Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Myth’s Theories

                 There are four basic theories of myth. Those theories are: the rational myth theory, functional myth theory, structural myth theory, and the phsycological myth theory. The rational myth theory states that myths were created to explain natural events and forces. Functional myths are what you call the kinds of myths that were created as a type of social control. The third myth theory is the structural myth theory.
This theory says that myths were patterned after human mind and human nature. The phsycological myth theory is the fourth myth theory which states that myths are based on human emotion. The rational myth theory states that myths were made to better understand natural events and forces that occurred in the everyday lives of people. This theory also explains that the gods and goddesses controlled all of these happenings of nature. Examples of this type of myth are creation myths from different cultures. Creation myths explain how man was created and explain what the gods and goddesses used and what actions they took to create humans. These myths also tell what substances were used (if any) in order for man to exist. The existence of man is a natural event but creation myths give other explanations. The functional myth theory talks about how myths were used to teach morality and social behavior. It states that myths told about what types of things should and shouldn’t be done, and the consequences for those wrong doings. The functional myth theory also states that myths were created for social control and served the function of insuring stability in a society. A story about a tribe who rebelled against the great serpent, Degei, is a good example of a functional myth. This story is about a tribe who learned many skills from their great serpent god, Degei, and then became Degei’s workers and servants. Two chiefs of this tribe were sick of working for him and tried to defeat him; they were too weak for Degei. Instead of winning their freedom, they were killed in a great flood caused by Degei. This myth is trying to say that you should not be lazy because if you are, then you will regret it. Structural myths are said to be myths based on human emotion. These types of myths show the two sides of the human mind; the good side and the bad side. They show the divided self and the duality of human nature. Myths about Hercules show how the human mind can be both good and bad. Hercules did both good and bad things. One of the bad things he did was (in “Jason and the Argonauts”) he stole a broach pin from the treasure chamber of the god Talos. This sin caused his friend to be killed. Hercules knew that his friend was killed because of his sin, so to make up for it, he vowed to stay on the island until his friend was found. The phsycological myth theory states how myths are based on human emotion and that they come from the human subconscious mind. Cultures all around the world had similar fears, questions, and wishes which, to them, were unexplainable. That is the reason that phsycological myths were made; and that is why there are archetypes shared between cultures. Archetypes are general forms and characters used by all cultures. Some archetypes found between cultures are having a sky god (Zeus and Oleron),a sea god (Poseidon and Olokun), and an agricultural god (Orisha-Oko and Demeter). These archetypes are examples of how people think alike when it comes to things that are to them mysteries and fears. In conclusion, it appears that man created myths for quite a few reasons. These reasons include explaining the unknown, natural events and forces, to show the duality and pureness of human nature and the human mind, and to help societies maintain order and remain stable. There must be more reasons of exactly why myths should have arisen but that is beyond the extent of this essay.

Oedipus And Mount Cithaeron

                 Oedipus's life is lived out in many accomplishments and achievements. Mount Cithaeron symbolizes his journey from the being of his life to the end. It also symbolizes the important steps toward or trying to reach the peak, the perfect blend of mind and spirit. Mount Cithaeron portrays how people take a journey toward self awareness, and how most do not make. Oedipus's life has five accomplishments or steps on the road of Mount Cithaeron. Oedipus first event is surviving as a newborn baby. Oedipus was left to die on a mountain with his feet pinned by Jocasta, mother, and Lauis, father. Luckily, Oedipus was found by a Shepard and eventually given to the King of Corinth, Polybus. When told by an oracle that he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, he leaves Corinth and fulfills his second accomplishment. Unknowingly, Oedipus is gradually moving upward on the Mount to the third accomplishment. While walking on the road, he came to where three roads meet. He saw six men, thinking they were a band of robbers, he kills them. Not realizing that he had killed his father and fulfilled the prophecy, he moves on and up the mount. The fourth accomplishment, was killing a monster called the Sphinx. When Oedipus answered the Sphinx's riddle, the sphinx kills herself and Oedipus saves the city. Since the King could not be found and Oedipus had gotten rid of the Sphinx, Oedipus was given the throne. He was also given Jocasta's hand in marriage. Finally, he had completed his fifth accomplishment when given the position of King. By being hubris, the rest of Oedipus's life went downward. When Jocasta found out the truth she killed herself. Seeing that Jocasta was dead and he had cursed his children, Oedipus poked his eyes out. Oedipus's life or journey up Mount Citaeron was good and bad. Oedipus played out his destiny or fate unknowingly. He was cursed from the beginning of his life. Oedipus did not reach the top, which was said to the spot of the gods, but he did go far.


