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Mars

(2,454 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
[German version] I. Cult and myth Mars is one of the oldest Italic-Roman deities. His original functions have been superimposed to such an extent that it proves difficult, maybe even impossible, to determine today the concepts that the Italic-Roman people had of him. The limitation of his function to the aspect of war corresponded to the interest of the Roman aristocracy to control the social significance and use of warfare. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] A. Name Of the different forms of the name, Mārs was probably the earliest, since it spread in Italy so ear…

Apollo

(3,447 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ἀπόλλων [ Apóllōn]; Latin: Apollo). A., the eternally youthful Greek god of healing, divination, music and ephebes, worshipped as A. in Rome since the early 5th cent. BC and referred to as Aplu in Etruscan written records. From the earliest literary sources, he was always referred to as the son of Zeus and Leto, the younger twin brother of Artemis. The very widespread use of theophoric proper names in every era demonstrates his great popularity and the extent to which he was known. [1]. [German version] A. Etymology The etymology of the name -- the search for the origins and prima…

Gi­ants

(1,148 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Γίγαντες; Gígantes). [German version] I. Mythology Giants are usually huge, clumsy beings from primeval times; according to the commonest myth, the  Gigantomachy, they attempted unsuccessfully to deprive Zeus and the Olympians of power. In Homer the Giants are a lawless and arrogant marginal people destroyed because of their king  Eurymedon (Hom. Od. 7,59-61); they settled close to the  Cyclopes and  Phaeaces (Hom. Od. 7,205f.). According to Hesiod, during the castration of  Uranus, drops of blood fa…

Heracles

(3,370 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Ley, Anne (Xanten) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA)
(Ἡρακλῆς; Hēraklês). [German version] [1] Greek hero The most prominent Greek hero ( Hero cult) in myth and cult. In his myths, which have not resulted in any outstanding work of poetry that is focussed on him, he is connected especially to Thebes, Argos and the countryside around Trachis; in the cult he is honoured almost panhellenically, without any place being able to display a hero's grave. Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) I. Cult and Myth [German version] A. Name His name was connected with  Hera's already in antiquity: it follows the customary formation of Greek anthropo…

Dionysus

(6,373 words)

Author(s): Schlesier, Renate (Paderborn) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Διόνυσος; Diónysos) I. Religion [German version] A. Special features and genealogy D. is amongst the oldest of the Greek gods. Of all the Greek gods, his cult is the most widespread and his image is depicted most frequently; today, he is still the most fascinating and the most attractive from a modern point of view [1]. At the same time he is mythically one of the most untypical of the Greek gods. Amongst the untypical factors are: his double birth; the fact that he was regarded from birth as a deity, des…

Dioscuri

(1,718 words)

Author(s): Scheer, Tanja (Rome) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Διόσκουροι, Διοσκόρω; Dióskouroi, Dioskórō). [German version] I. Religion Divine twins, regarded as sons of Zeus; they appear repeatedly in Greek mythology. The most important (alongside the Theban D.  Amphion and  Zethus) were the Spartan ones, whose most ancient name probably was Tindarídai. In Attica, they were often invoked as Ἄνακτες ( Ánaktes: ‘masters’). Their individual names Castor (Κάστωρ; Latin Castor) and Polydeuces (Πολυδεύκης; Latin Pollux) as well as their characters in general are presumed to be of Indo-Germanic origin, and acad…

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 …

Minerva

(2,227 words)

Author(s): Phillips, C. Robert III. (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Menerva, Menrva). I. Cult A. The earliest findings [German version] 1. General M. is traditionally considered an Etruscan deity that came to Rome as part of the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and M., who had their temple on the Capitolium ([1; 5]; undecided [6. 163f.]). Thus, on the basis of representations of M. on Etruscan mirrors as a martial goddess [2] modelled on the Greek Athena, it is assumed that she was a Hellenic goddess introduced via Etruscan trade contacts with Greece. Besides taking as evidence the form Menrva/ Menerva in Etruscan, but also Menerva in Italian and Old La…

Atalante

(536 words)

Author(s): Harder, Ruth Elisabeth (Zürich) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ἀταλάντη; Atalántē). [German version] A. Myth Mythological daughter of Schoeneus or of Iasius and Clymene. In a Boeotian version she is allowed to remain a virgin, but to do so she has to defeat all suitors in a race (Hyg. Fab. 185).  Hippomenes receives three golden apples from Aphrodite, which he drops in A.'s way during the competition, and which she picks up (Hes. fr. 72-76 M-W, Ov. Met. 10.560-680), whereby he wins. The pair consummate their union in a sanctuary of Cybele or Zeus and are, as pu…

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…

Amazons

(744 words)

Author(s): Blok, Josine H. (Groningen) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ἀμαζόνες; Amazónes). [German version] A. Concept Mythical nation of female warriors, a creation of the Greek epic and defined by the epithet antiáneirai, ‘of equal value to men’ (Hom. Il. 3,189; 6,186). Blok, Josine H. (Groningen) [German version] B. Myths Famous for their bravery throughout all of antiquity, the A. were introduced in various stories. As masculine women they challenged the masculinity of the Greek heroes, (among others) Achilles, Bellerophon, Hercules, Theseus, the Athenians, Alexander the Great, mainly on the battle…

