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Mythical Gods And Creatures
Greek mythology living beings come under two categories, that is, they are either gods and heroes, or creatures. Gods have most characteristics of humans, but along with this they also have supernatural powers and are worshipped by the humans. The heroes are like other human beings but have either done something which makes them excel over others or have a gift that others do not possess.
On the other hand the mythological creatures are mainly like animals and monsters. Many have characteristics like an animal or a monster along with a few human features. Few of them possess supernatural powers too.In myths we come across many names of gods and goddesses and strange creatures. All of them have many stories related to them. Different gods represent different aspects of life and the Earth is under their control.Some of the gods and creatures are given below.
Apollo was an important god in Greek and Roman mythology. In Greek myths he was the son of Zeus - the king of all gods. Apollo was the god of light, purity, and the sun. The Greeks and Romans sometimes called him ‘Phoebus' meaning bright. Apollo played the lyre and wrote poetry, he also became a patron of musicians and poets. He was considered as the ideal of manly beauty.
The Greek god of wars, he was the son of Zeus and Hera (the king and queen of the gods). Ares represented the most brutal and violent aspects of war. The Greeks, who placed little value on these qualities, did not respect Ares highly. Myths describe him as a strong fierce fighter who took pleasure in bloody conflicts, but was not clever enough to win always.
She was the goddess of warfare and wisdom in Greek mythology. According to a myth, at birth she sprang full grown and dressed in armour, from the forehead of Zeus. Athena represented the intellectual aspects of war. The Greeks also worshipped her as the patroness of arts and crafts. Athena was particularly skilled at spinning and weaving. A mortal woman, Arachne, once challenged Athena to a weaving contest. Myths disagree as to who won. According to one myth after the contest Athena turned Arachne into a spider so that she would have to spend her life spinning.
Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love in Greek mythology. The Roman goddess, Venus, closely represented her. The Greeks believed that she had a dual nature. As ‘Aphrodite Pandemos' (Aphrodite of all the people), she was the patroness of physical love. As ‘Aphrodite Urania' (Aphrodite of the skies) she inspired spiritual and intellectual love.
He was the youngest child of Gaea (the earth) and Uranus (the sky). Uranus feared that his children might overthrow him so he confined them within Gaea's (the earth's) huge body. With Gaea's help Cronus overthrew Uranus and became king of the Titans (a race of gods). Cronus had the same fear as his father, so he swallowed his first five children. Rhea, his wife, hid the last child, Zeus, on the island of Crete. Then she tricked Cronus by giving him a stone wrapped in baby clothes. After attaining manhood, Zeus helped his brothers and sisters (who had grown up as well) to escape. Together they deposed Cronus, and Zeus became the king of the gods.
Hades (or Pluto)
He was the god of the dead, or the underworld, as the Greeks believed his kingdom to be underground. His kingdom was that of the dead, and was named after him. Hades was neutral region reserved for the souls of the people who deserved neither punishment nor reward upon death. The Greeks believed that this place was dreary and dull, but not necessarily painful.
Besides being the Greek god of the sea, he was also the god of horses, earthquakes, and storms at sea. His wife, Amphitrite, was the sea goddess. Poseidon's off springs included Antaeus (a giant), Arion (a horse), Polyphemus (a Cyclops), and Triton (a merman). A really interesting family!
Uranus was the earliest god of the sky. Uranus and Gaea were the parents of the Titans, the first race of mythological beings.
He feared his children and imprisoned them within their mother, the earth. With her help, his youngest son, Cronus attacked him. This separated him from Gaea.
The Greeks and Romans use this myth to explain the separation of the sky from the earth. Uranus' functions as god of the sky were eventually taken over by his grandson, Zeus.
He was the king of the gods and the supreme ruler of people. He originally was a god of the sky.
In time, the Greeks regarded him as the only god who concerned him-self with the whole universe. They also associated Zeus with justice and believed that he punished the wicked and rewarded the good. He belonged to the race of Titans, and was the son of Cronus and Rhea. After overthrowing Cronus, Zeus took his father's place and ruled from Mount Olympus. He headed a family of twelve major gods, called the Olympians.
The Centaur was a creature in Greek mythology that was half human and half horse. Centaurs were believed to live in northern Greece. Most of them were wild and lawless.
