Aristoxenus of Tarentum was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher, a pupil of Aristotle. Most of his writings, which dealt with philosophy and music, have been lost, but one musical treatise, Elements of Harmony, survives incomplete, as well as some fragments concerning rhythm and meter; the Elements is the chief source of our knowledge of ancient Greek music. Aristoxenus was born at Tarentum, was the son of a learned musician named Spintharus, he learned music from his father, having been instructed by Lamprus of Erythrae and Xenophilus the Pythagorean, he became a pupil of Aristotle, whom he appears to have rivaled in the variety of his studies. According to the Suda, he heaped insults on Aristotle after his death, because Aristotle had designated Theophrastus as the next head of the Peripatetic school, a position which Aristoxenus himself had coveted having achieved great distinction as a pupil of Aristotle; this story is, contradicted by Aristocles, who asserts that he never mentioned Aristotle but with the greatest respect.
Nothing is known of his life after the time of Aristotle's departure, apart from a comment in Elementa Harmonica concerning his works. His writings, said to have consisted of four hundred and fifty-three books, dealt with philosophy and music. Although his final years were in the Peripatetic School, he hoped to succeed Aristotle on his death, Aristonexus was influenced by Pythagoreanism, was only a follower of Aristotle in so far as Aristotle was a follower of Plato and Pythagoras. Thus, as Sophie Gibson tells us, “the various philosophical influences” on Aristoxenus included growing up in the profoundly Pythagorean city of Taras, home of the two Pythagoreans Archytas and Philolaus, his father's musical background, which he inculcated into his son. Gibson tells us that, after the influence of his father: The second important influence on Aristoxenos’ development was Pythagoreanism. Born in Tarentum, the city in which both Archytas and Philolaos had lived, it can be seen that the extended period of time that Aristoxenus spent in a Pythagorean environment made an indelible impact on the subject matter of his writings.
Such titles as "Pythagorou bios", "Peri Pythaorou kai ton guorimon autou" and "Peri tou Pythagorikou biou" indicate Aristoxenus’ interest in the society. Furthermore, his works on education show evidence of Pythagorean influence in their tendency towards conservatism. Most speculation on the structure of music had its origin in a Pythagorean environment, its focus was on the numerical relationship between notes and, at its furthest stretch, developed into a comparison between musical and cosmological structures. However, Aristoxenus disagreed with earlier Pythagorean musical theory in several respects, building on their work with ideas of his own; the only work of his that has come down to us is the three books of the Elements of Harmony, an incomplete musical treatise. Aristoxenus' theory had an empirical tendency. Vitruvius in his De architectura paraphrases the writings of Aristoxenus on music, his ideas were responded to and developed by some theorists such as Archestratus, his place in the methodological debate between rationalists and empiricists was commented upon by such writers as Ptolemais of Cyrene.
The Pythagorean theory that the soul is a'harmony' of the four elements composing the body, therefore mortal, was ascribed to Aristoxenus and Dicaearchus. This theory is comparable to the one offered by Simmias in Plato's Phaedo. In his Elements of Harmony, Aristoxenus attempted a systematic exposition of music; the first book contains an explanation of the genera of Greek music, of their species. In the second book Aristoxenus divides music into seven parts, which he takes to be: the genera, sounds, tones or modes and melopoeia; the remainder of the work is taken up with a discussion of the many parts of music according to the order which he had himself prescribed. While it is held among modern scholars that Aristoxenus rejected the opinion of the Pythagoreans that arithmetic rules were the ultimate judge of intervals and that in every system there must be found a mathematical coincidence before such a system can be said to be harmonic, it must be noted that Aristoxenus made extensive use of arithmetic terminology, notably to define varieties of semitones, dieses in his descriptions of the various genera.
