In Greek mythology, Narcissus (/ n ɑːr ˈ s ɪ s ə s /; Ancient Greek: Νάρκισσος Nárkissos) was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. She was also called Kore, which means "maiden" and grew up to be a lovely girl attracting the attention of many gods. As a reward for its service the god placed the goat and its two kids amongst the stars about the constellation Auriga: Capra the goat sitting on his left shoulder, and the Kids in his left hand. Dionysus then placed him, his daughter Erigone and their dog Maira, amongst the stars as the constellations Bootes, Virgo and Canis Major. Her son by Apollo was Asclepius, the constellation Ophiochus. She was transformed into a bear and placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major. These myths do not suggest theriolatry. ), ORSILOCHUS An Argive man who in local legend was the inventor of the chariot. Not often identifiable in Greek art, she appeared as a modestly veiled woman. ), MYRTILUS The charioteer of King Oinomaos of Pisa, and a son of the god Hermes. (Hyginus 2.14. Other types of myth exemplified the belief that the gods sometimes appeared on Earth disguised as men and women and rewarded any help or hospitality offered them. When the hero Triptolemus passed through his land instructing mankind in agriculture, he set an ambush and slew one of his flying serpents. Greek : Leon (the Lion) ), TRIOPAS A Thessalian king. Greek : Ôriôn (the Mountain Man?) (Hyginus 2.6. As a reward for his gift to mankind Athena placed him amongst the stars as the constellation Auriga. (Hyginus 2.23. (Hyginus 2.40 on Istrus. ), LYRE OF THESEUS The lyre of the hero Theseus who was set in the stars as the constellation "Heracles" next to that of the lyre. (Hyginus 2.17 on Aglaosthenes. She received from the gods as a wedding gift upon her marriage to the god Dionysus. (Hyginus 2.5 on the Argolica. The lyre was represented by the adjacent constellation Lyra. ), CECROPS An early king of Athens who was the first to pour libations in honour of the gods. ), HARE OF HERMES A hare was placed amongst the stars by the god Hermes in honour of the species' bountiful fertility. Her father and was placed beside her in the form of the Kneeler ("Hercules") apparently lamenting her fate. The rising of its stars heralded the storms of late autumn. ), HERACLES IN LIGURIA The great hero was said to have been placed amongst the stars in the shape of kneeling man, as a memorial of his desperate battle with the Ligurians, whom he encountered on his return trip to Greece with the cattle of Geryon. In less benign climates, she was said to spend six months of the year in each. Greek : Andromedê Greek : Kentauros (the Centaur) (Hyginus 2.28. Hero myths included elements from tradition, folktale, and fiction. The first appearance of a constellation in the sky, occurs on the western horizon just prior to dawn (its so-called heliacal rising). Those of the Golden Age never grew old, were free from toil, and passed their time in jollity and feasting. Greek : Lyrê (the Lyre) or Khelys (the Tortoise) In memorial the god placed it amongst the stars as the constellation Ara. As the months progress it is seen to rise earlier and earlier in the night, and gradually assumes a higher position in the heavens prior to dawn, until one evening, it has reached the western horizon, before dissappearing completely from view (which is known as the constellation's astronomical setting). ), Latin : Aquarius (Water Bearer) (Hyginus 2.20 on Hesiod & Pherecydes & Eratosthenes. Greek : Deltôton (the Triangle or letter D), DIVISION OF THE COSMOS A triangle was placed amongst the stars to commemorate the division of the universe amongst the three sons of Cronus : Zeus received the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld. Aphrodite and her son Eros reached the river Eridanus where they threw themselves in the water and hid in the guise of fish. Poseidon in wrath sent a sea-monster to devour the girl. (Hyginus 2.9. ), Latin : Centaurus (the Centaur) ), Latin : (Milky Way) But, for the Greeks, in even the earliest sources there is no indication that Zeus or Poseidon were once bulls or horses or that Hera was ever “ox-eyed” other than metaphorically or that “gray-eyed” Athena was ever “owl-faced.”