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MITOLOGY DICTIONARY(P)

P

Paean
A Greek god of healing and regarded as the physician to the other gods. He is often identified with other gods (among which Apollo, Asclepius, Dionysus, Zeus) in their roles as healers and protectors against illness and misfortune. Paean emerged as an independent deity in later Greek literature. A paean is also a hymn in honor of Apollo, in which he, as healer, is glorified and praised.

Palaci
Twin sons of Zeus (or Hephaestus) and the nymph Thalia. They were chthonic deities who were venerated as heroes on Sicily. They had a shrine in Palacia, north-west of Syracuse, near Mount Etna. To test the reliability of their oath, people had to subject themselves to some kind of divine judgment at that place.

Palaemon
A marine deity connected with Poseidon, and identified by the Romans with Portunes, god of harbors. He was originally Melicertes, son of Ino, and became a marine deity together with his mother when she cast herself with him into the sea.

Pallas
One of the Titans. Pallas is the son of Crius and Eurybia and husband of Styx. Pallas is the father of Zelus, Nike, Cratos and Bia. He is also occasionally considered the father of Eos. Pallas is also an appellation of the goddess Athena (Pallas Athena) who, according to some accounts was the daughter of Pallas. In this version Pallas attempted to rape her and she killed him. From his skin she made the Aegis.

Panacea

Panacea ("heal-all" or "universal cure") is a herb that is supposed to heal all ailments. In ancient Greece she was personified as a minor Greek goddess who symbolizes the power of healing through herbs. She is said to be one of the daughters (or sister) of Asclepius and Epione.

Pandia

Pandia ("all-bright") was a Greek mythological figure. She was the daughter of Zeus and Selene. She was the sister of Ersa and Nemea. Pandia was the goddess of brightness, especially the sun. She might have also been the goddess of the full moon and the mate of Zeus Pandion, the full moon god.

Pandora

In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, to create her and he did, using water and earth. The gods endowed her many with talents; Aphrodite gave her beauty, Apollo music, Hermes persuasion, and so forth. Hence her name: Pandora, "all-gifted". When Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Epimetheus, Prometheus' brother. With her, Pandora had a jar which she was not to open under any circumstance. Impelled by her natural curiosity, Pandora opened the jar, and all evil contained escaped and spread over the earth. She hastened to close the lid, but the whole contents of the jar had escaped, except for one thing which lay at the bottom, and that was Hope.

Pandorus
A son of Erechtheus.

Pandrosus
Literally, "the all-dewy one". She is a daughter of Cecrops.

Panopea
One of the Nereids.

Panoptes
"The all-seeing". An epithet of Helios and Argus.

Parthenos
"Virgin", an epithet of the goddess Athena. The Parthenon is her temple on the Acropolis in Greece.

Pasiphae

The daughter of Helios and Perse, and wife of King Minos. She was the mother of Glaucus, Andogeus, Phaedra, and Ariadne. When Minos had the misfortune of insulting Poseidon, the god kindled a passionate love in Pasiphae for a bull. She had Daedalus design a construction so that she could mate with the bull, and thus she became the mother of the Minotaur.

Pegasus
In Greek mythology, Pegasus is the winged horse that was fathered by Poseidon with Medusa. When her head was cut of by the Greek hero Perseus, the horse sprang forth from her pregnant body. His galloping created the well Hippocrene on the Helicon (a mountain in Boeotia). When the horse was drinking from the well Pirene on the Acrocotinth, Bellerophon's fortress, the Corinthian hero was able to capture the horse by using a golden bridle, a gift from Athena. The gods then gave him Pegasus for killing the monster Chimera but when he attempted to mount the horse it threw him off and rose to the heavens, where it became a constellation (north of the ecliptic). In another version, Bellerophon killed the Chimera while riding on Pegasus, and when he later attempted to ride to the summit of Mount Olympus, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting the horse, and it threw Bellerophon off its back.

Peitho

Peitho ("persuasion") is the personification of persuasion and seduction. She is the daughter of Hermes and Aphrodite, and usually mentioned as the sister of Tyche and Eunomia She was part of the retinue of Aphrodite.