Oedipus' Ruin

                 Sophocles is perhaps one of the greatest tragedians ever. Sophocles said that a man should never consider himself fortunate unless he can look back on his life and remember that life without pain. For Oedipus Rex, looking back is impossible to do without pain. This pain stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. Oedipus freely chooses to pursue and accept his own life's destruction. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him. Oedipus’ pride, strung from his own heroic qualities, is one factor that ruined him. A hero prizes above all else his honor and the excellence of his life. When his honor is at stake, all other considerations become irrelevant. The hero “valued strength and skill, courage and determination, for these attributes enabled the person who possessed them to achieve glory and honor, both in his lifetime and after he died” (Rosenburg 38). Oedipus was certainly a hero who was exceptionally intelligent though one can argue that killing four men at Phokis single-handedly more than qualified him as a physical force of reckoning. He obviously knew his heroic status when he greeted the supplicating citizens of Thebes before the palace doors saying, “I would not have you speak through messengers, and therefore I have come myself to hear you - I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name”(Sophocles 1088). Oedipus is "guilty of Hubris- that is, that he is too sure of himself, too confident in his own powers [and] a little undermindful of the gods” (Brooks 573). Oedipus, a hero of superior intelligence, also displays this uncompromising attitude in his fealty to Thebes. Oedipus' loyalty to Thebes is another factor that led to the tragic figure's ruin. Aristotle explains that a tragic character is just and good, but his misfortune is brought about not by wickedness or depravity but by error, pride, or frailty. Oedipus fits this description perfectly. "The story of Oedipus fascinates us because of the spectacle of a man freely choosing, from the highest motives, a series of actions which lead to his ruin." (Dodds 23). Oedipus could leave the city of Thebes and let the plague take its course "but pity for the sufferings of his people compelled him to consult Delphi" (Dodds 23). When Apollo's word comes back, he could leave the murder of Laius uninvestigated, but pride and justice cause him to act. Oedipus can not let a murder investigation go by without solving the riddle of who killed King Laius because his pride overpowers him. Oedipus' pride reveals itself again in his loyalty to the truth. Oedipus' constant struggle to discover the truth for the sake of his people ruined him most in the end. Even though he is warned many times to stop seeking the truth, he keeps on searching. Oedipus has to choose between his doom and an alternative "which if accepted would betray the hero's own conception of himself, his rights, his duties," but in the end the hero "refused to yield; he remains true to himself, to his physis" (Knox 8). Therefore, one can see Oedipus' need to uncover the truth about Laius and then about himself as proof of his commitment to uphold his own nature, pride. Oedipus' quest for the truth fits his self image as "a man of action," "the revealer of truth," and the "solver of riddles"(Knox 28). He cannot live with a lie, and therefore must learn the truth behind the illusion he has lived for so long. Teiresias, Iokaste, and the herdsman all try to stop Oedipus, but he must read the last riddle, that of his own life. As the truth unfolds, the people of Thebes see Oedipus "as prideful and overweening," and they "call on Zeus to correct his pride" (Sewall 36). The hero's conscious choice to pursue and accept his doom makes him a tragic figure. Oedipus Rex single-handedly ruined his own life through his overweening pride. Oedipus' pride as a hero, a loyal King, and a truth seeker turned him into a tragic figure. He is a victim of fate, but not a puppet because he freely sought his doom though warned not to pursue it. Fate may have determined his past actions, but what he did at Thebes he did as a free individual. It was his own choice to kill the men at Phokis, his own choice to seek an answer to heal his people and his own choice to learn the truth. He claimed full responsibility, as a hero would, when Choragos asked what god drove him to blind himself. Oedipus' pride stood in the way of a life full of happiness. Sophocles ends this tragic story by warning his audience not to take anything for granted lest they suffer like Oedipus, a lesson many should take heed in.


