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Greek and Roman Mythology: Remaining Mythic Themes. Mr. Upchurch’s Mythology 101 Lectures 10-11. Also known as Classical Mythology. Tricksters. Several Three most famous: 1. Eros (Cupid) -Traditionally portrayed as a childlike god that played

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greek and roman mythology remaining mythic themes

Greek and Roman Mythology: Remaining Mythic Themes

Mr. Upchurch’s Mythology 101

Lectures 10-11

Also known as Classical Mythology

  • Several
  • Three most famous:

1. Eros (Cupid)

-Traditionally portrayed as a childlike god that played

tricks on the other gods. Later in mythic traditional,

however, he is said to have "grown-up" (so to speak).

2. Dionysus/Bacchus

3. Dolus

-spirit of trickery, cunning deception, craftiness,

treachery and guile

-apprentice to Prometheus

good and evil
Good and Evil
  • Line between the two is difficult to distinguish
    • the gods and goddesses could possess both admiral and detestable qualities and still be considered divine,
    • the idealistic heroes could represent good while still having moments of moral failure
    • even the Underworld was not viewed as a place of complete evil
good and evil continued
Good and Evil…continued
  • In general, gods, goddesses and heroes were considered good
    • Hence, the human soul=good
  • Some monsters/evil creatures were primarily evil (see Gorgons and Harpies)
  • Nearly all the myths are connected to nature in some way
    • Dominions
    • Nymphs & Saytrs
    • Constellations
    • The Locations of the Tales
fantastic beasts and where to find them in greece and rome
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them... in Greece and Rome
  • Many exist, but they will be addressed primarily in the Monster Mash Presentations.
  • Jason and the Argonauts (video and handout)
  • Odysseus (video and handout)
  • Aeneas (hilarious video and handout)
  • Hercules (lecture and handout)
  • Perseus (lecture)
  • Theseus (lecture)
  • Son of Zeus and Alcmene
  • Hera tried to kill him by putting snakes in his cradle
  • He survived because of his super human strength
  • He had a twin/half-brother Iphicles (son of Amphitryon and Alcmene)
  • He accompanied Hercules on many adventures, but was not god-like
early life pre hero
Early Life (pre-hero)
  • He was married to Megara and had 3 kids
  • Hera caused him to go insane and kill his family
journey begins
Journey Begins
  • Hercules exiled himself because of shame and guilt
  • Asked the Oracle of Delphi how to atone
  • Was told to go to king Eurystheus (his cousin)

Note: Hercules actually should have been king of Mycenae, but Hera tricked Zeus into giving Eurystheus the kingdom

