A to Aegyptus Aello to Agesilaus I Agesilaus II to Akhaia Akhaian to Alkman Alkmene to Anaetius Anakeion to Apaturia Apeliotes to Argos Argus to Arkhidike Arkhilokhos to Astyanax Astydameia to Azov

A to Aegyptus


Alpha; the uppercase form of the first letter of the Greek alphabet.


A portion of a column of the Doric Order; the uppermost member of a capital beneath the architrave; simply stated, the abacus is a slab forming the top of the capital of a column.


The site of the oracular shrine of Apollon in Phokis (Phocis) near the city of Delphi.


A name for the island of Euboea derived from one of the early tribes of that island, the Abantes.


A Naiad, i.e. a water nymph; the consort of Boukolion (Boucolion) and mother of the twins, Pedasos and Aisepos; both young men were killed while defending the city of Troy.

Her name is also rendered as Abarbaree and Abarbarea.

Abas (1)

The father of Kanethos (Canethos) and grand-father of the Argonaut, Kanthos (Canthos); he was from the island of Euboea.

Abas (2)

The stepfather of the Argonaut, Idmon; Idmon’s true father, Apollon gave him the gift of prophecy.

Abas (3)

He and his brother, Polyidos, were the sons of the dream interpreter, Old Eurydamas; both brothers were killed by Diomedes during the siege of the city of Troy.


A Greek city on the coast of Thrake (Thrace) east of the river Nestos; the city was first settled in the seventh century BCE and then later (sixth century BCE) re-established by Ionians from Asia Minor.

Abdera was the birthplace of the philosopher Demokritus (Democritus) and the sophist Protagoras; ironically, the inhabitants of the city were mocked for their inferior minds.

Abydos (1)

A Greek city on the Asian side of the Hellespont; the city of Sestos lies across the Hellespont on the European side of the narrow channel.

Abydos was the home of a young man named Leander who was in love with a priestess of Aphrodite named Hero; Leander would regularly swim the channel at night in order to meet with Hero in Sestos but one night he lost his way and drowned; this tale from antiquity has inspired many young adventurers to swim the strait to duplicate Leander’s feat.

There is a point of land jutting into the Hellespont from the European side of the waterway and it was at this spot, in 480 BCE, that the Persian king, Xerxes, built a pontoon bridge by lashing ships together and crossing the Hellespont from Abydos to Sestos.

Before he arrived at Abydos, Xerxes instructed the townspeople to construct a platform of stones on a hill so that he could stand atop it and survey the massive army and navy he had assembled for the invasion of Greece.

The other Greek cities of the Hellespont were required to supply soldiers and ships for Xerxes’ invasion forces but the people of Abydos were ordered to stay at home and protect the pontoon bridge from attack; the bridge was not harmed by any enemy of the Great King but, when Xerxes retreated back to Abydos after his invasion of Greece had failed, the waves and wind had made the pontoon bridge unstable and unusable; Xerxes and his army crossed from Sestos to Abydos via ship.

When the people of Abydos and Sestos learned that the Greeks who had not allied themselves with the Persians were approaching the Hellespont, they dismantled the pontoon bridge and stored the gear at Sestos; when the Greeks arrived, they focused their attention on punishing the traitor-Greeks on the European side of the Hellespont and left Abydos alone.

Because of its strategic location, Abydos played a major role in the long and brutal Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE); many sea battles were fought in the narrow channel between Abydos and Sestos.

Abydos is now known as Canakkale, Turkey.

Approximate east longitude 26.40 and north latitude 40.15.

Abydos (2)

The Greek name for a city in ancient Egypt which was known to the Egyptians as Abdu; Abydos was located in Upper Egypt, i.e. southern Egypt, approximately 6 miles (11 kilometers) west of the Nile river.

The modern name of Abydos is Arabet el Madfuneh.

Approximate north latitude 26.10.


The ancient name for Jebel Musa; a mountain in northwestern Morocco opposite the Rock of Gibraltar; one of the Pillars of Herakles (Heracles); 2,775 feet (846 meters) in height.

