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Greek fertility deities. Their origin can be traced back to Asia Minor, and they were proberbly imported in Greece in the Hellenistic and Roman era. There is some mysterious cult connected to them and the god of fire Hephaestus. There were sanctuaries on the islands of Lemnos, Imbros and especially Samothrace, where traces of those mysteries can still be fount. Some sources mention that originally there were only two of them, but that the number varied over the sebsequent centuries. The male deities were Axiocersus, Cadmilus (his son), and the female deities Axierus and Axiocersa. Later, they became protectors against misfortune and dangers.

Originally, the Cabiri were Phrygian chthonic and fertility deities, and protectors of sailors, who were imported into Greece. They are mysterious demons whose mystery cults were connected to that of Hephaestus. In Classical times they numbered two, although their numbers seem to have varied over time. Two gods included were Axiocersus and his son Cadmilus. Also mentioned is a female pair, namely Axierus and Axiocersa. Their role, however, was of secondary importance. There were Cabiri sanctuaries on Thebes, Boeotia, Lemnos, Imbros, and especially on Samothrace. On this particular island important remains of the mysteries can be found: the Anaktoron (500 BC), the center of the Cabiri-cult; ; the Sacristy, where the lists of the adepts were kept; the Tenemos, the plaza where feasts were celebrated, with its ancient temple; the new temple (ca. 275 BC) where the famous statue of Nike was excavated. The Cabiri are identified with the Dioscuri, the Curetes, Corybantes, and with the Roman Penates.

The herald's staff or wand of Hermes. It is usually depicted as a winged rod with two serpents intertwined about it. As a group of fertility symbols, it is emblematic of the magic potency of the deity, and of the prosperity of peace.


The Greek personification of the favorable moment, represented bald-headed, with only one lock of hear (meaning: one should seize the opportunity when it presents itself).

The eldest and most distinguished of the nine Muses. She is the Muse of eloquence and epic or heroic poetry. Calliope ("beautiful voice") is the mother of Orpheus and Linus with Apollo. She was the arbitress in the argument over Adonis between Persephone and Aphrodite. Her emblems are a stylus and wax tablets.

1. The daughter of Oceanus and mother of Echidna. 2. The daughter of Achelous. She married Alcmaeon. 3. A girl from Calydon who scorned the love of a priest of Dionysus. The god then threatened to inflict all the women of Calydon with madness. An oracle ordered the priest to sacrifice Callirhoë, but in desperation the man killed himself. The girl threw herself in a well, which from that moment on carried her name.


Callisto was a nymph (or, according to some sources, the daughter of Lycaon) who was associated with the goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Young women who were devoted to the goddess hunted with her regularly, and remained virgins, like Artemis herself. Callisto had upheld these ideals faithfully, and she quickly became Artemis' favorite. While Callisto spent her days and nights with Artemis' other followers, she caught the eye of Zeus. Knowing that the maiden had taken a vow of chastity, Zeus resorted to deception to get at Callisto. He came to her disguised as Artemis, and the young huntress let down her guard. Seizing the opportunity Zeus raped her. Callisto became pregnant, and tried desperately to conceal her condition form the goddess. After all, she had, in a way, broken her vow to the goddess and she feared her anger. Callisto had been successful for a time, but then a day came when all of the young women who followed Artemis disrobed to bathe together in a spring. By now Callisto was beginning to show, and once she was naked her secret was revealed. Artemis was furious and she banished the young woman from her fold. Callisto wandered off to have her child alone. Hera decided that this was the time to exact her revenge. She gripped Callisto's hair and threw her to the ground where the new mother was transformed into a bear. The hunter became the hunted. The child that Callisto had by Zeus was spirited away by Hermes to be raised by his mother, Maia. He was named Arcas, meaning "bear," and he grew up to be a fine hunter himself. Some sources have the bear captured and taken to Callisto's own father, Lycaon. According to some sources Artemis herself killed the bear that was once Callisto, but it is usually accepted that when Arcas was out hunting as a young man he encountered the bear. Callisto recognized the handsome youth as the son she could not raise herself. Forgetting her present form, she tried to come near him, but her loving mother's arms were now strong, furry paws, and her once soothing voice was now a rumbling growl. The bear scared Arcas, and he took aim at her with his spear. Zeus took pity on his former victim and intervened. He placed Callisto in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major, or "great bear," and then took Arcas and placed him in the sky near his mother as Ursa Minor, the "little bear." Hera was not pleased with this arrangement, especially since Callisto was another of her husband's infidelities. She went to her nurse, Tethys, the wife of Oceanus, and beseeched her to punish Callisto and Arcas. Tethys decided to deprive the pair of water, and so the great bear and the little bear are cursed to circle in the skies, never to dip below the horizon for a refreshing bath or a cool drink. Here the peoples of ancient Greece explained why the two constellations are circumpolar, visible all year round.

