Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher and his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato has often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality; the so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato appears to have been the founder of Western political philosophy, his most famous contribution bears his name, the doctrine of the Forms known by pure reason to provide a realist solution to the problem of universals.
He is the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids. His own most decisive philosophical influences are thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire oeuvre is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written. Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about education. Plato belonged to an influential family. According to a disputed tradition, reported by doxographer Diogenes Laërtius, Plato's father Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens and the king of Messenia, Melanthus. Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of Draco.
Perictione was sister of Charmides and niece of Critias, both prominent figures of the Thirty Tyrants, known as the Thirty, the brief oligarchic regime, which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. According to some accounts, Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed in his purpose; the exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BC, not long after the start of the Peloponnesian War; the traditional date of Plato's birth during the 87th or 88th Olympiad, 428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius, who says, "When was gone, joined Cratylus the Heracleitean and Hermogenes, who philosophized in the manner of Parmenides. At twenty-eight, Hermodorus says, went to Euclides in Megara." However, as Debra Nails argues, the text does not state that Plato left for Megara after joining Cratylus and Hermogenes.
In his Seventh Letter, Plato notes that his coming of age coincided with the taking of power by the Thirty, remarking, "But a youth under the age of twenty made himself a laughingstock if he attempted to enter the political arena." Thus, Nails dates Plato's birth to 424/423. According to Neanthes, Plato was six years younger than Isocrates, therefore was born the same year the prominent Athenian statesman Pericles died. Jonathan Barnes regards 428 BC as the year of Plato's birth; the grammarian Apollodorus of Athens in his Chronicles argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad. Both the Suda and Sir Thomas Browne claimed he was born during the 88th Olympiad. Another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping: an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Besides Plato himself and Perictione had three other children; the brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the Republic as sons of Ariston, brothers of Plato, though some have argued they were uncles.
In a scenario in the Memorabilia, Xenophon confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato. Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult. Perictione married Pyrilampes, her mother's brother, who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens. Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in Parmenides. In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or referred to them with some precision. In addition to Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Republic, Charmides has a dialogue named after him; these and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Plato's family tree. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the Ch
Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin; this was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea; the Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire. Classical Greek culture philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe.
For this reason, Classical Greece is considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization. Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics and knowledge in general. Classical antiquity in the Mediterranean region is considered to have begun in the 8th century BC and ended in the 6th century AD. Classical antiquity in Greece was preceded by the Greek Dark Ages, archaeologically characterised by the protogeometric and geometric styles of designs on pottery. Following the Dark Ages was the Archaic Period, beginning around the 8th century BC.
The Archaic Period saw early developments in Greek culture and society which formed the basis for the Classical Period. After the Archaic Period, the Classical Period in Greece is conventionally considered to have lasted from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 until the death of Alexander the Great in 323; the period is characterized by a style, considered by observers to be exemplary, i.e. "classical", as shown in the Parthenon, for instance. Politically, the Classical Period was dominated by Athens and the Delian League during the 5th century, but displaced by Spartan hegemony during the early 4th century BC, before power shifted to Thebes and the Boeotian League and to the League of Corinth led by Macedon; this period saw the Greco-Persian Wars and the Rise of Macedon. Following the Classical period was the Hellenistic period, during which Greek culture and power expanded into the Near and Middle East; this period ends with the Roman conquest. Roman Greece is considered to be the period between Roman victory over the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC and the establishment of Byzantium by Constantine as the capital of the Roman Empire in AD 330.
Late Antiquity refers to the period of Christianization during the 4th to early 6th centuries AD, sometimes taken to be complete with the closure of the Academy of Athens by Justinian I in 529. The historical period of ancient Greece is unique in world history as the first period attested directly in proper historiography, while earlier ancient history or proto-history is known by much more circumstantial evidence, such as annals or king lists, pragmatic epigraphy. Herodotus is known as the "father of history": his Histories are eponymous of the entire field. Written between the 450s and 420s BC, Herodotus' work reaches about a century into the past, discussing 6th century historical figures such as Darius I of Persia, Cambyses II and Psamtik III, alluding to some 8th century ones such as Candaules. Herodotus was succeeded by authors such as Thucydides, Demosthenes and Aristotle. Most of these authors were either Athenian or pro-Athenian, why far more is known about the history and politics of Athens than those of many other cities.