Gibraltar was the second of the two Pillars of Herakles; Gibraltar was known as Kalpe (Calpe) and Jebel Musa was known as Abyla.

Akademeia or Academeia

An olive grove near the city of Athens which was sacred to the hero, Akademus (Academus) who assisted Kastor (Castor) and Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux) in the rescue of their sister, Helen.

Plato and his followers taught in the grove and, thus, their school was called The Academy.

Modern scholars have divided the teachings of The Academy into “schools” because the world-view and style evolved as time passed and as different teachers presided over The Academy; the divisions are:

The Old Academy (circa 400-265 BCE), typified by Plato.

The Middle Academy (circa 265-150 BCE), typified by Arkesilas (Arcesilas).

The New Academy (circa 150-86 BCE), typified by Karneades (Carneades).

The direct, continuous influence of The Academy was finally broken in 86 BCE by the Romans when Athens was burned; attempts were made to re-build on the centuries-old reputation of The Academy but the Roman domination of the entire Mediterranean area was overwhelming and later incarnations of The Academy were mere shadows of the original school.

Achaean League

The confederacy of twelve cities in Akhaia (Achaea) on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

The Achaean League was unique in that it was ruled by a democratic system; the League was dissolved by Alexander the Great but later reorganized (280 BCE) with ten cities under the leadership of Aratus of Sikyon (Sicyon) and served as a viable form of governance until it was forcibly disbanded by the Romans circa 146 BCE.

This cooperation between the fiercely independent Greek cities was unprecedented in its time and was governed at first by two generals and then later by one man; perhaps one of the most stabilizing aspects of this league was the stipulation that no man could serve two consecutive terms as leader.


A comic play by the Athenian poet, Aristophanes, which was produced in the first years of the Peloponnesian War (425 BCE).

The play was an undisguised plea for peace between the cities of Athens and Sparta but despite the potentially unpopular theme of the play, it was well received in Athens.

The main character of the play, Dikaiopolis (Dicaiopolis), served as the voice of peace but regardless of the passion demonstrated by the play’s characters, no one could foresee that the war would drag on for twenty eight years.

The setting of the story is the market in Athens where Dikaiopolis is confronted by an angry group of Akharnians who want to kill him because he has tried to negotiate a private peace with Sparta; the Akharnians want to stone and then decapitate Dikaiopolis but he persuades them to hear his reasoning for wanting peace with Sparta before they kill him.

Dikaiopolis harangues a variety of people including the poet Euripides, the government of Athens, the Athenian military, farmers, merchants and even participants in a wedding.

At the end of the play, the comic lampoons of Dikaiopolis are juxtaposed against the mournful laments of a wounded soldier.

This play is somewhat difficult to read but worth the effort; there is one particularly enjoyable scene where Dikaiopolis is arguing with a desperate Megarian farmer who is trying to raise money by disguising his daughters as pigs and offering them for sale; the underlying message of the scene is that the farmer has been brought to ruin by the war but his destitution is comically relieved by the farcical hoax he’s trying to foist on Dikaiopolis.

Aristophanes’ plays are sometimes difficult to appreciate because he was a very contemporary poet, i.e. he was writing for the Athenian audience of his day; he would use puns, parody regional accents and speak directly to the audience in ways that force modern translators to seek out the contextual meaning rather than the literal meaning of the poet’s words; for that reason, I suggest that if you find a translation that is difficult to enjoy, please don’t blame Aristophanes, simply look for a translation that you can enjoy; when trying to find a readable translator, I suggest Patric Dickinson; you may find his books at your local library in the 882 section but his books are out of print and sometimes difficult to find; I also recommend the Penguin Classics book Lysistrata & Other Plays: The Acharnians, the Clouds, Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Alan H. Sommerstein (Translator), ISBN 0140448144; you can also find this book at your local library or you can purchase it through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


The most beautiful and bravest warrior in the Greek army at the siege of the city of Troy; he was the son of king Peleus and the Nereid, Thetis.

