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PHINEUS 100.00%
Son of Belus, and brother of Cepheus. He contested against Perseus the possession of Andromeda (q.v.), who had previously been his betrothed. He was turned into stone by Perseus by means of the head of Medusa.
 
PERSEUS 100.00%
Son of Zeus and Danae, grandson of Acrisius (q.v.). An oracle had declared that Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, would give birth to a son who would kill his grandfather. Acrisius committed Perseus with his mother to the sea in a wooden box, which was carried by the waves to the isle of Seriphus. Here the honest fisherman Dictys son of Magnes (See AeOLUS, 1) brought it to land with his net, and took care of mother and child. Dictys' brother Polydectes, however, the king of the island, conceived a passion for the fair Danae, and finding the son in the way, betrayed the young Perseus, who was now grown out of boyhood, into promising, on the occasion of a banquet, to do anything for him, even should he order the head of Medusa, and held him to his word. Encouraged and assisted by Athene and Hermes, Perseus reached the Graiae (q.v.), in the farthest part of Libya; and by capturing the single eye and tooth which they possessed in common, compelled them to show him the way to their sisters the Gorgons (q.v.). He also made them equip him for the undertaking with the winged sandals, the magic bag, and the helmet of Hades, which made the wearer invisible. Hermes added to these a sharp sword shaped like a sickle. Thus provided, he flew to the Gorgons on the shores of Oceanus, found them asleep, and, since their glance turned the beholder to stone, with face averted smote and cut off Medusa's head, which Athens showed him in the mirror of her shield, while she guided his hand for the blow. He thrust it quickly into his bag, and flew off through the air, pursued by the other two Gorgons; but, by virtue of his helmet, he escaped them, and came in his flight to Aethiopia. Here he rescued Andromeda (q.v.), and won her as his bride. Returning with her to Seriphus, he avenged his mother for the importunities of Polydectes by turning the king and his friends into stone by the sight of Medusa's head; set Dictys on the throne of the island; gave up the presents of the, Graiae to Hermes, who restored them; and presented the Gorgon's head to Athene, who set it in the middle of her shield or breastplate. Then he returned with his mother and wife to Argos. But before his arrival Acrisius bad gone away to Larissa in Thessaly, and here Perseus unwittingly killed him with a discus at the funeral games held in honour of the king of that country. He duly buried the body of his grandfather, but, being unwilling to succeed to his inheritance, effected an exchange with Megapenthes, his uncle Proetus' son, took Tiryns in exchange for Argos and built Midea and Mycenae. By Andromeda he had one daughter, Gorgophone, and six sons. The eldest, Perses, was regarded as the ancestor of the Persians; Alcaeus, Sthenelus, and Electryon were the fathers respectively of Amphitryon, Eurystheus, and Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. Perseus had a shrine (heroon) on the road between Argos and Mycenae, and was worshipped with divine honours in Seriphus and Athens.
 
STHENELUS 80.92%
Son of Perseus and Andromeda, and father of Eurystheus. (Cp. AMPHITRYON.)
 
MEDUSA 79.67%
One of the Gorgons, whose head was out off by Perseus (q.v.). (See also GORGO.)
 
DANAE 75.13%
The daughter of Acrisius of Argos, who was shut up in a brazen tower by her father in consequence of an oracle which predicted that death would come to him from his daughter's son. Nevertheless, she bore to Zeus a son, Perseus, the god having visited her in the form of a shower of gold. She was then shut up with her son in a chest and thrown into the sea. Driven by the waves on to the island of Seriphos, she was kindly received by a fisherman named Dictys. His brother, Polydectes, the king of the island, wished to force her to marry him, but her son Perseus delivered her from him, and took her back to Greece. (See PERSEUS.)
 
ELECTRYON 70.02%
Son of Perseus and Andromeda, king of Mycenae, father of Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. (See AMPHITRYON
 
DICTYS 62.94%
A poor fisherman on the island of Seriphus, who gave welcome to Danae and her son Perseus.
 
