Mythology

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Minor Characters
Homer
An ancient Greek poet who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Ovid
A Roman poet who describes many myths in his Metamorphoses, but sees them as entertaining tales rather than essential truths.
Virgil
A Roman epic poet, the author of the Aeneid.
Apollodorus
A Roman writer who describes many myths in a dull, straightforward manner.
Aeschylus
A Greek tragedian who wrote about Agamemnon, Orestes, and Thebes.
Sophocles
A Greek tragedian who wrote about Oedipus and his family.
Euripides
A Greek tragedian who wrote about many mythological figures.
Zeus
Jupiter in Latin. The chief of the Greek gods, the God of Heaven and wielder of thunderbolts. Zeus is married to his sister Hera, but is famously unfaithful to her with a variety of mortal women.
Hera
Juno in Latin. Zeus’s sister and wife, a jealous, spiteful goddess.
Poseidon
Neptune in Latin. Zeus’s brother, the god of the sea and horses.
Hades
Zeus’s brother, the ruler of the land of the dead.
Pallas Athena
Minerva in Latin. Zeus’s daughter, a fierce, independent goddess associated with war, civilization, and craftsmanship.
Phoebus Apollo
The “most Greek” of the gods, the God of Light, Truth, and Music.
Aphrodite
Venus in Latin. The goddess of Love and Beauty.
Artemis
Diana to the Romans. The maiden goddess of hunting and the forests.
Hermes
Mercury to the Romans. A clever god with winged shoes and a winged hat, a messenger for Zeus.
Hephaestus
The only ugly Olympian, the beloved armorer of the gods. Vulcan in Latin.
Ares
Mars in Latin. The cruel, hated god of war and chaos.
Earth
One of the first entities in the universe, Mother Earth seems to create itself. She first gives birth to Heaven, then a race of monsters, and then the Titans.
Heaven
The counterpart to Earth, though also her child, and the father of the monsters and Titans.
Cronus
The ruler of the Titans, who gives birth to Zeus and is then overthrown by him.
Prometheus
A Titan who helps mankind by giving them fire, and is horribly punished by Zeus.
Dionysus
The God of Wine, one of the great gods of the earth who experiences a sacrificial death each winter. The first plays were written for Dionysus. He is called Bacchus by the Romans.
Demeter
The Goddess of Corn, the other great god of the earth, and the mother of Persephone. She is called Ceres in Latin.
Eros
Aphrodite’s son, the God of Love, known as Cupid to the Romans.
Persephone
Demeter’s daughter, a mortal who is kidnapped by Hades and made Queen of the Dead.
Odysseus
A famously clever hero of the Trojan War, who came up with the idea for the Trojan Horse. Odysseus’s long, arduous journey home is the subject of the Odyssey.
Jason
The hero of the Quest of the Golden Fleece. He is saved by Medea but later rejects her.
Theseus
The favorite hero of the Athenians, Theseus kills the Minotaur and institutes democracy in Athens.
Hercules
The greatest Greek hero, the strongest and bravest of mortals. He completes twelve famous tasks, kills many monsters, and is only defeated by magic or his own shame.
Perseus
The hero who kills the Gorgon Medusa.
Aeneas
A Trojan hero, the only one to escape the fall of Troy. After journeying to Italy Aeneas becomes the father of the Roman people.
Atalanta
The greatest female hero, the killer of the Caledonian Boar. She only married the man who could outrun her in a race.
Achilles
Moody hero of the Trojan War, who kills Hector and is then killed by Paris.
Hector
The greatest Trojan hero, a tragic figure killed by Achilles.
Paris
The son of King Priam of Troy, Paris’s judgment of Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera, followed by his abduction of Helen, leads to the Trojan War.
Helen
The most beautiful woman on earth, wife of Menelaus. The Trojan War begins when she falls in love with Paris and he carries her off.
Menelaus
The husband of Helen and King of Sparta.
Agamemnon
The King of Mycenae, leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War. He is later killed by his wife as vengeance for sacrificing their daughter.
Clytemnestra
Agamemnon’s wife, who kills him to avenge their daughter.
Orestes
The son of Agamemnon, who kills Clytemnestra to avenge his father. After being pursued by the Furies he eventually finds atonement.
Iphigenia
Daughter of Agamemnon, sacrificed on the journey to Troy. In some stories she later becomes a priestess of the Taurians.
Electra
Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who longs to avenge her father.
Oedipus
King of Thebes who inadvertently kills his father and marries his mother, fulfilling a prophecy at his birth.
Laius
The father of Oedipus, who abandons him as a baby and is then killed by him years later.
Jocasta
Laius’s wife, who later marries Oedipus.
