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Gordius

(439 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Schottky, Martin (Pretzfeld)
(Γόρδιος; Górdios). [German version] [1] Mythical founder of the Phrygian state Mythical founder of the Phrygian state and eponymous hero of its capital  Gordium. When birds flew around him as he was ploughing, he wanted to find out the significance of the sign from the seers in the city. A beautiful girl from a family of seers whom he asked for information at the city gate interpreted the sign as a promise of royal honour and offered to marry him. In order to end a civil war, the  Phrygians followed Zeus'…

Katabasis

(1,402 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Brändle, Rudolf (Basle)
[German version] I. Greek-Roman antiquity Katabasis (κατάβασις/ katábasis, ‘descent’, more precisely εἰς ᾍδου κ., ‘descent into the Underworld’; pl. katabáseis; since Isoc. Or. 10,20, cf. Hdt. 2,122,1). Katabasis is, as a specific form of the voyage into the other world, the (mythological) narration or (ritual) staging of a voyage into the Underworld, with the purpose of either finding a particular inhabitant (a dead person, a deity, or a monster), or gaining knowledge of the future (guarded by the subterraneans)…

Athena

(3,382 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ἀθήνη/Ἀθηνᾶ; Athḗnē/ Athēnâ). [German version] A. Etymology and Origin Central Greek polis deity, daughter of Zeus and Metis, born from her father's head, virginal patron of war, crafts and female work (Hom. Hymn. Ven. 7); her common epithet, Pallas, is understood to mean ‘girl’ (Chantraine s.v. παλλακή). The Romans identified her with  Minerva (Etruscan, Menrva), the Greeks with numerous Eastern deities, for instance the Lycian Maliya [1], the Egyptian  Saïs (Hdt. 2,28), the Ugarite  Anat or the Palmyrene Allat. Like many Eastern goddesses, she …

Aeolis

(298 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Strauch, Daniel (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Name of a goddess associated with agrarian wealth in the imperial period Name of a goddess associated with agrarian wealth ( karpophóros) in the imperial inscriptions of Lesbos and Aegae; identified with Agrippina I and II (as Θεὰ Αἰολὶς Σεβαστή; Theà Aiolìs Sebastḗ, IG XII suppl. 134). She corresponds to the Αἰοληία θεά ( Aiolēía theá) mentioned in Alc. fr. 129 LP, who was worshipped together with Zeus and Dionysus Omestes in the main Lesbian sanctuary at Messa. Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) Bibliography L. Robert, Recherches épigraphiques V. (Inscriptions de L…

Arete

(203 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Döring, Klaus (Bamberg)
[German version] [1] Wife and sister of the Phaeacian king  Alcinous (Ἀρήτη; Arḗtē). Wife and sister of the Phaeacian king  Alcinous (Hes. fr. 222). Her benevolence helped both Odysseus (Hom. Od. 7) and Jason and Medea: she mediated between the Argonauts and the Colchians (Apoll. Rhod. 4,1068-1120), married Jason to Medea (Apollod. 1,138 f.), and presented the couple with 12 female servants who jokingly teased the heroes during the wedding celebrations; an aition in the cult of Apollo Aigletes [1]. Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) Bibliography U. Hölscher, Das Schweigen der Arete, in…

Myth

(5,440 words)

Author(s): Erdbeer, Robert Matthias | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
Erdbeer, Robert Matthias I. Concept (CT) A. Concept and Process (CT) [German version] 1. Myth and Mythology (CT) Different from ‘myth’, the term 'mythology' - an 'account' ( logos) of the deeds of gods and heroes - can either refer to the total store of traditional narratives ('myths') of an ethnic group; or, alternatively, it can refer to the 'reasoned knowledge' ( logos) of these mythical narratives and take the form of a scientific, critical examination and presentation, i.e. a 'theory of myth'. In reception history, however, the term 'mythos' (or 'myt…

Hydra

(450 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Strauch, Daniel (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Water monster (Ὕδρα; Hýdra, ‘water snake’). A monster, born of the monsters  Typhon and  Echidna (‘snake’) and raised by  Hera out of anger at Zeus. It lives at the spring of  Amymone in the swamps of Lerna, stealing cattle and humans until it is finally killed by  Heracles (Hes. Theog. 313-318; Diod. Sic. 4,11,5f.; Apollod. 2,77-80; Hyg. Fab. 30) despite the help of a crab sent to its aid by Hera. This killing constitutes Heracles' second deed in the canonical sequence. His lion'…

