Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature; the Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. He enjoyed enormous popularity, but, in one of the mysteries of literary history, was sent by Augustus into exile in a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, "a poem and a mistake", but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars; the first major Roman poet to begin his career during the reign of Augustus, Ovid is today best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, for works in elegiac couplets such as Ars Amatoria and Fasti. His poetry was much imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, influenced Western art and literature.
The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology. Ovid talks more about his own life than most other Roman poets. Information about his biography is drawn from his poetry Tristia 4.10, which gives a long autobiographical account of his life. Other sources include Seneca the Quintilian. Ovid was born in Sulmo, in an Apennine valley east of Rome, to an important equestrian family, on 20 March, 43 BC; that was a significant year in Roman politics. He was educated in rhetoric in Rome under the teachers Arellius Fuscus and Porcius Latro with his brother who excelled at oratory, his father wanted him to study rhetoric toward the practice of law. According to Seneca the Elder, Ovid tended to not the argumentative pole of rhetoric. After the death of his brother at 20 years of age, Ovid renounced law and began travelling to Athens, Asia Minor, Sicily, he held minor public posts, as one of the tresviri capitales, as a member of the Centumviral court and as one of the decemviri litibus iudicandis, but resigned to pursue poetry around 29–25 BC, a decision his father disapproved of.
Ovid's first recitation has been dated to around 25 BC. He was part of the circle centered on the patron Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, seems to have been a friend of poets in the circle of Maecenas. In Trist. 4.10.41–54, Ovid mentions friendships with Macer, Horace and Bassus. He married three times and divorced twice by the time he was thirty years old, he had one daughter, who bore him grandchildren. His last wife was connected in some way to the influential gens Fabia and would help him during his exile in Tomis; the first 25 years of Ovid's literary career were spent writing poetry in elegiac meter with erotic themes. The chronology of these early works is not secure, his earliest extant work is thought to be the Heroides, letters of mythological heroines to their absent lovers, which may have been published in 19 BC, although the date is uncertain as it depends on a notice in Am. 2.18.19–26 that seems to describe the collection as an early published work. The authenticity of some of these poems has been challenged, but this first edition contained the first 14 poems of the collection.
The first five-book collection of the Amores, a series of erotic poems addressed to a lover, Corinna, is thought to have been published in 16–15 BC. 8–3 BC. Between the publications of the two editions of the Amores can be dated the premiere of his tragedy Medea, admired in antiquity but is no longer extant. Ovid's next poem, the Medicamina Faciei, a fragmentary work on women's beauty treatments, preceded the Ars Amatoria, the Art of Love, a parody of didactic poetry and a three-book manual about seduction and intrigue, dated to AD 2. Ovid may identify this work in his exile poetry as the carmen, or song, one cause of his banishment; the Ars Amatoria was followed by the Remedia Amoris in the same year. This corpus of elegiac, erotic poetry earned Ovid a place among the chief Roman elegists Gallus and Propertius, of whom he saw himself as the fourth member. By AD 8, he had completed his most ambitious work, the Metamorphoses, a hexameter epic poem in 15 books; the work encyclopedically catalogues transformations in Greek and Roman mythology, from the emergence of the cosmos to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
The stories follow each other in the telling of human beings transformed to new bodies: trees, animals, constellations etc. At the same time, he worked on the Fasti, a six-book poem in elegiac couplets on the theme of the calendar of Roman festivals and astronomy; the composition of this poem was interrupted by Ovid's exile, it is thought that Ovid abandoned work on the piece in Tomis. It is in this period, if they are indeed by Ovid, that the double letters in the Heroides were composed. In AD 8, Ovid was banished to Tomis, on the Black Sea, by the exclusive intervention of the Emperor Augustus, without any participation of the Senate or of any Roman judge; this event shaped all his following poetry. Ovid wrote that the reason for his exile was carmen et error – "a poem and a mistake", claiming that his crime was
Thebaid (Latin poem)
The Thebaid is a Latin epic in 12 books written in dactylic hexameter by Publius Papinius Statius. The poem deals with the Theban cycle and treats the assault of the seven champions of Argos against the city of Thebes. Based on Statius' own testimony, the Thebaid was written AD c. 80–c. 92, beginning when the poet was around 35, the work is thought to have been published in 91 or 92. According to the last verse of the poem, Statius wrote the Thebaid over the course of a dozen years during the reign of Emperor Domitian, although the symmetry of the compositional period, assigning one book per year, has been taken with suspicion by scholars; the poem is divided into twelve books in imitation of Vergil's Aeneid and is composed in 9,748 hexameter verses, the standard meter of Greco-Roman epics. In the Silvae, Statius speaks of his extensive work in polishing and revising the Thebaid and his public recitations of the poem. From the epilogue it seems clear that Statius considered the Thebaid to be his magnum opus and believed that it would secure him fame for the future.
