H to Helike Helikon to Hexa Hieroglyphics to Holy Twain Homados to Hystaspes 2

Homados to Hystaspes 2


The Spirit of Tumult or Battle-Noise.


The ninth century Greek epic poet who is credited as the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Homer’s personal history is a complete mystery but many cities claimed to have been his home or his birthplace; he was reputed to have been blind but many researchers dispute this “fact” because of his use of vivid imagery and the subtle descriptions he used to describe the people and places in his epics.

Homer can justly be called the first western writer; his works are not only epic but also graphic and personal; his characters laugh, cry, eat, drink and die with a familiarity that is both classic and modern.

Homeric Hymns

A collection of poems dedicated to the various Greek Immortals.

The true author(s) of the Hymns is uncertain but the ancient Greeks believed that Homer was the author and that belief remained unshakable until the scholars of Alexandria, Egypt disputed the Homeric authorship; after that dire pronouncement, an air of suspicion surrounded the Hymns and their worth as history or as art was diminished to the point of neglect.

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the Homeric Hymns and, regardless of their authorship, they have proven to be treasure trove of information regarding the ancient Greek religion which we callously refer to as the “myths.”

If you are interested in reading the Homeric Hymns, I personally recommend The Homeric Hymns translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis (ISBN 0801817927); you can find this book at your local library or you can purchase it through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


A fragmentary group of poems and commentary attributed to Hesiod or Homer.

The remaining fragments of Homerica are brief, with the exception of the Battle of Frogs and Mice, and not very compelling but their antiquity makes them interesting.

Included in the Homerica are:

  1. the Expectation of Amphiaraus;
  2. the Taking of Oekhalia;
  3. the Phokais;
  4. the Margites;
  5. the Kerkopes; and
  6. the Battle of Frogs and Mice.

For Homerica and 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


A bird (Upupa epops) with a fan shaped crest and a narrow, downward curved bill.

Tereus was turned into a hoopoe because of his disgraceful treatment of his wife, Prokne, and her sister Philomela.

Pronounced ho-po (the Os are long with the accent on the first syllable).


Elpis; a Spirit; the personification of Hope.

After Epimetheus accepted Pandora from Zeus, all the evils of the world were unleashed except for Elpis; she remained in order to make the world and its sorrows bearable.


A son of the founder of the Ionic race of Greeks, Ion.


The name of one of the four oldest tribes of Ionia.

The name literally means Men in Armor; the other tribes were known as: Argadeis (workmen); Aigikoreis (Aigicoreis) (goat-herds); and Geleontes (farmers).


Literally, a heavily armed foot soldier; a sub-class of Spartan society which was not allowed the rights of full citizenship.


A circular shield of wood lined with leather and faced with bull’s hide or bronze.


The goddesses of the Seasons.

The Horae are the personifications of the cycle of death and rebirth and sometimes credited with social order; the daughters of Zeus and Themis; three in number and named: Dike (Justice), Eunomia (Order) and Eirene (Peace).

In The Iliad, the Horae are the attendants of the dark veil that hides the summit of Mount Olympos (Olympus).


Oath; one of the most troublesome children of the goddess, Eris (Discord).

Hesiod warned his brother that the fifth day of the month is harsh because the Erinyes (Furies) assisted Eris in giving birth to Orkos on that day; her name may also be rendered as Horcus.

Horn of Plenty

The horn of a goat that Zeus gave to the Nereid, Amathea.

When Zeus was born, his mother, Rheia (Rhea), hid him from his father, Kronos (Cronos), and placed the infant god in the care of Amathea.

Amathea nurtured Zeus and fed him goat’s milk; in some versions of the story she is a goat or a nymph rather than a Nereid; in gratitude, Zeus supposedly gave Amathea the horn of a goat that would give her anything she desired; this horn was called the Horn of Plenty which the Romans named cornucopia, from the Latin cornu copiae.


The Egyptian god who was associated with Apollon by the Greeks; the son of Asar (Osiris) and Isis, i.e. Dionysus and Demeter, Io or Athene (Athena).

Hounds of Hades

Another name for the Death-Spirits which hover in the air and swoop down on all living things when called upon by those skilled in the arts of magic.

The sorceress, Medea, used the Death-Spirits to confuse and defeat the gigantic bronze man, Talos, on the island of Crete when the Argonauts landed there on their voyage home.


Orai; the keepers of Heaven’s Gate; Eunomia (Harmony), Dyke (Justice) and Eirene (Peace).

The Orai assist the Olympians by organizing the Seasons and adding balance to Nature; they guard Mount Olympos (Olympus) with a dark veil and open and close the gates of the sky for the other Immortals as they travel to and from their domains.

