Macaria was the daughter of Heracles and appears in
Euripides's play Heraclidae (The Children of Heracles).
When she and her siblings took refuge from Eurystheus
with Demophon, king of Athens, Eurystheus prepared
to take them from the kingdom by force. Oracles told
Demophon that his city would win the battle over Heracles's
descendants only if a highborn maiden was offered
as a sacrifice to Persephone. On hearing this, Macaria
offered to die for her siblings. The spring where
she died was named the Macarian spring in her honor.
The son of Asclepius. Together with his brother Polidarius
he led a company of Thessalonians in the battle of
Troy. Both brothers were renowned as healers. Machaon
was buried in Gerenia, in ancient ton of Messenia,
were he venerated by the people there.
The female devotees of the wine-god Dionysus, thus
also called Bacchae and Bacchantes. Inspired by him
to ecstatic frenzy, they accompany him in his wanderings
and as his priestesses carry out his orgiastic rites.
In their wild frenzy they tear animals apart and devour
the raw flesh. They are represented crowned with vine
leaves, clothes in fawnskins and carrying the thyrsus,
and dancing with the wild abandonment of complete
union with primeval nature.
1. The daughter of Proetus, and companion of the goddess
Artemis. Zeus pursued her with his love, so that the
jealous Artemis killed her. 2. A daughter of Atlas.
"The Pleiades" was the name given to the seven daughters
of Atlas and Pleione. Maia was the eldest of the daughters,
and said to be the most beautiful. Being shy, she
lived quietly and alone in a cave on Mount Cyllene,
in Arcadia. Zeus, however, discovered the beautiful
young woman, and fell in love with her. He came to
her cave at night, to make love to her away from the
jealous eyes of his wife, Hera. As a result, Maia
bore Zeus a son, Hermes. When still an infant, Hermes
stole some cattle from the god Apollo, and hid them
in his mother's cave. When Apollo stormed into Maia's
cave, she showed him the tiny baby to prove he could
not have been the cattle thief. Apollo was not fooled,
however, and angrily appealed to Zeus to punish Hermes.
Zeus arbitrated by requiring Hermes to give back the
cattle. During the feud, baby Hermes played the lyre,
and Apollo was so enchanted by the music that he dropped
the charges, and even gave some of the cattle to Hermes,
as well as other gifts. Some time later, Maia helped
Zeus when Hera had caused the death of one of his
other mistresses, Callisto, who had borne him a son,
named Arcas. Zeus ordered Hermes to give Arcas to
Maia to raise as her own, which she did. Arcas and
Callisto were eventually placed in the sky, becoming
the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (Big
and Little Bear) to escape the wrath of the ever-jealous
The Greek personification of madness.
The companion of Dionysus, and the one who raised
the god when he was still and infant. Later he became
a priest of Apollo at Ismarus (Thrace).
After Athena first played the flute she had invented,
she threw it away because it made her cheeks look
puffy when she played it. A satyr named Marsyas found
it. He played so well on it he challenged Apollo to
a music playing contest to see who made prettier music.
Apollo won the contest and wanted to punish Marsyas
for thinking he played better than him. Apollo chased
him and when he caught him, in a cave near Calaenae
in Phrygia, cut off his skin. The satyr's blood turned
into the river Marsyas.
Master of Animals
Master of Animals - a Late Bronze Age deity In the
Minoan and Mycenaean mythological and religious iconography
appears a male deity, called later by the Greeks,
Master of Animals. He is a counterpart of the Mistress
of Animals (Potnia theron) 1, portrayed with wild
animals, mainly lions and exerting his power over
them. On the seals and rings-relief the Master of
Animals is depicted with the Minoan manner , wearing
only a small cloth around his slim waist and turning
his body to show his muscular breasts and shoulders
in a frontal position. The head, usually with beard
and rich hair, has a strong facial expression . The
gem from Kydonia or the Mycenaean seal ring are illustrating
such type, while the well known Aegina Treasure-pendant
represents the Master of Animals with an Egyptian
influence. The motif is created by a completely different
way . The deity looks like an Egyptian, holding waterbirds
in his hands and his surrounding consists of double
snakes and papyrus flowers. The Oriental seals from
the Palace of Cadmus in Thiva are showing the Master
of Animals with goats, some vegetation and various
symbols from the Syrian and Mesopotamian mythology.
