I to Iolaos Iole to Ixion

I to Iolaos


The uppercase form of the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet; pronounced Yota (with a long O), when reciting the Greek alphabet and as a long E in most words; lower case: ι.


A man from the island of Samos who is noted by Herodotus as the owner of the slaves Aesop, the “story teller,” and Rhodopis, the courtesan.


A name for Bakkhus (Bacchus); the name of a hymn in honor of Bakkhus; the name may also be rendered as Iakkhus or Iacchus).

Iakkhos Song
Iacchos Song

A song, cry or chant that was associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The worshipers of the Mother and Daughter goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, would sing as part of the secret rites performed in the goddesses’ honor; the Mysteries were sponsored by the city of Athens but all Greeks were eligible for initiation into the cult.

When the Persian army of king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 BCE, he conquered Attika (Attica) and was laying siege to the retreating Greek army and navy; two exiled Greeks, Dikaeus (Dicaeus) and Theokydes (Theocydes), an Athenian and Spartan respectively, saw a great dust cloud coming from the city of Eleusis and presumed that it was made by thousands of marching men; they then heard a loud cry that sounded to Dikaeus like the Iakkhos Cry; he informed his Spartan friend that, since Attika was deserted, the cry was of divine origin and signaled the defeat of the Persians; the two men did not tell Xerxes of this incident and left the matter in the hands of the Immortals; Dikaeus was correct in his prediction and the Persians suffered defeat on land and sea.


He and his brother, Askalaphos (Ascalaphos), were the sons of Ares (god of War) and the maiden, Astyokhe (Astyoche).


An ancient city on the island of Rhodes; now the site of the modern city of Triassic.


An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


One of the Titans, i.e. one of the children of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); the husband of Klymene (Clymene) and the father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoitios and Atlas.

After the Titans were defeated by the Olympians, Iapetos was banished to the lightless regions of Tartaros (Tartarus).


The African king of Mauritania.

When Dido fled her home in the city of Tyre, Iarbas offered her a piece of land on the northern coast of Africa; he supposedly said that she could have all the land that could be covered by an ox hide; the cunning Dido cut an ox hide into very thin strips and stretched them out to cover what would become the city of Carthage.

Iarbas became infatuated with the lovely Dido and insisted that they be wed; Dido was so incensed by Iarbas’ demand that she burned herself alive on a pyre rather than submit to become his wife.


The lover of Demeter who was struck down by Zeus with a thunderbolt.

Iasion and Demeter mated in a thrice-turned field and conceived the child, Plutus, who became known as a symbol of abundance, i.e. rich harvests and fertile ground.


The goddess of Healing.


The son of Aison and Alkimede (Alcimede) and the great-grandson of Minyas.

The life of Iason was defined by two major and interconnected events: the quest for the Golden Fleece and the love of the sorceress, Medea (Medeia).

As in most heroic episodes in Greek pre-history, there is no clear beginning or starting point from which we can draw a clear cause-and-effect relationship for Iason’s glory and his, seemingly pointless, death; Iason’s father, Aison, was supposed to take the throne of Iolkos (Iolcos) after the death of his father, Kretheus (Cretheus), but he was cheated out of his inheritance by his brother-in-law, Pelias.

As a child, Iason was removed from Iolkos and put in the care of the Centaur, Kheiron (Chiron), for his protection and education; the goddess, Hera, on one of her frequent excursions into the world of mortal humans, disguised herself as an old woman and waited on the banks of the river Anauros for a kind stranger to help her cross the surging river; Iason, now a young man, assisted Hera and, by this simple demonstration of his chivalrous character, earned the eternal love and protection of the queen of the Immortals.

King Pelias, on the other hand, earned Hera’s wrath by neglecting her at his sacrifices; Hera’s love of Iason and her hatred of Pelias combined to set the stage for the quest for the Golden Fleece, the love affair with Medea and the cruel death of Pelias.