In The Iliad, we see the Orai personally attending Hera and her horses; they open the sky and Hera zooms from her home on Mount Olympos to Mount Ida to distract Zeus from the battle for Troy.

Hundred Eyed

A name for the giant Argus.

When Zeus attempted to seduce the beautiful maiden, Io; Hera suspected Zeus’ infidelity and did her best to keep Io and Zeus apart; Io was turned into a heifer and driven from her home; she was forced to wander the world followed by Argus, the Hundred Eyed giant and a gadfly to goad her so that she would be forced to travel farther and farther from her home and thus be out of the clutches of Zeus.

Argus was killed by Hermes and thus Hermes is often referred to as Argophontes, i.e. the slayer of Argus.


The name of the asterism in the constellation Taurus (the Bull) formed from the five nymph-like daughters of Atlas who were turned into stars.

The name Hyades means Raining Ones and implies that the sisters rose in the sky during the rainy season.

The names of the sisters are: Phaesyle, Koronis (Coronis), Kleeia (Cleeia), Phaeo and Eudora.


A youth who was loved and accidentally killed by Apollon.

From his blood sprang the hyacinth (a bulbous plant of the Lily family); Hyakinthus was the son of Amyklas (Amyclas); a festival in his honor was held each year at the city Amyklae (Amyclae).

His name may also be rendered as Hyakinthos or Hyacinthos.


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 he 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 Hydarnes, Aspathines, Gobryas, Intaphrenes, Megabyzus, and Darius, 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 false-king’s chamber and killed him; 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; Hydarnes 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.

Hydra (1)

The multi-headed offspring of Ekhidna (Echidna) and Typhaon.

The Hydra’s actual appearance was well documented in ancient artwork as a large multi-headed snake; this description agreed with later writers who said that the Hydra had a huge body with eight mortal heads and one immortal head; the creature lurked in the swamps of Lerna, which was a marshy region near ancient Argos in southeastern Greece on the Peloponnesian Peninsula; the Hydra was very hard to kill because each time one of the serpent-like heads was hacked off, two new heads grew to replace it; also, the blood of the Hydra was a deadly poison.

The killing of the Hydra was the Second Labor of Herakles (Heracles); with the help of Iolaos (and with Athene (Athena) watching the battle to lend her protection) Herakles attacked the Hydra; he used either a sword or a sickle to hack at the heads while a giant crab, sent by the vengeful Hera to distract him, snapped at his heels; to prevent the heads from growing back two-fold, Herakles succeeded in cauterizing the squirming necks with a torch as he cut off each head; after the Hydra was dead, Herakles dipped his arrows in the poisonous blood, an act he would regret during his Fourth Labor when the poisoned arrows accidentally killed the Centaurs Kheiron (Chiron) and Pholos.

Hydra (2)

An ancient Greek water jar characterized by horizontal side handles and a vertical back handle; in an earlier form it had an angular and abrupt shoulder.


The goddess of Health; daughter of the famed healer, Asklepios (Asclepius).


The servant (page or squire) of Herakles (Heracles) when he sailed with the Argonauts.

Herakles had killed Hylas’ father and took the youth with him rather than leave him amongst, what Herakles considered to be, the immoral Dryopians.

When the Argonauts landed on the island of Khios (Chios), Hylas went ashore for fresh water at the spring of Pegae (the spring that the flying horse Pegasos (Pegasus) had created by striking her hoof on the earth); the nymphs of the spring were attracted to Hylas because of his beauty and would not allow him to leave; Herakles stayed to search for Hylas but when he could not find him, went to the nearby city of Mysia and ordered the inhabitants to establish an annual sacrifice to Hylas at the spring.


The son of Herakles (Heracles) and Deianeira (sometimes his mother is cited as the water nymph, Melite).

There are at least two stories as to how Hyllos died:

  1. Hyllos settled on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea and died there as king and founder of the race of people known as Hylleans; and
  2. Herodotus relates the story that when Hyllos tried to return to the Peloponnesian Peninsula he faced the army from Tegea and offered to fight in single combat against one of the Tegean soldiers; the result of the contest would preclude an out-and-out war between the two armies; also, Hyllos said that if he lost the fight, no descendant of Herakles would try to rule the Peloponnesus for one hundred years; according to Herodotus, Hyllos was killed in the fight.
  • Argonautika, book 4, lines 522-551
  • Histories, book 9, chapter 26
  • Hymettos

    A mountain near the city of Athens; 3,370 feet (1,027 meters) in height.