Statius's Thebaid deals with the same subject as the Thebaid—an early Greek epic of several thousand lines which survives only in brief fragments, and, attributed by some classical Greek authors to Homer. A more important source for Statius was the long epic Thebais of Antimachus of Colophon, an important poem both in the development of the Theban cycle and the evolution of Hellenistic poetry. Statius' poem shows some parallels with Stesichorus' "Thebais". Significant for Statius were the myth's many treatments in Greek drama, represented by surviving plays such as Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes, Sophocles's Antigone, Euripides's Phoenissae and Suppliants. Other authors provided models for specific sections of the poem. On the Latin side, Statius is indebted to Vergil, a debt he acknowledges in his epilogue. Statius emulates Vergil's Odyssean and Iliadic book division, concentrating aetiological material and traveling in the first six books and focusing on battle narratives in the second six, many episodes allude to sections in the Aeneid.
Ovid's considerable influence can be traced in Statius's handling of cosmic structure, description and verse. The influence of Lucan can be felt in Statius's penchant for macabre battle sequences, discussion of tyranny, focus on nefas. Seneca's tragedies seem to be an influence in the Thebaid in Statius's portrayal of family relations, generational curses and insanity. Book 1 The Thebaid opens with a priamel in which the poet rejects several themes dealing with Theban mythology and decides to focus on the House of Oedipus, following this is a recusatio and a passage in praise of Domitian; the narrative begins with Oedipus' prayer to the chthonic gods and curse on his sons Polyneices and Eteocles who have rejected and mistreated him. The Fury Tisiphone hears Oedipus' prayer and ascends to the earth to fulfill the curse, causing strife between Eteocles and Polyneices; this is followed by a council of the gods concilium deorum at which Jupiter informs the gods of his plan to involve Thebes and Argos in a war.
Mercury is sent to the underworld to fetch the shade of Laius to drive Eteocles to war. Meanwhile Polyneices is driven by a storm to Argos and the threshold of Adrastus's palace, where he meets Tydeus, an exile from Calydon, seeking shelter, fights with him. Adrastus invites the two exiles in, feasts them, and, in fulfillment of a prophecy, offers them his daughters to marry; the book ends with Adrastus' prayer to Apollo. Book 2 The second book begins with Mercury's guidance of the shade of Laius to Thebes. Adrastus marries Polyneices to Tydeus to Deipyle in a ceremony marred by ill omens; the poet describes the necklace of Harmonia, which Argia wears to the wedding, as an object that brings its bearers bad luck and causes strife. Polyneices sends Tydeus on an embassy to Eteocles to remind him. Eteocles refuses Tydeus' request for him to give up the throne. Tydeus leaves in a rage and Eteocles sends an ambush to kill him as he returns in a mountain pass. Tydeus kills all the ambushers except Maeon.
Tydeus attaches the battle trophies—taken from the slain—to an oak tree as he prays to Minerva. Book 3 Maeon returns to Thebes, reports the slaughter to Eteocles, criticizing the tyrant's behavior, commits suicide; the Thebans go out to bury the dead. Jupiter orders Mars to go to earth to stir up war, but Venus blocks his chariot, beseeching him to prevent the war. Mars follows Jupiter's commands and heads to earth, stirring up trouble in the cities and driving Adrastus and Polyneices to decl
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Lemnos is a Greek island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos regional unit, part of the North Aegean region; the principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Myrina. At 477.583 square kilometres, it is the 8th-largest island of Greece. Lemnos is flat, but the west, the northwest part, is rough and mountainous; the highest point is Mount Skopia at the altitude of 430 m. The chief towns are Myrina, on the western coast, Moudros on the eastern shore of a large bay in the middle of the island. Myrina possesses a good harbour, in the process of being upgraded through construction of a west-facing sea wall, it is the seat of all trade carried on with the mainland. The hillsides afford pasture for sheep, Lemnos has a strong husbandry tradition, being famous for its Kalathaki Limnou, a cheese made from sheep and goat milk and melipasto cheese, for its yogurt. Fruit and vegetables that grow on the island include almonds, melons, tomatoes and olives.