Pelasgus

In Greek mythology, the mythical ancestor of the Pelasges, a people that Herodotus called the eldest inhabitants of Greece. It is also the name of the king of Argos who sheltered Danaus and his fifty daughters when they fled from Aegyptus.

Pemphredo
Literally, "alarm". She is one of Graeae, the three old women from Greek myth.

Peneus
The god of a river in Thessaly, son of Oceanus and Tethys. He is the father of Daphne, the nymph who was persued by Apollo.

Penia

Penia is the personification of poverty and was worshipped among the poor. After a feast among the gods, she married Porus.

Penthus
The personification of grief. When Zeus decided who would be the god of that, Penthus was absent. There was nothing left for him to preside over except the honors paid to the dead, mourning and tears. Penthus favors those who weep for the dead, and because they are so good at weeping he sends them the most grief he can. So the best way to avoid grief is to keep the amount of distress at a minimum.

Perse
Also Perseis, was one of the Oceanids from Greek culture, and was one the three thousand daughters of Oceanus and Tethys. With the sun-god Helios, she became mother of Calypso, Aeetes, Circe, Pasiphae, and Perses. Another version of Perse¹s life said Apollo was the father of her children.

Persephone
Persephone is the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Persephone was such a beautiful girl that everyone loved her, even Hades wanted her for himself. When she was a little girl, she and the Oceanids were collecting flowers on the plain of Enna, when suddenly the earth opened and Hades rose up from the gap and abducted her. None but Zeus had noticed it. Broken-hearted, Demeter wandered the earth, looking for her daughter until Helios, the all-seeing, revealed what had happened. Demeter was so angry that she withdrew herself in loneliness, and all fertility on earth stopped. Finally, Zeus sent Hermes down to Hades to make him release Persephone. Hades grudgingly agreed, but before she went back he gave Persephone a pomegranate to eat, thus she would always be connected to his realm and had to stay there one-third of the year. The other months she remained with her mother. When Persephone was in Hades, Demeter refused to let anything grow and winter began. This myth is a symbol of the budding and dying of nature. In the Eleusinian mysteries, this happening was celebrated in honor of Demeter and Persephone, who was known in this cult as Kore. The Romans called her Proserpina.

Phaeton
The son of the sun-god Helios. When Phaeton ("the shining one") finally learned who his father was, he went east to meet him. He induced his father to allow him to drive the chariot of the sun across the heavens for one day. The horses, feeling their reins held by a weaker hand, ran wildly out of their course and came close to the earth, threatening to burn it. Zeus noticed the danger and with a thunderbolt he destroyed Phaeton. He fell down into the legendary river Eridanus where he was found by the river nymphs who mourned him and buried him. The tears of these nymphs turned into amber. For the Ethiopians however it was already too late: they were scorched by the heat and their skins had turned black.

Phaetusa

The daughter of Helios. With her sister Lampetia she was in charge of the herds of her father.

Phantasos

A son of Hypnos and one of the Oneiroi, the personifications of the various types of dreams. The various lifeless items one meets in one's dreams are created by him. His name means "apparition".

Pheme
In Greek mythology, Pheme was the goddess of fame and report. She was said to be the daughter of Gaia. Pheme was born at the time of her great displeasure at the overthrow of the Giants. Pheme was always prying. She announced whatever she heard, first to only a few, then louder until everyone had known. Pheme was represented as a winged, gentle figure holding a trumpet.

Phemonoe
The daughter of Apollo who, according to tradition, was the first Pythia (the name of the first priest of Apollo's temple at Delphi). She is also regarded as the inventor of the hexameter (six metrical feet), because in this trance the oracle's answer was given.

Pherusa
One of the nereids.

Philammon
The son of Apollo. He was a Thracian singer and musician. His children were Thamyris and Eumolpus.

Philemon

A pious, elderly man, husband of Baucis. Despite their poverty, they gave a warm welcome to Zeus and Hermes. Before they came upon the elderly people, they had been refused hospitality by wealthier and more dignified people. As punishment, the gods turned the entire region into a swamp, but they changed the cottage of their hosts into a temple. The granted the elderly couple a wish, and Philemon and Baucis asked to serve the gods as guardians of the temple. When their life came to an end, they were turned into a oak and a lime tree.

