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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > T to Theban Plays
T to Theban Plays Thebe to Thrasymedes Thriambos to Tyrtaeus
Tau; the uppercase form of the nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet; lower case: τ.
The name of Histia (Hestia) (goddess of the hearth) in Skythia (Scythia).
In the Histories, the historian Herodotus tells the story of how the Persian ruler, Kambyses (Cambyses) sent spies to Ethiopia to see if the Table of the Sun actually existed.
According to legend, the Table of the Sun was a meadow where the Ethiopians in authority would nightly bring the boiled meat of every four-legged animal and leave it for anyone who wanted to eat it; the legend also said that the food was actually renewed, not by the Ethiopians, but by the earth itself.
Mount Taenarum; home of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) in Spartan territory according to Aristophanes in the play The Akharnians (Acharnians).
The Taking of Oekhalia is one of the fragmentary remains of the Homerica.
There are too few fragments to tell the story in a poetic fashion but the plot and outcome have been pieced together from extant artwork; the prince of Oekhalia, Eurytus, was seeking a manly husband for his daughter, Iole; Eurytus devised an archery competition in which the winner would marry the fair Iole; Herakles (Heracles), as subtle with his bow as he was brutal with his club, entered the contest and won; Eurytus must have known that Herakles was presumed to have murdered his first wife, Megara, so it’s difficult to blame Eurytus when he refused to allow Iole to marry Herakles; with no hesitation, Herakles killed Eurytus and his sons and, to add to Iole’s dishonor and sorrow, Herakles took her as his mistress instead of his wife.
For the complete translations of what remains 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 Amazon.com.
He and Lysimakhe (Lysimache) were the parents of the mythical king of Argos, Adrastus, who was with the Epigoni in their conquest of the city of Thebes.
Talaos, Leodokos (Leodocos) and Areios were the sons of Bias and Pero; all three brothers were Argonauts.
A unit of money, about 57 pounds of gold, 1 talent = 60 minas.
The nephew of the master-builder, Daedalus, who was killed because Daedalus was afraid that Talos’ skill as an inventor would exceed his own; Talos was either thrown from the Akropolis (Acropolis) or into the sea; his uncle Daedalus was condemned by the Areopagus and forced to flee Athens.
The last of the race of beings born from the ash-tree; he was placed on the island of Crete by Zeus to guard the maiden Europa.
Talos was made almost entirely of brass and would pace around the island three times a day; on the back of his ankles was a thinly covered vein which carried the fluid of life through his otherwise invulnerable brass body.
When the Argonauts came to Crete they were in desperate need of harbor but they did not dare confront Talos in battle; the priestess of Hekate (Hecate), Medea, insisted that she could defeat Talos with her magic so she was put ashore while the sailors rowed the Argo beyond the range of the boulders that Talos was throwing at them.
Medea called upon the death-spirits (which are also called the Hounds of Hades) which constantly hover in the air all around us and swoop down on living creatures at the behest of the Immortals; the spells that Medea wove caused Talos to become confused and hallucinations clouded his vision; he stumbled onto the jagged rocks on the shore and gashed the thin skin of his ankle and the blood-like ikhor (ichor) began to flow from his gigantic brass body; finally he toppled like a felled tree.
A town in ancient Boeotia on the plain south of the town of Delium; the site of the Spartan victory over the Athenians in 457 BCE during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).
Small terra-cotta statuettes produced from the late fourth to the third century BCE in Tanagra, Boeotia; found mostly in tombs.
The son of Zeus and the father of Pelops and Niobe; his transgressions against the Olympians earned his eternal punishment by Hades (lord of the Underworld) by being placed in a pool of water from which he could never drink and under a fruit tree from which he could never eat.
Tantalus either tried to steal the food of the Immortals or he killed his son, Pelops, and served the flesh to the Olympians; another version of his punishment is given in the fragmentary remains of the Returns; he was permitted to live with the Immortals and allowed to ask for anything he desired; his pleasures were so self-indulgent that Zeus surrounded him with earthly pleasures and placed a giant stone over his head to prevent him from enjoying them.
A division of the Greeks from a non-specific location; the swineherd of Odysseus, Eumaios, owned a man named Mesaulios who was a Taphian; during the siege of Troy, the Greek captain, Mentes, was a Taphian.
A fortified seaport in southeastern Italy on the Gulf of Taranto on the western side of the “boot heel”; founded by the Greeks in the eighth century BCE.
A name for the city of Sardis; an ancient city in western Asia Minor; the capital of ancient Lydia.
One of the four original Immortals; the Underworld; the sunless abyss in which Zeus imprisoned the Titans; a place for the punishment of the wicked after death; mated with Gaia (Earth) Tartaros was the father of Typhoeus.
The nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet; upper case: Τ; lower case: τ.
A part of the Skythian (Scythian) nation but a separate and distinct tribe from the Skythians; they occupied a peninsula south of the mouth of the Ister (Danube) river.
Tauris is most famous as the sanctuary of Iphigenia after she was saved by the goddess, Artemis, and transported there from the island of Aulis.
Iphigenia’s father, Agamemnon, offended Artemis and the goddess would not let the Greeks sail from Aulis without a sacrifice; Agamemnon was advised to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia; when Iphigenia was placed on the altar, Artemis substituted a stag and saved Iphigenia from a cruel death.
Iphigenia became the priestess of Artemis in Tauris until she was found by her brother Orestes and returned to Greece.
The inhabitants of Tauris were depicted as rather barbaric by the historian Herodotus; they lived by plunder and decapitated enemies or shipwrecked sailors; their only worship was of Artemis.
In ancient Athens a Taxiarkh was the commander of a regiment of hoplites, i.e. appropriately 1,300 men.
One of the seven daughters of Atlas known as the Pleiades.
The hunter, Orion, relentlessly pursued the girls until they were changed into pigeons by Zeus and eventually put into the night sky as a constellation; her sisters are: Alkyone (Alcyone), Asterope, Elektra (Electra), Kelaeno (Celaeno), Maia and Merope.
An ancient Greek city in southeastern Arkadia (Arcadia) on the Peloponnesian Peninsula north of the city of Sparta and southwest of the city of Argos.
A blind prophet, usually said to have been blinded because he saw the goddess Athene (Athena) bathing and then to have been awarded the gift of prophecy as a consolation for his blindness.
Teiresias was from the city of Thebes and played a major role in the story of Oedipus; when Oedipus asked him how to lift the pestilence from Thebes, Teiresias replied that Oedipus was the cause of all their problems; this answer almost cost Teiresias his life but Oedipus had sympathy for Teiresias’ age and blindness and spared him.
After Oedipus was dead, Teiresias wanted to protect Oedipus’ children and warned king Kreon (Creon) not to punish Antigone for giving her brother, Polynikes (Polynices), a proper burial.
After Teiresias was dead, the nymph, Kirke (Circe), advised Odysseus to go to the entrance to the Underworld evoke the “shade” of Teiresias so that he might tell Odysseus how to find his way home; Teiresias told Odysseus that his homecoming would be fraught with hardships but that he would eventually overcome the wrath of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and return to his home on the island of Ithaka (Ithaca).
The grandson of Zeus and Aegina; most notably, the father of Aias (Ajax) and Teuker (Teucer); he was the brother of Peleus and half brother of Phokos (Phocos).
Telamon and his brother, Peleus, had killed their half-brother, Phokos, and were driven from their home on the island of Aegina; the two brothers went their separate ways until they both answered the summons of Iason (Jason) and joined the crew of the Argo as Argonauts.
When the Argonauts were on their way to Kolkhis (Colchis), Herakles (Heracles) and Polyphemos (Polyphemus) left the crew of the Argo to search for their lost companion, Hylas; when the ship set sail without them, Telamon denounced Iason (Jason) and demanded that the Argo turn back and find their shipmates; at this moment, the half-man, half-fish seer, Glaukos (Glaucus) rose from the sea and told the Argonauts to sail on; he assured them that the will of Zeus had been done and that their companions were destined for a fate other than the retrieval of the Golden Fleece.
Telamon also took part in the Kalydonian (Calydonian) Hunt.
A Greek hero of the Trojan War who rescued the body of Akhilleus (Achilles) and later disgraced himself because of jealousy when Odysseus was awarded the armor of the fallen Akhilleus.
Telegonos, Agrios and Latinos were the sons of the nymph, Kirke (Circe) and Odysseus.
The seventh Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled circa 760-740 BCE.
Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of king Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of king Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).
Very little is known about Teleklos and the dates given for his rule are extrapolations and should be used only as approximations.
The son of Odysseus and Penelope; when his father returned home after a twenty year absence, Telemakhos helped him kill the suitors of Penelope; he is also reputed to have married the nymph, Kirke (Circe).
His name may also be rendered as Telemakhus or Telemachus.
One of the four ancient tribes of Ionia; their name means Farmers; the other tribes were known as: Aigikoreis (Aigicoreis) (Goat-Herds or Goat-Feeders); Oplites (Hoplites) (Men in Armor); and Argadeis (Workmen or Laborers).
The son of Herakles (Heracles) and Auge.