Their scope is further limited by a focus on political and diplomatic history, ignoring economic and social history. In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. Objects with Phoenician writing on them may have been available in Greece from the 9th century BC, but the earliest evidence of Greek writing comes from graffiti on Greek pottery from the mid-8th century. Greece was divided into many small self-governing communities, a pattern dictated by Greek geography: every island and plain is cut off from its neighbors by the sea or mountain ranges; the Lelantine War is the earliest documented war of the ancient Greek period. It was fought between the important poleis of Chalcis and Eretria over the fertile Lelantine plain of Euboea. Both cities seem to have suffered a decline as result of the long war, though Chalcis was the nominal victor.
A mercantile class arose in the first half of the 7th century BC, shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 BC. This
The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet; the men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire, the son of Aphrodite. In the Symposium, Eros is recognized both as erotic love and as a phenomenon capable of inspiring courage, great deeds and works, vanquishing man's natural fear of death, it is seen as transcending its earthly origins, attaining spiritual heights. This extraordinary elevation of the concept of love raises a question of whether some of the most extreme extents of meaning might be intended as humor or farce. Eros is always translated as “love”, the English word has its own varieties and ambiguities that provide additional challenges to the effort to understand the Eros of ancient Athens; the event depicted in the Symposium is a banquet attended by a group of men, who have come to the symposium, which was, in ancient Greece, a traditional part of the same banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, recitals, or conversation.
The setting means that the participants will be drinking wine, meaning that the men might be induced to say things they wouldn't say elsewhere or when sober. They might speak more frankly, or take more risks, or else be prone to hubris — they might be inspired to make speeches that are heartfelt and noble; the host has challenged the men to deliver, each in an encomium -- a speech in praise of Love. Though other participants comply with this challenge, Socrates notably refuses to participate in such an act of praise, instead takes a different approach to the topic; the party takes place at the house of the tragedian Agathon in Athens. This dialogue is one of Plato's major works, is appreciated for both its philosophical content and its literary qualities; the Symposium is considered a dialogue – a form used by Plato in more than thirty works – but in fact it is predominantly a series of essay-like speeches from differing points of view. So dialogue plays a smaller role in the Symposium. Socrates is renowned for his dialectic approach to knowledge, which involves posing questions that encourage others to think about what they care about, articulate their ideas.
In the Symposium, the dialectic exists among the speeches: in seeing how the ideas conflict from speech-to-speech, in the effort to resolve the contradictions and see the philosophy that underlies them all. It is important to understand; the characters and the settings are to some degree based on history, but they are not reports of events that occurred or words that were spoken. There is no reason to think they were not composed by Plato; the reader, understanding that Plato was not governed by the historical record, can read the Symposium, ask why the author, arranged the story the way he did, what he meant by including the various aspects of setting, composition and theme, etc. For a long time it was believed that Socrates was presented in the dialogues by his admiring disciple, Plato, as an ideal philosopher and ideal human being, it was approved of. In the late 20th Century another interpretation began to challenge that idea; this new idea considers that the Symposium is intended to criticize Socrates, his philosophy, to reject certain aspects of his behavior.
It considers that Socratic philosophy may have lost touch with the actual individual as it devoted itself to abstract principles. The above view, attributed to Martha Nussbaum, can however be challenged in favor of the traditional one; the portrayal of Socrates in the Symposium is consistent with the account of Socrates put forward by Xenophon and the theories that Socrates defends throughout the platonic corpus. Plato shows off his master as a man of high moral standards, unwavered by baser urges and committed to the study and practice of proper self-government in both individuals and communities; the dialogue's ending contrasts Socrates’ intellectual and emotional self-mastery with Alcibiades’ debauchery and lack of moderation to explain the latter's reckless political career, disastrous military campaigns and eventual demise. Alcibiades is corrupted by the advantages thereof. One critic, James Arieti, considers that the Symposium resembles a drama, with emotional and dramatic events occurring when Alcibiades crashes the banquet.