    The consort of Hypso and mother of the Argonauts, Asterios and Amphion.


    In Athens, the successor of Kleon (Cleon), exiled in 416 BCE; assassinated in 411.


    The race of people who were assumed to live in a land of perpetual sunshine and abundance beyond the abode of Boreas (North Wind).

    The Hyperboreans were said to have interacted with the Greeks until two of their messengers, Hyperokhe (Hyperoche) and Laodike (Laodice), failed to return from the sacred island of Delos after delivering tributes for the shrine of Apollon.

    There were also two graves at Delos for two virgins, Opis and Arge, who came from Hyperboria before Hyperokhe and Laodike, who were accompanied by the gods (probably Apollon and Artemis) and were honored by the Delians in hymns and ceremonies which required young men and women, before their marriage, to cut their hair and place it on the graves of the two girls.


    One of the Titans, i.e. one of the children of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); with Theia, Hyperion is the father of Helios (the Sun), Eos (the Dawn) and Selene (the Moon).


    One of the daughters of Danaus.

    When she and her sisters, collectively known as the Danaids, were ordered to murder their husbands Hypermnestra refused; her husband, Lynkeus (Lynceus), was one of the sons of her uncle, Aegyptus.


    Sleep; one of the many children of Nyx (Night).

    For a detailed account of Hypnos, look on the Immortals page.


    An actor (hupokrites).

    Hypsipyle (1)

    The daughter of king Thoas and the grand-daughter of Dionysus.

    Hypsipyle was from the island of Lemnos and a woman of rare strength and resilience; when the Argonauts came to Lemnos they married the women of the island because they (the women) had previously murdered the all men of the island.

    Before the Argonauts arrived, the men of Lemnos had “conceived a fierce passion” for the women they had captured during their raids in Thrake (Thrace) and neglected their wives; the women of Lemnos not only killed their husbands and the captive women but, to assure that there would be no retribution for their harsh justice, they killed all the other men of the island; during the women’s revolt, Hypsipyle refused to participate and helped her father, Thoas, escape from the island.

    The Argonauts arrived a year after the women’s revolt and Hypsipyle offered the throne of Lemnos to Iason (Jason) and bore him twin sons; there is a mention in Argonautika (book 4, lines 421-422) of the Robe of Hypsipyle which was a crimson robe made by the Graces for Dionysus, given to king Thoas and then to Hypsipyle; she finally gave the Robe to Iason along with many other riches.

    After the Argonauts left Lemnos, Hypsipyle was captured by pirates and taken as a slave to Nemea where she was the nurse for the king’s infant son, variously named as either Arkhemoros (Archemoros) or Opheletes (the name Opheletes implies a debt or obligation); when the expedition of the Seven Against Thebes passed through Nemea, Hypsipyle acted as a guide for the soldiers and, while she was preoccupied with the soldiers, the child was bitten by a snake (or dragon) and died; she was granted a pardon for the child’s death and the Nemean Games were founded in the child’s honor.

    Hypsipyle (2)

    A tragic play by Euripides which exists only in fragments and is assumed to deal with the life and loves of Hypsipyle, daughter of king Thoas of the island of Lemnos.


    The consort of Hyperasios and father of the Argonauts, Asterios and Amphion.


    Battles; the children of Eris (Discord).

    Hystaspes (1)

    The father of Darius I of Persia.

    Hystaspes was the vice-gerent (manager or overseer) for the first Persian king, Kyrus (Cyrus) the Great; while Kyrus was invading the land of the Massagetae in eastern Asia, he had a dream in which he saw Darius with wings; one of the wings cast a shadow over Europe and the other cast a shadow over Asia; Kyrus interpreted the dream to mean that Darius (then twenty years old) was plotting to depose Kyrus and usurp the throne of the Persian Empire; Kyrus sent Hystaspes back to the capital city Susa with the command that Darius was to appear before the king when he returned from the war with the Massagetae; Kyrus died in battle and the dream and Darius were quickly forgotten; the dream eventually came true, but not in a way that Kyrus or Hystaspes could have ever imagined.

    After Kyrus’ brother, Kambyses (Cambyses), nearly destroyed the Persian Empire, Darius ascended the throne and saved the empire that Kyrus had died to create.

    Hystaspes (2)

    A son of Darius I and Atossa; he was the commander of the Persian allies from Baktria (Bactria) and the Skythian (Scythian) sect, the Sakae (Sacae), during the invasion of Greece in 490 BCE.

    Homados to Hystaspes 2

    H to Helike Helikon to Hexa Hieroglyphics to Holy Twain Homados to Hystaspes 2


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