Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 63
Introduction, pp. 6 – 51
Ch. 2 (optional) – this is an overview
Other readings by deity or topic. Noted as (H: xx- yy)
non-Slavic Balkan peoples (would characterize the Albanians also)
pre-IE Greece: many odd words, place names
1st wave IE (c. 2500 BCE):
Pelasgians, Pelastoi (Baltic-like), Cen(t)taurs, Tyrsenians (Lemnians)(Hittite-like)
2nd wave IE:
2a – Mycenaean Greeks (c. 1800 BCE), Bronze Age, wrote in Linear-B, destroyed
Minoan civilization (2500 –1200 BCE) of Crete
Fought Trojan War (1250 BCE),
Continued by the Ionian Greeks (eastern Mediterranean and west coast of
2b – Dorian Greeks from north (1200 – 1100 BCE)
Mycenaean and Dorian together are now called “Hellenic.”
Shared Balkans with Illyrians (Albanians?), Epirotes, Thracians, Mysians, Brygi,
Macedonians, Dacians, and Getae.
Distinctive linguistic patterns:
*s ≥ hV-, -VøV-,
*w ≥ hu-, -VøV-, -VuC-
*y ≥ dz-, h-, -ø-, -ViC-, (*-CyV- ≥ -CCV-)
*Ch…Ch ≥ C…Ch (Grassman’s Law)
These place Greek close to Armenian, Phrygian (both of Anatolia), Iranian (Central
Asia), and perhaps Macedonian.
Had many cultural influences from Anatolians (1st wave IE) (Hittites, Luwians, later
Lycians, Lydians, Carians) Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 64
Also from Middle East: Phoenicians (writing 1500 BCE), and Egyptians (both non-IE)
Syncretistic tradition incorporating many cults, beliefs, and tales.
Adopted Phoenician characters around 800 BCE.
Traveled widely and colonized: Aegean Sea (E Mediterranean), Black Sea, west coast of
Anatolia, southern Italy, Sicily, Riviera, Caucasus, Taurus (Crimea)
Originally north of present day Greece.
In Classical times confined to southern portion of Greece.
Greek politics ran from democracies to tyrannies.
Greece yielded a distinctly “Hellenic” corpus.
This was preserved by Muslim Civilization after the fall of Rome.
It was revived during the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
It is a yardstick for all myth.
It played a huge role in the Romantic movement, with the Greek revolt against the
Ottomans (poets Shelley and Byron)
Its composite character was only recently (1970s) recognized.
Greek myths have a mundane, almost static quality at times.
BUT many have startling, almost bizarre psychological quality.
There is no one “canon” for this corpus.
Homer and Hesiod (800 BCE)
through Tzetzes (1000 CE) (Byzantine folklorist)
to modern compilers: Bullfinch, Robert Graves, Edith Hamilton,
Graves is meticulous, produces variants, preserves tone,
BUT he is trying to recover pre-IE “Great Goddess” and fertility cults, “Minoan
His views are idiosyncratic.
Hamilton is elegant, insightful, and accurate,
BUT she leaves out numerous important details and minimizes many important myths.
She often preferred Latin variants of names over Greek ones.
Gods, both Olympians and non-Olympians Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 65
Nymphs – female godlets
Demi-god (half-god) heroes
Fertility and eroticism
Divine meddling in human affairs
Natural order and fate (prophecy), and violations thereof
Rapes, violations, punishments
Trickery and wit
War, dynastic strife
Place names, names of nations
Genealogies and dynasties
“Recycling of peoples and nymphs into plants or stars, etc.
Tragedy and irony as forms of fate working in the lives of mortals
Deviant acts: incest, cannibalism
Extreme pride, hubris, and its disastrous effects
Nightmarish scenes and episodes.
Greek myths explore the darker aspects of the human spirit as few other traditions do,
(H: 15 – 26, 139 – 141, 164- 165)
First formless Chaos (≤ IE *ghn-w-os, Norse Ginnunga(gap) ≤ IE *ghen-w-)
Night and Erebus (depths of death) formed
Night laid a wind-born egg in the bosom of Erebus.