Arieti suggests that it should be studied more as a drama, with a focus on character and actions, less as an exploration of philosophical ideas. This suggests that the characters speak, as in a play, not as themselves; this theory, Arieti has found, reveals how much each of the speakers of the Symposium resembles the god, that they each are describing. It may be Plato's point to suggest that when humankind talks about god, they are drawn towards creating that god in their own image. Andrew Dalby considers the opening pages of the Symposium the best depiction in any ancient Greek source of the way texts are transmitted by oral tradition without writing, it shows how an oral text may have no simple origin, ho
Artemis, in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon, chastity. Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, the twin sister of Apollo, she was the patron and protector of young girls, was believed to bring disease upon women and relieve them of it. Artemis was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery along with Eileithyia. Much like Athena and Hestia, Artemis is sworn never to marry. Artemis was one of the most venerated of the Ancient Greek deities and her temple at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis' symbols included a bow and arrow, a quiver and hunting knives and the deer and the cypress were sacred to her; the goddess Diana is her Roman equivalent. The name Artemis is of uncertain etymology, although various sources have been proposed. According to J. T. Jablonski, the name is Phrygian and could be "compared with the royal appellation Artemas of Xenophon. According to Charles Anthon the primitive root of the name is of Persian origin from *arta, *art, *arte, all meaning "great, holy," thus Artemis "becomes identical with the great mother of Nature as she was worshipped at Ephesus".
Anton Goebel "suggests the root στρατ or ῥατ, "to shake," and makes Artemis mean the thrower of the dart or the shooter". The name may be related to Greek árktos "bear", supported by the bear cult the goddess had in Attica and the Neolithic remains at the Arkoudiotissa Cave, as well as the story of Callisto, about Artemis, it is believed that a precursor of Artemis was worshipped in Minoan Crete as the goddess of mountains and hunting, Britomartis. While connection with Anatolian names has been suggested, the earliest attested forms of the name Artemis are the Mycenaean Greek, a-te-mi-to /Artemitos/ and, a-ti-mi-te /Artimitei/, written in Linear B at Pylos. R. S. P. Beekes suggested. Artemis was venerated in Lydia as Artimus. Georgios Babiniotis, while accepting that the etymology is unknown states that the name is attested in Mycenean Greek and is of Pre-Greek origin. Ancient Greek writers, by way of folk etymology, some modern scholars, have linked Artemis to ἄρταμος, artamos, i.e. "butcher" or, like Plato did in Cratylus, to ἀρτεμής, artemḗs, i.e. "safe", "unharmed", "uninjured", "pure", "the stainless maiden".
Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology regarding the birth of Artemis and Apollo, her twin brother. However, in terms of parentage, all accounts agree that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo. An account by Callimachus has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma or on an island. Hera was angry with her husband Zeus because he had impregnated Leto but the island of Delos disobeyed Hera and Leto gave birth there. According to the Homeric Hymn to Artemis the island where Leto gave birth was Ortygia. In ancient Cretan history Leto was worshipped at Phaistos and, in Cretan mythology, Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis on the islands known today as Paximadia. A scholium of Servius on Aeneid iii. 72 accounts for the island's archaic name Ortygia by asserting that Zeus transformed Leto into a quail in order to prevent Hera from finding out about his infidelity, Kenneth McLeish suggested further that in quail form Leto would have given birth with as few birth-pains as a mother quail suffers when it lays an egg.
The myths differ as to whether Artemis was born first, or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as born first, becoming her mother's midwife upon the birth of her brother Apollo; the childhood of Artemis is not related in any surviving myth. The Iliad reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus. A poem by Callimachus to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes. Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, asked him to grant her several wishes: to always remain a virgin to have many names to set her apart from her brother Phoebus to have a bow and arrow made by the Cyclops to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer to have a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir to have twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested to rule all the mountains any city to have the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.
Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo. All of her companions remained virgins, Artemis guarded her own chastity, her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, the Moon. Callimachus tells how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara, where Hephaestus and the Cyclops worked. Oceanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. Callimachus tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of the forest, who gave her seven bitches and six dogs, she captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with h
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Moirai or Moerae known in English as the Fates, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny. Their number became fixed at three: Clotho and Atropos, they controlled the mother thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. They were independent, at the helm of necessity, directed fate, watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction. Both gods and men had to submit to them, although Zeus's relationship with them is a matter of debate: some sources say he can command them, while others suggest he was bound to the Moirai's dictates. In the Homeric poems Moira or Aisa are related to the limit and end of life, Zeus appears as the guider of destiny. In the Theogony of Hesiod, the three Moirai are personified, daughters of Nyx and are acting over the gods, they are daughters of Zeus and Themis, the embodiment of divine order and law. In Plato's Republic the Three Fates are daughters of Ananke, it seems that Moira is related with Tekmor and with Ananke, who were primeval goddesses in mythical cosmogonies.
The ancient Greek writers might call this power Moira or Ananke, the gods could not alter what was ordained: "To the Moirai the might of Zeus must bow. In earliest Greek philosophy, the cosmogony of Anaximander is based on these mythical beliefs; the goddess keeps the order and sets a limit to any actions. The ancient Greek word moira means a portion or lot of the whole, is related to meros, "part, lot" and moros, "fate, doom", Latin meritum, "reward", English merit, derived from the PIE root *mer, "to allot, assign". Moira may mean portion or share in the distribution of booty, portion in life, destiny, portion of the distributed land; the word is used for something, meet and right. It seems that the word moira did not indicate destiny but included ascertainment or proof, a non-abstract certainty; the word daemon, an agent related to unexpected events, came to be similar to the word moira. This agent or cause against human control might be called tyche: "You mistress moira, tyche, my daemon."The word nomos, "law", may have meant a portion or lot, as in the verb nemein, "to distribute", thus "natural lot" came to mean "natural law".
The word dike, "justice", conveyed the notion that someone should stay within his own specified boundaries, respecting the ones of his neighbour. If someone broke his boundaries, thus getting more than his ordained part he would be punished by law. By extension, moira was one's portion or part in destiny which consisted of good and bad moments as was predetermined by the Moirai, it was impossible for anyone to get more than his ordained part. In modern Greek the word came to mean "destiny". Kismet, the predetermined course of events in the Muslim traditions, seems to have a similar etymology and function: Arabic qismat "lot" qasama, "to divide, allot" developed to mean Fate or destiny; as a loanword, qesmat'fate' appears in Persian, whence in Urdu language, in English Kismet. When they were three, the Moirai were: Clotho spun the thread of life from her Distaff onto her Spindle, her Roman equivalent was Nona, a goddess called upon in the ninth month of pregnancy. Lachesis measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod.
Her Roman equivalent was Decima. Atropos was the cutter of the thread of life, she chose the manner of each person's death. Her Roman equivalent was Morta. In the Republic of Plato, the three Moirai sing in unison with the music of the Seirenes. Lachesis sings the things that were, Clotho the things that are, Atropos the things that are to be. Pindar in his Hymn to the Fates, holds them in high honour, he calls them to send their sisters Hours, Eunomia and Eirene, to stop the internal civil strife: Listen Fates, who sit nearest of gods to the throne of Zeus, weave with shuttles of adamant, inescapable devices for councels of every kind beyond counting, Aisa and Lachesis, fine-armed daughters of Night, hearken to our prayers, all-terrible goddesses, of sky and earth. Send us rose-bosomed Lawfulness, her sisters on glittering thrones and crowned Peace, make this city forget the misfortunes which lie on her heart. In ancient times caves were used for burial purposes in east
Eileithyia or Ilithyia was the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. In the cave of Amnisos she was related with the annual birth of the divine child, her cult is connected with Enesidaon, the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon, it is possible. In his Seventh Nemean Ode, Pindar refers to her as the maid to or seated beside the Moirai and responsible for creating offspring; the earliest form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek, e-re-u-ti-ja, written in the Linear B syllabic script. Ilithyia is the latinisation of Εἰλείθυια; the etymology of the name is uncertain. R. S. P. Beekes suggests a not Indo-European etymology, Nilsson believes that the name is Pre-Greek. 19th-century scholars suggested that the name is Greek, derived from the verb eleutho, "to bring", the goddess thus being The Bringer. Walter Burkert believes that Eileithyia is the Greek goddess of birth and that her name is pure Greek. However, the relation with the Greek prefix ἐλεύθ is uncertain, because the prefix appears in some pre-Greek toponyms like Ἐλευθέρνα.
