Greek Mythology (Information)
Gods and Greek Goddesses, Greek Myths and Greek Heroes like Achilles and Hercules. It also has full text of Greek Mythology and Literature books. You can freely use all information for term papers, research papers, college essays and homework papers.
Once there was a king named Acrisius, he had a beautiful daughter named Danae. The oracle of Apollo told Acrisius that Danae's son would one day kill him. Acrisius could not let that happen, so he locked Danae in a bronze tower so that she would never marry or have children.
The tower had no doors, but it had one very small window. Danae was very sad, but one day a bright shower of gold came through the small window. A man appeared, he had a thunderbolt in his hand and Danae knew he was a god, but she didn't know which. The man said, "Yes, I am a god and I wish to make you my wife. I can make this dark prison a wonderful sunny land with many flowers."
All happened as he said, the horrible prison became fields almost as wonderful as the Elysian Fields themselves, but one day Acrisius saw light coming out of the small window. He told his men to tear down one of the walls. He walked into the tower and saw Danae with a baby on her lap, smiling she said, "I have named him Perseus." Acrisius was furious, he shut Danae and baby Perseus up in a large chest and cast them out to sea.
Somehow they got safely to the island of Seriphos where Polydectes was king. The kings brother who was a fisherman, caught them in his net and pulled them to shore, his name was Dictys. Perseus grew up to become a strong young man. Polydectes heard about Danae and wanted her to marry him, but she rejected him. Polydectes would have married Danae by force if Perseus wasn't there to protect her.
Polydectes decided on a plan to get rid of Perseus. Polydectes pretended to be marrying a daughter of a friend of his. Everybody had to bring a present, including Perseus. Polydectes pretended to be furious when Perseus arrived empty-handed, for he was not only very strong and brave but very poor. "What, no wedding present?" yelled Polydectes. " I don't have any money." exclaimed Perseus. " That's what you get for a lazy good-for-nothing." said Polydectes. Perseus was furious. "I can bring you any present in the world, anything." he said. "Then bring me the head of the gorgon Medusa!" replied Polydectes. "Fine!" said Perseus.
So he went of on his perilous voyage. For days he wandered, searching for the gorgons lair. One night in an unknown country he realized how hopeless things were. The gorgons were horrible, instead of hair they had black serpents that writhed on their head, they had brazen hands that could have squashed poor Perseus, but worst of all if you looked a gorgon you were instantly turned to stone.
Then suddenly a tall woman and a young man with winged sandals appeared. The man said, "I am Hermes and this is our sister Athena. Yes, you are a son of Zeus. We have some things that may help you in slaying Medusa. Here are my winged sandals and the sickle which Cronos used to overpower Uranus and Zeus used against mighty Typhoeus." "And here is a gifts from me." said Athena, "Use this shield to reflect the image of Medusa so you won't be turned to stone." "You must find the Graeae and get them to tell you how to get to the Nymphs of the North, they will give you the cap of darkness and give you a magic wallet and tell you how to get to the Gorgons' lair." Hermes said.
So Perseus went to the cave of the Graeae. The Graeae were strange women, there were three of them having only one eye for all three of them which they constantly fought over. Perseus hid behind some bushes and watched them. When one took out the eye to give to another Perseus sprang from his hiding place and snatched the eye from them. Then he said, "I have your eye and if you don't tell me how to find the Nymphs of the North you shall never have it back!" So they reluctantly told them how to find the Nymphs of the North. He gave them back their eye and flew off on his winged sandals.
The kindly Nymphs of the North gave him the Cap of Darkness which has the power to make it's wearer invisible and the magic wallet. They told him how to reach the gorgons' lair. Perseus went farther north until he found an island surrounded by rocks and statues which used to be men.
Perseus raised his shield and saw Medusa and her sisters asleep, he put on the Cap of Darkness and flew down. He swung the sickle and felt it tearing through sinew and bone. Still looking into the shield, he put Medusa's head in the magic wallet. Medusa's sisters woke up and attacked Perseus. He flew quickly away on his winged sandals and was not hurt.
On his way back to Seriphus he had many adventures, one was that when he saw the Atlas holding up the sky Perseus was sorry for Atlas and turned him to stone by showing him the head of Medusa so he could no longer feel the weight of his burden.