Some authors are supposing, that the Master of Animals
could represent a hunting deity and protector nature,
or even a nature god 2. But sometimes the deity, accompanied
by a lion, is armed with a spear and a shield and
at the other case he is armed with weapons again,
but without company of animals. M.P. Nilsson opened
an interesting question about the close relation between
Master of Animals and the armed god, as a hunter and
wargod. He believed, that the spear and the shield
became a religious symbol of this god 3. In my opinion,
the Master of Animals could represent from the beginning
of the Late Helladic period, a nature god who is related
with hunting. The Mycenaeans took this type from the
Minoan belief system, which was the origin of this
deity. After 1500 BC and during the 14th century BC
the conception of this figure was changing . A warlike
tendency of Mycenaean society was growing and it could
be a reason, that their male god had to take another
responsibility. His attributes, mainly the shield,
became frequent decorative motives in Mycenaean art
and pottery production. So it is possible, that the
male god, depicted from beginning mainly with animals,
and later on with a spear and a shield could be Enualios,
known from Linear B script 4, related in Greek literature
with Ares, god of war.
One of the Gorgons, and the only one who was mortal.
Her gaze could turn whoever she looked upon to stone.
There is a particular myth in which Medusa was originally
a beautiful maiden. She desecrated Athena's temple
by lying there with Poseidon. Outraged, Athena turned
Medusa's hair into living snakes. Medusa was killed
by the hero Perseus with the help of Athena and Hermes.
He killed her by cutting of her head and gave it to
Athena, who placed it in the center of her Aegis,
which she wore over her breastplate. From Medusa's
dead body the giant Chrysaor and the winged horse
Pegasus, her son by Poseidon, sprang forth.
Megaera, the grudging or unwilling, is one of the
three Erinyes or Furies. They were created by drops
of Uranus' blood. The Erinyes are the three goddesses
of revenge, they punished those who escaped or defied
public justice. The other two sisters are Alecto,
the unceasing, and Tisiphone, the avenging. The three
are women with fiery eyes, dogs' heads, and their
head are wreathed with serpents. Their whole appearance
is terrific and appalling. The sisters are sometimes
called the daughters of night and are brought about
by murder, perjury, ingratitude, disrespect, harshness,
and the laws of hospitality. Megaera, Alecto, and
Tisiphone are impartial and impersonal and they pursue
wrongdoers until they sinners are driven mad and die.
One of the original three Greek (Boeotian) Muses (their
number was later increased to nine) and the Muse of
Meditation. She is the sister of Aoide and Mneme.
A Greek nymph, the daughter of Oceanus. By Inachus
she became the mother of Phoroneus and Aegealeus or
Phegeus. According to other she was the mother of
Amycus by Poseidon.
1. The daughter of Oceanus, mother of Lycaon. 2. The
sole daughter of Niobe who was spared by Artemis.
She was so upset by the death of her brothers and
sisters that she was from that moment on called Chloris
("the pale one").
God of harbors in Greek mythology he was the son of
Athamas and Ino, and the brother of Learchus. In order
to save her son from her father, who had gone insane,
Ino threw him into the sea, where he was transformed
into the sea god, Palaemon. In memory of this event
and in honor of the god, Sisyphus made the Isthmian
Games. The legend of Melicertes is presented in the
sources with many variations due to being passed down
to one generation after another
A nymph, daughter of King Melisseus. She is thought
to have fed the infant Zeus with goat milk and thought
humans the use of honey (melitta, bee). 'Melissa'
was also a title for the priestesses of Demeter and
A legendary king of Crete, father of the nymph Melissa.
The Muse of tragedy. She is usually represented with
a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus (the boots
traditionally worn by tragic actors). Sometimes she
holds a knife of club in one hand, and the mask in
The daughter of Orion, and sister of Metioche. Both
sisters were endowed by Aphrodite with great beauty,
and equaled Artemis in the womanly crafts. When the
region where they were born, Aonia, at the base of
the Helicon, was struck by the plague, they voluntarily
sacrificed themselves to the gods of the underworld
in order to avert the plague. After their deaths they
were given a place among the stars.
1. One of the four sons of Iapetus and Clymene. He
angered Zeus and was struck down by a thunderbolt
at Mount Trphyle (or was cast down into the Tartarus).