Calypso was a nymph, the daughter of the Titan

Campe was a female monster sent by Cronus to guard the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires in the underworld. Zeus killed it because he believed that he would be able to defeat Cronus with the help of the Cyclopes.


The daughter of Aeolus and Enarete, and beloved of Poseidon. She was killed by her father because she fell in love with her own brother Macar (or Macareus).

"Fruit". A son of Zephyrus and Chloris

In pre-classical mythology, Carya was a Greek goddess of the walnut tree. She was later assimilated into the Artemis myth, as Caryatis in this form

In Greek myth, Cassiopeia is the wife of Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and mother of Andromeda. She boasted of being more beautiful than the Nereids, and in retaliation Poseidon first sent a flood and then a sea-monster to ravage the country. Andromeda was chained to a rock to serve as sacrifice for the sea-monster, but was rescued by Perseus.


A Greek wood-nymph of the sacred temple spring at Delphi

A Greek nymph loved by Apollo. She fled from him and jumped in the spring at Delphi, at the base of mount Parnassos, which was then named after her. The water of this spring was sacred and served for the cleansing of the Delphian temple and inspired poets.

Catreus was one of the four sons of Minos and Pasiphae. In due time he became king of all Crete. One dark day, an oracle envisaged that Catreus would be slain by his son, Althaemenes. When the son learned of this, he left Crete for Rhodes with his younger sister, Apemosyne, by his side. As time passed, Catreus became despondent and traveled the seas in search of his children. His ship docked at Rhodes in the dead of night and they were mistaken for pirates by the defenders of Rhodes. In the battle that followed, Althaemenes drove his blade deep into his father's heart and the prophecy came to pass. Though the son never forgave himself for what he had done, to the people of Rhodes … he was their hero.


The Caucasus, a mountain range north of Armenia, was believed in the Greek world to be one of the pillars of the world. It is there that Prometheus was chained by Zeus' order.

A half man and half snake, born from the soil, legendary ancestor of the Greeks. He was the founder (and first king) of Athens. He taught the inhabitants to bury the dead, get married and how to read and write. In his reign Poseidon and Athena contended for the lordship of Attica, and Cecrops decided in the favor of Athena. The citadel, or Acropolis, of Athens was named Cecropia in his honor.


The servant of Hephaestus.

Celaeno ("the Dark"), also Podarge ("fleet foot"), is one of the Harpies. She was the lover of Zephyrus and mother of Xanthus and Balius, the supernatural horses of Achilles.

One of the Pleiades. She was the lover of Poseidon and had Lycus with him. According to some sources she was the mother of Deucalion with Prometheus.

A divinity who was one of the companions of Zeus when he was a child, but he offended Rhea and as a result was changed into a lump of diamond (or steel) by Zeus.

An epithet of Zeus after the temple on Cape Canaeum of Euboea.

The centaurs of Greek mythology are creatures that are part human and part horse. They are usually portrayed with the torso and head of a human, and the body of a horse. Centaurs are the followers of the wine god Dionysus and are well known for drunkenness and carrying off helpless young maidens. They inhabited Mount Pelion in Thessaly, northern Greece. According to one myth, they are the offspring of Ixion, the king of Lapithae (Thessaly), and a cloud. He had arranged a tryst with Hera, but Zeus got wind of it and fashioned a cloud into Hera's shape. Therefore, the Centaurs are sometimes called Ixionidae. Notorious is their bestial behavior on the wedding of Pirithous, king of the Lapiths. They violated the female guests and attempted to abduct the bride. What followed was a bloody battle, after which they were driven from Thessaly. An exception was the kind and wise centaur Chiron, the teacher of the Greek heroes Jason and Achilles.