When Iason came to Iolkos in the bloom of his manhood, Pelias knew that he was doomed unless he could contrive Iason’s death; Pelias had been given an oracle that said that a youth wearing one sandal would come to Iolkos and take his throne; Iason had lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros and had entered Iolkos just as the oracle had predicted; Pelias was foolish, or arrogant, enough to think that he could thwart the will of the Immortals and avoid his prescribed fate by sending Iason on a seemingly hopeless quest; he commanded Iason the retrieve the Golden Fleece from king Aietes (Aeetes) in the far-off land of Kolkhis (Colchis); Pelias knew that king Aietes would not surrender the Golden Fleece willingly and that Iason would probably be killed by king Aietes if he was lucky enough to survive the dangerous sea voyage to Kolkhis.

Iason accepted the challenge and gathered the most renowned group of heroes ever assembled in the ancient world to accompany him on the quest for the Golden Fleece; the goddess, Athene (Athena), assisted in the construction of the ship the sailors were to use and the craft was named Argo, i.e. Swift, and the crew members were called the Argonauts; Athene even spoke to Iason and his crew through the keel of the magical ship; with the protection of Hera and Athene, Iason set sail for Kolkhis.

When the Argo reached the island of Lemnos, the crew was delighted to find that the island was inhabited only by women; they did not realize that the women of Lemnos had killed all the men of the island and were eager to find new husbands; Iason became involved with the former king’s daughter, Hypsipyle, and fathered two children with her; after leaving Lemnos, the Argo sailed through many dangers and arrived on the shores of Kolkhis with only a few casualties among the Argonauts.

Iason approached king Aietes and humbly asked for the Golden Fleece but Aietes was not inclined to be cooperative; he demanded that Iason prove his strength and bravery by completing a series of tests to prove himself worthy of such a divine artifact; the Golden Fleece had been taken from a ram that had been created by Hermes and the Golden Fleece had been enshrined in a precinct of Kolkhis that was sacred to Ares (god of War); the Golden Fleece was not something that could be given or taken lightly and Iason was required to harness two supernatural brass-footed bulls, sow the teeth of a dragon and fight the warriors that grew from the dragon’s teeth.

King Aietes’ daughter, Medea, became the crux of the situation; she was also the niece of the mistress of spells and potions, Kirke (Circe), and a priestess of the goddess Hekate (Hecate); Hera and Athene went to Aphrodite (goddess of Love) and asked her to prompt Eros (the primal god of Love) to shoot Medea with one of his irresistible arrows of desire; after she had been wounded by Eros’ arrow, Medea could not help but to love Iason when he arrived at her father’s palace; Medea gave Iason a potion which would allow him to complete all the tasks her father had deemed necessary and then charmed the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece so that Iason could take it; knowing that her father would be very angry at her for assisting Iason, Medea fled Kolkhis with Iason and the Argonauts.

Medea’s half-brother, Apsyrtos, followed with a fleet of ships and was determined to capture Medea and return her to Aietes for punishment; at this point, Iason became a man blinded by his passions; instead of confronting Apsyrtos in manly combat, Iason and Medea devised a clever, but cowardly, plan by which they could evade Apsyrtos’ pursuit and escape with the Golden Fleece; Medea approached Apsyrtos and pretended to surrender to him while Iason laid in ambush; Apsyrtos was caught unawares and murdered by Iason.

Zeus, who sees and knows all, was very angry with Iason and Medea and contrived that they should seek forgiveness from Medea’s aunt, Kirke; when Kirke heard their sad tale, she would not forgive them and sent them on their way to suffer the shame and hardships that Zeus had devised; Hera implored Thetis and the other Nereids, Hephaistos (Hephaestus) and Aiolos (Aeolus) (lord of the Winds) to protect the Argonauts and guide them through the dangers that awaited them on the open sea.

When Iason and Medea arrived on the island of the Phaiakians (Phaeacians), they asked for sanctuary from king Alkinoos (Alcinous); Aietes demanded that king Alkinoos surrender Medea but Alkinoos declared that he would help Iason and Medea only if they were married; Iason and Medea took the scared wedding vows and were given sanctuary.