Philonoe
1. The daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, beloved by Artemis who made her immortal. 2. The daughter of Iobates and consort of Bellerophon.

Philotes
The Greek personification of affection. She is usually ascribed as the daughter of Nyx and sister of Apate ("deceit"), Geras ("old age"), and Eris.

Philyra
Philyra was the Greek daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Some believe that she was the wife of Nauplius, with whom she had many children. She was the mother of the centaur Chiron, who was very wise. She was the shape-shifting goddess of beauty, perfume, healing, and writing. Philyra was also the inventor of paper.

Phlegethon
The river that flows with fire which burns and does not consume. It is one of the five principal rivers in the realms of Hades.

Phobetor
A son of Hypnos and one of the Oneiroi, the personifications of the various types of dreams. In the dreams of humans Phobetor made various animal shapes appear. His name means "frightning".

Phobos
Phobos ("fright") is the Greek personification of fear and terror. He is usually considered to be a son of Ares, and accompanying him in battle, instilling fear in all he saw. His brother of Deimos

Phoebe
1. The daughter of Uranus and Gaia. She married her brother Coeus and with him she became the mother of Leto and Asteria. It is said that she owned the oracle of Delphi before Apollo took it over. 2. Another name for Artemis as moon-goddess. The name is the feminine form of Phoebus, the name of her twin brother Apollo as sun-god. 3. The daughter of Leda and sister of Helen.

Phoebus
Literally, "the radiant one". In Greek mythology, an epithet of Apollo because of his connection with the sun or as descendant of the Titaness Phoebe (his grandmother). The Romans venerated him as Phoebus Apollo.

Phoenix
In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix is a mythical bird and associated with the Egyptian sun-god Re and the Greek Phoibos (Apollo). According to the Greeks the bird lives in Arabia, nearby a cool well. Each morning at dawn, it would bathe in the water and sing such a beautiful song, that the sun-god stops his chariot to listen. There exists only one phoenix at the time. When it felt its death approaching (every 500 or 1461 years), it would build a nest of aromatic wood and set it on fire, and was consumed by the flames. When it was burned, a new phoenix sprang forth from the pyre. It then embalmed the ashes of its predecessor in an egg of myrrh and flew with it to Heliopolis ("city of the sun"). There it would deposit the egg on the altar of the sun god. In Egypt is was usually depicted as a heron, but in the classic literature as a peacock, or an eagle. The phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death. In that aspect it was often placed on sarcophagi. It is associated with the Egyptian Benu, the Garuda of the Hindus, and the Chinese Feng. PhorcydesThe offspring of Phorcys and Ceto: the Graeae, the Gorgons, and Echidna.

Phorcys
1. A Greek sea-god, son of Pontus and Gaia. He is the father of the Hesperides, the nymphs Thoosa and Scylla, as well as various monsters such as the Graeae, the Gorgons, and the dragon Ladon. The Cyclops Polyphemus was his grandson. 2. A leader of the Phrygians during the Trojan War. He was killed by Ajax.

Phoroneus
The son of the river-god Inachus and the Oceanid Melia. He was the king of the Peloponnesus and introduced there Hera's service. He also encouraged people to together in cities and brought them civilization, by, for example, teaching them how to use fire. He was venerated especially in Argos.

Phthonus
The Greek personification of envy. Phthonus was said to have married many different women and killed most of them because he suspected that they cheated on him. He was usually thought of as the son of Dionysus and Nyx.

Pillars of Hercules
The rocky heights on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar. In one tradition, it was Heracles who broke through the mountain barrier which had locked the Mediterranean, thus creating the outlet to the ocean. One of the pillars is called Capi, while the other, the opposite promontory in Africa (Jebel Musa, or Apes' Hill) was anciently called Abyla.

Pirene

A sacred well of the Muses, located at the acropolis of Corinth. It was there that the hero Bellerophon managed to catch the horse Pegasus while it drinking there.

