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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Aello to Agesilaus I
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
One of the two winged-women known as the Harpies.
Aello and her sister Okypete (Ocypete) are the daughters of Thaumas and Elektra (Electra).
Hesiod refers to them as “Harpies of the lovely hair, winged women soaring aloft like birds;” they are the sisters of the rainbow goddess, Iris, and are not described as the filthy monsters that we have come to imagine.
Their primary role in Greek mythology was to punish the blind seer, Phineus, on the island of Thynias; Phineus had been blinded by Zeus and, as a double punishment, Helios (the Sun) had the Harpies steal his food; the winged sons of Boreas (North Wind), Kalais (Calais) and Zetes, chased away the Harpies and freed Phineus from his curse but Zeus would not allow the brothers to harm the Harpies.
Aello’s name literally means Storm.
The epic poem by the Roman poet Virgil.
The Aeneid is the story of Aineias (Aeneas) and proceeds from the fall of the city of Troy to the eventual founding of Rome by Troy’s survivors.
The Aeneid was written between the years 29-19 BCE during the reign of Augustus Caesar (Octavian) and was an undisguised attempt to re-instill the noble values on which Rome had been founded and to give new faith to the people of Rome after the flagrant excesses of Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius.
The Greeks, who defeated the Trojans, are cast as villains while Aineias and his followers are portrayed as defeated, but not disgraced, noble warriors who suffered many trials as they traveled the seas from Troy to the mouth of the Tiber River and established the foundations of what would become the mighty empire of Rome.
The Greek heroes, such as Menelaos (Menelaus) and Diomedes, are depicted as butchers and cowards; graceful Immortals, such as Iris and Pallas Athena (Athene), were given a dark countenance that was unflattering and sinister.
There are many excellent characters in this story including the Amazon-like warrior Camilla and the tragic queen of Carthage, Dido.
The Roman goddess of Love, Venus, is not very lovely in this story; Venus is portrayed as a trickster and devoid of any sympathy or conscience as she enchants Dido and leaves her heartbroken and suicidal.
The Aeneid is unfinished; Virgil had intended to devote three more years to its completion but died before he could complete the final draft; after Virgil’s death, Augustus Caesar had the poem copied and distributed under the title, Aineis.
I highly recommend the Robert Fitzgerald translation of The Aeneid (ISBN 0679729526), which can be found at your library or you can order this book through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The floating island abode of Aiolos (Aeolus), lord of the winds.
Aeolia is the island on which Odysseus and his crew landed while they were lost in the Mediterranean Sea.
The location of the island is shrouded in mystery but it might be in the group of islands north of the eastern-most coast of Sicily.
One of the four main divisions of the prehistoric Greeks, i.e. Dorian, Akhaian (Achaean), Aeolian and Ionian.
The Aeolians settled the island of Lesbos, Aeolis and parts of central Greece.
The dialect of the Greek language as spoken in Aeolis, Boeotia and Thessaly.
An ancient coastal region and Greek colony in northwest Asia Minor which was named after the original Greek colonists, the Aeolians.
An eon; a space of time; an age.
Air; the lower atmosphere as opposed to the Aither, which is Purer Brighter Air of the upper atmosphere.
The wife of Atreus who was seduced by her brother-in-law, Thyestes.
When Atreus found out about this betrayal he banished Thyestes and according to the tragic poet, Aeskhylus (Aeschylus), Atreus killed all but one of Thyestes’ children and fed them to him at a feast.
The only surviving child, Aigisthos (Aegisthus), was instrumental in the murder of Atreus’ son, Agamemnon.
As a form of justice, Agamemnon’s son, Orestes, murdered Aigisthos.
A son of the last king of the city of Troy, Priam.
According to the Roman poet, Ovid, Aeskhines threw himself into the sea after the death of his beloved Hesperia and was changed into a bird by the goddess Thetis.
(389-314 BCE) Athenian orator; a rival of Demosthenes.
Aeskhines began his public career as an actor but soon became involved in politics; his lifelong opposition to Demosthenes is demonstrated in his extant speeches but he is generally considered less eloquent and, in many other ways, inferior to Demosthenes.
One of the Thirty Tyrants elected to rule the city of Athens after the end of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).
Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men to lead the new post-war government; these men became known as the Thirty Tyrants; the short lived government they comprised was an oligarchy.
