In Greek mythology, Pylades is the son of King Strophius of Phocis and of Anaxibia, the daughter of Atreus and sister of Agamemnon and Menelaus. He is known for his love with his cousin Orestes, son of Agamemnon. Orestes had been sent to Phocis during his mother Clytemnestra's affair with Aegisthus. There he was raised with Pylades, so considered him to be like a brother. While Orestes was away, Clytemnestra killed Orestes' father Agamemnon; as an adult, Orestes returns to Mycenae/Argos to avenge the murder of Agamemnon. With the assistance of his friend Pylades, Orestes kills his mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. While Pylades seems to be a minor character, he is arguably the most vital piece of Orestes' plan to avenge his father. In The Libation Bearers, the second play of Aeschylus' trilogy The Oresteia, Pylades speaks only once, his lines come at the moment Orestes begins to falter and second-guess his decision to kill his mother. It is Pylades who convinces Orestes to follow through with his plan for revenge and carry out the murder.
The significance of Pylades' lines has invited speculation into whether or not he might represent something more than human next to Orestes. In other versions of the revenge of Orestes and Electra, Pylades accompanies Orestes, but does not speak. In the Sophocles version, Orestes pretends to be dead and Pylades carries the urn holding his friend's remains. According to Pausanias, Pylades killed Nauplius sons'. Pylades was exiled by his father for taking part in the crime, he returned to Orestes' side, where he helped him to come up with a plan to avoid execution. They attempted to murder Helen, wife of Orestes' uncle Menelaus, after he proved to be of no help in protecting Orestes. However, their attempt failed through the intervention of the gods, they took hostage Hermione, daughter of Helen and Menelaus. Apollo arrived to settle the situation and gave them all instructions, including one for Pylades to marry Orestes' sister Electra. Many of these events are depicted in Euripides' play Orestes.
Pylades played a major role in another of Euripides' plays, Iphigeneia in Tauris. In order to escape the persecutions of the Erinyes, Orestes had been ordered by Apollo to go to Tauris, carry off the statue of Artemis which had fallen from heaven, bring it to Athens, he went to Tauris with Pylades and the pair were at once imprisoned by the people, among whom the custom was to sacrifice all strangers to Artemis. Orestes was seized by a mania for fear of the barbarians; the priestess of Artemis, whose duty it was to perform the sacrifice, was Orestes' sister Iphigeneia. She offered to release Orestes. After a conflict of mutual affection, Pylades at last yields, but the letter brought about a recognition between brother and sister, all three escaped together, carrying with them the image of Artemis; the intense relationship between Pylades and Orestes was presented by some Greek writers as romantic or homoerotic. The dialogue Erotes, attributed to Lucian, compares the merits and advantages of heterosexuality and homoeroticism, Orestes and Pylades are presented as the principal representatives of a loving friendship: “Phocis preserves from early times the memory between Orestes and Pylades, who taking a god as witness of the passion between them, sailed through life together as though in one boat.
Both together put to death Klytmnestra. Pylades suffered more than his friend by the punishment, he stood by him when condemned, nor did they limit their tender partnership to the bounds of Greece, but sailed to the farthest boundaries of the Scythians – the one sick, the other ministering to him. When they had come into the Tauric land, straightaway they were met by the matricidal fury; when it was determined that one should remain to be put to death, the other should go to Mycenae to convey a letter, each wishes to remain for the sake of the other, thinking that if he saves the life of his friend, he saves his own life. Orestes refuses to take the letter, saying that Pylades was more worthy to carry it, acting more like the older lover than the younger. ‘For,’ he said, ‘the slaying of this man would be a great grief to me, as I am the cause of these misfortunes.’ And he added, ‘Give the tablet to him, for I will send thee to Argos, in order that it may be well with thee. The wider context of these remarks, describing the physical intimacy open to male pairs, indicates that the love exemplified by Orestes and Pylades would not have excluded more overt homoerotic or sexual elements.
In 1734, George Frederic Handel's opera Or
Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC, it is arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt and Arabia to Greece and Europe; the second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great. The third covers the period to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning ` library', acknowledges. According to his own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily. With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about his life and doings beyond in his work. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the "year of Abraham 1968", writes, "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious". However, his English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the "striking coincidence" that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium is the tombstone of one "Diodorus, the son of Apollonius".
