A Phrygian or Thracian deity whose cult spread through
Greece in the 5th century BCE. In the Greek world he
was equated with Dionysus and sometimes also with Zeus.
In the Roman Empire his name became an alternative name
The son of Sancus, the eldest king of the Sabeans, who
worshipped him as a god.
The nymph of the spring of that name near Halicarnassus
in Asia Minor. She loved Hermaphroditus and was granted
her request to be united with him, but the gods put
the both of them in one body. Hence the dual sexuality
of Hermaphroditus and the legend that the spring Salmacis
rendered effeminate those who bathed or drank of its
1. The son of Zeus and Europa. He was banished by his
brother Minos and moved to Asia Minor, where he became
king of the Lycians. He is said to have lived for three
generations. 2. The son of Zeus and Laodamia (1), king
of the Lycians. He helped his brother Priam during the
siege of Troy. He was killed by Patroclus, upon which
Zeus had Apollo move the body to Lycia. (Iliad V, 471;
In Greek mythology the satyrs are deities of the woods
and mountains. They are half human and half beast; they
usually have a goat's tail, flanks and hooves. While
the upper part of the body is that of a human, they
also have the horns of a goat. They are the companions
of Dionysus, the god of wine, and they spent their time
drinking, dancing, and chasing nymphs. The Italian version
of the satyr is the faun, while the Slavonic version
is the Ljeschi.
The god of the river with the same name, near Troy.
He was the father of Teucer and participated in the
Trojan War (Iliad XX, 73; XXI, 1).
In Greek mythology, a sea monster who lived underneath
a dangerous rock at one side of the Strait of Messia,
opposite the whirlpool Charybdis. She threatened passing
ships and in the Odyssey ate six of Odysseus' companions.
Scylla was a nymph, daughter of Phorcys. The fisherman-turned-sea-god
Glaucus fell madly in love with her, but she fled from
him onto the land where he could not follow. Disappear
filled his heart. He went to the sorceress Circe to
ask for a love potion to melt Scylla's heart. As he
told his tale of love to Circe, she herself fell in
love with him. She wooed him with her sweetest words
and looks, but the sea-god would have none of her. Circe
was furiously angry, but with Scylla and not with Glaucus.
She prepared a vial of very powerful poison and poured
it in the pool where Scylla bathed. As soon as the nymph
entered the water she was transformed into a frightful
monster with twelve feet and six heads, each with three
rows of teeth. Below the waist her body was made up
of hideous monsters, like dogs, which backed unceasingly.
She stood there in utter misery, unable to move, loathing
and destroying everything that came into her reach,
a peril to all sailors who passed near her. Whenever
a ship passed, each of her heads would seize one of
the crew. Scylla in also the name of a daughter of King
Nisus of Megara.
Selene, the moon goddess, is known for her countless
love affairs. The most famous of her loves is the shepard
Endymion. Other affairs of Selene's include involvement
with Zeus with whom she had three daughters, and Pan
who gave her a herd of white oxen. Some sources report
that the Nemean lion, which fell to the earth from the
moon was the result of an affair of Zeus and Selene.
She was involved in many love affairs, however, not
as many as her sister, Eos, the dawn. She resembles
a young woman with an extremely white face who travels
on a silver chariot drawn by two horses. She is often
shown riding a horse or a bull. Selene is said to wear
robes, carry a torch, and wear a half moon on her head.
She was not one of the twelve great gods on Olympus,
however she is the moon goddess. After her brother Helios
completes his journey across the sky, she begins hers.
Before Selene's journey across the night sky she bathes
in the sea. Selene's parents are the Titan Hyperion,
the sun god, and Theia, the sister of Helios. Some sources
report that she is the daughter of the Titan Pallas,
Helios, or Zeus. Helius, who is the sun god as well
as his father Helios, is the brother of Selene. Eos,
the dawn, who is known for her numerous love affairs
is the sister of Selene. The seduction of Endymion is
the love affair that brings Selene the most fame. She
fell in love with the shepard, Endymion, and seduced
him while he lie sleeping in a cave. Some sources say
Endymion was a king or a hunter, rather than a shepard.
Her seduction of Endymion resulted in the birth of fifty
daughters, one of which was Naxos. Since Selene was
so deeply in love with Endymion she asked Zeus to allow
him to decide his own fate. Zeus granted Selene's request,
and Endymion chose never to grow old and to sleep eternally.
However, Endymion's eternal sleep did not prevent him
from Selene giving birth to his daughters. Endymion
was visited by Selene every night and kissed by her
rays of light. Selene is a favorite of many poets, especially
love poets. A moonlit night brings the feeling of romance.
