Who are some famous heroes in Greek mythology?

There are people we perceive as heroes today, and there are the heroes of ancient civilization like the Roman or Greek empires. The heroes of Greek mythology were overwhelmingly male demigods (there were a few exceptions though). Heracles – Roman name: Hercules – was arguably the most well-known with his 12 labors and all so I believe he does not need to be elaborated further. Besides Heracles however, there were other well-known heroes who also did great things who were not necessarily demigods or male.

            Perseus was a demigod – half human and half god – son of Zeus. He grew up with his mother Danae on the island of Seriphos. However, the king of the island had his eyes on Danae and wanted to marry her but Perseus was always in the way. Therefore, he devised a plan to get rid of him by ordering him to bring back the head of Medusa – whose eyes turned people to stone if they looked her directly in the eye. Perseus would have failed his mission if not for the aid of Hermes who “offered him his winged sandals and the sickle that was used by Cronus to castrate Uranus” and “Athena who gave him her shield, so that Perseus would not have to look straight into Medusa‘s eyes” (“Perseus”). With these magical items he was able to slay Medusa and take her head. On his way back to Seriphos he had many adventures and even found a wife named Andromeda. When he returned to Seriphos he realized that the king had tricked him and proceeded to get his revenge. He entered the palace in the middle of the wedding between the king and his mother, told his mother to close her eyes, raised Medusa’s head in the air and “Polydectes and his courtiers were immediately turned to stone” (“Perseus”). There was a prophecy saying that he would one day kill his grandfather, Acrisius, which was fulfilled because Acrisius was one of the guests in the throne room who was petrified too. Supposedly, Perseus was the only Greek hero who had a happy life because he and Andromeda had a “happily ever after” ending and were immortalized into the stars.

Perseus (Perseus seeing Medusa’s reflection in his shield)

            Theseus (like Perseus) was also a demigod. However his godly parent was Poseidon, the god of the seas. There is some confusion about his parentage and some people say his father was actually King Aegeus. Theseus grew up in a small town called Troezen knowing that he was of loyal blood. When he was finally old enough, Theseus journeyed to Athens. Unfortunately, Athens was not yet a great city in those days and the King, Aegeus, was “forced by King Minos to pay a terrible tribute. He demanded that each year the Athenians send him seven of their most beautiful maidens, seven of their strongest young men” (Evslin). Theseus signed his name and was chosen to be one of the fourteen tributes to be sacrificed. He led the other thirteen tributes, along with the help of Princess Ariadne and her enchanted ball of yarn, to victory and killed the Minotaur himself. Theseus became a well-known man (and later king when Aegeus committed suicide) who binded all the cities of Greece together and brought Athens lots of honor.

Labyrinth (The Labyrinth where the Minotaur once lived)

            There were many, many other heroes but I would be writing forever if I explained their history, life, great deeds, family, death, etc. I suggest searching up a few heroes on your own and maybe even checking out a Greek mythology book. I recommend reading about Jason, Odysseus, Atalanta (she’s a lady) and Heracles. They all have interesting pasts and have extraordinary abilities that normal people don’t have. I hope you enjoy!!

Works Cited

Evslin, Bernard, Dorothy Evslin, Ned Hoopes, and William Hunter. Heroes & Monsters of Greek Myth. New York: Scholastic, 2004. Print.

“Perseus.” Perseus. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

“Theseus Adventures.” Theseus Adventures. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

What are some mythical creatures?

In Greek mythology there are many heroes, gods, creatures and mythical places. If you have ever read the “Percy Jackson” series or “The Heroes of Olympus” series, you already know a lot about these mythical creatures and places. Since there are thousands of mythical creatures and other monsters, I will only be describing the well-known ones (all of which appeared in the “Percy Jackson” series – in case you are interested).

PJ Monsters

Some of the monsters of Greek mythology were created by the gods to curse a piece of land or for vengeance. However, most of the monsters – like Cerberus and the Hydra – were offspring of Echidna and Typhon. They are commonly referred to as the mother and father of all monsters. Echidna was the wife of Typhon and was a half-woman, half-snake creature. Her husband, Typhon, has been described as having very many different characteristics. Basically he had all of the most fearsome qualities of the monsters he fathered. To make matters worse, he was not just any monster; he was an immortal god-monster and “the last child of Gaia and Tartarus” (“Typhon”). He was conquered by Zeus and casted into Tartarus while Echidna was allowed to live to challenge future Greek heroes but was later killed also.

One of the most feared creatures of ancient Greece was the Hydra. The Hydra is usually described as a nine-headed beast with the body of a serpent. If one head was severed, two others would grow in its place (“Hydra”). Supposedly the Hydra was indestructible; however, in “The Sea of Monsters” the Hydra will stop growing heads if fire is used (Riordan). The Hydra terrorized the lands of Argolis until Heracles and his nephew, aided by Athena herself, managed to slay it.