Three giants with a hundred arms each. See Hecatonchires.

In Greek mythology, the son of Hermes and Herse. He was married to Procris, a daughter of Erechtheus. While hunting he was kidnapped by Eos, but she could not diminish his love for Procris. However, when Procris, out of jealousy, spied on her husband during one of his hunts, he mistook her for an animal and accidentally killed her. Cephalus was banned for this. Later he helped Amphitryon in a war, and for his assistance he was awarded with the island of Cephallenia.

One meaning of the name Cephissus is a Greek river god, the father of Narcissus. Another meaning of the name Cephissus is a man who was changed into a sea monster by Apollo. A third meaning for the name Cephissus is three famous rivers in Greece: in Attica near Eleusis; in Attica near Athens; in Boeotia and in Phocis near the sacred shrine of Delphi and Mount Parnassus. The three graces were particularly fond of the river near the sacred shrine. The final and fourth meaning of the name Cephissus is a Boeotian river god. He was the son of Oceanus and Tethys, brother of the other river gods, and father of Narcissus by the nymph, Liriope. Other children are ascribed to him, but in those cases parentage is disputed.

In Greek mythology, the three-headed watchdog who guards the entrance to the lower world, the Hades. It is a child of the giant Typhon and Echidna, a monstrous creature herself, being half woman and half snake. Originally, the dog was portrayed having fifty or hundred heads but was later pictured with only three heads (and sometimes with the tail of a serpent). Cerberus permitted new spirits to enter the realm of dead, but allowed none of them to leave. Only a few ever managed to sneak past the creature, among which Orpheus, who lulled it to sleep by playing his lyre, and Heracles, who brought it to the land of the living for a while (being the last of his Twelve Labors). In Roman mythology, the Trojan prince Aeneas and Psyche were able to pacify it with honey cake.

Mischievous wood spirits from Greek folklore. One time they stole the weapons of Heracles and were punished by him. He tied them to a stick, face downwards. The Greeks believed they lived near the Thermopylae or on Euboea.


A son of Hermes and Pandrosus. He became the ancestor of a family of priests in Athens (the Kerukes).

Ceto is the daughter of Gaia and Pontus. She is the sister of Phorcys, who was also her husband, Thaumas and Eurybia. She is the personification of the dangers and horrors of the sea. Her name eventually became a name for any generic sea monster. Ceto is regarded as the mother of the Gorgons and many other monsters

In Greek mythology, the son of Eosphorus and the king of Thessaly. He was married to the demi-goddess Alcyone (Halcyone). When he perished at sea, his wife threw herself from the rocks. Out of compassion, the gods changed them into the halcyon birds.


Chaos is from the Greek word Khaos, meaning "gaping void". There are many explanations as to who or what Chaos is, but most theories state that it was the void from which all things developed into a distinctive entity, or in which they existed in a confused and amorphous shape before they were separated into genera. In other words, Chaos is or was "nothingness." Though some ancient writers thought it was the primary source of all things, other writers tell of Gaia (Earth) being born from Chaos without a mate, along with Eros and Tartarus. Then from Gaia came Uranus (Heaven or Sky) which gave us Heaven and Earth. Chaos has been described as the great void of emptiness within the universe from which Eros came and it was he who gave divine order and also perfected all things. In later times it was written that Chaos was a confused shapeless mass from which the universe was developed into a cosmos, or harmonious order. For instance, Hesiod's Theogony says that Erebus and Black Night (Nyx) were born of Chaos, and Ovid the Roman writer described Chaos as an unordered and formless primordial mass. The first Metomorphoses reads, "rather a crude and indigested mass, a lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed, of jarring seeds and justly Chaos named."

The Charites, or Graces, are the personifications of charm and beauty in nature and in human life. They love all things beautiful and bestow talent upon mortals. Together with the Muses they serve as sources of inspiration in poetry and the arts. Originally, they were goddesses of fertility and nature, closely associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian mysteries. Aglaea ("Splendor") is the youngest of the Graces and is sometimes represented as the wife of Hephaestus. The other Graces are Euphrosyne ("Mirth") and Thalia ("Good Cheer"). They are usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, or Dionysus and Aphrodite. According to Homer the Graces belonged to the retinue of Aphrodite. The Romans knew them under the collective name of the Gratiae (qv).