2. Son of Actor, and father of Patroclus (Iliad, XI,
765). 3. Shepherd of Hades on the island of Erythea.
He warned Geryon that Heracles had stolen his herds.
A nymph, loved by Hades. She was turned into a plant
by a jealous Persephone.
A Greek mythological figure, Merope is one of the
seven Pleiades, daughters of Atlas and Pleione. The
Pleiades were virgin companions of Artemis. Merope
lived on Chios, and was often pursued by Orion. Merope
did not love Orion and married a mortal, Sisyphus/
Orion also pursued Alcyone, Electra, Celaeno, Sterope,
and Taygete, the other Pleiades and their mother.
One time they prayed to the gods for rescue. The gods
answered by turning them into doves and later into
stars. Zeus placed them in the sky where they now
form part of the constellation, Taurus. Since Merope
married a mortal, she became the faintest star.
1. The daughter of Oceanus. She is sometimes regarded
as the mother Phaeton by Helios or Clymenus. 2. The
daughter of Atlas, wife of Sisyphus (see: Merope).
3. The wife of Polybus, foster-mother of Oedipus.
One of the two daughters of Orion. She voluntarily
sacrificed herself to avert a plague. See: Menippe.
The Greek personification of wisdom and its goddess.
She is a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Metis is
regarded as the first wife of Zeus, whom he swallowed
when he discovered that she was pregnant, fearing
she might give birth to a son mightier than he. Subsequently,
the goddess Athena sprang fully armed from his head.
It was also Metis who delivered the remedy that made
Cronus disgorge the children he had swallowed.
Midas was the king of Pessinus, capital of Phrygia,
a region in Asia Minor. He was the adopted son of
Gordias and Cybele and was well known for his pristine
rose garden and love of the pleasures of life. The
most famous myth about King Midas is when he received
the golden touch from Dionysus, god of the life force.
Dionysus was associated with intoxication and was
followed by a group of satyrs -- half human, half
goat individuals with a lust for wine and sexual pleasures.
The leader of the satyrs, entrusted with Dionysus'
education, was Silenus. One day, completely in character
for a satyr, Silenus became intoxicated and passed
out in Midas' rose garden. The peasants found him
and brought him before their king. Luckily, Midas
recognized Silenus and treated him well for five days
and nights. During this time, Silenus entertained
Midas and his court with fantastic tales. Dionysus
came to Midas and was glad to be reunited with Silenus
his surrogate father. He decided to reward Midas for
his hospitality and granted him one wish. Midas wished
that everything he touched be turned to gold. Dionysus
warned him about the dangers of such a wish, but Midas
was too distracted with the prospect of being surrounded
by gold to listen. Dionysus gave him the gift. Initially,
King Midas was thrilled with his new gift and turned
everything he could to gold, including his beloved
roses. His attitude changed, however, when he was
unable to eat or drink since his food and wine were
also changed to unappetizing gold. He even accidentally
killed his daughter when he touched her, and this
truly made him realize the depth of his mistake. Desperate,
Midas pleaded to Dionysus for help. Dionysus instructed
Midas to bathe in the headwaters of the Pactolus River,
and the wish would be washed away. Midas went to the
river, and as soon as he touched the water, the river
carried away the golden touch. The gold settled in
the sands of the Pactolus River and was carried downstream
to Lydia, one of the richest kingdoms in the ancient
world and the source of the earliest coinage. This
myth is ethiological since it explains why the Pactolus
River is rich with gold and how Lydia came to be one
of the richest kingdoms. It is also carries a common
motif in Greek folklore - the "short-sighted wish".
Midas let his greed blind him to the future. Most
notably, this myth has aspects characteristic of myths
of Dionysus. Child sacrifice is a frequent theme in
Dionysian myths. Frequently, Dionysus would punish
mortals indirectly by having them kill their own children.
King Midas kills his daughter by turning her to gold.
He pays for his greed. After the death of his daughter,
Midas hated wealth and splendor and became a worshiper
of Pan, god of woodlands. In another myth, Pan challenged
Apollo, god of the music, to a test of skill at music.