Pitys
A Greek nymph who was turned into a pine tree by the gods, in order to save her from the courting Pan.

Pleiades
The Pleiades are the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. They were the virgin companions of Artemis. When Orion, a beautiful hunter, pursued them and their mother, they prayed to the gods for rescue. The gods answered they prayer and they were changed into doves, and later into stars. Zeus placed them in the sky where they formed a part of the constellation of Taurus. According to another myth, they committed suicide after the death of their sisters the Hyades. The Pleiads are Alcyone, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Sterope, Merope and Taygete.

Pleione
One of the Oceanids, and by Atlas the mother of the seven Pleiades.

Plutus
The Greek god and personification of wealth, regarded as the son Demeter. He is said to have been blinded by Zeus, that he might dispense his gifts blindly and without regard to merit. His attributes are a cornucopia and a basket filled with ears of corn.

Podarge
One of the Harpies. By Zephyrus she became the mother of Xanthus and Balius, the horses of Achilles.

Polias
Literally, "of the city (polis)", an epithet of Athena as protectress of the Acropolis and the city of Athens.

Polidarius
The son of Asclepius. He and his brother Polidarius were renowned as healers.

Polydeuces

Polydeuces is a figure in Greek mythology. He is also the twin brother of Castor and the son of Zeus and Leda of Sparta, who was a mortal. He and Castor form the constellation Gemini. The twins were born from eggs after Zeus visited Leda as a swan. Since one parent was mortal and the other immortal, Castor became mortal whereas Polydeuces became immortal. Polydeuces was known as a boxer and won many Olympic events. He was also one of Jason's Argonauts on Jason's quest for the golden fleece. During the quest, Polydueces proved himself by killing an evil king and allowing the quest to continue. When the twins returned from the quest, they got in a dispute with two other men which was followed by a terrible battle. During this battle, Castor, the mortal, was killed. Polydeuces was terribly saddened by this and cried to his father Zeus. Zeus listened to Polydueces and decided to let Polydeuces and Castor spend alternate days on Olympus, home of the gods, and in the underworld. Zeus also raised the twins image to the sky forming the constellation Gemini or the twin stars.

Polyhymnia
Polyhymnia is the Greek Muse of the sacred hymn, eloquence and dance. She is usually represented in a pensive or meditating position. She is a serious looking woman, dressed in a long cloak and resting with an elbow on a pillar. Sometimes she holds a finger to her mouth.