King Arthur

                 Portayal of the Middle Ages is thought to be made of magnificent castles, beautiful clothing, great kings and queens everything and everyone perfect. No proof of the. Towns back then were not pretty. Dirt thrived in cities there were diseases and crud everywhere. Communities during the Middle Ages were not orderly. They were probably outright chaotic. As far as the king goes, he probably did not do much to help the fairness of towns. Arthur, such a great king. He would not have existed back then. Kings during the time of The Once and Future King were mostly insane, or cruel, or just should never have been remembered. No king ever did so many things that they would have stood out so much as Arthur would have. Lancelot was a great fighter and was brave, fair and set on doing the right thing not many knights were like that. Lancelot lived so easily he could get away with anything, and would fight for anyone as long as it was for the well-being of someone good. All blood and gore, no fancy romantic, pictures of life. It was dirty, and not always so ideal. As obvious as this is, it should be pointed out. The Once and Future King contained a magician, as wonderful as Merlyn is, and knowing that the story could not have taken place without him he could not have existed. But, unfortunately, reality just swipes him away. In The Once and Future King there is a great part that goes on the knights of the Round Table. The thing thatbrings out the untruth of it. There may have been a few well behaved knights during the actual Middle Ages, but not enough to create a club and be so influential that the entire kingdom knew of you. Most knights were feared not desired. The knights in reality went around to towns pillaging and raping-basically destroying anything and everything. The novel places knights in this innocence picture, a beautiful, yet completely absurd representation. All in all The Once and Future King is basically out of nothing, although the authors did a very nice job of creating a fairy tale out of a horrendous time. Most people like to pretend that the early Middle ages were great but facing reality, you just can not believe it. Too much dirt, too much violence all fighting no love and beauty. The time period can sprout love and beauty, given the right amount of spice, though. As The Once and Future King did.


World Mythology
                   Compare or contrast two major female fertility deities as to character, activities and role in the myth. In the myths of the ancient world, a great deal of importance is placed on the rhythmical cycle of birth, maturity, death and rebirth. Ancient agrarian people observed the world around them, and from this observation they realized that their lives as well as every other living thing on this planet was a part of an intricate continuing cycle. Everything withered and died, but not before reproducing and continuing the cycle of life. Since female plants and animals were directly responsible for the birth of new life, people worshipped female deities to ensure that the earthly cycle of life was maintained in proper balance. One such goddess can be found in Japanese mythology. The most ancient of Japanese deities, Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun. She is also the ruler of the gods and the universe. She is revered and given considerable praise, evidenced by the fact the Japanese imperial family traces its lineage directly to the Goddess Amaterasu. This reverence is understandable, given the sun’s extreme importance in the cycle of life. Without the sun, there would be no warmth, no plants, and certainly no humans. It also represents the important role that women played in early Japanese culture, where they occupied the same social roles as men. In the myth of Amaterasu, her brother Susano-o-no-Mikoto has offended her by defiling her home and not respecting her. He has also committed an act of physical violence against one of her servants. In one version of the myth, one of Amaterasu’s weaving women dies as a result of a wound to her vulva caused by Susano-o-no-Mikoto. This so enrages Amaterasu that she closes herself into a cave and refuses to come out. Without her life giving rays of sunshine the world begins to wither and die. Other Gods and Goddesses attempt to lure her out of the cave by throwing a celebration. They also set up a large mirror in a hope that when Amaterasu sees how brilliant she looks, she will want to come out and spread her radiance and glory. One of the Goddesses, Ame no Uzume, performs a dance in front of the entrance to the cave. The other Gods and Goddesses cheer so loudly in appreciation that Amaterasu becomes curious about why everybody is so happy. After all, they should all be depressed since she and her sunshine are gone. She comes out to satisfy her curiosity, and upon seeing herself in the mirror is so impressed that she returns to her position in the sky and life is renewed. Another similar fertility story is that of Demeter and Persephone from Greek mythology. Demeter and Persephone are two Goddesses, mother and daughter, who live together in a state of eternal abundance. Hades, God of the Underworld, wants Persephone for his bride and kidnaps her and takes her down to the Underworld. Demeter is so mournful over the loss of her daughter that the world begins to die. Persephone is finally allowed to return to her mother, but because Hades tricked her into eating a couple of pomegranate seeds she must go back to the Underworld for part of the year. The time when she is in the Underworld represents the barren winter, and the when she is with her mother on Earth represents abundant spring and summer. Despite originating at opposite ends of the globe, these two stories have a lot in common. In both stories, it is female deities who are responsible for perpetuating the cycle of life, causing plants to grow flowers to bloom and newborns to be born. In both myths men plead and make appeals for these women to return fertility to the Earth. Both deities are indispensable, and men in the myths do not realize how much they need these women in their lives until they are gone. In both myths it is also a women who is responsible for the return of the female fertility Goddesses to the world, Ame no Uzume in Amaterasu and Demeter in Persephone and Demeter. Another similarity lies in the fact that the catalyst for the destruction of the cycle of life was sexual violence perpetrated against women. I think that this represents the fact female Goddesses, and women as a whole, need to be treated with respect and not simply as a means to an end. In both of these stories, especially in the latter, we see that a woman’s sexuality and fertility is something to be nurtured and respected, not plundered and exploited. When women are revered and treated with respect, flowers will continue to bloom and the sun will continue to shine its warmth down upon us.