Tmolus, god of the mountain, was the judge at the
contest and ruled that Apollo was the victor. Midas,
being a follower of Pan, questioned the ruling and
this offended Apollo. As a punishment for Midas' lack
of musical "taste", Apollo changed Midas' ears into
donkey ears. Ashamed of his disfigurement, he hid
his ears under a large hat with only his barber knowing
about the deformity. It was so hard for the barber
to keep the secret that he dug a hole, whispered the
secret into the hole, then covered it with earth.
From this spot grew reeds that whispered, "Midas has
donkey ears!" every time the wind blew. Another version
has the queen letting out the secret. In the end,
Midas ran away from Phrygia never to be heard from
1. One of the giants, and a son of the Earth (Gaia).
He was slain by Heracles. 2. A son of Amycus, a prominent
Trojan, and Theona (a sister of Hecuba). Mimas escorted
Aeneas to Italy and stayed there.
Minoan Snake Goddess
The Snake Goddess was one of the Minoan divinities
associated closely with the snake cult. She is called
also Household Goddess due to her attribute of the
snake, which is connected with welfare of the Minoan
house. But the snake is also symbol of the underworld
deity, so the Snake Goddess is related to chthonic
aspects too. The first, who identified this Minoan
Goddess and who described her domestic and chthonic
role and her cult, was A. Evans. He tried to find
parallels in the Egyptian religion and linked the
Snake Goddess with an Egyptian Goddess of the Nile
Delta, Wazet (Wadjyt). From his point of view the
attribute of goddess - snake - was a form of underworld
spirit, which had a domestic and a friendly significance.
M.P. Nilsson hold a snake as personification of the
Snake Goddess and he believed, that her chthonic form
is one of the aspects of the Great Mother. But at
the present time there are discussions about the functions
of the Snake Goddess. In Crete does not exist a real
archaeological evidence for her household role and
there is almost no support for the chthonic aspects
too. A small offering vessel of the Pre-Palace period
in the shape of a female figure with a snake coiled
around her body from Koumasa, came to light between
some grave goods. But the other ritual figurines of
the Snake Goddess were found in the Temple Repositories
of the Knossos palace and public sanctuaries in Gurnia,
Khania and Gortyn, where she was worshipped. Unknown
provenience is the Snake Goddess made from ivory and
gold (in the Boston museum) and a small bronze goddess
with coil of snakes (in the Berlin museum). Two famous
faience Snake Goddesses from Knossos belong to the
New-Palace period (about 1600 BCE). Besides the ritual
function, they are among the best examples of the
Minoan art with its dominant features - naturalism
and grace. They are presented as the ladies of the
palace court, dressed in the typical Minoan clothes
with a long skirt (flounced, or with an apron) and
a tight open bodice. The snakes crawl around the body
of one the goddesses and appear in each hand of the
other. These statuettes are interpreted sometimes
as the goddess and her votary, the mother goddess
and her daughter, or the human attendants of goddess,
as well as the women personified the goddess. Totally
different ritual objects of the Snake Goddesses came
from sanctuaries of the Post-Palace period (1400-1100
BCE). They are made from cheaper material - terracotta
- in the position with raised hands, extremely stylized
in accordance with the manners of this period. Their
symbol - a snake - is often mixed with the other sacred
signs: horns of consecration or birds. Figures of
the Snake Goddess and some other cult objects - so
called snake tubes and vessels with wholes, decorated
by a model of snake - illustrate the worshipping of
a Snake Goddess and her cult in Crete during some
periods. It seems that this cult came to existence
from very early Minoan age, derived from the Egyptian
belief system, but there was the strong Near-Eastern
influence too. In the Egyptian mythology the snake
was a personification of the goddess Kebechet, symbolized
the purification by water in the funeral cult, so
the snake became a protector of the pharaohs in their
death. In the Sumerian and the Old-Babylonian literary
tradition the snake was a wise creature and an expert
for miraculous herbs of the eternal youth and immortality.
A similar idea is contained in the Cretan myth about
Glaukos, where the snake knows the herb of rebirth
and resurrection. It is possible, that the worshipping
of the Minoan Snake Goddess was in some context to
the rebirth, resurrection or renewal of the life.
This cult was flourishing mainly in Knossos of the
New-palace period and in the Post-Palace public sanctuaries.
