Glossary of Classical and Mythological Figures

The following list, compiled by Brian Brennan, gives a brief account of every major god, goddess, and mythological figure that appears in the poems translated for the project. Readers should consult this list in the first instance when looking for information on mythological figures, rather than in the footnotes to each text.

son of Peleus and Thetis; greatest Greek hero in the Trojan War; central character of Homer's Iliad. He is king of Phthia in southern Thessaly, and his people are the Myrmidons

is a divine personage who aroused the love of Aphrodite, and who hid him in a chest and entrusted him to Persephone; but she, captivated in her turn, refused to give him back. Then Zeus decreed that the young man should spend four months of the year in the Underworld and four months with Aphrodite, with the final four months of the year left to his own decision

the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology

heroine of the play of the same title by Sophocles; wife of Admetus, king of Pherae in Thessaly, whose life she saved by offering to die on his behalf. She was brought back from the underworld by Hercules

mother of Heracles. Her father was Electryon, king of Mycenae, who was accidentally killed by her husband Amphitryon, heir to the throne of Tiryns; she followed Amphitryon into exile in Thebes, but refused to sleep with him until he had avenged the death of her brothers on the Teleboans. Zeus came to her in Amphitryon's shape a little before the latter's return, and she gave birth to twins, Heracles by Zeus, Iphicles by Amphitryon. Hera in jealousy delayed the birth, thus ensuring that Eurystheus was born before Heracles and so became king of Argos

Amphion and Zethus, in Greek mythology, were twin sons of Zeus by Antiope. When children, they were left to die on a mountain but were found and brought up by a shepherd. Amphion became a great singer and musician, Zethus a hunter and herdsman. After rejoining their mother, they built and fortified Thebes, with huge blocks of stone forming themselves into walls at the sound of Amphion's lyre

Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus and Dione, is the representative among the gods of an ambivalent female nature combining seductive charm, the need to procreate, and a capacity for deception, elements all found in the person of the first woman, Pandora. There is no agreement on her historical origins; the Greeks themselves thought of her as coming from the east, and in literature she is often called Cypris or 'the Cyprian'

the sun, the Delian Greek god, son of Zeus and Leto, and brother of Artemis. His epithet means radiant. Among his numerous and diverse functions healing and purification, prophecy, care for young citizens, for poetry, and music are prominent. In iconography, he is always young, beardless, and of harmonious beauty, the ideal young athlete; his weapon is the bow, and his tree the laurel. See also Phoebus

in myth, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae. In Cnossus Daedalus built her a dancing floor. She fell in love with Theseus and gave him a thread of wool to escape from the Labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. Theseus fled with Ariadne but abandoned her on Naxos, either by choice or because the gods commanded him. Dionysus found and married her there

is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. He often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to his sister the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship

the moon, daughter of Zeus and Leto, Apollo's elder twin sister, a major Olympian deity, a virgin and a huntress, who presided over crucial aspects of life. She presided over women's life transitions, especially their transformation from virgin to adult woman, and over childbirth and child-rearing. She was also concerned with male activities, often with their rites of transition to adulthood, hunting and certain aspects of war. See also Phoebe

was the virgin goddess of innocence and purity, and is always associated with the Greek goddess of justice, Dike. According to Ovid, Astraea abandoned the earth in order to flee from the new wickedness of humanity; she ascended to heaven to become the constellation Virgo. She became poetically identified in early modern literature with the figure of Queen Elizabeth I as the virgin queen reigning over a new Golden Age

a goddess who is as skilled in the making of clothes as she is fearless in battle; she thus unites in her person the characteristic excellences of both sexes. Her patronage of crafts is expressed in cults such as that of 'Athena Ergane' (Athena the Craftswoman, or Maker), which extends beyond the traditionally alloted work of women to carpentry, metalworking, and technology of every kind. Her love of battle is evident, as she is regularly portrayed armed, one leg purposefully advanced, wearing her terror inducing aegis. She is also closely associated with the masculine world in her mythological role as a helper of male heroes, most memorably in her presence beside Heracles on several of the metopes of the temple of Zeus at Olympia (indeed, her intervention in battle often takes the form of standing beside a favourite). Her virginity is a bridge between the two sides of her nature: she is not subject to the distinctively feminine experience of childbirth, and is therefore a masculine woman, and a potential warrior

