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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Arkhilokhos to Astyanax
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
(circa 650 BCE) A Greek poet and mercenary.
The poems of Arkhilokhos survive only in fragments and range from tender verses of love to brutal tales of battle and brawling; he is assumed to have come from the Aegean island of Paros and earned his living as a mercenary soldier.
His caustic wit earned him both grudging recognition and bitter resentment; his scorn of bravery caused him to be banned from Sparta.
Of the surviving fragments, my personal favorite may be rendered “Hot tears cannot drive misery away, Nor banquets and dancing make it worse.”
His name may also be rendered as Arkhilokhus or Archilochos.
For the complete collection of these extant poems I suggest the book 7 Greeks by Guy Davenport (ISBN 0811212882); this excellent book can be found at your library in section 881 or you can order this book through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
(circa 287-212 BCE) The greatest Greek mathematician in history.
Arkhimedes was also an astronomer, a physicist and a renowned inventor; it is assumed that he was educated in Alexandria, Egypt; he eventually came into the service of Hieron II of Syracuse where he measured the purity of Hieron’s crown using the principal of specific gravity, i.e. he immersed the king’s crown in water and then immersed the same weight of pure gold to see if they displaced the same amount of water; if the crown displaced less water it would have to be an alloy and not pure gold.
Arkhimedes invented the lever and is credited with saying, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.”
His works on circles, cylinders and spheres still survive; his tomb was discovered by Cicero near one of the gates of Syracuse circa 75 BCE.
A title which literally means “a ruler” or “a commander.”
The nine chief magistrates of the city of Athens were called Arkhons.
The author of the Sack of Ilion which formed part of the Epic Cycle of poems.
Only fragments of the original two books survive; Arktinus is credited as the author of another portion of the Epic Cycle, the War of the Titans but Eumelus of Korinth (Corinth) is also listed as the author of that epic.
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.
A Centaur who fought against the Lapith spearmen.
The Lapithae were the residents of Thessaly near Mount Pelion; when king Pirithous was having the wedding feast for his daughter, Hippodamia, the neighboring Centaurs raided the festivities and tried to kidnap Hippodamia; a war between the Lapithae and Centaurs resulted and the Lapithae eventually drove the Centaurs from the area of Mount Pelion.
His name may also be rendered as Arktus or Arctus.
A star; the rising of Arktouros in the night sky marked the beginning of Spring.
The name might be pronounced as Arktooros.
The daughter of Ares (god of War) and Aphrodite (goddess of Love).
Her name means Harmony.
She is the sister of Phobos (Panic) and Deimos (Terror); the wife of Kadmus (Cadmus).
There is a story regarding the marriage of Kadmus and Harmonia in which Kadmus gave Harmonia a necklace that had been fashioned by Hephaistos (Hephaestus); the necklace was cursed but the exact ill effects it had on Harmonia and Kadmus are not clear.
The necklace was passed on to her son Polydorus, then to Labdakos (Labdacus), then to Laius, then to Oedipus, then to Polynikes (Polynices) and finally to Eriphyle.
Harmonia had four daughters and one son: Ino, Agaue, Autonoe, Semele and Polydorus.
The beggar who taunted Odysseus at the prompting of the suitors of Penelope.
His true name was Arnaios but he was called Iros (the masculine form of the name Iris) because he earned his bread by being a messenger and was thus compared, insultingly, to the messenger of the Immortals, Iris; he was beaten and broken by Odysseus for his insults and abuse.
The king of the Persian Empire from 338 to 336 BCE; he was preceded by Artaxerxes Okhos and followed by Darius Kodomannos.
A Persian prince; the brother of king Darius I and the only man to advise both Darius and his son, king Xerxes I, not to venture into Europe with the expectation of conquest.
When Xerxes was holding a war council to discuss the plans for the invasion of Greece (480 BCE), Artabanus gave a passionate appeal for caution and restraint; he proposed that if the king was determined to send an army to Greece, that he (Artabanus) and the king’s cousin, Mardonius, should lead the army and Xerxes should remain at home; Xerxes was furious; he said that if Artabanus were not his uncle, he would be punished for such empty words.