Hippolytus

(1,509 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Wirbelauer, Eckhard (Freiburg)
(Ἱππόλυτος; Hippólytos). [German version] [1] Son of Theseus and an Amazon Son of  Theseus and an Amazon ( Antiope [2] or  Hippolyte). His mythical-literary image was shaped essentially through the H. dramas by Sophocles ( Phaedra, lost) and esp. by Euripides, the lost earlier H. Kalyptómenos (‘The Veiled H.’) and the extant H. Stephanēphóros (‘The Garlanded H.’). The point of departure for both authors is his stepmother  Phaedra's love for H., which he rejects, whereupon Phaedra accuses him of sexually pursuing her. The enraged Theseus curses H.…

Aphareus

(338 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Pressler, Frank (Heidelberg)
(Ἀφαρεύς; Aphareús). [German version] [1] Son of Perieres and Gorgophone Son of  Perieres and Gorgophone, daughter of Perseus. As king of the Messenians he founded Arene at Pylos, which he named after his wife, the daughter of Oebalus and his half-sister. He took in Neleus and gave him Pylos, and was initiated into the cult of the ‘Great Gods’ of Andania by Lycus, son of Pandium (Paus. 4,2,4-6); Athenian propaganda is reflected here. He also took in Tyndareos (Paus. 3,1,4). His sons Idas and Lynceus (Paus…

Althaea

(294 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
(Ἀλθαία; Althaía). [German version] [1] Mythical figure: daughter of Thestius Daughter of  Thestius and Eurythemis, wife of  Oeneus of Calydon; among her children are  Ancaeus,  Deianira and  Meleager, who was also regarded as a son of Ares (Hyg. Fab. 14,16; Apollod. 1,63). Shortly after his birth, an oracle told her that Meleager would live as long as the log burned in the oven; she took it out and kept it for safe keeping, but burned it when Meleager killed her brothers in the dispute about the Calydoni…

Automedon

(202 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Degani, Enzo (Bologna)
(Αὐτομέδων; Automédōn). [German version] [1] Charioteer to Achilles and Patroclus Son of Diores of Scyrus (Hyg. Fab. 97). Charioteer to Achilles and Patroclus (Hom. Il. 9,209; frequent references in books 16 and 17 of the Il.). He is often depicted in this role in vase paintings. In Virgil (Aen. 2,476f.) he is Neoptolemus' charioteer. From the time of Varro (Men. 257), in Rome automedo is used to denote the reliable personal charioteer (e.g. Cic. Rosc. Am. 98; Juv. 1,61). Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) Bibliography A. Kossatz-Deissmann, s.v. A., LIMC 3.1, 56-63. [German version] [2] Greek …

Aeacides

(161 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Zahrnt, Michael (Kiel)
(Αἰακίδης; Aiakídēs). [German version] [1] Patronym for mythical descendents of Aeacus, the Molossian king Patronym for mythical and historical figures, who traced their lineage back to Aeacus: Peleus, Achilles, Neoptolemus, the Molossian kings [1]. Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) Bibliography 1 P. R. Franke, Die ant. Mz. von Epirus, 1961, 270.42 (literature). [German version] [2] Molossian king Son of the Molossian king  Arybbas and father of   Pyrrhus (Plut. Pyrrhus 1,5 ff.; Paus. 1,11,1; Diod. Sic. 16,72,1); after the death of Alexander [6] he succ…

Alcyonides

(282 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
[German version] [1] Kingfisher (Ἀλκυονίδες [ Alkyonídes] = ἀλκυόνες [ alkyónes], also ἁλκ-, therefore ‘halcyon days’), kingfisher, alcedines, colourful fish-eating coraciiformes (cf. Aristot. Hist. an. 8(9),14,616 a 14-18; Plin. HN 10,89). In Greece they were only winter guests and their brooding (at that time actually unknown) was said to take place during the calm of 14 days (ἀλκυονί(τι)δες, ἀλκυόνειοι ἡμέραι [ alkyoní(ti)des, alkyóneioi hēmérai], alcyonii dies, Alcedonia, Plur.) [1; 2] that can occur on many seas during winter solstice (as an exception! cf…