The tyrants immediately began to prosecute Athenians who had been Spartan informers and collaborators during the long, hard war; the punishment of the guilty seemed appropriate to the common citizens and aristocrats alike but it soon became clear that the executions and banishments were going beyond the bounds of necessity or prudence; open hostilities soon developed between members of the Thirty and their authority and rule came to an end after one year.
(Hellenica, book 2, chapter 3).
The a renowned Athenian playwright whose career spanned thirty years (484-455 BCE).
Aeskhylus was born in Eleusis circa 512 BCE and died in Gela, on the island of Sicily, circa 455 BCE; his grave marker declared him to be an Athenian veteran of the battle of Marathon (490 BCE).
Aeskhylus is said to have written as many as seventy plays but only seven have survived; his extant plays are tragic works that include: The Suppliants, The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, Prometheus Bound, Agamemnon, the Libation Bearers and the Eumenides.
All the plays are excellent and should be read by even the casual student of Greek literature; my favorites are Prometheus Bound and the trilogy known as Oresteia, which includes: Agamemnon, the Libation Bearers and the Eumenides.
The reconstruction of the lost play Akhilleus (Achilles) by Aeskhylus has finally been completed; the trilogy will be performed by the Thoc (Cyprus’s national theater company directed by Andy Bargilly) on the island of Cyprus in the Summer of 2004. It was the custom of the ancient Egyptians to wrap their mummies with papyrus and, over the past few decades, fragments of the play, Akhilleus, have been found in this fashion; finally, enough fragmented portions of the play have been unearthed to reconstruct the lost trilogy. The Greek writer, Elias Malandris, has worked on the reconstruction of the play for over a decade and has humbly (and honestly) stated that the play is simply a faithful adaptation of the original work; the text of the play is currently unavailable and we can assume that it will remain so until after the theatrical premier in the Summer of 2004.
For a more complete biography of Aeskhylus I suggest The Complete Greek Tragedies, Aeschylus I and II, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, ISBN 0226307786 and 0226307948; you can find these books at your library in the 800 section or you can order them through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The son of Kretheus (Cretheus) and Tyro and the brother of Athamas.
There are two versions of who was Aeson’s wife and the mother of Iason (Jason):
When news was received that the Iason and the Argonauts were returning from their quest for the Golden Fleece, Aeson was forced to commit suicide by his step-brother, Pelias; this prompted Iason’s sorceress wife, Medea, to trick the daughters of Pelias into thinking that they could restore their father’s youth by chopping him up and boiling him in a magic potion; the trick worked and Aeson’s death was avenged.
(circa 620-560 BCE) The famous writer of fables.
Ironically, the only real information we have about the life of Aesop is due to his enslavement to a man named, Iadmon from the island of Samos; the historian Herodotus simply says that Aesop was a “story teller” and mentioned him only in reference to the famous courtesan, Rhodopis.
Aesop’s stories were morality tales involving animals who spoke and displayed all manner of human characteristics.
The fables of Aesop seem to have been very popular in Athens as he is mentioned several times by the comic poet, Aristophanes.
When you encounter a book of Aesop’s fables, you will notice that each fable is followed by a moral; the morals were added over the ages by unknown authors; some of the morals date from the time of Alexander the Great (circa 350 BCE) and others were added at a later date; the morals seem to have been added as a quick reference for public speakers who wanted to use one of Aesop’s fables to make a point in a concise and humorous way.
I personally recommend Aesop: Complete Fables by Robert Temple and Olivia Temple (ISBN 0140446494) which can be found at your local library or can be ordered from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
A person who is sensitive to art, beauty, love or truth; literally, one who perceives.
From the Greek word, aisthetikos, i.e. relating to perceptions of the senses.
The Aethiopis; one of the lost poems of the Epic Cycle.
According to the sixth century CE Greek writer, Proklos (Proclus), the Aethiopis told the story of the death of the Amazon queen, Penthesilea, and Memnon, the Ethiopian, at the hands of Akhilleus (Achilles).
The few remaining fragments of the Aethiopis inform us that Penthesilea was an Amazon and a daughter of Ares (god of War); she came to the aid of the Trojans when the Greeks assailed the city and was killed by Akhilleus; when Akhilleus was taunted by another Greek named Thersites for loving Penthesilea Akhilleus killed him too.
To avert the anger of the other Greeks, Akhilleus was required to go to the island of Lesbos and sacrifice to Apollon, Artemis and Leto and then be absolved of his blood-guilt by Odysseus.
