Sack of Ilion to Seven Sages Seven Wonders of the World to Spartan Cipher Rod Sparti to Syrinx 2

Sparti to Syrinx 2


A group of fully armed warriors who sprang from the dragon’s teeth that Kadmus (Cadmus) planted at the advice of Athene (Athena).

When Kadmus founded the city of Thebes a dragon guarded the nearby spring; Kadmus killed the dragon and Athene knocked the teeth from the dead dragon’s head and gave half to Kadmus and the other half to king Aietes (Aeetes) of Kolkhis (Colchis).

Kadmus planted the teeth and Earthborn warriors rose from the ground; he induced a fight between the magical soldiers which sprang from the dragon’s teeth and finally only five remained alive; these survivors became the ancestors of noble families of Thebes.

When Iason (Jason) was trying to take possession of the Golden Fleece, he also had to fight the Earthborn soldiers.


A Spartan citizen; a member of the ruling class of ancient Lakonia (Laconia), i.e. Sparta.


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


A cave-like temple or tomb cut into rock; Speos = cave.


A monster which was usually represented as having the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle.

The Sphinx was seated on a rock outside the city of Thebes and posed a riddle to travelers as they passed; if they answered incorrectly, she killed them.

When Oedipus correctly answered her riddle she killed herself thus lifting the curse from Thebes; the riddle which Oedipus correctly answered was briefly referred to by the poet Hesiod in Works of Days (line 533) and was presumably: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs in the evening?; the answer is Man, that is, he crawls on all-fours as an infant, walks on two legs in his prime and walks with a cane in old age.

The Sphinx was referred to as Dog-Faced and the Claw-Foot Lady by Sophokles (Sophocles) in the play Oedipus Tyrannus; she was the offspring of the serpent, Ekhidna (Echidna) and the two-headed dog, Orthos; she was the sister of the Nemean Lion.

Sphinx Hill

A promontory near the city of Thebes named after the legendary creature that menaced the city until she was defeated by Oedipus.


Two groups of islands in the Aegean Sea; the Northern Sporades are near the coast of mainland Greece and directly north of the large island of Euboea; the Southern Sporades, which include the Dodekanese (Dodecanese), are located off the southwestern coast of Asia Minor.


A measure of distance, also called a Stadium or Stade; about 200 yards, i.e., 582.5 feet (177.5 meters).


An ancient town in northeastern Greece, in Makedon (Macedon) on the eastern Khalkidike (Chalcidice) Peninsula; the birthplace of Aristotle.


An storage jar having an oval body tapering at the base and two horizontal handles set on the shoulders.


Limos; Famine or Starvation; one of the sons of Eris (Discord).


Perhaps the author of the Kypria.

The Kypria was part of the Epic Cycle and has survived only in fragments; the original eleven books have been reduced to twenty two fragments which describe the Trojan War, the Judgment of Paris and other facts about the war and its participants; several of the fragments refer to the author as Stasinus but others note the author as either Homer or Hegesias.


The sister of the last Persian king, Darius III and the wife of Alexander the Great.

In 325 BCE, after his conquest of India, Alexander returned to the city of Babylon and tried to consolidate his power before going home to Greece; he actively tried to mix the Greeks with the Persians through marriage and shared authority; to demonstrate his intentions, he married Darius’ sister, Statira.


A unit of money, one gold stator was worth two silver drakhma (drachma); one drakhma was the fee for a fully equipped mercenary for one day.

Statue of Zeus

One of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Statue of Zeus was built as the centerpiece for the Temple of Zeus in the city of Olympia in the district of Elis on the Peloponnesian Peninsula; designed by the legendary sculptor, Phidias and constructed circa 435 BCE.

While it was still standing, the statue was described in detail by several travelers including Phylo of Byzantium and Pausanias; the statue was made of gold and ivory fashioned over a wooden frame (this type of ivory-gold construction is called chryselephantine); Zeus was seated on a throne with an olive garland and jeweled crown on his head; in his right hand he was holding the figure of the goddess Nike (Victory) and in his left hand was a scepter with an eagle perched on top; his robe was made of gold and decorated with figures of animals and white lilies.

