Athos (mythology)

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Athos ([ˈæθɒs] Greek: Ἄθως, pronounced [ˈatʰɔːs]) from Greek mythology, was one of the Gigantes. He is most known for the creation of Mt. Athos, a mountain and peninsula in northern Greece, known as "The Holy Mountain", that is located in northern Greece. There are two versions regarding the creation of the mountain, and they both involve Poseidon, Greek God of the sea, son of Kronos and brother to Zeus and Hades. In one version of the story, Athos throws a mountain at Poseidon but misses. It is said that " Athos got away and the rock he was about to throw at the god slipped through his fingers". Poseidon then threw it back at him, thus creating Mt. Athos. In the other version Poseidon throws the mountain at Athos, creating the mountain.


Gigantes, not to be confused with the Titans who were even more powerful beings, are the Greek version of Giants. The Gigantes were often depicted as hoplite soldiers, dressed in full armor, or as a type of barbarian with panther skin clothing wielding flaming torches and rocks as weapons. They were also often depicted with serpents as legs. One myth says that the Gigantes were created when Ouranos (Uranus) was castrated by his son, Cronus, when his blood fell to the earth. Where another myth says that they were born from Gaia, with Tartaros as their father. They waged war on the gods during the Gigantomachy. The Gigantes were spurred on and encouraged by Gaia, the mother of the titans, to wage war against the gods to avenge Cronus's death. During the Gigantomachy there were many battles between the Gods and Gigantes, to which the Gigantes eventually lost. None of the Gigantes survived, except for Aristatios, who survived because Gaia transformed him into a dung beetle.

Mount Athos[edit]

The mountain that was created with Athos's death, has become the center of orthodox monasticism in the region. It is mentioned in many Greek epics, including The Iliad, by Homer. The mountain consists of many monasteries on the mountain, each having to tend to their own area. The mountain produced a very large amount of Wine and Grapes which is vital to the commerce of the region. Women and children are forbidden on the mountain. In 368 B.C. the mountain became part of the state of Phillipos of Macedonia. Then years later when Alexander the Great united all the Greek states under his rule, an architect named Dinocrates suggested that they carved the mountain into a statue in the likeness of Alexander. Alexander being humble, refused and they left the town in peace. In the fourth century the mountain became fully Christian. The beginning of the Athonite Monastic Life, is signaled by the arrival of two important figures. The first being Petros of Athos who arrived in the late 8th century, and Euthymios the New who arrived around 860. In 963 Athanasios the Athonite was key in the organization of the monastic life. In 1050, the monk population was as high as 7000. Then in 1205 the mountain came under the control of Frankish King of Thessaloniki. During this time the mountain suffered greatly because the Athonite monks refused to accept the Union of Lyons in 1274. In the 14th century more monasteries appeared on the mountain, but in 1424 the mountain was taken over by Murat the second, who imposed high taxes and levies on the mountain which caused many of the monks to leave and cause the mountain to become all but deserted. The mountain only survived because of aid from Ecumenical Patriarchate, who gave the monks a lot of support, both spiritually and fiscally. Some aid was also given by the Transdanubian Principalities but also from the Orthodox people. Then in 1822 the worse disaster in all of the mountain's history occurred, during the revolution of Emmanuel Papas Turkish soldiers murdered anyone, monks, women and children, who sought refuge on the mountain. The mountain came back under Greek sovereignty on 5 November 1912. Then in 1963 on the thousand anniversary of foundation of organized monastic, there was a festival, but it was not very cheery and many considered it the funeral of the mountain. Finally in the year 1988 it was made into a national heritage site.