Zeus And Hera


                 Many traditions had developed within American culture that breached this wall of separation. For example, our coins have "In God We Trust" printed into them, The Pledge of Allegiance still contains the phrase "under God," and many of our governmental ceremonies have prayer as their opening activity. For years, many public school districts mandated that the school day begin with some sort of prayer. The first case to come to the Supreme Court regarding school prayer was that of Engel v. Vitale in 1961. A group of ten parents sued the Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 9 in Hyde Park, New York for having the following prayer said aloud in the presence of a teacher every day: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country." The prayer was composed by the New York State Board of Regents, which is a state agency, and which had broad supervisory powers over the state's public schools. The prayer was part of the Regents' "Statement on Moral and Spiritual Training In The Schools." A class action was brought by a set of ten parents who felt the prayer was contrary to the religious practices of both the parents and the students, and they maintained that the state's use of this prayer violated that part of the Federal Constitution that states "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion." This clause was made applicable to state law by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The lower courts that heard the case upheld the power of New York to allow the prayer to be said each day as long as no student was forced to participate or if the student was compelled to do so over the parents' objection.

Classics Influence On Modern Structures


                 The Influence of the Classical Style on Modern Structures It’s safe to say that the past has had profound influence on the way we live today. Many aspects of life have evolved over time and have been fine tuned to fit our preferences. A few examples are art, fashion and architecture. Every once in a while people look to the past in order to decide what we want for the present. For example, some people like to wear retro clothes that were popular in the 50’s and listen to Elvis Prestley records. This is also true with architecture. It’s easy to see the similarities and distinctions between ancient Greek structures and modern structures. The classic architecture style of ancient Greece has a profound influence on architecture today. The great political revolutions of the late 1700’s and early 1800’s did not trigger a revolution in architecture; instead they inspired still another classical revival (Jacobs, 135). About 1820 the Western world became very interested in ancient Greek architecture. The Greek War of independence from Turkey was closely watched be Westerners which sparked their interest in Greek architecture. Greek Revival style was used for courthouses, city halls, and residences. From 1820 onward, most builders preferred the Greek orders of column styles. These were the Doric, the Ionic and the Corinthian styles (Hammett, 24). The Doric style was the simplest style of columns and is characterized by having a slightly tapered column that is relatively short. These columns have no base and sit directly on the stylobate, or foundation, and are channeled by twenty shallow flutes. The top of the column, or the volute, is plain and bold and generally there are three steps which lead up to the stylobate (Alvey). Ionic styles are much slimmer, taller and more elaborate. They are also characterized by volutes that are horn-like or resemble a rolled up scroll. They also have bases which are very elaborate. The Corinthian columns are similar to the ionic style but are even taller and have more elaborate volutes that best resemble an upside-down bell surrounded by leaves (Nuttgens, 92). The modern structure that best represents the style of ancient Greece is the Lincoln memorial in Washington D.C. Construction began on the memorial on February 12, 1915 and was dedicated on May 30, 1922. Henry Bacon, the architect who designed the Lincoln memorial, was an admirer of Greek architecture and purposefully tried to show his Greek influence in the memorial. In fact he used the Parthenon in Athens as a specific model (Alvey). The Parthenon is perhaps the most outstanding ancient Greek architectural achievement. Built by Ictinus and Callicrates and sculpted by Phidias, the Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, the virgin Athena. The Parthenon began construction in 447 b.c. and was completed 432 b.c. (Alvey). Looking at the attached photos, one can see the resemblance between the Lincoln memorial and the Parthenon. The most noticeable characteristics are the columns and the use of marble. The Doric style was utilized in both of these structures. The interior of the memorial is also similar to that of the Parthenon. Both are divided into chambers, with a statue of whom the temples are dedicated as the focal point (Alvey). Another modern structure that show ancient Greek influence is the treasury building in Washington D.C. The treasury building, built by Robert Mills and Thomas U. Walter, is made of white marble and displays 38 Greek ionic columns. Other structures that show Greek revival are the Old Illinois State Capitol, the Ohio State Capitol, the St. Louis Court House, the Andalusia in Philadelphia and the Second Bank of the United States which was the first of many Parthanon adaptations (Hammett). It is easy to find Greek influence all over the world. Just drive around to the banks, libraries or fraternity houses. Mansions are known for having columns in front which is exclusively characteristic of ancient Greek design. Greek architecture is so beautiful and unmistakable that it is no wonder so many people want their home or business to show its influence.