The paving stones in front of the statue were black and there was a small moat filled with olive oil to preserve the ivory from the dankness of the temple’s interior; the statue was perhaps overlarge for the size of the room in which it was enthroned but it’s assumed that the proportions of the room and statue were deliberately designed to instill a sense of awe in the worshipers; the exact size of the statue is unknown but it can be assumed to have been at least 30-40 feet (9-12 meters) in height; the sculpture was dismantled circa 420 CE and removed to Constantinople where it was presumed to have survived for another fifty years.


An upright stone or column with an inscription; usually used as a monument or as a commemorative plaque on the face of a building.


One of the Titans, i.e. one of the children of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); one of the cyclops; he and his brothers, Brontes and Arges, forge the thunderbolts for Zeus.


A queen of Argos; the wife of Proetus and noted for her role in the banishment of Bellerophontes (Bellerophon).

Stheneboea tried to seduce Bellerophontes and when he refused her advances, she lied to her husband who tried and failed to have Bellerophontes killed; in The Iliad of Homer (book 6, line 150+) she is called Anteia but later versions of the story give her name as Stheneboea; her father was the ruler of Lykia (Lycia) and is not named in The Iliad but in later times he was called Iobates.

Sthenelos (1)

The son of Kapaneus (Capaneus); one of the co-commanders of the Greeks from Argos during the siege of Troy; Diomedes was the commander and Euryalos was the other co-commander.

Sthenelos (2)

The son of Aktor (Actor) who accompanied Herakles (Heracles) on his Ninth Labor, i.e. to Retrieve the Belt of the Amazon, Hippolyte.

Sthenelos died on the shores of the Euxine (Black Sea) before he could return home; when the Argonauts passed his burial mound, Persephone allowed his “shade” to rise from the Underworld and gaze upon the heroes and their ship; Orpheus dedicated his lyre to Sthenelos and, thereafter, the land was named Lyra.


One of the three sisters known as the Gorgons.

The Gorgons, with the exception of Medusa, were immortal creatures and all three were hideous to behold; Sthenno and her two sisters had snakes on their heads, about their wrists and around their waists; Sthenno and her sister, Euryale, gave chase to Perseus after he beheaded Medusa but could not catch him; the Gorgons were the daughters of Phorkys (Phorcys) and Keto (Ceto) and sisters of the Graiae (the Gray Sisters).

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


The school of philosophy founded by Zeno circa 300-315 BCE; Zeno taught that people should be free of passion, unmoved by joy or grief and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.


Various trees of the genus Styrax or Liquidambar which produce an aromatic resin; the historian, Herodotus, said that the Arabians burned storax in order to drive the flying serpents away from the frankincense plant so that they could harvest the profitable export.


The Logoi; Logoi can be translated as Lies, Stories or Fables but the meaning is clear no matter which name you choose for these sons of Eris (Discord).

Story of Oedipus

One of the fragmentary remains of the Epic Cycle.

There are only three fragments of this six thousand six hundred verse poem in existence and the fragments we possess are references to the poem and not excerpts from this lost epic.

According to these references, Oedipus’ children were born from a woman named Euryganeia and not by his mother, Iokaste (Jocasta). We are also informed that Haemon the son of Kreon (Creon) did not kill himself but was killed by the Sphinx.

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

Strait of Messina

A narrow passage of water separating Italy from the northeastern coast of the island of Sicily.

The strait separates the Ionian Sea from the Tyrrhenian Sea and derives its name from the Sicilian city, Messina, which was known in ancient times as Messana.


The name simply implies “a military commander.”

By circa 500 BCE the Athenians had ten Strategi elected from each of the “tribes” which represented their interests in military affairs and commanded a troop of hoplites; the Strategi were governed by a polemarch until it became obvious that such a system was inefficient; the command of the hoplites fell to taxiarchs and the overall supervision of the various military campaigns were assigned to specific Strategi.