Love (Eros) hatched out.
Love gave birth to Light and Day.
Earth rose up.
Earth first bore the starry heavens.
Layout of the universe
The world was empty after the struggle of the Titans and the Gods.
Earth was divided equally by the Mediterranean and Black Sea (Axine ≤ Iranian Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 66
Akhshayna ‘ashen’, later Euxine Sea).
Ocean ringed the earth.
The far shore of Ocean was home to mysterious peoples.
The Cimmerians dwelt in eternal night and mist.
At the back of the North Wind (Boreas) blissfully lived the Hyperboreans (Beyond-
The Muses lived near to them.
In the south lived the Ethiopians whom the gods joined at banquets.
The Blessed Dead lived on Ocean’s banks as well in a tranquil and beautiful land.
(H: 143 – 144, 159, 302):
Gaea (Mother Earth) and Ouranos/Uranus (Father Heaven) begot
3 Hundred Handed Fifty Headed ones
3 Cyclopes (singular Cyclops )
Titans [some say these are from Boreas, the North Wind, who mated with
Eurynome, the daughter of Chaos; Eurynome laid a “universal egg”; the Titans hatched
[Titans paired off, one pair for each planet:
Theia - Hyperion Sun [Godly = Hihgh One]
Phoebe – Atlas Moon
Dione – Crius Mars
Metis – Coeus Mercury
Themis – Eurymedon Jupiter [Passionate – Wide Counsel]
Tethys – Oceanus Venus [ … - Ocean]
Rhea – Cronus Saturn [Flow – Time (?), cf., Greek Chronus]]
(H: 293 – 294, 216 – 217, 250, 251)
Ouranos imprisoned the 100 hands - 50 heads in the earth. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 67
Gaea sought the help of the Titans to free her first children.
Cronus led the revolt.
He castrated Ouranos with a sickle and three his father’s genitals over his left shoulder.
[Straight out of the Ancient Middle Eastern theogony]
Cronus reigned with his sister queen Rhea (flow, river)
Cronus had a prophecy that one of his children would dethrone him.
Therefore, Cronus ate his children: Hestia (hearth), Demeter (god’s mother), Hera (year),
Hades (self-knowing, reunion ≤ IE *sm-wid-), Poseidon (lord of rivers)
Rhea hid Zeus in Crete.
She gave Cronus a stone to swallow.
[She bathed him in the River Neda.
She hung his golden cradle from an ash, Adrasteia, neither in heaven nor earth.
Guarded by her sons, the Curetes, who clashed their weapons together to hide his crying.]
Rhea gave Cronus an emetic.
He vomited his children up.
Zeus freed the 100 hands – 50 heads.
Together with the Cyclopes they fought Cronus and the Titans.
thunderbolt to Zeus,
helmet of darkness to Hades, and
trident to Poseidon
Hades stole Cronus’ weapons.
Poseidon diverted him with trident.
Zeus slew him with thunderbolt.
100 hands –50 heads pelted Titans.
Goat Pan chased them away with a shout.]
Titans thrown down into Tartarus, the brazen (bronze) walled.
Their leader Atlas was made to carry the sky.
Prometheus was spared, but punished later. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 68
(H: 236 – 238)
Myth of the Ages
The gods made humans, men first as:
Golden Age – god-like men living in abundance; died and became guardians of
Silver Age – stupid and hurt themselves, and so passed away. Then:
Bronze Age – terrible war-like men who eventually killed one another. Then:
Heroic Age – noble god-like heroes who passed on to the land of the Blessed Dead.
Iron Age – present humans, evil, locked in toil and strife, abused by their leaders,
growing ever worse, to be destroyed by Zeus when they reach ultimate baseness.
The twelve Olympians
Named after Mt. Olympus, the highest peak in Greece.