It is said that Selene's moon rays fall upon sleeping
mortals, and her kisses fell upon her love, Endymion
Semele was the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, and
the mother, by Zeus, of the god Dionysus. Because Zeus
slept with Semele secretly, Hera only found out about
the affair after the girl was pregnant. Bent on revenge,
Hera disguised herself and persuaded Semele to demand
that Zeus come to her in all the splendor with which
he visited Hera. As a result, Semele asked Zeus to grant
an unspecified favor, and got him to swear by the river
Styx that he would grant it. Unable to break his oath,
Zeus came to her armed in his thunder and lightning,
and Semele was destroyed. However, Zeus rescued the
unborn child from the mother's ashes and sewed it in
his thigh until it was ready to be born. Thus Dionysus
is sometimes called "the twice-born." Dionysus was raised
at first by Semele's sister and brother-in-law, Ino
and Athamus, and later by the nymphs of Nysa. As an
adult, he retrieved his mother from Hades and made her
a goddess; she was called Thyone.
"The venerable ones". A euphemistic Greek term for the
In ancient times a prophetess who, in a state of ecstasy
and under influence of Apollo, prophesized without being
consulted. Famous Sibyls are the Cumaean Sibyl and the
Erythraean Sibyl, who revealed to Alexander the Great
his divine descent. The Cumaean Sibyl owned, according
to tradition, nine books of prophecies, which she sold
the remaining three to the Roman king Tarquin.
Greek woodland gods or spirits, closely connected to
the satyrs. They were occasionally referred to as being
half-man half-horse, in stead of half-man half-goat.
The Sileni were portrayed as lechers and drunkards,
bald-headed and pot-bellied, with thick lips and stub
noses, and with the tails and ears of a horse. The flute
and lyre are their attributes. The Sileni can often
be found in the company of Dionysus. Later mentioned
as only one Silenus, the tutor and companion of Dionysus.
Originally plural (Sileni), but later mentioned as one
Silenus, the teacher and faithful companion of the wine-god
Dionysus. A notorious consumer of wine, he is usually
totally drunk and is supported by satyrs or carried
by a donkey. When the Phrygian king Midas took the drunk
Silenus in his house, Dionysus handsomely reward Midas
for his hospitality. He has much wisdom and if captured
by mortals he can reveal important secrets. Silenus
is usually portrayed as a plump jovial old man with
a long beard and stump nose, bald and with a horse's
The daughter of Asopus and Metope. She was so beautiful
that Apollo abducted her and brought her to Paphlagonien
where she bore a son, Syrus. The city Syrus was named
In Greek mythology, the Sirens are creatures with the
head of a female and the body of a bird. They lived
on an island (Sirenum scopuli; three small rocky islands)
and with the irresistible charm of their song they lured
mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrounding
their island . The Argonauts escaped them because when
he heard their song, Orpheus immediately realized the
peril they were in. He took out his lyre and sang a
song so clear and ringing that it drowned the sound
of those lovely fatal voices. When on another journey
the Odysseus' ship passed the Sirens, had the sailors
stuff their ears with wax. He had himself tied to the
mast for he wanted to hear their beautiful voices. The
Sirens sang when they approached, their words even more
enticing than the melody. They would give knowledge
to every man who came to them, they said, ripe wisdom
and a quickening of the spirit. Odysseys' heart ran
with longing but the ropes held him and the ship quickly
sailed to safer waters (Odyssey XII, 39). Homer mentions
only two sirens, but later authors mention three or
four. They were regarded as the daughters of Phorcys,
or the storm god Achelous. According to Ovid, they were
nymphs and the play-mates of Persephone. They were present
when she was abducted and, because they did not interfere,
Demeter changed them into birds with female faces.
Sisyphus is the son of Aeolus (the king of Thessaly)
and Enarete, and founder of Corinth. He instituted,
among others, the Isthmian Games. According to tradition
he was sly and evil and used to way-lay travelers and
murder them. He betrayed the secrets of the gods and
chained the god of death, Thanatos, so the deceased
could not reach the underworld. Hades himself intervened
and Sisyphus was severely punished. In the realm of
the dead, he is forced to roll a block of stone against
a steep hill, which tumbles back down when he reaches
the top. Then the whole process starts again, lasting
all eternity. His punishment was depicted on many Greek
vases. He is represented as a naked man, or wearing
a fur over his shoulders, pushing a boulder. According
to some sources, Sisyphus was the father of Odysseus
by Anticlea, before she married Laertus. They also mention
Theseus as the hero who freed the country of Sisyphus.
An epithet of Apollo, derived from the Smintha, a city
near Troy, or from sminthos; the mouse-exterminator.
The river deity of the river in Thessaly with the same
name. He is a son of Gaia and Oceanus.