In his second book he asserted that "by the hearing we judge of the magnitude of an interval, by the understanding we consider its many powers." And further he wrote, "that the nature of melody is best discovered by the perception of sense, is retained by memory. However, this should not be construed as meaning that he postulated a simplistic system of harmony resembling that of modern twelve tone theory
Troy was a city in the far northwest of the region known in late Classical antiquity as Asia Minor, now known as Anatolia in modern Turkey, just south of the southwest mouth of the Dardanelles strait and northwest of Mount Ida. The present-day location is known as Hisarlik, it was the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle, in particular in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey suggests that the name Ἴλιον began with a digamma: Ϝίλιον. A new capital called, it flourished until the establishment of Constantinople, became a bishopric and declined in the Byzantine era, but is now a Latin Catholic titular see. In 1865, English archaeologist Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer at Hisarlik, in 1868, Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy German businessman and archaeologist began excavating in the area after a chance meeting with Calvert in Çanakkale; these excavations revealed several cities built in succession.
Schliemann was at first skeptical about the identification of Hisarlik with Troy, but was persuaded by Calvert and took over Calvert's excavations on the eastern half of the Hisarlik site, on Calvert's property. Troy VII has been identified with the city called Wilusa by the Hittites and is identified with Homeric Troy. Today, the hill at Hisarlik has given its name to a small village near the ruins, which supports the tourist trade visiting the Troia archaeological site, it lies within the province of Çanakkale, some 30 km south-west of the provincial capital called Çanakkale. The nearest village is Tevfikiye; the map here shows the adapted Scamander estuary with Ilium a little way inland across the Homeric plain. Due to Troy's location near the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea, it was a central hub for the military and trade. Troy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998. Ancient Greek historians variously placed the Trojan War in the 12th, 13th, or 14th centuries BC: Eratosthenes to 1184 BC, Herodotus to 1250 BC, Duris of Samos to 1334 BC.
Modern archaeologists associate Homeric Troy with archaeological Troy VII. In the Iliad, the Achaeans set up their camp near the mouth of the River Scamander, where they beached their ships; the city of Troy itself stood on a hill, across the plain of Scamander, where the battles of the Trojan War took place. The site of the ancient city is some 5 km from the coast today, but 3,000 years ago the mouths of Scamander were much closer to the city, discharging into a large bay that formed a natural harbor, which has since been filled with alluvial material. Recent geological findings have permitted the identification of the ancient Trojan coastline, the results confirm the accuracy of the Homeric geography of Troy. In November 2001, the geologist John C. Kraft from the University of Delaware and the classicist John V. Luce from Trinity College, presented the results of investigations, begun in 1977, into the geology of the region, they compared the present geology with the landscapes and coastal features described in the Iliad and other classical sources, notably Strabo's Geographia, concluded that there is a regular consistency between the location of Schliemann's Troy and other locations such as the Greek camp, the geological evidence, descriptions of the topography and accounts of the battle in the Iliad.
Besides the Iliad, there are references to Troy in the other major work attributed to Homer, the Odyssey, as well as in other ancient Greek literature. The Homeric legend of Troy was elaborated by the Roman poet Virgil in his Aeneid; the Greeks and Romans took for a fact the historicity of the Trojan War and the identity of Homeric Troy with the site in Anatolia. Alexander the Great, for example, visited the site in 334 BC and there made sacrifices at tombs associated with the Homeric heroes Achilles and Patroclus. After the 1995 find of a Luwian biconvex seal at Troy VII, there has been a heated discussion over the language, spoken in Homeric Troy. Frank Starke of the University of Tübingen demonstrated that the name of Priam, king of Troy at the time of the Trojan War, is connected to the Luwian compound Priimuua, which means "exceptionally courageous". "The certainty is growing that Wilusa/Troy belonged to the greater Luwian-speaking community," although it is not clear whether Luwian was the official language or in daily colloquial use.
With the rise of critical history and the Trojan War were, for a long time, consigned to the realms of legend. However, the true location of ancient Troy had from classical times remained the subject of interest and speculation; the Troad peninsula was anticipated to be the location. Early modern travellers in the 16th and 17th centuries, including Pierre Belon and Pietro Della Valle, had identified Troy with Alexandria Troas, a ruined town 20 km south of the accepted location. In the late 18th century, Jean Baptiste LeChevalier had identified a location near the village of Pınarbaşı, Ezine as the site of Troy, a mound 5 km south of the accepted location. LeChavalier's location, published in his Voyage de la Troade, was the most accepted theory for a century. In 1822, the Scottis
Thrace is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria and Turkey, bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises northeastern Greece and the European part of Turkey; the word Thrace was established by the Greeks for referring to the Thracian tribes, from ancient Greek Thrake, descending from Thrāix. It referred to the Thracians, an ancient Indo-European people inhabiting Southeast Europe; the name Europe first referred to Thrace proper, prior to the term vastly extending to refer to its modern concept. The region could have been named after the principal river there, Hebros from the Indo-European arg "white river", According to an alternative theory, Hebros means "goat" in Thracian. In Turkey, it is referred to as Rumeli, Land of the Romans, owing to this region being the last part of the Eastern Roman Empire, conquered by the Ottoman Empire. In terms of ancient Greek mythology the name appears to derive from the heroine and sorceress Thrace, the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, sister of Europa.