After leaving the protection of king Alkinoos, Medea continued to use her magical powers to assist Iason by killing the brass-man, Talos, on the island of Crete; when they finally returned to Iolkos with the Golden Fleece, Iason was distressed to learn that king Pelias was responsible for the death of his father, Aison; as an act of revenge, Medea convinced the daughters of Pelias that she had the power to give the aging king eternal youth if the girls would only chop their father into bits and boil him in a magical potion; the unwitting girls killed their father but he was not brought back to life as Medea had promised.

Pelias’ son, Akastos (Acastus), assumed the throne of Iolkos and forced Iason and Medea to leave the country; they settled in the city of Korinth (Corinth) and lived under the protection of king Kreon (Creon); many years and two children later, Iason fell in love with the king Kreon’s daughter, Glauke (Glauce) and the shunned Medea used her magical powers in their most destructive and cruel way; she killed Kreon, Glauke, her own children and fled to the city of Athens.

After this event, Iason’s fate becomes unclear; he either killed himself in desperate sorrow or was crushed under the decks of the Argo as he slept; Medea went on to play a significant role in the life if the Athenian hero, Theseus, and the founding of the race known as the Medes in Asia Minor.


A Greek poet circa 540 BCE; he served at the court of Polykrates (Polycrates) on the island of Samos; his poetry is usually described as Choral Lyric and it’s not certain that any of his work survives.

His name may also be rendered as Ibykos or Ibycos.


A sea creature with a human head and torso, the legs of a horse and the tail of a fish.

Ida (1)

Mount Ida; a mountain in western Asia Minor, southeast of the ancient city of Troy; this is the mountain from which Zeus maintained his vigil of the Trojan War.

Ida is part of the Biokovo Range and the two highest peaks are Sveti Ilija (5,381 feet (1,640 meters) in height) and Sveti Jure (5,781 feet (1,762 meters) in height); the summits are called Gargaros, which literally means Throat, suggesting that the peaks got their name from the unique snow-packed caves which exist there.

Ida (2)

Mount Ida; a mountain on the island of Crete; 8,051 feet (2,454 meters) in height and located in roughly the center of the island; now called, alternately, Mount Psiloriti and Idhi Oros.

Approximate east longitude 24.43 and north latitude 35.18.


One of the sons of Aphareus and Arene; the husband of Marpessa and the father of Kleopatra (Cleopatra).

In his prime, Idas was known as the strongest man on the earth; he and his brother, Lynkeus (Lynceus) were both Argonauts; besides his great strength, Idas had a volatile temper which would often cause him to overreact to frustrating situations; he and Lynkeus were the cousins of Phoibe (Phoebe) and Hilaeira and were perhaps involved in the death of Kastor (Castor).

When Kastor and his twin brother, Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux), tried to kidnap Phoibe and Hilaeira, a fight arose and Kastor was killed; it is unclear as to exactly how Kastor was killed or exactly who killed him but, owing to Idas’ explosive temper, it’s easy to imagine his direct involvement.


One of the Argonauts; he was the son of Apollon and learned from his father the art of divination from the flight of birds and to observe the signs of the burning sacrifice.

With his knowledge of things to come, Idmon knew that he would die “on the mainland of Asia” and not return from the quest for the Golden Fleece but he also knew that there was no way to avoid the prophecy of Apollon.


The son of Deukalion (Deucalion); one of the Greek heroes of the siege of the city of Troy and leader of the contingent from the island of Crete; the grandson of king Minos.


An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Her name could mean Skillful Mind; in Theogony she and Aietes (Aeetes) were the parents of Medea but in Argonautika her name is rendered as Eidyia.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.


A name for Apollon; also the name for hymns sung in his honor; taken from the combination of the terms Ie Paion meaning roughly, Oh Healer.


A small Greek island in the Aegean Sea southwest of the island of Samos; named after Ikarus (Icarus), son of Daedalus; 99 square miles (256 square kilometers) in area.