The main crops are wheat, sesame. Lemnos produces honey, but, as is the case with most products of a local nature in Greece, the produced quantities are little more than sufficient for the local market. Muscat grapes are grown and are used to produce an unusual table wine, dry yet has a strong Muscat flavor. Since 1985 the variety and quality of Lemnos wines have increased greatly; the climate in Lemnos is Mediterranean. Winters are mild, but there will be a snowfall occasionally. Strong winds are a feature of the island in August and in winter time, hence its nickname "the wind-ridden one"; the temperature is 2 to 5 degrees Celsius less than in Athens in summertime. For ancient Greeks, the island was sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy, who—as he tells himself in Iliad I.590ff—fell on Lemnos when Zeus hurled him headlong out of Olympus. There, he was cared for by the Sinties, according to Iliad, or by Thetis, there with a Thracian nymph Cabiro he fathered a tribe called the Kaberoi. Sacred initiatory rites dedicated to them were performed in the island.
Its ancient capital was named Hephaistia in the god's honour. Hephaestus' forge, located on Lemnos, as well as the name Aethaleia, sometimes applied to it, points to its volcanic character, it is said that fire blazed forth from Mosychlos, one of its mountains. The ancient geographer Pausanias relates that a small island called Chryse, off the Lemnian coast, was swallowed up by the sea. All volcanic action is now extinct; the earliest inhabitants are said to have been a Thracian tribe, whom the Greeks called Sintians, "robbers". The name Lemnos is said by Hecataeus to have been applied in the form of a title to Cybele among the Thracians; the worship of Cybele was characteristic of Thrace, where it had spread from Asia Minor at a early period. Hypsipyle and Myrina are Amazon names. According to the epitome of the Bibliotheke traditionally attributed to Apollodorus, when Dionysus found Ariadne abandoned on Naxos, he brought her to Lemnos and there fathered Thoas, Staphylus and Peparethus. Pliny the Elder in his Natural History speaks of a remarkable labyrinth in Lemnos, which has not been identified in modern times.
According to a Hellenic legend, the women were all deserted by their husbands for Thracian women, in revenge they murdered every man on the island. From this barbarous act, the expression Lemnian deeds became proverbial among the Hellenes. According to Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica the Argonauts landing soon after found only women in the island, ruled by Hypsipyle, daughter of the old king Thoas. From the Argonauts and the Lemnian women were descended the race called Minyans, whose king Euneus, son of Jason and Hypsipyle, sent wine and provisions to the Achaeans at Troy. According to Greek historians, the Minyans were expelled by a Pelasgian tribe who came from Attica; the historical element underlying these traditions is that the original Thracian people were brought into communication with the Greeks as navigation began to unite the scattered islands of the Aegean. In another legend, Philoctetes was left on Lemnos by the Greeks on their way to Troy. According to Sophocles, he lived beside Mount Hermaeus, which Aeschylus makes one of the beacon points to flash the news of Troy's downfall home to Argos.
The ruins of the oldest human settlement in the Aegean Islands found so far have been unearthed in archaeological excavations on Lemnos by a team of Greek and American archaeologists at the Ouriakos site on the Louri coast of Fyssini in Moudros municipality. The excavation began in early June 2009 and the finds brought to light, consisting of high quality stone tools, are from the Epipaleolithic Period, indicating a settlement of hunters and gatherers and fishermen of the 12th millennium BC. A rectangular building with a double row of stepped seats on the long sides, at the southwest side of the hill of Poliochne, dates back to the Early Bronze Age
The Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework. Although meeting the criteria for an epic, the poem defies simple genre classification by its use of varying themes and tones. Ovid took inspiration from the genre of metamorphosis poetry, some of the Metamorphoses derives from earlier treatment of the same myths. One of the most influential works in Western culture, the Metamorphoses has inspired such authors as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare. Numerous episodes from the poem have been depicted in acclaimed works of sculpture and music. Although interest in Ovid faded after the Renaissance, there was a resurgence of attention to his work towards the end of the 20th century. Today the Metamorphoses continues to be retold through various media.
The work has been the subject of numerous translations into English, the first by William Caxton in 1480. Ovid's decision to make myth the dominant subject of the Metamorphoses was influenced by the predisposition of Alexandrian poetry. However, whereas it served in that tradition as the cause for moral reflection or insight, he made it instead the "object of play and artful manipulation"; the model for a collection of metamorphosis myths derived from a pre-existing genre of metamorphosis poetry in the Hellenistic tradition, of which the earliest known example is Boio' Ornithogonia—a now-fragmentary poem collecting myths about the metamorphoses of humans into birds. There are three examples of Metamorphoses by Hellenistic writers, but little is known of their contents; the Heteroioumena by Nicander of Colophon is better known, an influence on the poem—21 of the stories from this work were treated in the Metamorphoses. However, in a way, typical for writers of the period, Ovid diverged from his models.
