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Thargelia

(230 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (θαργήλια/ Thargḗlia, also Targelia). The main festival connected with Apollo on the 6th and 7th days (resp. birthday of Artemis and Apollo) of the Attic/Ionian month Thargēliṓn (late April to late May). The etymology is not known; in Antiquity the name was linked with a stew, thárgēlos (e.g. Phot. ψ 22), made from first fruits offered up to the god. The importance of the festival is also shown in its onomastic productivity, cf. e.g. the Milesian courtesan T. (Hippias FGrH 6 F 3); indeed the festival was generally of great si…

Mopsus

(269 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Μόψος/ Mópsos). Famous mythological seer (or seers?), who already participates in the expedition of the Argonauts in archaic Greek epic (POxy. 53,3698) and Pindar (Pyth. 189-192). He is the son of Ampyx and grandson of Ares (Hes. Sc. 181), comes from Titaresus (i.e. Dodona) and dies on the journey, after being bitten by a serpent in Libya (Apoll. Rhod. 4,1502ff.). Originally, he may well have been the heros eponymos of the Thessalian Mopsium (Str. 9,5,22). The exact relationship between this M. and the famous seer from Asia Minor, who is the son …

Thalysia

(132 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Θαλύσια/ Thalýsia), a word suggestive of 'abundance' (Gr. thalía, cf. thállō 'to bloom'), is a first-fruit sacrifice (Gr. aparchaí) for Artemis (Hom. Il. 9,534). Its antiquity is suggested by the name Thalysiades (Hom. Il. 4,458). Later it became particularly identified with Demeter; Theocritus situates his seventh Idyl on the day of a T. for Demeter. There also was a ‘thalysian’ bread, made from the first fruits (Athen. 3.114A), comparable to the thargēlos bread (Thargelia). Menander (Rhetor 391 Russell-Wilson) compares aparchaí in speeches with T. for Dem…

Amalthea

(336 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
(Ἀμάλθεια; Amáltheia). [German version] [1] Cretan Nymph Cretan nymph, daughter of Haemonius, by whose goat Zeus was suckled after his birth (Call. h. 1,49). Rationalizing versions make the nymph a goat (Aix). Zeus used the skin of the goat, the aigis, to conquer the titans (Hom. Il. 15,229 schol. D = POxy. 3003). Ovid (Fast. 5,111-28) connected the myth with another, presumably independent, tradition of a (bull-) cornucopia of the nymph A. (Pherecyd. FGrH 3 F 42), which was often mentioned in comedies (Aristoph. fr. 707; Cratinus fr.…

Leucothea

(247 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Λευκοθέα; Leukothéa). A deity connected with initiation and rites of reversal. She appears as early as in Homer (Od. 5,333f.) where she is combined with Ino. Both, however, also appear independently in myth and in cult (the Leukathea of L.). L. was worshipped ‘in all of Greece’ (Cic. Nat. D. 3,39), but it is difficult to gain a clear impression of her festivals which often seem to have contained traits of social dissolution [1. 179; 2. 405-407]: her sanctuary in Delos was connec…

Zalmoxis

(338 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Ζάλμοξις; Zálmoxis). God of the  Getae; the name of the king Zalmodegicus (SEG 18,288) of the Getae shows that the spellings Zalmoxis and Salmoxis (Σάλμοξις) are variants [1]. Z.' epithet was probably Beléïzis (Hdt. 4,94,1: thus recent editions against earlier Gebeléïzis). The main source is Hdt. 4,94-97, which is largely if not exclusively followed by Hellanicus FGrH 4 F 73 [2. 156 note 202], which tells that among the Getae Z. was considered to be a god who taught religious rite…

Hymenaios

(465 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
(Ὑμέναιος; Hyménaios). God of marriage ceremonies or a wedding song (Sappho: ὑμήναος; hymḗnaos, Callimachus: ὑμήναιος; hymḗnaios). [German version] [1] Greek god of weddings Greek god of weddings whose name derives from the Greek word for wedding hymn, hyménaios. The etymology is unclear. H. is a relatively late creation: he first appears as a personification of the wedding hymn in Pindar (fr. 128c) and Euripides (Tro. 310; 314). In the innovative choral lyrics of the 4th cent. BC, he appears to have been a favoured motif [1. 56]. …