Diodorus' universal history, which he named Bibliotheca historica, was immense and consisted of 40 books, of which 1–5 and 11–20 survive: fragments of the lost books are preserved in Photius and the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. It was divided into three sections; the first six books treated the mythic history of the non-Hellenic and Hellenic tribes to the destruction of Troy and are geographical in theme, describe the history and culture of Ancient Egypt, of Mesopotamia, India and Arabia, of North Africa, of Greece and Europe. In the next section, he recounts the history of the world from the Trojan War down to the death of Alexander the Great; the last section concerns the historical events from the successors of Alexander down to either 60 BC or the beginning of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. He selected the name "Bibliotheca" in acknowledgment that he was assembling a composite work from many sources. Identified authors on whose works he drew include Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Philistus, Timaeus and Posidonius.
His account of gold mining in Nubia in eastern Egypt is one of the earliest extant texts on the topic, describes in vivid detail the use of slave labour in terrible working conditions. He gave an account of the Gauls: "The Gauls are terrifying in aspect and their voices are deep and altogether harsh, they are boasters and threateners and are fond of pompous language, yet they have sharp wits and are not without cleverness at learning." Pliny the Elder Strabo Acadine Ambaglio, Franca Landucci Gattinoni and Luigi Bravi. Diodoro Siculo: Biblioteca storica: commento storico: introduzione generale. Storia. Ricerche. Milano: V&P, 2008. X, 145 p. Buckley, Terry. Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC: A Source-based Approach. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09958-7. Lloyd, Alan B.. Herodotus, Book II. Leiden: Brill. Pp. Introduction. ISBN 90-04-04179-6. Siculus, Diodorus. H.. Library of History: Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Siculus, Diodorus. Rhodomannus; the Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books to which are added the Fragments of Diodorus.
London: J. Davis. Downloadable via Google Books. Siculi, Diodori. Bibliothecae Historicae Libri Qui Supersunt: Nova Editio. Argentorati: Societas Bipontina. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Downloadable via Google Books. Clarke, Katherine. 1999. "Universal perspectives in Historiography." In The Limits of Historiography: Genre and Narrative in Ancient Historical Texts. Edited by Christina Shuttleworth Kraus, 249–279. Mnemosyne. Supplementum 191. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. Hammond, Nicholas G. L. 1998. "Portents and Dreams in Diodorus’ Books 14–17." Greek and Byzantine Studies 39.4: 407–428. McQueen, Earl I. 1995. Diodorus Siculus; the Reign of Philip II: The Greek and Macedonian Narrative from Book XVI. A Companion. London: Bristol Classical Press. Muntz, Charles E. 2017. Diodorus Siculus and the World of the Late Roman Republic. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. Pfuntner, Laura. 2015. "Reading Diodorus through Photius: The Case of the Sicilian Slave Revolts." Greek and Byzantine Studies 55.1: 256–272. Rubincam, Catherine.
1987. "The Organization and Composition of Diodorus’ Bibliotheke." Échos du monde classique 31:313–328. Sacks, Kenneth S. 1990. Diodorus Siculus and the First Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. Sinclair, Robert K. 1963. "Diodorus Siculus and the Writing of History." Proceedings of the African Classical Association 6:36–45. Stronk, Jan P. 2017. Semiramis’ Legacy; the History of Persia According to Diodorus of Sicily. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press. Sulimani, Iris. 2008. "Diodorus’ Source-Citations: A Turn in the Attitu
Deianira, Deïanira, or Deianeira known as Dejanira, was a Calydonian princess in Greek mythology whose name translated as "man-destroyer" or "destroyer of her husband". She was the wife of Heracles and, in late Classical accounts, his unwitting murderer, killing him with the poisoned Shirt of Nessus, she is the main character in Sophocles' play Women of Trachis. Deianira was the daughter of Althaea and her husband Oeneus, the king of Calydon, the half-sister of Meleager, her other siblings were Toxeus, Periphas, Thyreus, Gorge and Melanippe. In some accounts, Deianira was the daughter of King Dexamenus of Olenus and thus, sister to Eurypylus and Theraephon. Others called this daughter of Dexamenus as Hippolyte. Deianira became the mother of Hyllus, Onites and Macaria who saved the Athenians from defeat by Eurystheus. In Sophocles' account of Deianira's marriage, she was courted by the river god Achelous but saved from having to marry him by Heracles, who defeated Achelous in a wrestling contest for her hand in marriage.