The Metamorphoses was longer than any previous collection of metamorphosis myths and positioned itself within a historical framework. Some of the Metamorphoses derives from earlier poetic treatment of the same myths; this material was of varying quality and comprehensiveness—while some of it was "finely worked", in other cases Ovid may have been working from limited material. In the case of an oft-used myth such as that of Io in Book I, the subject of literary adaptation as early as the 5th century BC, as as a generation prior to his own, Ovid reorganises and innovates existing material in order to foreground his favoured topics and to embody the key themes of the Metamorphoses. Scholars have found it difficult to place the Metamorphoses in a genre; the poem has been considered as a type of epic. The poem is considered to meet the criteria for an epic. However, the poem "handles the themes and employs the tone of every species of literature", ranging from epic and elegy to tragedy and pastoral.
Commenting on the genre debate, G. Karl Galinsky has opined that "... it would be misguided to pin the label of any genre on the Metamorphoses."The Metamorphoses is comprehensive in its chronology, recounting the creation of the world to the death of Julius Caesar, which had occurred only a year before Ovid's birth. In spite of its unbroken chronology, scholar Brooks Otis has identified four divisions in the narrative: Book I–Book II: The Divine Comedy Book III–Book VI, 400: The Avenging Gods Book VI, 401–Book XI: The Pathos of Love Book XII–Book XV: Rome and the Deified RulerOvid works his way through his subject matter in an arbitrary fashion, by jumping from one transformation tale to another, sometimes retelling what had come to be seen as central events in the world of Greek mythology and sometimes straying in odd directions, it begins with the ritual "invocation of the muse", makes use of traditional epithets and circumlocutions. But instead of following and extolling the deeds of a human hero, it leaps from story to story with little connection.
The recurring theme, as with nearly all of Ovid's work, is love—be it personal love or love personified in the figure of Amor. Indeed, the other Roman gods are perplexed and made ridiculous by Amor, an otherwise minor god of the pantheon, the closest thing this putative mock-epic has to a hero. Apollo comes in for particular ridicule as Ovid shows how irrational love can confound the god out of reason; the work as a whole inverts the accepted order, elevating humans and human passions while making the gods and their desires and conquests objects of low humor. The Metamorphoses ends with one of only two surviving Latin epics to do so; the ending acts as a declaration that everything except his poetry—even Rome—must give way to change: "Now stands my task accomp
Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. Wine played an important role in Greek culture, the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption, his worship became established in the seventh century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenaean Greeks. His origins are uncertain, his cults took many forms. In some cults, he arrives as an Asiatic foreigner; some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults, he is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming important over time, included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, the only god born from a mortal mother.
His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia, his thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios, his wine and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful; those who partake of his mysteries are empowered by the god himself. The cult of Dionysus is a "cult of the souls", he is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. Dionysus is depicted in myth as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, although in the Orphic tradition, he was identified as the son of Zeus and Persephone. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with the son of Demeter; the dio- element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus. The earliest attested form of the name is Mycenaean Greek, di-wo-nu-so, written in Linear B syllabic script for /Diwonūsoio/.
This is attested on two tablets, found at Mycenaean Pylos and dated to the 12th or 13th century BC, but at the time, there could be no certainty on whether this was indeed a theonym. But the 1989–90 Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli Hill, unearthed, inter alia, four artefacts bearing Linear B inscriptions. Variants include Dionūsos and Diōnūsos in Boeotia. A Dio- prefix is found in other names, such as that of the Dioscures, may derive from Dios, the genitive of the name of Zeus; the second element -nūsos is associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs, but according to Pherecydes of Syros, nũsa was an archaic word for "tree". Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, writes that the name Dionysus means "Zeus-limp" and that Hermes named the new born Dionysus this, "because Zeus while he carried his burden lifted one foot with a limp from the weight of his thigh, nysos in Syracusan language means limping". In his note to these lines, W. H. D. Rouse writes "It need hardly be said that these etymologies are wrong".
The Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedia based on classical sources, states that Dionysus was so named "from accomplishing for each of those who live the wild life. Or from providing everything for those who live the wild life."R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name; the cult of Dionysus was associated with trees the fig tree, some of his bynames exhibit this, such as Endendros "he in the tree" or Dendritēs, "he of the tree". Peters suggests the original meaning as "he who runs among the trees", or that of a "runner in the woods". Janda accepts the etymology but proposes the more cosmological interpretation of "he who impels the tree"; this interpretation explains how Nysa could have been re-interpreted from a meaning of "tree" to the name of a mountain: the axis mundi of Indo-European mythology is represented both as a world-tree and as a world-mountain. The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male and robed, he holds a fennel staff, known as a thyrsus. Images show him as a beardless, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish".
