A Love of Mythology of the Greeks

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

I love Greek mythology. Greek Mythology is large. Here are some of the characters and stories i love and why i love them.

artemis statue 88086
Artemis at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Artemis statue

Artemis — the Greatest Bitch of All Times

Artemis, for her virginal beauty and cruelty. Artemis is a merciless virginal bitch. She kills, with her arrow for pretty much gaming.

Artemis is a virgin goddess of hunting and moon, twin sister of Apollo, daughter of Zeus and Leto, and is one of the deities sitting atop Mount Olympus. Artemis is called Diana by the Romans. Despite her virginal beauty, Artemis is no cuddling babe. Her tales vary a lot and sometimes contradictory, but among things, one hapless hunter Actaeon who bumped into her nakedness while bathing and stared, for that she made him into a stag and was rent by his own hounds, to her resolute satisfaction. And, she also shot her companion nymph maiden Callisto to death when Callisto unwillingly lost her virginity thru rape by Zeus — Artemis's dad — who disguised himself as Artemis. She also is said to be the cause of women who dies at childbirth, some account as giving a swift painless death with her arrows. Her perpetual virginity is granted by her dad the omnipotent Zeus, at age of 3. Artemis is also the killer of Orion (the giant and hunter and son of the sea god Poseidon ), who became a constellation. This virgin goddess also locked horns with Agamemnon , king of Mycenae and commander of Greek forces in the Trojan War. She stopped the wind in their voyage to Troy, which resulted the sacrifice of Agamemnon's own daughter Iphigenia. Artemis and her twin brother Apollo, together killed like a game the 6 daughters and 6 sons of the queen Niobe , only because Niobe boasted her superiority over Leto (Arthemis's mother) for she had 12 offsprings versus Leto's only two. (Niobe ended up becoming a stone perpetually wet with her tears.).

The Nymphs

Hylas and the Nymphs
Hylas and the Nymphs by [ John William Waterhouse (1849 to 1917) ] [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_William_Waterhouse ] nymph statue

The Nymphs. Among which is Calypso who marooned Odysseus for 7 years. (they had a son Nausinous) She died when she finally let Odysseus go.

And there are Siren. O, the Sirens and their death lulls. The hero Odysseus escaped the Sirens by having his sailors plug their ears, and have them tie himself on a mast, for he actually wanted to hear the Siren songs but without adverse effects. (Siren are sea nymphs whose body supposed to be partially bird one way or another. But later on they merged into mermaids.).

Thetis is a sea nymph. She is the mother of Achilles (the greatest warrior, most famous for trojan war and “Achilles's heel”.) Achilles's dad is Peleus, king of the Myrmidons.

Zeus had received a prophecy that Thetis's son would become greater than his father. Therefore, in order to ensure a mortal father for her eventual offspring, Zeus and his brother Poseidon (sea god) made arrangements for her marriage to a man, Peleus, son of Aeacus, but she refused him. Chiron, the wise centaur, who would later be tutor to Peleus' son Achilles, advised Peleus to find the sea nymph when she was asleep and bind her tightly to keep her from escaping by changing form. She did shift shapes, becoming flame and then a raging lion (compare the sea-god Proteus). But Peleus held fast. She then consented to marry him.

1024px-Thetis Peleus Cdm Paris 539
Thetis changing into a lioness as she is attacked by Peleus, Attic red-figured kylix by Douris, c. 490 BC from Vulci, Etruria - Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.

the Gorgons

Medusa. Marble bust is in the Museo dei Conservatori museum in Rome, Italy. (source: Microsoft Encarta.) medusa statue

The Gorgons, 3 ugly sisters with snake hairs, so ugly that any looker petrifies. Among which, Medusa, is most famous and is the only mortal.

Medusa became hideous by the hand of the goddess Athena, for her rage finding Medusa and sea god Poseidon doing it in her temple.

Medusa were decapitated by Perseus thru the help of Athena and Hermes (god of message). He obtained Athena's shield (used as a mirror to see her thru indirection) and a incredible sword from Hermes, and from nymph of north a bottomless wallet (to put Medusa's head), a invisible cap, a winged sandal. The blood from her severed head sprang her sons the winged horse Pegasus and a boy Chrysaor. Her severed head was also used to petrify Phineas and his army. And the head was finally given to Athena to put on her shield called aegis.