. Many myths are treated as trivial and lighthearted, but this judgment rests on the suppressed premise that any divine behaviour that seems inappropriate for a major religion must have seemed absurd and fictitious to the Greeks. Sumerian : GÍR.TAB (the Scorpion), SCORPION OF ORION A scorpion sent forth by the earth-goddess Gaea to kill Orion when the giant boasted that he would slay all the animals of the earth. Both Asclepius and the arrow were placed amongst the stars, as Ophiochus and Sagitta respectively. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Atlas bringing Heracles the apples of the Hesperides in the presence of Athena, marble metope from the east end of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, c. 460. To honour his gift to mankind, a ram was set amongst the stars. The constellations, as described in Greek mythology, were mostly god-favoured heroes and beasts who received a place amongst the stars as a memorial of their deeds. He was depicted kneeling in lamentation with a hand reached out to his daughter Megisto, the constellation Ursa Major, who had been transformed into a bear. Greek : Tauros (the Bull) Myths about the gods described their births, victories over monsters or rivals, love affairs, special powers, or connections with a cultic site or ritual. ), Latin : Corvus (the Crow) For this service he was awarded with a place amongst the stars as the constellation Capricorn. He was placed amongst the stars by Apollo and the Muses as a kneeling man with a lyre. (Hyginus 2.39. (Hyginus 2.4. Akkadian : Suhurmashû (the Goat-Fish) The last of these set it to hunt down the Teumessian fox, which was destined never to be caught. Sumerian : AGA (the Crown of Anu), CROWN OF ARIADNE The crown of the Cretan princess Ariadne. When he was about to kill his mother Callisto who had been transformed into a bear, Zeus raised the pair to heavens as the constellations Arctophylax (the Bear-Watcher) andUrsa (the Bear). All the best-known Greek hero myths, such as the labours of Heracles and the adventures of Perseus, Cadmus, Pelops, or Oedipus, depend more for their interest on folktales than on legend. Greek : Boôtes (the Wagon-Driver) or Arktophylax (the Bear-Watcher) After an inordinately prolonged childhood, the men of the Silver Age began to act presumptuously and neglected the gods. (Hyginus 2.6. Thus, the Homeric Hymns to Demeter, a goddess of agriculture, and to the Delian and Pythian Apollo describe how these deities came to be associated with sites at Eleusis, Delos, and Delphi, respectively. ), DELTA OF EGYPT The triangle formed by the delta of the River Nile was placed amongst the stars as the constellation of the same name. According to Tzetzes, he rejected all romantic advances, eventually falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.He later died, and in his place sprouted a flower bearing his name. Sumerian : SUHUR.MÁSH (the Goat-Fish), AEGIPAN 1 A goatish sea god who came to the assistance of Zeus in the War of the Titans, and filled the enemy with panic. (Hyginus 2.38. ), Latin : Orion He hated his children and didn’t want to allow them to see the light of day. The Dioscuri came to the rescue of sailors in distress. Sumerian : EN.TE.NA.BAR.HUM, CHIRON The wisest of the Centaurs, a son of the Titan Cronus. (Hyginus 2.12, Aratus 248. Even heroes like Achilles, Hector, or Diomedes are largely fictional, though doubtlessly based on legendary prototypes. ), CROWN OF THESEUS The crown of the Athenian hero Theseus which he received from the goddess Amphitrite as a mark of his divine paternity. The warm months of spring and summer must yield to the cold and violence of winter, so perhaps the use of the word rape is unfortunate. In some accounts, she gave up her seat as one of the Twelve Olympians in favor of Dionysus, and she plays little role in Greek myths. ), Latin : Ara (the Altar) (Hyginus 2.1 & 2.6 on Araethus of Tegea. The hero Cephalus set the magical dog Laelaps to hunt it down. Welcome to the Theoi Project, a site exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art. The crudity is relieved, however, in characteristic Greek fashion, by the friendly collaboration of Uranus and Gaea, after their divorce, on a plan to save Zeus from the same Cronus, his cannibalistic sire. Myths of origin represent an attempt to render the universe comprehensible in human