P to Peitho Pelasgians to Phaedrias Phaeo to Pitys Plataea to Polyphemos 2 Polyxena to Pyxis 2

Phaeo to Pitys


One of the five daughters of Atlas who was placed in the heavens as a star and, with her sisters, formed the asterism, Hyades, in the constellation Taurus (the Bull); her sisters are: Phaesyle, Koronis (Coronis), Kleeia (Cleeia) and Eudora.


One of the five daughters of Atlas who was placed in the heavens as a star and, with her sisters, formed the asterism, Hyades, in the constellation Taurus (the Bull); her sisters are: Koronis (Coronis), Kleeia (Cleeia), Phaeo and Eudora.


The ancient Greek name of the planet we call Jupiter; the word means Shining or Radiant.


The son of Helios (the Sun) and Klymene (Clymene); he borrowed his father’s chariot and drove it so close to the earth that Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt in order to save the world from being scorched; his name can be rendered as Shining One.


The Greek hero, Odysseus, was washed ashore in the land of the Phaiakians.

The Phaiakians were a mighty seafaring people and after they learned Odysseus’ true identity they gave him many gifts and took him on the final leg of his journey home to the island of Ithaka (Ithaca); also spelled Phaeakians or Phaiacians.


An ancient city on the south-central section of the island of Crete; the site of an ancient Minoan palace; Linear-A tablets and other important objects have been unearthed there.


The son of Alkon (Alcon) and one of the Argonauts; he was referred to as “Phaleros of the ashen spear.”


A little known Immortal whose name is connected with the worship of the phallus; referred to by the poet, Aristophanes: O Phales, as with Dionysus from tavern to bedroom, you roam.


One of the Graces worshiped at Sparta.


The name literally means Lighthouse and is usually associated with the Pharos of Alexandria, i.e. The Lighthouse of Alexandria; one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Constructed on an island off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, the lighthouse dates from the third century BCE and was in use for approximately 900 years until it was presumably toppled by an earthquake in 641 CE.


A district in the central portion of ancient Thessaly whose primary city was Pharsalus; the site of the defeat of Pompey by Caesar in 48 BCE.


The river god of the river Phasis in the district of Kolkhis (Colchis) which flows into the eastern Euxine (Black Sea); one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos (Ocean).

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


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.


A town in southeastern Thessaly; the home of Admetos and Alkestis (Alcestis).


A comic poet circa 411 BCE.


One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus.


The twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet; pronounced Fe (with a long E) when reciting the alphabet; upper case: Φ; lower case: φ.


(circa 500-432 BCE) The legendary sculptor of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Phidias was also credited with the two statues of Athene (Athena) at the Akropolis (Acropolis) of Athens: Athene Promakhos (Promachus) and Athene Parthenios; he lived during the time of Perikles (Pericles) and was instrumental in the reconstruction of Athens after it was sacked by the Persians, especially the Parthenon.

Perikles recognized Phidias’ extraordinary talent and gave him complete charge of the extensive public works projects which dominated the finances and energy of Athens under Perikles’ king-like rule; as a precaution, Perikles instructed Phidias to construct his golden statues in such a way that they could be dismantled and weighed so that charges of impropriety could be easily disproved; as if Perikles had prophetic insight, Phidias was accused of stealing gold from the statues but he was acquitted of the theft; his detractors persisted in their persecution and he was eventually convicted of “impiety” and died in prison.


The legendary Athenian messenger who encountered Pan (the Goat-God) while he was on his way to Sparta before the battle of Marathon (490 BCE).

When Phidippides was running to Sparta to seek help for the Athenians against the Persian invasion, he encountered Pan who promised to help the Athenians in battle; after the resounding defeat of the Persians, the worship of Pan was introduced at Athens.


The son of Aias (Ajax) and the first of his family to become an Athenian citizen.


A Phrygian peasant who, with his wife Baukis (Baucis), offered hospitality to Zeus and Hermes as they wandered the countryside disguised as mortals; as a reward for their good deed they were saved from a flood and turned into trees.

Philip II

(382-336 BCE) The king of Makedon (Macedon from 359-336 BCE; the son of Amyntas and father of Alexander the Great.


Any of the orations delivered by Demosthenes against Philip II of Makedon (Macedon).


The father of the comic dramatist, Aristophanes.


The daughter of Alkimedon (Alcimedon) who was seduced by Herakles (Heracles).

Philoktetes (1)

The noted Greek archer who, on the journey to the Trojan War, was bitten by a snake and abandoned on the island of Lemnos.