In the late fifth century BCE there were two classifications of Strategi: one was elected by all the tribes as commander-in-chief and the other was chosen for command of specific military tasks.


One of the sons of Nestor and Eurydike (Eurydice); he and his brother, Ekhephron, participated in an animal sacrifice when Telemakhos (Telemachus) visited the home of Nestor.


Eris; the goddess of Discord or Strife; she is the daughter of Nyx (Night); the sister and companion of the god of War, Ares.

The children of Eris are:

  1. Algea (Pains),
  2. Amphillogias (Disputes),
  3. Androktasias (Manslaughters),
  4. Ate (Blindness),
  5. Dysnomia (Lawlessness),
  6. Horkos (Oath),
  7. Hysminai (Battles),
  8. Lethe (Forgetfulness),
  9. Limos (Starvation),
  10. Logoi (Lies),
  11. Makhai (Quarrels),
  12. Neikea (Grievances),
  13. Phonoi (Murders) and
  14. Ponos (Hardship).
  • Theogony, line 225+
  • Shield of Herakles, line 148
  • Strigil

    A curved scraper, usually of wood or bronze, used by the ancient Greeks to remove water or oil from the skin; the strigil was also used to remove sweat after athletic exercise.


    One of the six tribes that comprised the original Medes; the other five tribes were: Arizanti, Budii, Busae, Magi, and Paratakeni (Parataceni).


    A river god; 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.


    In classical architecture, the stylobate is the foundation on which a row of columns is placed.

    Stymphalian Birds

    A flock of predatory birds that inhabited Lake Stymphalus in Arkadia (Arcadia); the fierce birds were driven away and killed by Herakles (Heracles) as his Sixth Labor; also called the Stymphalosian Birds.

    For more detailed information on Herakles I suggest that you return to the Home Page of this site and consult the Immortals section of this site.


    Although she is often called The Oath River, Styx is actually an Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

    The Okeanids and the Rivers are of the same parents but the Okeanids are said to be a “race apart” or a “holy company.”

    Styx is also called The Hateful because she is the body of water in the Underworld over which the souls of the dead are ferried by Kharon (Charon) and by which the Immortals swear their most solemn oaths; when Zeus summoned the Immortals to help him defeat the Titans, Styx was the first to promise her aid and thus earned his eternal trust.

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

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

    Sunium (1)

    A city located on the southern tip of the peninsula of Attika (Attica) due south of Athens; the extreme end of the peninsula is known as Cape Sunium.

    Sunium (2)

    Cape Sunium; a cape in east-central Greece, southeast of Athens at the tip of the peninsula of Attika (Attica) in the western Aegean Sea; also called Kolonna (Colonna).

    Cape Sunium is the site of the Temple of Poseidon which sits at the extreme end of the cape; the temple, now in ruins, is on a sheer cliff several hundred feet above the sea and can easily be seen by approaching ships and from at least seven islands.


    A humble petitioner; in ancient Greece it was customary for a suppliant to kneel and grasp the knees of the person from which mercy or favors were desired.

    Suppliants (1)

    The Suppliants (Suppliant Women or Suppliant Maidens) is one of the seven surviving tragedies by the Athenian playwright, Aeskhylus (Aeschylus).

    The Supplicants is the story of Danaus and his fifty daughters after they had fled Egypt and went to Argos to seek sanctuary; they claimed that since the Greek maiden Io was their ancestor they should be granted the protection of the people of Argos; if they had stayed in Egypt they would have been forced to marry the sons of king Aegyptus who were their cousins; the people of Argos granted the women sanctuary and sent the herald of Aegyptus away empty-handed.

    If you wish to read this play I suggest The Complete Greek Tragedies, Aeschylus II, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, ISBN 0226307948; you can find this book at your library in the 800 section or you can order it through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to

    Suppliants (2)

    A tragedy by Euripides produced 423? BCE.

    I personally recommend the translations compiled by Richmond Lattimore and David Grene; you can find this and other plays by Euripides in the 882 section of your local library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to


    The ancient capital of the Persian Empire; located approximately 300 miles (483 kilometers) east of Babylon and 200 miles (322 kilometers) north of the Arabian Gulf.