ANDROMEDA 61.29%
Daughter of the Aethiopian king Cepheus (a son of Belus) by Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia had boasted of being fairer than the Nereids, and Poseidon to punish the profanity, sent a flood and a sea-monster. As the oracle of Ammon promised a riddance of the plague should Andromeda be thrown to the monster, Cepheus was compelled to chain his daughter to a rock on the shore. At this moment of distress Perseus appears, and rescues her, her father having promised her to him in marriage. At the wedding a violent quarrel arises between the king's brother, Phineus, to whom she had been betrothed before, and Perseus, who turns his rival into stone with the Gorgon's head. Andromeda follows Perseus to Argos, and becomes ancestress of the famous line of Perseidae. Athena set her among the stars.
 
POLYDECTES 52.74%
Son of Magnes, king of the island of Seriphus; attempted to compel Danae to marry him, but was turned into a stone by her son Perseus (q.v. ) by the sight of the head of Medusa.
 
ACRISIUS 52.70%
King of Argos, great-grandson of Danaus, son of Abas, and brother of Proetus. An oracle having declared that a son of his daughter Danae would take his life, he shuts her up in a brazen tower; but Zeus falls into her lap in the shape of a shower of gold, and she bears a son named Perseus. Then mother and child are put in a wooden box and thrown into the sea, but they drift to the island of Seriphus, and are kindly received. Perseus, having grown into a hero, sets out with his mother to seek Acrisius, who has fled from Argos for fear of the oracle coming true; he finds him at Larissa, in Thessaly, and kills him unawares with a discus.
 
EURYSTHEUS 36.07%
Son of Sthenelus and Nioippe. (See PERSEUS.) He was king of Mycenae, and through the cunning of Hera got power over Heracles, and imposed upon him the celebrated twelve labours. In pursuing the children of Heracles, and attempting to bring about by force their expulsion from Attica, he was defeated and slain in his flight by Hyllus. (See HYLLUS.)
 
GRAIAE 25.60%
i.e. the gray-haired women, were in Greek mythology, the protectresses of the Gorgons, and, like them, the daughters of Keto and Phorcys, the aged god of the seas. Hesiod knows of only two, Pephredo and Enyo; the later story adds a third, Deino. Their very names suggest panic and terror, Born with gray hair, and having only one eye and tooth between them, which they pass from one to the other, they are the very personifications of old age. Perseus found it easy to rob them of their tooth. Their dwelling-place was in the boundary of the Gorgonian plain at the farthest end of Libya, where no sun or moon ever shone.
 
PROETUS 23.93%
Son of Abas of Argos, and twin brother of Acrisius. Expelled from his home by his brother, he fled to the king of the Lycians, Iobates, who gave him in marriage his daughter Anteia (in the tragedians, Stenoboea), and compelled Acrisius to resign in his favour the sovereignty of Tiryns. Here the Cyclopes built him a town of impregnable strength. His daughters were punished with madness either for their opposition to the worship of Dionysus or (according to another account) for their disrespect for Hera. This madness spread to the other women of the land, and was only cured by the interposition of Melampus (q.v.). His son Megapenthes exchanged with Perseus the rule of Tiryns for that of Argos. (Cp. BELLEROPHON.)
 