The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. The ancient Greeks employed the term "Thrace" to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians, a region which "had no definite boundaries" and to which other regions were added. In one ancient Greek source, the Earth is divided into "Asia, Libya and Thracia"; as the Greeks gained knowledge of world geography, "Thrace" came to designate the area bordered by the Danube on the north, by the Euxine Sea on the east, by northern Macedonia in the south and by Illyria to the west. This coincided with the Thracian Odrysian kingdom, whose borders varied over time. After the Macedonian conquest, this region's former border with Macedonia was shifted from the Struma River to the Mesta River; this usage lasted until the Roman conquest. Henceforth, Thrace referred only to the tract of land covering the same extent of space as the modern geographical region. In its early period, the Roman province of Thrace was of this extent, but after the administrative reforms of the late 3rd century, Thracia's much reduced territory became the six small provinces which constituted the Diocese of Thrace.
The medieval Byzantine theme of Thrace contained only. The largest cities of Thrace are: Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Komotini, Xanthi, Istanbul, Çorlu, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ. Most of the Bulgarian and Greek population are Orthodox Christians, while most of the Turkish inhabitants of Thrace are Sunni Muslims. Ancient Greek mythology provides the Thracians with a mythical ancestor Thrax, the son of the war-god Ares, said to reside in Thrace; the Thracians appear in Homer's Iliad as Trojan allies, led by Peiros. In the Iliad, another Thracian king, makes an appearance. Cisseus, father-in-law to the Trojan elder Antenor, is given as a Thracian king. Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east; the Catalogue of Ships mentions three separate contingents from Thrace: Thracians led by Acamas and Peiros, from Aenus. Ancient Thrace was home to numerous other tribes, such as the Edones, Bisaltae and Bistones in addition to the tribe that Homer calls the “Thracians”.
Greek mythology is replete with Thracian kings, including Diomedes, Lycurgus, Tegyrius, Polymnestor and Oeagrus. Thrace is mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in the episode of Philomela and Tereus: Tereus, the King of Thrace, lusts after his sister-in-law, Philomela, he kidnaps her, holds her captive, rapes her, cuts out her tongue. Philomela manages to get free, however, she and her sister, plot to get revenge, by killing her son Itys and serving him to his father for dinner. At the end of the myth, all three turn into birds – Procne into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale, Tereus into a hoopoe; the indigenous population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent, Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. On, Thracian troops were known to accompany neighboring ruler Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont which abuts Thrace, during the invasion of the Persian Empire itself.
The Thracians did not describe themselves by name. Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not form any lasting political organizations until the founding of the Odrysian state in the 4th century BC. Like Illyrians, the locally ruled Thracian tribes of the mountainous regions maintained a warrior tradition, while the tribes based in the plains were purportedly more peaceable. Discovered funeral mounds in Bulgaria suggest that Thracian kings did rule regions of Thrace with distinct Thracian national identity. During this period, a subculture of celibate ascetics called the Ctistae lived in Thrace, where they served as philosophers and prophets. Sections of Thrace in the south star
In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of women warriors related to Scythians and Sarmatians. Apollonius Rhodius, at Argonautica, mentions that Amazons were the daughters of Harmonia, they were brutal and aggressive, their main concern in life was war. Lysias, Philostratus the Elder say that their father was Ares. Herodotus and Strabo place them on the banks of the Thermodon River. According to Diodorus, giving the account of Dionysius of Mitylene, the Amazons inhabited Ancient Libya long before they settled along the Thermodon. Migrating from Libya, these Amazons passed through Egypt and Syria, stopped at the Caïcus in Aeolis, near which they founded several cities. Diodorus maintains, they established Mytilene a little way beyond the Caïcus. Aeschylus, in Prometheus Bound, places the original home of the Amazons in the country about Lake Maeotis, from which they moved to Themiscyra on the Thermodon. Homer tells that the Amazons were found somewhere near Lycia. Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, was the object of one of the labours of Heracles.