journey begins continued
Journey Begins…continued
  • Eurystheus was suppose to come up with labors (tasks) for Hercules to accomplish for redemption… but couldn’t think of anything
  • Hera, of course, was willing to help
labor 1 the nemean lion
Labor 1: The Nemean Lion
  • The lion had impenetrable skin
  • He blocked its cave and killed it with his bare hands
labor 2 the hydra
Labor 2: The Hydra
  • When King Eurystheus saw Hercules coming back with the lion… he hid in a storage jar
hydra continued
  • Debate on the number of heads…agreed that chopping off one made two more grow in its place
  • Could kill a mortal with its smell
  • Had a giant crab friend (Cancer)
hydra finished
Hydra… finished
  • When Hercules was about to die, Iolaos (his nephew) helped him by burning the heads
  • Hercules cut…Iolaos burned
  • Hercules also crushed the crab with his heel
labor 3 cerynitian hind
Labor 3: Cerynitian Hind
  • Golden Horned Doe (sacred to Artemis) must retrieve alive
  • Hunted for an entire year
  • Pinned with arrows between the tendons without drawing blood (in Arcadia)
labor 4 erymanthian boar
Labor 4: Erymanthian Boar
  • Giant boar, that he must retrieve alive (once again in Arcadia)
  • Meet/accidently killed a centaur, Pholus, on the way
    • Pholus dropped one of Hercules’ “hydra venom tipped arrows” on his foot
  • Hercules effectively immobilized the boar and carried it Eurystheus on his back…
labor 5 augean stables
Labor 5: Augean Stables
  • King Augeas had thousands of cattle and their manure had piled up for a very long time
  • Hercules had one day to clean it… he diverted two rivers to do the job for him
  • Since he asked Augeas for payment, Eurystheus refuse to count this one
labor 6 stymphalian birds
Labor 6: Stymphalian Birds
  • Theories: Man-eating, shot people with brass feathers, or just numerous
  • Hercules had to kill them, but could not approach them due to the swampy environment
  • He used a rattle (possibly from Athena) to scatter them…then shot them down with poison tipped arrows
labor 7 cretan bull
Labor 7: Cretan Bull
  • Fire-breathing beast bull/ father of the Minotaur
  • King Minos wanted it gone
  • Hercules wrestled it and either shipped it Athens where Theseus took care of it, or brought it to Eurystheus
labor 8 mares of diomedes
Labor 8: Mares of Diomedes
  • Flesh eating horses
  • Hercules either distracted them by feeding them Diomedes…or they ate his sidekick Abderus
  • Eventually they were released and eaten, themselves, by wild beasts on Mount Olympus
labor 9 hippolyte s belt
Labor 9: Hippolyte's Belt
  • Hippolyte was the Amazon Queen
  • Eurystheus wanted Hippolyte’s belt for his daughter
  • Because of their fierce reputation, Hercules took a band of heroes with him (including Theseus)
  • Hippolyte willing gave the belt
  • Hera, however, spread the rumor that the Greeks were going to steal her… so they were attacked
  • The heroes escaped and Theseus stole a princess
labor 10 cattle of geryon
Labor 10: Cattle of Geryon
  • Geryon=three-bodied, four-winged giant from modern Spain
    • Dog= Orthros (two headed)
  • He had some nice cattle that Hercules had to steal
  • He got there by borrowing a golden-cup boat from Helios
  • Stole the cattle and killed Geryon and his dog in the process (with a club)
labor 11 apples of the hesperides
Labor 11: Apples of the Hesperides
  • Hesperides were three nymph sisters (daughters of either Nyx/Night or Atlas)
  • They were entrusted with guarding the golden apples Hera had received from Gaia on her wedding day
  • The apples were further protected by Ladon (the hundred-headed dragon)
  • After killing Ladon, Hercules asked Atlas to retrieve the apples for him, in exchange for temporarily holding up the world
  • Hercules then tricked Atlas into taking the world back… and left
labor 12 capture of cerberus
Labor 12: Capture of Cerberus
  • Cerberus= Watch Dog of the Underworld
    • 3 (or 50) heads, a venomous snake for a tail, and a swarm of snakes growing out of his back
  • Hercules intimidated Charon into allowing him into the underworld
  • With the help of his lion’s skin, he withstood Cerberus’ attacks, squeezed two of his heads into submission, and stole him from the underworld (later to be returned)
  • This was supposedly accomplished by the grace of Persephone
later life
Later Life
  • After these 12 Labors (and 12 years) he was released from Eurystheus—and his own shame
  • He went to Thebes and married Deianira—who had many children
  • Hercules’ wife was abducted by Nessus, the centaur.
  • Hercules killed him with a hydra-poisoned arrow
  • Before dying, Nessus tricked Deianira to use his blood as a love potion…in case Hercules was unfaithful
still dying
Still dying…
  • She soaked his tunic in the blood… and it killed him
  • Hercules was the only hero to be granted the status of full-god after death (he even married the goddess Hebe)
  • However, since he was ½ human… that half was still require to roam the underworld with the other heroes in a zombie-like state
Parents= Aegeus (king of Athens) or Posiedon and Aethra
  • Raised by his grandfather and Aethra
  • Aegeus lived in Athens, but left behind a task for Theseus to accomplish
Aegeus had left some of his belongings under a rock… a rightful heir would be able to lift it
  • Theseus did… probably be ingenuity, because he was known for “scientific wrestling”…footwork
  • Nick-Named: Corynetes or "Club-Man”
  • Attacked Theseus in Epidaurus
  • Theseus stole his club and beat him with it
  • Theseus then carried club
  • Asked travelers to help him hold down trees
  • When the trees were down he’d tie their arms to the trees…fatigue would cause the victims to be torn in half
  • Theseus returned the favor
  • Lived on some cliffs and would have travelers wash their feet in a tub, then push them off the cliff… and they’d be eaten by a giant man-eating turtle
  • Theseus did the same for him
  • Would offer lodgings for travelers… with his one-size-fits-all bed
  • He’d make the bed fit by stretching or chopping
  • Theseus tricked him into, again, tasting his own medicine
arrival in athens
Arrival in Athens
  • He didn’t reveal his identity, but was considered hero for his journey so was invited to a banquet
  • Medea, Aegeus (now) wife, was suspicious because she felt Theseus may over through her son

Medea tricked King Aegeus into poisoning his son

  • He was about to drink the poison wine when his dad recognized his sword and, thus, his identity
  • He knocked the cup away
  • Theseus was now the recognized heir to Athens
king minos hunger games
King Minos’ Hunger Games
  • Took tributes to sacrifice to the Minotaur in the underground labyrinth (because his son was killed while under Athenian care)
  • Theseus volunteered to go with the other 14 tributes
  • On the journey Minos challenged Theseus’ divine parentage, by asking him to retrieve a ring he’d thrown into the ocean.
  • He retrieved the ring and was given a crown by Thetis or Amphitrite.
helpers 2
Helpers 2
  • Ariadne, daughter of Minos, feel in love with Theseus and promised to help him through the labryinth
  • She’d learned a secret from Daedalus (who built the labyrinth) and gave Theseus her magical thread
  • Death trap, once in it was impossible to find your way out
  • Theseus tied off the magic thread, fought the Minotaur with his bare hands (maybe killing it with it’s own horn) and return by thread
  • Baby Minotaur


abandoned love
Abandoned Love
  • Theseus put holes in Minos’ ship and then eloped with Ariadne
  • He left her because…1. he was tricked by a god, or 2. he was in love with her sister
  • Abandoned on either Naxos or Dia… and found/married by Dionysus
death of dad
Death of Dad
  • In all the excitement leading to his return home, Theseus forgot the signal he’d worked on with his dad to signify his survival. King Aegeus, thinking Theseus dead, killed himself…Theseus was now king
stealing women
Stealing Women…
  • Theseus was apparently a fan of stealing brides…