GORGO 19.44%
Homer makes mention of the terrible head of the Gorgon, a formidable monster. This head is a terror in Hades, and in the aegis or breastplate of Zeus. Hesiod speaks of three Gorgons; Stheno (the mighty), Euryale (the widewandering), and Medusa (the queen). They are the daughters of the aged sea-god Phorcys and Keto, and sisters of the Graiae (see GRAIAe). They dwell on the farthest shore of Ocean, in the neighbourhood of Night and of the Hesperides. They are awful beings, with hair and girdles of snakes, whose look turns the beholder to stone. They are also often represented with golden wings, brazen claws, and enormous teeth. Medusa is mortal, but the other two immortal. When Perseus cuts off Medusa's head, Chrysaor and the winged horse Pegasus, with whom she was with child by Poseidon, spring forth from the streaming blood. The head was given by Perseus to Athene, who set it in her shield. Heracles received a lock of the hair from Athens as a present. When endeavouring to persuade Cephalus of Tegea to take part in his expedition against Hippocoon of Sparta, the king represented that he feared an attack from his enemies the Argives in Heracles' absence. Heracles accordingly gave to Sterope, the daughter of Cephalus, the lock of Medusa's hair in a brazen urn, bidding her, in case the enemy approached, to avert her head and hold it three times over the walls, for the mere aspect of it would turn the enemy to flight. In consequence of the belief in this power of the Gorgon's head, or Gorgoneion, to paralyse and terrify an enemy, the Greeks carved images of it in its most terrifying forms, not only on armour of all sorts, especially shields and breastplates, but also on walls and gates (see fig. 1). Thus, on the south wall of the Athenian Acropolis, a large gilded Gorgoneion was set on an oegis [Pausanias, i 21 § 4]. In the popular belief the Gorgon's head was also a means of protection against all enchantment, whether of word or act, and we thus find it throughout Greek history employed as a powerful amulet, and often carved with graceful settings on decorative furniture and costly ornaments. But the Greek artists, with their native sense of beauty, knew, even in the case of the Gorgon, how to give adequate expression to the idea which lay at the root of the story. The story said that Medusa had been a fair maiden, whose luxuriant hair had been turned by Athens into snakes in revenge for the desecration of her sanctuary. Accordingly the head of Medusa is represented in works of art with a countenance of touching beauty, and a wealth of hair wreathed with snakes. The face was imagined as itself in the stillness of death, and thus bearing the power to turn the living to stone. The most beautiful surviving instance of this conception is the Rondanini Medusa now at Munich (fig. 2).
 
ATLAS 15.11%
The son of the Titan Iapetus and Clymene (or, according to anotlier account, Asia), brother of Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus. In Homer [Od. i. 52] he is called "the thinker of mischief," who knows the depths of the whole sea, and has under his care the pillars which hold heaven and earth asunder. In Hesiod [Theog. 517] he stands at the western end of the earth, near where the Hesperides dwell, holding the broad heaven on his head and unwearied hands. To this condition he is forced by Zeus, according to a later version as a punishment for the part which he took in the battle with the Titans. By the Ocean nymph Pleione he is father of the Pleiades, by Aethra of the Hyades. In Homer the nymph Calypso is also his daughter, who dwells on the island Ogygia, the navel of the sea. Later authors make him the father of the Hesperides, by Hesperis. It is to him that Amphitrite flies when pursued by Poseidon. As their knowledge of the West extended the Greeks transferred the abode of Atlas to the African mountain of the same name. Local stories of a mountain which supported the heaven would, no doubt, encourage the identification. In later times Atlas was represented as a wealthy king, and owner of the garden of the Hesperides. Perseus, with his head of Medusa, turned him into a rocky mountain for his inhospitality. In works of art he is represented as carrying the heaven; or (after the earth was discovered to be spherical), the terrestrial globe. Among the statues of Atlas the Farnese, in the Museum at Naples, is the best known. (See also OLYMPIC GAMES, fig. 3.) In Greek architecture, the term Atlantes was employed to denote the colossal male statues sometimes used in great buildings instead of columns to support an entablature or a projecting roof.
 
AMPHITRYON 13.76%
Son of Alcaeus, grandson of Perseus, and king of Tiryns. His father's brother, Elektryon, king of Mycenae, had occasion to go out on a war of vengeance against Pterelaus, king of the Taphians and Teleboans in Acarnania and the neighbouring isles, whose sons had carried off his cattle, and have slain his own sons, all but young Licymnius. He left Amphitryon in charge of his kingdom, and betrothed to him his daughter Alcmene. On his return Amphitryon killed him, in quarrel or by accident, and, driven away by another uncle, Sthenelus, fled with his betrothed and her brother Licymnius to Creon, king of Thebes, a brother of his mother Hipponome, who purged him of blood-guilt, and promised, if he would first kill the Taumessian fox, to help him against Pterelaus; for Alcmene would not wed him till her brethren were avenged. Having rendered the fox harmless with the help of Cephalus (q.v.) he marched, accompanied by Creon, Cephalus, and other heroes, against the Teleboans, and conquered their country. Pterilaus' daughter Comaetho had first killed her father by plucking out the golden hair, to whose continual possession was attached the boon of immortality bestowed on him by Poseidon. He slew the traitress, and, handing over the Taphian kingdom to Cephalus, he returned to Thebes and married Alcmene. She gave birth to twins; Iphicles by him, and Heracles by Zeus. At last he falls in the war with Erginus (q.v.), the Minyan king of Orchomenus.
 
