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The early Greeks supposed the earth to be a flat circle, in the centre
of which was Greece. Oceanus, the ocean stream, encircled it; the
Mediterranean being supposed to flow into this river on the one side, and
the Euxine, or Black Sea, on the other.
Owing to the vagueness of the various accounts of creation, the origin
of the primeval gods is variously accounted for. Thus, for instance,
Oceanus, with some, becomes the younger brother of Uranus and Gæa.
The myth of Cronus swallowing his children is evidently intended by the
poets to express the melancholy truth that time destroys all things.
Nectar was the drink, and ambrosia the food of the gods.
The Cyclops are generally mentioned as the sons of Uranus and Gæa, but
Homer speaks of Polyphemus, the chief of the Cyclops, as the son of
Poseidon, and states the Cyclops to be his brothers.
Possibly an image of him placed in readiness.
This age was contemporary with the commencement of the dynasty of Zeus.
Hesiod is said to have lived 850 years before the Christian era,
consequently about 200 years after King David. He lived in Boeotia, where
his tomb is still shown at Orchomenus. This ancient writer left behind him
two great poems, one entitled "The Works and Days," in which he gives us
some of the earliest Greek legends, and the other, "The Theogony,"
containing the genealogies of the gods; but, unfortunately, both these
poems have been so interpolated by the writers of the Alexandrian school
that they have lost their value as reliable sources of information with
regard to the early beliefs of the Greek nation.
Epimetheus signifies after-thought, Prometheus fore-thought.
There are various versions of this myth. According to some the jar or
vase was full of all "the ills which flesh is heir to."
From Diaus, the sky.
A sacred shield made for Zeus by Hephæstus, which derived its name
from being covered by the skin of the goat Amalthea, the word Ægis
This frightful monster had sprung from the slimy and stagnant waters
which remained on the surface of the earth after the deluge of Deucalion.
Castor and Pollux were known by the name of the Dioscuri, from dios,
gods, and kuroi, youths.
The ancient Greeks attributed much of the subsequent character of an
individual to early influences; hence Hera, the future queen and mistress
of heaven, is represented as being brought up in a domesticated and orderly
household, where home virtues are carefully inculcated.
In the Homeric age peacocks were unknown; it is therefore the later
poets who describe Hera surrounded with peacocks, which were brought to
Greece from India.
This circumstance has given rise to the erroneous conclusion that Juno
presided over the finances of the state, but the word moneta is derived
from the Latin monere, which means to warn or admonish.
See Roman Festivals.
The first large ship possessed by the Greeks fit for more than coast
When Perseus, with the help of Athene, had cut off the head of the
Medusa, the two sisters caused a sad dirge-like song to issue from the
mouths of the many snakes of which their hair was composed, whereupon
Athene, pleased with the sound, imitated the melody on a reed, and thus
invented the flute.
For details see Roman Festivals.
See Legend of Troy.
Some, with but little reason, make Demeter the daughter of Uranus and
Demeter transformed Ascalaphus into an owl for revealing the secret.
The course which the sun ran was considered by the ancients to be a
rising and descending curve [drawing of an arc], the centre of which was
supposed to be reached by Helios at mid-day.
The river Po.
This great work of antiquity was destroyed by an earthquake fifty-six
years after its erection, B.C. 256. The fragments remained on the ground
for many centuries, until Rhodes was conquered by the Turks, and they were
eventually sold by one of the generals of Caliph Othman IV. to a merchant
of Emesa for £36,000, A.D. 672.
According to some authorities, Strymon.
This wonderful lyre, which had been given to Apollo by Hermes
(Mercury) in exchange for the Caduceus or rod of wealth, is said to have
possessed such extraordinary powers, that it caused a stone, upon which it
was laid, to become so melodious, that ever afterwards, on being touched,
it emitted a musical sound which resembled that produced by the lyre
Aristæus was worshipped as a rural divinity in various parts of
Greece, and was supposed to have taught mankind how to catch bees, and to
utilize honey and wax.
Astræa was the daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. Perses was son
of the Titans Crios and Eurybia.
Called also Anaitis-Aphroditis.
This occurred during the night Alexander the Great was born.
Another version with regard to the origin of this defect, is that
being born ugly and deformed, his mother Hera, disgusted at his
unsightliness, herself threw him violently from her lap, and it was then
that his leg was broken, producing the lameness from which he suffered ever
after. On this occasion he fell into the sea, and was saved by the
sea-nymphs Thetis and Eurynome, who kept him for nine years in a cavern
beneath the ocean, where he made for them, in gratitude for their kindness,
several beautiful ornaments, and trinkets of rare workmanship.
According to some accounts Chares was the wife of Hephæstus.
The trident resembled the arrow-headed pronged fork, used by the
fishermen of the Mediterranean Sea in the eel-fishery.
Scylla is a dangerous rock, much dreaded by mariners, in the Straits
The island of Rhodes owes its name to her.
It is worthy of notice that the sons of Poseidon were, for the most
part, distinguished by great force and turbulence of character, in keeping
with the element over which their father was the presiding deity. They were
giants in power, and intractable, fiery, and impatient by nature, spurning
all efforts to control them; in all respects, therefore, fitting
representatives of their progenitor, the mighty ruler of the sea.
A cubit is the length from the elbow to the extremity of the middle
finger, and therefore an indefinite measure, but modern usage takes it as
representing a length of seventeen to eighteen inches.
On the Egyptian coast.
See Legend of the Argonauts.
His two sons Deimos and Phobos.
Romulus was deified by the Romans after death, and was worshipped by
them under the name of Quirinus, an appellation which he shared in common
with his father Mars.
Midas was the son of Cybele and Gordius, the king who tied the
celebrated and intricate knot.
The shades of those mortals whose lives had neither been distinguished
by virtue nor vice, were condemned to a monotonous, joyless, existence in
the Asphodel meadows of Hades.
Echidna was a bloodthirsty monster, half maiden, half serpent.
One of the horns of the goat Amalthea, broken off by Zeus, and
supposed to possess the power of filling itself with whatsoever its owner
According to another account, Momus discovered that Aphrodite made a
noise when she walked.
The word Psyche signifies "butterfly," the emblem of the soul in
Tiresias alone, of all the shades, was in full possession of his
Most of the words ending in eus may also be pronounced thus:
The first e like ei in their.
Th at the beginning of a word has its soft sound, as in both.
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