Later he saw what looked like a statue chained to a rock, he flew down. He saw that it was not a statue, but a woman. He asked why she was chained to the rock. "My name is Andromeda and I have been punished because of my vain mother. She boasted that I was more beautiful then the Nereids. Poseidon was angered and said that I must be sacrificed to a sea monster," she said. Even as she spoke a monster rose from the sea.
Perseus pulled Medusa's head out of the wallet and the sea monster turned to stone and crumbled to pieces. Perseus cut Andromada's chains and took her to her father, King Cepheus of Phoenicia. When Perseus asked Andromeda's hand in marriage Cepheus gladly agreed. So Perseus with Andromeda in his arms set off for Seriphus.
On the way they stopped at Larisa so Perseus could compete in some games, but when he threw a discus it hit an old man in the stands who was Acrisius. So the prophecy came true and after mourning for a while Perseus and Andromeda left.
When they arrived at Seriphus, the first person they met was Dictys the fisherman who brought Danae and Perseus to shore after they sailed in the trunk. Dictys told Perseus and Andromeda how Polydectes had never really married, but since Danae wouldn't marry Polydectes, he forced her to be his handmaiden. Perseus was furious. He told Dictys to take care of Andromeda.
Perseus stormed to the palace, walked in and said, "Let all who are my friends shield their eyes!" So saying he raised Medusa's head and Polydectes and his courtiers were changed to statues. Perseus and Andromeda lived happily for many years and their descendants became great kings, but the greatest of these was Heracles the strongest man in the world.
Later Perseus was killed by Dionysus. Perseus and Andromeda were put up in the sky as constellations.
Clash of the Titans (Film):
The film begins with a narration describing how the Olympians managed to overthrow their own creators, the Titans, through the aid of the Kraken, Hades's creation. After their fierce struggle, Zeus (Liam Neeson) became the King of the Gods, his brother, Poseidon (Danny Huston), the Lord of the Seas, and their brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), tricked by Zeus to rule the sickening Underworld in chaos and terror.
A coffin is then seen drifting through the sea before it is rescued by a fisherman, Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite). When Spyros opens it, he discovers the baby Perseus and his mother, Danae, inside and raises the boy as his own. Perseus does not know who his real father and mother are, and worries that he will be neglected when his adoptive parents have a child of their own, but Spyros reassures him of his love. Years later, Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his family are fishing when they witness a group of soldiers from Argos destroying a massive statue of Zeus, effectively declaring war on the gods. Immediately following the fall of the statue, Hades rises from the ocean, killing most of the soldiers and then destroying the boat Perseus and his family are on. Perseus attempts to save his family from the sinking boat, but is unable to, and passes out on driftwood from the wreckage. The surviving soldiers find him and take him back to Argos.
When King Cepheus (Vincent Regan) and Queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) of Argos, at a feast for the returning soldiers, compare themselves to the gods and compare the beauty of their daughter, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), to that of Aphrodite, Hades appears again, killing the remaining soldiers. When Perseus is unaffected by his attack, Hades realizes he is a demigod, and tells him of his true father, Zeus. Hades kills the queen, and demands that Argos further pay for its insolence and vanity; in 10 days, the Kraken will be released, and if the princess Andromeda is not sacrificed, then Argos will be destroyed. Hades then seeks out the gods on Mount Olympus and convinces Zeus to agree to his plan in order to punish mankind for their lack of love.
Initially, the Argives see Perseus as an agent of the gods and imprison him, but the king later seeks his help. A woman named Io (Gemma Arterton), who has been watching over Perseus his entire life, advises him that the only way to avenge the death of his family is to agree to the king's wishes and attempt to defeat the Kraken. He is sent out with a small group of soldiers, led by Draco (Mads Mikkelsen), along with Io to seek the Stygian Witches, while Hades visits Acrisius (Jason Flemyng), a disfigured man who was married to Danae when Zeus impregnated her with Perseus. When Acrisius planned to kill his wife and the new born Perseus, Zeus sends down a thunderbolt from Olympus, badly scarring and disfiguring Acrisius's entire body. To help him achieve his goals, Hades imbues him with superhuman powers to enable him to negatively dislike Perseus. Acrisius attacks the Argive group, attacking several, and even when his hand is severed in the fight, his blood falling on the sand causes giant scorpions to rise from the desert and continue the attack. Perseus and the Argives manage to attack the first two scorpions, but are surrounded by three more, even larger than the first. As they are about to attack, the scorpions are suddenly calmed by a group of Djinn, gentle and benevolent Sand-Demons with magical powers. There is initially mistrust between the two groups, until the chief heals Perseus of grave injuries sustained during the fight, and the two sides agree to cooperate.
