Portal:Greek mythology

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The Greek mythology Portal

Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They are a part of religion in Greece. Modern scholars refer to the myths and study them in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece, its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is embodied explicitly in a large collection of narratives and implicitly in representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth explains the origins of the world and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and other mythological creatures. These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths also are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.

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Detail from Anselm Feuerbach's Amazon battle

The Amazons (Greek: Ἀμαζόνες, Amazónes, singular Ἀμαζών, Amazōn) are a nation of all-female warriors in Classical and Greek mythology. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor or Libya.

Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle was the object of one of the labours of Hercules. Amazonian raiders were often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art. The Amazons have become associated with various historical peoples throughout the Roman Empire period and Late Antiquity. In Roman historiography, there are various accounts of Amazon raids in Asia Minor. From the Early Modern period, their name has become a term for woman warriors in general.

The origin of the word is uncertain. It may be derived from an Iranian ethnonym *ha-mazan-, "warriors", a word attested as a denominal verb (formed with the Indo-Iranian root kar- "make" also in kar-ma) in Hesychius of Alexandria's gloss ἁμαζακάραν· πολεμεῖν. Πέρσαι ("hamazakaran: 'to make war' (Persian)"). Alternatively, a Greek derivation from *ṇ-mṇ-gw-jon-es "manless, without husbands" (a- privative and a derivation of *man- also found in Slavic muzh) has been proposed.

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Gods and goddesses

Hestia

In Greek mythology Hestia (Roman Vesta), daughter of Cronus and Rhea (ancient Greek Ἑστία, "hearth" or "fireside"), is the virgin goddess of hearth fire, the right ordering of domesticity and the family, who received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia's public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement. She sat on a plain wooden throne with a white woolen cushion and did not trouble to choose an emblem for herself.

In Roman mythology, her more specifically civic approximate equivalent was Vesta, who personified the public hearth, and whose cult round the ever-burning hearth bound Romans together in the form of an extended family. The similarity of names between Hestia and Vesta, is misleading: "The relationship hestia-histie-Vesta cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European linguistics; borrowings from a third language must also be involved," Walter Burkert has written. At a deep level her name means "home and hearth", the oikos, the household and its inhabitants.

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Pallas Athena by Klimt
Artist: Gustav Klimt

Pallas Athena by Gustav Klimt. Athena, goddess of strength, was one of the twelve Olympians.

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Did you know ...

The Olympians gods consist of two generations:
The children of the Titans (Children of Gaia-Earth) Cronos and Rhea:

  • Hestia (goddess of the hearth, architecture)
  • Demeter (agricultural goddess)
  • Hera (The queen of the gods and the wife and sister of Zeus)
  • Hades (the god of the underworld)
  • Poseidon (the god of the sea)
  • Zeus (the king of gods,the ruler of Olympus. He declared war on his father and the titans. His mother, Rhea helped him to be victorious...)

The second generation of gods are the children of Zeus:

  • Apollo (god identified with the sun, protector of poetry, music and balance)
  • Athena (the goddess of wisdom and war)
  • Persephone (she is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and goddess of springtime)
  • Artemis (identified with the moon, Apollo's twin sister,goddess of hunting, animals and wild nature)
  • Hephaestus (the god of fire and metalworking)
  • Ares(the god of war and violence)
  • Hermes (messenger of gods and also the god of thieves)
  • Dionysus (the god of wine, and madness)

*Aphrodite is not the daughter of Zeus. She was formed from the blood of Uranus.

  • When Zeus became the king of gods in place of his father, he made Cronos a fugitive of nature. He became a fugitive in Italy. He gathered some men and they describe his reign to be the golden age.
  • Hermes Is the son of Zeus and Maia the daughter of Atlas. the Greek call him Hermes ,which means the messenger. Also, in Latin he is called Mercure,from "Merces" ,which means merchandise. The Romans dedicated 15 May a day for him to honour him.
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Heroes

Perseus

Perseus (Περσεύς), the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians. Perseus was the Greek hero who killed Medusa and claimed Andromeda, having rescued her from a sea monster.

Perseus was the son of Danaë who, by her very name, was the archetype of all the Danaans. She was the only child of Acrisius, King of Argos. Disappointed by his lack of luck in having a son, Acrisius consulted the oracle at Delphi, who warned him that he would one day be killed by his daughter's son. Danaë was childless and to keep her so, he imprisoned her in a bronze chamber open to the sky in the courtyard of his palace. Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold, and impregnated her.

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Legendary creatures

Maenad, fragment

In Greek mythology, maenads (Ancient Greek: μαινάδες, mainádes) were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the retinue of Dionysus. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves; they would weave ivy-wreaths around their heads, and often handle or wear snakes.

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Greek mythology topics

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