Charon, in Greek mythology, is the ferryman of the dead. The souls of the deceased are brought to him by Hermes, and Charon ferries them across the river Acheron. He only accepts the dead which are buried or burned with the proper rites, and if they pay him an obolus (coin) for their passage. For that reason a corpse had always an obolus placed under the tongue. Those who cannot afford the passage, or are not admitted by Charon, are doomed to wander on the banks of the Styx for a hundred years. Living persons who wish to go to the underworld need a golden bough obtained from the Cumaean Sibyl. Charon is the son of Erebus and Nyx. He is depicted as an sulky old man, or as a winged demon carrying a double hammer. He is similar to the Etruscan (Charun).

Charybdis was once a nymph-daughter of Poseidon and Gaia who flooded lands for her father's underwater kingdom until Zeus turned her into a monster and have her suck in and out water three times an day. She lived in a cave at one side of the Strait of Messina, opposite the monster Scylla, the two of them forming a dangerous threat to passing ships.


A nymph who was turned into a turtle because she ridiculed or refused to attend the wedding of Zeus and Hera. For her insulting words the gods condemned her to eternal silence.


In Greek mythology, the Chimera is a monster, depicted as an animal with the head of a lion, the body of a she-goat, and the tail of a dragon (sometimes it has multiple heads). It is a child of Typhon and Echidna. It terrorized Lycia (in Asia Minor), but was eventually killed by the Corinthian hero Bellerophon

1. The daughter of Boreas and Orithya, mother of Eumolphus. 2. The daughter of Daedelion. She was so beautiful that even the gods fell in love with her. Because her beauty led to vanity and pride, Artemis killed her.

Originally, Chiron was a Thessalian god of healing, but in later Greek mythology he survived as one of the centaurs. Unlike the others of his race, Chiron was wise and had an extensive knowledge of the healing arts. He had been the tutor of, among others, Asclepius, Theseus, and Achilles. When he was accidentally hit by a poisonous arrow shot by Heracles, Chiron relinquished his immortality (in favor of Prometheus) in order to escape the pain by dying. After his death he became the constellation of Sagittarius. Chiron is regarded as a son of Cronus and Philyra.

An epithet for Demeter, meaning 'the young green'.

The Greek goddess of flowers, and the personification of spring. She is the spouse of Zephyrus. Her Roman equivalent is Flora. Chloris is also the name of a daughter of Niobe. She was the only child that was saved when Apollo and Artemis took their vengeance on Niobes children.

In the ancient Greek literature, Chronos is the personification of time. He is usually portrayed as an wise, old man with a long, gray beard (Father Time). Chronos is often mistaken for the Titan Cronus

"Golden Falchion". A giant, the son of Medusa. When her head was cut off by Perseus, Chrysaor sprang forth from her decapitated body.

Cilix was the son of Agenor. His father sent him to search for Europa, his lost sister. During his adventurous journey, Cilix settled down in a location in Asia Minor. This land was called Cilicia, named after him.

A mythical tribe who lived at the end of the world in a place of mists and darkness, where the sun never arrived. These people were popular in Greece and many stories were crafted. They ware believed to be the ancestors of the Scythians or the Celts.

An epithet of Apollo. The name is derived from Clarus near Colophon where Apollo had a temple.


The son of Cydippe, a priestess of Hera on Argos, and brother of Biton. One day when their mother was going to a festival in Hera's honor, the oxen which would pull the cart were overdue. The brothers decided to pull the wagon themselves to the sanctuary which was 45 stadien (8km) from their home. The grateful mother requested the goddess to grant her children the best thing a human being can become in life. Hera let the brothers die in their sleep.


With the Spartans, one of the Charites.

The Muse of historical and heroic poetry. With Pierus, the king of Macedonia, she is the mother of Hyacinth. She was credited for introducing the Phoenician alphabet into Greece. Her attribute is usually a parchment scroll or a set of tablets.