After Akhilleus was born, Thetis tried to make him immortal by cleansing him with nektar (nectar) and bathing him in fire but Peleus caught her putting the infant Akhilleus in the fire and, in his ignorance of Immortal affairs, went into a rage; Thetis, in frustration, threw Akhilleus to the ground, deserted Peleus and returned to her home under the Aegean Sea.

Akhilleus was contentious and proud because of his obvious skill as a warrior and his semi-divine parentage; he acknowledged the authority of Agamemnon as the captain of the Greek army but refused to fight because he felt that he had been wronged in the division of the spoils of war.

When his lifelong companion, Patroklos (Patroclus), was killed by the Trojans, Akhilleus went into a rage that only the blood of countless Trojans would quell; he killed Hektor (Hector), the leader of the Trojan army, and defiled his corpse as revenge for Patroklos’ death but, at the command of Zeus, returned the dead body to Hektor’s father, king Priam.

Akhilleus was killed before the fall of Troy and the rivalry for his armor between Aias (Ajax) and Odysseus caused Aias to go insane and die in disgrace.


Pertaining to sound; from the Greek word Akoustikos.

Admete (1)

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys; her name means Unwedded; Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Admete (2)

The daughter of the king of Argos, Eurystheus, for whom Herakles (Heracles) took the Golden Girdle of Ares from Hippolyte, the Amazon queen; Admete was eventually married to the Athenian hero, Theseus.

Admetos (1)

A king of Pherae in Thessaly; Admetos was drawn into the plots and dramas of the Immortals when Zeus made Apollon into Admetos’ slave for one year as retribution for Apollon’s vengeful attack on the cyclops.

Admetos was a kind master and treated Apollon with respect; in repayment for such noble treatment, Apollon arranged for Admetos to marry a lovely woman named Alkestis (Alcestis).

When Apollon found out that Admetos was destined to die immediately after the marriage, he wooed the Eumenides (Fates) with wine until they agreed to allow Admetos to live; the Eumenides were not easily persuaded; they would only allow Admetos to live on the condition that someone else volunteer to die in his place; Alkestis loved her husband so much that she agreed to die for him.

Herakles (Heracles) was so moved by such an act of selflessness that he intercepted Thanatos (Death) as he was escorting Alkestis to the Underworld and returned her to the land of the living and reunited her with Admetos.

Admetos (2)

The king of the Molossians (circa 471 BCE) who gave protection to Themistokles (Themistocles) after he was banished by the Athenians even though his brilliant military leadership defeated the Persians at the battle of the island of Salamis in the 480 BCE invasion.


There are conflicting stories as to Adonis’ life and death; he was the son of Kinyras (Cinyras) king of the island of Cyprus and the king’s daughter Myrrha (Zmyrna); the unholy union was the result of the goddess of Love, Aphrodite’s, revenge for Myrrha’s disrespect.

At this point, the story of Adonis is unclear, either:

  1. His mother was turned into a myrrh tree and Adonis was born from this tree; he grew to be a beautiful young man and Aphrodite fell in love with him; or
  2. Aphrodite put Adonis in a chest and sent him to the Underworld; Zeus had sympathy for the beautiful young man and allowed him to live half of the year with Persephone in the Underworld and the other half with Aphrodite on the earth’s surface; or perhaps
  3. Adonis was raised by nymphs and met Aphrodite while he was hunting; he was killed by a wild boar sent by Ares (god of War) and from his blood sprang the rose.

The worship of Adonis reached the city of Athens in the fifth century BCE and is assumed to have originated on the island of Cyprus or in the Far East; regardless of his origins, by the mid-seventh century BCE, his name was used by the singer/poet, Sappho, as a general term meaning a favorite or a darling.


A name for the daughter of Nyx (Night), Nemesis, i.e. Divine Retribution; perhaps meaning The Inevitable.

Adrastus (1)

The mythical king of Argos whose life was closely tied to the legend of king Oedipus of the city of Thebes and, indirectly, to the fall of the city of Troy.