Antigone
Daughter of Oedipus, who is executed for burying her brother.
Creon
Jocasta’s brother, who becomes regent of Thebes after Oedipus abdicates.
Ismene
Oedipus’s other daughter.
Polyneices
Oedipus’s son, who fights for the throne and then lies unburied after being defeated by Creon.
Eteocles
Oedipus’s other son, who also dies fighting for the throne.
Medea
A powerful witch who does many terrible things out of love for Jason, but then is abandoned by him.
Atlas
A Titan who is punished by having to ceaselessly hold up Heaven and Earth on his shoulders.
Penelope
Odysseus’s wife, who is beset by suitors while he is away.
Telemachus
Odysseus’s son.
The Muses
Nine goddesses associated with artistic and scientific inspiration.
Nemesis
The personification of divine vengeance.
Proteus
A shape-shifting sea god.
Charon
Boatman of the underworld, who ferries souls across the river to Hades.
Cerberus
The three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hades.
The Furies
Female goddesses who pursue and punish evildoers.
Castor and Pollux
Twins who become semi-immortal, the brothers of Helen.
Aeolus
The keeper of the Four Winds.
Boreas
The god of the North Wind.
Zephyr
The god of the West Wind.
The Sirens
Supernatural beings who lure sailors to death with their song.
Clotho
One of the three Fates, who spins the thread of life.
Lachesis
The second Fate, who allots a person’s destiny.
Atropos
The third Fate, who cuts the thread at the end of a person’s life.
Pentheus
A king who insults Dionysus and then is killed by his mother.
Rhea
Zeus’s mother, who saves him as a baby from Cronus.
Epimetheus
The scatterbrained brother of Prometheus.
Pandora
The first woman, who introduces evil into the world by opening a forbidden box.
Io
A woman who Zeus loves and then turns into a white cow.
Argus
A god with a thousand eyes.
Europa
A woman whom Zeus loves and kidnaps; the namesake of Europe.
Polyphemus
A Cyclops who traps and then is outwitted by Odysseus. He loves a nymph.
Narcissus
A beautiful youth who falls in love with his own reflection.
Echo
A nymph who can only repeat what others say.
Hyacinthus
A youth Apollo accidentally kills and then memorializes with a flower.
Adonis
A beautiful youth whom both Persephone and Aphrodite love.
Psyche
A beautiful mortal, the wife of Cupid.
Pyramus and Thisbe
Two lovers who talk through a crack in the wall.
Orpheus
The greatest mortal musician, who tries to fetch his wife Eurydice from Hades.
Eurydice
Orpheus’s wife, who almost escapes Hades.
Ceyx and Alcyone
Husband and wife who are turned into birds together.
Pygmalion
An artist who falls in love with his own sculpture.
Daphne
A nymph whom Apollo pursues, she is then turned into a tree.
Ætes
The King of Colchis, who sends Jason on the Quest of the Golden Fleece.
Phaëthon
The Sun-god’s son, who fails to drive his father’s chariot.
Bellerophon
The hero who tames Pegasus.
Pegasus
A horse with wings, born out of the beheading of Medusa.
The Chimaera
A monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake.
Otus and Ephialtes
Two Giant brothers who scorn the gods and are punished.
Daedalus
A famous inventor who built the Labyrinth and escapes by building wings.
Minos
The King of Crete, who feeds youths to the Minotaur.
Ariadne
Daughter of Minos, who loves Theseus and helps him through the Labyrinth.
Icarus
Daedalus’s son, who flies too close to the sun with his father's man-made wings and drowns.
Danaë
The mother of Perseus, Zeus impregnates her in the form of a golden rain.
Medusa
A Gorgon, a monster with snakes for hair and a look that turns mortals to stone.
Aegeus
The father of Theseus and King of Athens.
The Minotaur
A half-man, half-bull monster who lives in the Labyrinth.
Hippolytus
Theseus’s son who is exiled over a misunderstanding.
Pirithoüs
Theseus’s ambitious but foolish friend.
Phaedra
Theseus’s second wife, who kills herself and frames Hippolytus.
Eurystheus
The king who assigns Hercules his twelve labors.
Hippolyta
The queen of the Amazons.
Deianira
Hercules’s wife, who unintentionally causes his death.
Omphale
A queen whom Hercules must serve as a slave.
Meleager
A man who loves Atalanta and finishes off the Caledonian boar.
Melanion
Atalanta’s husband, who beats her in a race by distracting her with golden apples.
Priam
The King of Troy, father of Paris and Hector.
Leda
A woman Zeus seduces as a swan, the mother of Helen.
Thetis
A sea-nymph, Achilles’ mother.
Ajax
One of the great Greek heroes of the Trojan War.