Approximate east longitude 26.20 and north latitude 37.41.


When the god of wine, Dionysus, was traveling in Attika (Attica), he was entertained by the a kindly man named Ikarius.

As a reward for his hospitality, Dionysus gave Ikarius the gift of wine which was unknown to mortal men; Ikarius shared the god’s gift with his neighbors and, when they became drunk, they murdered Ikarius; Erigone, Ikarius’ daughter, found her father’s body and in utter sadness, committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree.


The son of the legendary craftsman, Daedalus.

Ikarus was killed while he and his father were trying to flee king Minos of the island of Crete; Daedalus was a clever inventor and made wings for himself and Ikarus; when they attempted to fly away, Ikarus flew too close to Helios (the Sun) and the wax that held his wings together melted and he plunged to his death in the sea.


An epithet for Zeus as the protector of suppliants; Iketes means, one who seeks protection.


The blood of the Immortals; in The Iliad (book 5, line 340) Aphrodite (goddess of Love) is wounded on the battlefield by the Greek warrior, Diomedes, and ikhor poured darkly on her perfect skin.


A Greek architect; fl. mid fifth century BCE.

Iktinus was one of the designers, with Kallikrates (Callicrates), of the Parthenon at Athens and the Temple of Apollon Epikourios at Bassae.


The epic poem ascribed to the poet, Homer, and thought to date from the eighth century BCE, the poem describes the final year of the ten year siege of the city of Troy by the Argives, i.e. the mainland Greeks.

The poem consists of approximately 15,691 lines and has been divided into twenty four books, presumably for each letter of the Greek alphabet; the name, Iliad, comes from one of the earliest names for Troy, i.e. Ilion.

Most modern translations are taken from the oldest complete manuscripts which date from the tenth century CE but there are papyri from the third century BCE that contain portions of the poem.

There has been a long-standing dispute as to the “true” author of The Iliad and also as to whether the original format of the poem was written or oral; the poetic consistency of the poem leads most researchers to assume that Homer was, in fact, one man and the author of the poem; the sheer length of the poem suggests that it was written and not oral but there are no definitive answers to these questions.

There are several excellent translations of The Iliad and many horrible translations; I suggest the translations of Richmond Lattimore (ISBN 0226469409) or Robert Fitzgerald (ISBN 0385059418); these books can be found at your library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


The Greek name for the city of Troy; the city was named after the fourth king of Troy, Ilos.

An ancient Greek city in Asia Minor in the province of Mysia between the rivers Skamandros (Scamander) and Simoeis (Simois); located near the coast of the Aegean Sea; an hours walk southwest of the Hellespont (Dardanelles Straits); according to The Iliad, Troy was founded by the grandson of Zeus, Tros, and thrived for three generations until the city was sacked under the reign of king Priam; the Troy of The Iliad was utterly destroyed circa 1250 BCE by the mainland Greeks and never re-established to it’s former glory or wealth.

After over a hundred years of excavation, the different layers of the ruins of ancient Troy have been divided into nine classifications designated with the Roman numerals I-IX with subdivisions of each classification indicated by lower cases letters, i.e. the original foundations of Troy are named Ia-Ik; the city we normally think of as the Troy of The Iliad is called Troy VI, i.e. Troy six, and is assumed to have been destroyed circa 1250 BCE.

The geographic location of Troy was vitally important to it’s continued habitation and prosperity; the fortunes of the Trojans fluctuated over the centuries but the city was continuously occupied and constantly revitalized after either natural disasters or armed conquests reduced the city to rubble and dust; the walls and buildings of the various cities were made of mud-brick and each successive city was built on the ruins of the previous foundations; the mud-brick construction made it impossible to reuse the raw materials and so the old city was simply leveled and the newest incarnation of the city was built on the ruins and therefore each new city was elevated slightly higher than the preceding city.

The original foundations of the city date to the Early Bronze Age circa 2900-2450 BCE; it was a modest city and covered an area approximately 100 yards in diameter; this phase of Troy is commonly known as Troy Ia-k.

