Category:Greek culture heroes
This category has only the following subcategory.
- ► Attic culture heroes (1 C, 5 P)
This category has only the following subcategory.
1. Cadmus – In Greek mythology, Cadmus /ˈkædməs/, Greek, Κάδμος Kadmos), was the founder and first king of Thebes. Cadmus was the first Greek hero and, alongside Perseus and Bellerophon, Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honour. Cadmus was credited by the ancient Greeks with introducing the original Alphabet —to the Greeks, herodotus estimates that Cadmus lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 BC. Herodotus had seen and described the Cadmean writing in the temple of Apollo at Thebes engraved on certain tripods and he estimated those tripods to date back to the time of Laius the great-grandson of Cadmus. On one of the tripods there was this inscription in Cadmean writing, the Homeric picture of the Mycenaean age betrays extremely little awareness of writing, possibly reflecting the loss during the Dark Age of the earlier Linear B script. Indeed, the only Homeric reference to writing was in the phrase γράμματα λυγρά, grámmata lygrá, literally baneful drawings, but such a suggestion, however attractive, is by no means a certain conclusion in light of currently available evidence. The connection between the name of Cadmus and the origins of either the Linear B script or the later Phoenician alphabet, if any. However, in modern-day Lebanon, Cadmus is still revered and celebrated as the carrier of the letter to the world, according to Greek myth, Cadmuss descendants ruled at Thebes on and off for several generations, including the time of the Trojan War. The etymology of Cadmus name remains uncertain, possible connected words include the Semitic triliteral root qdm signifies east, and the Greek kekasmai to shine. Therefore, the meaning of the name might be, He who excels. After his sister Europa had been carried off by Zeus from the shores of Phoenicia, Cadmus was sent out by his father to find her, and enjoined not to return without her. Unsuccessful in his search - or unwilling to go against Zeus - he came to Samothrace, the island sacred to the Great Gods or the Kabeiroi, whose mysteries would be celebrated also at Thebes. Cadmus did not journey alone to Samothrace, he appeared with his mother Telephassa in the company of his nephew Thasus, son of Cilix, who gave his name to the island of Thasos nearby. An identically composed trio had other names at Samothrace, according to Diodorus Siculus, Electra, there was a fourth figure, Electras daughter, Harmonia, whom Cadmus took away as a bride, as Zeus had abducted Europa. The wedding was the first celebrated on Earth to which the gods brought gifts, according to Diodorus and dined with Cadmus, Cadmus came in the course of his wanderings to Delphi, where he consulted the oracle. He was ordered to give up his quest and follow a cow, with a half moon on her flank, which would meet him. The cow was given to Cadmus by Pelagon, King of Phocis, and it guided him to Boeotia, intending to sacrifice the cow to Athena, Cadmus sent some of his companions to the nearby Ismenian spring for water. They were slain by the springs guardian water-dragon, which was in turn destroyed by Cadmus and he was then instructed by Athena to sow the dragons teeth in the ground, from which there sprang a race of fierce armed men, called the Spartoi
2. Heracles – Heracles, born Alcaeus or Alcides, was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson and half-brother of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of clans who claimed to be Heracleidae. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well. Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him, together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the skin and the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a figure who used games to relax from his labors. By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have made the safe for mankind. Many popular stories were told of his life, the most famous being The Twelve Labours of Heracles and his figure, which initially drew on Near Eastern motifs such as the lion-fight, was widely known. Heracles was the greatest of Hellenic chthonic heroes, but unlike other Greek heroes, the core of the story of Heracles has been identified by Walter Burkert as originating in Neolithic hunter culture and traditions of shamanistic crossings into the netherworld. Heracles role as a hero, whose death could be a subject of mythic telling, was accepted into the Olympian Pantheon during Classical times. Around him cries of the dead rang out like cries of birds scattering left, in Christian circles a Euhemerist reading of the widespread Heracles cult was attributed to a historical figure who had been offered cult status after his death. The ancient Greeks celebrated the festival of the