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PHLEGRA 55.78%
The scene of the fight between the gods and the giants. (See GIGANTES.)
 
ICARUS 44.22%
Son of Daedalus. While he and his father were flying away from Crete by means of waxen wings, in spite of his father's warnings, he flew too near the sun, so that the wax melted and he sank into the sea and was drowned. After him the island where his body was washed ashore and buried by Heracles was called <Icaria, and the surrounding sea, the "Icarian Sea."
 
DICTYMNA 41.22%
A goddess of the sea, worshipped in Crete. (See BRITOMARTIS.)
 
EIDOTHEA 39.33%
A sea-goddess, daughter of Proteus, the old man of the sea.
 
NEREIDS 38.68%
The Nymphs of the sea, daughters of Nereus (q.v.) and Doris.
 
POSEIDON 36.55%
The Greek god of the sea and of everything liquid, son of Cronus and Rhea; a younger brother of Zeus, according to Homer; an elder brother, according to Hesiod. At the distribution of the world the rule over the sea and all its gods and creatures fell to him, as the rule over the sky fell to Zeus, and that over the underworld to Pluto. His wife is Amphitrite, his son Triton, his daughter Benthesikyme. As described by Homer [IL. xiii 21], he has his dwelling in the depth of the sea in a golden palace near Aegae, according to the usual acceptation on the north coast of the Peloponnesus, where lay also his other place of worship mentioned by Homer, Helice [IL. viii 203], afterwards overthrown by an earthquake. On leaving his palace, he is clad in a golden robe and wields in his hand a golden whip, while he stands in a chariot drawn by swift-footed steeds with hoofs of bronze and manes of gold, with the monsters of the deep bounding and frisking around him, as he drives over the sea, which joyfully opens before his advance. As Zeus bears the lightning, so Poseidon bears the mighty trident, with which he stirs up the sea, cleaves rocks, and makes fountains and horses spring forth from them. Another symbol of the stormy flood is the bull, for which reason men offered sacrifice to Poseidon with dark-coloured bulls, while oil the other hand, the dolphin is a symbol of the peaceful and calm sea. For, while lie sends storm and shipwreck, he is also a beneficent god, who sends favourable, winds. Every occupation on or by the sea, navigation, trade, fishing, is subject to his power; he also it is who grants victory by sea. Seafaring peoples traced their origin to him. But, as the sea was thought of as supporting the earth and as pressing into its hidden clefts and hollows, so Poseidon was worshipped from one point of view as "the supporter of the earth" (gaieochos), from the other as "the shaker of the earth" (ennosigaios, enosithom), who makes the earth quake beneath the blows of his trident. As such he was worshipped in districts which were a prey to earthquakes, as in Sparta, or in those which could show traces of great convulsions, as in Thessaly, where he was said to have opened up the Vale of Tempe, and formed the outlet of the Peneus into the sea by shattering the wall of rock which inclosed the valley. In the interior Poseidon was often worshipped as tile creator of waters, especially of springs and the blessing brought by them; so particularly in Argolis and Arcadia, where, as being the fertilizing god, he was even regarded as the lover of Demeter and father of Persephone. In the course of time, under the predominance of the conception of Poseidon as god of the sea, his worsbip in such inland places fell into the background, and was displaced by that of other deities. Hence arose the legends of his contests with other gods for particular countries, as with Athene for Athens and Troezen, and with Hera for Argolis, and of exchanges, as that of Delphi for the island of Calauria, which belonged to Apollo. He was also regarded as the creator and tamer of the horse: sometimes he was said to have brought it out of a rock by a blow, sometimes the earth was said to have been impregnated by him, and so given it birth; accordingly he was frequently worshipped as an equestrian god (hippios). Thus in the Attic deme of Colonus he was worshipped together with Athene, who was said to have invented the bridle. He was also specially worshipped at the equestrian games at the Isthmus. Owing to the great diffusion of his worship through all the Greek races of the mother-country, as well as of the colonies, he plays a chief part in Greek legend, appearing as early as the Trojan story, in which he stands on the side of the Greeks in irreconcilable wrath against Troy, on account of the deception practised on him by Laomedon. Similarly Odysseus cannot be protected from his rage on account of the blinding of his son Polyphemus, except by the unanimous will of the other gods. The unruly wildness of the sea, which is reflected in his character, appears also frequently in his sons, such as Orion, Polyphemus, Cycnus, Antaens, Busiris, Amycus, Cercyon, and others. But he was also deemed to be the ancestor of numerous noble families, especially of the Ionian race, which from old times worshipped him as a national god, and from their home on the north coast of the Peloponnesus carried his worship over with them to Asia. Here, in his chief sanctuary, on the promontory of Mycale, the Ionians celebrated their national festival, the Panionia. From the Ionian race and its representative, Theseus, arose also the national festival of Poseidon observed by all Greece at the Corinthian Isthmus, where the Isthmian games were celebrated in alternate years. The Greeks, after their victory over the Persians, set up a bronze colossus more than 10 ½ feet high in honour of the Isthmian god [Herod., ix 81]. The horse, the dolphin, and the pine tree were deemed sacred to Poseidon; it was with wreaths of pine that the victors in the Isthmian games were crowned. He was worshipped with human sacrifices, but more generally with sacrifices of horses and bulls, especially black ones; these were not unfrequently hurled alive into rivers. Besides horse-races, bull-fights were held in his honour. His temples were usually to be found on promontories, isthmuses, and tongues of land. His usual attributes were the trident and the dolphin, and also the tunny-fish. He was represented as a powerful, kingly man, like Zeus, but without his exalted calm, more compact in figure, and with thicker and curlier bair on his head. He is draped sometimes in a long robe, sometimes with a light scarf, which allows his powerful frame to be more fully displayed (see cut). Colossal statues of him often stood by harbours and on promontories. With Poseidon the Romans identified their sea-god Neptunus (q.v.).
 