Another monster of Greek mythology was the gorgon, Medusa. Believe it or not, Medusa was once a beautiful maiden before she was cursed by Athena and turned into a hideous creature. Anyone who gazed upon her was immediately turned to stone: “[Perseus] realized that he was looking at those who had seen Medusa’s face and had been turned to stone between one breath and the next” (Evslin). A weird thing about her was that after she was defeated by Perseus, she gave birth. Her children were Pegasus, the immortal winged horse, and Chrysaor who was nicknamed “The Golden Boy” (“Heroes”).

Now you may have owned or own dogs but have you ever owned a dog with three heads? Cerberus was Hades’ fearsome three headed dog and he guarded the gate to the Underworld: “As the rules go, only the dead may enter the Underworld, and none may leave” (“Cerberus”). In some myths, Cerberus is described as having a tail of a snake. His parents, like the Nemean Lion and the Hydra, were Echidna and Typhon.

Cerberus

Another offspring monster of Echidna and Typhon was the Nemean Lion. The Nemean Lion was “a large lion, whose hide was impervious to weapons, which plagued the district of Nemea in the Argolis” (“The Leon”). Later, the Nemean Lion was defeated by a hero named Heracles and its spirit was turned into the constellation Leo by the Greek goddess, Hera.

The Hydra, the Nemean Lion, Medusa and Cerberus only scratch the surface of the Greek mythology world. I hope that after reading my blog you will be inspired to pursue this subject more in depth. Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

Works Cited

“Cerberus of Greek Mythology.” Cerberus of Greek Mythology. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.

“Echidna.” Echidna. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Evslin, Bernard, and William Hofman. Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths. New York: Bantam, 1967. Print.

Leadbetter, Ron. “Hydra.” Hydra. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

“Minotaur.” Minotaur. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

“NEMEAN LION : Giant Lion of Nemea.” NEMEAN LION: Giant Lion of Nemea. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

Riordan, Rick. The Sea of Monsters. New York: Miramax /Hyperion for Children, 2006. Print.

“Typhon – The Father of Monsters.” Typhon – The Father of Monsters. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

“The Lightning Thief” book vs. The Lightning Thief movie

There are lots of movies about Greek mythology but none more infamous than Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief. Compared to “The Lightning Thief”, the movie was pathetic and a complete waste of time, yet they still continued and made a sequel. The movie was creative but the book has a better developed plot and sticks to the Greek myths and legends.

“The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan is about a 12 year old demigod named Percy Jackson who is the main suspect for stealing the Master Bolt. To make things right, he must go on a quest to retrieve it and save the world from another war. Unfortunately, the movie “had several big, unnecessary changes from the book, including the identity of the villain” says Lauren, a movie and book reviewer (LMcCauley). I absolutely agree with her! The directors left out so many important details and background information that was essential in the plot and character developments. One example would be Annabeth; she is portrayed as being tough and strong but the intellectual and wise part of her wasn’t developed very well. Not only is she mentally different but she is also physically different: “Annabeth has curly golden blonde hair and looks ‘like a princess’ as Percy describes it. She is tall, fit, and athletic. Her eyes have been described as an intense shade of gray and always having a distracted look as if she were thinking of a million things at once. Annabeth looks like a typical California girl, only with a natural tan” (“Annabeth”). Another example is the main protagonist, Perseus Jackson. In the movie, the moment he discovered Poseidon is his father – BOOM! – amazing water powers suddenly flows in his blood. These are perfect examples of how unorganized and undeveloped the movie characters were. Sadly, the character and plot developments weren’t the only things wrong with the movie; they even interpreted the myths wrong.

In Greek mythology, there are 4 seasons caused because of Demeter’s grief for her daughter, Persephone, who must live with Hades for 6 months because of the infamous pomegranate seeds. While 16 year olds, Annabeth and Percy, with their satyr protector, Grover, is in the underworld, they meet both Hades and Persephone should be “with her mother because it is not winter” (“All”). If that’s so, then either Demeter got confused with her seasons or the directors messed up and put Persephone in Hades palace in the Underworld in the middle of summer. Let’s go with the second option. The next example is probably just a mild confusion or maybe the directors were too lazy to mix potions and create acid – the Hydra. The Hydra technically is not mentioned in “The Lightning Thief” but let’s move on. The Hydra does not spit fire because fire can be put out. Instead, the Hydra spits poisonous acid that melts anything it touches. Both Persephone and the Hydra should never have appeared but at least the characters are pretty accurate.