The next to die was the Greek soldier, Antilokhos (Antilochus); he was killed by Memnon, a son of Eos (the Dawn) who wore armor fashioned by Hephaistos (Hephaestus); in revenge for the death of Antilokhos, Akhilleus killed Memnon; Eos successfully petitioned Zeus to make Memnon immortal.
Akhilleus, in his zeal and bloodlust, rushed into the city of Troy and was attacked and killed by Alexandros (Paris) and Apollon; the Greeks put up a terrible fight to reclaim the body of Akhilleus; while Odysseus held the Trojans at bay, Aias (Ajax) carried the body back to the Greek encampment.
Before the Greeks could burn the body of Akhilleus, his mother Thetis, her sisters and the Muse took his body to the White Island.
The woes for the Greeks were not over because Odysseus and Aias began to argue over Akhilleus’ armor; Odysseus got the armor and Aias killed himself.
The death of Akhilleus and the dispute over his armor is a very confusing subject because several versions of the story exist but the one just cited is the account given in the Aethiopis.
For the complete translations of the Epic Cycle I recommend the Loeb Classical Library volume 57, ISBN 0674990633; you can sometimes find this book at the library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The daughter of the king of Troezen, Pittheus, and the consort of the king of Athens, Aegeus, and mother of the hero, 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 when Theseus was strong enough to lift the boulder and remove the sword and sandals he would be manly enough to join his father in Athens and claim his rightful inheritance.
Aegeus didn’t realize that Poseidon (lord of the Sea) had also been with Aethra and that Theseus might very well have been the son of one of the Olympians.
Mount Aetna (Etna); an active volcano on the eastern side of the island of Sicily.
With a height of 10,705 feet (3,263 meters), Mount Aetna is the highest active volcano in Europe.
An ancient coastal district in western Greece bounded by the river Akhelous (Achelous) on the west and the Gulf of Patrae on the south.
The most famous city in Aetolia was Kalydon (Calydon).
After the death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE), the various cities of Aetolia formed a confederacy that was governed by an Assembly of all free citizens.
A military general was elected annually to head the Assembly and councils were formed but the Assembly retained the power of war and peace.
The Aetolian League expanded its territory to include the city of Delphi in 290 BCE and by 220 BCE controlled most of central Greece outside Attika (Attica).
The son of Endymion and Kalyke (Calyce).
Aetolus was the founder of the nation of Aetolia which was an ancient coastal district in western Greece bounded by the river Akhelous (Achelous) on the west and the Gulf of Patrae on the south; the most famous city in Aetolia was Kalydon (Calydon).
The daughter of Augeas; noted for her skill at using herbs for healing.
He and his brother, Trophonius, were the sons of Erginos; they were renowned architects and credited with building the temple of Apollon in the city of Delphi.
Agamedes and his brother were also said to have built the treasury of Hyrieus (or Augeas) and to have designed it in such a way that they could come back later and rob it.
During the attempted robbery, Agamedes became ensnared in a trap inside the treasury and Trophonius was unable to free him; in a desperate attempt to conceal his brother’s identity, Trophonius cut off Agamedes’ head; afterwards, near the city of Lebadeia in Boeotia, Trophonius was swallowed by the earth and an oracular site was established in his name; supplicants would enter the cave and, after receiving the prophecies and omens imparted by Trophonius, would emerge pale and shaken.
His name literally means Very Steadfast; he was the legendary king of the city of Mykenai (Mycenae) and the son of Atreus and brother of Menelaos (Menelaus) and Anaxibia.
When Menelaos’ wife, Helen, was enchanted by Aphrodite (goddess of Love) and taken to the city of Troy by Alexandros (Paris), Agamemnon formed an army and sailed to Troy to retrieve Helen and her dowry.
There were two major incidents that tested Agamemnon’s leadership:
Briseis was awarded to Akhilleus (Achilles) as a “prize” but when Agamemnon took her from Akhilleus, the two men began a long and bitter feud; Akhilleus swore that he and his troops would not fight for Agamemnon and that no apology or act of contrition could end the dispute.
Finally, the Greeks were being overwhelmed by the Trojans and Agamemnon offered to return Briseis to Akhilleus with many other gifts including one of his daughters and a part of his kingdom; Akhilleus refused these offers until his life-long friend, Patroklos (Patroclus), was killed by the Trojans; at that point, he accepted Briseis and the other gifts that Agamemnon offered, although they meant nothing to him, donned his armor and entered the battle.