Adrastus was the son of Talaus and Lysimakhe (Lysimache); as a young man he was forced to flee Argos and live in the city of Sikyon (Sicyon) where he was made heir to the throne and later became the king; as king of Sikyon, he returned to Argos and made peace; he welcomed the exiled son of Oedipus, Polynikes (Polynices), and also another exile, Tydeus.

Polynikes married one of Adrastus’ daughters, Argeia, and Tydeus married another named Deipyle.

Adrastus helped Polynikes mount an attack on the city of Thebes and their company became known as Seven Against Thebes; their campaign failed and Polynikes was killed but Adrastus managed to escape on his immortal steed, Arion.

A generation later, Adrastus led the sons of the Seven (known as the Epigoni) back to Thebes and successfully took the city; the only casualty of the second battle was Adrastus’ son, Aigialeus; because of the loss of his beloved son, Adrastus supposedly died of grief on the way back to Argos.

Although his name is more properly rendered as Adrestos, it is almost always translated as Adrastus.

Adrastus (2)

The son of Gordius and the grandson of king Midas.

Adrastus accidentally killed his brother and was banished from Phrygia by his father; he went to Lydia as a supplicant and was absolved of his blood-guilt by the king of Lydia, Kroesus (Croesus).

Kroesus had a dream that his son, Atys, was going to die on the point of an iron spear and became very protective of Atys; when Atys went to nearby Mysia to help rid that country of a rampaging wild boar, Kroesus ordered Adrastus to accompany Atys as his guardian and protector; during the hunt, Adrastus accidentally killed Atys with his iron spear just as the dream had predicted.

When he returned to Lydia, Adrastus confessed his guilt but Kroesus said that Atys’ death was the will of the Immortals and that Adrastus was not to blame.

Adrastus believed that the accidental murder of his brother and Atys was nothing less than a curse and, to forestall any further innocent bloodshed, he committed suicide by cutting his own throat over Atys’ grave.

Although his name is more properly rendered as Adrestos, it is almost always translated as Adrastus.


The ancient Greek name for the Adriatic Sea.

The body of water that separates Italy from modern Albania.

An extension of the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula.

Approximately 500 miles (805 kilometers) long and up to 140 miles (225 kilometers) wide.

Adriatic Sea

An extension of the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula.

The Adriatic Sea was called the Adrias by the ancient Greeks.

Approximately 500 miles (805 kilometers) long and up to 140 miles (225 kilometers) wide.

Called the Adrias by the ancient Greeks.


The original name for the land of Kolkhis (Colchis).

An ancient country that bordered eastern edge of the Euxine (Black Sea) and south of the Caucasus Mountains.

Aea is best known as the land of the Golden Fleece and the realm of king Aietes (Aeetes).


A patronymic term denoting the descendants of Aeakus (Aeacus) including: Peleus, Telamon, Akhilleus (Achilles) and Aias (Ajax)


The son of Zeus and Aegina; the husband of Endies and most notably, the father of Peleus and Telamon and thus the grandfather of Akhilleus (Achilles) and Aias (Ajax).

Aeakus banished Peleus and Telamon because they murdered their half-brother, Phokos (Phocos).

The people who were ruled by Aeakus became known as the Myrmidons because, after a plague had decimated the island of Aegina, Zeus repopulated it by turning ants into men and women. Myrmidon is a variation on the word for Ant.

After his death Aeakus became one of the three judges of the Underworld along with Minos and Rhadamanthus.

His name may also be rendered as Aiakos, Aiacos, Aecus or Aekus.

Aegaios Son

Another name for Briareos; he and his brothers, Kottos (Cottos) and Gyes, are three of the most terrible creatures ever to be produced by Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens).

Briareos and his brothers have fifty heads and fifty arms sprouting from their massive shoulders.

The Immortals use the name Briareos but mere mortals call him Aigaios’ son.