Often associated with types of trees and certain mammals or birds
(H: 330 – 335)
Zeus – (*Dyews ‘shining’) supreme leader, law-giver, shining, shape-changer, husband
of Hera, philanderer, “god of the storm-cloud,” wields lightning, carries the aegis,
demands right action and truth, associated with eagles, and with oaks. His grove of oaks
at Dodona was sacred.
Companions of Zeus: Themis – divine justice, right, Dike – human justice, Nemesis –
righteous anger, Aidos – humility, empathy
(H: 186 – 189)
Hera – (Hé–ra– ≤ *yé–ra– ‘year’) “cow faced,” resentful and suspicious wife of
Zeus, [sister to Zeus], seeks vengeance upon the women whom Zeus loves; [nursed by
the four Seasons; received wedding gift of golden apples from her mother Gaea].
Supports heroes only in the Golden Fleece adventure. Ilithyia (Eileithyia) was her
daughter and helped in childbirth. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 69
(H: 144 – 147, 259 - 261)
Demeter (god’s-mother) – goddess of corn, daughter of Cronus and Rhea (Latin Ceres)
Her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades.
Demeter searched in sorrow for her daughter while the world entered a blight.
In Eleusis she found refuge with a peasant family, 4 girls, a young boy, their mother
Metaneira, and father Celeus.
Metaneira extended hospitality to Demeter, not knowing who she was.
Demeter nursed the young Demophoön, anointed him with ambrosia, and roasted him
each night in the fire to burn the mortality out of him.
Metaneira caught Demeter roasting him, and screamed.
[Just as Achilles father caught Thetis doing the same]
Demeter grew angry, dropped the boy, revealed herself and demanded that they build a
temple to her.
There she sat and mourned while the world wasted away.
The gods appealed to her, but to no avail.
Finally Zeus sent Hermes to Hades.
Persephone ate a pomegranate seed (aril), so that she would have to stay.
Zeus forced a compromise:
Persephone would spend 2/3 of the year with Demeter
1/3 with Hades
Persephone and Demeter were reunited.
Demeter sent one of the princes of Eleusis, Tri-ptolemus [Three-Battle(s)], to show
people how to sow corn.
She was a seasonal goddess.
She initiated the Eleusinian mysteries, which seem to have promised a life after death.
(H: 266 – 269)
Poseidon – (*potyey-don lord-river) brother of Zeus, lord of he sea, married to
Amphitrite, a granddaughter of Oceanus, gave the first horses, caused storms at sea as
well as tranquility, caused earthquakes too, carried a trident
(H: 179 – 183)
Often considered to be a “non-Olympian,” because he lives in the World of Death.
Hades – (*sm-wides together-knowing, ‘reunion’) brother of Zeus, ruled Hades,
unpitying, inexorable, but just, had a helmet of invisibility, governed the wealth of the
earth (Pluto), married to Persephone, ruler of the dead (but not Death itself, which was Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 70
(H: 100 – 101)
Aloads, twin sons of Poseidon, attack the gods to obtain Hera and Artemis.
Otus and Ephialtes [similar to Norse Jotuns/Giants]
The biggest and most handsome brothers ever to walk the earth.
Twin sons of Poseidon and Iphi-media [Snake-Councilor]/Canace.
Called Aloade after their mother’s husband, Aloeus.
They could only be killed by one another.
When still young they imprisoned Ares, and bound him in brass chains.
Olympians sent Hermes, who freed him by stealth at night.
Then O & E piled Mt. Pelion on top of Mt. Ossa and began to scale the heavens.
Zeus was about to strike them with his lightning bolt, when Poseidon begged him not to.
Otus lusted after Hera, and Ephialtes after Artemis,.
They drew lots and Ephialtes won.
They pursued Artemis, who led them over the water to Naxos.
They were able to run on water, because they are the sons of Poseidon.
She turned into a milk-white hind and ran off into the forest.
They split up to find her.
From opposite side of a clearing both saw her.
They threw their javelins at the same time and killed one another.
[Local divine twins, perhaps, Naxos, who refused assimilation to the dominant pantheon.]
