Greek Mythology

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Offline nusrat-diu

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Greek Mythology
« on: June 02, 2011, 05:57:06 PM »
Creation of the World

In the begining there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared.
Then Erebus slept with Night, who gave birth to Ether, the heavenly light, and to Day the earthly light. Then Night alone produced Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Nemesis, and others that come to man out of darkness.

Meanwhile Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus, the heavens. Uranus became Gaea's mate covering her on all sides. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires, and twelve Titans.

However, Uranus was a bad father and husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires. He imprisoned them by pushing them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea's womb. This angered Gaea and she ploted against Uranus. She made a flint sickle and tried to get her children to attack Uranus. All were too afraid except, the youngest Titan, Cronus.

Gaea and Cronus set up an ambush of Uranus as he lay with Gaea at night. Cronus grabed his father and castrated him, with the stone sickle, throwing the severed genitales into the ocean. The fate of Uranus is not clear. He either died, withdrew from the earth, or exiled himself to Italy. As he departed he promised that Cronus and the Titans would be punished. From his spilt blood came the Giants, the Ash Tree Nymphs, and the Erinnyes. From the sea foam where his genitales fell came Aphrodite.

Cronus became the next ruler. He imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires in Tartarus. He married his sister Rhea, under his rule the Titans had many offspring. He ruled for many ages. However, Gaea and Uranus both had prophesied that he would be overthrown by a son. To avoid this Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea was angry at the treatment of the children and ploted against Cronus. When it came time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea hid herself, then she left the child to be raised by nymphs. To concel her act she wrapped a stone in swaddling cloths and passed it off as the baby to Cronus, who swallowed it.

This child was Zeus. He grew into a handsome youth on Crete. He consulted Metis on how to defeat Cronus. She prepaired a drink for Cronus design to make him vomit up the other children. Rhea convinced Cronus to accept his son and Zeus was allowed to return to Mount Olympus as Cronus's cupbearer. This gave Zeus the opertunity to slip Cronus the specially prepaired drink. This worked as planned and the other five children were vomitted up. Being gods they were unharmed. They were thankful to Zeus and made him their leader.

Cronus was yet to be defeated. He and the Titans, except Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Oceanus, fought to retain their power. Atlas became their leader in battle and it looked for some time as though they would win and put the young gods down. However, Zeus was cunning. He went down to Tartarus and freed the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. Prometheus joined Zeus as well. He returned to battle with his new allies. The Cyclopes provided Zeus with lighting bolts for weapons. The Hecatoncheires he set in ambush armed with boulders. With the time right, Zeus retreated drawing the Titans into the Hecatoncheires's ambush. The Hecatoncheires rained down hundreds of boulders with such a fury the Titans thought the mountains were falling on them. They broke and ran giving Zeus victory.

Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against him into Tartarus. Except for Atlas, who was singled out for the special punishment of holding the world on his shoulders.

However, even after this victory Zeus was not safe. Gaea angry that her children had been imprisoned gave birth to a last offspring, Typhoeus. Typhoeus was so fearsome that most of the gods fled. However, Zeus faced the monster and flinging his lighting bolts was able to kill it. Typhoeus was burried under Mount Etna in Sicily.

Much later a final challenge to Zeus rule was made by the Giants. They went so far as to attempt to invade Mount Olympus, piling mountain upon mountain in an effort to reach the top. But, the gods had grown strong and with the help of Heracles the Giants were subdued or killed.

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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 05:58:54 PM »
The Creation of Man by Prometheus

Prometheus and Epimetheus were spared imprisonment in Tatarus because they had not fought with their fellow Titans during the war with the Olympians. They were given the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure.
Prometheus had assigned Epimetheus the task of giving the creatures of the earth thier various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good qualities out and there were none left for man. So Prometheus decided to make man stand upright as the gods did and to give them fire.

Prometheus loved man more then the Olympians, who had banished most of his family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that man must present a portion of each animal they scarified to the gods Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. He created two piles, one with the bones wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in the hide. He then bade Zeus to pick. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word Zeus had to accept that as his share for future sacrafices. In his anger over the trick he took fire away from man. However, Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back again to man. Zeus was enraged that man again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrable punishment on both man and Prometheus.

To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. He then had Hermes give the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creation was Pandora, the first women. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. Thus, completed Zeus sent Pandora down to Epimetheus who was staying amongst the men.

Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but, Pandora's beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora's curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became to great. She opened the jar and out flew all manor of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes. However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing - hope.

Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked on scarifices, stealing fire for man, and for refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus's children would dethrone him. Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, take him to the Caucasus Mountains, and chain him to a rock with unbreakable adamanite chains. Here he was tormented day and night by a giant eagle tearing at his liver. Zeus gave Prometheus two ways out of this torment. He could tell Zeus who the mother of the child that would dethrone him was. Or meet two conditions: First, that an immortal must volunteer to die for Prometheus. Second, that a mortal must kill the eagle and unchain him. Eventually, Chiron the Centaur agreed to die for him and Heracles killed the eagle and unbound him.

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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 06:00:31 PM »
Zeus Lovers
As the sky god Zeus had easy access to the women of the world and took full advantage of it. Also, his power as a supreme god made him difficult to resist. Prior to his marrage to Hera he was married first to Metis, then Themis. He was interested in Demeter but she resisted him. His third wife was Mnemosyne. The list of lovers after his final marrage, to Hera, is considerable:
Europa
Io
Semele
Europa
Europa was the daughter of the King Agenor of Sidon. She had the continent of Europe named for her. Somewhat miraculesly Hera was distracted during her affair with Zeus and never punished her for it.
One night Europa had a dream. In this dream two continents, which were in the forms of women were arguing over Europa. Asia maintained that since Europa had been born in Asia she belonged to it. The other continent, which was nameless, said that her birth was not important, that Zeus would give her to it.

It was early morning, disturbed by the dream Europa did not go back to sleep. She summoned her companions, who were all daughters of nobility and of her age. It was a beautiful day and they went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettest of the maidens. Some say that Eros, induced him into action with one of his darts. Although, Zeus often made due with self motivation. In any case, Zeus appeared to the group as a white bull. A white bull more beautiful then any other. A bull that smelled of flowers, and lowed musically. A bull so obviously gentle that all the maidens rushed to stroke and pet it.

The bull laid down in front of Europa. She slid on to its back. Instantly, the bull charged off, plunging into the sea, and began to swim rapidly from the shore. Europa saw that a procesion had joined them, Nereids riding dolphins, Triton blowing his horn, even Poseidon. From this she realized that the bull must be a god. She pleaded with him to pity her. Zeus spoke to her and explained his love. He took her to Create, where he had been raised. He promised that she would bear him many famous sons.

Her sons included Minos I and Rhadamanthus.


Io
Zeus fell in love with Io and seduced her. To try to keep Hera from noticing he covered the world with a thick blanket of clouds. This backfired, arousing Hera's suspicions. She came down from Mount Olympus and begain dispersing the clouds. Zeus did some quick thinking and changed Io's form from being a lovely maiden. So as the clouds dispersed Hera found Zeus standing next to a white heifer. He then swore that he had never seen the cow before, it had just sprang right out of the earth. Seeing right through this Hera complimented the cow and asked to have it as a present. As turning such a reasonable request down would have given the whole thing away, Zeus presented her with the cow.
She sent the cow away and arranged Arges to watch over it. Since Arges had a hundred eyes and could have some of them sleep while others were awake he made a fine watchman. Desperate, Zeus sent Hermes to fetch Io. Disgused as a shepard, Hermes had to employ all his skill as a musician and story teller to gain Arges confidence and lull him to sleep. Once asleep Hermes killed Arges. As a memorial, Hera took his eyes and set them into the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock.

While Io was now free Hera sent the mother of all gad-flys to sting the still bovine Io. This pushed her near madness, trying to escape she wandered the world. During her wanders she came across Prometheus while chained. He gave her hope. He predicted that she would have to wander for many years. But, she would eventually be changed back into human form and would bear a child. He predicted that a decendent of this child would be a great hero and set him free.

His predictions came true. During her wanderings many geographical features where named after her including the Ionian Sea, and the Bosphorus (which means ford of the cow). She eventually reached the Nile where Zeus did restore her to human form. She bore Epaphus and eleven generations later her descendant Hercules would set Prometheus free.


