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CECROPS
Form: Gr. Kekrops.
One of the aborigines of Attica, and as such represented with a human body ending in a serpent (see cut). In the later story he was erroneously represented as having come to Attica from Sais in Egypt. He was said to have been the first king of Attica, which was called after him Cecropia. He divided the rude inhabitants into twelve communities, founded the stronghold of Athens, which was called Cecropia after him, and introduced the elements of civilization, the laws of marriage and property, the earliest political arrangements, and the earliest religious services, notably those of Zeus and Athene. When Poseidon and Athene were contending for the possession of the land, Poseidon struck the rock of the acropolis with his trident, and water (or, according to another story, the horse) sprang forth; but Athene planted the first olive tree. Cecrops, on being called in to decide between them, gave judgment in favour of the goddess, as having conferred on the land the more serviceable gift. Cecrops had four children by his wife Agraulos: a son Ervsichthon, who died childless, and three daughters, Agraulos, Herse, and Pandrosos. The names of the last two show them to be the deities of the fertilizing dew; and indeed the three were regarded as in the service of Athene, and as giving fruitfulness to the fields. Pandrosos was Athene's first priestess. She had a shrine of her own (Pandroseum) in the temple of Erechtheus on the acropolis, and was invoked in times of drought with the two Attic Horae, Thallo and Carpo (see ERECHTHEUM). In her temple stood the sacred olive which Athene had created.
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