When Briareos and his brothers were in the womb of Gaia, Ouranos would not let them be born; when they attempted to come out, Ouranos would push them back inside; it wasn’t until the Titan, Kronos (Cronos), attacked and wounded his father, Ouranos, that the brothers were allowed to be free; Gaia made a sickle of flint and begged for one of her Titan children to attack Ouranos but only Kronos came to her aid; Kronos laid in ambush for his father and struck him down with the flint sickle; the three fifty-headed brothers were allowed to escape Gaia’s womb and the blood of Ouranos created the Furies, the Giants, the Nymphs of the Ash Trees and the goddess of Love, Aphrodite.

Kronos had helped his mother, Gaia, free Briareos and his monstrous brothers but he feared their strength and was jealous of their beauty so he imprisoned them under the earth where they remained until the war between the Titans and the Olympians began.

Zeus, the son of Kronos, brought Briareos and his brothers back into the light and gave them nektar (nectar) and ambrosia to renew their vitality; Briareos, Kottos and Gyes joined the Olympians in the war against the Titans.

After ten years of war, Zeus let loose all his fury and the earth and heavens trembled under his thunderbolts; at that moment, Briareos, Kottos and Gyes bombarded the rebel Titans with three-hundred boulders that buried them, thus ending the war.

Long after the war with the Titans, Thetis summoned Briareos to Mount Olympos (Olympus) to keep Hera, Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and Pallas Athene (Athena) from binding Zeus; when Briareos ascended Mount Olympos he simply sat beside Zeus and his fierce presence deflected all thoughts of aggression.

Briareos was wedded to the daughter of Poseidon, Kymopoleia (Cymopoleia).

Briareos is also referred to as Obriareos.

Aegean Culture
Aigean Culture

Pertaining to or denoting the prehistoric civilization that preceded the historic Hellenic period.

The Aegean Culture flourished on the various islands of the Aegean Sea, the island of Crete and in Argolis on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Aegean Sea
Aigean Sea

Aigaios Pontos; an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between the east coast of Greece and the west coast of Asia Minor and bounded on the south by the island of Crete.

Approximately 80,000 square miles (207,199 square kilometers) in area, i.e. 400 miles (644 kilometers) by 200 miles (322 kilometers).


A mythical king of Athens; the son of Pandion and the consort of Aethra.

Aegeus forced his brother, Lykus (Lycus), to flee Athens and settle in southern Asia Minor. Lykus and Aegeus lived one generation before Herakles (Heracles), i.e. before 1200 BCE).

Aegeus is most noted as the father of Theseus; Aegeus left Aethra before Theseus was born and instructed her to place a sword and a pair of sandals under a boulder so that if and when Theseus was strong enough to move the boulder and remove the sword and sandals he would be manly enough to join his father in Athens and claim his royal inheritance.

When Theseus arrived in Athens as a young man bearing the sword and sandals Aegeus did not immediately recognize him; in the intervening years, Aegeus had married the sorceress, Medea, and she knew exactly who Theseus was and began devising plans to dispose of him.

Medea persuaded Aegeus to send Theseus to the plains of Marathon to capture a fierce bull that had been ravaging the countryside; Theseus successfully captured the bull and sacrificed it to Apollon.

Medea then tried to poison Theseus but Aegeus finally recognized the sword that Theseus carried and saved him from Medea’s plotting.

When Androgeus, the son of king Minos of the island of Crete, attended the first Panathenaea in Athens he attracted the ire of Aegeus by winning all the prizes; Aegeus had Androgeus killed and king Minos waged war on Athens to avenge the death of his son; peace was won only with the promise that Athens would send seven young men and seven young women every year to Minos to be slain by the ungodly bull-monster known as the Minotaur; the tradition continued until Theseus successfully killed the Minotaur.

Theseus and his father had devised a signal by which Aegeus would be able to tell, by the color of the ship’s sails, whether Theseus had defeated the Minotaur and was returning safely to Athens; Aegeus saw the ship in the distance and incorrectly interpreted the signal; thinking that Theseus was dead, he threw himself into the sea and drowned; this is perhaps the way the Aegean Sea got its name.