It is sure, that mainly Knossos' idols, made from
faience with a high artistic level, had an important
function in the Minoan religion. We have to take into
consideration, that the material of the New-Palace
Snake Goddesses - faience - symbolized in old Egypt
the renewal of life, therefore it was used in the
funeral cult and in sanctuaries. The Post-Palace Snake
Goddesses, worshipped in the small public sanctuaries,
kept probably a more popular role. These ritual objects
were influenced by the Mycenaean culture. Their attribute
of the snake had a strong signification in the belief
system of all Aegean region at this time. The terracotta
models of painted snakes were found in the Cult Center
of Mycenae and the motif of snakes appear between
the decoration of vessels for funeral cult from the
Late Mycenaean cemeteries in the mainland and in the
islands Rhodos, Kos and Cyprus. The symbol and spirit
of the Minoan Snake Goddess took in the Greek mythology
many different features. The snake had a protective
and beneficial role on the shield of Athena, it represented
the chthonic power connected with the Goddess of Earth,
it was the attribute of Asklepios, probably due to
its knowledge about the herb of rebirth, resurrection
and eternal youth and generally it was the symbol
of superhuman power of the god. But the snake could
have a totally negative role too as an originator
of the death and an avenger in company with the mythical
The legendary king of Crete, son of Zeus and the Phoenician
princess Europa. Minos and his two brothers, Rhadamanthys
and Sarpedon, were raised in the royal palace of Cnossus.
Minos married Pasiphae, daughter of the sun-god Helios.
Some of their children were Phaedra, Ariadne, and
Andregeos. In mythology, a dispute over the sovereignty
of Crete led Minos to ask Poseidon for help. He asked
the god to send an offering as a sign of his true
kingship. The god of the sea sent a gleaming pure
white bull, which emerged miraculously from the waves.
This confirmed to all concerned that Minos was their
true king. However, as soon as King Minos saw this
magnificent beast he refused to sacrifice it to Poseidon,
and replaced it with another. Poseidon in retaliation
sent Pasiphae into uncontrollable lust for this huge
beast. So much so that she had the urge to mate with
this huge animal. To do this she requested the help
of Daedalus, a craftsman and inventor, who built a
hollow wooden cow. Pasiphae hid inside, the amorous
bull mounted the wooden cow and as a result Pasiphae
conceived its child, or rather a creature which was
half man and half bull, which became known as the
Minotaur (Minotauros, "the bull of Minos"). King Minos
ordered Daedalus to construct a palace to hide the
Minotaur, and Daedalus built Labyrinth. Because of
his meddling Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son
Icarus inside a tower. They escaped by making wings
from wax and feathers, but Icarus was killed when
he flew to close to the sun. When Androgeos, the son
of King Minos, attended the games in Athens he was
victorious in all events, but was murdered through
envy by other contestants. Minos then attacked Athens
to avenge the death of Androgeos, and, after gaining
control of the city he granted Athens peace, but with
one condition: that every nine years Athens should
send seven of their finest young men and young maidens
to Crete, as sacrifice to the Minotaur. When the hero
Theseus heard about this practice, he volunteered
to be one of the victims, killing the Minotaur, and
freeing Athens from this grizzly duty. Another legend
of which King Minos is part, is that of King Nisus
of Megara, who to protect his city had to keep a lock
of red hair hidden in his own white hair. King Minos
besieged Megara, but Nisus knew that all would be
well, as long as the lock of red hair was still in
place. However, Scylla the daughter of Nisus fell
in love with Minos, and to prove her love for him
she cut the lock of red hair from her fathers head,
which killed Nisus, and Magara fell. When Minos found
out that Scylla had been responsible for her father's
death he killed her. She was reincarnated as a seabird,
to be pursued by her father Nisus, who had been turned
into a sea eagle. Sir Arthur Evans a British archaeologist
gave the name "Minoan" to the Cretan civilization,
from King Minos' name, (A.D. 1900). Even the name
Minos, may not have been the king's real name (and
is not Greek in origin) and could have been a hereditary
title of Minoan rulers.
Before he ascended the throne of Crete, Minos struggled
with his brothers for the right to rule. Minos prayed
to Poseidon to send him a snow-white bull, as a sign
of approval by the gods for his reign. He promised
to sacrifice the bull as an offering, and as a symbol
of subservience. A beautiful white bull rose from
the sea, but when Minos saw it, he coveted it for
himself. He assumed that Poseidon would not mind,
so he kept it and sacrificed the best specimen from
his herd instead. When Poseidon learned about the
deceit, he made Pasipha, Minos' wife, fall madly in
love with the bull. She had Daedalus, the famous architect,
make a wooden cow for her. Pasipha climbed into the
decoy and fooled the white bull. The offspring of
their lovemaking was a monster called the Minotaur.