terms. She was rescued by Perseus, who slew the beast. As thanks for his help the god set him amongst the stars as the goat-fish constellation Capricorn. ), Latin : Argo Zeus coupled with her and she bore the god Aegipan. Sumerian : MAR.GÍD.DA (the Wagon), CALLISTO An Arcadian princess who was loved by the god Zeus and transformed into a bear by the wrathful goddess Artemis or Hera. ), Latin : Leo (the Lion) ), Latin : Crater (the Drinking Cup) Greek : Ornis (the Bird) or Kygnos (the Swan), SWAN OF LEDA When Zeus wanted to seduce the goddess Nemesis he transformed himself into a swan, and bade Aphrodite in the guise of an eagle pursue him into her lap. (Hyginus 2.38. (Hyginus 2.22. In the story of his death, Orion was either killed by Artemis or by a scorpion sent by Gaea to punish him for boasting that he would slay all the creatures of the earth. The serpent prevented the crow from drinking at the bowl leaving it eternally parched in the heavens. Gaea, terra-cotta statuette from Tanagra, Greece; in the Musée Borély, Marseille. (Hyginus 2.5. But because the pair had conflicting fates - one was destined never to be caught, and the other never to surrender the chase--Zeus transferred the pair to the heavens to play out their contest unresolved for all eternity. ), Latin : Canis (the Dog) (Hyginus 2.21 on Pherecydes. ), ERIGONE An Athenian maiden, the daughter of Icarius, the man who Dionysus first instructed in the making of wine. Summerian : SHU.GI (the Old Man), PERSEUS An Argive hero, the son of Zeus and Danae. ), LYRE OF ORPHEUS The lyre of the great bard Orpheus, who could charm animals, trees and rocks with his music. Also popular were myths of fairylands, such as the Garden of the Hesperides (in the far west) or the land of the Hyperboreans (in the far north), or encounters with unusual creatures, such as the Centaurs, or distinctive societies, such as the Amazons. ), IXION An Lapith king who attempted to rape the goddess Hera. Elsewhere in Greek and Roman literature, the belief in successive periods or races is found with the belief that by some means, when the worst is reached, the system gradually (Plato, Politikos) or quickly (Virgil, Fourth Eclogue) returns to the Golden Age. Greek : The Greek name of the constellation. These races or ages are separate creations of the gods, the Golden Age belonging to the reign of Cronus and the subsequent races being the creation of Zeus. CHIRON The wise centaur Chiron was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Saggitarius or Centaurus, when he surrendered his immortality after being poisoned by an arrow of Heracles. ), CROW OF APOLLO A crow which was sent by Apollo to fetch water for libations. Tyche herself was one of the goddesses identified as Virgo. Homer barely mentions the judgment of Paris, but he knew the far from trivial consequences for Troy of the favour of Aphrodite and the bitter enmity of Hera and Athena, which the “judgment of Paris” was composed to explain. (Hyginus 2.4 on Eratosthenes. Your adventure begins at the Museum of Olympus where a feud has erupted between Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Greek and Roman mythology borrowed heavily from each other. The gods as a memorial, set the whole family amongst the stars as constellations. Latin : Sirios Akkadian : Niru (the Yoke) When she became pregnant by the hero Aeolus, she hid herself away in a forest in shame, and prayed that her father might not find her. As memorial the kindly animal was placed amongst the stars. (Hyginus 2.2. ), DRAGON OF ATHENA A gigantic serpent which was cast at the goddess Athena during the giant war. They were said to rule the heavens for the period in which their position on the eastern horizon prior to dawn was replaced by the rising sun. Dolphin (Delphin) was sent to find her, and he persuaded her to return. (Hyginus 2.21 on Euripides. Most of the Greek deities were adopted by the Romans, although in many cases there was a change of name. In memory of the event a pair of fish were set amongst the stars as the constellation Pisces. The formula was evidently adopted from eastern sources, in particular the star myths of the so-called "Phoenician Heracles," the hero-god of Lebanon, Melqart. When he was about to commit suicide in his grief, Hera transformed Meropes into an eagle and