When the Greeks left the island of Aulis to sack Troy, they became lost and attacked the city of Teuthrania by mistake; Telephus defended Teuthrania and killed Thersandros and was wounded by Akhilleus (Achilles); Akhilleus agreed to heal Telephus’ wounds if he would assist the Greeks by leading them to Troy; Telephus accompanied the Greeks back to Argos and, in accordance with the advice of an oracle, led the Greeks to Troy but refused to fight the Trojans because he was a blood relative of king Priam.
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.
The nine dog-headed sea monsters who, as great artisans, crafted the sickle of Zeus and the trident of Poseidon (lord of the Sea).
A small island in the Mediterranean Sea northwest of the island of Rhodes; also spelled Tilos.
The Aristotelian “final cause”; the end term of a goal-directed process; telos = end; teleios = perfected.
An area of land which was dedicated to the Immortals and not to be used for “profane” purposes; a precinct used as the site of temples and groves because it was sacred to the Immortals.
A son of Aristomakhos (Aristomachus) who was allotted the city of Argos because he was one of the descendants of Herakles (Heracles).
A valley in eastern Greece in Thessaly between Mount Olympos (Olympus) and Mount Ossa; called the Vale of Tempe.
A temple at the city of Korinth (Corinth) constructed in the mid-sixth century BCE in honor of Apollon.
A temple in honor of Apollon at Bassae on the Peloponnesian Peninsula attributed to Iktinus (Ictinus) during the second half of the fifth century BCE; Epikourios refers to Apollon in the form of a young man or perhaps Young Apollon.
One of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Six of the ancient wonders were constructed by the Greeks and the most amazing of the Greek structures was The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; constructed at the city of Ephesus in Asia Minor, circa 356 BCE, under the supervision of the engineer/architect Khersiphron (Chersiphron).
The temple was gigantic by Greek standards and was larger than the Parthenon at Athens or the Temple of Zeus at Olympia; the site of the temple was once occupied by another, smaller, temple but the original structure was utterly destroyed in 356 BCE by fire when a man named Herostratus set fire to the wooden roof; the flames were so intense that the building, although made of marble, was ruined; Herostratus is reputed to have bragged that he would be remembered long after the men who had built the temple had been forgotten.
The new temple was constructed on the same site and, although the proposed design was traditional, the scope and budget surpassed any previous construction project except for those in Egypt and Babylon; the new temple was a massive structure and measured 425 feet (130 meters) in length and 225 feet (78 meters) wide; the 60 foot columns were set on a 10 foot base and surmounted by a wooden roof that added another 20 feet (6 meters) to the overall height; the base of the temple had fourteen pairs of columns on each side and six pairs on each end.
A gold and ivory statue of Artemis was the centerpiece of the temple but there were numerous other statues decorating the interior and exterior; the building was surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and glades full of wild beasts suitable for the habitat of the Goddess of the Hunt, Artemis.
The temple supported a large staff of musicians as well as a choir and was well financed by Persian and Greek benefactors; the temple was a magnet for travelers and pilgrims not only because of its grandiose beauty but also because of its location in Asia Minor rather than on the Greek mainland; Persians, Greeks and Europeans revered the goddess, Artemis, and found a commonality in her worship.
The city of Ephesus was devoted to the goddess and each spring there was a festival in her honor where contributions of jewels, gold, silver, silk and other valuable gifts were presented to the priests and priestesses of the goddess; the city of Ephesus and the temple were plundered in 262 CE by the Goths and, as a result, the temple was rebuilt but never restored to its former grandeur; finally, in 401 CE, the Patriarch of Constantinople supervised the utter destruction of the temple; the remaining temple artifacts were looted and the massive stones were used to build churches and civic buildings.
After hundreds of years of peaceful splendor, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus became relegated to the mist of legend and the once powerful symbol of Greek culture was doomed to be lost in time until the ruins were finally excavated in 1858 CE by the English engineer, John T. Wood.
A temple at Delphi dedicated to Athene (Athena); the term Pronaos indicates that the statue of the goddess stood in front of the temple instead of being inside the structure.
The Temple of Zeus at Olympia housed the famous Statue of Zeus which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The temple was constructed circa 435 BCE and designed specifically to house the 30-40 foot chryselephantine Statue of Zeus; the temple was in the Doric style with a colonnade that led to the statue; the temple was decorated with smaller bronze statues of heroes, shields that were carried by the Olympic contestants and the symbolic victory-horses of Kyniska; there was also a winding stairway leading to the roof; the temple was deliberately designed to instill a sense of awe in the worshipers and give the enclosed statue a grandiose proportion that would reflect the grand scale and majesty of the king of the Olympians.