Diodorus mentions. Amazon warriors were depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art. Archaeological discoveries of burial sites with female warriors on the Eurasian steppes suggest that the Scythian women may have inspired the Amazon myth. From the early modern period, their name has become a term for female warriors in general. Amazons were said to have founded the cities and temples of Smyrna, Cyme, Ephesus, Magnesia, Pygela and Amastris. Palaephatus, trying to rationalize the Greek myths in his On Unbelievable Tales, wrote that the Amazons were men, but their enemies mistook for women by because they wore clothing which reached their feet, tied up their hair in headbands and shaved their beards, in addition, because they did not exist during his time, most they did nοt exist in the past either; the origin of the word is uncertain. It may be derived from an Iranian ethnonym *ha-mazan- "warriors", a word attested indirectly through a derivation, a denominal verb in Hesychius of Alexandria's gloss "ἁμαζακάραν· πολεμεῖν.
Πέρσαι", where it appears together with the Indo-Iranian root *kar- "make". It may be derived from *ṇ-mṇ-gw-jon-es "manless, without husbands" has been proposed, an explanation deemed "unlikely" by Hjalmar Frisk. 19th-century scholarship connected the term to the ethnonym Amazigh. A further explanation proposes Iranian *ama-janah "virility-killing" as source; the Hittite researcher Friedrich Cornelius assumes that there had been the land Azzi with the capital Chajasa in the area of the Thermodon-Iris Delta on the coast of the Black Sea. He brings its residents in direct relation to the Amazons, namely based on its customs; the location of that land as well as his conclusions are controversial. Among Classical Greeks, amazon was given a folk etymology as originating from a- and mazos, "without breast", connected with an etiological tradition once claimed by Marcus Justinus who alleged that Amazons had their right breast cut off or burnt out. There is no indication of such a practice in ancient works of art, in which the Amazons are always represented with both breasts, although one is covered.
Adrienne Mayor suggests. Greeks used some descriptive phrases for them. Herodotus used the Androktones and Androleteirai, in the Iliad they are called Antianeirai and Aeschylus, in his work Prometheus Bound, used styganor. Herodotus and Strabo placed them on the banks of the Themiscyra. Herodotus mentions that some Amazons lived at Scythia because after the Greeks defeated the Amazons in battle, they sailed away carrying in three ships as many Amazons as they had been able to take alive, but out at sea the Amazons attacked the crews and killed them these Amazons landed at Scythian lands. Strabo writes that the original home of the Amazons was in Themiscyra and the plains about Thermodon and the mountains that lie above them, but were driven out of these places, during his time they were said to live in the mountains above Caucasian Albania, but he states that some others, among them Metrodorus of Scepsis and Hypsicrates, say that after Themiscyra, the Amazons traveled and lived on the borders of the Gargarians, in the northerly foothills of those parts of the Caucasian Mountains which are called Ceraunian.
Diodorus giving the account of Dionysius of Mitylene, who, on his part, drew on Thymoetas states that before the Amazons of the Thermodon there were, much earlier in time, the Amazons of Libya. These Amazons started from Libya passed through Egypt and Syria, stopped at the Caïcus in Aeolis, near which they founded several cities, he says, they es
Neoptolemus called Pyrrhus, was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia in Greek mythology, the mythical progenitor of the ruling dynasty of the Molossians of ancient Epirus. In Cypria, Achilles sails to Scyros after a failed expedition to Troy, marries princess Deidamia and has Neoptolemus, until Achilles is called to arms again. In a non-Homeric version of the story, Achilles' mother Thetis foretold many years before Achilles' birth that there would be a great war, she saw. She sought a place for him to avoid fighting in the Trojan War, disguising him as a woman in the court of Lycomedes, the king of Scyros. During that time, he had an affair with the princess, who gave birth to Neoptolemos. Neoptolemos was called Pyrrhos, because his father had taken Pyrrha, the female version of that name, while disguised as a woman; the Greeks captured the Trojan seer and forced him to tell them under what conditions they could take Troy. Helenos revealed to them that they could defeat Troy if they could acquire the poisonous arrows of Heracles.