When he recovered from his festering wounds, Philoktetes was taken to Troy where he killed Alexandros (Paris); before the siege of Troy, he (or his father, Poias) lit the funeral pyre for Herakles (Heracles) in exchange for Herakles’ bow.

Philoktetes (2)

A tragedy by Sophokles (Sophocles) circa 408 BCE.


She and her sister, Prokne (Procne), were Athenian princesses and the daughters of Pandion.

Prokne married Tereus, the king of Thrake (Thrace); Tereus attacked (or offended) Philomela and, in order to keep his outrage a secret, he cut out Philomela’s tongue and hid her away in an isolated place.

Philomela was able to weave her sad story onto a piece of needlework and send it to her sister; Prokne found Philomela and the two of them killed Prokne’s son, Itys, and served the cooked body of the child to her evil husband, Tereus; Tereus tried to slay the sisters but all three were transformed into birds; Tereus became a hoopoe, Philomela became a swallow and Prokne became a nightingale.

Philomela was also called Daulias which means “a woman from Daulis.”


Affection; one of the children of Nyx (Night).


The mother of the Centaur, Kheiron (Chiron).

Rheia (Rhea) caught Kronos when he was with Philyra and, to escape detection, Kronos took the guise of a horse and thus Kheiron was conceived as a Centaur, i.e. half-horse/half-man.


A king of Salmydessus on the Euxine (Black Sea); the son of Agenor and the brother of Kadmus and Europa.

Phineus married the daughter of Boreas (North Wind), Kleopatra (Cleopatra), and after her death he married a cruel and vengeful woman; his new wife hated his sons which he and Kleopatra had sired; she induced Phineus to blind them; as punishment for such a horrendous act, Zeus offered him blindness or death; Phineus chose blindness; Helios (the Sun) was offended that Phineus would choose darkness rather than death so he sent the winged-women known as the Harpies to torment Phineus by stealing his food; the Harpies did not steal all of Phineus’ food, they would always leave reeking morsels so that he could sustain himself and thus his torment could continue.

During the voyage of Iason (Jason) and the Argonauts, the winged sons of Boreas, Kalais (Calais) and Zetes set a trap for the Harpies but the Harpies were very swift and the winged brothers could only claw at the fleeing women with their fingertips; Iris, the messenger of the Immortals, rushed into the fray and chided the brothers for trying to harm the Harpies because they were there to punish Phineus at the behest of Zeus; Iris swore a sacred oath on the river Styx that if the brothers would stop their pursuit of the Harpies, Phineus would no longer be tormented; thus Phineus was freed from his curse.

The islands where Phineus made his home were called the Floating Islands until the Argonauts arrived, from that time on they were called the Islands of Turning.


A river of fire; one of the five rivers of the Underworld.


The ancient name of the western-most peninsula of the district of Khalkidike (Chalcidice) which is bounded on the west by the Gulf of Strimon and extends into the northern Aegean Sea; this was the site of the battles between the Olympians and the Giants.


The son of Dionysus and Khthonophyle (Chthonophyle); one of the Argonauts.


A fear or an aversion.


One of the sons of Ares (god of War) and Aphrodite (goddess of Love).

Phobos was the incarnation of all-consuming Panic and he could possess entire armies and cause their defeat; he was the brother of Deimos (Fear) and Harmonia (Harmony).

When Hephaistos (Hephaestus) made a shield for Herakles (Hercules) he placed the face of Phobos in the center of the ivory and electrum shield.


A district near the streams of Aegyptus which was probably located on the eastern most coast of the Mediterranean Sea from Syria to Arabia.

Phoenician Women

A play by Euripides; produced between 412 and 408 BCE.

I personally recommend the translations compiled by Richmond Lattimore and David Grene, Euripides V (ISBN 0226307840); you can find this and other plays by Euripides at your local library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


Referring to people of Phoenicia which was the strip of land on the eastern most coast of the Mediterranean Sea from Syria to Arabia.

Phoibe (1)

One of the Titans, i.e. one of the children of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); her name means The Bright One; the wife of Koios (Coeus) and the mother of Leto, Asteria and Hekate (Hecate).

Phoibe (2)

She and Hilaeira were the daughters of Leukippus (Leucippus).

There are two versions of the story in which Phoebe and Hilaeira became involved with the Dioskuri (Dioscuri), i.e. Kastor (Castor) and Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux) while they were with the Argonauts:

  1. The girls were betrothed to two other men (their cousins Idas and Lynkeus (Lynceus) but Kastor and Polydeukes kidnapped them; a fight arose and Kastor was killed; or
  2. Kastor’s death was the result of a misadventure during a cattle raid; for the reasons of romantic license, the love affair scenario seems to be the most popular.
Phoibe (3)

A name for the goddess, Artemis, which means Shining.