POLYBIUS 9.32%
One of the most important Greek historians, born about 204 B.C.. at Megalopolis; the son of Lycortas, general of the Achaean League in 185-4 and after 183. Through his father, and his father's friend Philopaemen, he early acquired a deep insight into military and political affairs, and was afterwards entrusted with high federal offices, such as the commandership of the cavalry, the highest position next to the federal generalship. In this capacity he directed his efforts towards maintaining the independence of the Achaean League. As chief representative of the policy of neutrality during the war of the Romans against Perseus of Macedonia, he attracted the suspicion of the Romans, and was one of the 1,000 noble Achaeaus who in 166 were transported to Rome as hostages, and detained there for seventeen years. In Rome, by virtue of his high culture, he was admitted to the most distinguished houses, in particular to that of Aemillus Paulus, the conqueror in the Macedonian War, who entrusted him with the education of his sons, Fabius and the younger Scipio. He was on terms of the most cordial friendship with the latter, whose counsellor he became. Through Scipio's intercession in 160, Polybius obtained leave to return to his home with those of the Achaeans who still survived. But, in the very next year, he went with his friend to Africa, and was present at the capture of Carthage, 146 B.C. After the destruction of Corinth in the same year, he returned to his native land, and made use of his credit with the Romans to lighten, as far as he could, the lot of his unfortunate countrymen. When Greece was converted into a Roman province, he was entrusted with the difficult task of organizing the new form of government in the Greek towns, and in this office gained for himself the highest recognition both from the conquerors and from the conquered, the latter rewarding his services by setting up statues to him, and by other marks of honour. (Polybius, Epitome, xl 10; Pausanias, viii 9, 30, 37, 44, 48. The pedestal of such a statue has been discovered at Olympia.) The succeeding years he seems to have spent in Rome, engaged on the completion of his historical work, and occasionally undertaking long journeys through the Mediterranean countries in the interests of his history, more particularly with a view to obtaining actual ocular knowledge of historical sites. After the death of his patron, he returned to Greece, and died in 122, at the age of eighty-two, in consequence of a fall from his horse. During his long sojourn in Rome, his study of the history and constitution of Rome, as well as his personal experiences, inspired him with the conviction, that the Roman people owed the magnificent development of their power, not to fortune, but to their own fitness, and to the excellence of their political and military institutions, as compared with those of other States, and that therefore their rapid rise to world-wide dominion had been in some measure an historical necessity. In order to enlighten his countrymen on this point, and thereby to supply them with a certain consolation for their fate, he composed his Universal History of the period between 220 and 146 B.C., in forty books. Of these the first two are in the form of an Introduction, and give a compendium of events in Italy, Africa, and Greece, from the destruction of Rome by the Gauls to the first Punic War, thus recording the rise of the Roman supremacy. The first main division (books iii-xxx) contained in synchronistic arrangement the occurrences from 220 to 168; that is, of the time in which Rome was founding its world-wide dominion through the Hannibalic, Macedonian, Syrian, and Spanish wars. The second (books xxxi-xl) described vthe maintenance and consolidation of this dominion against the attempts to overthrow it in the years 168-146. Of this work only books i-v have been preserved in a complete form; of the rest we possess merely fragments and epitomes. This is especially to be regretted in those parts in which Polybius narrates events which came within his own experience. He is the first representative of that particular type of historical composition, which does not merely recount the several facts and phenomena in chronological order, but goes back to the causes of events, and sets forth their results. His work rests upon a knowledge of the art of war and of politics, such as few ancient historians possessed; upon a careful examination of tradition, conducted with keen criticism; partly also upon what he had himself seen, and upon the communications of eye-witnesses and actors in the events. It sets forth the course of occurrences with clearness, penetration, sound judgment, and love of truth, and, among the circumstances affecting the result, lays especial stress on the geographical conditions. It belongs therefore to the greatest productions of ancient historical writing, though, in respect to language and style, it does not attain the standard of Attic prose. The language is often wanting in purity, and the style stiff and inharmonious.
 