the Titan son of Iapetus and brother of Prometheus. In the Odyssey he is the malign father of Calypso, who knows the depths of the whole sea, and holds the tall pillars which keep earth and heaven apart. He is often associated with Heraclean legends: sent to fetch the golden apples of the Hesperides, Heracles asked Atlas to get them while he held up the sky; Atlas refused to take back the sky but Heracles tricked him into doing so

a mythical figure who married Aerope. When he heard of her adultery with his brother Thyestes he pretended a reconciliation and at a feast served up to him the flesh of the latter's own sons. At the end of the meal Atreus showed his brother the heads and hands of his sons, then banished him. Atreus was the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus and he was killed by Aegisthus, Thyestes' only surviving son

in Roman mythology, Aurora, goddess of the dawn, renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun. She has two siblings, a brother (Sol, the sun) and a sister (Luna, the moon)

Bacchus (also known as Dionysus) is the twice-born son of Zeus and Semele. Snatched prematurely from the womb of his dying mother and carried to term by his father, he was born from the thigh of Zeus. Perceived as both man and animal, male and effeminate, young and old, he is the most versatile and elusive of all Greek gods. His myths and cults are often violent and bizarre, a challenge to the established social order. He was first and foremost the god of wine and intoxication. His other provinces include ritual madness or ecstasy; the mask; impersonation; and the fictional world of the theatre

is set tasks likely to bring about his death, such as killing the Chimaera (a composite monster), and fighting the Amazons. In versions after Homer, Bellerophon accomplished his tasks with the help of the winged horse Pegasus, which Athena helped him to catch. He offended the gods by trying to fly on him to Olympus

the north Wind, which brings to the Greeks an icy blast from Thrace; king of the winds in Pindar, and the most strongly personified of the wind gods

was the muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; so called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice; she is believed to have been Homer's muse for the Iliad and the Odyssey. She is spoken of by Ovid as the 'chief of all Muses'. Calliope was the lover of the war god Ares, and bore him several sons. She also had two famous sons, Orpheus and Linus, by either Apollo or the king of Thrace

in Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux were twin brothers, together known as the Dioskouri. Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. They are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters and half-sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini or Castores. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire, and were also associated with horsemanship

monstrous multi-headed hound that guards the entrance to the Underworld, often called the dog of Hades. Despite his impressive appearance, however, he failed to keep out Orpheus, who lulled him to sleep with music; and Heracles (with Athena's help) even managed to chain him up and drag him away to the upper world

an ancient Italo-Roman goddess of growth, commonly identified in antiquity with Demeter

mythological ferryman, who takes the shades across a river (usually Acheron) or a lake into Hades proper. It was said that Charon, out of fear, ferried Heracles, who had gone to fetch Cerberus, into Hades, and was punished for this dereliction with a year in fetters

was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat rising from its back, and a tail that ended with a snake's head, the Chimera was a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling

one of a tribe of centaurs, beasts which had a human torso and the lower body of a horse. Seen as threatening creatures, their uncontrolled lust, violence, and greed for alcohol challenge the hard won and ever fragile rules of civilization, which were symbolically reasserted by the victory of Heracles over the savage horde. Chiron is a wise and civilized exception to the rule, a source of wisdom on natural medicine, and is recorded as an educator of Jason, Asclepius and Achilles

powerful sorceress of mythology, daughter of Helios (the sun). In the Odyssey, Circe transforms a group of Odysseus' men into pigs (though they retain human intelligence); Odysseus rescues them by resisting the goddess's magic

the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin also as Amor ('Love'). His Greek counterpart is Eros

are one eyed giants. In Homer they are savage and pastoral, and live in a distant country without government or laws. Odysseus visits them in his wanderings and enters the cave of one of them, Polyphemus, who imprisons him and his men and eats two of them raw, morning and evening, until they escape by blinding him while he is in a drunken sleep. In Hesiod the Cyclopes are three, Brontes, Steropes, and Arges ('Thunderer', 'Lightener', and 'Bright'). They are divine craftsmen who make Zeus his thunderbolt in gratitude for their release from imprisonment by their father Uranus (Heaven; their mother is Earth)