-Helen of Troy

-when she was young… but he left her until marrying age. Un/fortunately, her brothers (Castor and Pollux)stole her back before this…

  • Theseus once capture a noble pirate named Peirithous
  • For some reason they were instant friend. In fact, Peirithous’ punishment for piracy was eternal friendship with Theseus
  • He helped his steal 13 year old Helen, in exchange for Theseus’ returning the favor some day
returned favor
Returned Favor…
  • Peirithous decided he wanted to steal Persephone
  • So they approached the throne of Hades together…after getting down there by unknown means
  • Peirithous demanded her hand in marriage
sticking situation
Sticking Situation
  • Hades pretends to oblige Peirithous, but really tricks both heroes into sitting in the “chairs of forgetfulness”
  • Here they were stuck and tormented by serpants, Furies, Cerberus, and the waters of Tartarus…
  • Hercules saved Theseus, but Peirithous was forced to stay
  • Oracle warns King Acrisius of Argos that a son born to his daughter, Danae, will kill him
  • Though locked in a tower, Zeus has a liking for her, and after a appearing in the form of a “golden shower” Danae gives birth to Perseus.
  • Promptly, King Acrisius places both in a bronze box and throws them into the ocean… they land on Seriphos
early life1
Early Life
  • They are found by kind fisherman Dictys, who takes care of them and raises Pereseus
  • Dictys’ brother is King Polydectes… who persues Danae
  • Perseus, intimating young hero, causes this to be from a distance
bride price
Bride Price
  • To get Perseus out of the way, the king tells everyone that he is to wed Hippodameia, and demands that everyone give a “bride price”
  • When he approaches Perseus about this, he has nothing to give, but assures him that if he had anything he’d surely give it…even the head of Medusa
the gorgon
The Gorgon
  • Perseus set out to kill Medusa with the aid of Athena, who hated Medusa for obvious reasons and wanted her head for her own shield.
She told him what he’d need for the task and sent him to find the nymphs that guard the helmet of invisibility
  • First, he had to find the Graeae (The Gray Ones)
  • To Find the Gray Ones, however, he had to talk to Atlas
atlas and the gray ones
Atlas and the Gray Ones
  • Atlas points him to the Gray Ones’ nearby cave
  • They are the sisters of the Gorgons…born with gray hair & one eye and one tooth…which they share (often confused with the Fates)
  • They didn’t want to tell him where the nymphs were… so he stole their eye and tooth
nymphs and gear
Nymphs and Gear
  • Finds the nymphs bathing in Styx


From Nymphs:

Hades’ Helmet of Invisibilty

Pouch for Carrying Medusa Severed Head

From Hermes:

Winged Sandals

Sickle (for cutting--hand-me-down from Chronos?)

From Athena:

Mirrored Sheild

killing medusa
Killing Medusa
  • He approached her using his mirror-shield so as not to look directly at her (and be turned to stone)…he also had on the helmet of invisibility for good measure
  • Finding her asleep, he cut off her head and out came Pegasus
Stored the head in his bag and flew away
  • While over Africa, he spotted a beautiful maiden chained to a rock… so he descended to investigate
  • Maiden=Andromeda, daughter of King Cepheus
  • His wife had claimed to be more beautiful than the daughters of the Old Man of the Sea (ancient sea god)
  • So their land was attacked…
  • An oracle said their only hope was to sacrifice Andromeda
Perseus volunteered to help in return for Andromeda’s hand in marriage… they agreed
  • Two version of battle: 1—He flew above the sea monster and, while the monster was distracted by his shadow…stabbed him to death. 2—He tried to use Medusa’s head, but the monster had no eyes… so he just strangled it.
wedding feast
Wedding Feast
  • A banquet was thrown for their coming wedding. Unfortunately King Cephesus forgot to tell Perseus that Andromeda had been promised to his brother Phineus.
  • Phineus showed up with his “thugs” and battle insued
secret weapon
Secret Weapon…
  • Perseus eventually pulled out Medusa’s head and told all his allies to close their eyes
  • Phineus begged for mercy…Perseus made him into a statue for his fiancée
  • Upon returning home, Perseus learned that King Polydectes had been making unwanted advances towards his mother.
  • So he approach the kings court to give him Medusa’s head. He asked if the king would like to see his gift. The king said yes…
later life1
Later Life
  • Perseus left Dictys to rule in his brother’s place and returned to Argos
  • His grandfather tried to flee, but was accidently killed by Perseus when he was competing in a discus throw
  • Perseus was later made a constellation by Athena—

together with Andromeda, her parents and the sea monster.