Clotho, a goddess from Greek mythology, is the youngest of the three Fates, but one of the oldest goddesses in Greek mythology. She is a daughter of Zeus and Themis. Each fate has a certain job, whether it be measuring thread, spinning it on a spinning wheel, or cutting the thread at the right length. Clotho is the spinner, and she spins the thread of human life with her distaff. The length of the string will determine how long a certain person's life will be. She is also known to be the daughter of Night, to indicate the darkness and obscurity of human destiny. No one knows for sure how much power Clotho and her sisters have, however, they often disobey the ruler, Zeus, and other gods. For some reason, the gods seem to obey them, whether because the fates do possess greater power, or as some sources suggest, their existence is part of the order of the Universe, and this the gods cannot disturb.


1. The daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and wife of Iapetus. Her sons are Atlas, Epimetheus, Prometheus, and Menoetius. 2. Wife of Helios and mother of Phaeton. 3. Mother of Atalanta. 4. Granddaughter of King Minos of Crete and mother of Palamedes

In Greek mythology, an ocean nymph who was in love with Apollo. When Apollo fell in love for Leucothoe, the jealous Clytia betrayed her to her father. In anger, he buried Leucothoe alive. The sad Apollo turned away from Clytia and she languished and finally died. After her death she changed into the heliotrope or sunflower, which, traditionally, still turns to the sun, following him through his daily course.

One of the Gigantes.

One of the five rivers of Hades, which flows into the Acheron. The name means "river of lamentation." The unburied were doomed to wander about its banks for hundred years. Coeus One of the Titans, Coeus was the father of Leto, husband of Phoebe and the grandfather of Apollo, Artemis and Asteria

The mother of Asclepius by Apollo. Even before she gave birth to Asclepius she cheated on Apollo. Raven informed Apollo of her infidelity and the god killed her (according to others it was Artemis). Before her body was consumed on a funeral pyre, Apollo saved the life of his son. Since then, raven have black feathers where before they were white. Coronis is also the name of the daughter of Coronaeus, King of Phocis, changed by Athena into a crow to enable her to escape from Neptune.

Priests of the goddess Cybele of Asia Minor. They served the goddess by wild rituals that resulted in an exceptional state of extacy that went so far they they unmanned themselves. The cult spread through Greece and later also to Rome, where they were called Galli

Corycian Cave
A cave on Mount Parnassos named after the nymph Corycia. The Muses are sometimes in poetry called Corycides or the Corycian nymphs.

The son of Paris and Oenone. To disturb the happiness between Paris and Helen, Oenone send her son to Helen. Paris did not recognize Corythus and killed him.


One of the three monsters with a hundred hands, the Hecatonchires. They were Briareus, also called Aegaeon; Cottus; and Gyges also called Gyes. Cottus and the other two monsters had fifty heads with fifty fire breathing mouths. The three monsters lived durin the Trojan wars.


The Thracian goddess of immodesty and debauchery, worshipped at Athens with licentious rites. Her priests were called Baptes, from the Greek verb bapto, to wash, because of the so-called ceremonies of purification connected with her rites. However, their midnight orgies were so obscene that they disgusted even the goddess herself. Cratos
Cratos ("strength") is the personification of strength and power. He is the brother of Nike, Zelus and Bia. Like his other siblings, he is a constant companion of Zeus.

One of the many Greek river gods.

Crius was one of the Greek Titans. The Titans were the principal gods of early Greek mythology. Crius and his siblings were the children of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth). He had five brothers; Coeus, Cronus, Hyperion, Lapetus, Oceanus; and six sisters; Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Tethys, Theia, and Themis. The Titans were best known for their war against the Olympian gods. Many of these gods were captive within the stomach of their father, Cronus. After Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, freed his siblings the war with the Titans began. After ten long years of battle Zeus asked Gaia for help. She told him to release the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed ones. This led to Crius and the other Titans losing the long war.