(by the way, Athena is known as a goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Athena is not, for example, known as a goddess of forgiveness, fairness, kindness. She, along with 2 other high goddesses Hera and Aphrodite, vying to be the most beautiful, with bribery, which started Trojan War. )

the Minotaur and Labyrinth

Daedalus and Icarus
Daedalus and his son Icarus flew. This painting is in the 17th century by Jacob Peter Gowi. (source: Microsoft Encarta.) Icarus statue

Minotaur , for the story of bestiality, labyrinth , and sacrifice of lads and maidens. Minotaur is half bull and half man begotten from a mating by a human queen and a sacred white bull. Among the story is why queen Pasiphae fell madly in love with a bull, and how she lured the white bull to fuck her. Manotaur is a man-eating monster, and is being trapped in a labyrinth with yearly sacrifices of maidens and lads. (the labyrinth is devised by Daedalus) Minotaur was slayed at the end by Theseus, with help of the King's daughter in love with a thread to avoid being lost in the labyrinth. Later on the angry king put Daedalus and his son themselves in the labyrinth of their own design as imprisonment. Then, Daedalus devised wings and escaped. The besotted youngster flew too high against advice and fell to his death.

Oedipus and the Sphinx

Oedipus and the Sphinx
Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1808, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. (See also photo of a sphinx sculpture at Las Vegas's Caesars Palace Hotel-Casino)

Oedipus, for incest and patricide and run in with Sphinx, with its preposterous riddle. Note that, in the story, Oedipus isn't just some evil being who do bad things. Almost always, stories and events in Greek mythology have human reasons and inherent causes. Why did Oedipus committed the incest, and why he killed his father, are the attractions here.

The Sphinx, is a winged-lion with woman's head and torso. She asks passerby a riddle, and strangled anyone unable to answer.


Electra , the counterpart to Oedipus. (Electra and her brother together murdered their mom, who murdered their dad Agamemnon (the leader for Greeks in Trojan War). Electra doesn't have much story, but for some reason Electra and Vicky are my favorite among all female names.)

Trojan War

Trojan_War. For a war over a woman. There is nothing more beautiful than that. And, for the prelude of the war caused by the just/unjust wrath of Eris, and the unabashed rivalry and bribery among 3 goddesses competing for the title of the most beautiful. And i love the Trojan Horse story of the siege of Troy. (today we have the brand name condom Trojan.)

[Troy][ http://maps.google.com/maps?q=39.95732%2C26.23880 ]

This is just a spectacular epic. Among the many interesting bits are: How the war started with Eris's involvement. Why are the Greek heros willing to fight for somebody's wife. Why Odysseus didn't want to, how Palamedes stepped thru his ruse. Why and how Achilles nymph mother Thetis tried to prevent Archilles's joining, and how Odysseus got him in. Why the Greek army of one thousand ships are stalled at bay, and how it was resolved. The prophesy about the first who steps on Troy. How the great number of prophecies are thwarted but fulfilled (and apparently some went by unfulfilled silently.). The prophet Cassandra and her sorrow. How and why the gods sided, including Apollo, Ares, Aphrodite, Artemis… the mortal sons and daughters of the Gods in the war. The heroic Hector. The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles (over a love slave girl). How Achilles returns. The death of Hector and Achilles. How Troy came down. And the aftermath spurn great tales of the Odysseus's journey home and Aeneas's journey to found Rome.

Hector brought back to Troy
Body of the great hero Hector, brought back to Troy. From a Roman sarcophagus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hector_brought_back_to_Troy.jpg Hector statue


Zeus. The omnipotent. Fucks about every pussy. Among which, Zeus sired with his sister Hera. Zues also ate his mate Metis. (Zeus's dad Cronus, cut off the genitals of his dad and offspring-eater Cronus. (Aphrodite, the sex goddess, was born out of the blood and semen of Uranus's genitals that was tossed into the sea by Cronus.))

Zeus statue


Narcissus. His story of love and Echo and Nemesis.

There's a beauty named Narcissus, who spurned love of both boys and girls. Among them is a nymph named Echo, who pined away her life till she became nothing but a lone echo. Those rejected souls, prayed to the goddess Nemesis to fall the meaning of rejection upon this beautiful boy. One day, Narcissus found love inside a pond, not knowing it is his own reflection, and with unrequited love ogled to his death. [2004, Xah Lee, of Narcissus in Greek Mythology.]


