians, and for this he was punished...
Atlas is a legendary Titan in Greek mythology.
Indeed, this mythological character appears in many compelling stories, from the tale of the exploits of the hero Herakles (Hercules), to the myth that claims he supported the sky on his shoulders.
This Titan was the brother of Prometheus; the name Epimetheus means "afterthought"
Epimetheus is often mentioned in conjunction with his famous brother Prometheus.
Indeed, the names Epimetheus and Prometheus together represent two different but related aspects of thought - Epimetheus means "afterthought," while Prometheus symbolizes "forethought."
The personification of afterthought, the Titan Epimetheus, is often contrasted with his more sensible brother (Prometheus) in myth.
Prometheus was a not a fool, but why else would he rebel against Zeus?
He tried to trick Zeus
(who knows all and sees all)
with a false sacrifice.
How foolish can you get?
Prometheus also stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the primitive mortals on the earth.
Zeus did not punish Prometheus alone; he punished the entire world for the effrontery of this rebel god.
Prometheus was a god long before Zeus took the Throne of Eternity.
He fought for Zeus against the devising Kronos (Cronos), but Prometheus never had true respect for Zeus.
Prometheus feared that the new Olympians had no compassion for each other or for the mortals on the earth below.
To show his disdain, Prometheus prepared two sacrifices and, in an attempt to belittle father Zeus, he made one sacrifice of fat and bones and the other of the finest meat.
The trick was, Prometheus had wrapped the fat in such a way that it looked to be the most sincere tribute of the two.
Zeus saw through the trick and magnanimously controlled his anger. He warned Prometheus but did not punish him.
Zeus had many plans for the reshaping of creation.
After the fall of Kronos and his confinement in Tartaros, Zeus took no interest in the mortal race of men on the bountiful earth. He intended for them to live as primitives until they died off.
Zeus said that knowledge and divine gifts would only bring misery to the mortals, and he insisted that Prometheus not interfere with his plans.
Despite Zeus’ warning, Prometheus took pity on the primitive mortals and again, he deceived Zeus.
Prometheus gave the mortals all sorts of gifts: brickwork, woodworking, telling the seasons by the stars, numbers, the alphabet (for remembering things), yoked oxen.
He also provided them with carriages, saddles, ships and sails. He also gave other gifts: healing drugs, seercraft, signs in the sky, the mining of precious metals, animal sacrifice, and all art.
To compound his crime, Prometheus had stolen fire from Zeus and given it to the mortals in their dark caves.
The gift of divine fire unleashed a flood of inventiveness, productivity and, most of all, respect for the immortal gods in the rapidly developing mortals.
Within no time
(by immortal standards), culture, art, and literacy permeated the land around Mount Olympos (Olympus).
When Zeus realized the deception that Prometheus had fostered, he was furious.
He had Hephaistos (Hephaestus) shackle Prometheus to the side of a crag, high in the Caucasus mountains.
There Prometheus would hang until the fury of Zeus subsided.
Each day, Prometheus would be tormented by Zeus’ eagle, as it tore at his immortal flesh and tried to devour his liver.
Each night, as the frost bit it’s way into his sleep, the torn flesh would mend so the eagle could begin anew at the first touch of Eos (the Dawn).
Zeus’ anger did not stop there.
He intended to give the mortals one more gift and undo all the good Prometheus had done.
Zeus fashioned a hateful thing in the shape of a young girl and called her Pandora.
Pandora’s name means, “giver of all” or “all endowed.” Her body was made by Hephaistos. He gave her form and voice.
Goddess Athene (Athena) gave her dexterity and inventiveness.
Aphrodite (goddess of Love) put a spell of enchantment around her head and Hermes put pettiness in her tiny brain.
She was ready for the world.
Zeus gave Pandora to Ephemetheus (brother of Prometheus). Ephemetheus knew better than to trust Zeus and he had been warned by Prometheus never to accept gifts from the Olympians, especially Zeus.