This was a fire-breathing monster. It had the head of a lion and the tail of a dragon. Its body was shaggy like that of a goat. For many years it laid waste the lands of Lycia and Caria. It was killed by Bellerophon, who flew over Chimera on the Pegasus.
They were a race of giant-shepherds in mythology. They lived in Sicily, and each of them had just one eye in the middle of their foreheads. They made weapons and armour for the gods. Apollo destroyed them because they made the fire bolt that killed his son, Asclepius.
In Greek mythology, a gigantic nine headed monster that dwelled in a marsh near Lerna, Greece. This monster had a fatally poisonous breath. Greek legendary hero Hercules destroyed Hydra as part of the 12 Labours.
In Greek mythology, one of the three monstrous daughters of the sea god Phorcys and his wife Ceto. The Gorgons were terrifying, dragon like creatures, covered with golden-scales with snakes for hair.
Giants belonged to a race of beings that looked like humans but were much more larger.
Giants in Greek legend represented the elements of nature such as earth, air, water. They were said to have been born from the blood of Uranus (heaven) which fell into Gaea's (Earth) lap. They were called the Titans.
The ancient Romans and Greeks believed that their ancestors had been big people with great power and strength; but as time passed the people had grown smaller.
This was a strange creature with the head and wings of an eagle but the body of a lion. They guarded a great amount of gold from the Arimaspians, who were one eyed monsters and were always trying to steal the gold.
She was one of the there gorgons - the daughters of the sea god, Phorcus. She was the only mortal Gorgon. She had been beautiful at first. Medusa had boasted of her beauty to Athena who became jealous and turned her into an ugly monster-like person. Medusa and her sisters had staring eyes, fangs and snakes for hair. Anyone who saw them would turn to stone.
Perseus killed Medusa by looking in his shining shield. The winged horse Pegasus rose from her beheaded body and poisonous snakes arose from the blood from her head. Medusa's blood was given to Asclepius, the god of healing. The blood from medusa's right side had the power to revive the dead, while that from her left side was a fatal poison.
The Minotaur was a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. King Minos of Crete kept it in the maze-like building, Labyrinth, from which no one could escape. Minos sacrificed seven Athenian youths and maidens to it every year. Theseus of Athens finally killed the Minotaur, and escaped from the Labyrinth.
This was a winged-horse that rose out of Medusa's body when Perseus killed her. The horse flew to join the gods, but was captured and tamed by Athena. Bellerophon rode Pegasus when he fought the Chimera and the Amazons, but because of Bellerophon's pride Pegasus threw him off and flew away. Zeus then transformed him into a constellation.
The phoenix was a mythical bird. Only one such bird existed at a time. At the end of each life cycle, the phoenix burned itself on a funeral pyre, and another one rose from its ashes, with renewed youth and beauty. The new bird carried the ashes of its father (as the phoenix was always male), to the altar of the sun god in an Egyptian city, Heliopolis - meaning the city of the sun. This bird of brilliant gold and reddish-purple feathers lived up to exactly 500 years according to some writers, and up to 97,200 years by others. Its long life and rebirth makes it a symbol of immortality and spiritual rebirth.
It is said to have looked like a horse other than the horn on its forehead. Its name also means "one horn". The horn was white at the base, black in the middle and red at the tip. The unicorn had a white body, a red head and blue eyes. The unicorn's hind legs looked like an antelope's, and its tail was like that of a lion.
- Mythical Creatures
Supernatural creatures, which grew out from mythical stories, specially those from Greece and Egypt, are often believed to be real. Greek and Egyptian mythologies are full of such stories, interest in which remains, till today.
- Some Legendary Mythical Beasts
A legendary creature is a mythical or fantastic creature in historical literature. Some have their origin in traditional myths and have at one time been believed to be real beings.The Phoenix, Pegasus, Unicorn are some of these.
Dragons have been a part of mythology and legend for thousands of years. Almost every country in the world has some sort of dragon story. Stories of dragons have been handed down for generations in many civilisations.
- Mysterious Myths About Mermaids
The mermaid has always been a creature of mystery, fantasy and unlimited beauty. Its elegance and splendour has been known to enchant people since a very long time. Even now it is one of the favourite cartoon characters of most children.