Heracleia, which commemorated the death of Heracles, what is believed to be an Egyptian Temple of Heracles in the Bahariya Oasis dates to 21 BCE. A reassessment of Ptolemys descriptions of the island of Malta attempted to link the site at Ras ir-Raħeb with a temple to Heracles, several ancient cities were named Heraclea in his honor. A major factor in the tragedies surrounding Heracles is the hatred that the goddess Hera. A full account of Heracles must render it clear why Heracles was so tormented by Hera, Heracles was the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus made love to her after disguising himself as her husband, Amphitryon, thus, Heracles very existence proved at least one of Zeus many illicit affairs, and Hera often conspired against Zeus mortal offspring as revenge for her husbands infidelities. His twin mortal brother, son of Amphitryon, was Iphicles, Hera did this knowing that while Heracles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheus
3. Homer – Homer is the name ascribed by the ancient Greeks to the semi-legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems which are the central works of Greek literature. The Odyssey focuses on the home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca. Many accounts of Homers life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a bard from Ionia. The modern scholarly consensus is that these traditions do not have any historical value, the Homeric question - by whom, when, where and under what circumstances were the Iliad and Odyssey composed - continues to be debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion on the authorship question falls into two camps, one group holds that most of the Iliad and the Odyssey is the work of a single poet of genius. The other considers the Homeric poems to be the crystallization of a process of working and re-working by many contributors and it is generally accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century B. C. Most researchers believe that the poems were transmitted orally. The Homeric epics were the greatest influence on ancient Greek culture and education, to Plato, the chronological period of Homer depends on the meaning to be assigned to the word Homer. Was Homer a single person, an imaginary person representing a group of poets and this information is often called the world of Homer. The Homeric period would in that cover a number of historical periods, especially the Mycenaean Age. Considered word-for-word, the texts as we know them are the product of the scholars of the last three centuries. Each edition of the Iliad or Odyssey is a different, as the editors rely on different manuscripts and fragments. The term accuracy reveals a belief in an original uniform text. The manuscripts of the work currently available date to no earlier than the 10th century. These are at the end of a missing thousand-year chain of copies made as each generation of manuscripts disintegrated or were lost or destroyed and these numerous manuscripts are so similar that a single original can be postulated. The time gap in the chain is bridged by the scholia, or notes, on the existing manuscripts, librarian of the Library of Alexandria, he had noticed a wide divergence in the works attributed to Homer, and was trying to restore a more authentic copy. He had collected several manuscripts, which he named, the Sinopic, the one he selected for correction was the koine, which Murray translates as the Vulgate. Aristarchus was known for his selection of material
4. Lycurgus of Sparta – Lycurgus was the legendary lawgiver of Sparta who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. All his reforms were directed towards the three Spartan virtues, equality, military fitness, and austerity and he is referred to by ancient historians and philosophers Herodotus, Xenophon, Plato, Polybius, Plutarch, and Epictetus. The following account comes almost exclusively from Plutarchs Life of Lycurgus and it is said that Lycurgus had risen to power when his older brother, the king, had died. With his father deceased, he was offered the throne, Lycurgus brother, however, had died with a pregnant wife. When this child was born, Lycurgus named the child, Charilaus, however, the young kings mother and her relatives envied and hated Lycurgus. Among other slanders, they accused Lycurgus of plotting the death of Charilaus, therefore, Lycurgus gave up all of his authority and went to the island of Crete. In Crete, Lycurgus met Thaletas the poet, Thaletas made his living as a musician at banquets, but in reality Thaletas was a teacher of civilization. Eventually, Lycurgus persuaded Thaletas to go to Sparta with his songs to prepare the people for the new way of life that he intended to introduce later, Lycurgus carefully studied the forms of government in Crete and picked out what might be useful for Sparta. He also