In Greek mythology, a Charis or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, nature, human creativity, fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces. The usual list, from oldest to youngest, is Aglaea and Thalia. In Roman mythology they were known as the Gratiae, the "Graces". In some variants, Charis was not the singular form of their name; the Charites were considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, though they were said to be daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios and the naiad Aegle. Other possible names of their mother by Zeus are Eurydome and Euanthe. Homer wrote; the Charites were associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries. The river Cephissus near Delphi was sacred to the three goddesses. Although the Graces numbered three, according to the Spartans, not Thalia, was the third, other Graces are sometimes mentioned, including Damia, Cleta, Hegemone, Paregoros and Charis or Cale. An ancient vase painting attests the following names as five: Antheia, Euthymia, Paidia, Pannychis —all referring to the Charites as patronesses of amusement and festivities.
Pausanias interrupts his Description of Greece to expand upon the various conceptions of the Graces that had developed in different parts of mainland Greece and Ionia: "The Boeotians say that Eteocles was the first man to sacrifice to the Graces. Moreover, they are aware that he established three as the number of the Graces, but they have no tradition of the names he gave them; the Lacedaemonians, say that the Graces are two, that they were instituted by Lacedaemon, son of Taygete, who gave them the names of Cleta and Phaenna. These are appropriate names for Graces, as are those given by the Athenians, who from of old have worshipped two Graces and Hegemone, until Hermesianax added Peitho as a third, it was from Eteocles of Orchomenus. And Angelion and Tectaus, sons of Dionysus, who made the image of Apollo for the Delians, set three Graces in his hand. Again, at Athens, before the entrance to the Acropolis, the Graces are three in number. Pamphos was the first we know of to sing about the Graces, but his poetry contains no information either as to their number or about their names.
Homer makes one the wife of Hephaestus. He says that Sleep was a lover of Pasithea, in the speech of Sleep there is this verse:Verily that he would give me one of the younger Graces."Hence some have suspected that Homer knew of older Graces as well. Hesiod in the Theogony says that the three Graces are daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, giving them the names of Aglaia and lovely Thalia; the poem of Onomacritus agrees with this account. Antimachus, while giving neither the number of the Graces nor their names, says that they are daughters of Aegle and the Sun; the elegiac poet Hermesianax disagrees with his predecessors in that he makes Persuasion one of the Graces." Nonnus gives their three names as Pasithea and Aglaia. Sostratus gives the names as Pasithea and Euphrosyne; the Charites was most depicted in the sanctuaries of other gods, but they did have their own temples as well, at least four temples to them are known from Greece. The two main cult centres of the Charites were the town of Orkhomenos in northern Boiotia, the Aegean island of Paros.
There were temples to the Charites in Hermione, in Sparta and in Elis: "There is a sanctuary to the Kharites. One of them holds a rose, the middle one a die, the third a small branch of myrtle; the reason for their holding these things may be guessed to be this. The rose and the myrtle are sacred to Aphrodite and connected with the story of Adonis, while the Kharites are of all deities the nearest related to Aphrodite; as for the die, it is the plaything of youths and maidens, who have nothing of the ugliness of old age. On the right of the Kharites is an image of Eros, standing on the same pedestal."The temple regarded as their most important was the Temple of the Charites in Orkhomenos, where their cult was thought to have originated: "The Boiotians say that Eteokles was the first man to sacrifice to the Kharites. Moreover, they are aware that he established three as the number of the Kharites, but they have no tradition of the names he gave them... It was from Eteokles of Orkhomenos. At Orkhomenos is a sanctuary of Dionysos.
They worship the stones most, say that they fell for Eteokles out of heaven. The artistic images were dedicated in my time, they too are of stone."Strabo wrote: "Eteokles, one of those who reigned as king at Orkhomenos, who founded a temple of the Kharites, was the first to display both wealth and power.
Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. "Mnemosyne" is derived from the same source as the word mnemonic, that being the Greek word mnēmē, which means "remembrance, memory". Mnemosyne is the mother of the nine Muses. A Titanide, or Titaness, Mnemosyne was the daughter of the Titans Gaia. Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine Muses, fathered by her nephew, Zeus: Calliope Clio Euterpe Erato Melpomene Polyhymnia Terpsichore Thalia Urania In Hesiod’s Theogony and poets receive their powers of authoritative speech from their possession of Mnemosyne and their special relationship with the Muses. Zeus, in a form of a mortal shepherd, Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus conceiving the nine Muses. Mnemosyne presided over a pool in Hades, counterpart to the river Lethe, according to a series of 4th-century BC Greek funerary inscriptions in dactylic hexameter. Dead souls drank from Lethe. In Orphism, the initiated were taught to instead drink from the Mnemosyne, the river of memory, which would stop the transmigration of the soul.