On the contrary, people think that the movie is better. They say it is more creative and you get to see the book come to life: “The actors in the movie did a terrific job of playing each of the characters” claims Lauren, a movie reviewer. However, I don’t understand how the book came to life if the movie didn’t even follow it.

In conclusion, the book is better than the movie because the characters have solid backgrounds, the plot is more developed and organized and the myths are interpreted correctly (even if there were tweaks to make it fit into present day). I am sorry if you believe that the movie was better than the book but this is just my opinion. If you didn’t like the movies and prefer the books, rumor has it that they have stopped filming. Thank you for reading and I hope you get around to reading the Heroes of Olympus series.

Works Cited:

“Books vs. Movie: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters.” Books vs. Movie: Percy                  Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

“Annabeth Chase.” Camp Half-Blood Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

“Book vs. Movie: The Lightning Thief.” Forever Young Adult RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar.        2015.

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians Article: All The Things Wrong With The Movie.” All The        Things Wrong With The Movie. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

“269 Reasons Why the Percy Jackson Movie Went Wrong.” 269 Reasons Why the Percy          Jackson Movie Went Wrong. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

In Greek mythology, how was the world created? What happened after that?

The Greeks had interesting imaginations and weird ways of thinking. Back then they didn’t know how the world was formed or how mankind came to be. We still do not know – we only have theories – but the ancient Greeks came up with myths. And so I will be writing about how the Greeks thought the world began.

In the beginning, there was nothing. Chaos or Khaos was the first to form out of the creation of the universe (CHAOS : Greek Protogenos Goddess of Air ; Mythology : KHAOS.) “Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the gloomy darkness of Tartarus, and Night or Nyx (Primordial Things). All else was empty, silent, endless, dark. Then, Love or Eros was born bringing along the beginning of order. From Love emerged Light, followed by Gaea, the earth” (“The Creation”). Then Ether or Aither, the heavenly light, and Day or Hemera, the earthly light, were born because Erebus slept with Night. Soon after, Night gave birth to all the things that dwell in the darkness haunting mankind like Doom and Death (The Creation).

Meanwhile Gaea gave birth to Uranus, the sky, to the mountains and to Pontus, the sea. Now we know that Uranus was Gaea’s son but he became her mate because he covered her on all sides. They gave birth to the twelve titans (Cronus or Cronos, Rhea, Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Iapetus, Themis, Theia, Mnemosyne, Coeus, Phoebe and Crius), the three Cyclopes and the three Hecatoncheires (Mythology Summary and Analysis: Greek Mythology The Beginnings — Creation) and (About the 12 Titans).

“However, Uranus was a cruel father and husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires and imprisoned them by pushing them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea‘s womb. This angered Gaea and she plotted 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 (The Creation).

Gaea and Cronus set up an ambush on Uranus as he lay with Gaea at night. Cronus grabbed his father and castrated him with the sickle, throwing the severed genitals into the ocean. It is unclear as to what happened to Uranus afterwards. As he departed, he promised that Cronus and the Titans would be punished. From the blood that was spilled on the earth due to his castration, emerged the Giants, the Ash Tree Nymphs, and the Erinnyes. From the sea foam that was produced when his genitals fell in the ocean, emerged Aphrodite (The Creation).

Cronus became the next ruler. He imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires in Tartarus. He married his sister Rhea, and had many children. He ruled for many ages but Gaea and Uranus both had prophesied that Cronus would be eventually overthrown by a son. To avoid this, Cronus swallowed all of his children as they were born. Rhea was infuriated at the treatment of her own children and plotted against Cronus. When it was time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea hid herself, then she left the child to be raised by nymphs. To conceal her act she wrapped a stone in cloths gave it to Cronus, who swallowed it (The Creation).

“This child was Zeus. He grew into a handsome youth at the island of Crete. He consulted Metis on how to defeat Cronus. She prepared a drink for Cronus designed to make him vomit the other children. Rhea convinced Cronus to accept his son and Zeus was allowed to return to Mount Olympus as Cronus‘s cupbearer, giving him the opportunity to serve Metis‘ potion to Cronus. The plan work perfectly and the other five children emerged out of Cronus. As gods, they were unharmed and thankful to their youngest brother, they made him their leader” (The Creation).

From here I will summarize. The gods did indeed win and Zeus was crowned king. Soon after the twelve Olympians gods were created and with that a LOT of other myths. But until then, I hope you enjoy my blog!