(H: 113 – 115)
Ares – (“Thracian god”) son of Zeus and Hera, god of war, ruthless and murderous, but
also a coward; with an entourage of his sister Eris (discord), her son Strife, and Terror,
Trembling, and Panic, was caught in bed with Aphrodite by Hephaestos, who rigged a net
for this purpose.
(H: 105 – 109)
Aphrodite – (aphro-dite foam-born), goddess of love and fertility, wife of Hephaestos,
consort of Ares, beautiful and peaceful, moves in radiant light; the myrtle, dove, sparrow,
and swan are hers. Her name may be new, cf., Mycenaean Greek Po-ti-ni-ya- ‘Lady,
Mistress,’ that seems to refer to a goddess of love.
(H: 183 – 186)
Hephaetos – ((C)h…Ch, violates Grassmann’s law, a Lemnian Tyrsenian, hence non-
Greek), god of the forge, son of Zeus and Hera, lame and ugly, cast out of heaven by
Hera; had golden handmaiden helpers that he had made himself; linked to Athena and the
patronage of crafts Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 71
(H: 109 – 113)
Phoebus Apollon (Apollo) – son of Zeus and Leto (Latona); depicted as a beautiful
youth, archer god who shot plague arrows, a healer; master musician of the lyre (harp);
“God of Light,” “God of Truth;” oracle was at Delphi; epithets were Delian (born on
floating Delos), Pythian (killed a python), Lycian (wolfish), Phoebus (shining), laurel tree
was sacred to him.
(H: 120 – 121)
Son of Apollo and the faithless Coronis
[his name means “blind mole” or “blind rat”]
was a great healer
became so good that he raised a dead man
The gods saw this as an infringement on their powers
So Zeus killed him
[He is associated with the caduceus. the winged staff with entwined snakes used by
doctors as their symbol]
Apollo was furious at Zeus and went to Etna, and killed the Cyclopes with his arrows.
[A tale of overstepping the limits laid down for mortals.]
(H: 117 – 120)
Artemis – (based upon proto-Greek *arkt- ‘bear’, IE *Aertk-) sister of Apollo, a virgin
huntress, “Lady of Wild Things,” later Hecate of the underworld and moonless night,
Selene the moon, and Artemis, the earth, forest; deer and cypress were sacred to her.
(H: 123 – 126)
Pallas Athena – (non-IE) sprang fully armed from Zeus brow; gray-eyed; protector of
civilized life, handicrafts, and agriculture [that is, of city life]; goddess of Athens,
embodiment of wisdom, reason, and purity; “Maiden’, Parthenos, Parthenon was her
temple; carried Zeus aegis and thunderbolt; owl was her symbol.
(H: 196 – 199)
Hermes – (from a word for penis, when penis-shaped stones were used as boundary
markers), a recent god, a trickster, son of Zeus and Maia (daughter of Atlas); a messenger
with winged hat and shoes; a guide and guardian of travelers and trails, patron of traders
and merchants; guided dead souls to Hades; stole Apollo’s cattle; invented the lyre and
gave it to Apollo.
(H: 202) Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 72
Hestia – (*westya- ‘hearth’) Zeus’ virgin sister; goddess of the home; cities had public
hearths with eternal flames.
Other, lesser Olympians
Eros – love, fertility, a male; blindfolded, mischievous, companion later son of
Aphrodite, attended by Anteros (avenger of slighted love), Himeros (longing), Hymen
(god of the wedding feast)
(H: 211 – 212)
Iris – Rainbow, messenger of the gods
Ker is the goddess of battle. Inescapable, blood stained, and black, she or them (Keres)
drags dead souls off the battlefield down to Hades. She or they are ancient and obscure.
(H: 147 – 151, 223 - 225)
god of the vine and of wine
born of Zeus and Semele
Semele died getting her wish, to gaze upon Zeus.
Zeus took her unborn child and hid him in his own side.
When Dionysus ((grand)son of god) was born Zeus fostered him to some nymphs.