Phoibe (4)

One of the daughters of Leda and Tyndareus; her sister was Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra); she was half-sister of Helen and the twins, Kastor (Castor) and Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux).

Phoinix (1)

A son of Amyntor and Kleobule (Cleobule); mentor of Akhilleus (Achilles).

Phoinix’s father was unfaithful to his wife, Kleobule, and she begged Phoinix to seduce the mistress and turn the young woman’s affections away from the aging Amyntor; when Amyntor detected the plot, he cursed Phoinix and drove him from Kalydon; Zeus and Persephone accomplished Amyntor’s curse and Phoinix was never allowed to have children of his own.

Phoinix considered killing his father but his hand was stayed by the intervention of his devoted kinsmen and cousins; they kept Phoinix under close watch for nine days and his anger transformed into resolution; on the tenth night he fled Kalydon.

Phoinix was given asylum by king Peleus of Phthia; he was treated as an honored guest and Peleus made him the king of Dolopia; he became the advisor and foster-father of Akhilleus (Achilles); during the Trojan War, Phoinix begged Akhilleus to put aside his anger towards Agamemnon and rejoin the fight with the Trojans; he reminded Akhilleus of the story of Meleagros (Meleager) and how one man’s pride had brought doom to his family and his homeland.

Phoinix (2)

An Arabian bird; the Phoinix is often the emblem of immortality or of reborn ideals or hope.

When the historian, Herodotus, was in Egypt he was told the story of the Phoinix which he did not believe but dutifully recorded anyway.

The Egyptians said that the Phoinix was an Arabian bird the size of an eagle which was mostly red but accented with gold plumage; the bird was said to live in the Arabian desert and, when its father died, the noble bird would wrap the body in a cocoon of myrrh and fly the body to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis and deposit it in the temple of the Sun.

The common conception of the Phoinix is of a bird which was said to burn itself on a funeral pyre and to rise from the ashes in the freshness of youth and live through another cycle of years.


A Greek seaport in Asia Minor; the northernmost of the Ionian cities; located on the coast on the Gulf of Izmir almost due east of the island of Khios (Chios); modern Foca, Turkey.

Approximate east longitude 26.46 and north latitude 38.39.


The Phokais; one of the fragmentary remains of the Homerica.

The fragments of the Phokais can be presented in three or four sentences and are thus not too informative but they are important because of their antiquity; they simply say that Homer composed the Little Iliad and the Phokais while he was living with Thestorides but the Phokians (Phocians) insist that the Phokais was composed in Phokis (Phocis).

For the complete translations of the Homerica 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


An Athenian statesman and general circa 402-317 BCE; although he was elected polemarch (military commander) over forty times, he was a man of peace and eventually convicted of treason in 318 BCE.


An ancient district in central Greece north of the Gulf of Korinth (Corinth); site of the oracles of Apollon at Delphi and Abae.


The half-brother of Peleus and Telamon; the son of Aeakus (Aeacus) and the nymph, Psamathe.

Phokos was the better of the three boys and excelled in all forms of athletics and war-craft; Peleus and Telamon were so jealous of Phokos that they murdered him; Aeakus banished Peleus and Telamon from the island of Aegina for their crime.


A Centaur killed by Herakles (Heracles).

While Herakles was in the service of his cousin, Eurystheus, he was required to capture a wild boar on Mount Erymanthus as his Fourth Labor; on his way to Mount Erymanthus, Herakles was the guest of the Centaur, Pholos; when Herakles and Pholos were enjoying some wine from a storage pithos, the other Centaurs became agitated and attacked Herakles; in his fury, Herakles accidentally killed Pholos and another Centaur, Kheiron (Chiron).


Murders; the children of Eris (Discord).


The son of Pontus (the Sea) and Gaia (Earth).

Phorkys was the consort of his sister, Keto (Ceto), and father of the Graiae (the Gray Sisters), the Gorgons, the six-headed monster, Skylla (Scylla) and the serpent, Ladon, who guards the Golden Apples of the Hesperides; he is the brother of Thaumas and Eurybia.

His name is also spelled Phorkus or Phorcus.


The Morning Star; the ancient Greek name for the planet we call Venus.


The son of Deiokes (Deioces) and the second king of the Medes; he ruled from 647-625 BCE.

Phraortes assumed the kingship when his father died in 647 BCE and successfully expanded his father’s humble empire eastward towards the Persians and the Assyrians; he subdued the Persians but was killed during his assault on the Assyrians; he died in 625 BCE and was succeeded by his son, Kyaxares (Cyaxares).