Polyphemus

Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon and Thoosa. He was a Cyclops (plural Cyclopes) in Greek (Kuklops) meaning "round eye", a mythical semi-human monster of huge proportions, with a single eye at the centre of his forehead, usually described as a one-eyed giant. The island where they are thought to have dwelt is a remote part of Sicily, where they lived in caves and eating raw flesh of any kind (including human), and also keeping goats and sheep. They led a fairly solitary existence. Polyphemus is best remembered for the role he took in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey when he captures the Greek hero Odysseus. The story unfolds as Odysseus and twelve of his crew, on their way home from the Trojan War, land on the island of the Cyclopes in search of provisions. Odysseus and his men came across the cave of Polyphemus, and went inside hoping to steal food while Polyphemus was away tending his flock. Being inquisitive, Odysseus wanted to see what a Cyclops looked like, so they hid in the cave until Polyphemus returned. That evening, Polyphemus herded his flock of sheep and goats into his cave and, for safekeeping, rolled a huge boulder across the entrance, not knowing the Greeks were inside. On seeing the one-eyed giant. Odysseus and his men gasped in disbelief, giving away their hiding place. Polyphemus rushed forward and killed two of the men, then devouring them both for his dinner, he then fell fast asleep. Odysseus relished the thought of killing Polyphemus, but knowing full well he and his men could never remove the boulder from the cave entrance, conceived a plan on how to escape. On waking the next morning Polyphemus caught two more of Odysseus' men, and ate them both for breakfast. He then rolled back the boulder, allowing just enough room for his flock to get out, then rolling the huge rock back into place, leaving the Greeks inside ready for his next meal. Odysseus set his men to work on sharpening a stout pole, which they did, and then hiding it ready for that evening. As dusk grew close Polyphemus returned, again rolling back the boulder and letting in his flock. He then caught two more Greeks, killed them and ate them raw. After consuming both men he spoke to Odysseus asking, "what is your name", Odysseus' reply was "Outis" (in Greek this means "nobody"). As part of the plan, Odysseus offered Polyphemus a full goatskin of wine and when he had finish the last drop, and feeling a little drunk, Polyphemus fell fast asleep. This was the time to take action, Odysseus and four of his men brought out the pole, which they had sharpened, and with one great thrust plunged the point into Polyphemus' eye, pushing it deep, to ensure it made him totally blind. The agonizing pain made Polyphemus scream out, so loud in fact that it brought the neighboring Cyclopes to see what was wrong. "Who is hurting you" asked the other Cyclopes, Polyphemus screamed "nobody is hurting me", (which is why Odysseus said was his name was "Outis"). Tthinking his screams were a punishment from the gods, the other Cyclopes went away. At daybreak Polyphemus rolled the great boulder from the mouth of the cave to let out his flock, but being totally blind, and knowing the Greeks would try to escape, he felt each animal as he let it pass. Odysseus and his men held on to the belly of a ram, and, one at a time escaped from the cave. They quickly ran to their ship, taking with then part of the flock. Once aboard, Odysseus taunted Polyphemus by telling him his true identity, and Polyphemus, realizing he had been tricked hurled rocks at the ship, trying to smash its hull to pieces. When Odysseus had made his escape, Polyphemus prayed to his father asking him to send a curse, and throughout the rest of Odysseus' journey home Poseidon was his enemy. In the Hellenistic age, Theocritus the Sicilian Greek poet, wrote two poems (circa 275 BC) set in the time before the Odysseus legend, a tale of how Polyphemus fell in love with the sea nymph Galatea. Polyphemus was also one of the Argonauts names, from the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, but bears no relationship to "Polyphemus the Cyclops".

Pontus
Pontus is the personification of the sea and the son of Gaia and Aether. With Gaia he fathered Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.

Porphyrion
One of the giants who fought against the gods. He was killed by Heracles.

Porus

The personification of expediency. Porus is the son of Metis and husband of Penia (Poverty). He was sometimes considered the father of Eros.

Poseidon

Poseidon is a god of many names. He is most famous as the god of the sea. The son of Cronus and Rhea, Poseidon is one of six siblings who eventually "divided the power of the world." His brothers and sisters include: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Zeus. The division of the universe involved him and his brothers, Zeus and Hades. Poseidon became ruler of the sea, Zeus ruled the sky, and Hades got the underworld. The other divinities attributed to Poseidon involve the god of earthquakes and the god of horses. The symbols associated with Poseidon include: dolphins, tridents, and three-pronged fish spears. Poseidon was relied upon by sailors for a safe voyage on the sea. Many men drowned horses in sacrifice of his honor. He lived on the ocean floor in a palace made of coral and gems, and drove a chariot pulled by horses. However, Poseidon was a very moody divinity, and his temperament could sometimes result in violence. When he was in a good mood, Poseidon created new lands in the water and a calm sea. In contrast, when he was in a bad mood, Poseidon would strike the ground with a trident and cause unruly springs and earthquakes, ship wrecks, and drownings. Poseidon was similar to his brother Zeus in exerting his power on women and in objectifying masculinity. He had many love affairs and fathered numerous children. Poseidon once married a Nereid, Amphitrite, and produced Triton who was half-human and half-fish. He also impregnated the Gorgon Medusa to conceive Chrysaor and Pegasus, the flying horse. The rape of Aethra by Poseidon resulted in the birth of Theseus; and he turned Caeneus into a man, at her request, after raping her. Another rape involved Amymone when she tried to escape from a satyr and Poseidon saved her. Other offspring of Poseidon include: Eumolpus, the Giant Sinis, Polyphemus, Orion, King Amycus, Proteus, Agenor and Belus from Europa, Pelias, and the King of Egypt, Busiris. One of the most notorious love affairs of Poseidon involves his sister, Demeter. Poseidon pursued Demeter and to avoid him she turned herself into a mare. In his lust for her, Poseidon transformed himself into a stallion and captured her. Their procreation resulted in a horse, Arion. Poseidon is Greek for "Husband" (possibly of wheat), and therefore it is thought that he and Demeter (goddess of wheat) are a good match because they reign as the god and goddess of fertility. Another infamous story of Poseidon involves the competition between him and the goddess of war, Athena, for the city of Athens. To win the people of the city over, Poseidon threw a spear at the ground and produced the Spring at the Acropolis. However, Athena won as the result of giving the people of Athens the olive tree. In his anger over the decision, Poseidon flooded the Attic Plain. Eventually, Athena and Poseidon worked together by combining their powers. Even though Poseidon was the god of horses, Athena built the first chariot. Athena also built the first ship to sail on the sea over which Poseidon ruled. Poseidon often used his powers of earthquakes, water, and horses to inflict fear and punishment on people as revenge. Though he could be difficult and assert his powers over the gods and mortals, Poseidon could be cooperative and it was he who helped the Greeks during the Trojan War. Poseidon is an essential character in the study of Greek mythology