Ares. Ares is the god of savage war. He and the sex goddess Aphrodite had a affair, while Aphrodite is married to the ugly Hephaestus, a god of technology. You must read, why Zeus arranged the marriage of the sex goddess Aphrodite to the most ugly (crippled and with skin defect) and boring man Hepaestus. How Hepaestus, deviced a net that caught the fornicating lovers in the act.

Ares statue

Other interesting stories

There are so many, that almost none are uninteresting.

The Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Dionysus, the god of orgy and revelry. He's got a bunch of women followers called Maenads (aka bacchantes). (Dionysus is associated with orgy.)

Orpheus the song and lyre player. His wife Eurydice (a nymph) was bitten by a viper and died. Orpheus played such sad songs and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept and gave him advice. Orpheus went down to the lower world and by his music softened the heart of Hades and Persephone (the only person to ever do so), who allowed Eurydice to return with him to earth. But the condition was attached that he should walk in front of her and not look back until he had reached the upper world. In his anxiety he broke his promise, and Eurydice vanished again from his sight.

Orpheus later on was killed by the Maenads. The Thracian Maenads, Dionysus' followers, first threw sticks and stones at him as he played, but his music was so beautiful even the rocks and branches refused to hit him. Enraged, the Maenads tore him to pieces during the frenzy of their Bacchic orgies. His head and lyre floated “down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore,” where the inhabitants buried his head and a shrine was built in his honor near Antissa. The lyre was carried to heaven by the Muses, and was placed amongst the stars. The Muses also gathered up the fragments of his body and buried them at Leibethra below Olympus, where the nightingales sang over his grave.

Orpheus also had a story with Jason and Sirens. When the Sirens sung, he took out his lyre and played music that is more beautiful than the Siren's song, thus drowning out Siren's ill effects.

The Muses are:

(The muses are all female) The Muses struck Thamyris blind for challenging them to a contest.

Europa bull hg
Europa and the Bull. Photo by Hannes Grobe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Europa_bull_hg.jpg © [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/legalcode] europa statue

The story of Europa is that she's abducted by Zeus, who changed himself into white bull to seduce her, of which made Europa the Queen of Crete. The concept of rape and seduction in Greek myths is fascinating, in that it reflect reality without prescriptive morality. The greek myth's portrayal of gods and mortals, their desires and wantings, are exceedingly human.

In Europa's story is a character Talos, which is perhaps the first ever concept of a robot. Talos is a automaton, who throw rocks at ships encroaching Europa's island Crete! Of interest is how the robot was eventually defeated. Talos is one of the gift Zeus gave to Europa after mating her. The other 2 gifts are Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Laelaps is a dog that will never fail to catch the prey. This dog, was later pitted with the Teumessian_fox , a fox that could never be caught. Here we have a paradox. Read how it is resolved.

A poignancy of love we should note here is that, after Zeus took Europa, she is made a Queen of a large island, with 3 most wondrous gifts. This is in contrast to modern society of myriad of sexual and marital laws, yet full of animosity between the sexes.

For more artwork on Europa, see: Europa and the Bull

leda and swan 07860
leda and swan. Bronze, Roman Imperial, ~1c CE, height: 14.7 cm. http://www.thecityreview.com/s03sant.html

Leda and the Swan is another story where Zeus “raped” her by changing himself into a animal for seduction. In this case, the copulation is actually conducted while Zeus is still in the form of a swan. See: Leda and the Swan.

The beginning, the creation of the gods. Chaos, Gaea, Tartarus, Eros, Uranus, the Titans, …

Aphrodite (aka Venus). Her jealousy with Psyche and love affair with Adonis. See this really lovely love story of the Story of Cupid and Psyche.

Pan god
Marble sculpture of Pan copulating with a goat, recovered from Herculaneum ( [ Secret Museum, Naples ] [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Museum%2C_Naples ]). satyr statue
Pan and Daphnis
«Sculpture of Pan teaching his eromenos, the shepherd Daphnis, to play the panpipes; ca. 100 B.C. Found in Pompeii» «Copy of marble sculpture by Heliodorus. Ca. 100 BCE Object found at Pompeii, in the collection of the Naples Museum of Archeology. Photo, 1999» satyr statue

Pan, the beasty god, who fucked just about every thing that moves, and slept with every Maenads.

greek mythology