placed him amongst the stars in the form of Aquila. (Hyginus 2.2 on Aglaosthenes, Aratus 25. He is the jailer of the souls of the dead, keeping the gates of the netherworld closed and ensuring that dead mortals who entered his dark kingdom never escape. The ram carried them across the seas, but Helle lost her grip and fell. Greek : Koronis (the Crow) or Korakos (the Raven) Poseidon (god of the sea) was unusually atavistic in that his union with Earth, and his equine adventures appear to hark back to his pre-marine status as a horse or earthquake god. Greek : Engonasin (the Kneeler) Greek : Karkinos (the Crab) In Greek and Roman mythology, Hades is the ruler of dead, grim and mournful in his character, and severely just and unyielding in the performance of his duties. For when Dionysus and Silenus rode into battle upon their backs, the strange sound of their braying put the Giants into a rout. Match these infamous gods with their country of origin. In memorial of the event Athena placed Perseus, Andromeda, Cepheus and Cassiopea (the girl's parents) and Cetus (the Sea Monster) amongst the stars. Greek : Argô (the Silver (Ship), ARGO The ship of the hero Argonauts which was constructed by Argus and Athena, with a talking beam placed on its prow. Some say Orpheus was himself represented nearby in the form of the constellation "Hercules," the Kneeling Man. (Hyginus 2.24. ), BOOTES The inventor of the wagon or plough, a son of the goddess Demeter. Perseus slew the beast and saved the girl. (Hyginus 2.40. ), Latin : Capricorn (the Goat Horn) When Heracles was commanded to destroy it was one of his twelve labours, he throttled the beast to death with his bare hands. Upon reaching Colchis the ram shed its golden fleece for Phrixus who hung it in a sacred grove, and flew up to the heavens to take a place amongst the stars as the dimly shining constellation Aries. To commemorate the event he placed the eagle and altar amongst the stars as the constellations Aquila and Ara. Sumerian : (the Stag? The Greek myths are allegorical, and I bet the smart ancients knew better than to take them literally. As a memorial Zeus commemorated the deed amongst the stars of heaven. They were regarded as semi-divine spirits--living, conscious entities which strode across the heavens. When he later tried to fly to heaven, he was thrown back down to earth, but the horse was received and set amongst the stars by Zeus. Welcome to Mythology Island, which debuted on Poptropica in 2010! (Hyginus 2.11, Aratus 197. (Hyginus 2.40. Latin : the Roman name of the constellation (usually the same as the one used in English today) After their death they passed six months alternately beneath the Earth and in the world above, which suggests that their worship, like that of Persephone (the daughter of Zeus and Demeter), was connected with fertility or seasonal change. ), Latin : Canicula (the Little Dog) (Hyginus 2.16. When she was chained to the rocks, the hero Perseus spied her, slew the beast, and carried her off as his wife. Akkadian : Habasiranu (Hyginus 2.13 on Eratosthenes. The god Pan transformed himself into a goat-fish and hid dived into a river. Akkadian : Eriqqu (the Wagon) Greek mythology books (retellings, translations, and commentary) continue to be some of my favorite reads. (Hyginus 2.10 on Euripides & Sophocles. The fast-breeding animals quickly got out of control and devoured everything on the island, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes. (Hyginus 2.25 on Hesiod & Aratus, Aratus 96. ), MELANIPPE A daughter of the centaur Chiron. Zeus next created the men of the Bronze Age, men of violence who perished by mutual destruction. He in turn gave it to Ariadne as reward for the assistance she provided him in navigating the passages of the Labyrinth. (Hyginus 2.14 on Polyzelus the Rhodian. ), Latin : Taurus (the Bull) ), Latin : Draco (the Dragon) Mercury is commonly identified with the Greek god Hermes. She was nevertheless recognised by the goddess who set a maddening gladfly to torment her that drive her wandering to Egypt. Their dog Maera was set nearby as Canis Major. Triptolemus was a hero who first instructed mankind in the art of agriculture, while Iasion was her lover on the island of Samothrace, lying with her in a thrice-plowed field. ), TRIPTOLEMUS & IASION The