In another version of the tale where she was described as the daughter of Dexamenus, Heracles raped her and promised to come back and marry her. While he was away, the centaur Eurytion demanded her as his wife, her father being afraid, agreed but Heracles returning before the marriage had slayed the centaur and claimed his bride. Deianira was associated with combat, was described as someone who "drove a chariot and practiced the art of war." Robert Graves interpreted the association with war as a relationship with the pre-Olympian war goddess, an orgiastic bride in many local sacred marriages to kings who may have been sacrificed. The central story about Deianira concerns the Tunic of Nessus. A wild centaur named Nessus attempted to kidnap or rape Deianira as he was ferrying her across the river Euenos, but she was rescued by Heracles, who shot the centaur with a poisoned arrow; as he lay dying, Nessus persuaded Deianira to take a sample of his blood, telling her that a potion of it mixed with olive oil would ensure that Heracles would never again be unfaithful.
Deianira kept a little of the potion by her. Heracles fathered illegitimate children all across Greece and fell in love with Iole; when Deianira thus feared that her husband would leave her forever, she smeared some of the blood on Heracles' famous lionskin shirt. Heracles' servant, brought him the shirt and he put it on; the centaur's toxic blood burned Heracles and he threw himself into a funeral pyre. In despair, Deianira committed suicide with a sword. Hesiod, Catalogue of Women fr. 2 5 Ovid, Heroides 9 Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.101-238 Harry Thurston Peck, Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, 1898 Graves, The Greek Myths, 1955, 142.ff, 142.2,3,5
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the second-century AD, who lived in the time of Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece, a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from his first-hand observations; this work provides crucial information for making links between classical literature and modern archaeology. Andrew Stewart assesses him as: A careful, pedestrian writer...interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual. He is careless or makes unwarranted inferences, his guides or his own notes sometimes mislead him, yet his honesty is unquestionable, his value without par. Pausanias was born in 110 AD into a Greek family and was a native of Lydia. Before visiting Greece, he had been to Antioch and Jerusalem, to the banks of the River Jordan. In Egypt, he had seen the pyramids. While at the temple of Ammon, he had been shown the hymn once sent to that shrine by Pindar. In Macedonia, he appears to have seen.
Crossing over to Italy, he had seen something of the wonders of Rome. He was one of the first known to write of seeing the ruins of Troy, Alexandria Troas, Mycenae. Pausanias' Description of Greece is in each dedicated to some portion of Greece, he begins his tour in Attica, where the city of its demes dominate the discussion. Subsequent books describe Corinthia, Messenia, Achaea, Boetia and Ozolian Locris; the project is more than topographical. Pausanias digresses from the description of architectural and artistic objects to review the mythological and historical underpinnings of the society that produced them; as a Greek writing under the auspices of the Roman empire, he was in an awkward cultural space, between the glories of the Greek past he was so keen to describe and the realities of a Greece beholden to Rome as a dominating imperial force. His work bears the marks of his attempt to navigate that space and establish an identity for Roman Greece, he is not a naturalist by any means, although from time to time, he does comment on the physical realities of the Greek landscape.
He notices the pine trees on the sandy coast of Elis, the deer and the wild boars in the oak woods of Phelloe, the crows amid the giant oak trees of Alalcomenae. It is in the last section that Pausanias touches on the products of nature, such as the wild strawberries of Helicon, the date palms of Aulis, the olive oil of Tithorea, as well as the tortoises of Arcadia and the "white blackbirds" of Cyllene. Pausanias is most of Delphi, yet in the most secluded regions of Greece, he is fascinated by all kinds of depictions of deities, holy relics, many other sacred and mysterious objects. At Thebes he views the shields of those who died at the Battle of Leuctra, the ruins of the house of Pindar, the statues of Hesiod, Arion and Orpheus in the grove of the Muses on Helicon, as well as the portraits of Corinna at Tanagra and of Polybius in the cities of Arcadia. Pausanias has the instincts of an antiquary; as his modern editor, Christian Habicht, has said, In general, he prefers the old to the new, the sacred to the profane.