Proetids

(372 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Προιτίδες; Proitídes). The P. ('daughters of Proetus') are the subject of a mythical tradition, that narrates their maddened wandering and the subsequent curing of that madness. Several versions of the tale exist. According to most of them, the P. are driven mad by Hera after they have mocked her or her temple, or have stolen ornaments from her statue. Hes. fr. 131 M.-W. says that Dionysus drives them mad because they rejected his rites. They leave Argos or Argive Tiryns and, beli…

Hades

(923 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (ᾍδης; Háidēs). Greek term for the Underworld and its ruler. Various spellings are attested: Aides, Ais and Aedoneus in Homer, H. (aspirated) only in Attica. The etymology is unclear; the most recent proposal is that H. should be traced back to *a-wid ‘invisible’ [1. 575f.], cf. however [2. 302]. Outside Attica, for instance in Homer (Il. 23,244; Od. 11,623), the word can also designate the  Underworld, whose gates are guarded by the hell-hound  Cerberus (Il. 5,646; 8,368). In Home…

Harpies

(242 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Ἅρπυιαι; Hárpyiai, Latin Harpyiae). Female monsters of Greek mythology who, as daughters of Thaumas and Electra (Apollod. 1,2,6), belong to an older generation of gods. These ‘snatchers’ (< ἁρπάζω, harpázō = ‘snatch’, ‘rob’), who are never described in detail, are personifications of the demonic forces of storms and are always represented as winged women. Homer uses them in order to explain the disappearance without a trace of Odysseus (Hom. Od. 1,241; 14,371) or the sudden death of  Pandareus' daughters (Od…

Cassandra

(622 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Κασσάνδρα, Kassándra, ‘who stands out among men’ [1. 54-57]; Lat. Cassandra). In the Iliad ‘the most beautiful daughter’ of Priamus (Hom. Il. 13,366-67), who ‘compares to the golden Aphrodite’ (ibid. 24,699); Ibycus describes her as ‘she of the narrow ankles’ (fr. S 151 Davies). Beauty, youth and social status as a princess make her the paradigmatic feminine adolescent. The attempted rape on the part of  Ajax [2] fits this scenario; afterwards C. sought asylum at a stature of Athena in her sanctuary, as is reported already in the Iliupersis and in Alcaeus (S 262 Pa…

Linus

(348 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Λίνος; Línos) presumably is the personification of the ritual (Oriental?) cry aílinon (Phoenician ai lanu?), the refrain of the so-called L. song (Hom. Il. 18,569-570; Hes. fr. 305-306 M.-W.; Pind. fr. 128c 6). According to this tradition, L. is the son of Apollo and a Muse (Urania, Calliope, Terpsichore or Euterpe [1. 14; 2. 55]); the link with the Muses is reflected in a cult on the Helicon [1] (Paus. 9,29,5-6) and in Epidaurus (SEG 33, 303; 44, 332A). Argive women and maidens in an annual…

Titans

(798 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Τιτάν/ Titán, pl. Τιτάνες/ Titánes; Lat. Titan(us), pl. Titanes; the name is possibly of North-Syrian origin [1. 20428]). For the Greeks, the 'ancient gods' par excellence who, after their rebellion against Zeus, were banished into the Tartarus (cf. recently the 'subterranean T.' in a Sicilian defixio : SEG 47, 1442). The earliest sources: Hom. Il. 5,898; 8,478 f., etc., Hes. Theog. 617-719 and the lost ' Titanomachy' [2]. Hesiod (Theog. 133-137) and Acusilaus (FGrH 2 F 7) record Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Crius [1], Iapetus…

Nereus

(482 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Νηρεύς; N ēreús), whose name may be related to the Lithuanian nérti (‘to dive’), has only a shadowy role in Greek mythology. He is a typical ‘Old Man of the Sea’. This category of deities is usually anonymous in Homer (Il. 1.358, 18.141 etc.), although the title also refers to other sea-deities like Proteus (Od. 4.365) and Phorcys (Od. 13.96). These, and comparable deities like Glaucus [1], Thetis and Triton, possess the gift of prophecy and the ability to change shapes. The background is a…