In the tenth year of the siege Agamemnon was finally able to trick the Trojans and gain entrance to the city; after his triumphant return from Troy he was murdered by his cousin, Aigisthos (Aegisthus), who was the lover of his wife Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra) and the instrument of her revenge for his long absence and the attempted sacrifice of their daughter.
One of the seven surviving tragedies by the Athenian playwright Aeskhylus (Aeschylus).
Agamemnon is the first in the Oresteia trilogy dealing with the murder of Agamemnon and the revenge meted out by his son, Orestes.
This play is set at Agamemnon’s home where he enters, after a ten year absence, triumphant from his sack of the city of Troy; Agamemnon’s wife, Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra), knows that her husband’s fate is sealed and that he will die before the sun sets; when Agamemnon enters he is accompanied by the daughter of the dead king of Troy, Kassandra (Cassandra); she has the ability to predict the future but she has also been cursed by Apollon and no one believes her prophecies; Agamemnon ignores Kassandra’s warnings and is lured into his house where Klytemnestra murders him without mercy.
There is an interesting element to this play that deserves to be noted: at the beginning of the play, a watchman is stationed on the walls of Agamemnon’s home to watch for a signal fire that will signify the end of the Trojan War; a series of fires were to be set on various islands and promontories from Troy to Agamemnon’s home in Mykenai (Mycenae); this is an inventive example of sending a message (information) at the speed of light at a distance of over 200 miles (322 kilometers) at a time when it was believed that the fastest mode of communication was by horseback.
The story of Agamemnon is a fine story and well worth reading; if you wish to read this play I suggest The Complete Greek Tragedies, Aeschylus I, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, ISBN 0226307786; you can find this book at your library in the 800 section or you can order it through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The wife of Xanthippus and the mother of the great Athenian statesman, Perikles (Pericles).
The thirteenth Eurypontidai king of the city of Sparta (ruled circa 575-550 BCE).
Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon and the other was required to be a descendant of king Agis I (respectively known as the Eurypontidai and the Agiadai).
Very little is known about Agasikles and the dates given for his rule are extrapolations and should be used only as approximations.
(361-289 BCE) The son of Karkinus (Carcinus), a successful pottery maker, and a native of the island of Sicily; born in the city of Thermae circa 361 BCE.
Agathokles was raised in the city of Syracuse during the reign of Timoleon and demonstrated his military skill and political ambitions while still a young man.
After the death of Timoleon (circa 300 BCE), Agathokles was banished by the oligarchy and took refuge in southern Italy; he helped organize the defense of his father’s hometown of Rhegium from aggression by Syracuse and thereby toppled the oligarchy which had banished him.
Agathokles returned briefly to Syracuse but was soon again banished; this time he did not flee Sicily but instead organized a revolt and overthrew the government of Syracuse and was elected strategos with powers exceeding those of a mere general.
This time Agathokles did not trust the workings of the oligarchy so he instituted a military coup and assumed complete control of the government which resulted in the murder or banishment of all the previous members of the oligarchy.
With or without the support of the populace, Agathokles was now the undisputed tyrant of Syracuse; he immediately began a campaign against several cities which he felt were politically dangerous to him in that they gave refuge to members of the oligarchy which he had banished.
The African city of Carthage had a considerable interest in the politics of the island of Sicily and in 314 BCE, at the request of the city of Messana, the Carthaginians brokered a peace in which they would retain control of eastern Sicily but Agathokles would control the eastern Greek colony cities.
In 311 BCE, in violation of the treaty with Carthage, Agathokles tried unsuccessfully to gain control of the entire island of Sicily; his defeat encouraged the Carthaginians to march against Syracuse; in a desperate, or perhaps inspired, maneuver Agathokles left the defense of Syracuse to his brother and personally took an army to Africa to attack Carthage; the war went poorly on both fronts and Agathokles was obliged to divide his attention between the defense of Syracuse and the assault on Carthage.
Finally, in 306 BCE, another peace agreement was reached with the Carthaginians with essentially the same boundaries as the previous treaty.
Circa 300 BCE, Agathokles began a campaign of conquest in southern Italy which was somewhat successful; he ventured as far west and the island of Kerkyra (Corcyra).
Agathokles was assassinated circa 289 BCE and, as a testament to his despicable reputation, an attempt was made to have his name erased from all public records.