Some magnificent and dominating structures, such as the Stoa of King Attalus in the Athenian Agora or the Exedra of Herodes Atticus at Olympia are not mentioned. Unlike a Baedeker guide, in Periegesis Pausanias stops for a brief excursus on a point of ancient ritual or to tell an apposite myth, in a genre that would not become popular again until the early nineteenth century. In the topographical part of his work, Pausanias is fond of digressions on the wonders of nature, the signs that herald the approach of an earthquake, the phenomena of the tides, the ice-bound seas of the north, the noonday sun that at the summer solstice, casts no shadow at Syene. While he never doubts the existence of the deities and heroes, he sometimes criticizes the myths and legends relating to them, his descriptions of monuments of art are unadorned. They bear the impression of reality, their accuracy is confirmed by the extant remains, he is frank in his confessions of ignorance. When he quotes a book at second hand he takes pains to say so.
The work left faint traces in the known Greek corpus. "It was not read", Habicht relates. The only manuscripts of Pausanias are three fifteenth-century copies, full of errors and lacunae, which all appear to depend on a single manuscript that survived to be copied. Niccolò Niccoli had this archetype in Florence in 1418. At his death in 1437, it went to the library of San Marco, Florence it disappeared after 1500; until twentieth-century archaeologists concluded that Pausanias was a reliable guide to the sites they were excavating, Pausanias was la
A centaur, or hippocentaur, is a mythological creature from Greek mythology with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse. Centaurs are thought of in many Greek myths as being as wild as untamed horses, were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia. Centaurs are subsequently featured in Roman mythology, were familiar figures in the medieval bestiary, they remain a staple of modern fantastic literature. The centaurs were said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele; as the story goes, Nephele was a cloud made into the likeness of Hera in a plot to trick Ixion into revealing his lust for Hera to Zeus. Ixion seduced Nephele. Another version, makes them children of Centaurus, a man who mated with the Magnesian mares. Centaurus was either himself the son of Apollo and the nymph Stilbe. In the latter version of the story, Centaurus's twin brother was ancestor of the Lapiths.
Another tribe of centaurs was said to have lived on Cyprus. According to Nonnus, they were fathered by Zeus, who, in frustration after Aphrodite had eluded him, spilled his seed on the ground of that land. Unlike those of mainland Greece, the Cyprian centaurs were horned. There were the Lamian Pheres, twelve rustic daimones of the Lamos river, they were set by Zeus to guard the infant Dionysos, protecting him from the machinations of Hera, but the enraged goddess transformed them into ox-horned Centaurs. The Lamian Pheres accompanied Dionysos in his campaign against the Indians; the centaur's half-human, half-horse composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures they embody in contrasting myths. The Centaurs are best known for their fight with the Lapiths who, according to one origin myth, would have been cousins to the centaurs; the battle, called the Centauromachy, was caused by the centaurs' attempt to carry off Hippodamia and the rest of the Lapith women on the day of Hippodamia's marriage to Pirithous, the king of the Lapithae and a son of Ixion.
Theseus, a hero and founder of cities, who happened to be present, threw the balance in favour of the Lapiths by assisting Pirithous in the battle. The Centaurs were destroyed. Another Lapith hero, invulnerable to weapons, was beaten into the earth by Centaurs wielding rocks and the branches of trees. In her article "The Centaur: Its History and Meaning in Human Culture," Elizabeth Lawrence claims that the contests between the centaurs and the Lapiths typify the struggle between civilization and barbarism; the Centauromachy is most famously portrayed in the Parthenon metopes by Phidias and in a Renaissance-era sculpture by Michelangelo. The Greek word kentauros is regarded as being of obscure origin; the etymology from ken + tauros, "piercing bull," was a euhemerist suggestion in Palaephatus' rationalizing text on Greek mythology, On Incredible Tales, which included mounted archers from a village called Nephele eliminating a herd of bulls that were the scourge of Ixion's kingdom. Another possible related etymology can be "bull-slayer".
The most common theory holds that the idea of centaurs came from the first reaction of a non-riding culture, as in the Minoan Aegean world, to nomads who were mounted on horses. The theory suggests that such riders would appear as half-animal. Bernal Díaz del Castillo reported that the Aztecs had this misapprehension about Spanish cavalrymen; the Lapith tribe of Thessaly, who were the kinsmen of the Centaurs in myth, were described as the inventors of horse-back riding by Greek writers. The Thessalian tribes claimed their horse breeds were descended from the centaurs. Robert Graves, speculated that the centaurs were a dimly remembered, pre-Hellenic fraternal earth cult who had the horse as a totem. A similar theory was incorporated into Mary Renault's The Bull from the Sea. Though female centaurs, called centaurides or centauresses, are not mentioned in early Greek literature and art, they do appear in antiquity. A Macedonian mosaic of the 4th century BC is one of the earliest examples of the centauress in art.