Dionysus traveled widely spreading the cult of the vine.
When he met resistance from a king, he punished him.
He brought his mother back from the dead and placed her among the Olympians.
He saved Ariadne, abandoned on Naxos by Theseus, the Athenian hero; placed her crown
among the stars when she died.
Maenads/Bacchantes were women followers; frenzied; ran about in the woodlands.
They wore a fawn skin, had an ivy wreath in their hair, and carried a stick with a
pinecone on the end.
Pentheus, cousin to Dionysus, resisted his cult, refused to recognize him.
Dionysus made his mother and sisters insane, so that they tore Pentheus apart.
Dionysus himself was torn apart, by Titans or at Hera’s orders.
BUT, then was resurrected. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 73
He was a seasonal god.
He promised life after death.
[He exhibits the contrast of ecstasy with vicious feenzy.]
(H: 254 – 257)
Pan – Hermes’ son, noisy and merry, part goat, herders’ god, companion of the nymphs,
god of woodlands, played the pipes, made scary woodland noises.
“Great Pan is dead” – the only god to have died.
[gave great shout that scared the Titans away]
(H: 101 – 102)
Ambrosia – drink of the gods, providing vior and immortality, (< *n-mort-ya- not-die-
one.of-) [Like the apples of Norse Idun]
(H: 219 – 223)
Children of Titans Hyperion and Euryphassa/Theia.
Helios (≤ *sweAl-iyo-) the sun, dwelt in shining castle, drove chariot pulled by 4 flaming
horses from E to W; returned on Hephaestos’ ferry across Oceanus; had herds of sacred
cattle scattered about the Mediterranean.
Eos (≤ *Aewsos) dawn, slept w Ares, suffered Aphrodite’s curse to lust after young
Selene (≤ *sweAl-en- pre-Greek IE) moon, demoted sun maiden
Hellenos (≤ *sweAl-yo-no-) male, founder of the Hellenes, the Greeks
Helen (≤ *sweAl-en) female, sun-maiden, wife of Menelaus, abducted by Paris, cause of
Graces [Charities] – 3 sisters, Aglaia (splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth), Thalia (good
cheer); daughters of Zeus and Eurynome (child of Oceanus); sing and bring pleasure to
mortals and gods
Hours – seasons, guardians of the cloud gates to Olympus. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 74
Fates/Moirae – Clotho the spinner, Lachesis – disposer of lots, Atropos – unturnable, cut
the thread of life at death, all powerful, even for the gods
Muses – 9 sisters, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory); Clio – history, Urania –
astronomy, Melpomene – tragedy, Thalia – comedy, Terpsichore – dance, Calliope – epic
poetry, Erato – love poetry, Polyhymnia – hymns, Euterpe – lyric poetry’
Erinyes (Furies) dwelt in the Underworld (Virgil, a Roman). They pursued sinners.
Harpies – half woman, half bird, they snatch people away. They may be the winds.
Sirens – dwelt on an island in the sea, of unknown appearance; they lured sailors to their
death with their enchanting songs
Gorgons – Phorcys (son of Sea and Earth) was their father, 3 dragon-like monsters; to
look upon them was to turn to stone; only 2 were immortal, the mortal one was Medusa.
Graiae – 3 sisters of the Gorgons, shaped like swans with human heads and arms, shared
a single eye, lived on the farther bank of Oceanus
The Divine Twins
[Castor and Pollux [Kastor and Polydeukes] – sons of Leda, divine twins, grandsons of
Zeus, protectors of sailors and of cattle; P. was divine, C. partially divine; killed and
spend half their time in Hades, half in Olympus; Homer: Castor tamed horses,
Polydeukes good as a boxer (“Put up your deuks!”)
Leda was daughter of Tyndareus, king of Sparta; she was visited by Zeus in the form of a
swan; bore Castor and Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife.]
(H: 137 – 139)
Combat Myth and Legend
Gaea gave birth to Typhon, a huge 100-headed monster, with death in his breath and
[It also had snakes for limbs.