Her name Ἐλυσία in Laconia and Messene relates her with the month Eleusinios and Eleusis Nilsson believes that the name "Eleusis" is pre-Greek According to F. Willets, "The links between Eileithyia, an earlier Minoan goddess, a still earlier Neolithic prototype are firm; the continuity of her cult depends upon the unchanging concept of her function. Eileithyia was the goddess of childbirth. To Homer, she is "the goddess of childbirth"; the Iliad pictures Eileithyia alone, or sometimes multiplied, as the Eileithyiai: And as when the sharp dart striketh a woman in travail, the piercing dart that the Eilithyiae, the goddesses of childbirth, send —even the daughters of Hera that have in their keeping bitter pangs. But Pausanias, writing in the 2nd century AD, reported another early source: "The Lycian Olen, an earlier poet, who composed for the Delians, among other hymns, one to Eileithyia, styles her'the clever spinner' identifying her with Fate, makes her older than Cronus." Being the youngest born to Gaia, Cronus was a Titan of the first generation and he was identified as the father of Zeus.
The meticulously accurate mythographer Pindar makes no mention of Zeus: Eleithuia, seated beside the deep-thinking Fates, hear me, creator of offspring, child of Hera great in strength. For the Classical Greeks, "She is associated with Artemis and Hera," Burkert asserts, "but develops no character of her own". In the Orphic Hymn to Prothyraeia, the association of a goddess of childbirth as an epithet of virginal Artemis, making the death-dealing huntress "she who comes to the aid of women in childbirth,", would be inexplicable in purely Olympian terms: When racked with labour pangs, sore distressedthe sex invoke thee, as the soul's sure rest. Artemis Eileithyia, venerable power,who bringest relief in labour's dreadful hour, thus Aelian in the 3rd century AD could refer to "Artemis of the child-bed". The Beauty of Durrës, a large 4th-century B. C. E. Mosaic showing the head figure of a woman portrays the goddess Eileithyia. Vase-painters, when illustrating the birth of Athena from Zeus' head, may show two assisting Eileithyiai, with their hands raised in the epiphany gesture.
As the primary goddess of childbirth along with Artemis, Eileithyia had numerous shrines in many locations in Greece dating from Neolithic to Roman times, indicating that she was important to pregnant women and their families. People would pray for and leave offerings for aid in fertility, safe childbirth, or thanks for a successful birth. Archeological evidence of terracotta votives figurines depicting children found at shines and holy sites dedicated to Eileithyia suggest that she was a kourotrophic divinity, whom parents would have prayed to for protection and care of their children. Midwives had an essential role in ancient Greek society with women of all classes were midwives participating in the profession, with many being slaves with only empirical training or some theoretical training in obstetrics and gynecology. More educated midwives from higher classes, were referred to as iatrenes or doctors of women’s diseases and would be respected as physicians, she was invoked by women in labour, to further the birth.