two favourites of the goddess Demeter. Like sea deities, sileni possessed secret knowledge that they would reveal only under duress. ), ASSES OF DIONYSUS 1 The Asses were two stars set on the back of the constellation Cancer. ), CUP OF APOLLO A cup placed amongst the stars by Apollo in form of the constellation Crater, next to Corvus the crow and Hydra the serpent. Sumerian : MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL (the Great Twins) & MASH.TAB.BA.TUR.TUR (the Little Twins), the 4 main stars of Gemini, DIOSCURI Twin sons of Zeus, named Castor and Polydeuces. To commemorate the event, the monster was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Cetus, along with Perseus and Andromeda. But even that was not the worst, for he believed that a time would come when infants would be born old and there would be no recourse left against the universal moral decline. In this way he was depicted lifting the stone at Troezen under which Aegeus had laid the sword as proof of his paternity. Greek : Prokyôn (the Fore Dog) (Hyginus 2.6. ), IO THE HEIFER The Argive princess Io was loved by Zeus, who transformed her into a cow to hide her from the jealous gaze of his wife Hera. ), Latin : Eridanus (Hyginus 2.6 on Euripides. The god won and killed the beast, but Dionysus in pity set it amongst the stars on the back of Cancer. Others say he became Saggitarius. Because Zeus was fond of both he placed the pair amongst the stars as the constellations Capra and Capricorn. Hera was still furious and forbade Callisto's stars ever set into the river Oceanus. As a warning to others, a hare was placed amongst the stars by the gods. ), EAGLE OF ZEUS 2 An eagle which appeared to Zeus as a sign of good omen when he was sacrificing on an altar prior to the commencement of his war against the Titans. Akkadian : Alluttu (the Crab) There is also a myth of progress, associated with Prometheus, god of craftsmen, but the progress is limited, for the 19th-century concept of eternal advancement is absent from Greek thought. (Hyginus 2.13. (Hyginus 2.25. Poseidon took the shape of a stallion to beget the wonder horses Arion and Pegasus. Greek : Ophiokhos (the Serpent Holder), ASCLEPIUS The great physician, a son of the god Apollo. Greek : Thytêrios (the Altar), ALTAR OF ZEUS When Zeus had gathered allies for the Titan War, they made sacrifices on an atlar constructed by the Cyclopes to pledge their alliegance. The means of separation employed, the cutting off of Uranus’s genitals by his son Cronus, bears a certain resemblance to a similar story recorded in Babylonian epic. Astraea herself was Virgo. The hero crushed it beneath his heel, and also despatched the serpent, but as a reward for their service Hera placed the pair amongst the stars in the form of the constellations Cancer and Hydra. Thus, though the aim of Hesiod’s Theogony is to describe the ascendancy of Zeus (and, incidentally, the rise of the other gods), the inclusion of such familiar themes as the hostility between the generations, the enigma of woman (Pandora), the exploits of the friendly trickster (Prometheus), and the struggles against powerful beings or monsters like the Titans (and, in later tradition, the Giants) enhances the interest of an epic account. ), Latin : Cygnus (the Swan) (Hyginus 2.29 on Hegesianax. As a reward for this service Poseidon set him amongst the stars as a constellation. Latin : Andromeda This handsome young man was loved by both Persephone, queen of … Because of its far northern location, most of the stars are seen to rise in the east and set in the west. Greek : Hippos (the Horse) or Pegasos Akkadian & Sumerian : The old Eastern name for the constellation, predating the Greek. (Hyginus 2.6. ), PHOLUS A centaur of Mount Pholoe in Arcadia who entertained Heracles in his cave. So, he imprisoned them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea's womb. He was depicted pouring libations at the atlar in the form of the three constellations Ara (the Altar), Crater (the Cup), and Centaurus (the Centaur). Because of her mother’s grief, Zeus permitted Persephone to spend four months of the year in the house of Hades and eight in the light of day. Sumerian : KA.A (the Fox), TEUMESSIAN FOX A monstrous fox which ravaged the Boeotian countryside. (Hyginus 2.33. Consequently, Zeus hid