A Middle Eastern monster pattern.
Zeus and Typhon battled in various locales until they came to Sicily.
With thunderbolts Zeus drove Typhon down under the volcano, Mt. Aetna.]
(H: 143 – 144) Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 75
The Cyclops Polyphemus
One eyed giant.
Kept sheep in a cave.
Odysseus and some of his men wandered into the cave and were caught there when
Polyphemus asked Odysseus his name;
Odysseus replied “No Man.”
Polyphemus ate two of the men.
This went on until Odysseus gave Polyphemus wine;
Polyphemus fell asleep.
Odysseus hardened a spit in the fire and then drove it into P’s eye.
When Polyphemus screamed in agony the other Cyclopes asked him who was hurting
“No Man” was P’s reply; so the others said they could do nothing.
O and his surviving men escaped by clinging to the underbellies of P’s sheep,
They taunted Polyphemus so that Polyphemus threw stones at the ship and almost
brought it within his reach by the backwash.
But they escaped and Odysseus finally revealed his true identity.
After many centuries P fell in love with a sea nymph, Galatea.
His father Poseidon had restored his eye.
Galatea and Doris banter about P.
Galatea loves a prince name Acis, whom P kills.
Acis is turned into a river god, suited for Galatea.
[An old pre-IE, pre-Greek Mediterranean Sea tale; a Beauty and the Beast tale]
(H: 177 – 179)
Giants (Greek Gigantes). Giants and the Erinyes (Furies) came from the blood of
The Giants revolted, but were hurled down to Tartarus by the gods, with the help of
Hercules (Greek ‘Hearakles’).
(H: 239 – 244)
Oreads (Greek oros ‘mountain’) nymphs of the mountains
(Hama)Dryads – (Greek drus ‘(oak) tree’) nymphs of trees
Naiads – nymphs, dwelt in brooks, springs and fountains Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 76
[Hesperides – 3 sisters, Hespere, Aegle, Erytheis, sing sweetly, live in western most
orchard, tend Hera’s golden apples, a wedding gift from Gaea, guarded by the serpent
(H: 279 – 281)
Satyrs – (like Pan) goat-men of the woods,
Sileni – part man, part horse, but walked on 2 legs, had horse’s tails, sometimes hooves
Silenus – drunken old man, son or brother to Pan, road an ass
(H: 136 – 137, 160 - 162) [supplementary material]
Tartarus the deepest
Erebus is where the dead pass upon death.
Where Acheron (woe) flows into Cocytus (lamentation) is the path downward to Hades.
Charon, an aged ferryman ferries the dead across the Styx to the gates Hades/Tartarus.
He requires payment in coins.
Cerberus (3-headed dragon-tailed dog) guards the gates
3 judges – Rhadamanthus, Minos, Aeacus,
Wicked go to torment
Blessed go to Elysian Fields.
3 rivers: fiery Phlegethon, oath-bearing Styx, forgetfulness Lethe.
Pluto’s/Hades’ palace has many gates and is filled with guests [Valhalla?]
Sleep and his brother Death dwell in underworld.
(H: 102 – 105, 171 - 174)
Anthropogony, the origin of humans
Prometheus fashioned humans from clay in the image of the gods. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 77
[Zeus delegated the making of humans to the two Titan brothers, Prometheus and
Epimetheus gave away all strengths to the beasts,
So, Prometheus gave humankind intellect.
Then he gave them an upright form like that of the gods and brought fire from the gods.]
Humans sprang from the earth, like plants, “autochthonous.”
The Athenians were “autochthonous. Oreiginally they were Pelasgians.
After the Flood Deukalion and Pyrrha cast stones, which grew into people.
Zeus made them from ants (Aiakos, Aigina island, Aegean Sea)..
(H: 257 – 258)
Pandora was fashioned by the gods to punish men.
She opened a jar filled with miseries, toil, and disease., all of which escaped.
She is an example of Greek misogyny.