Pothos
The personification of desire. Pothos appeared with Eros and Himerus and was supposedly the son of Cronus and Aphrodite.

Potnia

Potnia was the most important goddess in Greece in the Late Bronze Age, which is called Mycenaean (1600 - 1100 BC). She is mentioned on the tablets with Linear scripts B from Knossos and Pylos as PO-TI-NI-JA with many epithets. Some of these adjectives are of local provenience, where some of them characterize the sphere of her influence. In Mycenaean monuments, Potnia appears with many attributes: the snakes, the double axes, the lions, the doves, the griffin, as well as other kinds of animals and sacred features. Sometimes standing alone they have to indicate the presence of the goddess. Potnia is the protector of nature, vegetation, fertility and in this case she is closely related to the Minoan Mother of the Mountains. During Late Helladic III period (after 1400 BC) Potnia is depicted more war-like. Armed with weapons, wearing a helmet, she is accompanied by the griffin. J.Chadwick believes that Potnia was connected with the cult of the Earth Mother, dominated from Early Helladic time over all Aegean religion. He supposes this cult continued with a variety of names into the classical period. M.P. Nilson presumed the role of Potnia in Greek classical religion was taken over by Athena, Rhea and Hera. I think the position of Potnia and her attributes were changing in the harmony with needs of Mycenaean community. Beside her primary function of the goddess of nature, vegetation and fertility, she had to be powerful and warlike to protect Mycenaean palaces and their cities against the enemies. That is why Mycenaeans paid great attention to the weapons, showing Potnia with helmet or sword, and it is not to be wondered that one adjective of Potnia on the tablet from Pylos was connected with bronze-smiths. In Greek Olympian religion the place of Potnia disappeared. Her role and her divine attributes spread out between many goddesses.

Priapus
The Greek protector of gardens and domestic animals and fruits. He is a son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, and a strong phallic fertility deity. Carved images of Priapus, with large ithyphallic genitals, were placed in the fields and gardens to ensure fruitfulness and protection. He was imported into Rome from Lampascus where Pausanias reported he was supreme among all gods. The Roman Priapus was far more popular than his Greek version.

Prometheus

Prometheus was the son of Iapetus who was one of the Titans. He tricked the gods into eating bare bones instead of good meat. He stole the sacred fire from Zeus and the gods. Prometheus did not tell Zeus the prophecy that one of Zeus's sons will overthrow him. In punishment, Zeus commanded that Prometheus be chained for eternity in the Caucasus. There, an eagle (or, according to other sources, a vulture) would eat his liver, and each day the liver would be renewed. So the punishment was endless, until Heracles finally killed the bird. Prometheus is known to be one of the most interesting characters in Greek Mythology

Proteus
Proteus is a prophetic sea divinity, son of either Poseidon or Oceanus. He usually stays on the Island of Pharos, near Egypt, where he herds the seals of Poseidon. He will foretell the future to those who can seize him, but when caught he assumes all possible varying forms to avoid prophesying. When held fast despite his struggles, he will assume his usual form of an old man and tell the future.