Xerxes envisioned a world where all nations, innocent and guilty, would be denied the ability to pose a threat to the Persian throne because he intended to make the entire world a part of his empire; he feared that Greece had the potential to threaten the mighty Persian Empire (Alexander the Great eventually made Xerxes’ fears a reality).
A Persian commander in the army of king Xerxes.
Artabazus was the son of Pharnakes (Pharnaces) and commander of the Parthians and Khorasmians (Chorasmians) when Xerxes mounted his invasion of Greece in 480 BCE.
After the Persians successfully crossed into Europe and marched south towards the city of Athens, the only serious military obstacle they faced was at the narrow pass known as Thermopylae; the overwhelming forces of the Persian army finally overcame the Spartans at Thermopylae and they marched unopposed into Attika (Attica) and burned Athens.
The Persian army seemed invincible but when Xerxes encountered the Greek navy he was dealt a crippling defeat near the island of Salamis; without his navy to provide supplies for his massive army, Xerxes made plans to return to Asia Minor; Artabazus escorted the Great King back to Persian territory and then marched back into Greece with the intention of combining his army with that of the senior commander, Mardonius.
Before he could move farther south to join Mardonius, the three finger-shaped peninsulas called the Khalkidike (Chalcidice) demanded Artabazus’ attention; several of the cities of the Khalkidike had renounced their alliance with the Persians after they had learned of the Persian defeat and withdrawal.
Artabazus laid siege to the city of Potidaea and was assisted by the betrayal of a Greek named Timoxenus from the city of Skione (Scione); Artabazus and Timoxenus exchanged secret messages by tying a small strip of paper to the shaft of an arrow and shooting the arrow to a prescribed place for the other to retrieve; one of Artabazus’ arrows missed the mark and struck a man in the shoulder; the arrow was examined and Timoxenus’ betrayal was discovered; the people of Potidaea did not confront Timoxenus because they did not want to bring eternal shame to innocent people of his city for his crime.
After three months of siege, the Persians offended the god Poseidon (lord of the Sea) by acting in a sacrilegious manner towards the god’s temple and statue on the outskirts of Potidaea; as a result of the sacrilege, an unusually large ebb-tide flooded the plain; Artabazus started to move his army to higher ground but before they could reach safety, a flood tide swept over the army drowning many for their offense of Poseidon.
Artabazus took the remainder of his army and moved south to Thessaly where Mardonius had camped; the entire Persian force then moved to the city of Plataea and prepared to do battle with the allied Greeks who still resisted Persian domination.
As the two armies faced each other across the Asopos (Asopus) river, Artabazus advised Mardonius to withdraw to the safety of the walled city of Thebes and not fight the Greeks on the open plain; Artabazus suggested that they use their accumulated wealth to simply buy off the Greek cities which still remained hostile and not risk the entire army in a pitched battle.
Mardonius was not agreeable to this plan because he was sure that he could win a military victory over the Greeks despite the fact that their oracular sacrifices had, for ten consecutive days, been unfavorable.
The battle at Plataea was joined and, at dawn on the second day of battle, Mardonius saw that the Spartans had pulled back from their front line positions and he announced that his enemy, the Spartans, and his second in command, Artabazus, were both cowards.
When Mardonius charged into the Greek lines, Artabazus took the troops under his command and marched away from the fighting; Artabazus fled towards Byzantium and hoped to pass over into Asia before news of Mardonius’ death and the Persian defeat reached the northern Greek cities.
Leaving many of his men to die from weariness and hunger, Artabazus crossed the Hellespont by boat and thus survived the Persian invasion of Greece.
Artaxerxes Okhos (Ochus); the king of the Persian Empire from 358 to 338 BCE; he was preceded by Artaxerxes Memnon and followed by Arsetis.
Artaxerxes Memnon; the eldest son of king Darius II and Parysatis.
In Greece he was called The Great Warrior.