Ovid mentions a centauress named Hylonome who committed suicide when her husband Cyllarus was killed in the war with the Lapiths. In a popular legend associated with Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, the curse of a saintly Brahmin transformed a handsome Yadava prince into a creature having a horse's body and the prince's head and torso in place of the head and neck of the horse. Kinnaras, another half-man, half-horse mythical creature from Indian mythology, appeared in various ancient texts and sculptures from all around India, it is shown as a horse with the torso of a man where the horse's head would be, is similar to a Greek centaur. A centaur-like half-human, half-equine creature called Polkan appeared in Russian folk art and lubok prints of the 17th–19th centuries. Polkan is based on Pulicane, a half-dog from Andrea da Barberino's poem I Reali di Francia, once popular in the Slavonic world in prosaic translations; the extensive Mycenaean pottery found at Ugarit included two fragmentary Mycenaean terracotta figures which have been tentatively identified as centaurs.
This finding suggests a Bronze Age origin for these creatures o
Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived; some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according to the Suda, it was 92 at most. Of these, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete and there are fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer and Menander. Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances; this new approach led him to pioneer developments that writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. Yet he became "the most tragic of poets", focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way unknown.
He was "the creator of...that cage, the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", yet he was the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw. Unique among writers of Ancient Athens, Euripides demonstrated sympathy towards the underrepresented members of society, his male contemporaries were shocked by the'heresies' he put into the mouths of characters, such as these words of his heroine Medea: His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Whereas Socrates was put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia. Recent scholarship casts doubt on ancient biographies of Euripides. For example, it is possible that he never visited Macedonia at all, or, if he did, he might have been drawn there by King Archelaus with incentives that were offered to other artists.
Traditional accounts of the author's life are found in many commentaries and include details such as these: He was born on Salamis Island around 480 BC, with parents Cleito and Mnesarchus, a retailer who lived in a village near Athens. Upon the receipt of an oracle saying that his son was fated to win "crowns of victory", Mnesarchus insisted that the boy should train for a career in athletics. In fact the boy was destined for a career on the stage, where however he was to win only five victories, one of, after his death, he served for a short time as both torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius. His education was not confined to athletics: he studied painting and philosophy under the masters Prodicus and Anaxagoras, he had two disastrous marriages and both his wives—Melite and Choerine —were unfaithful. He became a recluse. "There he built an impressive library and pursued daily communion with the sea and sky". He retired to the "rustic court" of King Archelaus in Macedonia, where he died in 406 BC.
However, as mentioned in the introduction, biographical details such as these should be regarded with scepticism. They are derived entirely from three unreliable sources: folklore, employed by the ancients to lend colour to the lives of celebrated authors; this biography is divided into three sections corresponding to the three kinds of sources. Euripides was the youngest in a set of three great tragedians who were contemporaries: his first play was staged thirteen years after Sophocles' debut and only three years after Aeschylus's masterpiece, the Oresteia; the identity of the threesome is neatly underscored by a patriotic account of their roles during Greece's great victory over Persia at the Battle of Salamis—Aeschylus fought there, Sophocles was just old enough to celebrate the victory in a boys' chorus and Euripides was born on the day of the battle. The apocryphal account that he composed his works in a cave on Salamis island was a late tradition and it symbolizes the isolation of an intellectual, rather ahead of his time.
Much of his life and his whole career coincided with the struggle between Athens and Sparta for hegemony in Greece but he didn't live to see the final defeat of his city. It is said that he died in Macedonia after being attacked by the Molossian hounds of King Archelaus and that his cenotaph near Piraeus was struck by lightning—signs of his unique powers, whether for good or ill. In an account by Plutarch, the catastrophic failure of the Sicilian expedition led Athenians to trade renditions of Euripides' lyrics to their enemies in return for food and drink. Plutarch is the source for the story that the victorious Spartan generals, having planned the demolition of Athens and the enslavement of its people, grew merciful after being entertained at a banquet by lyrics from Euripides' play Electra: "they felt that it would be a barbarous act to annihilate a ci
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