One look at Pandora and Ephemetheus was rendered helpless.
He could not resist her; he accepted her willingly.
When the gift was “opened,” evil and despair entered into this world.
Mistrust and disease spread over the wide earth. After Pandora was emptied of her curse, only Hope was left inside. Unreasonable, groundless Hope that makes the curse of life into a blessing.
Prometheus was destined to suffer at the hands of his own kind.
Gods punishing gods.
To Prometheus, the saddest part of his punishment was the implication that the gods (Zeus in particular) had lost their right to rule because they had lost touch with their hearts.
Let’s get back to the Titans:
Gaia was an Earth goddess; she is also the mother of the Titans
A Titan god whose most famous role was that of father.
He sired Helios, Eos, and Selene.
A Titan god who fathered Atlas, Prometheus, and Epimetheus
A Titan god who mated with Phoebe and together they produced Leto and Asteria
God who sired Astraios, Pallas, and Perses.
It was Kronos, son of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (Sky), who castrated his father; in turn, Kronos was the sire of many of the Olympians.
The goddess Leto bore the Olympian deities Artemis and Apollo to Zeus .
The name Mnemosyne means "memory"; she and Zeus together produced the Muses
God of the Ocean and water; father of the Oceanids ("three thousand slender-ankled daughters")
Ouranos also known as the Sky was both the son and the consort of Gaia; he was also the father of the Titans.
Goddess who conceived Leto and Asteria by the Titan Koios.
This section introduces the Greek pantheon, and it features the Olympian gods and goddesses - for example Aphrodite, Athena, and Zeus
There are twelve Olympians:
Aphrodite 7. Dionysos
2. Apollo 8. Hephaistos
3. Ares 9. Hera
4. Artemis 10. Hermes
5. Athena 11. Poseidon
6. Demeter 12. Zeus
The Olympians were younger lot of gods.
They didn’t do things the way the old guard (The Titans) did things.
The Olympians ruled!
Aphrodite is known to the Romans as Venus. | She is the goddess of love and beauty. Her symbols are the sceptre, myrtle, and the dove.
As the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite holds great power over both mortals and immortals.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that she is featured in numerous myths, poems, and plays; likewise, there are many representations of Aphrodite in Greek sculpture and vase painting.
While several legends of Aphrodite emphasize themes of love and desire, some of most compelling myths deal with the consequences that the goddess herself suffers as a result of being the victim of love.
The story of Aphrodite and her interlude with the human Adonis makes for an interesting study of the double-edged sword that passion can be.
In this myth, the vulnerability of the goddess is poignant. This vulnerability points to the fact that in Greek mythology even the gods could suffer, and were certainly not immune to the pains and passions that we, as humans, experience.
Birth of Aphrodite:
There are a couple of versions of the birth of Aphrodite, which, although they differ, are not necessarily contradictory.
According to Homer (Iliad, Book V, 370), the goddess is simply the daughter of Zeus and Dione (a name that is merely the feminine form of Zeus in Greek).
However, the poet Hesiod (Theogony, 188-198) provides a much more elaborate explanation for her birth: he claims that the name Aphrodite is derived from aphros or foam, and thus the goddess was born of this substance.
The tale states that the Titan Kronos castrated his father Ouranos (Sky), and then cast the severed genitals into the sea. From the foam that gathered around the member, Aphrodite emerged, fully formed.
During the Italian Renaissance Botticelli was inspired by a tale of Aphrodite. Can you guess which one?
Hesiod's description, however gruesome it may seem, does have the advantage of attaching a certain meaning to the birth of the goddess, which we’ll leave to the reader to ascertain.
This version also lends a poetic quality to Aphrodite's creation, in that as Anadyomene ("she who emerges"), she was depicted by countless artists.
As we have seen, Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and desire.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are abundant examples of Aphrodite's intimate relationships with both gods and men.