The creature had the head and tail of a bull on the
body of a man. It caused such terror and destruction
on Crete that Daedalus was summoned again, but this
time by Minos himself. He ordered the architect to
build a gigantic, intricate labyrinth from which escape
would be impossible. The Minotaur was captured and
locked in the labyrinth. Every year for nine years,
seven youths and maidens came as tribute from Athens.
These young people were also locked in the labyrinth
for the Minotaur to feast upon. When the Greek hero
Theseus reached Athens, he learned of the Minotaur
and the sacrifices, and wanted to end this. He volunteered
to go to Crete as one of the victims. Upon his arrival
in Crete, he met Ariadne, Minos's daughter, who fell
in love with him. She promised she would provide the
means to escape from the maze if he agreed to marry
her. When Theseus did, she gave him a simple ball
of thread, which he was to fasten close to the entrance
of the maze. He made his way through the maze, while
unwinding the thread, and he stumbled upon the sleeping
Minotaur. He beat it to death and led the others back
to the entrance by following the thread.
The king of Orchomenos in Boeotia, and mythical ancestor
of the Minyans and thusly of the Argonauts. He is
the father of the Minyades.
1. The companion of Odysseus. 2. The brother-in-arms
of Hector, and later in the service of Aeneas. He
was the trumpeter of Aeneas' fleet, challenged Triton
and was drowned by him. Cape Misenum (current Miseno)
in the Bay of Naples was named after him
Mistress of Wild Animals
Mistress of the Wild Animals (Potnia theron) or Queen
of the Wild Bees, appears under many names. Her Minoan
name was Britomartis or Sweet Virgin and she was related
to Diktynna. The name Potnia is known from the Linear
script B tablets and was being used for the main Mycenaean
female deity. For the iconographical type goddess
surrounded by the animals, who was applied into Archaic
Greek art, was used usually the name Potnia theron,
but sometimes Artemis too. The Minoan seals relief
are showing the Mistress of Animals in frontal position
with raised hands, turning the lower part of her body,
dressed with a Minoan skirt. She is flanked by the
beasts, a double axe and snakes, which are giving
the evidence about her divinity. Her close relation
with nature and domination over the animals is illustrated
on the relief seal scene, on which one of the griffins,
accompanying the deity, is suckling her breast. The
other representation on the golden ring is showing
the deity with a galloping griffin. The griffins,
the same as the beasts, became followers of her divinity
and also get a function as guardians. Sometimes, the
mythical and wild animals depicted alone, or with
some religious equipment (as an altar or column),
are giving an information about the presence of the
deity or about her sacred place. During 15th century
BC the Mycenaeans, heavy influenced by Minoan culture,
presented the Mistress of Animals with a Minoan manner
and with her usual sacred symbols. But at the Late
Mycenaean period the old type of deity flanked by
the animals was forgotten. On the wall paintings the
goddess is sometimes accompanied by the griffin and
generally absolutely new iconographical religious
themes and types were discovered . In the early Archaic
Greek art Mistress of Animals emerges again. The relief
on the pithos from Thebes is showing her in frontal
position with raised hands, accompanied by the lions
and two small human figures, while a Boetian vase
is illustrating her domination over many kinds of
animals. The necklace plaques, decorated with the
Mistress of Animals from the second half of 7th century
BC, are presenting her with wings in a daedalic style,
surrounded by lions or with a body of bees without
company of the animals. Finally, the Francois vase
is representing the type of this deity again with
wings, holding a lion and a deer, but in this situation
she is called sometimes Potnia theron, sometimes Artemis.
Mistress of Animals, a counterpart of Master of Animals,
is usually described as a hunting deity, but some
authors associate her not only with wild animals,
snakes, birds, but further with a sacred tree and
pillar, with some poppy and some lily and finally
she looks like a Mistress of Trees and Mountains.