When Darius died, Artaxerxes became the king of Persia and ruled from 404 to 358 BCE; Artaxerxes was a suspicious man and was easily convinced that his younger brother, Kyrus (Cyrus), was plotting against him and trying to steal the throne.
Artaxerxes had Kyrus arrested for treason; their mother, Parysatis, intervened and Kyrus was allowed to go free; Kyrus never forgave the indignity his brother had heaped upon him and, if he had not been his brother’s enemy before his arrest, he was surely his enemy afterwards.
When Kyrus finally had enough support to mount a revolt against Artaxerxes, he marched from the city of Sardis into the heart of Persia and was utterly defeated at the battle of Kunaxa (Cunaxa) in 401 BCE; Kyrus was killed in the final battle.
Artaxerxes ruled Persia from 404-358 BCE.
Artaxerxes Longimanus; the king of the Persian Empire from 465 to 423 BCE; the successor of Xerxes I.
The unfortunate daughter of Masistes and the wife of Darius II.
Artaynte was forced to marry Darius at the bidding of Darius’ father, Xerxes; since Xerxes was the king of the Persian Empire, his wishes were literally the commands of his subjects and family.
Xerxes coveted the wife of his brother, Masistes, and used young Artaynte as a pawn in his game to seduce his brother’s wife; Xerxes arranged for his son, Darius, to marry Artaynte and thus endear himself to the girl’s mother but Xerxes soon lost interest in Masistes’ wife and began a love affair with Artaynte.
When Xerxes’ wife, Amestris, suspected the betrayal, she set a clever trap for her husband and her daughter-in-law; she gave Xerxes an exquisite cloak that she knew Artaynte would covet; Xerxes, in his prideful way, promised Artaynte anything she desired and she surprised him by asking for the unique and beautiful cloak; Xerxes tried to dissuade her by offering her gold, cities and command of her own army but Artaynte wanted only the cloak.
When Amestris saw the cloak in the possession of young Artaynte, she planned an evil and unexpected revenge; instead of punishing Xerxes or Artaynte, Amestris killed and mutilated Artaynte’s mother.
As a logical conclusion to this tragedy, Xerxes killed Artaynte’s father, Masistes, her brothers and her father’s supporters so that they could not enact revenge for the excesses of the king and his hateful wife, Amestris.
The daughter of Leto and Zeus and sister of Apollon.
Artemis is one of the three virgin goddesses of the Olympians; she is the goddess of the hunt as well as the protector of animals; she is also called Kynthia (Cynthia) because she and Apollon were born on the mountain, Kynthus (Cynthus), on the sacred island of Delos; she is also referred to as the Giver of Light and the Bull Goddess.
For more detailed information on Artemis I suggest that you return to the Home Page of this site and consult the Immortals section.
The only female naval captain to fight for the Persians during the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BCE.
Artemisia advised the Persian king, Xerxes, not to engage the Greeks in a sea battle for two reasons:
Xerxes, feeling confident after the sack of the city of Athens, did not heed Artemisia’s advise and engaged the Greek navy; although the Persians lost the sea battle, Artemisia distinguished herself when she employed a radical maneuver by ramming and sinking another Persian ship; the Greeks were clearly winning the sea-battle and in a desperate attempt to survive, Artemisia rammed a Persian trireme in order to be mistaken for one of the Greek ships and escape in the confusion.
King Xerxes was so impressed with Artemisia that he said that his men were becoming women and his women were becoming men.
The Athenians thought it was such an insult that a woman would make war on them, they offered a reward of ten thousand drakhmas (drachmas) to any captain who could take her alive; she escaped the battle and the reward was never collected.
The devoted wife of Mausolus.
After her husband’s death Artemisia finished the massive tomb which her husband had started as his eternal resting place; his tomb became known as The Mausoleum of Halikarnassus (Halicarnassus) and was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
A coastal city on the northern tip of the island of Euboea.