MELANIPPUS 30.59%
A Theban, who mortally wounded Tydeus in the fight of the Seven against Thebes, and was himself slain by Amphiaraus. (Cp. TYDEUS.)
 
OCEANUS 29.85%
In Greek mythology, originally the ancient river of the world which flows around and bounds the earth and sea, itself unbounded and flowing back into itself. From Oceanus arise all seas, rivers, streams, and fountains. Herodotus is the first to oppose this view [ii 23, iv 8, 36]. To Homer, Oceanus is the beginning of all things, even of the gods: he the original father, and his wife, Tethys, the original mother. With her he lives, a gentle and hospitable old man, in the farthest west away from the world and its doings. He keeps aloof even from the assemblies of the gods, although river gods and nymphs appear there. It is with the aged pair that Hera grows up, and it is to them that she flees on the outbreak of the war with the Titans. According to Hesiod [Theog. 133, 337-370], Oceanus and Tethys are children of Uranus and Gaea; the former the oldest of the Titans, who after the fall of Cronus submitted to Zeus. From him are sprung 3000 sons and as many daughters, the Oceanides. The oldest of the family, which is spread over the whole earth, are Achelous and Styx. Oceanus was represented as a venerable old man with a long beard: on his head are bull's horns, after the usual manner of river gods; or crab's claws, as customary with gods of the sea; and he is surrounded by sea monsters.
 
CEPHEUS 29.24%
Son of Ateus, king of Tegea and brother of Auge (see TELEPHUS). He fell with his twenty sons when fighting on the side of Heracles against Hippocoon of Sparta.
 
LICHAS 27.94%
The attendant of Heracles (q.v.), who brought him from Deianira the poisoned garment, and was hurled by him into the sea, where his body became a rock.
 
GLAUCUS 25.06%
A god of the sea, therefore commonly called Pontios, who possessed the gift of prophecy. Originally a fisherman and diver of Anthedon in Boeotia, he once chanced to eat of a herb which he had seen fish feed on to refresh themselves when tired. It drove him mad, and he threw himself into the sea, on which he was changed into a sea-god by Oceanus and Tethys. According to another story he threw himself into the sea for love of the young sea-god Melicertes, with whom he was sometimes identified. He was also said to have been the builder and the pilot of the Argo, and to have been changed into a god in a wonderful way after the battle of the Argonauts with the Tyrrhenians. According to common belief he visited all the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean every year, prophesying, and lamenting that he could not die. He, and the Nereides with him, were said to have uttered oracles in Delos. The stories had much to tell of his loves, notably of those of Scylla and Circe. He was represented in works of art as an old man with a fish's tail, with sea-blue scales, long hair and beard, and breast covered with sea-weed and shells.
 
RORARII 23.91%
The name given in the old Roman legion to the citizens of the lowest property-class, who were armed only with a dart and a sling. These had to open the fighting in the capacity of skirmishers, and, when the close combat began, to withdraw behind the line. In later times their place was taken by the velites (q.v.).
 
BRITOMARTIS 23.88%
A Cretan goddess, supposed to dispense happiness, whose worship extended throughout the islands and along the coasts of the Mediterranean. Like Artemis, with whom she was sometimes identified, she was the patroness of hunters, fishermen and sailors, and also a goddess of birth and of health. Her sphere was Nature, in its greatness and its freedom. As goddess of the sea she bore the name of Dictynna, the supposed derivation of which from the Greek diktyon ("a net") was explained by the following legend. She was the daughter of a huntress, much beloved by Zeus and Artemis. Minos loved her, and followed her for nine months over valley and mountain, through forest and swamp, till he nearly overtook her, when she leaped from a high rock into the sea. She was saved by falling into some nets, and Artemis made her a goddess. She would seem originally to have been a goddess of the moon, her flight symbolizing the revolution of the moon round the earth, and her leap into the sea its disappearance.
 