    The bird which is often called the Daughter of Pandion, i.e. Prokne; the wailing of the swallow marked the beginning of Spring.

    Sword of Damokles
    Sword of Damocles

    An expression derived from an event which took place at the court of the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysus I.

    When Damokles was prattling about the tyrant’s good fortune, Dionysus placed Damokles under a sword that was suspended by a single hair to dramatically demonstrate the precarious nature of happiness; thus the phrase, The Sword of Damokles, implies that happiness is very tenuous and should be savored whenever it is experienced.


    Best known as the uncle and husband of Dido; after his marriage to Dido, he was murdered by her brother, Pygmalion.


    The brother of the notorious tyrant of the island of Samos, Polykrates (Polycrates).

    When Polykrates took control of Samos in 532 BCE, Syloson was given control of one third of the island; his other brother, Pantagnotus, also had one third of the island; Polykrates soon had Pantagnotus killed and Syloson banished.

    When the Persian king, Darius, invaded Samos after the death of Polykrates and placed Syloson in command of the island as one of his satraps; the subjugation of Samos went smoothly at first but when the islanders rose up in armed resistance to the Persian invaders, the Persians killed almost everyone on the island.


    A nymph of the air; a young Sylph is known as a Sylphid.


    A small island north of the island of Rhodes; now called Simi.

    Approximate east longitude 27.83 and north latitude 36.62.

    The Clashing Rocks

    The deadly rocks (or islands) which stood at the narrow passage between the Propontis (now called the Sea of Marmara) and the Euxine (Black Sea).

    The twin rocks were located near the entrance to the Euxine and would clash together whenever any living thing tried to pass between them; when the Argonauts were on their way to Kolkhis (Colchis) to retrieve the Golden Fleece, they were forced to negotiate the formidable Clashing Rocks, which were also called the Kyanean (Cyanean), i.e. Dark-Rocks.

    The blind prophet, Phineus, told the Argonauts to send a dove through the rocks before they attempted to sail their ship through; if the dove survived, it would be safe for their ship, the Argo, to proceed; the dove made it through the Clashing Rocks with only the loss of its tail feathers and the Argo sailed boldly into the passage; Athene held back one of the rocks with one hand and pushed the Argo through with the other; after the Argo survived the Clashing Rocks they became stationary islands and never menaced sailors again.


    The Greek city on the southeastern coast of the island of Sicily.

    The city was first settled by colonists from the Greek city of Korinth (Corinth) circa 734 BCE; the city was a frequent battleground because of its strategic location and suffered invasion from the Carthaginians as well as other Greek nations; Syracuse was the birthplace the Greek mathematician, astronomer, physicist and renowned inventor, Arkhimedes (Archimedes).

    Approximate east longitude 15.18 and north latitude 37.04.

    Syria (1)

    In ancient times the actual boundaries of Syria were unclear but we do know that prior to 500 BCE Syria was ruled by the Medes and after 500 it was ruled by the Persians; the Greeks called the inhabitants of Syria, Kappadokians (Cappadocians); ancient Syria was probably much more narrow and located farther north than modern Syria.

    Syria (2)

    The island home of Eumaios (Eumaeus), the swineherd of Odysseus.

    Syria was near the island of Ortygia and the inhabitants of Syria lived long and peaceful lives; when the inhabitants reached old age, Apollon and Artemis killed them with painless arrows; Eumaios was kidnapped by traders when he was a young boy and eventually sold into slavery to Odysseus’ father, Laertes.

    Syrinx (1)

    A nymph who was loved by the Goat-God, Pan, and was turned into a reed so that she might escape him.

    Syrinx (2)

    The seven reed pipe that played by the Goat-God, Pan; also called a Pan-Pipe; named after the nymph, Syrinx.

    Sparti to Syrinx 2

    Sack of Ilion to Seven Sages Seven Wonders of the World to Spartan Cipher Rod Sparti to Syrinx 2


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