Phrixus (1)

Helle and Phrixus were the children of king Athamas of Orkhomenos (Orchomenos) and his nymph-wife, Nephele (Cloud).

With the help of their mother Helle and Phrixus fled the evil plotting of their stepmother, Ino, on the flying ram with a Golden Fleece; after Helle fell into the sea and drowned, Phrixus sacrificed the ram and hung the prized Golden Fleece in the Garden of Ares (god of War) at Kolkhis (Colchis) where it remained until Iason (Jason) and the Argonauts retrieved it.

When Phrixus arrived in Kolkhis with such a prize as the Golden Fleece, king Aietes (Aeetes) gave him sanctuary and allowed him to marry his daughter, Khalkiope (Chalciope), “without gifts of wooing”; Phrixus and Khalkiope had four sons: Argus, Kytissoros (Cytissoros), Phrontis, and Melas.

After their father’s death, the four young men attempted to return to Orkhomenos and avenge their father’s mistreatment but the Immortals intervened and the brothers were joined with Iason and the Argonauts; also spelled Phrixos.

Phrixus (2)

The father of the ship builder and Argonaut, Argus.


One of the four sons of Phrixus and Khalkiope (Chalciope).

Phrontis and his brothers were raised in Kolkhis (Colchis) but after their father died, he and his brothers set out to avenge their father’s ill treatment by king Athamas of Orkhomenos (Orchomenos) and were stranded on the Island of Ares (god of War) in the Euxine (Black Sea); they were rescued from the island by the Argonauts; he and his brothers joined the crew of the Argo and returned to Kolkhis; his brothers were Kytissoros (Cytissoros), Argus and Melas.


An ancient country in central-northwestern Asia Minor; the Egyptian king, Psammetikhus (Psammetichus), thought that the Phrygians were the oldest people on the earth.


A lyre player circa 450 BCE; said to have “twelve notes on seven strings” meaning that he could coax more notes from the instrument than any ordinary musician.


A district of extreme-southern Thessaly bounded on the east by the Gulf of Pagasai (Pagasae) and on the south by the Malaic Gulf; Phoinix (Phoenix) was made the king of Phthia and raised Akhilleus (Achilles) there.


An archaeological site on the Greek island of Melos, in the Kyklades (Cyclades) Group; excavations have revealed the remains of three successive ancient cities erected on a primitive Cycladic settlement.

Phylo of Byzantium

The man who is responsible for originating the term Seven Wonders of the World; his name is sometimes spelled Philo.


A term meaning Tribe from which we derive Phylum, denoting the different families of plants and animals; in modern biology, it is the grouping of organisms with the same body type.


The fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet; pronounced Pe (with a long E); upper case: Π; lower case: π.


A coastal region in northeastern Greece just north of Mount Olympos (Olympus) and west of the Gulf of Salonika; the birthplace of Orpheus and thought to be the original home of the Muses until later stories relocated them to Mount Helikon (Helicon); the poem, Works and Days by Hesiod, begins with the words, “Muses of Pieria.”


Nine Thessalian maidens who challenged the Muses to a singing contest; the Pierides lost the competition and were changed into magpies for their insolence.

Pillars of Herakles
Pillars of Heracles

The two mountains, Jebel Musa and Gibraltar, at the western extreme of the Mediterranean Sea where it connects with the Atlantic Ocean; the two promontories were fabled to have been raised by Herakles; Gibraltar was known as Kalpe (Calpe) and Jebel Musa was known as Abyla.


A Greek poet (circa 522-443) who wrote in an elaborate form with a metrical structure that was common with odes and verse.


A mountain range in northern-central Greece with a highest peak of 7,665 feet (2,336 meters).


The port city located 5 miles (8 kilometers) southwest of the city of Athens.

Piraeus was the home of the Athenian war fleet and also the hub of all Athenian maritime commerce; during the time of Perikles (Pericles) the Long Wall was built from Athens to Piraeus in an effort to insure access to the port in the impending war with Sparta.

Approximate east longitude 23.38 and north latitude 37.57.


The legendary king of the Lapithae in Thessaly near Mount Pelion.

The life and death of Pirithous is closely tied to the exploits of the legendary Athenian king, Theseus; Pirithous had heard of the reputation of Theseus and was compelled to test him; Pirithous stole some of Theseus’ cattle from the plain of Marathon and when Theseus came after him, Pirithous did not try to escape but rather stood his ground and faced the hero; the two men were impressed with each other and, instead of fighting, Pirithous extended his hand in friendship and swore that he would accept any punishment that Theseus deemed appropriate; Theseus opted for forgiveness instead of punishment and the two men sealed their friendship with an oath.