the virgin goddess of the hunt and the Moon; daughter of Leto and twin sister of Apollo; identified with Roman Diana. See also Artemis and Phoebe

according to Greek myth, Apollo chased the nymph Daphne. In Ovid's Metamorphoses the god's infatuation was caused by an arrow from Eros, who wanted to make Apollo pay for making fun of his archery skills and to demonstrate the power of love's arrow. Daphne prays for help either to the river god or to Gaia, and is transformed into a laurel

in Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women

are female spirits of nature (nymphs), who preside over the groves and forests. Each one is born with a certain tree over which she watches. A dryad either lives in a tree, in which case she is called a hamadryad, or close to it. The lives of the dryads are connected with those of the trees; should the tree perish, then she dies with it. If this is caused by a mortal, the gods, or the dryads themselves, will punish him or her for that deed

one of the hundred-armed Gigantes. He fought against the Olympians, and Zeus hit him with a bolt of lightning and locked him beneath Mount Aetna, which shook each time he rolled over onto his other side

known as the embodiment of primordial darkness, the son of Chaos (who was the void from which all things developed, known also as Darkness) and is often used metaphorically for Hades itself. Later legend describes Erebus as the infernal region below the earth. In this version, Hades was split into two regions: Erebus, which the dead had to pass through shortly after they died, and Tartarus, the deepest region, where the Titans were imprisoned

in Greek and Roman mythology, the Furies were female spirits of justice and vengeance. They were also called the Erinyes (vengeful ones). Known especially for pursuing people who had murdered family members, the Furies punished their victims by driving them mad. When not punishing wrongdoers on earth, they lived in the underworld and tortured the damned

the daughter of Agenor. Zeus took the form of a beautiful white bull and encountered Europa at the seashore. By appearing to be very tame, he coaxed her to climb onto his back and then swam off with her across the sea to Crete where she gave him three sons

the god of the east wind, a child of Eos and Astraeus. Eurus was the wind who brought warmth and rain from the east

the goddesses who 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

in Roman mythology, Flora was a goddess of flowers and of the season of spring - a symbol for nature and flowers. Her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth

equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche, Fortuna was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good luck or bad: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life's capriciousness

see 'Erinyes'

the Gigantes (monstrous giants) sprang forth when the blood of Uranus fell upon the Earth. They attacked Zeus and the Olympian gods, and to reach Olympus they stacked two mountain ranges in Thessaly (Pelion and Ossa) on top of each other. The gods asked Heracles for help and together they were able to defeat them. The Gigantes were subsequently buried underneath volcanoes all over the world

the goddesses who bestowed beauty and charm, and who were themselves the embodiment of both. They were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. The gods were delighted when they danced to Apollo's lyre. They were constant attendants of Aphrodite. They are Euphrosyne (mirth), Thalia (good cheer), and Aglaea (splendor)

the lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world, which is referred to as the domain of Hades or, by transference, as Hades alone. He is the son of Cronus and Rhea. When the three sons of Cronus divided the world among them, Hades was given the underworld, while his brothers Zeus and Poseidon took the upper world and the sea respectively

or Heracles, the greatest of Greek heroes. Heracles shared the characteristics of, on the one hand, a hero (both cultic and epic), on the other, a god. As a hero, he was mortal, and like many other heroes, born to a human mother and a god (Alcmene and Zeus). Legends of his epic feats arose early, and they were added to constantly throughout antiquity. His major identifying symbols were his lionskin cape and hood (flayed from the Nemean lion), his club, and his bow and arrows. Throughout his life and many adventures, Heracles was guided closely by Athena, by whom he was brought to Olympus after his death

is the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of the Pleiades. Hermes is the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. Most importantly, he is the messenger of the gods. Known for his swiftness and athleticism, Hermes was given credit for inventing foot-racing and boxing. Usually depicted as a good-looking young man, with an athletic body, winged sandals and his herald's staff. His Roman counterpart Mercury inherited his attributes

goddess of salvation, and one of the daughters of Asclepius (or Asklepios) and granddaughter of Apollo. She played an important role in the cult of Asclepius as a giver of health, and is sometimes simply called 'the Health'

was the god of marriage and the marriage-feast or song. He is often depicted with a marriage torch in his hand. He was the son of Aphrodite by Dionysus, and therefore the full brother of Priapus

is the Roman god of gates and doors, and beginnings and endings, and is hence represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person's life. Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people

was an ancient Greek mythological hero who was famous for his role as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcos. He was married to the sorceress Medea

see Jupiter

is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome, and her Greek equivalent was Hera