ARION 23.59%
A Greek poet and musician, of Methymna in Lesbos, who flourished about 625 B.C. In the course of a roving life be spent a considerable time at the court of Periander, tyrant of Corinth. Here he first gave the dithyramb (q.v.) an artistic form, and was therefore regarded as the inventor of that style in general. He is best known by the story of his rescue on the back of a dolphin. Returning from an artistic journey through Lower Italy and Sicily to his patron, he trusted himself to a crew of Corinthian sailors, who resolved to kill him on the open sea for the sake of his treasures. As a last favour he extorted the permission to sing his songs once more to the lyre, and then to throw himself into the sea. His strains drew a number of dolphins around him, one of which took him on its back, and carried him safe to land at the foot of the foreland of Taenarum. Thence he hastened to Corinth, and convicted the sailors, who were telling Periander they had left the minstrel safe at Tarentum. A bronze statue of a man on a dolphin, which stood on the top of Taenaron, was supposed to be his thank-offering to Poseidon. [Herodotus, i 24.] A Thanksgiving Hymn to the god of the sea, preserved under his name, belongs to a later time.
 
MYRTILUS 23.34%
Son of Hermes, charioteer of (Enomaus, whose defeat by Pelops was due to his treachery. When he demanded the reward that had been settled, the half of the realm of Cenomaus, Pelops threw him into the sea near Geraestus in Eubcea, and that part of the Aegean was thence called the Myrtoan Sea. (Cf. CENOMAUS and <smalLCaps>PELOPS.)
 
PONTUS 22.48%
The sea, son of Gaea, and, by her again, father of Nereus, Thaumas, Phoreys, Ceto, and Euryba.
 
SCYLLA 22.17%
(1) In Homer, daughter of Crataeis; a terrible monster of the sea, with a loud bark like that of a young dog, twelve shapeless feet, and six long necks, each of them bearing a horrid head with three rows of teeth closely set. Her lower half lies in a dark cavern, which is in the middle of a rock, smooth of surface, not to be climbed, and rising up into the clouds; while with her heads she fishes for dolphins, sea-dogs, and the larger animals of the sea. If a ship come too near to her, with each of her six heads she snatches up a man of the crew, as from the ship of Odysseus. Opposite her, a bow-shot off, is a lower rock with a wild fig tree on it, and under it the whirlpool of Charybdis, which three times in the day sucks in the sea and discharges it again in a terrible whirlpool, against which even the help of Poseidon is unavailing. Whoever tries to avoid one of the two evils falls a prey to the other [Homer, Od. xi 85-110]. In later times Scylla and Charybdis, the position of which is left uncertain by Homer, were supposed to be placed in the Strait of Messina, Scylla being identified with a projecting rock on the Italian side. She was also made a daughter of Phorcys and of Hecate Crataeis. When Heracles, as he is passing by, is robbed by her of one of Geryon's oxen, he slays her in her cavern; but her father burns her corpse, and thus recalls her to life. According to another myth, she was originally a beautiful princess or sea Nymph, loved now by Zeus, now by Poseidon or Glaucus or Triton, until she was changed by the jealousy of her rivals, Hera, Amphitrite, or Circe, into a monster, imagined as a maiden above, but as ending below in the body of a fish, begirt with hideous dogs. (2) Daughter of Nisus (q.v.).
 
HIPPOCAMPUS 21.35%
A fabulous marine animal, shaped like a horse, but having a curved and fish-like tail. The gods of the sea are often represented as riding or sitting on such animals.
 
MOPSUS 21.03%
One of the Lapitae of (Echalia in Thessaly, son of Ampyx and the Nymph Chloris. He took part, in the Calydonian Hunt and in the fight of the Lapithae and the Centaurs see PIRITHOUS), and afterwards accompanied the Argonauts as seer, and died of the bite of a snake in Libya, where he was worshipped as a hero, and had an oracle.
 
NEPTUNUS 20.07%
The Italian god of the sea, husband of Salacia, (the goddess of salt water), identified by the Romans with the Greek Poseidon. This identification dated from 399 B.C., when a Lectisternium was ordained in his honour by the Sibylline books. Like Poseidon, he was worshipped as god of the sea and of equestrian accomplishments. As such be bad a temple in the Circus Flaminius, whilst in the Circus Maximus the old Italian god Consus had an altar in a similar capacity. In after times Agrippa built a temple and portico to Neptune on the Field of Mars in honour of his naval victory over Sextus Pompeius and Antonius. A festival of Neptune (Neptunalia), accompanied by games, was celebrated on July 23rd. The old harbour god of the Romans was Portunus (q.v.). See POSEIDON.
 
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