Perseus and his group, via the scorpions, arrive at the barren, rocky "Garden of Stygia", the site where the Gods ended the Great War and defeated the Titans. They find the three Stygian Witches, who are hideous and share one eye. They tell Perseus, after he threatens to throw their eye off the mountain, that Medusa's head will be able to kill the Kraken, but that he will die in the process. The soldiers go to the Underworld, where Medusa lives in seclusion in a temple, and only the soldiers enter (Io cannot because she is a woman). Medusa turns all the remaining soldiers into stone, the Djinn destroys himself with his heart, weakening Medusa, and Draco, who is gravely injured by one of Medusa's arrows early in the fight, rescues a cornered Perseus by skewering Medusa with a stone pillar from the ceiling and allows himself to be turned to stone in order to give Perseus a clear shot at Medusa's head. Perseus, eyes shut, kills Medusa. As he exits the temple, Acrisius returns and stabs Io. Perseus fights him again and, this time, successfully kills him, which turns Acrisius back to human form. Io dies, telling Perseus "this is the part of the journey you do alone..."
Perseus finds Pegasus and flies back to Argos as the Kraken is being released, thus destroying the city. As a priest is about to sacrifice Andromeda, Hades appears, and has his creatures attack Perseus and steal Medusa's head. Perseus defeats the creatures and regains the head, as well as successfully turning the Kraken to stone before it consumes Andromeda. Hades appears once more and boasts that he cannot die because he is immortal; but Perseus throws his sword, charged together with Zeus's lightning at him which banishes him to the Underworld. Perseus then saves Andromeda from drowning when the apparatus used to restrain her falls into the ocean, but refuses to become king of Argos.
In the final scene, Perseus stands at the broken statue of Zeus seen at the beginning. Zeus appears and offers to make Perseus a god on Olympus; but he refuses. Zeus notes that Hades will return one day for revenge when mankind is in fear. Zeus states that if Perseus is still intent to stay on earth then he might give him a gift since he is the son of Zeus after all. A resurrected Io appears before Perseus, and the two begin to embrace while Pegasus flies above them.
Athens's great hero. While having all the qualities of a traditional hero, such as strength and courage, he was also intelligent and wise. His early adventures benefited the city and region. He was a successful king. He consolidated Athens's position in the region through shrewd political maneuvering. He led Athens's army on victorious campaigns. He is credited as the founder of Athens's democracy voluntarily turning many of his powers as king over to an elected assembly. He gained a reputation for helping the poor and oppressed.
His shedding of power also made it easier for him to continue going on adventures after he was king. "Not without Theseus" became a popular Athenian saying, reflecting the belief he should be included in any important undertaking.
While growing up he wanted to be like his older cousin Heracles. Perhaps the only example of conscious emulation by one Greek Hero of another. He became a fast friend of Heracles and they saved each others lives. Heracles through his strength. Theseus through his wisdom.
In middle age his wisdom deserted him. He began going on foolish adventures. He started making bad decisions. His efforts to produce an heir for the throne led to more problems. The people of Athens's grew tired on the turmoil he produced. Ultimately, he died in exile from Athens's. The city did not bother to bring his body home.
Generations pasted without much thought being given to Theseus. Then during the Persian wars Athenian solders reported seeing the ghost of Theseus and came to believe him responsible for their victories. The Athenian general Cimon received a command from the Oracle at Delphi to find Theseus's bones and return them to Athens. This he did and he was reburied in a magnificent tomb that also served as a sanctuary for the defenseless.
