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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NAMA Triade éleusinienne.jpg

The Eleusinian Mysteries (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance. These myths and mysteries, begun in the Mycenean period (c. 1600 BC) and lasting two thousand years, were a major festival during the Hellenic era, later spreading to Rome. The name of the town, Eleusís, is a variant of the noun έλευσις, éleusis, arrival.

The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret, as initiation was believed to unite the worshipper with the gods and included promises of divine power and rewards in the afterlife. There are many paintings and pieces of pottery that depict various aspects of the Mysteries. Since the Mysteries involved visions and conjuring of an afterlife, some scholars believe that the power and longevity of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from psychedelic agents.

The mysteries seem to be related to a myth concerning Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility as recounted in one of the Homeric Hymns (c. 650 B.C.).

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Gods and goddesses

Detail from Bouguereau's The Birth of Venus

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. According to Greek poet Hesiod, she was born when Cronus cut off Uranus' genitals and threw them into the sea, and from the aphros (sea foam) arose Aphrodite.

Because of her beauty other gods feared that jealousy would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, and so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who was not viewed as a threat. Her unhappiness in marriage caused her to frequently seek out the companionship of her lover Ares. Aphrodite also became instrumental in the Eros and Psyche legend, and later was both Adonis' lover and his surrogate mother.

Aphrodite is also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus) after the two places, Cythera and Cyprus, which claim her birth. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus. Myrtles, doves, sparrows, and swans are sacred to her. The Greeks identified the Ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor with Aphrodite.

She also has many other names, such as Acidalia, Cytherea, Pandemos and Cerigo. These names were used in specific areas of Greece. When the Greek cities combined, these lesser names were abandoned and a single name, Aphrodite, was adopted. Each goddess represented a slightly different religion but with overall similarities.

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Io
Artist: John Hoppner

In Greek mythology, Io was the daughter of Inachus, a river god.

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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 Greeks 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

Heracles

Heracles (/ˈhɛrə.klz/ HERR-ə-kleez; Greek: Ἡρακλῆς, Hēraklēs, from Hēra, "Hera", and kleos, "glory"), born Alcaeus (Ἀλκαῖος, Alkaios) or Alcides (Αλκείδης, Alkeidēs), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus (Ζεύς) and Alcmene , foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson (and half-brother) of Perseus (Περσεύς). He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae (Ἡρακλεῖδαι) and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.

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Legendary creatures

Phoenix

The phoenix (Ancient Greek: Φοῖνιξ, phoínix, Persian:سیمرغ Arabic:العنقاء) is a mythical sacred firebird that originated in Persian mythology, ancient Phoenician mythology (according to Sanchuniathon), Chinese mythology, Egyptian religion and later Greek mythology.

A phoenix is a mythical bird that is a fire spirit with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1,000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self.

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