Semele
Semele was a Thebian princess. She is the only mortal to be the parent of a god. She was one of Zeus many lovers and like most came to an unfortunate end due to Hera's jealous hatred. She is best known as the mother of Dionysus. While she was killed shortly before giving birth the child was resuced by Zeus. Eventually Dionysus, who had never seen her, managed to rescue her from the underworld. and arrange for her to live on Mount Olympus.
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 06:01:19 PM »
Athenia's Birth
Zeus came to lust after Metis, and chased her in his direct way. Metis tried to escape, going so far as to change her form many times. Turning into various creatures such as hawks, fish, and serpents. However, Zeus was both determined and equally proficient at changing form. He continued his persuit until she relented.
An Oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis first child would be a girl but, her second child would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus as had happened to his father and grandfather. Zeus took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis he flattered her and put her at her ease. Then with Metis off gaurd Zeus suddenly opened his mouth and swallowed her. This was the end of Metis but, possibly the beginning of Zeus's wisdom.

After a time Zeus developed the mother of all headaches. He howled so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was. Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephaestus to take a wedge and split open Zeus's skull. Out of the skull sprang Athena, full grown and in a full set of armour. Due to her manor of birth she has dominion over all things of the intellect.

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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 06:02:09 PM »
The Wanderings of Dionysus
Once he had grown to manhood Dionysus decied to wander far and wide, including areas outside of greece. Where ever he went he taught men how to cultivate vines, and the mysteries of his cult. He was accepted until he returned to his own country of Thebes.
As he journeyed back to greece he was spotted by pirates. He appeared to them as a rich young man. He might even be the son of a king. He certainly looked like his parents would pay a rich ransom for his safe return. Happy at their good luck the pirates siezed him and brought him aboard their ship. They then attempted to tie him to the ship but, the ropes refused to hold. Anyplace a rope touched him it just fell apart. Dionysus watched calmly, smiling.

After some time the helmsman realized that only a god could be responsible. He called out that the crew should free Dionysus and beg his forgiveness. But, the captain mocked the helmsman as a fool and called for the crew to set sail. The crew raised the sail and caught the wind but, the ship did not move. Looking around they saw the ship quickly becoming overgrown with vines that held it fast. Dionysus then changed himself into a lion and began to chase the crewmen. To escape they leaped overboard but, as they did they were changed to dolphins. Only on the helmsman did Dionysus have mercy.

As he passed through Thrance he was insulted by King Lycurgus, who bitterly opposed his new religion. Initialy Dionysus retreated into the sea but, he returned, overpowered Lycurgus and imprisoned him in a rocky cave. Dionysus planned to let him reflect and learn from his mistakes. However, Zeus did not care to have the gods insulted, so he blinded then killed Lycurgus.

He pressed on to Thebes, ruled by his cousin Pentheus. However, Pentheus did not know of Dionysus. Dionysus was with a group of his followers, who were naturally singing and dancing loudly, flushed with wine. Pentheus disliked the loud, strangers, and ordered his guards to imprison them all. He refered to their leader as a cheating sorcerer from Lydia. When he said this the blind old phophet Teiresias, who had already dressed as one of Dionysus's followers gave Pentheus a warning: "The man you reject is a new god. He is Semele's child, whom Zeus rescued. He, along with Demeter, are the greatest upon earth for men." Pentheus, seeing the strange garb Teiresias had on, laughed at him and ordered his guards to continue.

The guards soon found that ropes fell apart, latches fell open, and there they could not imprison Dionysus's followers. The took Dionysus to Pentheus. Dionysus tried to explain at length his worship but, Pentheus listened only to his own anger and insulted Dionysus. Finally, Dionysus gave up and left Pentheus to his doom.

Pentheus persued Dionysus followers up into the hills where they had gone after walking away from his prison. Many of the local women including Pentheus's mother and sister had joined them there. Then Dionysus appeared to his followers in his most terrible aspect and drove them mad. To them Pentheus appeared to be a moutain lion. In a berserk rage they attacked him. Now Pentheus realized he had fought with a god and would die for it. His mother was the first to reach him, and ripped his head off, while the others tore off his limbs.

 

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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 06:05:43 PM »
The Principal Gods Family Tree

                     Uranus = Gaea
                             |
           ---------------------------------------
           |      |          |      |        |
         Cronus = Rhea       Coeus = Phoebe   Oceanus = Tethys
               |                  |                  |
   ----------------------        Leto = Zeus       Iapetus
   |   |    |     |   |              |               |
 Hestia | Poseidon | Demeter=Zeus     |         ----------------
     Hades   Zeus = Hera   |       |        |      |       |
               |   |   Persephone     |         | Prometheus |
           Athena |             ---------      |             |
                   |             |      |    Atlas   Epimetheus
           ---------------     Apollo Artemis |          |
           |     |       |                       |         |
         Aris Hebe Hephaestus             Zeus=Maia  Zeus=Dione
                                                 |         |
                                               Hermes   Aphrodite