Callimachus recorded the hymn: "Even so again, come thou when Kykainis calls, to bless her pains with easy birth. She was connected with the goddesses Artemis and Hekate, the latter of whom she shared strong chthonic elements to her cult. There were ancient icons of Eileithyia at Athens, one said to have been brought from Crete, according to Pausanias, who mentioned shrines to Eileithyia in Tegea and Argos, with an important shrine in Aigion. Eileithyia, along with Artemis and Persephone, is shown carrying torches to bring children out of darkness and into light: in Roman mythology her counte
Hecate or Hekate is a goddess in ancient Greek religion and mythology, most shown holding a pair of torches or a key and in periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, magic, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts and sorcery, she appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod's Theogony, where she is promoted as a great goddess. The place of origin of her following is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular followings in Thrace. Hecate was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles she was regarded with rulership over earth and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour, Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, "she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition."
The etymology of the name Hecate is unknown. Some suggestions derive the name from a Greek root: from ἑκών "willing", or from Ἑκατός Hekatos, an obscure epithet of Apollo interpreted as "the far reaching one" or "the far-darter", whence for the feminine form "she that operates from afar" or "she that removes or drives off". R. S. P. Beekes suggested a Pre-Greek origin. A possibility for foreign origin of the name may be Heqet, name of an Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth. In Early Modern English, the name was pronounced disyllabically and sometimes spelled Hecat, it remained common practice in English to pronounce her name in two syllables when spelled with final e, well into the 19th century. The spelling Hecat is due to Arthur Golding's 1567 translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, this spelling without the final E appears in plays of the Elizabethan-Jacobean period. Webster's Dictionary of 1866 credits the influence of Shakespeare for the then-predominant disyllabic pronunciation of the name.
Hecate originated among the Carians of Anatolia, the region where most theophoric names invoking Hecate, such as Hecataeus or Hecatomnus, the father of Mausolus, are attested, where Hecate remained a Great Goddess into historical times, at her unrivalled cult site in Lagina. While many researchers favor the idea that she has Anatolian origins, it has been argued that "Hecate must have been a Greek goddess." The monuments to Hecate in Phrygia and Caria are numerous but of late date. William Berg observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens." In particular, there is some evidence that she might be derived from the local sun goddesses, based on similar attributes. If Hecate's cult spread from Anatolia into Greece, it is possible it presented a conflict, as her role was filled by other more prominent deities in the Greek pantheon, above all by Artemis and Selene.
This line of reasoning lies behind the accepted hypothesis that she was a foreign deity, incorporated into the Greek pantheon. Other than in the Theogony, the Greek sources do not offer a consistent story of her parentage, or of her relations in the Greek pantheon: sometimes Hecate is related as a Titaness, a mighty helper and protector of humans. Shrines to Hecate were placed at doorways to both homes and cities with the belief that it would protect from restless dead and other spirits. Shrines to Hecate at three way crossroads were created where food offerings were left at the new moon to protect those who did so from spirits and other evils. Dogs were sacred to Hecate and associated with roads, domestic spaces and spirits of the dead. Dogs were sacrificed to the road; this can be compared to Pausanias' report that in the Ionian city of Colophon in Asia Minor a sacrifice of a black female puppy was made to Hecate as "the wayside goddess", Plutarch's observation that in Boeotia dogs were killed in purificatory rites.
Dogs, with puppies mentioned, were offered to Hecate at crossroads, which were sacred to the goddess. Hecate was a popular divinity, her cult was practiced with many local variations all over Greece and Western Anatolia. However, she did not have many known sanctuaries or temples dedicated to her aside from her most famous temple in Lagina. There was a Temple of Hecate in Argolis: "Over against the sanctuary of Eilethyia is a temple of Hekate, the image is a work of Skopas; this one is of stone, while the bronze images opposite of Hekate, were made by Polykleitos and his brother Naukydes." There were a shrine to Hecate in Aigina, where she was popular: "Of the gods, the Aiginetans worship most Hekate, in whose honour every year they celebrate mystic rites which, they say, Orpheus the Thrakian established among them. Within the enclosure is a temple, it was Alkamenes, in my opinion, who first made three images of Hekate attached to one another."Aside from her own temples, Hecate was worshipped in the sanctuaries of other gods, where she was sometimes given her own space.
There was an area sacred to Hecate in the precincts of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, where the prie