ATHENE 4.96%
A Greek goddess, identified with the Roman Minerva. According to the story most generally current, she was the daughter of Zeus, who had swallowed his first wife Metis (" Counsel "), the daughter of Oceanus, in fear that she would bring forth a son stronger than himself. Hephaeestus (or, according to another version, Prometheus) clave open the head of Zeus with an axe, on which Athene sprang forth in full armour, the goddess of eternal virginity. But her ancient epithet Tritogeneia ("born of Triton," or the roaring flood) points to water (that is, to Oceanus); as the source of her being. Oceanus was, according to Homer, the origin of all things and of all deities. The worship of Athene, and the story of her birth, were accordingly connected with many brooks and lakes in various regions, especially in Boeotia, Thessalia, and Libya, to which the name Triton was attached. From the first, Athene takes a very prominent place in the Greek popular religion. The Homeric hymns represent her as the favourite of her father, who refuses her nothing. When solemn oaths were to be taken, they joined her name with those of Zeus and Apollo, in a way which shows that the three deities represent the embodiment of all divine authority. With the exception of the two gods just mentioned, there is no other deity whose original character as a power of nature underwent so remarkable an ethical development. Both conceptions of Athene, the natural and the ethical, were intimately connected in the religion of Attica, whose capital, Athens, was named after Athene, and was the most important seat of her worship. Athens was originally the maiden daughter of the god of heaven; the clear, transparent aether, whose purity is always breaking forth in unveiled brilliancy through the clouds that surround it. As a deity of the sky she, with Zeus, is the mistress of thunder and lightning. Like Zeus, she carries the aegis with the Gorgon's head, the symbol of the tempest and its terrors. In many statues, accordingly, she is represented as hurling the thunder-bolt. But she also sends down, from sky to earth, light and warmth and fruitful dew, and with them prosperity to fields and plants. A whole series of fables and usages, belonging especially to the Athenian religion, represents her as the helper and protector of agriculture. The two deities Erechtheus and Erichthonius, honoured in Attica as powers of the fruitful soil, are her foster-children. She was worshipped with Erechtheus in the temple named after him (the Erechtheum), the oldest sanctuary on the Athenian Acropolis. The names of her earliest priestesses, the daughters of Cecrops, Aglaurus, Pandrosus, and Herse, signify the bright air, the dew, and the rain, and are mere personifications of their qualities, of such value to the Athenian territory. The sowing season was opened in Attica by three sacred services of ploughing. Of these, two were in honour of Athene as inventress of the plough, while the third took place in honour of Demeter. It was Athens, also, who had taught men how to attach oxen to the yoke; above all, she had given them the olive-tree, the treasure of Attica. This tree she had made to grow out of the rock of the citadel, when disputing the possession of the land with Poseidon. Several festivals, having reference to these functions of the goddess, were celebrated in Attica; the Callynteria and Plynteria, the Scirophoria, the Arrhephoria or Hersephoria, and the Oschophoria, which were common to Athens with Dionysus. (See DIONYSIA.) Even her chief feast, the Panathenoea, was originally a harvest festival. It is significant that the presentation of the peplos or mantle, the chief offering at the celebration, took place in the sowing season. But afterwards more was made of the intellectual gifts bestowed by the goddess. Athens was very generally regarded as the goddess of war; an iaea which in ancient times was the prevailing one. It was connected with the fact that, like her father Zeus, she was supposed to be able to send storms and bad weather. In this capacity she appears in story as the true friend of all bold warriors, such as Perseus, Bellerophon, Jason, Heracles, Diomedes and Odysseus. But her courage is a wise courage, not a blind rashness like that of Ares; and she is always represented, accordingly, as getting the better of him. In this connection she was honoured in Athenian worship mainly as a protector and defender; thus (to take a striking example) she was worshipped on the citadel of Athens under the name of Promachos ("champion," "12 protector.") But she was also a goddess of victory. As the personification of victory (Athene Nike) she had a second and especial temple on the Athenian Acropolis. (See Plan of ACROPOLIS.) And the great statues in the temples represented her, like Zeus, with Nike in her outstretched hand. The occupations of peace, however, formed the main sphere of her activity. Like all the other deities who were supposed to dispense the blessings of nature, she is the protectress of growing children; and as the goddess of the clear sky and of pure air, she bestows health and keeps off sickness. Further, she is (with Zeus) the patroness of the Athenian Phratrioe, or unions of kinsfolk. At Athens and Sparta she protects the popular and deliberative assemblies; in many places, and especially at Athens, the whole state is under her care (Athene Polias, Poliachus). Elsewhere she presides over the larger unions of kindred peoples. The festival of Athene Itonia at Coronea was a confederate festival of all Boeotia. Under the title of Panachais she was worshipped as the goddess of the Achaean League. Speaking broadly, Athene represents human wit and cleverness, and presides over the whole moral and intellectual side of human life. From her are derived all the productions of wisdom and understanding, every art and science, whether of war or of peace. A crowd of discoveries, of the most various kinds, is ascribed to her. It has been already mentioned that she was credited with the invention of the plough and the yoke. She was often associated with Poseidon as the inventress of horse-taming and ship-building. In the Athenian story she teaches Erichthonius to fasten his horses to the chariot. In the Corinthian story she teaches Bellerophon to subdue Pegasus. At Lindus in Rhodes she was worshipped as the goddess who helped Danaus to build the first fifty-oared ship. In the fable of the Argonauts it is she who instructs the builders of the first ship, the Argo. Even in Homer all the productions of women's art, as of spinning and weaving, are characterized as "works of Athene." Many a Palladion or statue of Pallas bore a spindle and distaff in its left hand. As the mistress and protectress of arts and handiwork, she was worshipped at the Chalkeia (or Feast of Smiths) under the title of Ergane. Under this name she is mentioned in several inscriptions found on the Acropolis. Her genius covers the field of music and dancing. She is inventor of the flute and the trumpet, as well as of the Pyrrhic war-dance, in which she was said to have been the earliest performer, at the celebration of the victory of the Gods over the Giants. It was Phidias who finally fixed the typical representation of Athens in works of art. Among his numerous statues of her, three, the most celebrated, were set up on the acropolis of Athens. These were (1) The colossal statue of Athene Parthenos, wrought in ivory and gold, thirty feet in height (with the pedestal), and standing in the Parthenon. (See PARTHENON.) The goddess was represented wearing a long robe falling down to the feet, and on her breast was the aegis with the Gorgon's head. A helmet was on her head; in one hand she bore a Victory, six feet in height, in the other a lance, which leaned against a shield adorned with scenes from the battles of the Amazons with the Giants. (2) The bronze statue of Athene Promachos, erected from the proceeds of the spoils taken at Marathon, and standing between the Propylaea and the Erechthteum. The proportions of this statue were so gigantic, that the gleaming point of the lance and the crest of the helmet were visible to seamen, on approaching the Piraeus from Sunium. (3) The Lemnian Pallas, so named because it had been dedicated by the Athenian Cleruchi in Lemnos. The attractions of this statue won for it the name of "the Beautiful." Like the second, it was of bronze; as a representation of Athene as the goddess of peace, it was without a helmet. Throughout the numerous and varying representations of her, Athene has an imposing stature, suggesting a masculine rather than a feminine form; an oval face, with a brow of great clearness and purity; thoughtful eyes, compressed lips, firm chin, and hair carelessly thrown back. (See cut.) Her ordinary attributes are the helmet, the aegis covering the breast or serving as a shield for the arm, the lance, the round shield with the Gorgon's head, the olive branch, and the owl. (On her identification with Minerva, see</italics MINERVA.)
 
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