From Edith Hamilton's Mythology
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 06:22:31 PM »
The Story Of Narcissus:

Once upon a time, there was a boy called Narcissus. He was the son of a god and he was very, very handsome. Many women fell in love with him, but he turned them away. One of the women who loved Narcissus was a nymph called Echo. Echo could not speak properly - she could only repeat what was said to her, so she couldn't tell Narcissus that she loved him. One day, when Narcissus was walking in the woods with some friends, he became separated from them. He called out "Is anyone here?" Echo replied "Here, Here". Echo stepped forward with open arms, wanting to cuddle him. But Narcissus refused to accept Echo's love. Echo was so upset that she left and hid in a cave, until nothing was left of her, except her voice.

The Maiden, a goddess, found out about this, and she was very angry. She made Narcissus fall in love with himself. When Narcissus looked at his reflection in a pond one day, he fell in love. He stayed on that spot forever, until he died one day. Where he died a flower grew, and that flower is called a Narcissus.

The Story Of Echo:

Hera, the Queen of Mt. Olympus, cast a spell over her servant Echo for talking too much. As a punishment, Echo could henceforth only repeat what someone else said.

Poor Echo! She was in love with handsome Narcissus, and yearned to tell him so! One day Echo saw Narcissus admiring himself in a clear pond. Looking at his reflection, he vainly said to the face in the water, "I love you."

Echo repeated, "I love you," and meant it. But Narcissus thought it was his reflection that spoke and stood gazing at himself until he died and Hermes led him away to the Land of the Dead. Echo pined for him till she, too, faded away. All that was left of her was her voice that can still be heard in certain hollow places, senselessly repeating the words of others.

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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011, 06:25:52 PM »
Roman Half God, Half Man: Hercules

All the gods knew that Hercules was half man and half god. His mother was a mortal. But his father was a king - the king of all the gods, the mighty Jupiter. But Hercules did not know he was part god until he had grown into a man.   

Juno, Jupiter' wife, was very jealous of Hercules. She tried all kinds of ways to kill him, including sending a couple of really big snakes into his crib. He was just a baby, but Hercules crushed those snakes and barely noticed. Hercules was incredibly strong, magically strong, even as a baby!

Jupiter admired strength. He loved his little son. He figured that sooner or later, Juno might actually find a way to kill little Hercules. To keep Hercules safe from attack, Jupiter sent him to live with a mortal family on earth. 

Hercules grew up loved and noble. But he didn't fit in on earth. He was too big and too strong. One day, his earth father told him he was a god, well, part god anyway. 

The rest of the story of Hercules is a series of stories, tasks, and adventures, as Hercules earned his way into the heavens, to take his place with the gods.   

As the story goes ..... 

Eurystheus was the mortal cousin of Hercules. He hated his cousin, Hercules. When Juno offered to help Eurystheus design 12 Labors (missions or tasks) that Hercules had to complete, tasks that could get Hercules killed, Eurystheus jumped at it.

Hercules believed that when he had completed the 12 missions, he would have earned immortality. That's what the Oracle at Delphi had said. Actually, the oracle had said, "If you complete 12 Labors, immorality will be yours." Of course, being an oracle, she never explained what she meant by "immortality" - would he live forever in legend or for real? Hercules never asked. (She would not have told him anyway.)

 
 

Eurystheus did not want Hercules coming after his crown. It would never have occurred to Hercules to do so. But an evil little man like Eurystheus would never have believed that. Each time Eurystheus and Juno gave Hercules a task to accomplish, they were sure that Hercules would never live through it.

But Hercules surprised them. He not only lived, he had great adventures, discovered true friends, and rid the world of some really nasty critters.



 
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2011, 03:05:40 PM »
The most famous feats of Hercules, are collectively known as "The Labors of Hercules". Here is a little background on the story:

At a time of his life, Hercules became insane and as a result he killed his children. When his sanity returned,he received instructions from Pythia ,the priestess of the oracle in Delphi,to go to Tiryns and perform any ten labors devised from him by king Eurystheus . As we will later see, the ten labors were increased to twelve, since Eurystheus at some time challenged the fact whether Hercules had truly completed two of the labors assigned to him.

By successfully completing these labors, Hercules would not only pay for his crime, but also achieve immortality and take his rightful place among the gods.