(H: 132 – 136)
Centaurs (*kent-tauroi hundred-bulls) half man, half horse, savage
Few or no female Kentauroi.
Cheiron was cultivated and wise; he was a teacher to heroes.
(H: 309 – 314)
Prometheus, a Titan tricked the gods into taking the fat and bones at sacrifices.
He also stole fire to give back to humans.
Hermes stole the cattle of Apollon.
Autolykos was a great thief, the demi-god son of Hermes.
He tried to steal Sisyphos’ cattle.
Sosyphos tricked Autolykos. S’s cattle’s hooves were carved “Autolykos stole me”
Sisyphos first bound Thanatos (Death) and then tricked Hades into letting him return. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 78
Odysseus was a son of Sisyphos.
(H: 189 – 196)
In Greek his name was Herakles ≤ * hé–ra–-kléwés ‘year-glory’, cf. Russian Jaro-
Born in Thebes to Amphitryon and Alcmena.
Grandfather was Alcaeus.
He and his twin, Iphikles (snake-glory) were called the Alcides.
[His original name was Palaemon.]
He was the son of Zeus.
Hera sent two serpents to kill Iphi-kles (Snake Glory) and him.
Hercules strangled them.
As a boy he killed his music teacher, Linus.
[Otherwise he was learned in all things.
He never picked a quarrel.
He was the first to return the dead.]
At 18 he killed the Thespian lion in Cithaeron and wore its pelt ever after.
[He carried a club,
was the greatest archer.
He was married to Hebe, the goddess of youth, daughter of Zeus and Hera; cupbearer to
the gods. Compare Diarmid and Youth]
He killed the Minyan [pre-Greek, /minwan-/, Minoans?] heralds,
and defeated the Minyans [killed them in their sleep],
lifting their tax from Thebes.
The Thebans gave him Princess Megara.
They had 3 sons.
He went berserk and killed her and his own sons.
[He killed his 8 sons, the Alcaeids (H’s first name was Alcaeus) and two of Iphikles.]
He wished to die, but Theseus persuaded him to come to Athens.
He soon left Athens and went to Delphi.
The Oracle called him ‘Herakles,’ which was his name ever after.
She sent him to his cousin Eurystheus to be “purged” of guilt.
Eurystheus assigned him a penance of 12 labours.
[Phyleus did similar feats at the behest of Cycnus. Anthropology 2G03 – Readings in Indo-European Myth Colarusso - 79
Echoes of another hero from which some of these feats were taken.]
L. 1: kill the lion of Nemea, impervious to weapons.
H. strangled it.
L. 2: kill the 9-headed Hydra of Lerna.
When he cut off a head, another two grew back.
His nephew Io-laus [Io-person] helped him with a burning brand.
He cauterized the neck stumps and
buried its one immortal head under a rock
L. 3: bring back the golden horned hind (female deer) of Artemis in Cerynitia
He stalked it for a whole year and brought it back
[The other four drew Artemis’ chariot.]
L. 4: capture the Erymanthean boar
He exhausted it and drove it into deep snow.
L. 5: clean the Augean stables
He diverted two rivers and washed them out.
L. 6: kill the brazen, man-eating Stymphalian birds of Ares
He could not reach them in their marsh.
So, he frightened them with a noise
and shot them as they tried to fly away.
L. 7: captured the berserk Cretan bull
L. 8: slay the man-eating mares of Dio-medes [God-Counsellor], king of the Thracian
He took the mares to the sea,
where he drowned the pursuing Bistones.
then he fed Diomedes to his own mares.
L. 9: to steal Ares’ golden belt from the Amazon queen, Hippolyte (horse-free)
Hippolyte fell in love with Hercules.
When she boarded his ship to sail with him
he killed her and took the belt.
Her tribeswomen could do nothing from the shore.
L. 10: bring back the oxen of Geryon
Geryon was a man with 3 bodies [joined at the waist
[G. was the strongest man.
G. was king of Tartessus, in Spain.
There were red oxen on island of Erytheia
guarded by Ares’ son, Euryt