Although she was categorized as one of the Titans in the Theogony, Mnemosyne did not quite fit that distinction. Titans were hardly worshiped in Ancient Greece, were thought of as so archaic as to belong to the ancient past, they resembled historical figures more than anything else. Mnemosyne, on the other hand, traditionally appeared in the first few lines of many oral epic poems —she appears in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, among others—as the speaker called upon her aid in remembering and performing the poem he was about to recite. Mnemosyne is thought to have been given the distinction of “Titan” because memory was so important and basic to the oral culture of the Greeks that they deemed her one of the essential building blocks of civilization in their creation myth. Once written literature overtook the oral recitation of epics, Plato made reference in his Euthydemus to the older tradition of invoking Mnemosyne; the character Socrates prepares to recount a story and says “ὥστ᾽ ἔγωγε, καθάπερ οἱ ποιηταί, δέομαι ἀρχόμενος τῆς διηγήσεως Μούσας τε καὶ Μνημοσύνην ἐπικαλεῖσθαι.”
Which translates to “Consequently, like the poets, I must needs begin my narrative with an invocation of the Muses and Memory”. Aristophanes harked back to the tradition in his play Lysistrata when a drunken Spartan ambassador invokes her name while prancing around pretending to be a bard from times of yore. While not one of the most popular divinities, Mnemosyne was the subject of some minor worship in Ancient Greece. Statues of her are mentioned in the sanctuaries of other gods, she was depicted alongside her daughters the Muses, she was worshipped in Lebadeia in Boeotia, at Mount Helicon in Boeotia, in the cult of Asclepius. There was a statue of Mnemosyne in the shrine of Dionysos at Athens, alongside the statues of the Muses and Apollo, as well as a statue with her daughters the Muses in the Temple of Athena Alea. Pausanias described the worship of Mnemosyne in Lebadeia in Boeotia, where she played an important part in the oracular sanctuary of Trophonios: " He is taken by the priests, not at once to the oracle, but to fountains of water near to each other.
Here he must drink water called the water of Lethe, that he may forget all that he has been thinking of hitherto, afterwards he drinks of another water, the water of Mnemosyne, which causes him to remember what he sees after his descent... After his ascent from Trophonios the inquirer is again taken in hand by the priests, who set him upon a chair called the chair of Mnemosyne, which stands not far from the shrine, they ask of him, when seated there, all he has seen or learned. After gaining this information they entrust him to his relatives; these lift him, paralysed with terror and unconscious both of himself and of his surroundings, carry him to the building where he lodged before with Tykhe and the Daimon Agathon. Afterwards, however, he will recover all his faculties, the power to laugh will return to him."Mnemosyne was sometime regarded as being not the mother of the Muses but as one of them, as such she was worshiped in the sanctuary of the Muses at Mount Helicon in Boeotia: "The first to sacrifice on Helikon to the Mousai and to call the mountain sacred to the Mousai were, they say and Otos, who founded Askra...
The sons of Aloeus held that the Mousai were three in number, gave them the names Melete and Aoide. But they say that afterwards Pieros, a Makedonian... came to Thespiae and established nine Mousai, changing their names to the present ones... Mimnermos... says in the preface that the elder Mousai are the daughters of Ouranos, that there are other and younger Mousai, children of Zeus." Mnemosyne was one of the deities worshiped in the cult of Asclepius that formed in Ancient Greece around the 5th century BC. Asclepius, a Greek hero and god of medicine, was said to have been able to cure maladies, the cult incorporated a multitude of other Greek heroes and gods in its process of healing; the exact order of the offerings and prayers varied by location, the supplicant made an offering to Mnemosyne. After making an offering to Asclepius himself, in some locations, one last praye
In ancient Greek religion, Nike was a goddess who personified victory. Her Roman equivalent was Victoria; the word νίκη nikē is of uncertain etymology. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. Others have connected it to Proto-Indo-European *neik-, making it cognate with Greek νεῖκος and Lithuanian ap-ni̇̀kti. Nike was variously described as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, the sister of Kratos and Zelus, and Styx the daughter of Ocean was joined to Pallas and bore Zelus and trim-ankled Nike in the house. She brought forth Cratos and Bia, wonderful children. In other sources, Nike was described as the daughter of the god of war. Ares... O defender of Olympos, father of warlike Nike. Nike and her siblings were close companions of the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon. According to classical myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titanomachy against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she is portrayed in Classical Greek art.
Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength and victory. Nike was a close acquaintance of Athena, is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is one of the most portrayed figures on Greek coins. After victory at the Battle of Marathon, Athenians erected the Nike of Callimachus. Names stemming from Nike include among others: Nikolaos, Nicola, Nicolai, Niccolò, Nicolae, Klaas, Ike, Nikita, Nika, Naike, Nikki and Veronica; the sports equipment company Nike, Inc. is named after the Greek goddess Nike. Project Nike, an American anti-aircraft missile system is named after the goddess Nike. Since Giuseppe Cassioli's design for the 1928 Summer Olympics, the obverse face of every Olympic medal bears Nike's figure holding a palm frond in her right hand and a winner's laurel crown in her left.
The Honda motorcycle company's logo is inspired by the goddess Nike. Winged Victory of Samothrace Altar of Victory Nike of Paeonius Ángel de la Independencia Smith, William. William Smith, LLD. William Wayte. G. E. Marindin. Albemarle Street, London. John Murray. 1890. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Media related to Nike at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of Nike at Wiktionary Goddess Nike
In Greek mythology, Hypnos is the personification of sleep. His name is the origin of the word hypnosis. Hypnos is the son of Erebus, his brother is Thanatos. Both siblings live in Erebus, another valley of the Greek underworld. According to rumors, Hypnos lived in a big cave, which the river Lethe comes from and where night and day meet, his bed is made of ebony, on the entrance of the cave grow a number of poppies and other hypnotic plants. No light and no sound would enter his grotto. According to Homer, he lives on the island Lemnos, which on has been claimed to be his own dream-island, he is said to be a calm and gentle god, as he helps humans in need and, due to their sleep, owns half of their lives. Hypnos lived next to Thanatos in the underworld. Hypnos' mother was Nyx, the deity of Night, his father was Erebus, the deity of Darkness. Nyx was a dreadful and powerful goddess, Zeus feared to enter her realm, his wife, was one of the youngest of the Graces and was promised to him by Hera, the goddess of marriage and birth.
Pasithea is the deity of relaxation. Hypnos used his powers to trick Zeus. Hypnos was able to help the Danaans win the Trojan war. During the war, Hera loathed Zeus, so she devised a plot to trick him, she decided that in order to trick him she needed to make him so enamoured with her that he would fall for the trick. So she washed herself with ambrosia and anointed herself with oil, made for her to make herself impossible to resist for Zeus, she wove flowers through her hair, put on three brilliant pendants for earrings, donned a wondrous robe. She called for Aphrodite, the goddess of love, asked her for a charm that would ensure that her trick would not fail. In order to procure the charm, she lied to Aphrodite because they sided on opposites sides of the war, she told Aphrodite that she wanted the charm to help herself and Zeus stop fighting. Aphrodite willingly agreed. Hera was ready to trick Zeus, but she needed the help of Hypnos, who had tricked Zeus once before. Hera asked him to help her by putting Zeus to sleep.
Hypnos was reluctant because the last time he had put the god to sleep, he was furious when he awoke. It was Hera, she was furious that Zeus' son, sacked the city of the Trojans. So she had Hypnos put Zeus to sleep, set blasts of angry winds upon the sea while Heracles was still sailing home; when Zeus awoke he went on a rampage looking for Hypnos. Hypnos managed to avoid Zeus by hiding with Nyx; this made Hypnos reluctant to help her trick Zeus again. Hera first offered him a beautiful golden seat that can never fall apart and a footstool to go with it, he refused this first offer. Hera got him to agree by promising that he would be married to Pasithea, one of the youngest Graces, whom he had always wanted to marry. Hypnos made her swear by the river Styx and call on gods of the underworld to be witnesses so that he would be ensured that he would marry Pasithea. Hera went to see Zeus on the topmost peak of Mount Ida. Zeus was taken by her and suspected nothing as Hypnos was shrouded in a thick mist and hidden upon a pine tree, close to where Hera and Zeus were talking.