Reluctantly, Hercules agreed to submit to the will of the hated Eurystheus, to whom Hera had given the throne that Zeus had intended for Hercules.


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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2011, 03:12:32 PM »
Hercules's family origin comes from Argos, since his mother was Alcmene, daughter of the Mycenaean king Electryon (the son of Perseus and Andromeda). Alcmene was married to her cousin Amphitryon whose father Alcedes was also a son of Perseus and Andromeda. Alcmene and Amphitryon had been forced to flee Argos because Amphitryon had killed his father-in-law. The family thus settled in Thebes. There, Zeus came to earth and disguised as gold snow, lay with Alcmene, who became pregnant. By a slightly different version, Zeus impersonated Amphitryon - who was away fighting the Taphians- and seduced Alcmene, whom he convinced he was truly her husband. Zeus is said to have stayed with Alcmene for three whole nights, which is why the hero is sometimes called triesperos (from tria, or three, and esperos, or evenings). As the myth goes, Zeus had the sun god Helius unharness his chariot for a day. So the world remained dark an extra 24 hours, and Zeus romanced Alcmene for the length of a 36 hour night.
The next day, when the real Amphitryon returned, learned what had happened from the seer Teiresias. Amphitryon and Alcmene also lay together on his return and from the union, Iphicles was conceived.

Just before the hero was born, Hera overheard Zeus bragging that a son of his blood would be born that day, who would rule over the house of Perseus . Having received Zeus's assurance that this would be true, Hera then delayed Alcmene's labor and shortened by two months the pregnancy of the wife of Sthenelus, who was also a descendant of Perseus. Thus, the prematurely born Eurystheus was born first and became king of the Mycenaenans.

One of the mythological accounts that mentions Alcmene's difficulties while in labor, says Hera had sent the childbirth goddess Eileithyia to sit cross-legged in Alcmene's room (the ancient Greeks believed that sitting cross-legged prevented childbirth). But then, a childhood friend of Alcmene's, Galanthis, tricked Eileithyia by opening the door to the room and announcing that Alcmene is giving birth to a son, by the will of Zeus. Panic stricken, Eileithyia rose from her position and thus the spell was broken. Alcmene then went immediately into labor and gave birth to Hercules and his twin brother, Iphicles.

Hera did not rest after the hero's birth and relentlessly pursued the infant in an attempt to kill him. When the baby was eight months old, she sent two enormous snakes to stangle him. As soon as Iphicles saw the snakes, he was terrified and began to wail. His brother, however, grabbed them by the neck and choked them

According to a different myth, in an attempt to trigger motherly insticts on Hera, Zeus enlisted the aid of Athena to trick Hera into suckling the infant. Athena found the infant outside the walls of Thebes, where Alcmene had abandoned him in fear of Hera's jealousy. Athena showed the child to Hera and urged the goddess to take pity on the neglected infant. Without thinking, Hera bared her breast to the baby, but he sucked with such force that she tore him from her breast. The milk that spurted from the breast across the sky, is the Milky Way .






The hero's training
Amphitryon and Alcmene made various arrangements for the education of their child, whom they had initially named Alcaeus:


Linos, a son of Apollo, tutored him in music and taught him to read and write.
Amphitryon taught him how to drive a chariot.
Autolycus, son of Hermes and a notorious thief, taught him how to wrestle.
Eurytus, king of Oeschalia and a renowned bowman, taught him archery.
Castor, a renowned horseman, tutored him in combat strategy, cavalry tactics and in the art of fencing.
Cheiron, one of the Centaurs (half human, half horse creatures)taught him to be virtuous and fair.
.But one day, the young Hercules was angered when admonished by Linos, so he threw an object at his tutor. Linos was killed on the spot and Amphitryon, fearing a similar fate, sent Hercules off to Mount Cithaeron.
Hercules reached manhood on the mountain. He grew to four pychis (about twelve feet)tall and became very strong.

After completing his training, Hercules received warfare gifts from some of the Olympian gods:


Zeus gave him an unbreakable shield, made by Hephaestus
Athena gave him a helmet and a coat of arms.
Apollo gave him a bow and a quiver.
Hermes , gave him a sword.
Hephaestus, provided him a golden breastplate and protective footwear.
Poseidon , offered him a beautiful team of horses.
As Prodicus, one of the sophists or traveling teachers that flourished in Athens writes, during this period the hero chose the long and rough path of Virtue rather than the easy and hedonistic path of Evil.