The second incarnation of Troy, designated Troy IIa-h, also existed in the Early Bronze Age and lasted from circa 2450-2200 BCE; the size of the city increased and covered an area of approximately 900 square yards; this Troy, with towers and a megaron, also included a settlement outside the city’s circuit walls; at least two phases of Troy II were destroyed by what appears to be severe natural disasters; level IIg is called the Burnt City because the condition of the rubble strongly suggests that the wooden parts of the city were not merely torn down, but rather burned to the ground.

Troy III existed from circa 2200-1700 BCE and is divided into the subdivisions a-d; this was during the Middle Bronze Age and the city doubled in size.

The cities of Troy IVa-e and Va-d seem to be less prosperous for the rulers and citizens of the city; these subdivisions are generally included in the time period that covers Troy III.

Homer’s Troy, Troy VI, dates from the Middle and Late Bronze Age and consists of levels a-h; this was probably the city that the Greeks destroyed after their ten year siege; the city was only slightly larger than Troy III but there are indications that this phase of the city was the most prosperous incarnation yet; the circuit wall was longer and thicker than any previous city wall and the outer settlement was larger than ever before; the city supported a population of five to ten thousand permanent residents; also of significance during this phase of Troy’s development is the fact that excavators found horse skeletons in the ruins of these levels and corresponds to Homer’s characterization of ‘the horse taming Trojans.’

Troy VII, like the previous reconstructions of the city, was built on the ruins of preceding city; Troy VII existed in the Late Bronze Age, i.e. 1250-1050 BCE; although there are those who believe that this is the Troy of The Iliad, it has been pointed out that Troy VII appears to have been hastily built and the workmanship seems inferior to the prosperous city and outer settlement of Troy VI; the final phase of Troy VII was destroyed by fire and it is assumed that this is a sign of conquest rather than natural disaster.

Troy VIII is considered to be the last Greek attempt to keep Troy as a permanent settlement and, although a smaller and more humble city, might have lasted until as late as 85 BCE; Troy VIII is assumed to have been populated by settlers from Thessaly or another northern Greek state; the historian, Herodotus (484?-425? BCE) (book 7, chapter 43), mentions that the Persian king, Xerxes, stopped at Troy on his way to conquer Greece and sacrificed one thousand cattle to the goddess, Athene (Athena) of Ilion; the Magi, the priests and magicians who accompanied Xerxes, made libations to the ancient heroes of Troy; Herodotus then makes a strange statement, he says that Xerxes and his company were seized with fear during the night but he does not elaborate as to the cause of their fear; also, Herodotus does not elaborate as to the population of Troy when Xerxes arrived or comment as to the physical condition of the city; Alexander the Great is also said to have visited Troy on his way to conquer the Persian Empire; the city was finally leveled in 85 BCE by the Roman legate, Flavius Fimbria.

Troy remained a pile of rubble until Julius Caesar visited the city circa 48 BCE; he began a rebuilding project which was continued by his successor, Caesar Augustus; the Romans believed that Troy was the mother-city of Rome because after the Trojan hero, Aineias (Aeneas), fled Troy, he found his way to the Italian peninsula and eventually united the tribes of Latium to form the basis of the Roman Empire.

Despite the historical references to Troy by historians such as Herodotus and Arrian, the actual existence of the city seems to have been considered a mere myth by serious scholars until the mid-eighteenth century; the most notable, and perhaps notorious, true believer in the actual existence of Troy was the wealthy businessman named Heinrich Schliemann; although Schliemann may not have been the first man to excavate the ruins of Troy, he is certainly the most famous; since his monumental and highly publicized discovery circa 1870 CE, Troy has become a well researched archeological site as well a popular tourist attraction.

The city is also called Ilios and Ilium.


The grandfather of the last king of Troy, Priam; he was the eldest son of Tros and the father of Laomedon; Troy, i.e. Ilion, was named after him; he was the brother of Ganymede and Assarakos (Assaracos).