M.P. Nilsson believed, that she was an earlier form
of the Minoan Mother of Mountains. The Mycenaeans
adopted the iconographical type of Mistress of Animals
and used it besides the goddess of nature, who was
represented with vegetation, mainly palms and papyrus
flowers. The archaic Greeks, following the tradition,
used the old iconographical scheme with their own
esthetic program, but later on the name Potnia theron,
her attributes and functions were integrated with
One of the original three Greek Muses (their number
was later increased to nine). Mneme is the Muse of
Memory. She is the sister of Aoide and Melete.
Menemosyne is the personification of memory and its
goddess. She is a daughter of Gaia and Uranus and
the mother of the nine Muses by Zeus, her nephew.
Moira was a very important and powerful Greek godess.
She was the goddess of fate. Moira was the supreme
even over the gods and goddesses of Olympus. Her mysterious
force was more powerful than any other of the Olympian
The Fates, or Moirae, were these goddesses controlled
the destiny of everyone from the time they were born
to the time they died. They were: Clotho, the spinner,
who spun the thread of a person's life, Lachesis,
the apportioner, who decided how much time was to
be allowed each person, and Atropos, the inevitable,
who cut the thread when you were supposed to die.
Even though the other gods were almighty, and supposedly
immortal, even Hera had reason to fear them. All were
subject to the whims of the Fates. Ministers of the
Fates were always oracles or soothsayers (seers of
the future). The Fates were very important, but it
is still unknown to who their parents were. There
is some speculation that they might be the daughters
of Zeus, however, this is debatable. The Fates were
often depicted as ugly hags, cold and unmerciful.
But the Fates were not always deaf to the pleading
of others. When Atropos cut the thread of King Admetus,
who happened to be Apollo's friend, Apollo begged
the Fates to undo their work. It was not in their
power to do so, but they promised that if someone
took Admetus' place in the gloomy world of Hades'
domain, he would live. The king's wife, Alcetis, said
she would take his place. But Hercules, who happened
to be Admetus' guest, rescued her from the underworld,
and Admetus an Alcetis were reunited.
Momus is the Greek deity of mockery, faultfinding,
scoff and (un)fair criticism. He is also the patron
of writers and poets. He found fault with the man
made by Hephaestus for not having little doors in
his breast through which his secret thoughts might
be seen, and with Aphrodite for talking too much and
because her sandals creaked. This and other mocking
and criticism of the gods led to his downfall and
he was banished from the Olympus. Hesiod called him
a son of Nyx (Night).
Mormo was a Greek goddess. She would bite naughty
children and make them crippled. Mormo did this to
frighten them. She was not one of the twelve immortals
that lived on Mt. Olympus.
Moros ("destiny") is the Greek personification of
doom. He is the son of Erebus and Nyx and the brother
The Greek god of dreams. He lies on a ebony bed in
a dim-lit cave, surrounded by poppy. He appears to
humans in their dreams in the shape of a man. He is
responsible for shaping dreams, or giving shape to
the beings which inhabit dreams. Morpheus, known from
Ovid's Metamorphoses, plays no part in Greek mythology.
His name means "he who forms, or molds" (from the
Greek morphe), and is mentioned as the son of Hypnos,
the god of sleep.
"Leader of the Muses". An epithet of Apollo as leader
of the nine Muses.
The Greek goddesses who presided over the arts and
sciences. They were believed to inspire all artists,
especially poets, philosophers, and musicians. The
Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the
goddess of memory. The number of Muses varies over
time; initially there was but one, and later there
is mention of three: Melete, Mneme, and Aoede. They
were nymphs in Pieria, western Thrace, and their cult
was brought to Helicon in Boeotia by the Aloadae.
Usually there is mention of nine muses: Calliope,
Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore,
Thalia, and Urania. The Muses were venerated throughout
Greece, but more so in those areas with many wells
and springs. The area of Boeotia, near Helicon, remained
the favorite place of the Muses, and there they were
more venerated than elsewhere. It is also the place
of two well that were sacred to them, Aganippe and
Hippocrene. Also Delphi and the Parnassus were their
favorite places, and it was here that Apollo became
their leader (musagetes). The Muses sat near the throne
of Zeus, king of the gods, and sang of his greatness
and of the origin of the world and its inhabitants
and the glorious deeds of the great heroes. From their
name words such as music, museum, mosaic are derived.
The daughter of Cinyras and by him the mother of Adonis.
She was turned into a myrrh tree.