Jupiter, or Jove, is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder in myth. The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name 'Iuppiter'. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: the sky, the waters, and the underworld

see Daphne

in Greek mythology, the Lethe is one of the rivers that flow through the realm of Hades. Called the 'river of oblivion', the shades of the dead had to drink from this river to forget about their past lives on earth

goddess of child birth

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

was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him, and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming. Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted under the name of Mars. Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father of the Roman people

was an Ethiopian king and son of Tithonus and Eos. As a warrior he was considered to be almost Achilles' equal in skill. During the Trojan War, he brought an army to Troy's defense. He was killed by Achilles, and after his death Zeus was so moved by the tears of Eos that he granted Memnon immortality

is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld. He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology. Mercury had essentially the same aspects as Hermes, wearing winged shoes and a winged hat and carrying a herald's staff with two entwined snakes that was a gift from Apollo. Like Hermes, he was also a god of messages, eloquence and of trade, particularly of the grain trade. Mercury was also considered a god of abundance and commercial success

the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born, with weapons, from the head of Jupiter. From the second century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl, which symbolizes her connection to wisdom

the Greek god of dreams. He lies on a ebony bed in a dimly-lit cave, surrounded by poppies. 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

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 Naiads were nymphs of bodies of fresh water and were one of the three main classes of water nymphs - the others being the Nereids (nymphs of the Mediterranean Sea) and the Oceanids (nymphs of the oceans). The Naiads presided over rivers, streams, brooks, springs, fountains, lakes, ponds, wells, and marshes

was a hunter known for his beauty. He was the son of a river god and a nymph. He was proud and disdained those who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus drowned

is the goddess of divine justice and vengeance. Her anger is directed toward human transgression of the natural, right order of things and of the arrogance causing it. Nemesis pursues the insolent and the wicked with inflexible vengeance

was the god of fresh water and of the sea in Roman religion. He is the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto; the brothers presided over the realms of Heaven, the earthly world, and the Underworld

are nymphs, the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris, who dwell in the Mediterranean Sea. These beautiful women were always friendly and helpful towards sailors fighting perilous storms

the son of Neleus, king of Pylos, and Chloris. He was spared when Heracles slew his father and his brothers. Nestor helped fight the centaurs, participated in the hunt for the Calydonian boar, was one of the Argonauts, and participated in the expedition against Troy

are spirits of nature. They are minor female deities and the protectors of springs, mountains, and rivers. Nymphs are represented as young, pretty girls. Each sub-type presides over a certain aspect of nature, there are: Dryads (forests), Naiads (springs and rivers), Nereids (the Mediterranean), Oceanids (the sea), Oreads (mountains), Limoniads (meadows), Limniads (lakes, marshes and swamps) and Napaea (valleys)

the personification of the vast ocean. As geography became more precise, Oceanus began to refer to the water outside of the Pillars of Heracles, or the Atlantic Ocean. He was the eldest of the Titans and a son of Uranus and Gaia. He was the father of all rivers by his sister Tethys

Mount Olympus, in Greek mythology, is the abode of the chief god Zeus. Also, the foremost gods of the Greek pantheon have their palaces at the summit. It is here that the gods assemble to consume nectar and ambrosia (literally meaning 'immortal'), the substance which reinforces their immortality. The peak Olympus, which is covered in snow and hidden in the clouds, supposedly reached all the way into the aether

was a god of the underworld, punisher of broken oaths. As with Hades, the name of the god was also used for the underworld itself. Hades is the Greek equivalent of Pluto

a legendary musician, poet, and prophet. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his voyage with the Argonauts; his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music

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' was 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

the Greek god of shepherds and flocks, and son of the god Hermes. He was depicted as a satyr with a reed pipe, a shepherd's crook, and a branch of pine or crown of pine needles. On his forehead were two horns and his body was hairy. Pan belonged to the retinue of Dionysus. Pan was also a god of fertility, unbridled male sexuality and carnal desire. He chased nymphs through the forests and mountains in the shape of a goat. Pan was not well-liked by the other Greek gods

is a herb supposedly capable of healing 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

the son of Priam and Hecuba, the king and queen of Troy, who appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War. Later in the war, he fatally wounds Achilles in the heel with an arrow, as foretold by Achilles mother