An island in the Aegean Sea located north-west of the city of Troy.

Imbros is 108 square miles (280 square kilometers) in area; it was in a gulf near Imbros where Poseidon (lord of the Sea) hobbled his horses when he went to assist the armies of the Greeks as they besieged Troy.

Approximate east longitude 25.85 and north latitude 40.18.


The Spirit of Desire.

Immortals (1)

The deathless gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.

Immortals (2)

One of the most honored elements of the army of the Persian king, Xerxes.

The Immortals were so named because their number was constant at ten thousand; when a soldier of the Immortals was killed he was replaced and thus the constancy of the number of troops made them Immortal.

The army of Xerxes was comprised not only of Persians but of soldiers from many different nations; each contingent had their own distinct weapons and style of dress; the Persians were the best equipped and the best trained of the entire force; the Immortals were the “the best of the best” of the Persian army.


The father of Io and king of Argos; when Zeus wanted to possess Io, and she refused his advances, Inakhus forced Io out of his house for fear of the retribution of Zeus.


In relation to the ancient Greeks, India was simply the western-most border of the Persian Empire.

The islands of the Indian Ocean were also a probable source of the tin used in the manufacture of bronze which the Greeks used for weapons, household utensils and artwork.

The historian, Herodotus, gave many examples of how the Indian nation interacted with the Persians and served as a contingent of the Persian army; the Indians were said to be the most numerous people on earth and paid a tribute of 360 talents of gold dust (20,520 pounds) to the Persian Empire.

The Indians were also said to eat their parents after they died and to be black like the Ethiopians (Aithiopians) of Africa; when the Persians took the city of Babylon, the Persian satrap (governor) had so many Indian hunting dogs that the tribute (taxes) of four large villages was required to feed and maintain them.

The Indians were credited with the most unlikely method of obtaining gold that you will ever encounter; the inhabitants of northern India were the most war-like and it was this group who gathered the gold; they would harness three camels, two male and one female, and ride into the desert during the hottest part of the day, i.e. early morning; in the desert, there were large ants, smaller than dogs but larger than foxes; these ants would dig holes in the sand and the sand deposited on the surface contained gold; the heat of the sun would force the ants underground and the Indians would use this occasion to fill their bags with the gold laden sand; the ants would smell the intruders and bolt from their holes to defend their territory; when the ants emerged, the Indians would put the bags of sand on the female camel, take the male camels in tow, and ride for home as quickly as possible; there was nothing faster afoot than those ants and they soon overtook the fleeing Indians; when the ants were snapping at the heels of the camels, the Indians would cut the male camels loose and let the ants devour them while the rider made his escape on the female camel with his gold.

The Persian emperor, Darius, was the first to conquer India when he sent a group of explorers down the Indus River to see where it entered the sea; the explorers determined the course of the river and proclaimed that it had the second largest number of crocodiles of any river in the world (we can assume that only the Nile River of Egypt had more crocodiles).

The Indians wore garments of a peculiar fabric called cotton; their infantry troops used reed bows and arrows tipped with iron; the Indian cavalry rode swift horses and drove chariots pulled by both horses and wild asses.

In 480 BCE, when the Persian navy was defeated near the island of Salamis, king Xerxes fled to his homeland but left a contingent of the Persian army in Thessaly; along with the elite Persian troops, the Indian infantry and cavalry were chosen as part of the occupying force; when the final battle took place near Plataea, the Indian army, like the Persians and their other allies, were soundly defeated by the Greeks.

Ino (1)

A sea goddess who rescued Odysseus from drowning by giving him a magic veil that would keep him afloat in the raging sea.

Ino had once been a mortal but, for unknown reasons, was made into a sea-goddess; she was called Leukothea, i.e. the White Goddess; she was the daughter of Kadmus (Cadmus) and Harmonia; the sister of Semele, Agaue, Polydorus and Autonoe.

Ino (2)

The second wife of Athamas.