Cronus, the son of Uranus and Gaia and the youngest of the twelve Titans. His wife was also one of the Titans, since he married his sister Rhea. Their offspring were Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. It is written that Uranus, who in one version, hid his children away in the bowels of the earth (Tartarus) as he was aghast at the sight of them, in reality he was fearful of their great strength and power. Gaia found her offspring uncomfortable and also painful and when she found the discomfort too much to bear she hatched a plan, which was to end the passions of Uranus, so no more offspring could be produced and that would be the ending of her hurt. But to achieve this she required the help from one of her children. She asked them all, but only her youngest child Cronus would heed her call. To help Cronus accomplish his task Gaia gave him a adamantine sickle to serve as his weapon. Cronus lay in wait hidden from view, and when Uranus came to lay with Gaia Cronus struck. With one mighty blow from the sickle Cronus severed the genitals from Uranus' body. From the blood which fell to the earth (Gaia) where born the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and also the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees). In other versions Aphrodite was born from the foam created from the sex organs of Uranus, after they had been thrown into the sea by Cronus. Once Cronus had castrated Uranus, he and his wife Rhea took the throne. Under their power a time of harmony and prosperity began, which became known as the "Golden Age"; a time when it was said that people lived without greed or violence, and without toil or the need for laws. But not all was well for Cronus, as it was fated that he would be overthrown by one of his own children. To prevent this from happening he began to swallow his newborn, taking them at birth then swallowing them whole, retaining them inside his own body where they could do him no harm. Rhea did not like the thoughts of loosing all her children, and with the help of Gaia she saved Zeus from this fate. Rhea wrapped a stone in Zeus' swaddling clothes which Cronus took and immediately swallowed thinking it was the child. Gaia and Rhea's plan worked well and the baby Zeus was taken to Crete, and there, in a cave on Mount Dicte, the divine goat Amaltheia suckled and raised the infant Zeus. When Zeus had grown into a young man he returned to his fathers domain, and with the help of Gaia, compelled Cronus to regurgitate the five children he had previously swallowed. (In some versions Zeus received help from Metis who gave Cronus an emetic potion, which made him vomit up Zeus' brothers and sisters). Zeus led the revolt against his father and the dynasty of the Titans, defeated and then banished them. The Romans compared Cronus with their Saturn, who was to the Romans a corn god. This is from the association of the "Golden Age". In Athens on the 12th day of the month Hekatombaion a festival was held in honour of Cronus, which was known as the "Kronia". It was a celebration of the harvest. In art, Cronus was depicted carrying a sickle used to gather the harvest, but this was also the weapon he used to castrate his father.

When Rhea gave birth to Zeus he was hidden on a mountain in Crete. Rhea was frightened that Cronus would hear him crying so she had the Curetes wait outside the mountain and bang their shields together, a sound which drowned out all others. Originally, the Curetes were vegetation demons who lived on Crete in the pre-Grecian time