In ancient Egypt, the Sphinx is a male statue of a lion
with the head of a human, sometimes with wings. Most
sphinxes however represent a king in his appearance
as the sun god. The name "sphinx" was applied to the
portraits of kings by the Greeks who visited Egypt in
later centuries, because of the similarity of these
statues to their Sphinx. The best known specimen is
the Great Sphinx of Gizeh (on the western bank of the
Nile) which is not a sphinx at all but the representation
of the head of king Khaf-Ra (Chephren) on the body of
a crouching body. It was supposedly built in the 4th
dynasty (2723-2563 BC), although others claim it dates
back to the 7th-5th millennium. The Greek Sphinx was
a demon of death and destruction and bad luck. She was
the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. It was a female
creature, sometimes depicted as a winged lion with a
feminine head, and sometimes as a female with the breast,
paws and claws of a lion, a snake tail and bird wings.
She sat on a high rock near Thebes and posed a riddle
to all who passed. The riddle was: "What has four feet,
two feet and three feet, but one voice?". Those who
could not solve the riddle were strangled by her. Finally
Oedipus came along and he was the only who could answer
that it was Man, who first crawls on all fours, then
walks on his two legs and when old uses a cane to help
him walk. After hearing the correct answer, the Sphinx
threw herself headlong down the rock. The name 'sphinx'
is derived from the Greek sphingo, which means "to strangle".
In ancient Assyrian myths, the sphinx usually appears
as a guardian of temple entrances.
One of the Pleiades and wife of Ares by whom she had
a son, Oenomaus, the king of Pisa in Elis.
Steropes was one of the three Cyclopes, a race of Titans
who had one eye in the middle of their forehead in Greek
mythology. Due to their fatherıs (Uranus) fear of losing
his rule over his sons, the Cyclopes, as well as the
other Titans and the Hecatonchires, (monsters with fifty
heads and one-hundred arms each) were trapped inside
Gaia, their mother. Later, after Cronus, who was Uranusı
son, disposed of his father Uranus by using a sickle
to slice him up, Cronus seized the throne for himself.
Cronus ate all his children in order to protect his
position as the ruler of everything. But he could not
escape his fate and Zeus, one of his sons, was able
to grow up; being secretly raised by Amaltheia Zeus
released Steropes (as well as the others, like Brontes
and Arges) when Zeus battled against the Titans. Steropes
had the power of lightening and helped build Mount Olympus.
One of the three Gorgons. Literally, "forceful".
Styx ("hate") is the Greek goddess of the river of death
in the underworld. She was usually said to be the daughter
of Erebus and Nyx. She was married to Pallas by whom
she had Zelus, Nike, Cratos and Bia. The gods swore
their oaths by this river, for violating such an oath
would result in the loss of their immortality.
The river of which many know its name, without knowing
its origin or what it really stood for. A river that
separates the world of the living from the world of
the dead. Styx it is said winds around Hades (hell or
the underworld are other names) nine times. Its name
comes from the Greek word stugein which means hate,
Styx, the river of hate. This river was so respected
by the gods of Greek mythology that they would take
life binding oaths just by mentioning its name, as referenced
in the story of Bacchus-Ariadne, where Jove "confirms
it with the irrevocable oath, attesting the river Styx."
There are five rivers that separate Hades from the world
of the living, they are: 1. Acheron - the river of woe;
2. Cocytus - the river of lamentation; 3. Phlegethon
- the river of fire; 4. Lethe - the river of forgetfulness;
5. Styx - the river of hate. It is thought that Charon,
the old ferry man who ferries the dead onto the underworld,
crosses the river Styx where the dragon tailed dog Cerberus
guards, allowing all souls to enter but none to leave.
This is a misconception, Charon crosses the river Acheron
where also Cerebus stands his eternal guard. Also while
on this subject, Charon only takes the souls across
that are buried properly with a coin (called an obol)
that was placed in their mouths upon burial. If a god
gave his oath upon the river Styx and failed to keep
his word, Zeus forced that god to drink from the river
itself. The water is said to be so foul that the god
would lose his/her voice for nine years. The river is
not the subject of any story itself but is mentioned
in several. These little pieces give a wonderful view
of not only the river but the ancient Greeks view of
the underworld. From its Adamantine gates to its separate
levels of Tartarus and Erebus onto the Elysian fields.
Syrinx was an Arcadian river-nymph who was pursued by
Pan. To escape him she fled into the waters of her river
where she pleaded the gods for help, and they changed
her into a reed. Disappointed, Pan cut the reed into
pieces of gradually decreasing lengths, fastened them
together with wax and thus produced the shepherd's flute,
or "pipes of Pan", upon which he plays.