Zeus asked Hera what she was doing there and why she had come from Olympus, she told him the same lie she told Aphrodite. She told him that she wanted to go help her parent stop quarrelling and she stopped there to consult him because she didn't want to go without his knowledge and have him be angry with her when he found out. Zeus said that she could go any time, that she should postpone her visit and stay there with him so they could enjoy each other's company, he told her. He took her in his embrace and Hypnos went to work putting him to sleep, with Hera in his arms. While this went on, Hypnos travelled to the ships of the Achaeans to tell Poseidon, God of the Sea, that he could now help the Danaans and give them a victory while Zeus was sleeping; this is. Thanks to Hypnos helping to trick Zeus, the war changed its course to Hera's favour, Zeus never found out that Hypnos had tricked him one more time. According to a passage in Deipnosophistae, the sophist and dithyrambic poet Licymnius of Chios tells a different tale about the Endymion myth, in which Hypnos, in awe of his beauty, causes him to sleep with his eyes open, so he can admire his face.
Hypnos appears in numerous works of art. An example of one vase that Hypnos is featured on is called "Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus,", part of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston’s collection. In this vase, Hypnos is shown as a winged god dripping Lethean water upon the head of Ariadne as she sleeps. One of the most famous works of art featuring Hypnos is a bronze head of Hypnos himself, now kept in the British Museum in London; this bronze head has wings sprouting from his temples and the hair is elaborately arranged, some tying in knots and some hanging from his head. The English word "hypnosis" is derived from his name, referring to the fact that when hypnotized, a person is put into a sleep-like state; the class of medicines known as "hypnotics" which induce sleep take their name from Hypnos. Additionally
In Greek mythology, Eros is the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid, he is described as one of the children of Aphrodite and Ares, with most of his siblings, was a part of group, consisting of winged love gods. However, sometimes he is described as one of the primordial gods, but he is most identified with Phanes; the Greek ἔρως, meaning "desire," comes from ἔραμαι "to love", of uncertain etymology. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. Eros appears in ancient Greek sources under several different guises. In the earliest sources, he is one of the primordial gods involved in the coming into being of the cosmos, but in sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form illicitly. In the satirical poets, he is represented as a blindfolded child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid, whereas in early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power, a profound artist.
A cult of Eros existed in pre-classical Greece, but it was much less important than that of Aphrodite. However, in late antiquity, Eros was worshiped by a fertility cult in Thespiae. In Athens, he shared a popular cult with Aphrodite, the fourth day of every month was sacred to him. Eros was one of the Erotes, along with other figures such as Himeros and Pothos, who are sometimes considered patrons of homosexual love between males. Eros is part of a triad of gods that played roles in homoerotic relationships, along with Heracles and Hermes, who bestowed qualities of beauty and eloquence onto male lovers. According to Hesiod's Theogony, one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos and Tartarus. Homer does not mention Eros. However, one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence; the Orphic and Eleusinian Mysteries featured Eros as a original god, but not quite primordial, since he was the child of Night.
Aristophanes, influenced by Orphism, relates the birth of Eros: "At the beginning there was only Chaos, Night and the Abyss. Earth, the Air and Heaven had no existence. Firstly, blackwinged Night laid a germless egg in the bosom of the infinite deeps of Darkness, from this, after the revolution of long ages, sprang the graceful Love with his glittering golden wings, swift as the whirlwinds of the tempest, he mated in the deep Abyss with dark Chaos, winged like himself, thus hatched forth our race, the first to see the light." In myths, he was the son of the deities Aphrodite and Ares: it is the Eros of these myths, one of the erotes. Eros was associated with athleticism, with statues erected in gymnasia, "was regarded as the protector of homosexual love between men." Eros was depicted as carrying a lyre or bow and arrow. He was depicted accompanied by dolphins, roosters and torches. “We must have a word with Aphrodite. Let us go together and ask her to persuade her boy, if, possible, to loose an arrow at Aeetes’ daughter, Medea of the many spells, make her fall in love with Jason...”
"He smites maids’ breasts with unknown heat, bids the gods leave heaven and dwell on earth in borrowed forms." "Once, when Venus’ son was kissing her, his quiver dangling down, a jutting arrow, had grazed her breast. She pushed the boy away. In fact the wound was deeper. Enraptured by the beauty of a man." "Eros drove Dionysos mad for the girl with the delicious wound of his arrow curving his wings flew to Olympus. And the god roamed over the hills scourged with a greater fire.” The story of Eros and Psyche has a longstanding tradition as a folktale of the ancient Greco-Roman world long before it was committed to literature in Apuleius' Latin novel, The Golden Ass. The novel itself is written in a picaresque Roman style. Eros and Aphrodite are called by their Latin names, Cupid is depicted as a young adult, rather than a child; the story tells of the struggle for trust between Eros and Psyche. Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of mortal princess Psyche, as men were leaving her altars barren to worship a mere human woman instead, so she commanded her son Eros, the god of love, to cause Psyche to fall in love with the ugliest creature on earth.