Perhaps the most notorious of these legends is of her affair with the war god Ares.
According to the myth, Aphrodite was married to the god of smiths, Hephaistos.
The golden goddess apparently tended to abandon poor Hephaistos as soon as his burly back was turned, for on many occasions she was to be found in the arms of her lover (one consequence of this illicit affair is included in the Odyssey.
As a result of these romantic interludes, Aphrodite bore three children to Ares:
In addition, the goddess of love also engaged in other fruitful unions with male deities, including flings with Dionysus and Hermes.
It was even suggested in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite that there were only three deities who could resist the passions that Aphrodite aroused, and they were Athena, Artemis, and Hestia.
All three were goddesses, as well virgins by choice. With the exception of these goddesses; however, anyone foolish enough to ignore Aphrodite was courting disaster, as the following myth will demonstrate.
According to one legend, Aphrodite used her powers to punish Eos, the goddess of the dawn.
You see, Eos made the mistake of engaging in a tryst with Ares.
The result of this unfortunate choice on the part of poor Eos was that the jealous Aphrodite punished the dawn goddess with an insatiable appetite for love.
In other words, Aphrodite turned Eos into what amounts to a nymphomaniac.
This punishment had a profound effect on Eos, for she was compelled to take a series of lovers.
Indeed, take is the proper term for the affairs, because Eos seemed to prefer abducting her paramours, much to their dismay.
The outcome of these unions was often disastrous to the man involved, and so Aphrodite's revenge was complete.
Apollo is known as god of the arts (esp. poetry and music), archery, and divination.
Apollo’s symbols are the bow, the lyre, and the laurel.
Apollo is in many respects the paradigm of a Greek god, one that serves as a pattern or a model.
He represents order, harmony, and civilization in a way that most other Olympian deities cannot quite equal.
One only has to compare him with Dionysus to understand how Apollo is depicted as a bright, rational counterpart to the chaotic and frenzied god of wine and women.
Indeed, Apollo is most often associated with the cultivated arts of music and medicine, and his role as the leader of the Muses establishes him as a patron of intellectual pursuits.
In art, images of Apollo represented the height of male attractiveness - indeed, for years, Archaic statues of youths were commonly referred to as "Apollo", later to be replaced the more accurate term "kouros" (young man).
As with most Greek deities, Apollo has characteristics that are myriad and diverse, so we should proceed to an exploration of this important god.
Birth of Apollo:
According to the Greek poet Hesiod (Theogony, 918-20), Apollo was the son of the Olympian Zeus and the Titan Leto, and the brother of the goddess Artemis.
The details of how Apollo and his sister were born make an intriguing story, so let us look at this legend more closely.
The myth of Apollo's birth includes another instance of the wrath of Hera.
Hera, the wife of the philandering Zeus, discovered that her husband had impregnated yet another goddess, and this time it was the Titan Leto.
In her anger, Hera would not allow Leto to bear her children.
Leto was pregnant with the twin gods Apollo and Artemis), and the land itself was afraid to provide a shelter for Leto because of the fear of Hera's notorious retribution.
Finally, Leto found an island that was willing to allow her to give birth, and this island was named Delos (which means "brilliant", and, incidentally, inspired the epithet Delian) in honor of the divine site.
Apollo was then cared for by Themis, who fed him nectar and ambrosia for a few days, after which time he was an adult capable of assuming the full responsibilities of a god.
This is the story of how Apollo was born in Greek mythology.
Shortly after his birth on the island of Delos, the precocious god Apollo embarked on his first adventure.
In a beautifully lyrical passage of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the handsome young divinity is depicted traveling the earth and then ascending to Olympus, where he charmed the gods and goddesses with his music.
The goddesses - including the Muses, Charites (Graces), Horae (Seasons), Aphrodite, Hebe, and Artemis - were especially fond of Apollo, and they sang and danced to welcome his arrival.
The god then retired from the company of his fellow Olympians to begin a quest to locate the appropriate site for an oracle.