The temple faced the east and would have presumably allowed the morning light to illuminate the gold and ivory which encased the Statue of Zeus in the otherwise dark interior; there were also altars for Zeus on the north and south sides of the temple.
A Temple of Hera and the various treasuries were located to the north of the temple at the foot of the Hill of Kronos (Cronos); the Olympic stadium and the race course were to the front, i.e., on the eastern side of the temple; the temple was approximately 197 x 98 feet (60 x 30 meters); the entire complex covers an area approximately 1,968 x 984 feet (600 x 300 meters).
An island in the Aegean Sea near the entrance to the Dardanelles.
The island is now called Bozcaada; with an area of 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) it is a relatively small island approximately 16 miles (26 kilometers) south of the Dardanelles and in close proximity to the city of Troy.
When the Greek fleet was sailing to Troy, they stopped at Tenedos; while feasting, one of the Greek soldiers, Philoktetes (Philoktetes), was bitten by a venomous snake; Philoktetes was taken to the island of Lemnos and left until his wound could heal while the others went on to attack Troy.
When the Greeks plundered Tenedos, a woman named Hekamede (Hecamede) was taken by Akhilleus (Achilles) as a slave and given to the old warrior, Nestor.
During the Trojan War, Poseidon (lord of the Sea) hid his chariot in a cave between the islands of Tenedos and Imbros.
After ten years of bitter fighting, Troy was still un-assailed and the Greeks were in turmoil; the god, Apollon (Apollo) was punishing the Greeks for their ill treatment of his priest, Khryses (Chryses), and when Khryses prayed to Apollon he referred to the god as the lord of Tenedos.
After the Greeks had reduced Troy to ashes, they made preparations to return the their homes; the Greek commander, Agamemnon, stayed at Troy and tried, unsuccessfully, to appease the goddess Athene (Athena) with sacrifices for the desecration of her temple but others left Troy as quickly as possible and made their sacrifices on Tenedos.
In historical times, while putting down the revolt of the Greek colonies in Ionia, the Persian king, Darius, sent his fleet to Tenedos and used a method called “netting” to capture and enslave the inhabitants; netting was a successful maneuver that the Persians used exclusively on islands; the Persian soldiers would join hands and march from one side of an island to the other and snare all the inhabitants regardless of where they were hiding.
Fifteen years later, when the Persians were preparing to invade Greece (circa 480 BCE), the people of Tenedos, having only one city on the island, were not threatened by the Persian king Kyrus (Cyrus) because he did not see them as an asset or an enemy.
Approximate east longitude 26.04 and north latitude 39.50.
A small Greek island in the Kyklades (Cyclades) group in the Aegean Sea; southeast of the island of Andros; 74 square miles (192 square kilometers) in area.
Approximate east longitude 25.10 and north latitude 37.64.
A Greek city on the Ionian coast of Asia Minor in Lydia; located near site of the modern city of Seferihisar, Turkey.
Approximate east longitude 26.51 and north latitude 38.11.
The king of Thrake (Thrace) and the husband of Prokne (Procne).
Prokne and her sister, Philomela, were Athenian princesses and the daughters of Pandion; Prokne married Tereus but his cruelty towards Philomela caused all three of them to surrender their humanity and be transformed into various birds; 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 a secret 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 her son, Itys, and served the cooked body of the child to 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; Tereus is one of the main characters in the play, Birds, by Aristophanes.
(fl. early seventh century BCE) A musical composer from the island of Lesbos noted for the martial song The Orthian (The Soldiers Song) according to Aristophanes in play The Akharnians (Acharnians).
One of the nine Muses; the Dance-Enjoying; she and the river, Akhelous (Achelous), were the parents of the Sirens.
For more information on the Muses I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.
A Titan, i.e. one of the daughters of Ouranos (the Heavens) and Gaia (Earth); she is the wife of Okeanos (Ocean) and the mother of the Okeanids and the Rivers.
A silver coin of ancient Greece equal to four drakhma (drachmas); one drakhma was the fee for a fully equipped mercenary for one day; also spelled Tetradrakhm.
The illegitimate son of Telamon and Hesione; the half-brother of Aias (Ajax).
After the fall of Troy, Teuker escaped death at sea after a heroic swim to safety; he became too boastful of his assumed charmed life and was thrown into the sea by Poseidon (lord of the Sea) where he died.
Another version of his life must have been circulated in ancient Greece because in the play, Helen by Euripides, we learn that Teuker survived the Trojan War and was briefly stranded in Egypt; after leaving Egypt, he went to the island of Cyprus and founded a city which he named after his home, Salamis.