Greek And Roman Mythology


                   Greek and Roman mythology have many similarities between them. Each type has there own set of Gods and Goddesses, although they were worshiped for similar reasons. The following will explain each God or Goddess and explain how they compare to each other. The King of Gods in Greek Mythology is known as Zeus. Zeus was the ruler of the sky, and had the power to create thunderstorms and lightning as well as earthquakes. He was the child of Cronus and Rhea. As the story goes he was their sixth child, and the father to protect him from being overthrown had eaten the five previous children. Zeus was taken to a city called Crete and hidden from his father. As Zeus grew older and learned of what happened he found a potion to make his father regurgitate the other children. Once this happened they all teamed up and killed their father. Zeus then became the ruler of Mount Olympus, and head of the new line of Gods. Jupiter was the predominant power holder of Roman Gods. He was ruler of the sky, the daylight, all the weather, and even the thunder and lightening. Jupiter helped drive back the Sabines. His temple was built in the Capitol, and newly elected counsels offered their first prayers to him. Hera was the wife and sister of Zeus, and the High Goddess of the Greeks. She was extremely jealous of the affairs that her husband was having and often tormented or harmed the mistresses he was fooling around with. Although, when she went too far, or tried to cause death, Zeus would intervene and stop her. Hera tried to ship wreak Heracles on his return from Troy, and with that Zeus had her hung by the wrists from top of the mountain with an anvil tied to each ankle. The two had four children together. Juno, Hera’s counterpart, was the wife of Jupiter. Juno was the protector of women, especially those who are married. Women often gave offerings to Juno to help with their childbirth. The God of the Underworld, Hades, was the brother of Zeus. He gained Hell, as his share in conquering their father. He is most known for kidnapping his wife, Persephone, while she was picking flowers in a field. As the story goes, Hades had her eat a piece of food in the Underworld, therefore she could not live on the Earth again. Her father, Zeus, made arrangements for her to be allowed on Earth for two-thirds of the year and in the Underworld as Hade’s wife for the rest of the time. This is used as the cause of spring and winter. When she returns to the surface she brings spring with her and when she returns to the Underworld she leaves winter behind her. Pluto, the Roman God of the Underworld, who’s name also means rich. It reflects the rich mineral resources beneath the ground and the rich resources above the earth. In art he is shown with the Horn of Plenty. This horn is most likely why we associate the Devil, or Satan, as having a horn on top of his head. His name was thought of to be bad luck, and therefore was hardly mentioned in myths. Ares was the child of Zeus and Hera. He was the God of War. Whenever he was seen or portrayed he would be fully armed and ready for battle. Any cause to fight or go to war would bring him out and about. He was the discomfited lover of Aphrodite. Almost all of his children by mortal women were of a violent nature. Mars, The Roman God of War and Agriculture, was the second most important god after Jupiter. The month March was named after Mars, and was also the first month of the Roman calendar. March was the month when agriculture was reborn and when most people engaged in war. Mars was given his own priest and altar in Rome. The wolf and woodpecker were the sacred animals of Mars. A festival in October was held in his honor and all farmers and soldiers would lay aside their weapons and had a celebration. The Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty was Aphrodite. She was married to the Smith God, Hephaestus, but left him for the God of War. She favored the Trojans during the Trojan War. She was known to have angry