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Fear-Factor: Some of the popular Mythical Creatures

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Mythological creatures have always fascinated us, be it in the form of folklore, legends, or occurring as characters in popular novels. The sheer number of creatures that are rumored to be in existence is simply too many to count. Although a major portion of them have been discounted as simply myths. More than the actual existence of them what is important is the symbolism that some of these creatures represent. Here we look at 7 such mythological creatures and rate them based on their ‘Fear Factor’ on a scale of 1 to 5

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Manticore

A manticore/mantichore is a creature that bears the face of a human and the body of a lion. It has a venomous tail like that of a scorpion. Some manticores are known to have the gift of flight and have gigantic wings. This beast derives its name from the Persian word ‘martichoras’ which simply translates to man-eater. Hence, it’s a given that it is very fond of human flesh.
Abilities: Shoots venomous spines and has unsurpassable speed.
Fear Factor: 5/5

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Mermaid

Renowned in folklore, a mermaid (masculine- merman), whose home is the sea, has the upper half of a human and the lower half of a fish. A mermaid is also known by other names such as ‘Siren’ and ‘Merrow’ in European folklore. The creature is usually harmless and is often written in stories having romantic engagements with human beings. But when in water, they can wreak havoc.
Abilities: Can cause storms and shipwreck, Fortune telling, can provide the power of breathing underwater to human beings.
Fear Factor: 2/5

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Centaur

Originating in Greek mythology, it is also known by the name ‘Hippocentaur’. This mythological creature has the head and torso of a human and the lower body of a horse, dwelling in the forests of Thessaly. They have an unpolished reputation for being violent towards women but fight for good against evil. They served the Greek God of wine, Dionysus and their only weakness was alcohol.
Abilities: speech and intelligence, strength and can use their hooves as a weapon.
Fear Factor: 2/ 5

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Pegasus

A divine creature, a horse associated with the color white is known for being goodhearted, kind, and helpful. Mythology states that the pegasus was born of Medusa’s blood as she was being killed by Perseus. Bearing enormous wings, Pegasus made the journey to heaven. He lived in Mount Olympus until his last day when Zeus granted him immortality by turning him into a constellation.
Abilities: can fly, travel from mortal to immortal reign.
Fear Factor: 0/5

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Chimera

A monster that has the body of a lion, the head of a goat rising from its shoulders, and a tail that ends with the face of a serpent. Much like a dragon, it breathes fire. This hybrid beast is a very deadly creature bearing the powers of three different animals.
Abilities: fire that can melt weaponry, serpent’s venom, and strength.
Fear Factor: 4/5

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Phoenix

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a divine bird-like creature that dies and takes birth again, from its ashes. It is symbolic of the victory over death and represents a lot of virtues. We can call a phoenix invincible in its form.
Abilities: can set fire to anything with a single touch, can fly.
Fear Factor: 1/5

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Lernean Hydra

A serpentine water monster, much like a dragon is known for having 3 heads (or nine). If anyone attempts to cut off a head, another would grow back in its place. Most well-known for its fight with Heracles.
Abilities: poisonous breath, regenerative heads, and is venomous.
Fear Factor: 5/5

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Greek Literature Literature

Greek Mythology – Fuel to Ignite Imaginations

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Greek mythology was originally told by Ancient Greeks as a part of Greek folklore. It began in the Bronze Age. Around 700 BC, the poet Hesiod’s Theogony offered the first written origin story of Greek mythology. These stories generally revolve around the origin and the nature of the world, the lives of the deities, heroes, mythological creatures, and the significance of the ancient Greek’s cultures, rituals, and religion. These mythical stories were initially propagated in an oral-poetic tradition.

Greek Mythology was mainly used to explain the environment in which mankind lived and the natural phenomena that they witnessed. It also advised on the best ways to lead a happy life. And finally, myths were used to re-tell historical events so that people could go back to their ancestors, the wars they fought, and the places they explored.

The main themes dominating the Greek mythology are the Wars – an inevitable part of existence; love – as examples of loyalty, trust, and eternal love; heroes – depicting marvelous achievements of virtue, strength, and honor; underworld – an expression of cultures of death; and the Mortality and Fate – representing visions of right and wrong behavior along with the repercussions.

Hesiod’s Theogony tells the story of the universe’s journey from nothingness, to a detailed and elaborate family tree of elements, Gods and Goddesses, who evolved and descended from Gaia (Earth), Ouranos (Sky), Pontos (Sea), and Tartaros (the Underworld). Later Greek writers have used this information and elaborated upon these sources in their works.

At the heart of Greek mythology is the pantheon of deities who were said to live on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. From there, they ruled every aspect of human life. The Gods and Goddesses looked like normal men and women but could morph themselves into animals and other things, meaning they could perform metamorphosis. The 12 main Olympians are:

  • Zeus (the king of all gods, the god of weather);
  • Hera (queen of all gods and goddess of marriage);
  • Aphrodite (goddess of beauty and love); 
  • Apollo (god of prophecy, and knowledge); 
  • Ares (god of war); 
  • Artemis (goddess of hunting); 
  • Athena (Goddess of wisdom); 
  • Demeter (goddess of agriculture); 
  • Dionysus (god of pleasure, and festivity); 
  • Hephaestus (god of fire); 
  • Hermes (god of hospitality. Zeus’s manager); and
  • Poseidon (god of the sea).

Now let’s have a quick run-through of some of the most well-known Greek Mythological stories and the suggested books. 