Provides a lesson in the proper relationship between a mortal hero and the gods. When he was young he honored the gods and won their favor but, then his pride got the better of him and led to his downfall.
Bellerophon was the son of Eurynome, wife of Glaucus, by Poseidon. He was raised by Glaucus who thought Bellerophon was his own son. Considering both his fathers involvement with horses it is not surprising that he quested after Pegasus. After many failures he asked the seer Polyeidus for help.
Following Polyeidus instructions he spent the night at an alter to Athena. Here he had a dream of the goddess giving him a magical golden bridle. He awoke and found the bridle from the dream in his hands. He sensibly sacrificed to both Athena and Poseidon. This done he went to where Pegasus grazed and was able to bridle and ride the horse without difficulty. Triumphant in his success he went to King Pittheus and received permission to marry his daughter Aethra. However, before the marriage could take place he accidently attacked a man, possibly one of his brothers, and was banished.
He went to King Proetus to be purified for his crime. This was done but, while staying as Proetus's house guest the King's wife, Stheneboea, attempted to seduce him. As an honorable man Bellerophon rejected her advances. This infuriated Stheneboea who then falsely accused him of attempting to introduce her.
Greatly upset, Proetus wished to be rid of Bellerophon without having to accuse him publicly. He was also concerned about harming a house guest as this was an offence to the gods. So he sent Bellerophon to deliver a sealed message to his wife's father, King Iobates.
Arriving on Pegasus, Bellerophon was warmly received and settled in as Iobates house guest. Iobates unsealed and read the message thus learning of Stheneboea's accusations against Bellerophon. This left Iobates in the same predicament of acting against a guest that had troubled Proetus.
Iobates solution was to ask Bellerophon to undertake a series of heroic but, normally deadly tasks. However, Bellerophon's courage and skill as an archer combined with Pegasus as a mount allowed him to prevail. In addition his parentage, his sacrifices, and his acts of honor brought him the favor of the gods. His first task was to kill the terrible Chimaera. Succeeding here he was sent to conquer the neighboring Solymi tribe, who were Iobates traditional enemies. When he defeated them the King sent him to fight the Amazons. He was again victorious. In desperation Iobates laid an ambush against Bellerophon using his entire army. This army was killed to the last man.
At this point Iobates had the wisdom to notice that something was very wrong. He realized that the gods favored Bellerophon and that this favor would not have been given to a dishonorable house guest. Iobates succeed in making amends by giving Bellerophon half his kingdom, including the best farm land and his daughter Philonoe in marriage.
There are two stories concerning the fate of Stheneboea. One that Bellerophon extracted revenge by taking her for a ride on Pegasus then shoving her off to fall to her death. This seems unheroic. In the other version Stheneboea hears that Bellerophon has married her sister. She knows that this means her slander will be reveled and chose to attack herself.
It appeared that Bellerophon would live happily ever after. His glorious deeds were widely sung. He was happily married. Philonoe bore him two sons, Isander and Hippolochus, and two daughters, Laodameia and Deidameia. As a king his subjects loved and honored him.
All this was not enough for Bellerophon. In his arrogance he decided that he could ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus and visit the gods. Zeus quickly put an end to his trip by sending the gadfly to sting Pegasus and throw Bellerophon. He survived his fall but, was crippled. He spent the rest of his life wandering the earth. No man would help him because of his offense to the gods. He died alone with no one to record his fate.
Parentage is uncertain. One possibility is King Iasus with Clymene. She came into the world in the undesirable state of being female. As a result her Father had her carried into the woods and left exposed to die. Instead, she was raised during her childhood by a bear. As she grew older she began to spend time with hunters and was soon the best amongst them. She loved hunting and the outdoors and had no use for a man in her life. She also received an oracle that her marriage would end in disaster. She had no compunction in defending her virginity. When the centaurs Rhoecus and Hylaeus attempted to attack her negatively, she quickly attacked them with her arrows.
She wished to join the Argonauts but, Jason thought it inadvisable to have a women among the crew, fearing problems like those that would occur during the boar hunt.
Her shooting skills allowed her to draw first blood during the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Her contribution to the hunt was marred when a quarrel over giving her a trophy of the hunt resulted in the death of Meleager and his uncles.