mood swings and all the gods and mortals paid dearly for it. Aphrodite and Venus were counterparts in mythology. Venus, The Roman Goddess of Love, was first worshiped in pre-Roman Italy, where she was worshiped for gardens and vegetation. Festivals during the month of April were in recognition of Venus. Her son, Cupid, was told to fire individuals with love by the touch of his arrow. Her plans backfired and an arrow accidentally touched her. She fell in love with Adonis, the first man she saw, and instantly had a passion to be with him. She was so anxious to be with him that she tried to persuade him not to hunt any longer, but he did and got killed by a boar. The name Venus means “beauty” or “charm.” Poseidon was one of the Olympian deities of the Greeks, the son of Cronus and Rhea. His sphere of power covered the sea, water (not rivers) and earthquakes (Clayton 158). He had similar powers of Zeus in these fields, but was ultimately less powerful. He was mostly worshiped on the island called Atlantis. Offerings were given to him were given when sea goers wanted calm voyage or needed help in navigation. Poseidon had an affair with Medusa and she bore him a Pegasus as a child. The Roman God of Water was called Neptune. The Romans were not a seafaring community in early times and Neptune was of little importance or worry to them. His festival was celebrated on the height of summer during the driest time of the year. The date was July twenty-third. The Greek God of Love, usually represented as a small chubby winged child, was called Eros. He was usually equipped with a bow and a quiver full of arrows. These arrows were used to induce love, as well as the lighted torch he was sometimes shown holding. By riding on a lion or dolphin, or breaking the thunderbolts of Zeus one would know that this indicated his power over both gods and men. The Roman God of Love, Cupid, was also usually represented as a small chubby naked child armed with a bow and quiver of arrows. Mischievously he would aim ‘Cupid’s darts’ at will; at times causing untold mayhem as they caused those they pierced to fall in love with the first person they met. In classic arts he is often shown playing a game such as quoits, but sometimes he wears a helmet and carries spear and shield to show that even Mars, God of War, gives way to love. His encounter with Psyche shows him in a more serious aspect (Clayton 63). Psyche would eventually be married to Cupid, after many hardships. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and his mistress Leto. Born on the island of Delos with a slightly younger twin brother, Apollo. She was the eternal virgin huntress goddess, even though she had a very vindictive nature. She was responsible for several deaths, including Callisto and Orion. At Ephesus, she was worshiped more as a mother goddess then a huntress. Bees and stags were animals most often associated with her. Her temple was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Diana was very similar to the Greek Goddess Artemis. Born on Delos with a twin brother named Apollo, Diana was the Goddess of Hunting. She had two particular shrines in Italy: one at Aricia on the shores of Lake Nemi, where she is known as Diana of the Woods, and the other at Capua under the name of Diana Tifatina, known as the Goddess of the Crossroads (Clayton 69). Her cult allowed human sacrifice, and her priest could be replaced by whom ever killed him. In Greek mythology the messenger of the gods, son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, was known as Hermes. He also had the role of escorting the dead to the Underworld. He was also the patron of merchants and seamen, of good luck, and of thieves and pickpockets, and was known for his mischief making. Often used by Zeus as an intermediary in various situations, he was rewarded with a winged helmet and a pair of sandals, which he used for walking the roads. Mercury was a Roman god, and son of Jupiter and Maia. He was the messenger of Jupiter. He was often seen with the caduceus (a wand), broad-rimmed hat, winged sandals and purse. He, like Hermes, protected the merchants. His name has the root word ‘merx’ meaning merchandise. Apollo, twin brother of Artemis, had Zeus as a father and a nymph as a mother. He was born under the shade of a single palm tree, the only tree on the island. Apollo’s major shrine was at Delphi, but before he could have this he had to rid the place of the monster. Python, a dragon or serpent, had terrorized the countryside for a long time. After slaying this creature Apollo initiated the Pythian Games, in honor of Python. Delphi became noted for the pronouncements made by the priests when they were in a hallucinatory state, most likely after chewing on bay laurel leaves. The legendary Heracles, a half god warrior, came to Delphi to seek advice from the oracle. He was dissatisfied with what he heard and tried to steal the sacred tripod, emblem of Apollo. Heracles and Apollo fought over the tripod, but Zeus separated them and returned the tripod back to Delphi. Apollo was also the God of Music, Fine Arts, Poetry, and Eloquence. Apollo was also the God of Medicine, which was used to cure as well as attack. Apollo was also responsible for the plague that struck the Greeks at Troy. He had a number of encounters with mankind, working at times for a king as a herdsman. He had several love affairs with mortal girls and nymphs, a number of whom assumed other shapes in an endeavor to escape his attentions. Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Athena, daughter of Metis by Zeus, had a very strange birth. Zeus had been warned that if Metis had a female child that a male child would follow and eventually overthrow him. To avoid this prophecy, Zeus swallowed the infant whole just as Metis was about to give birth. He soon had a very bad headache, so Hephaestus took a double-sided axe and split his skull open and Athena came out fully-grown and fully armored. Athena won the city of Athens in a contest with Poseidon. The rules were simple; who ever could produce the best gift for mankind would win. Poseidon created a horse out of rock, while Athena caused an olive tree to grow. The judges declared that the olive tree was most useful and hence she won the city. As a warlike goddess she was protector of many heroes and towns. Her animal familiar was the watch owl. Minerva was the Roman Goddess of Craft and Trade, including the intellect on how to do the particular craft. Together with Juno and Jupiter she was one of the great Capitoline triad and was introduced to Rome by an Etruscan contingent, which came to aid Romulus. Minerva’s festival was celebrated on March Nineteenth. Demeter was the sister of Zeus and one of the five children that was eaten by Cronus. Demeter was the God of Fertility, and often referred to as the essential mother. Demeter had a baby girl by the name of Persephone. Her father was Zeus, Hera’s husband as well as Demeter’s brother. Hades kidnapped Persephone and took her to the Underworld with him. After searching everywhere for her lost daughter, Helios the God of the Sun, told her he saw what had happened. She vowed not to return to the gods or continue any of her tasks till her daughter was returned. Demeter went to Zeus and demanded that her daughter be returned from the Underworld. Zeus agreed under the condition that she had not eaten anything while she was down there. Zeus then found out she had eaten something, and told Demeter that he could not bring her back from the Underworld. When she found out she withdrew her support of earth and mankind. Demeter caused the fields to become unfertile, and finally a deadlock was reached. Soon a compromise was reached between Demeter, Zeus, and Hades. Persephone would be allowed to earth during the spring, but she would be required to return to the Underworld during the winter. Ceres, the God of Corn and Harvest, is the Roman equivalent to the Greek Goddess Demeter. She shares all the same legends and stories.

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