When Hercules turned eighteen, he fathered his first child with one of Thespius's, king of Thespia, fifty daughters. The king of Thespiae extended his hospitality to Hercules for fifty nights, sending a different daughter to his bed each night, even though he mistakenly thought he was sleeping with the same woman. Thespius explained his actions by stating that he wanted all of his daughters to bear a child by the son of Zeus.





Marriage and Madness
On his way back to Thebes from Mount Cithaeron, the hero ran into the emissaries of Erginus, king of Orchomenus, who were on their way to Thebes to collect the annual tax of one hundred cattle imposed on the Thebans, after their defeat by the Minyans of Orchomenus. Hercules cut off their noses and ears, tied their hands and sent them back to Erginus, with the message that this was his response to their demand.

This insult triggered a war between Orchomenus and Thebes, during which both Erginus and Amphitryon were killed. Thanks to Hercules and the support of the goddess Athena, the Thebans won and were thus released from having to pay this hefty duty. In return for his assistance, Creon, the king of Thebes, gave the hero the hand of his daughter Megara, while his brother Iphicles, married Megara's sister and Alcmene married Rhadamanthys.

Hercules acquired many children from his marriage to Megara. But Hera, whose jealousy had not subsided, drove him insane so that in a crazed fit he threw all of his children and two of his brother's children into the fire.





The Twelve Labors

When he came to his senses and realized what he had done, he left Thebes and went to Thespiae to be purified in Boeotia. He then went to the Oracle of Delphi to seek Apollo's advice on what he should do and where he should settle.

Pythia called him Hercules - the hero had been known as Alcaeus until then- and ordered him to go to Mycenae to serve Eurystheus for twelve years, executing whichever commands he was given. The oracle assured the hero that after completing these tasks, he would become immortal. Eurystheus, of course, was none other than the son of Sthenelus, whose birth Hera had expedited after making Zeus swear that he would rule all the peoples around him.According to the ancient writing of Apollodorus the Athenian, all of the twelve labors were completed in eight years and one month. Click here to find a detailed account of the hero's twelve labors.






Thrown Into Slavery
After completing his twelfth labor, Hercules was free. He returned to Thebes where he married off his wife Megara to Iolaus and left for Oechalia.

Eurytus, who was the hero's tutor in archery, was king in Oechalia. He declared that he would give the hand of his beautiful blonde daughter Iole as a prize to anyone who would compete against him and defeat him in archery.The hero defeated Eurytus, but the king refused to keep his promise and threw the hero out of his kingdom. Hercules then went to Tiryns. There he met Eurytus son, Iphitus. The king's son demanded that the hero return Eurytus's cattle, as the king was convinced that he had stolen them. Angered, Hercules threw Iphitus off the walls of Tiryns.

After this murder, the hero went to Delphi to be purified, but Apollo condemned him to be sold as a slave. The money earned would be given to Eurytus as compensation for his son's death.Hercules was sold by Hermes to the queen of the Lydians, Omphale for three years. During this time, he performed several feats:

He captured midget-thieves Cercopes;
he killed Syleus who forced strangers to work in his vineyards;
he tossed the giant Lytiersus, son of Midas, into the river Maenander because the giant killed strangers after forcing them to plow his fields.

Omphale admired the hero's daring and courage, so she freed him earlier than the time they had agreed he would remain in her service. According to the latin poets, Hercules became soft living with the Lydian queen and succumbed to various pleasures, such as wearing women's garments while Omphale wore his famed lion's pelt.






The Trojan Campaign
Some writers claim the hero set off for Troy after completing his ninth labor -retrieving Hippolyte's belt- while others claim he set off for Troy after being granted his freedom by Omphale. The cause of his war against Troy was the refusal of king Laodemon to compensate Apollo and Poseidon for the construction of the city's wall. The two gods were enraged and punished him: Apollo sent the plague and Poseidon sent a sea monster that devoured the citizens of Troy. Laomedon sought advice from oracles, which suggested that Laodemon sacrifice his daughter Hesione to Poseidon to appease the sea god. Thus, the young woman was tied to a rock to await her end.