His name may also by rendered as Teukros or Teucros.
A king of the region where the city of Troy was eventually built; Dardanos (Dardanus) married Teuker’s daughter.
His name may also be rendered as Teukros or Teucros.
An ancient city in Asia Minor in the district of Mysia; located approximately 16 miles (26 kilometers) inland on the Kaikos (Caicus) river.
When the Greeks sailed from the island of Aulis to capture Troy, the fleet became lost and they attacked the city of Teuthrania instead of Troy; they sacked the city and then returned to Aulis to prepare for another attempt at finding Troy.
During the battle for Teuthrania, a captive was taken named Telephus; Akhilleus (Achilles) wounded and healed Telephus and, doing the will of an oracle, Telephus became the Greek’s guide so that they could find Troy.
Two generations later, the name of the city was changed to Pergamum by Pergamus, a grandson of Akhilleus (Achilles), after he captured the city; now known as Bergama, in western Turkey; the Kaikos river is now called the Bakir.
The husband of Auge and the step-father of Telephus; founder of the city of Teuthrania in Asia Minor on the Kaikos (Caicus) river in the district of Mysia.
(fl. late fourth century BCE) An Athenian courtesan; mistress of Alexander the Great and Ptolemy I.
The oarsmen on a trireme (warship) who occupied the lowest bench and thus had the shortest oar and the lowest pay.
The personification of the Sea.
(circa 640-546 BCE) An early sixth century BCE Greek scientist from Miletus in Asia Minor.
Thales is purported to have founded the first Greek school of philosophy and taught that water was the essence of all things; Thales was always included as one of the Seven Sages.
In 591 BCE the Lydians and the Medes went to war over possession of Skythia (Scythia); during a battle on May 28, 585 BCE an eclipse took place and both armies decided to broker a peace rather than continue the war; Thales had predicted the eclipse and became the first man in history to make such a prediction.
One of the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome; one of the Graces (Charities); her name literally means the Blooming One or Abundance; her sisters are: Aglaia and Euphrosyne.
One of the nine Muses; the Blooming One.
Literally, the Sea; Homer used the word to mean the Mediterranean Sea specifically.
A well of salt water on the Akropolis (Acropolis) at Athens; said to have been created by a stroke from the trident of Poseidon (lord of the Sea).
Death; a child of Nyx (Night).
In the poem, Theogony, he is described as: horrible, painful, cruel, brooding, mocking and malignant; Helios (the Sun) never casts his light on Thanatos; his heart is made of pitiless iron, when he takes hold of you, the world of light ceases to be.
For more detailed information on Thanatos I suggest that you consult the Immortals section of this site.
The festival of Apollon and Artemis in Athens held in the eleventh month of the year which would correspond to mid-May to mid-June of our calendar.
A Greek island in the northern-most part of the Aegean Sea, south of the province of Thrake (Thrace); 170 square miles (440 square kilometers) in area.
Approximate east longitude 24.42 and north latitude 40.47.
A son of Pontus (the Sea) and Gaia (Earth); the brother of Phorkys (Phorcys), Keto (Ceto) and Eurybia; the father of Iris and Arke (Arce).
Also, with Elektra (Electra) he fathered Iris and the winged-women known as the Harpies, i.e. Aello and Okypete (Ocypete).
The title of a goddess; when used in the plural it denoted Demeter and her daughter, Persephone.
A structure built long after most of the other buildings on the Akropolis (Acropolis) but significant because of its sponsor, Herodes Attikus (101-177 CE); he used his family fortune to restore some of the glory that time and vandals had robbed from the buildings and temples of the city of Athens.
The Thebaid or the Theban Cycle; one of the fragmentary remains of the Epic Cycle; originally a seven thousand verse poem which told the story of Oedipus which is now lost.
For the complete translations of the Epic Cycle I recommend the Loeb Classical Library volume 57, ISBN 0674990633; you can sometimes find this book at the library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The Theban Cycle; one of the fragmentary remains of the Epic Cycle; another name for the Thebaid (see above).
For the complete translations of the Epic Cycle I recommend the Loeb Classical Library volume 57, ISBN 0674990633; you can sometimes find this book at the library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
The name The Theban Plays is a modern grouping of three of plays by Sophokles (Sophocles); the plays include: Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Kolonus (Colonus) and Antigone.
The plays deal with the life and death of Oedipus and the fate of his children: Eteokles (Eteocles), Polynikes (Polynices), Ismene and Antigone.
I recommend the Penguin Classics book The Theban Plays translated by E. F. Watling (ISBN 0140440038); you can find these plays at your local library or you can order them through the Book Shop on this site which is linked to Amazon.com.
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