Pirithous invited Theseus to a wedding feast and, one way or another, the two men led the Lapithae in a war against the Centaurs; there are at least two versions of how the Centaurs disrupted the wedding feast:

  1. The wedding was for Pirithous and Diedamia and the Centaurs were invited guests; the Centaurs became intoxicated and began to harass the Lapithae women; or
  2. The wedding was for Pirithous’ daughter, Hippodamia, and the neighboring Centaurs raided the festivities and tried to kidnap Hippodamia.

Regardless of the motivation, Pirithous, Theseus and the Lapithae men began to fight with the Centaurs and a bitter war ensued; the Lapithae eventually drove the Centaurs from the area of Mount Pelion.

Pirithous and Theseus were responsible for the kidnapping of Helen when she was a young girl; while in the city of Sparta, the two men saw Helen dancing in the temple of the goddess Artemis; they were captivated by her childlike beauty and took the girl; after they had successfully escaped their pursuers, the two villains drew lots to see who would be allowed to marry Helen; the winner would help the loser find a wife; Theseus won the draw and his plan was to hide Helen with his mother until she was of marrying age.

Pirithous and Theseus went to the town of Aphidnus where they planned to kidnap the daughter of Aidoneus, Kore (Core); when Aidoneus realized what the two plotters were planning, he turned his dog loose on Pirithous; in this way, a man of renown and responsibility, died the death of a scoundrel.

His name may also be rendered as Pereithoos.


An ancient country in southern Asia Minor; their language was written in a script derived from the Greek alphabet but is now extinct and not known to be related to any other language.


The last tyrant of Greece; (?-527 BCE).

Pisistratus was the last tyrant of Athens to hold absolute power; the son of Hippokrates (Hippocrates) and a descendant of Neleus; he was named after one of the sons of the Greek hero, Nestor; his rule was tempered by the constitution instituted by Solon but he was considered to be a beneficent ruler and, despite his sometimes outrageous public posturing, he was instrumental in expanding the artistic and commercial life of the Athenians.

During the war with Megara (570 BCE) he achieved acclaim by capturing the port of Nisaea; in 560 BCE he and his supporters forcefully occupied the Akropolis (Acropolis) and he proclaimed himself tyrant; he was ousted from Athens in 559 after only one year.

The government in Athens suffered in his absence because of the infighting between the different political factions; one of the faction leaders offered Pisistratus his daughter in marriage if he would resume his leadership; this was, of course, not the majority opinion so Pisistratus devised a clever and, as the historian Herodotus puts it, a simple-minded way to make his return; in 550 BCE Pisistratus hired a stately woman named Phya to dress as Athene (Athena) and ride beside him on a chariot into Athens; heralds proceeded the chariot and proclaimed that Pisistratus was returning with the blessing of Athene; whether the citizens were fooled by this stunt is a matter of debate but his showmanship and audacity earned him the right to rule again.

After another year he was again exiled and did not return to Athens for another ten years; his next entrance into the city was not as flamboyant as his previous escapade but he managed to retain the rule of Athens from 539 until his death in 527 BCE.

During his rule he opened the Euxine (Black Sea) for Athenian traders, gave pensions to artists such as Simonides, instituted the Great Dionysia and gave new splendor to the Panathenaic Festival; his public works and beautification of Athens had a practical and altruistic effect on the citizens and elevated Athens to a new level of respect among all the people of Greece; after his death in 527 BCE, the rule of Athens fell into the indulgent and incompetent hands of his two sons, Hippias and Hipparkhus (Hipparchus).

This web site is entitled From The Iliad to the Fall of the Last Tyrant because the Immortals of Homer held absolute power over the Greeks until the death of Pisistratus; after Pisistratus, the government and people of Greece became more “liberal” and thus more disrespectful of the Immortals; the subsequent decline of their religion led to the eventual loss of dominance by Greece in the ancient world and opened the door for the rise of Rome, the subjugation of the Greek people and the belittlement of their institutions which had thrived for over eight hundred years.


A democratic statesman and reformer from Mytilene circa 650-570 BCE; he was always included as one of the Seven Sages by some historians which is an indication of his reputation throughout the ancient civilized world.


The king of Troezen and the father of Aethra, which made him the grandfather of Theseus.


The nymph who resisted the affection of Pan (the Goat-God) and was transformed into a pine tree.

Phaeo to Pitys

P to Peitho Pelasgians to Phaedrias Phaeo to Pitys Plataea to Polyphemos 2 Polyxena to Pyxis 2


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