Hercules appeared at that very moment. He promised her father that he would kill the sea monster and free Hesione, but requested in exchange that Laomedon would give him the magnificent horses the king had received from Zeus, as compensation for the abduction of Ganymede. Laodemon agreed and the hero killed the monster and saved Hesione. But then the king forfeited on his promise. Hercules was enraged and thus he went to war against Troy. After defeating the city, he gave Hesione as a trophy to Telamon, who had entered the city first. Telamon allowed the girl to choose one of her compatriots to take with her. Hesione chose her brother Priam and purchased his freedom with a golden veil. She then married Telamon and bore him a son, Teucer.






The Olympic Games
After the adventure in Troy, Hercules went to war against Elis and king Augeias seeking vengeance for the king's refusal to honor a promise to pay him a fee for cleaning the stables.

Hercules killed the king and his sons. He then went to Olympia where he organized a foot race with a kotinos, or wreath of wild olive branches, as the prize. He thus founded the Olympic Games and raised temples dedicated to the twelve gods of Mount Olympus and the hero Pelops.






The tragic death and apotheosis
After taking part in so many wars and becoming involved in so many amorous adventures, the hero went to Aetolia to seek the hand of Deianeira, daughter of king Oeneus of Calydon.

After defeating the river god Achelous who was his rival for Deianeira's hand, Hercules married his love. The couple lived for a while in Calydon, where they had their first son, Hyllus. However, after the hero's campaign against the Thesprotians and the accidental murder of Eunomus, a relative of his father-in-law, the family was forced to move to Trachis near king Ceyx.

On the way to Trachis, they came to the river Evenus, where the centaur Nessus would ferry travelers across for a fee. Hercules asked the centaur to take Deianeira across while he swam. But halfway across the river, the centaur tried to rape Deianeira. As soon as the hero realized this, he shot Nessus with an arrow, mortally wounding him. Before dying, Nessus told Deianeira to collect his sperm and blood and smear them on her husband's tunic, to ensure his life-long fidelity and love. Being naive and in love, Deianeira believed him and created, as she would soon find out, a lethal potion.

At Trachis, Hercules helped his friend Ceyx, in his fight against the Dryopes who had settled the slopes of Mount Oeta. He also helped the Dorian king Aegimius, against the Lapiths and killed king Amyntor in a duel that took place in Thessaly. He then raised an army and struck out against Eurytus, who many years ago forfeited on his promise to give Hercules the hand of his daughter Iole. As a consequence, Eurytus and his sons were killed and Iole was taken as a prisoner.

On the journey home, the hero made a stopover on Cape Cenaeum in northwestern Euboea, where he built an altar, in order to make a sacrifice to his father Zeus. For this purpose he sent his assistant Lichas to Trachis to bring him a white tunic. Learning that her husband had Iole with him, Deianeira became crazed with jealousy and decided to win back his love. She thus used to potion that Nessus gave her.

Back at the altar, as soon as the garment warmed to the touch of the hero's skin, the centaur's poisonous blood entered his body. Seared by pain, Hercules flung Lichas into the sea as he tried to tear the tunic off, but the venom had seeped into his skin. He was then taken back to Trachis. Seeing what she had done, Deianeira commited suicide. Hercules ordered his son Hyllus to marry Iole and then climbed Mount Oeta where he collected timber for the funerary pyre. Once the pyre was lit and the flames started to engulf the hero, a cloud came down from the sky and the pyre was struck by a lightning bolt, which snatched Hercules.

The hero was thus raised to Mount Olympus, where he became immortal. There, he was finally reconciled with Hera and married her daughter Hebe, with whom he had two sons: Alexiaris and Anicetus.



Nusrat Jahan
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2011, 03:15:03 PM »
Labors of Hercules Nr. 1: The Nemean Lion
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In the first of the labors of Hercules, Eurystheus commanded the hero to bring him the hide of the Nemean Lion. The lion that had been terrorizing the valley of Nemea, was one of the monstrous children of Echidna and either Orthus or Typhoeus, or had fallen to earth from Selene (Moon). At first, Hercules tried to shoot it with his arrows, but seeing that the lion's pelt could not be pierced, he attacked it with his clubs. The lion ran away and hid in a cave with two entrances. Hercules blocked the one entrance, then wrestled with the lion and strangled it.He then skinned it and wrapped himself in its skin, after first offering a sacrifice to Zeus the Savior.He then returned to Mycanae with the lion thrown over his shoulder.

Seeing Hercules dressed in the lion's pelt, Eurystheus was so frightened that he ordered him to leave all his future trophies outside the city's gates. He then had a large, bronze jar forged and buried in the earth. Thereafter, whenever Hercules approached, the cowardly Eurystheus hid in this jar and had a messenger relay his next orders to the hero.