After searching far and wide, Apollo finally found a place that pleased him.
He informed Telphousa, the resident nature spirit, of his intentions to build a temple at her sacred spring, but the nymph discouraged him from this plan.
Telphousa instead suggested that Apollo select Delphi as the site for his shrine, and the god therefore left the spring and continued his journey.
Near Delphi, Apollo encountered and killed the enormous serpent Python (the god's priestess was named Pythia to commemorate this event).
According to some sources, this in part is the mythological explanation for how the oracle of Apollo was established at Delphi.
In addition to defeating Python, Apollo also conquered, in various ways, several other notable mythological figures, including the satyr Marsyas, the giant Tityus, and the children of Niobe.
Indeed, the god and his sister Artemis together punished both Tityus and Niobe as a form of revenge for the insults these characters had made to their mother Leto.
Apollo was, however, not just a fighter - like many of the other Olympian gods, he was a lover as well. He was also an Olympian, and the son of the Leto and Zeus. So back to the Olympians:
Is the god of war. His symbols is the spear.
War, battles, and bloodshed are his major preoccupations.
In certain respects, there is not too much more to Ares than this connection to war, as he is portrayed as being somewhat one-dimensional. Or at least limited in his pleasures.
There is one other area in which Ares was interested, and that is indeed pleasure - with the goddess Aphrodite, that is.
He engaged in an ongoing tryst with Aphrodite which is the stuff of legend (and myth), in defiance of that fact that the lovely goddess was already married (to the god Hephaistos).
There is a wonderfully charming tale in the Odyssey of Homer about how this couple's romantic rendezvous came to an abrupt, and comic, end.
Ares and Aphrodite
Ares and Aphrodite were dallying together when their interlude was rudely interrupted.
You see, the god of the Sun, Helios, from whom little, if anything, could be kept secret, spied the pair in enjoying each other one day.
Helios promptly reported the incident to Hephaistos, who was understandably angry.
Hephaistos contrived to catch the couple "in the act", and so he fashioned a net to snare the illicit lovers.
At the appropriate time, this net was sprung, and trapped Ares and Aphrodite locked in very private embrace.
But Hephaistos was not yet satisfied with his revenge - he invited the Olympian gods and goddesses to view the unfortunate pair.
For the sake of modesty, the goddesses demurred, but the male gods went and witnessed the sight.
Some commented on the beauty of Aphrodite, others remarked that they would eagerly trade places with Ares, and they all laughed.
Well, except for Ares, who was out of sorts, and Aphrodite, who, if goddesses can blush like maidens, surely did so.
The Lovers of Ares in Myth
The fierce god Ares was often inflamed with lust in Greek mythology - lust for battle, that is.
Indeed, it is fair to say that Ares was obsessed with war, almost to the exclusion of anything else.
The god did, however, have an eye for the female form, and his appetite for Aphrodite, the alluring goddess of love and beauty, at times almost rivaled his desire to do battle.
In consequence his conquests off the battlefield are nearly as legendary as his victories and defeats in combat. There are many a tale to be found.
Let’s get back to our list of Olympians…
Is the goddess of the hunt and protector of children. Her symbols are the bow and the deer.
The goddess Artemis plays an intriguing role in Greek mythology and religion.
She is known as the "Mistress of Animals" and the protectress of children, but she was also a huntress and the goddess who could bring death with her arrows.
Myths such as the one about Niobe show Artemis as a strong willed and powerful goddess, a female who could punish injustices against the gods with ferocious and deadly accuracy.
Artemis was the daughter of Leto and Zeus (the ruler of the Greek gods). Together with her twin brother Apollo she enjoyed the status and privileges of an Olympian.
As an Olympian goddess, Artemis was free to pursue her interests, and was often found frolicking in the forests, accompanied by a band of nymphs.
Myths and legends show that the goddess Artemis was aloof and free-spirited, and not constrained by husband or hearth.