  1. Story of Hercules – an adventurer who performed 12 impossible labors for King Eurystheus; 
  2. Pandora – the first woman whose curiosity brought a curse and evil upon mankind; 
  3. Pygmalion – a king who fell in love with an ivory statue; 
  4. Arachne – weaver who was turned into a spider for her arrogance; 
  5. Trojan Prince Ganymede who became the cup-bearer for the gods; 
  6. Narcissus – a young man who fell in love with his reflection; 
  7. Midas – the king with a boon of turning everything he touches to gold;
  8. The tale of the winged horse Pegasus;
  9. The cursed Prometheus whose liver is eaten every day for stealing fire from the Gods;
  10. The kidnap of Persephone by Hades;
  11. The Fall of Icarus, the man with wings of wax;
  12. The story of Achilles of Homer’s Iliad.
  13. Horse-man Centaur, the Lion-woman Sphinx, the Bird-woman Harpies, the One-eyed giant Cyclops, and many more.

There are many other interesting stories in Greek mythology that bring the imagination of a child to play. Mentioning them all would be one hard nut to crack. I hope this information has motivated you to delve deeper into Greek mythology. Go ahead and read the above-mentioned stories and let us know which mythological story is your favorite.

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Greek Literature Literature

Delving into Greek Literature

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Greek literature extends from the 1st Millennium BC to the present day. After the conquest of Alexander the Great, Greek became the common language of the eastern Mediterranean lands and then of the Byzantine Empire. At present, it is chiefly confined to Greece and Cyprus. Greek Literature can be divided into three time periods – Ancient Greek Literature (800BC-350AD), Byzantine Literature (290AD-1453AD), and Modern Greek Literature (1453AD-Present).

Ancient Greek Literature – Ancient Greek Literature alludes to the literature written in ancient Greek dialect. The Greek language arose from the proto-Indo-European language; roughly only 2/3rd of its words are derived from various phonetic reconstructions. By the 5th century BC, Athens fully adopted the Phoenician derived alphabets that primarily arose from the Greek-Ionia or present-day Turkey.

  1. Pre-classical Period (800BC – 500BC) – The earliest of Greek Literature was completely oral while the ancient Greek Literature was oral to some degree. The poems that were composed in the pre-classical period were meant to be sung or recited. Writing them down for literary purposes began a little before the 7th century BC. Most of the poems focused on myths and legends that were partly folktale and partly religion. The significant figures of this period are Homer and Hesiod.
  2. Classical Period (500BC – 323BC) – Western literature became more prominent through its genres – lyrical poetry, Pastorals, Odes, Elegies, Epigrams, along with dramatic presentations of Comedy and Tragedy. Even Philosophical dialects, histories, and rhetorical treatises arose in this period. The two celebrated lyrical poets of this period are Sappho and Pindar. Throughout this period there were hundreds of tragedies that were written as well as performed, but only a limited number of plays survived. Especially the ones authored by SophoclesAeschylus, and Euripides. The writing of comedy also commenced in this period, as a ritual, in honor of Dionysus (the God of theater in ancient Greek religion). The earliest written plays were full of obscenity, abuse, and insult. Hence, the only surviving plays are of Aristophanes which are a treasure trove of comic presentation. The greatest achievement of the 4th century BC was in the field of philosophy. Greek philosophy flourished during the classical period. And the most prominent contributors to this field are SocratesPlato, and Aristotle.
  3. Hellenistic Period (323BC – 31BC) – By 338 BC, the important Greek cities were captured by Philip II of Macedon. Philip II’s son Alexander expanded his father’s territory of conquest greatly. This period is defined as the timeline between the death of Alexander the Great and the rise of the Roman Domination. And after the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Alexandria in northern Egypt became the center of Greek culture. The most valuable contribution done in the Hellenistic period was the translation of the Old Testament into Greek, by Septuagint. On the other hand, Greek poetry flourished with works of Theocritus (creator of pastoral poetry), Callimachus, and Apollonius of Rhodes. And Menander came up with his New Comedy, which changed the course of drama representation.
  4. Roman Age (31BC – 284AD) – A large section of Greek literature from this period was histories. The Roman Period contributed largely to the subjects of poetry, comedy, history, and tragedy. The important historians of this period were Timaeus, Diodorus, Siculus, Plutarch, Appian of Alexandria, and Arrian. Significant contributions were also made in the field of astronomy and geography by Eratosthenes. The physician Galen pioneered developments in scientific disciplines including anatomy, neurology, pharmacology, pathology, and physiology. Other than this the New Testament, the Gospels, and the Epistles of Saint Paul are also a product of this period. This period marks the end of Ancient Greek Literature. 

Byzantine Literature – Written in Atticizing, Medieval, and Early Modern Greek. It is a combination of the Greek and the Christian civilizations based on the foundation of the Roman political system. It comprises of four main cultural elements: Greek, Christian, Roman, and Oriental. The literature of this period was mainly written in the Atticizing style (a particular region of Athens in Greece). Some were written in Latin and the ones from Latin Empire were written in French. Apart from all these Chronicles, Encyclopedias flourished in this period. 

Modern Greek Literature – The literature of this period is written in standard Modern Greek language. It witnessed the revival of Greek and Roman studies; and the development of Renaissance humanism and science. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is a prominent work of this period. It is a romantic verse written by Vitsentzos Kornaros around the 1600s. Modern Greek Literature was mainly influenced by Diafotismos, a movement that translated and borrowed the ideas of the European Enlightenment into the Greek world. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two important figures of this movement. At present, Modern Greek Literature is a part of the Global Literary Community. And Greek authors like George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.