Protogenea
The daughter of Deucalion and Pyrrha.

Protogonus
An appellation of Eros, in the theology of the Orphic-Dionysic Mysteries, as "firstborn" of the primeval egg of Nyx (Night).

Psamathe

1. A Nereid, with Aeacus the mother of Phocus (Ovid XI, 398). 2. Daughter of Crotopus, the king of Argos. With Apollo she was the mother of Linus, and was killed for this by her father.

Psamathe
1. A Nereid, with Aeacus the mother of Phocus (Ovid XI, 398). 2. Daughter of Crotopus, the king of Argos. With Apollo she was the mother of Linus, and was killed for this by her father.

Psyche
The personification of the human soul. In the well-known fable of the Roman writer Apuleius (ca. 125 - ca. 180), Psyche is the youngest of three daughters. She was of such extraordinary beauty that Aphrodite herself became jealous of her. The goddess then sent her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly man. However, the god himself fell in love with the girl and visited her every night, but forbade her to see his face, so she did not know who her lover was. On her sisters' instigation she tried to discover the true identity of her beloved. When he lay asleep in her bed, she lit an oil lamp but when she bent over to see Eros' face, a drop of oil from her lamp fell on him and he awakened. When he noticed her intent, he left her. Psyche wandered the earth in search of her lover, until she was finally reunited with him. On ancient Greek vases, Psyche is portrayed in the shape of a bird with a human head, sometimes with a beard. Later she is shown in the shape of a cock, butterfly, or a small human figure. As the beloved of Eros she is a fair maiden, often with butterfly wings.

Psychopompos

"The leader," or "conductor of the soul". It is an epithet of Hermes as conductor of the souls of the deceased to the realm of Hades. The Egyptian god Anubis also had such a function.

Pygmalion
Pygmalion was a very talented sculptor in ancient Greece who loved his work, and would spend hours carving beautiful ivory statues, immersing himself in his art. One day, he chose a large, beautiful piece of ivory, and worked diligently at it, chiseling and hammering until he finished. It was a statue of a beautiful lady. Pygmalion thought it was so beautiful, he clothed the figure, gave it jewels, and named it Galatea (sleeping love). Pygmalion went to the temple of Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love and beauty to pray for a wife just like the statue in his home. When Aphrodite heard him, she went to the home of he sculptor to see what all the fuss was about. She was delighted when she saw Galatea. She thought it looked a lot like herself, so she brought it to life. When the sculptor returned home, he found Galatea alive, and threw himself at her feet. Galatea smiled down at him. They soon got married, and Pygmalion didn't forget to thank Aphrodite for his good fortune. He and Galatea brought gifts to her altar as long as they lived. Aphrodite blessed them with happiness and love in return.

Pyrrha
Pyrrha is the daughter of Epimetheus and the wife of Deucalion. They were the sole survivors of the flood sent by Zeus to drown the world and its degenerate race of mankind. When the waters sank back into the earth, Pyrrha and Deucalion created a new race of humans by throwing stones.

Pythia
The name of the priestesses of Apollo's temple at Delphi. Seated on a tripod above a crack in the earth, she went into a trance by the stupefying vapors rising from the earth and by chewing laurel leaves. From the incoherent babbling which the priestess spoke in her ecstasy, the temple priests formulated the oracle.

Python

A monstrous serpent in Greek mythology, and the child of Gaia, the goddess earth. It was produced from the slime and mud that was left on the earth by the great flood of Deucalion. It lived in a cave and guarded the oracle of Delphi on mount Parnassus. No man dared to approach the beast and the people asked Apollo for help. He came down from Mount Olympus with his silver bow and golden arrows. With using only one arrow he killed the serpent and claimed the oracle for himself. After that, he was known as Pythian Apollo. In memory of this victory, Apollo started the Pythian games, which were held every four years. The old name of Delphi, Pytho, refers to the serpent.


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