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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2011, 03:15:37 PM »
Labors of Hercules Nr. 2: The Lerna Hydra
Hercules's second task was to kill the Lerna Hydra (water snake), daughter of Typhoeus and Echidna, and sister of Orthus and Cerberus. The Hydra, who lived in the marshes of Lerna, devoured people and animals. She was a horrifying monster with huge dog-like body and many serpentine heads (some say as few as seven, others claim 10,000), one of which was immortal. She had foul, poisonous breath that killed anyone who inhaled it.

Hercules's aide on this labor was his nephew and charioteer Iolaus, the son of his brother Iphicles and Automedusa. They arrived together at the Amynone Spring, which was the monster's hideaway. Hercules forced the beast out by shooting flaming arrows into the lair. Much to his surprise, Hercules saw that for every head he shot off, two more sprung in its place. A giant crab also helped the Hydra by biting on Hercules's leg. Hercules killed the crab. He then sought Iolaus's help, instructing him to sear each new wound with burning branches. This checked the flow of blood and prevented the growing of new heads.

After he killed the Hydra, Hercules dipped his arrows in its poisonous blood. Thereafter, anyone wounded with these arrows would die. He then buried the monster's head in the road between Lerna and Elaeus and placed a rock over it.

Although Hercules completed this labor, Eurystheus refused to give him credit for it, because he claimed Hercules had received assistance (from Iolaus) to accomplish the feat.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 03:21:02 PM by nusrat-diu »
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2011, 03:16:15 PM »
Labors of Hercules Nr. 3: The Cerynitian Hind
The third of the labors of Hercules was to capture alive the Cerynitian hind, which the nymph Taygette had dedicated to the goddess Artemis and which lived in the Sanctuary of Artemis on mount Cerynea.

A wonderful deer with golden antlers and brass hoofs, this hind roamed the hills of Cerynea between Arcadia and Achaea, in central Peloponnesus. Because the hind was sacred, Hercules hoped to capture it unharmed. After pursuing it for almost a year, the hero finally managed to capture the animal on the banks of the river Ladon, after having chased it as far as the land of the Hyperboreans.

While returning to Tiryns with the deer on his shoulders, Hercules met Artemis and Apollo. Artemis chastised Hercules, but let him pass with her deer when he insisted that Eurystheus should be blamed for this insult.
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2011, 03:17:26 PM »
Labors of Hercules Nr. 4: The Erymanthian Boar
For his fourth labor, Hercules was ordered to capture the boar that lived on the Mount Erymanthus, and was ravaging the land of Psophis (near present day Kalavrita). Hercules first chased the boar out of its hiding place in the forest, pushed it into a snow covered ravine, and then captured it in chains.

On his way back to Eurystheus, Hercules clashed with the centaurs who attacked the hero by throwing rocks and tree trunks at him, after going mad from the smell of the wine Hercules had been offered by his friend centaur Pholus. Hercules killed many of his attackers and drove the rest to a new home on Mount Malea, where their king Cheiron lived, who was also an old friend and teacher of Hercules. By accident, however, Cheiron was mortally wounded by one of Hercules's poisonous arrows. His pain was so intense, that Cheiron, being immortal, resigned his immortality to Prometheus.
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Re: Greek Mythology
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2011, 03:17:58 PM »
Labors of Hercules Nr. 5: The Augeian Stables
Perhaps to humiliate him, Eurystheus assigned Hercules as his sixth labor, to clean the stables of Augeias, king of Elis (located on the western coast of Peloponnesus) and a son of the sun god Helius.

Augeias, who had taken part in the expedition of the Argonauts, had countless herds. When Hercules asked for one-tenth of the king's animals as his fee for cleaning the stables, the king agreed because he was convinced that the task was impossible. But Hercules, proved to be more clever than the king had imagined: He tore down a wall and diverted the waters of the rivers Alpheius and Peneius into the stables.

The stables were cleaned in a matter of hours, but Augeias refused to keep his promise, insisting that Hercules had a duty to perform this labor for Eurystheus. To make matters worse, Eurystheus refused to give him credit for accomplishing the labor, contending that he had done it as a job for hire. As some other storytellers insist, Eurystheus withheld credit and Augeias refused payment, because they contended that the river gods Alpheius and Peneius, rather than Hercules himself, accomplished the feat.
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