travelled to Ionia to study the difference between the pleasure-loving Ionians and the sober Cretans, as study the difference between the sick and the healthy. Apparently he took this comparison to the Spartans, training one puppy in a manner and leaving the other to eat. The Spartans were taken by the discipline of Crete and liberties of Ionians at the same time, in Ionia, Lycurgus discovered the works of Homer. Lycurgus compiled the scattered fragments of Homer and made sure that the lessons of statecraft, after Lycurgus had been absent for a while, the Spartans wrote and begged Lycurgus to come back. As they admitted, only Lycurgus was really a king in their heart, although others wore a crown and he had the true foundation of sovereignty, a nature born to rule, and a talent for inspiring obedience. Even the Spartan kings wanted Lycurgus to return because they saw him as one who could protect them from the people, Lycurgus had already decided that some fundamental changes would have to be made in Sparta. When he returned, he did not merely tinker with the laws, first, however, Lycurgus went to the Oracle at Delphi to ask for guidance. The Oracle told Lycurgus that his prayers had been heard and that the state which observed the laws of Lycurgus would become the most famous in the world, with such an endorsement, Lycurgus went to the leading men of Sparta and enlisted their support. He began with his closest friends, then these friends widened the conspiracy by bringing in their own friends, when things were ripe for action, thirty of them appeared at dawn in the marketplace, fully armed for battle. According to the found in Plutarchs Lives and other sources
5. Palamedes (mythology) – In Greek mythology, Palamedes was the son of Nauplius and Clymene. He joined the Greeks in the expedition against Troy, pausanias in his Description of Greece says that in Corinth is a Temple of Fortune in which Palamedes dedicated the dice that he had invented. Agamemnon sent Palamedes to Ithaca to retrieve Odysseus, who had promised to defend the marriage of Helen, paris had kidnapped Helen, but Odysseus did not want to honor his oath. He pretended to be insane and plowed his fields with salt, Palamedes guessed what was happening and put Odysseus son, Telemachus, in front of the plow. Odysseus stopped working and revealed his sanity, the ancient sources show differences in regards to the details of how Palamedes was caused to die and also the actual way in which his death was brought about. Odysseus never forgave Palamedes for ruining his attempt to out of the Trojan War. When Palamedes advised the Greeks to return home, Odysseus hid gold in his tent, the letter was found and the Greeks accused him of being a traitor. Palamedes was stoned to death by Odysseus and Diomedes, according to other accounts the two warriors drowned him during a fishing expedition. Still another version relates that he was lured into a well in search of treasure, although he is a major character in some accounts of the Trojan War, Palamedes is not mentioned in Homers Iliad. Ovid discusses Palamedes role in the Trojan War in the Metamorphoses, Palamedes fate is described in Virgils Aeneid. In the Apology, Plato describes Socrates as looking forward to speaking with Palamedes after death, euripides and many other dramatists have written dramas about his fate. The major Dutch playwright Joost van den Vondel wrote in 1625 the play Palamedes, authorities in Amsterdam found no difficulty in deciphering the political meanings behind Vondels Classical allusions, and imposed a heavy fine on the playwright. D. R. Reinsch, Die Palamedes-Episode in der Synopsis Chronike des Konstantinos Manasses und ihre Inspirationsquelle, studien zur byzantinischen Literatur gewidmet Wolfram Hoerandner zum 65. Hg. v. Martin Hinterberger und Elisabeth Schiffer, berlin-New York, Walter de Gruyter,2007, 266-276
6. Prometheus – Ancient myths and legends relate at least four versions of the narratives describing Prometheus, his exploits with Zeus, and his eternal punishment as also inflicted by Zeus. There is a single somewhat comprehensive version of the birth of Prometheus, the most significant narratives of his origin appear in the Theogony of Hesiod which relates Prometheus as being the son of the Titan Iapetus by Clymene, one of the Oceanids. Hesiod then presents Prometheus as subsequently being a challenger to Zeuss omnipotence. Each individual ancient author selectively preferred certain crucial stories depicting Prometheus over others, all three of the major Athenian tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, were affected by the myth of Prometheus. The surviving plays and fragments of Aeschylus regarding Prometheus retain a place of prominence within modern scholarship for their having survived the ravages of time. The majority of written by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides have been lost to literary antiquity. The influence of the myth of Prometheus extends well into the 20th, the etymology of the theonym prometheus is debated. The classical view is that it signifies forethought, as that of his brother Epimetheus denotes afterthought. It has been theorized that it derives from the Proto-Indo-European root that also produces the Vedic pra math, to steal, hence pramathyu-s, thief, cognate with Prometheus, the Vedic myth of fires theft by Mātariśvan is an analog to the Greek account. Pramantha was the used to create fire. Prometheus, himself a Titan, managed to avoid being in the direct confrontational cosmic battle between Zeus and the other Olympians against Cronus and the other Titans. Prometheus and his struggle would be of vast merit to society as well in this mythology as he was to be credited with the creation of humans. The four most ancient historical sources for the Prometheus myth are Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, the Prometheus myth first appeared in the late 8th-century BCE Greek epic poet Hesiods Theogony. He was a son of the Titan Iapetus by Clymene, one of the Oceanids and he was brother to Menoetius, Atlas, and Epimetheus. In the Theogony, Hesiod introduces Prometheus as a challenger to Zeuss omniscience and omnipotence. In the trick at Mekone, a sacrificial meal marking the settling of accounts between mortals and immortals, Prometheus played a trick against Zeus. He placed two sacrificial offerings before the Olympian, a selection of hidden inside an oxs stomach. Zeus chose the latter, setting a precedent for future sacrifices, henceforth, humans would keep that meat for themselves and burn the bones wrapped in fat as an offering to the gods
7. Trophonius – Trophonius /trəˈfoʊniəs/ was a Greek hero or daimon or god—it was never certain which one—with a rich mythological tradition and an oracular cult at Lebadaea in Boeotia. The name is derived from τρέφω trepho, to nourish. Strabo and several inscriptions refer to him as Zeus Trephonios, several other chthonic Zeuses are known from the Greek world, including Zeus Μειλίχιος Meilikhios, and Zeus Χθόνιος Chthonios. Which were other names for Hades, similar constructions are also found in the Roman world, for example, a shrine at Lavinium in Lazio was dedicated to Aeneas under the title Iuppiter Indiges. In Greek mythology, Trophonius was a son of Erginus, according to the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, he built Apollos temple at the oracle at Delphi with his brother, Agamedes. Once finished, the oracle told the brothers to do whatsoever they wished for six days and, on the seventh and they did and were found dead on the seventh day. The maxim by Menander, those whom the gods love die young, alternatively, according to Pausanias they built a treasure chamber for King Hyrieus of Boeotia. Using the secret entrance, they stole Hyrieus fortune and he was aware but did not know who the thief was, he laid a snare. Agamedes was trapped in it, Trophonius cut off his head so that Hyrieus would not know who the body in the snare was and he then fled into the cavern at Lebadaea, and disappeared forever. The cave of Trophonius was not discovered again until the Lebadaeans suffered a plague, the Pythia advised them that an unnamed hero was angry at being neglected, and that they should find his grave and offer him worship forthwith. Several unsuccessful searches followed, and the plague continued unabated until a shepherd boy followed a trail of bees into a hole in the ground, instead of honey, he found a daimon, and Lebadaea lost its plague while gaining a popular oracle. The childless Xuthus in Euripidess Ion consults Trophonius on his way to Delphi, apollonius of Tyana, a legendary wise man and seer of Late Antiquity, once visited the shrine and found that, when it came to philosophy, Trophonius was a proponent of sound Pythagorean doctrines. Plutarchs De Genio Socratis relates an elaborate dream-vision concerning the cosmos, Pausanias, in his account of Boeotia, relates many details about the cult of Trophonius. Whoever desired to consult the oracle would live in a house for a period of days, bathing in the river Herkyna. He would then sacrifice, by day, to a series of gods, including Cronus, Apollo, Zeus the king, Hera the Charioteer, and Demeter-Europa. At night, he would cast a black victim into a pit sacred to Agamedes, here, most consultees were frightened out of their wits, and forgot the experience entirely upon coming up. Afterward, the consultee would be seated upon a chair of Mnemosyne, to descend into the cave of Trophonios became a proverbial way of saying to suffer a great fright. This saying is alluded to in Aristophanes Clouds, several ancient philosophers, including Heraclides Ponticus, wrote commentaries on the cult of Trophonios that are now sadly lost