Ino plotted to sacrifice Athamas’ son, Phrixus, but Phrixus and his sister, Helle, escaped on the magical ram with the Golden Fleece.


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 Intaphrenes, Aspathines, Gobryas, 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 false-king’s chamber and killed him; Intaphrenes was stabbed in the eye during 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; Intaphrenes 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.


The Heifer Maiden; Io was the daughter of Inakhus (Inachus), the king of Argos.

Io was wooed by Zeus and eventually turned into a heifer to conceal her from Hera; when Zeus first approached Io she refused his advances; Zeus threatened Io’s father with ruin if she did not submit but she still refused; her father turned Io out of his house and, to make matters worse, Hera sent the hundred-eyed herdsman, Argos, to follow Io and a gadfly to torment her so that she would have to keep moving farther and farther from her home.

Io encountered Prometheus during her travels and he told her that eventually she would find peace but her journey would not end until she swam the Hellespont and ventured all the way to Egypt; she was relieved of her curse in Egypt and her son, Epaphos (Epaphus) was the ancestor of Aegyptus and Danaus.

For more detailed information on Io I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.


The lord of Lykia (Lycia).

Iobates was the father of Anteia and, according to later writers, he was responsible for trying to send Bellerophontes (Bellerophon) to his death by variously asking him to fight the Khimera (Chimera), the fierce Solymi warriors, the Amazons and finally, trying to kill Bellerophontes in an ambush; having failed to kill the noble Bellerophontes, Iobates gave the hero his daughter in marriage.


The wife of Laius and wife/mother of Oedipus.

Iokaste and her husband, Laius, the king of the city of Thebes, were warned by the oracle at Delphi that if they had a son, he would kill Laius and take his throne; when the son was born, Iokaste and Laius gave the infant to a shepherd with instructions to kill the child; the shepherd pierced the child’s ankles and intended to leave him in the wilderness to die; instead, the would-be killer gave the boy to another shepherd with the assumption that the boy would never be seen again and that Laius and Iokaste would never find out that he had disobeyed them.

The infant was taken to the city of Korinth (Corinth) where he was adopted by the king, Polybos; the orphaned child with the injured ankles was named Oedipus (which means “swollen ankles”).

Upon reaching manhood, Oedipus was told by the Delphic oracle that he would be the murderer of his father; Oedipus loved Polybos, who he assumed to be his natural father, and fled Korinth so that the prophecy could not be fulfilled; while traveling, Oedipus met a nobleman on the road and after suffering insults and blows, Oedipus killed the nobleman and all but one of his guards and proceeded to Thebes; he had no idea that the man he had just killed was his father, Laius.

Before he reached the city, Oedipus was stopped by the Sphinx which menaced and killed travelers on the road to Thebes; the Sphinx would ask riddles and if the travelers could not give the correct answers, she killed them; Oedipus was stopped and asked to answer a riddle; Oedipus answered the riddle correctly and the Sphinx killed herself.

When Oedipus reached Thebes he was welcomed as a hero and, since king Laius was now dead, Oedipus was made the king and allowed to unwittingly marry his mother, Iokaste.

Many years and four children later, she and Oedipus learned the truth of their unholy relationship; she hanged herself and Oedipus blinded himself and spent the rest of his life as a wanderer.

Oedipus and Iokaste had four children: Ismene, Antigone, Eteokles (Eteocles) and Polynikes (Polynices); the children suffered the curse of their parents and lived lives of sorrow and as outcasts.

She is also referred to as Epikaste or Epicaste.


The faithful companion of Herakles (Heracles).

Iolaos was related to Herakles in that he was the son of Herakles’ brother, Iphikles (Iphicles), and thus Herakles’ nephew; Iolaos accompanied Herakles on many of his adventures and played a prominent role in killing the nine-headed Hydra and is also featured as Herakles’ chariot driver in the poem, Shield of Herakles, where Iolaos and Herakles do battle with Ares and his son, Kyknos (Cycnus).

I to Iolaos

I to Iolaos Iole to Ixion


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