The Cyclopes were giant beings with a single, round eye in the middle of their foreheads. According to Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and "abrupt of emotion." Their every action ebbed with violence and power. There are actually two generations of Cyclopes in Greek myth. The first generation consisted of three brothers, Brontes ("thunderer"), Steropes ("flasher"), and Arges ("brightener"), who came from the union of Gaia (earth) and Uranus (sky). The second generation descended from Poseidon, and the most famous of these was Polyphemus from Homer's Odyssey. Brontes, Steropes, and Arges (the three descended from Gaia and Uranus) were the inventive blacksmiths of the Olympian gods. They were skilled metal workers and created Zeus' thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident, and Hades' Helmet of Darkness that was later used by Perseus while on his quest to decapitate Medusa. However, they spent the majority of their early existence imprisoned. Their father Uranus (sky) hated all of his offspring (the Titans, Cyclopes, and Hecatonchires or hundred-handers) and kept them confined deep within Gaia (earth). The defeat of Uranus by his son Cronus (a Titan) freed the Cyclopes for a time, but Cronus was a paranoid ruler. He feared the Cyclopes' power and cast them into Tartarus (the place of punishment in the underworld) where they remained imprisoned until Zeus (an Olympian and son of Cronus) released them, requiring their aid in the Titanomachy (battle of the Titans). With the assistance of the Cyclopes and their thunderbolts, Zeus overthrew Cronus and the Titans and became ruler of the cosmos. He was grateful for the Cyclopes' help and allowed them to stay in Olympus as his armorers and helpers to Hephaestus, god of smiths. The Greeks also credited them with building the massive fortifications at Tiryns and Mycenae in the Peloponnese. Brontes, Steropes, and Arges are mainly mentioned in passing in most of the myths to convey strength in heroes and the fine quality of weapons but are major characters in one other event - their deaths at the hands of Apollo. Zeus struck Asclepius, Apollo's son, down with a thunderbolt for having risen a person from the dead. Apollo was outraged and killed the Cyclopes who had forged the deadly thunderbolt. It appears that Apollo's rage was misplaced, yet by killing the Cyclopes, he was indirectly punishing Zeus. The ghosts of Brontes, Steropes, and Arges are said to dwell in Mt. Aetna, an active volcano that smokes as a result of their burning forges. The second generation of Cyclopes was a band of lawless shepherds living in Sicily who had lost the skill of metallurgy. Polyphemus, son of Poseidon and the sea nymph Thoosa, is the only notable individual of the lot and figures prominently in Homer's Odyssey. Odysseus and his crew landed on Sicily, realm of the Cyclopes. He and a few of his best men became trapped in Polyphemus' cave when Polyphemus rolled a large boulder in front of the entrance to corral his sheep while Odysseus was still inside. Polyphemus was fond of human flesh and devoured many of the men for dinner. On the second night, Odysseus told Polyphemus that his name was "Nobody," and tricked him into drinking enough wine to pass out. While he was incapacitated, Odysseus/Nobody blinded him with a red hot poker. Polyphemus shouted in pain to the other Cyclopes on the island that "Nobody" was trying to kill him, so no one came to his rescue. Eventually, he had to roll away the stone to allow his sheep to graze. Odysseus and the remaining crew clung to the bellies of the exiting sheep where Polyphemus could not feel them as they passed him on their way to pasture and escaped. As Odysseus sailed away from the island, he shouted to Polyphemus that it was Odysseus who had blinded him. Enraged, the Cyclops threw huge boulders at the ship and shouted to his father, Poseidon, to avenge him. Recent scholars have hypothesized about the origin of the Cyclopes' single eye. One possibility is that in ancient times, smiths could have worn an eye patch over one eye to prevent being blinded in both eyes from flying sparks. Also, smiths sometimes tattooed themselves with concentric circles which could have been in honor of the sun which provided the fire for their furnaces. Concentric rings were also part of the pattern for making bowls, helmets, masks, and other metal objects. Notice that the first generation Cyclopes were associated with metal-working while the second generation was not. Apparently, the lawless band of Cyclopes is a later addition to the myths. The incidence with Polyphemus seems to have had an independent existence from the Odyssey before Homer added it to his epic adventure. It was probably told as a separate myth at certain functions. It is uncertain why the Cyclopes were demoted from the smiths of the gods to a lawless group of monsters with no reverence for the gods. When the universe came into being, there were many monsters and vague forms that were gradually replaced with beings with more human forms. Order was replacing chaos. The monsters were phased out, and this could have lead to the transformation of the "good" Cyclopes to the "evil" Cyclopes that were destined to be fought and defeated by the divine human form.

A mountain in the Peloponnesus, on the border of Achaia and Arcadia. It is the birthplace of Hermes

Another name for Hermes. So called from Mount Cyllene, in Peloponnesus, where he was born

A nymph from the Ida Mountains on Crete. She was a wet-nurse of Zeus and upon her death placed among the stars.


Cynthia is an epithet of Artemis, referring to her and Apollo's place of birth on Mount Cynthus on the island of Delos. For the same reason, Apollo was called Cynthius.

Raped by her father, she forced him into a nearby temple and sacrificed him on the altar.

The daughter of the naiad Creusa and the mortal Hypseus, king of the Lapiths, and granddaughter of the river god Peneus. This myth has Cyrene wrestling a lion which was attacking her father's sheep. The god Apollo, passing by, saw this and immediately fell in love with her. He carried her off to Africa, where he built her a city (called Cyrene, on the coast of North Africa). The region Cyrenaica is also named after her. Aristaeus is her son by Apollo.

An epithet of Aphrodite, referring to the fact that she rose from the sea near the island of Cythera, and where she was particularly worshipped.

An epithet of Aphrodite, referring to the fact that she rose from the sea near the island of Cythera, and where she was particularly worshipped.

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