Artemisium was the site of the first naval engagement between the Greeks and the Persian invaders in 480 BCE; the Greeks sent their fleet to the waters around Artemisium because of its proximity to the narrow pass at Thermopylae; the intention was to block the Persian army’s path at Thermopylae and, at the same time, keep the Greek war ships close enough to the Greek army so they could coordinate their efforts against the overwhelming Persian forces.
As the Persian army marched on Thermopylae, their navy beached their ships near the town of Sepias and made camp; the next morning, the skies were clear but the seas were rough and the local inhabitants knew that a storm, which they referred to as a Hellespontian, was building in the northern Aegean Sea; the Persians lost four hundred ships in the four day storm.
When the Persians took to the sea again, they sailed south and rounded the Cape of Magnesia; fifteen of the Persian ships were well behind the rest of the fleet and, when they saw the Greek ships at Artemisium, they mistakenly thought they were part of their own fleet; they sailed into the midst of the Greeks and were captured.
The Greeks left Artemisium and sailed for the island of Salamis without engaging the main body of the Persian fleet.
In the times before the Persian Empire, the Medes were known as Aryans.
The Aryans lived among the Persians for many generations but were never assimilated into the Persian culture and thus retained their own distinct customs.
The Aryans were listed separately from the Medes as Persian allies during the invasion of Greece in 490 BCE; they carried bows like the Medes but otherwise the Aryans were more Asian in appearance.
A jar for fragrant ointments with a spherical body, a flat-rimmed mouth and a single handle extending from the lip to the shoulder.
A Centaur who fought against the Lapith spear-men.
The Lapithae were the residents of Thessaly near Mount Pelion; when king Pirithous was having the wedding feast for his daughter, Hippodamia, the neighboring Centaurs raided the festivities and tried to kidnap Hippodamia.
A war between the Lapithae and Centaurs resulted and the Lapithae eventually drove the Centaurs from the area of Mount Pelion.
His name may also be rendered as Asbolus.
An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Tethys and Okeanos (Ocean); the wife of Prometheus.
Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.
One of the three continents known to the Greeks, i.e. Asia, Europe and Libya.
Asia was the land east of the Mediterranean Sea and extended to the desert wastes beyond India.
The historian, Herodotus, speculated that Asia was named after Prometheus’ wife Asia but he is clearly unsure where any of the continents got their names; he also said that the Libyans believed that Asia was named after a man named Asies who was a member of the tribe of Asiads from the city of Sardis.
A peninsula in western Asia between the Euxine (Black Sea) and the Mediterranean Sea including most of modern Asiatic Turkey.
An ancient town on the southern Peloponnesian Peninsula on the Gulf of Argolis.
The son of Dymas and uncle of the Trojan hero Hektor (Hector).
During the siege of Troy, Apollon assumed the guise of Asios in order to goad Hektor back into the battle.
He and his brother, Ialmenos, were the sons of Ares (god of War) and the maiden, Astyokhe (Astyoche).
Askalaphos was killed during the siege of the city of Troy.
His name may also be rendered as Askalaphus or Ascalaphos.
The son of the Trojan ally, Aineias (Aeneas) and Kreusa (Creusa).
Askanius was also called Iulus.
A son of Apollon and Koronis (Coronis).
Asklepios was a great healer and the father of two Greek soldiers and healers: Makhaon (Machaon) and Podaleirios.
His mother, Koronis, evoked the wrath of Apollon and he killed her; Asklepios was placed in the care of the Centaur, Kheiron (Chiron), where he learned the art of healing.
When Asklepios restored life to Hippolytus at the request of Artemis, Zeus was enraged and killed Asklepios with a thunderbolt.
As the son of Apollon, Asklepios became known as the ancient Greek god of medicine and healing; several shrines were established in honor of Asklepios including one in Athens and the city of Epidauros; patients would sleep in the temple and either they would be cured in the night or they would have dreams that would indicate the correct treatment for their ailments.
The name, Asklepios, may also rendered as Asklepius, Asclepius, Aeskulapius or Aesculapius.
Lord of the springs of Asopos which are located in southern Boeotia and flows eastward from the slopes of Mount Kithaeron (Cithaeron).