Triptolemus

(463 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Τριπτόλεμος; Triptólemos). The paradigmatic mythological representative of Eleusis [1]. The etymology of the name is dubious [1]. T.'s genealogy is transmitted in various versions, which may indicate that he is not a long-established figure. His connection to the royal Eleusinian family (Apollod. 1,29f.) may be old. In any case, he was claimed by Argos [II 1] after the mid 5th cent. BC (Paus. 1,14,2; [2.158f.]). Around 530 BC, Athenian vases depict him as a bearded figure in a rus…

Pharmakos

(419 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] [1] Magician, v. Magic (φάρμακος; phármakos). Magician, v. Magic. Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen) [German version] [2] Human 'scapegoat' (φαρμακός/ pharmakós from φάρμακον/ phármakon, 'remedy, medicine'). The pharmakos was a human 'scapegoat' (Scapegoat rituals), who at Athens and in the Ionian poleis was driven out of a city to 'purify' it during the Thargelia as well as in times of crisis such as epidemic and famine. The scapegoat was chosen from among the poor and deformed; pharmakos and associated terms were thus regarded as insults [7; 8]. The pharmakoí received pr…

Lityerses

(213 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[German version] (Λιτυέρσης; Lityérsēs). Personification of a harvest song (Men. Karchedonios fr. 230 Koerte; Apollodorus FGrH 244 F 149; Phot. λ 263-264 Theodoridis) and a flute melody (Suda s.v.). The melody, probably a dirge-like one, gave rise to a story in which L., the bastard son of the Phrygian king Midas, would force passing strangers into a reaping contest with him. If they lost, he would give them a thrashing (Poll. 4,54) or cut off their heads and tie their bodies up in the wheat sheav…

Lityerses

(193 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[English version] (Λιτυέρσης). Personifikation eines Ernteliedes (Men. Karchedonios fr. 230 Koerte; Apollodoros FGrH 244 F 149; Phot. λ 263-264 Theodoridis) und einer Flötenmelodie (Suda s.v.). Seine wohl traurige Melodie war Anlaß zu einer Gesch., nach der L., der uneheliche Sohn des phryg. Königs Midas, Durchreisende zwang, mit ihm um die Wette zu ernten. Verloren sie, peitschte er sie aus (Poll. 4,54) oder schnitt ihre Köpfe ab und band ihre Leiber in Getreidegarben. Er wurde von Herakles getöt…

Pharmakos

(399 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[English version] [1] Magier, s. Magie (φάρμακος). Magier, s. Magie. Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen) [English version] [2] Menschlicher ›Sündenbock‹ (φαρμακός von φάρμακον, “Hilfs- bzw Heilmittel”). Der ph. war ein menschlicher “Sündenbock” (Sündenbockrituale), den man in Athen und den ionischen Poleis während der Thargelia, aber auch in Krisenzeiten wie Seuchen und Hungersnöten zur “Reinigung” aus der Stadt trieb. Der Sündenbock wurde unter den Armen und Häßlichen ausgewählt; daher galten ph. und verwandte Begriffe als Beleidigung [7; 8]. Die pharmakoí erhielten im Prytanei…

Hades

(872 words)

Author(s): Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen)
[English version] (ᾍδης). Griech. Bezeichnung für die Unterwelt und deren Herrscher. Verschiedene Schreibweisen sind belegt: Aides, Ais und Aidoneus bei Homer, H. (aspiriert) nur in Attika. Die Etym. ist unklar; der neueste Vorschlag ist, H. auf *a-wid “unsichtbar” zurückzuführen [1. 575f.], vgl. aber [2. 302]. Außerhalb von Attika, etwa bei Homer (Il. 23,244; Od. 11,623), kann das Wort auch die Unterwelt bezeichnen, deren Tore vom Höllenhund Kerberos bewacht werden (Il. 5,646; 8,368). Bei Homer l…
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