Diomedes
Another Greek hero of the Trojan War.
Andromache
Hector’s wife, who later marries the prophet Helenus.
Patroclus
Achilles’ friend who fights in his armor and is killed by Hector.
Oenone
A nymph who loves Paris, but then lets him die after he leaves her for Helen.
Cassandra
The daughter of King Priam, gifted with prophecy but cursed to never be believed.
Nestor
An old, clever hero of Troy.
Calypso
A nymph who loves Odysseus and holds him captive for ten years.
Circe
A witch who turns men into pigs.
Teiresias
A blind prophet of Thebes.
Eumaeus
Odysseus’s faithful swineherd.
Helenus
A prophet of Troy, who later marries Andromache.
Dido
The founder and queen of Carthage, she loves Aeneas but then is abandoned by him and commits suicide.
Anchises
Aeneas’s father, whom Aeneas visits in the underworld.
Lavinia
Aeneas’s wife, the daughter of King Latinus.
Turnus
The leader of the Rutulians, Aeneas’s main enemy.
Mezentius
Turnus’s ally, the cruel former ruler of the Etruscans.
Evander
A king of a small, poor town, but who is helpful to Aeneas.
Tantalus
A mortal who inexplicably serves his own son as food to the gods.
Pelops
Tantalus’s son, who is resurrected by the gods.
Niobe
Tantalus’s daughter, she compares herself to the gods and is punished.
Atreus
A son of Pelops, who kills his brother’s children and serves them as food.
Thyestes
Atreus’s brother, who becomes an unwitting cannibal.
Aegisthus
The son of Thyestes, Clytemnestra’s lover.
Pylades
Orestes’ cousin and friend, who helps him in his endeavors.
Cadmus
Europa’s brother and the founder of Thebes.
Semele
Dionysus’s mother, who is killed by seeing Zeus’s full glory.
Agave
The mother of Pentheus, whom Dionysus drives to kill her son.
Ino
A daughter of Cadmus who later becomes a sea-goddess.
Actaeon
A hunter who accidentally sees Artemis naked and is killed.
The Sphinx
A monster who is part woman, part lion, and kills people if they can’t solve her riddle.
Cecrops
Half dragon, half man, the Athenian king who chooses Athena as the city’s patron.
Erechtheus
A famous early king of Athens.
Procne
A daughter of Erechtheus who kills her son and serves him to her cruel husband Tereus.
Philomela
Procne’s sister. Tereus cuts her tongue out and imprisons her.
Tereus
A cruel son of Ares, Procne’s husband.
Procris
Procne’s niece, who is unduly tested by her husband.
Cephalus
The husband of Procris, kidnapped by Aurora.
Orithyia
A woman kidnapped by the North Wind.
Creüsa
Procris’s sister, who is raped by Apollo.
Midas
A foolish king who wishes that everything he touches would turn to gold.
Silenus
Drunken old man who accompanies Dionysus.
Chiron
A Centaur who mentors many young heroes.
Aesculapius
The greatest mortal healer, punished for raising a man from the dead.
Hypermnestra
The only one of fifty sisters to not kill her husband.
Glaucus
A sea-god who loves Scylla.
Scylla
A nymph who is turned into a horrible rock-monster that threatens sailors.
Arachne
A skilled weaver who challenges Athena and is turned into a spider.
Leto
The mother of Apollo and Artemis, a lover of Zeus.
Orion
A great hunter who becomes a constellation.
Sisyphus
A man punished by being made to eternally push a rock uphill.
Sigurd
The greatest Norse hero, the son of Sigmund. Sigurd loves Brynhilde but is made to forget her, and he is later killed by Gunnar.
Signy
Sigmund’s sister, who bears him a child and helps kill her wicked husband.
Sigmund
Signy’s brother, who kills her husband and his children.
Sinfiotli
The son of Signy and Sigmund, conceived as a helper for their vengeance.
Brynhild
A Valkyrie loved by both Sigurd and Gunnar.
Gunnar
Sigurd’s friend, who marries Brynhilde and later has Sigurd killed.
Gudrun
Gunnar’s sister, who marries Sigurd.
Odin
The chief of the Norse gods, a sky-god who constantly seeks out wisdom and is doomed to die at Ragnarok.
Balder
Odin’s son, who is killed by Loki with a mistletoe twig.
Loki
A Norse trickster god and villain.
Frigga
The mother of Balder and wife of Odin.
Hela
The Norse goddess of the dead.
Freya
The Norse goddess of love and beauty, who also takes half of those slain in battle.
Thor
The strongest Norse god, the god of thunder.
Ymir
The giant whose body parts become the universe in the Norse creation story, Odin’s grandfather.