But instead, Eros falls in love with Psyche himself and spirits her away to his home. Their fragile peace is ruined by a visit from Psyche's jealous sisters, who cause Psyche to betray the trust of her husband. Wounded, Eros leaves his wife, Psyche wanders the Earth, looking for her lost love, she approaches Aphrodite and asks for her help. Aphrodite imposes a series of difficult tasks on Psyche, which she is able to achieve by means of supernatural assistance. After completing these tasks, Aphrodite relents and Psyche becomes immortal to live alongside her husband Eros. Together they had a daughter, Voluptas or Hedone (meaning phys
Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord. Her name is the equivalent of Latin Discordia, which means "discord". Eris' Greek opposite is Harmonia. Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo; the dwarf planet Eris is named after the goddess. Eris is of uncertain etymology. R. S. P. Beekes suggested a Pre-Greek origin. In Hesiod's Works and Days 11–24, two different goddesses named Eris are distinguished: In Hesiod's Theogony, the daughter of Night, is less kindly spoken of as she brings forth other personifications as her children: And hateful Eris bore painful Ponos and Limos and the tearful Algea, Makhai and Androktasiai; the other Strife is she who appears in Homer's Iliad Book IV. She hurled down bitterness between both sides as she walked through the onslaught making men's pain heavier, she has a son whom she named Strife. Enyo is mentioned in Book 5, Zeus sends Strife to rouse the Achaeans in Book 11, of the same work; the most famous tale of Eris recounts her initiating the Trojan War by causing the Judgement of Paris.
The goddesses Hera and Aphrodite had been invited along with the rest of Olympus to the forced wedding of Peleus and Thetis, who would become the parents of Achilles, but Eris had been snubbed because of her troublemaking inclinations. She therefore tossed into the party the Apple of Discord, a golden apple inscribed Ancient Greek: τῇ καλλίστῃ, translit. Tē kallistē – "For the most beautiful one", or "To the Fairest One" – provoking the goddesses to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient; the hapless Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the fairest by Zeus. The goddesses stripped naked to try to win Paris' decision, attempted to bribe him. Hera offered political power. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite, thereby dooming his city, destroyed in the war that ensued. In Nonnus' Dionysiaca, 2.356, when Typhon prepares to battle with Zeus: Eris was Typhon's escort in the melée, Nike led Zeus to battle. Another story of Eris includes Hera, the love of Polytekhnos and Aedon.
They claimed to love each other more than Zeus were in love. This angered Hera, so she sent Eris to wreak discord upon them. Polytekhnos was finishing off a chariot board, Aedon a web she had been weaving. Eris said to them, "Whosoever finishes thine task last shall have to present the other with a female servant!" Aedon won. But Polytekhnos was not happy by his defeat, so he came to Khelidon, Aedon's sister, raped her, he disguised her as a slave, presenting her to Aedon. When Aedon discovered this was indeed her sister, she chopped up Polytekhnos' son and fed him to Polytekhnos; the gods were not pleased, so they turned them all into birds. Eris has been adopted as the patron deity of the modern Discordian religion, begun in the late 1950s by Gregory Hill and Kerry Wendell Thornley under the pen names of "Malaclypse the Younger" and "Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst"; the Discordian version of Eris is lighter in comparison to the rather malevolent Graeco-Roman original, wherein she is depicted as a positive force of chaotic creation.
A quote from the Principia Discordia, the first holy book of Discordianism, attempts to clear up the matter: One day Mal-2 consulted his Pineal Gland and asked Eris if She created all of those terrible things. She told him that She had always liked the Old Greeks, but that they cannot be trusted with historic matters. "They were," She added, "victims of indigestion, you know." Suffice it to say that Eris is not hateful or malicious. But she is mischievous, does get a little bitchy at times; the story of Eris being snubbed and indirectly starting the Trojan War is recorded in the Principia, is referred to as the Original Snub. The Principia Discordia states that her parents may be as described in Greek legend, or that she may be the daughter of Void, she is the Goddess of Disorder and Being, whereas her sister Aneris is the goddess of Order and Non-Being. Their brother is Spirituality. Discordian Eris is looked upon as a foil to the preoccupation of western philosophy in attempting find order in the chaos of reality, in prescribing order to be synonymous with truth.
Discordian Eris teaches us that the only truth is chaos, that order and disorder are temporary filters applied to the lenses we view the chaos through. This is known as the Aneristic Illusion. In this telling, Eris becomes something of a patron saint of chaotic creation: I am chaos. I am the substance from which your artists and scientists bu
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