At the funeral games honoring Pelias, Atlanta entered the wrestling contests. Here she gained more fame by scoring a victory over Peleus.
She achieved enough that her Father forgave her for not being a son and allowed her to return home. Once there he attempted to fulfill his fatherly obligations by finding her a husband. For her to simply refuse might arouse dangerous resentment. Instead she proposed a test. The successful suitor would have to beat her in a foot race. Losing suitors would be beheaded by her. As Atlanta was one of the fastest mortals this appeared to insure her maidenhood.
For quite some time this worked. Some say that she evened the odds by wearing armor while she ran. Others say that she gave the suitors a head start of half the distance. In any case the heads stacked up.
Melanion fell in love with her. He knew that he was not fast enough to win the race. So he did what many frustrated lovers have done. He prayed to Aphrodite for help. Aphrodite has a weakness for lovers and a concern about those that reject romance to the degree that Atlanta did. Aphrodite presented Melanion with three golden apples and a plan. In return Melanion was to sacrifice to Aphrodite.
Melanion then ran his race with Atlanta carrying the apples with him. When Atlanta caught up to him he tossed the first apple at her feet. The sight of the magic golden apple was irresistible to Atlanta. She stopped to pick it up confident that she could make up the time. Soon enough she was once again passing Melanion. He threw the second apple, this time further to the side. Again, she lost time retrieving the apple. As she again caught up the finish line was near and chasing the third thrown apple cost her the race.
Despite her resistance once won marriage seemed to suit Atlanta. Melanion's happiness and joy was so great he completely forgot his obligations to sacrifice to Aphrodite. As usual when messing up with the gods payback was severe.
Aphrodite waited until Melanion and Atlanta were passing a shrine to a god, possibly Zeus. She then hit them with overwhelming desire. Melanion took Atlanta into the shrine and lay with her. At this point the infuriated god turned them both into lions. This was regarded by the Greeks as particularly poetic as they believed that lions could mate only with leopards.
There is one other mystery of Atlanta. Somehow despite her vaunted virginity she had a son Parthenopaeus. The father is uncertain. Melanion and Meleager have both been suggested but, both of them were with Atlanta only briefly. Aris has also been put forward as the father. Out of embarrassment she left the child exposed on a mountain. He was found and raised, eventually becoming a hero in his own right.
Best known as the strongest of all mortals. Stronger then many gods. So strong he was the deciding factor in allowing the Olympian Gods to win their battle with the giants. He was the last mortal son of Zeus. He is the only man born of mortal woman to become a god upon his death.
Offsetting his strength was a noticeable lack of intelligence or wisdom. Once when he became too hot he pulled his bow out and threaten to shoot the sun. This coupled with strong emotions in one so powerful frequently got Heracles in trouble. While his friend and cousin Theseus ruled Athens, Heracles had trouble ruling himself. His pride was easily offended. He took up grudges easily and never forgot them. His appetites for food, wine, and women were as massive as his strength. Many of Heracles great deeds occurred while doing penance for stupid acts done in anger or carelessness.
It would be easy to view Heracles as a muscle bound buffoon. Indeed, many of the comic Greek playwrights used him this way. Even among serious critics he was often seen as a primitive, brutal, and violent. There is much to support this view. His chosen weapon was a massive club. His customary garment a lion skin, head still attached. He impiously wounded some of the gods. He threatened Apollo priestess at Delphi when a answer to his questions was not forthcoming. He created most of his own problems.
However, Heracles as simply a macho buffoon is unfair. If he held grudges, he would also do anything to help a friend. Once his anger passed he was the most critical judge of his own actions. He was too strong for anyone to force a punishment on him. That he willing did severe penance shows a fundamental sense of justice. During his punishments he shows patience, fortitude and endurance that are as heroic as his strength. Terrible things happen to him because of Hera's hatred, a hatred that he is not responsible for. That he perseveres through it all is a moral victory beyond simple strength.
The view of Heracles shifted considerable over time. The early view focused on how badly he managed despite his obvious gifts. As time passed the focus shifted to his virtues. The Romans valued him highly as he best fit their idea of a hero. He eventually had a fair sized cult that worshiped him as a god.