Works Cited

“About the 12 Titans.” About the 12 Titans. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

http://www.12titans.net/p/about-12titans.aspx

“CHAOS : Greek Protogenos Goddess of Air ; Mythology : KHAOS.” CHAOS : Greek Protogenos Goddess of Air ; Mythology : KHAOS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Khaos.html

“Mythology Summary and Analysis: Greek Mythology The Beginnings — Creation.” The Beginnings

— Creation. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/m/mythology/summary-and-analysis-greek-mythology/the-beginnings-8212-creation

“Primordial Things.” Greek Mythology. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/bdodge/scaffold/gg/primordial.html

“The Creation.” , Theogony. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/The_Creation/the_creation.html

“The Creation of the World – Greek Mythology.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

What is Greek Mythology? What purpose does it serve?

A tsunami just destroyed a small village by the coast. A volcano just erupted. Nowadays, we have the equipment to figure out what was going on; that these natural disasters are, well, “natural.” However, at the time the ancient Greeks lived, they didn’t have the wealth of supplies. Instead, they came up with myths and legends to explain the phenomenon happening around them (History Channel).

Greek mythology was created to help the ancient Greeks explain natural phenomenon, it helped to construct meaning in the world around them and later became their ritual beliefs and observances. The gods often took on forms of nature (Rymer, 1). Greek mythology is a diverse topic that many have found interest in. The myths clarified nature, taught humans moral and life-lasting lessons, and even provided entertainment (Dowling, 1).

In fact, Greek mythology was so interwoven and so connected with the Greek aspects of life that each city devoted itself to one or more gods. They often built temples and shrines to acknowledge their power and superiority (World History Center, 1). For example Athena or Pallas Athena, the grey-eyed goddess of wisdom and warfare, mistress of strategy, daughter of the mighty Lord of the Sky; she was formed out of thoughts and words that later formed into stories and myths. The Greek city, Athens, was named after her.

(Picture of the Greek goddess, Athena)

The Greeks, like many ancient cultures, were polytheistic; this meaning that they believed in multiple gods and goddesses. However, the ancient Greeks thought that their Greek gods had human traits and characteristics. Unlike Hinduism or Judaism, there were no formal teachings, no church government, and no such thing as a written code. “Greek mythology emphasized the weakness of humans in contrast to the great and terrifying powers of nature. The Greeks believed that their gods, who were immortal, controlled all aspects of nature” (World History Center, 1).

Also, the Greeks believed that the Gods had limitless power, fought each other, married and even had children of their own (Dowling, 1).Sometimes, the gods married mortals and had children called demigods who were half mortal and half god. In Percy Jackson, the demigods gained their godly parents’ traits, abilities and power. The most widely known demigod, Heracles (or in Roman mythology – Hercules), was a son of the most powerful god, Zeus. He was known for his inhuman strength and for completing The Twelve Labors.

The earliest Greek myths were part of an oral tradition that was passed down by word of mouth and began in the Bronze Age. Their plots and themes unfolded gradually in the written literature of the archaic and classical periods (History Channel). However, each myth – no matter what culture – varies. The basic themes are repetitive but details, sometimes even storylines, differ from town to town, generation to generation, and from eon to eon (Elliott, 1).

In many ways, Greek mythology has been interwoven into us. Not just the Olympic Games, but also in our language and dialect (Lundgren, 1). You would be surprised at how many words, phrases, books and meanings that traces back to the ancient Greeks and their mythology. I hope you will have learned something in my blog posts this year and that you will be as interested in increasing your repertoire of Greek mythology as I am.

Works Cited

Dowling, Mike. “Ancient Greek Mythology at mrdowling.com.” www.mrdowling.com.

Updated October 19, 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Elliott, Daphne. “Greek Creation Myths.” Encyclopedia Mythica:. N.p. n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

“Greece, A History of Ancient Greece, Mythology.” Greece, A History of Ancient Greece,

Mythology. N.p. n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

“Greek Mythology.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Lundgren, Sarah. “Greek day brings ancient era to life.” EBSCO. Updated 20 Sept. 2014. Web. Rymer, Eric. “Introduction to Greek Mythology.” Greek Mythology. N.p. n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Intro to My Blog

Have you ever heard of Greek Mythology? The twelve Olympian Gods? The minotaur?Greek Mythology has always been a fascinating subject to me. I hope to explore more in depth, increase my repertoire, and answer some questions you may have. We can learn about what the ancient Greeks thought about nature and other phenomenon. I think it should be viewed more than just a part of literature that we have to suffer through during English every year. Many books, movies and even TV shows refer to ancient mythology, architecture, and history. Take Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus. If you have read either series, then you have touched on some of the myths. The topics of my blog that I will be writing about are: the primordial forces, the titans, the twelve Olympian Gods and Goddesses, ancient mythical creatures, famous demigods (like Perseus, Atalanta or Hercules) and some of the many famous myths. I hope you enjoy it!