The son of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.
His name means Never Silent.
Asopos is the father of the maiden, Kerkyra (Corcyra), Sinope, Antiope, Thebe and Aegina.
The Asopos river is approximately 49.7 miles (80 kilometers) in length.
Lord of the river Asopos which is located on the Peloponnesian Peninsula in the district of Argolis and flows northward into the Gulf of Korinth (Corinth).
(470-410 BCE) The mistress of Perikles (Pericles).
Aspasia was of humble birth and became Perikles’ mistress after he left his first wife; she was a woman of wit and intelligence who could converse with politicians and philosophers with ease.
Aspasia and Perikles had one son, also named Perikles, who was “legitimized” after the death of Perikles’ “legitimate” sons during the plague that decimated the population of Attika (Attica) circa 425 BCE.
One of the seven Persians who successfully mounted the revolt which deposed the usurper, Smerdis, from the throne of the Persian Empire.
When the second king of the Persian Empire, Kambyses (Cambyses), was occupied with the subjugation of Egypt, a Mede named Smerdis assumed the role of Kambyses’ dead brother, also named Smerdis, and claimed the throne for himself.
Kambyses had secretly arranged the murder of his brother, Smerdis, and therefore knew that the Smerdis on the throne was not his brother but before Kambyses could return to confront the false Smerdis and reclaim his throne, he accidentally wounded himself with his own sword and died.
The false Smerdis was very clever at concealing his true identity and never left the palace or allowed high ranking Persians to see him; the false Smerdis not only bore the same name as Kambyses’ brother but was also physically similar to him, with one exception: the Median Smerdis had no ears; Kambyses had inflicted a punishment on the Mede that required that his ears be lopped off.
One of the seven conspirators, Otanes, was the first to suspect that something was wrong and devised a plan to determine the truth of the matter; Otanes’ daughter, Phaedyme, was the wife the true Smerdis and was occasionally required to attend the false Smerdis as part of his pretense to the throne; Otanes instructed her to secretly feel Smerdis’ head to see if he had any ears; Phaedyme bravely obeyed her father and recognized the false Smerdis for what he was.
Otanes began to recruit other Persians in what would ultimately be a rebellion; with the help of Aspathines, Gobryas, Intaphrenes, Megabyzus, Darius and Hydarnes, Otanes plotted to murder the false Smerdis and reclaim the throne of the empire for the Persians.
The seven rebels fought their way into the usurper’s chamber and killed him; Aspathines was seriously injured in the fight; when the populace found out what had transpired, a wave of violence swept the city and only darkness saved the Medes from complete extermination.
The seven men then debated as to which type of government to establish; the former king, Kambyses, had been cruel and excessive in the extreme but Darius argued for another monarchy and finally won the others to his point of view; Darius was installed as the third king of the Persian Empire in 521 BCE.
Aspathines and the other rebels were granted special privileges in the new kingdom and were allowed to have an audience with the king at any time unless he was with one of his wives.
An epithet for Poseidon (lord of the Sea) meaning, the Securer.
One of the three sons of Tros; his brothers were: Ganymede and Ilos.
His name may also be rendered as Assarakus or Assaracos).
A small town near Miletus in Karia (Caria); the site of the temple known as Athene of Assesos.
The ruler of Sardis, Alyattes, was continuing a war of attrition against the people of Miletus by burning their crops each year at harvest time; the Milesians were no match for the powerful army of Alyattes and suffered year after year of deprivation.
In the twelfth year of the war, the army of Alyattes accidentally set fire to the temple of Athene at Assesos and it was utterly destroyed; the barbarians gave little thought to the destruction of the temple until Alyattes was afflicted with a lingering illness; he sent an emissary to the oracle at Delphi seeking a cure for his illness; he was told that unless he rebuilt the temple of Athene at Assesos he would suffer ill health indefinitely.