Aegina (1)

A nymph; one of the daughters of Asopos (Asopus) and the sister of Thebe, Kerkyra (Corcyra), Sinope and Antiope.

Aegina and Zeus were the parents of Aeakus (Aeacus); Aeakus and Endies were the parents of Peleus and Telamon and the grandparents of Akhilleus (Achilles) and Aias (Ajax).

Aegina (2)

An island in the Saronic Gulf between Argolis and Attika (Attica), i.e. between the Greek mainland and the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Approximately 52 square miles (135 square kilometers) in area with a shoreline of approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers).

Named after the nymph, Aegina; the island has been occupied since the Neolithic Period (3000 BCE) and was subsequently settled by the Minoans, the Achaeans and, finally, the Dorians.

After the defeat of the Persians in 480 BCE near the neighboring island of Salamis, the Athenians took control of Aegina and it ceased to be an independent state.

The island of Aegina was also the legendary home of the Myrmidons; Akhilleus (Achilles), the son of Peleus, was the leader of the Myrmidons at the siege of the city of Troy.

Approximate east longitude 23.26 and north latitude 37.46.

Aegina (3)

A city on the island of Aegina; located on the western side of the island.


The shield of Zeus and Athene (Athena) with the severed head of the snake-headed Medusa mounted on the front to strike fear and panic into any foe.


A town on the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the district of Akhaia (Achaea) on the Gulf of Korinth (Corinth); the Akhaian League (Achaean League) met there.

Aegle (1)

According to Apollonius of Rhodes, Aegle was one of the three daughters of Nyx (Night) known collectively as the Hesperides; Aegle’s sisters are: Eretheis and Hespere.

Aegle and her two sisters lived somewhere in the mythical West and guarded the Golden Apples which were a wedding gift from Gaia (Earth) to Hera upon her wedding to Zeus.

The Eleventh Labor of Herakles (Heracles) was to retrieve the Golden Apples of the Hesperides.

When the Argonauts were stranded in the Libyan desert, they encountered the Hesperides; Aegle appeared as the trunk of a willow tree, Eretheis as an elm tree and Hespere as a poplar tree; Aegle told the story of how Herakles (Heracles) had killed the dragon that guarded the Golden Apples and had created a spring of fresh water by kicking a rock; she showed the Argonauts the spring that Herakles had created and the Argonauts drank their fill before they continued through the inhospitable desert.

Aegle (2)

The daughter of Panopeus and one of the legal wives of the Athenian hero, Theseus.

In the fragmented remains of the Catalogues of Women, one of the fragments states that after Theseus deserted Ariadne, he married a woman named Aegle and that the tyrant, Peisistratos, had the lines concerning this marriage removed from the works of Hesiod.


A river in ancient Thrake (Thrace) which flowed into the Hellespont.

The Athenian fleet was defeated near the mouth of the Aegospotami by the Spartan naval commander, Lysander, in the last battle of the Peloponnesian War in 405 BCE.

Aegyptus (1)

The son of Belus and brother of Danaus; he was given Egypt to rule and the Egyptians were named after him.

Aegyptus was a descendant of the heifer maiden, Io.

Aegyptus had fifty sons which were supposed to marry the fifty daughters of his brother, Danaus, but Danaus fled with his daughters to the city of Argos where he founded the nation of the Danaans.

The story of Danaus and his daughters was the theme of the play by Aeskhylus (Aeschylus), the Suppliants.

All but one of the sons of Aegyptus were killed on their wedding night by their brides; the surviving son, Lynkeus, was spared by his wife, Hypermnestra, against the orders of her father, Danaus.

Aegyptus (2)

The ancient Greek name for Egypt; the name came from the mythical descendant of the heifer maiden, Io, Aegyptus.

A to Aegyptus

A to Aegyptus Aello to Agesilaus I Agesilaus II to Akhaia Akhaian to Alkman Alkmene to Anaetius Anakeion to Apaturia Apeliotes to Argos Argus to Arkhidike Arkhilokhos to Astyanax Astydameia to Azov


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