Her independent nature is further reinforced in a very important way, for in mythology and religion, the goddess remained eternally a virgin.
Indeed, those who in some way compromised her strict requirements for chastity were severely punished by the maiden goddess.
There are several tales that describe the swift and terrible retribution of Artemis.
For example, Artemis was responsible for punishing the nymph Callisto.
Wrong Callisto !
Diana and Callisto
In myth, Callisto was at one point a follower of the virgin goddess, but when she became involved in an affair with the god Zeus, Artemis had her revenge on the unfortunate nymph.
Artemis is sometimes identified with Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. Indeed, this association between Artemis and the moon is revealed in one of the epithets used to describe the goddess - Phoebe ("the bright one").
The goddess Artemis was known as Diana in Roman mythology.
Is the goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts; the patron of Athens.
Is the goddess of agriculture and fertility.
Is the god of wine, mysteries, and the theatre.
Is the god of smiths and metal-workers. He is also the husband of Aphrodite.
Is the goddess of marriage; consort of Zeus.
Is the god of merchants.
He is also known as the messenger god of Zeus.
God of the sea and earthquakes
God of the sky
Ruler of Olympus
If you will recall we had four major categories within Gods and Goddesses that we were looking at when we started.
The fourth is the Free Spirits
The Free Spirits include a list of important Greek gods and goddesses who do not fit into a specific category - includes the Muses, Nike, nymphs, etc.
Sea goddess; wife of Poseidon
God of love and desire
(Charites in Greek, Gratiae in Latin)
A trio of graceful goddesses associated with Aphrodite
Goddess of the home and hearth
Heroes & Heroines
From A - Z
Heroes & Heroines
Greek heroes, from Achilles, Ajax, Ariadne, and Bellerophon
Heroes & Heroines
Greek heroes from the brothers Castor and Polydeuces through Hippolytus; other notables are Helen of Troy and Herakles
A hybrid is a composite creature - examples are the centaur (combination of human and horse), and the harpy (human and vulture); these mythical beings populated the imaginations, literature, and art of the ancient Greeks
In Greek mythology and art, the centaur has the torso of a human combined with the body of a horse
This creature was also known as a basilisk ("king of serpents"), and its very glance could kill; the cockatrice was composed of a dragon's tail and assorted poultry parts
These fierce and frightening beings were the offspring of Gaia (the Earth)
According to myth, the griffin was a creature with a lion's body attached to the head, wings, and claws of an eagle
Harpies had female torsos melded with vulture parts; the name harpy is derived from the Greek word that means "snatcher"
Oceanides - nymphs of the oceans
The nymph in Greek mythology largely descendents of the titans.
Satyrs were often the companions of Dionysos, and these creatures were depicted in myth and art with the legs of goats and bestial natures
Women with bird-like bodies; sirens were legendary for luring sailors by singing their enchanted songs
Monsters were generally either friends or foes to various Greek heroes
Creature with many eyes; Argus played a prominent role in one of the myths of the goddess Hera
Cerberus was the guardian of the Underworld; in myth, he was portrayed as a dog with three heads
In Greek mythology, Charybdis was a deadly whirlpool personified as a female monster
With a body that was one third lion, one third she-goat, and one third serpent, this creature was definitely one frightening beast
In Greek mythology, the Chimera (Chímaira), is a monstrous creature, which was made of the parts of multiple animals.
Giant with a single eye in its forehead; the plural form of this word is Cyclopes
This monster was half beautiful woman and half deadly serpent; she was the mother of many mythical monsters
The monster known as Geryon had three heads and three bodies; he was defeated by the hero Herakles
This trio of terrifying females consists of the sisters Euryale, Medusa, and Stheno
These "old women" were the sisters of the Gorgons
The Hydra had a water-serpent body topped by numerous heads
Dragon who guarded the area where the apples of the Hesperides were hidden
She was a frightening bogey-woman in Greek mythology