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

literally 'the radiant one', or the sun. 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. The Lamp of Phoebus is the sun

was one of the most famous ancient Greek lyric poets, and perhaps the best known of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece. He was regarded in antiquity as the greatest of Greek poets and the esteem of the ancients may help explain why a good portion of his work was carefully preserved

was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology. The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife. He was frequently conflated with Plutus, a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground and because Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest. Pluto and Hades differ in character, but they are not distinct figures and share their two major myths. Pluto received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brothers Zeus ruling Heaven and Poseidon the Sea

See 'Castor'

a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. In later developments he came to be also a god of time. His reign was depicted as a golden age of plenty and peace. In December, he was celebrated at what is perhaps the most famous of the Roman festivals, the Saturnalia, a time of feasting, role reversals, free speech, gift-giving and revelry. The Romans identified Saturn with the Greek titan Cronus, whose role in the genealogy of the Greek gods was transferred to him

are deities of the woods and mountains. They are half human and half beast; they usually have a goat's tail, flanks, hooves, and horns, while the upper part of their body is human. They are the companions of Dionysus, the god of wine, and they spend their time drinking, dancing, and chasing nymphs

was one of the three Cyclopes, a race of Titans in Greek mythology who had one eye in the middle of their forehead. Due to their father's (Uranus) fear of losing his rule to his sons, the Cyclopes, as well as the other Titans, were trapped inside Gaia, their mother. Zeus released Steropes (as well as Brontes and Arges) when Zeus battled against the Titans. Steropes had the power of lightning and helped build Mount Olympus

were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island

the personification of the fertile ocean. She married her brother Oceanus and had over 3000 children by him: they were the springs, lakes, and rivers of the world

founder-king of Athens who battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order. He was considered by Athenians as their own great reformer and responsible for the political unification of Attica under Athens, represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing ogres and monstrous beasts. The literalistic biography of Theseus by Plutarch makes use of varying accounts of the death of the Minotaur, Theseus' escape, and the love of Ariadne for Theseus

is one of the Erinyes or Furies. Tisiphone was the avenger of murder. She fell in love with Cithaeron, whom she killed by having a snake from her head bite him.

titans are a race of god-like giants who were considered to be the personifications of the forces of nature. They are the twelve children (six sons and six daughters) of Gaia and Uranus. Each son married, or had children of, one of his sisters

or Odysseus, the hero of the epic poem the Odyssey. According to Homer, Odysseus was king of Ithaca and husband of Penelope. Homer portrayed Odysseus as a man of outstanding wisdom and shrewdness, eloquence, resourcefulness, courage, and endurance. In the Iliad, Odysseus appears as the man best suited to cope with crises in personal relations among the Greeks, and he plays a leading part in achieving the reconciliation between Agamemnon and Achilles. Odysseus' bravery and skill in fighting are demonstrated repeatedly. Odysseus' wanderings and the recovery of his house and kingdom are the central theme of the Odyssey, which also relates how he accomplished the capture of Troy by means of the wooden horse

is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite

is the daughter born from the union of Cupid and Psyche. She is often found in the company of the three Graces, and she is known as the goddess of sensual pleasures

an ancient god of fire in Roman mythology, Vulcan is the counterpart of the Greek god Hephaestus, the god of fire and patron of metalwork and crafts. The tales about Vulcan, who is sometimes called Mulciber ('the smelter'), are all based on Greek myths about Hephaestus

was the gentle wind of the west and the interceder between the world of the living and the Underworld. Zephyr was the fresh wind who brought the spring rains that were so valuable for awakening the nature

is the god of sky and thunder and the ruler of the Olympians. Zeus and Jupiter became closely identified with each other. He is known for his erotic escapades, and these resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Dionysus, Helen of Troy, Heracles, Hermes, Minos, the Muses (by Mnemosyne), Persephone (by Demeter), and Perseus; by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus. For the Greeks, he was the king of the gods, who oversaw the universe


Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum: both volumes
Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum: both volumes