(circa 450-400 BCE) A poet and dramatist whose works only survive in fragments.
Agathon was mentioned and lampooned by other poets, such as Aristophanes, and mentioned by Plato in Symposium.
Agathon was noted as an innovator in the style and presentation of his tragedies by changing the role of the chorus and the character of the music which accompanied his plays.
One of the sons of the last king of the city of Troy, Priam.
After Priam’s favorite son, Hektor (Hector), had been killed defending Troy, Priam berated his nine remaining sons for being wicked and worthless; Agathon was one of these sons; whether the old king spoke in desperate sorrow or from his heart is impossible to tell.
One of the sons of the Athenian playwright, Sophokles (Sophocles) and the half-brother of Sophokles’ other son, Iophon.
Agathon was the father of the younger Sophokles who, in 401 BCE, produced his grandfather’s play, Oedipus at Colonus.
One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.
One of the daughters of Harmonia and Kadmus (Cadmus); the sister of Ino, Polydorus, Semele and Autonoe.
The third generation of mortal men upon the earth and the first race to be created by Zeus.
Zeus’ father, Kronos (Cronos), created the first two generations of mortals, i.e. Gold and Silver.
The Bronze Age mortals were made from the ash spear; their weapons, tools and dwellings were made of bronze; they were men of war-craft and violence; they finally extinguished themselves and Zeus sent them to the house of Hades.
The first race of mortal men to live on the earth created by Kronos (Cronos).
They were a Golden Race and extended friendship and respect to all mortals and Immortals; they lived without disease or hardship and when it came time for them to die, they laid down to sleep and awoke as a blessed spirit, roaming the earth and doing good deeds for all the righteous souls they meet.
The forth generation of mortal men upon the earth and the second race to be created by Zeus.
Zeus’ father, Kronos (Cronos), created the first two generations of mortals, i.e. Gold and Sliver, and Zeus’ first creation was the Bronze age mortals.
The Age of Heroes was the period prior to, and including, the Trojan War; it was the Age of Blood and Glory where the sons and daughters of the Immortals populated the earth alongside the mere mortals.
Mortal men were the pawns of the Heroes and the toys of the Immortals; Zeus established a godly domain for the spirits for the deceased heroes at the end of the world; Zeus also released his father, Kronos (Cronos), from Tartaros (Tartarus) to join the heroes in their paradise.
The fifth and final age of mortal men upon the earth and the third race to be created by Zeus.
Zeus’ father, Kronos (Cronos), created the first two generations of mortals, i.e. Gold and Sliver, and Zeus’ created the Bronze age mortals and the Heroes.
The Age of Iron followed the Trojan War and is the age in which we now live.
The Immortals arranged that in the Age of Iron there will be good mingled with evil but it would be an age of hardship and pitiless destruction.
The Age of Iron will end when children are born with gray hair and reverence will be replaced by brute strength; the goddess, Blapsei (Envy) will rule the hearts of men and the goddesses, Aidos (Shame) and Nemesis (Indignation) will flee the earth.
The second generation of mortal men upon the earth to be created by Kronos (Cronos) and the other Olympian Immortals.
The Silver Age was inferior to the previous Golden generation and stayed as children for one hundred years and then, reaching their adulthood, were disdainful of their creator, Kronos, and incurred his wrath.
The mortals of the Silver Age were destroyed and after their death, transformed into blessed spirits; they are secondary and underground but still deserving of worship.
The herdsman who raised Alexandros (Paris).
Alexandros was the son of the last king of the city of Troy, Priam, and the kidnapper of Helen.
A son of Herakles (Heracles) and the Lydian queen, Omphale.
One of the suitors of Odysseus’ wife, Penelope.
Agelaos made an insincere attempt to be reasonable about his rude presence but was killed nonetheless when Odysseus returned home and took his revenge.
The king of Tyre.
Agenor was the son of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and the nymph, Libya; the father of Europa, Kadmus and Phineus.
The name literally means a Collector but was used to refer to the priests of the Earth Goddess, Kybele (Cybele).
A first century BCE Greek sculptor who, with Polydorus and Athenodorus, carved the Laokoon (Laocoon) Sculpture Group which depicted the seer, Laokoon and his sons being killed by a sea serpent.
A work by the Greek historian, Xenophon, chronicling the life of the Spartan king, Agesilaus II.
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