Hieros Gamos

(862 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
(ἱερὸς γάμος; hieròs gámos: sacred marriage). [German version] I. Term A term which has attained great significance in modern research as the name for a ritual sexual union, since the emergence of the fertility paradigm in the 19th cent. (Mannhardt, Frazer). Based on the sexual intercourse between  Demeter and her mortal lover  Iasion ‘in a thrice-ploughed field’ recounted in the Homeric epic (Hom. Od. 5, 125-128; Hes. Theog. 969-971), which has been understood by analogy with north-European customs as th…

Demeter

(3,322 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ionian-Attic Δημήτηρ; Dēmḗtēr, Doric-Boeotian Δαμάτηρ; Damátēr, Aeolian Δωμάτηρ; Dōmátēr, Attic short form Δηώ; Dēṓ). Goddess of agriculture, especially grain cultivation, womanhood and the Mysteries. [German version] A. Name The name is only partly comprehensible. In the second part of the word ‘mother’ is recognizable, for the first part ancient writers offer two interpretations, a connection with ‘earth’ ( / ) or a word for grain (Cretan dēaí, ‘barley’). The first has been in currency since the classical period (Derveni Papyrus, col. 18), the second is…

Artemis

(3,216 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ἄρτεμις; Ártemis) I. Religion [German version] A. Etymology and Early History Greek goddess; daughter of Zeus and Leto, twin sister of Apollo. Goddess of transitions -- birth and coming-of-age in both sexes -- of female death, hunting and game, as well as, in the Greek East, city goddess. Identified especially with Cybele and Anahita in Asia Minor and the Near East, and with Diana in Rome. Etruscan representations, where she is called artume(s), preserve her character as a figure borrowed from the Greeks. It is a matter of dispute, whether her name, which defies all etymology…

Asclepius

(2,733 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Άσκλήπιος; Asklépios) I. Religion [German version] A. Mythology The most important Greek healing hero, son of Apollo and of a mortal woman, in cultic reality he soon became a god, in Rome venerated as Aesculapius. It is hard to interpret the Greek name from an etymological perspective. The usual form of the myth -- and it is not certain that it derives from the Hesiodic ‘Catalogues’ [1; 2] -- makes A. the son of Apollo and of Coronis, the daughter of the Thessalian Phlegyas; in contrast to this, Hesiod calls his mother  Arsinoe, daughter of…

Ivy

(506 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
[German version] I. Botanical Ivy (κισσός/ kissós, ἕλιξ/ hélix, Latin hedera) represents the only European genus of Araliaceae. English ‘ivy’ as well as German Efeu and Eppich (another word for ivy;  Celery) are derived from Old High German ebihouui or eboue. Because of confusion with the rock-rose mentioned in Theophrastus (κίσθος/ kísthos, Hist. pl. 6,2,1), Pliny (HN 16,145) distinguishes between a male ( hedera mas) and a somewhat smaller female form ( h. femina). In his further statements on ivy, he also follows Theophrastus who in turn regards the ivy as being r…

Autolycus

(734 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Folkerts, Menso (Munich)
(Αὐτόλυκος; Autólykos). [German version] [1] Son of Hermes and Chione Son of Hermes and Chione (or Philonis, who also bore the singer  Philammon to Apollo, Hes. fr. 64,14). He was included in various mythical family circles, as the father of  Odysseus' mother Anticlea (Hom. Od. 11,85), of  Jason's mother Polymede (Apollod. 1,107) and of Aesimus, the father of  Sinon. He gives the newborn Odysseus his name, and it is whilst hunting with his sons on Mount Parnassus that Odysseus receives the wound in his th…

Acheron

(499 words)

Author(s): Strauch, Daniel (Berlin) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
(Ἀχέρων; Achérōn). [German version] [1] River in Epirus River in  Epirus, rising from the slopes of Tomarus [2. 166] (in the 4th cent. BC territory of the Molossi: Liv. 8,24,2), flows through the narrow gorges of Thesprotia (Thuc. 1,46,3); when it entered the plain its sluggish meanders formed in antiquity the swamp-like lake Ἀχερουσία λίμνη ( Acherousía límnē, today dried up). According to Str. 7,7,5 (as in Thuc. 1,46,3 based on Hecataeus [2. 443-469, 478]), it entered the sea near the γλυκὺς λιμήν ( glykỳs limḗn ‘Sweet-water harbour’, a station on the Roman   cursus publicus
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