The prince of Miletus, Thrasybulus, heard what the oracle had told Alyattes and contrived a way to end the yearly invasion of his country; when Alyattes sent a herald to Miletus seeking a truce so that the temple could be rebuilt, Thrasybulus had the people of Miletus gather all their meager stores of food and wine and stage a mock celebration; the herald of Alyattes saw the display of affluence and dutifully reported the scene to his master.
Alyattes was convinced that the years of war against Miletus were in vain and negotiated a permanent truce which included the construction of two temples for Athene.
The daughter of Phoebe and Koeus (Coeus) and the wife of Perses; the sister of Leto and Hekate (Hecate).
One of the Argonauts; the son of Kometes (Cometes).
The son of the Giant, Anax.
Asterios and his brother, Amphion, were the sons of Hyperasios and Hypso; most noted as being Argonauts.
A collection of stars in the heavens; a star-pattern that is not a constellation; for example: the Big Dipper and Little Dipper are asterisms.
Asterism is from the Greek root word Aster meaning Star.
A nymph from the Caucasus Mountains who was the consort of king Aietes (Aeetes) of Kolkhis (Colchis).
Asterodeia and Aietes had one son, Apsyrtos.
One of the seven daughters of Atlas known as the Pleiades.
The hunter, Orion, relentlessly pursued the girls until they were changed into pigeons by Zeus and eventually put into the night sky as a constellation.
Her name literally means Lightning.
Asterope’s sisters are: Alkyone (Alcyone), Elektra (Electra), Kelaeno (Celaeno), Maia, Merope and Taygete.
An epithet of Zeus which literally means, the Lightener.
The constellation Virgo, i.e. the Star-Maiden.
The son of Eurybia and Krios (Crios).
Astraios was the consort of Eos (Dawn) and the father of Zephyros (West Wind), Boreas (North Wind) and Notos (South Wind).
Used in the plural to mean, Stars; used in the singular to mean the star Sirius.
Astronomia; commonly called The Astronomy; the fragmentary remains of commentary by unknown authors about a work attributed to Hesiod which deals with the stars; only five brief sections of the commentaries are intact.
The fourth king of the Medes.
Astyages was the son of Kyaxares; his father had subdued most of central Asia, with the exception of the city of Babylon, and therefore Astyages inherited a large empire.
Astyages was a superstitious man and was troubled by a dream in which his daughter, Mandane, “flooded” his empire; he asked the Magi to interpret the dream and was told that the dream was a bad omen and meant that his daughter would cause the ruin of his empire.
To avoid the presumed consequences of the dream, Astyages arranged for Mandane to marry a non-threatening Persian named Kambyses (Cambyses) instead of a higher caste Mede.
When Mandane became pregnant, Astyages had another dream in which Mandane’s child cast a shadow over all of Asia; the Magi again warned Astyages that the dream was a bad omen.
Astyages instructed one of his trusted men, Harpagus, to kill the child as soon as it was born but through a series of what would seem to be divinely choreographed events, Mandane’s child was spared and another child’s dead body was substituted for in its place.
As the child grew older, Astyages became aware that he was the child of his daughter but when he again consulted the Magi, they told him that the child was no threat to the king or the empire; Astyages took no action against the boy but killed the son of Harpagus as punishment for not obeying orders.
Mandane’s son was returned to her and named Kyrus (Cyrus); when he became a man he was encouraged by Harpagus to lead the Persians in a revolt against Astyages and assume the throne as a Persian king.
When Kyrus attacked the Medes, Astyages had the Magi impaled for giving him such bad advice and sent his uninspired, ill-prepared army into the field against the Persians; a large number of Astyages’ army deserted and joined the Persians and the remainder were utterly defeated; Astyages became the prisoner of Kyrus until he died.
Astyages ruled the Persian Empire from 594-559 BCE.
The son of Hektor (Hector) and Andromakhe (Andromache).
Astyanax was only an infant when the city of Troy was plundered and he was killed by Akhilleus’ (Achilles’) son, Neoptolemus.
Astyanax was called Skamandrios (Scamander) by Hektor but everyone else called him Astyanax.
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