In response to the prophecy, the Greeks took steps to retrieve the arrows of Heracles and bring Neoptolemos to Troy. Odysseus was sent to retrieve Neoptolemos a mere teenager, from Scyros; the two went to Lemnos to retrieve Philoctetes. Years earlier, on the way to Troy, Philoctetes was bitten by a snake on Chryse Island. Agamemnon had advised that he smelled bad; this retrieval is the plot of a play by Sophocles. Euripides, in his play Hekabe, has a moving scene which shows Neoptolemos as a compassionate young man who kills Polyxena, Hekabe's daughter with ambivalent feelings and in the least painful way. Neoptolemos was held by some to be brutal, he killed six men on the field of battle. During and after the war, he killed Priam, Polyxena and Astyanax among others, captured Helenos, made Andromache a widow, his concubine; the ghost of Achilles appeared to the survivors of the war, demanding Polyxena, the Trojan princess, be sacrificed before anybody could leave. Neoptolemos did so. With Andromache and Phoenix, Neoptolemos sailed to the Epirot Islands and became the King of Epirus.
With the enslaved Andromache, Neoptolemos was the father of Molossos and through him, according to the myth, an ancestor of Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great. According to Hyginus, his son with Andromache was Amphialos: CXXIII. NEOPTOLEMUS Neoptolemus, son of Achilles and Deidamia, begat Amphialus by captive Andromache, daughter of Ēëtion, but after he heard that Hermione his betrothed had been given to Orestes in marriage, he went to Lacedaemon and demanded her from Menelaus. Menelaus did not wish to go back on his word, took Hermione from Orestes and gave her to Neoptolemus. Orestes, thus insulted, slew Neoptolemus as he was sacrificing to Delphi, recovered Hermione; the bones of Neoptolemus were scattered through the land of Ambracia, in the district of Epirus. Although Neoptolemus is depicted thus, the play Philoctetes by Sophocles shows him being a much kinder man, who honours his promises and shows remorse when he is made to trick Philoctetes. Two accounts deal with Neoptolemos' death.
He was either killed after he attempted to take Hermione from Orestes as her father Menelaus promised, or after he denounced Apollo, the murderer of his father. In the first case, he was killed by Orestes. In the second, revenge was taken by the Delphic priests of Apollo. After his death his kingdom was portioned out and Helenos took part of it. "Helenus, a son of Priam, was king over these Greek cities of Epirus, having succeeded to the throne and bed of Pyrrhus..." Neoptolemus is one of the main characters in a tragedy by Sophocles. Andromache, a tragedy by Euripides. Neoptolemus does not appear on stage but his death at Delphi is described Apollodorus' Library, in Book 3 and in the Epitome 5.10-12, 5.21, 5.24 The Aeneid by Virgil Trojan Women by Seneca The Posthomerica, an epic poem by Quintus of Smyrna In Confessio Amantis Book 4 line 2161ff he is the slayer of the Amazon Penthesilea The Tragedy of Dido by Christopher Marlowe Pyrrhus features in the player's speech in Shakespeare's Hamlet where his killing of Priam is described The Second Part of the Iron Age, the final play in the Ages series by Thomas Heywood Pyrrhus is a leading character in Andromaque, a play by Jean Racine Andromaque, an opera by Grétry based on Racine's play Ermione, an opera by Gioachino Rossini based on Racine's play An Arrow's Flight, a novel by Mark Merlis The Song of Achilles, a novel by Madeline Miller The Song of Troy, a novel written by Colleen McCullough The Silence of the Girls, a novel written by Pat Barker Mentioned in Euripides' plays Trojan Women and Hecuba stating that Andromache, wife of Hector, was his promised spear bride.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Neoptolemus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
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
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidae. Atreus and his twin brother Thyestes were exiled by their father for murdering their half-brother Chrysippus in their desire for the throne of Olympia, they took refuge in Mycenae, where they ascended to the throne in the absence of King Eurystheus, fighting the Heracleidae. Eurystheus had meant for their stewardship to be temporary, but it became permanent after his death in battle. According to most ancient sources, Atreus was the father of Pleisthenes, but in some lyric poets Pleisthenides is used as an alternative name for Atreus himself; the word Atreides refers to one of the sons of Atreus -- Menelaus. The plural form Atreidai refers to both sons collectively; this term is sometimes used for more distant descendants of Atreus. The House of Atreus begins with Tantalus. Tantalus was a son of Zeus who enjoyed cordial relations with the gods until he decided to slay his son Pelops and feed him to the gods as a test of their omniscience.