them in the Earth, where they became spirits among the dead. (This subjection of myth to history is not universal in Greece, but it is found in writers such as Hesiod, Xenophanes, Pindar, Aeschylus, and Plato.) (Hyginus 2.6. She caught it in her hands and set it about the northern pole as the constellation Draco. Transformation into a flower or tree—whether to escape a god’s embrace (as with Daphne, a nymph transformed into a laurel tree), as the result of an accident (as with Hyacinthus, a friend of Apollo, who was changed into a flower), or because of pride (as with the beautiful youth Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection and was changed into a flower)—was a familiar theme in Greek myth. (Hyginus 2.3. Sumerian : BURANUN (the Euphrates), ERIDANUS A river believed to flow through the mythical northern land of Hyperborea. Daedalus and Icarus, antique bas-relief; in the Villa Albani, Rome. Sumerian : SHUDUN (the Yoke), ARCAS An early king of Arkadia. (Hyginus 2.21. (Hyginus 2.40. Some say he chased Lepus, the hare, across the heavens with his dog, the constellation Canis, others that he was in pursuit of Taurus the bull, or even chasing after the seven beautiful Pleiad nymphs. Some scholars hold that Persephone’s time belowground represents the summer months, when Greek fields are parched and bare, but the Hymn to Demeter, the earliest source for the myth, states explicitly that Persephone returns when the spring flowers are flourishing (line 401). Some say Centaurus is depicted pouring a libation at the altar, Ara. ), WAIN OF BOOTES The ox-drawn wagon or plough of the farmer Bootes was set amongst the stars in the form of the constellation Ursa Major. Certain heroes—Heracles, the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux), Amphiaraus (one of the Argonauts), and Hyacinthus (a youth whom Apollo loved and accidentally killed)—may be regarded as partly legend and partly religious myth. Orion was also set in heaven, but doomed to continue a futile chase for all eternity. ), Latin : Corona (the Crown) From a very early period, Greek myths seem to have been open to criticism and alteration on grounds of morality or of misrepresentation of known facts. “Race” is the more accurate translation, but “Golden Age” has become so established in English that both terms should be mentioned. The goddess woke from her sleep, because of the roughness of the child, and pushed him away in disgust. Akkadian : A-nim (the Crown of Anu) After their voyage in search of the Golden Fleece, the ship was placed amongst the stars in memorial as the constellation Argo. There Io was restored to human form and gave birth to her son Epaphos. Hesiod may have known this version; he wishes to have been born either earlier or later. Gods sometimes assumed the form of beasts in order to deceive goddesses or women. ), HERACLES THE DRAGON-SLAYER The great hero. 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Phoenice a Phoenician girl or bear who was blinded by the Muses on Mount Helicon in their Eastern... Ariadne as reward for their service with a place in the form of beasts in the sky as constellation! Saga of the lovely Andromeda gods in classical literature and art Cretan Zeus, mentioned above Zeus was fond both! Nevertheless recognised by the Romans, although in many cases there was a change of name born either or! A thunderbolt of Ethiopia, mother of the rainy season in Greece Cygnus... Death of Adonis figure of folktale of beasts in the night sky throughout the year in each as! Aex among the stars, the grisly ferryman of the chariot twelve signs the! Homer both striding across the heavens ( or Race ) of heroes a popular figure of flower myths greek mythology... Heracles later flower myths greek mythology him from his torment, felling the eagle and in..., CARNOBON a King of Aethiopia and father of the Bronze Age, men of the awarded. And Perseus -- were placed amongst the stars as the constellation in compilations. Stands immediately behind it in the National Museums in Berlin however, all names... Order to deceive goddesses or heroes were temporarily incarcerated in the guise of fish species ' bountiful.. You are agreeing to news, offers, and I bet the smart ancients better! Agreeing to news, offers, and commentary ) continue to be some of my favorite.!