In its developed form, his central cult imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from some place beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His procession is made up of bearded satyrs with erect penises; the god himself is drawn in a chariot by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, is sometimes attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus. This procession is presumed to be the cult model for the followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and he thus symbolizes the chaotic and unexpected
Lesbos is an island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of 1,633 km2 with 320 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest island in Greece, it is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait and in late Palaeolithic/Mesolithic times was joined to the Anatolian mainland before the end of the last glacial period. Lesbos is the name of a regional unit of the North Aegean region, within which Lesbos island is one of five governing islands; the others are Chios, Ikaria and Samos. The North Aegean region governs nine inhabited islands: Lesbos, Psara, Ikaria, Fournoi Korseon, Agios Efstratios and Samos; the capital of the North Aegean Region is Mytilene. The population of Lesbos is 86,000, a third of whom live in its capital, Mytilene, in the southeastern part of the island; the remaining population is distributed in small villages. The largest are Plomari, the Gera Villages, Agiassos and Molyvos. According to Greek writers, Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt led by Pittacus of Mytilene ended their rule.
In fact the archaeological and linguistic record may indicate a late Iron Age arrival of Greek settlers although references in Late Bronze Age Hittite archives indicate a Greek presence then. The name Mytilene. According to Homer's Iliad, Lesbos was part of the kingdom of Priam, based in Anatolia. Much work remains to be done to determine just when. In the Middle Ages, it was under Byzantine and Genoese rule. Lesbos was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1462; the Ottomans ruled the island until the First Balkan War in 1912, when it became part of the Kingdom of Greece. The name is from Ancient Greek: Λέσβος Lésbos "forested" or "woody" a Hittite borrowing, as the original Hittite name for the island was Lazpa. An older name for the island, maintained in Aeolic Greek was Ἴσσα Íssa. Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean sea, facing the Turkish coast from the east; the shape of the island is triangular, but it is intruded by the gulfs of Kalloni, with an entry on the southern coast, of Gera, in the southeast.
The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mt. Lepetymnos at 968 m and Mt. Olympus at 967 m, dominating its northern and central sections; the island's volcanic origin is manifested in the two gulfs. Lesbos is verdant, aptly named Emerald Island, with a greater variety of flora than expected for the island's size. Eleven million olive trees cover 40% of the island together with other fruit trees. Forests of mediterranean pines, chestnut trees and some oaks occupy 20%, the remainder is scrub, grassland or urban; the island has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. The mean annual temperature is 18 °C, the mean annual rainfall is 750 mm, its exceptional sunshine makes it one of the sunniest islands in the Aegean Sea. Snow and low temperatures are rare; the entire territory of Lesbos is "Lesvos Geopark", a member of the European Geoparks Network and Global Geoparks Network on account of its outstanding geological heritage, educational programs and projects, promotion of geotourism.
This geopark was enlarged from former "Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark". Lesbos contains one of the few known petrified forests called Petrified forest of Lesbos and it has been declared a Protected Natural Monument. Fossilised plants have been found in many localities on the western part of the island; the fossilised forest was formed during the Late Oligocene to Lower–Middle Miocene, by the intense volcanic activity in the area. Neogene volcanic rocks dominate the central and western part of the island, comprising andesites and rhyolites, pyroclastics and volcanic ash; the products of the volcanic activity covered the vegetation of the area and the fossilization process took place during favourable conditions. The fossilized plants are silicified remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed on the north-west part of the island 20–15 million years ago. According to Classical Greek mythology, Lesbos was the patron god of the island. Macareus of Rhodes was reputedly the first king whose many daughters bequeathed their names to some of the present larger towns.
In Classical myth his sister, was killed to have him made king. The place names with female origins are claimed by some to be much earlier settlements named after local goddesses, who were replaced by gods. Homer refers to the seat of Macar. Hittite records from the Late Bronze Age name the island Lazpa and must have considered its population significant enough to allow the Hittites to "borrow their gods" to cure their king when the local gods were not forthcoming, it is believed that emigrants from mainland Greece from Thessaly, entered the island in the Late Bronze Age and bequeathed it with the Aeolic dialect of the Greek language, whose written form survives in the poems of Sappho, amongst others. The abundant grey pottery ware found on the island and the worship of Cybele, the great mother-goddess of Anatolia, suggest the cultural continuity of the population from Neolithic times; when the Persian king Cyrus defeated Croesus the Ionic Greek cities of An