Most of the gods, as they sat down to dinner with Tantalus understood what had happened, because they knew the nature of the meat they were served, were appalled and did not partake. But Demeter, distracted due to the abduction by Hades of her daughter Persephone, obliviously ate Pelops' shoulder; the gods threw Tantalus into the underworld, where he spends eternity standing in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reaches for the fruit, the branches raise his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bends down to get a drink, the water recedes, thus is derived the word "tantalising". The gods brought Pelops back to life, replacing the bone in his shoulder with a bit of ivory with the help of Hephaestus, thus marking the family forever afterwards. Pelops married Hippodamia after winning a chariot race against her father, King Oenomaus, by arranging for the sabotage of his would-be-father-in-law's chariot and resulting in his death; the versions of the story differ.
The sabotage was arranged by Myrtilus, a servant of the king, killed by Pelops for one of three reasons: because he had been promised the right to take Hippodamia's virginity, which Pelops retracted, because he attempted to rape her or because Pelops did not wish to share the credit for the victory. As Myrtilus died, he cursed his line, further adding to the house's curse. Pelops and Hippodamia had many sons. Depending on myth versions, they murdered Chrysippus, their half-brother; because of the murder, Hippodamia and Thyestes were banished to Mycenae, where Hippodamia is said to have hanged herself. Atreus vowed to sacrifice his best lamb to Artemis. Upon searching his flock, Atreus discovered a golden lamb which he gave to his wife, Aerope, to hide from the goddess, she gave it to Thyestes, her lover and Atreus' brother, who convinced Atreus to agree that whoever had the lamb should be king. Thyestes claimed the throne. Atreus retook the throne using advice. Thyestes agreed to give the kingdom back when the sun moved backwards in the sky, a feat that Zeus accomplished.
Atreus retook banished Thyestes. Atreus learned of Thyestes' and Aerope's adultery and plotted revenge, he cooked them, save their hands and feet. He tricked Thyestes into eating the flesh of his own sons and taunted him with their hands and feet. Thyestes was forced into exile for eating the flesh of a human. Thyestes responded by asking an oracle what to do, who advised him to have a son by his daughter, who would kill Atreus. However, when Aegisthus was first born, he was abandoned by his mother, ashamed of the incestuous act. A shepherd found the infant gave him to Atreus, who raised him as his own son. Only as he entered adulthood did Thyestes reveal the truth to Aegisthus, that he was both father and grandfather to the boy. Aegisthus killed Atreus, although not before Atreus and Aerope had had two sons and Menelaus, a daughter Anaxibia. Agamemnon married Clytemnestra, Menelaus married Helen, her famously attractive sister. Helen left Sparta with Paris of Troy, Menelaus called on all of his wife's former suitors to help him take her back.
Prior to sailing off to war against Troy, Agamemnon had angered the goddess Artemis because he had killed a sacred deer in a sacred grove, had boasted that he was a better hunter than she was. When the time came, Artemis stilled the winds. A prophet named Calchas told him that in order to appease Artemis, Agamemnon would have to sacrifice the most precious thing that had come to his possession in the year he killed the sacred deer; this was Iphigenia. He sent word home for her to come. Iphigenia was honored to be a part of the war. Clytemnestra was sent away. After doing the deed, Agamemnon's fleet was able to get under way. While he was fighting the Trojans, his wife Clytemnestra, enraged by the murder of her daughter, began an affair with Aegisthus; when Agamemnon returned home he brought with him the doomed prophetess, Cassandra. Upon his arrival that evening, before the great banq