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…

Mars

(2,218 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
[English version] I. Kult und Mythos Mars ist eine der ältesten ital.-röm. Gottheiten. Seine urspr. Funktionen sind derart überlagert von der des Kriegsgottes, daß es heute schwierig, wenn nicht unmöglich ist, zu entscheiden, welche Vorstellungen die ital.-röm. Völker von ihm hatten. Die Beschränkung seiner Funktion auf den Aspekt des Krieges entsprach dem Interesse der röm. Aristokratie, die soziale Bed. und den Nutzen der Kriegsführung zu kontrollieren. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [English version] A. Name Von den verschiedenen Namensformen war Mārs wahrscheinlich di…

Demeter

(2,985 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Princeton) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(ion.-att. Δημήτηρ, dor.-boiot. Δαμάτηρ, aiol. Δωμάτηρ, att. Kurzform Δηώ). Göttin des Acker-, bes. des Getreidebaus, des Frauenlebens und der Mysterien. [English version] A. Name Der Name ist nur teilweise verständlich. Im HG ist “Mutter” erkennbar, für das VG legen ant. Autoren zwei Deutungen vor, eine Verbindung mit “Erde” ( / ) oder einem Wort für Getreide (kret. dēaí, “Gerste”). Die erste Deutung ist seit klass. Zeit verbreitet (Pap. von Derveni, col. 18), die zweite erst spätant. belegt (Etym.m. Gaisford s.v. Δηώ). Auch wenn die moderne Fors…

Giganten

(966 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Princeton) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Γίγαντες). [English version] I. Mythologie G. sind gewöhnlich riesenhafte und ungeschlachte Urzeitwesen; nach dem geläufigsten Mythos, der Gigantomachie, versuchten sie erfolglos, Zeus und die Olympier zu entmachten. Bei Homer sind die G. ein gesetzloses und überhebliches Randvolk, das wegen seines Königs Eurymedon zugrunde geht (Hom. Od. 7,59-61); sie sind in der Nähe der Kyklopen und Phaiaken angesiedelt (Hom. Od. 7,205f.). Laut Hesiod fallen bei der Entmannung des Uranos Blutstropfen auf die Erde…

Dionysos (Διόνυσος)

(5,503 words)

Author(s): Schlesier, Renate (Paderborn) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
I. Religion [English version] A. Besonderheiten und Genealogie D. gehört zu den ältesten namentlich bezeugten griech. Göttern. Er ist der kult. am weitesten verbreitete und bildlich am häufigsten dargestellte griech. Gott, bis in die Gegenwart am meisten faszinierend und zur Aktualisierung reizend [1]. Zugleich ist er der mythisch untypischste griech. Gott: durch seine zweifache Geburt; seine von Geburt an zweifelsfreie Göttlichkeit, trotz einer menschlichen Mutter; seine zweite, göttl. Mutter; seinen T…

Achilleus

(2,400 words)

Author(s): Sigel, Dorothea (Tübingen) | Ley, Anne (Xanten) | Bleckmann, Bruno (Straßburg)
[English version] [1] Mythos Heros des griech. Mythos (Ἀχιλλεύς, Ἀχιλεύς, etr. Αχλε, lat. Achilles). Sigel, Dorothea (Tübingen) [English version] A. Etymologie Eine sichere Deutung des Namens des A., der vermutlich vorgriech. Ursprungs ist, steht auch heute noch aus. Ant. Erklärungen differieren: Schol. Il. 1,1 leitet den Namen ab von dem durch A. den Troern (d. h. den “Iliern”) zugefügten “Leid” ( áchos). Eine andere Deutung (z. B. Tzetzes, Lykophr. 178) erklärt den Namen aus χεῖλος (“Lippe”) und α- privativum: A. bedeute “ohne Lippe”, da er nach seiner Geburt durch Feue…

Aphrodite

(2,467 words)

Author(s): Pirenne-Delforge, Vinciane (Romsée) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(Ἀφροδίτη). [English version] A. Genealogie Etym. unbekannt [1. 115-123]. Geboren aus den abgeschnittenen Genitalien des Uranos bei Hesiod (theog. 188-206) oder Tochter des Zeus und der Dione bei Homer (Il. 5,370-417). A. stellt im griech. Pantheon die gesamte Ambiguität der Weiblichkeit dar, den verführerischen Charme ebenso wie die Notwendigkeit der Fortpflanzung und ein Potential an Täuschung, wobei alle genannten Elemente in der ersten Frau, Pandora, vereint zu finden sind (Hes. erg. 60-68). A.s …

Kentauren

(1,003 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basel) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
(griech. Κένταυρος, Plur. Κένταυροι; Ἱπποκένταυροι; Κενταυρίδες; lat. Centaurus, Pl. Centauri). I. Mythologie [English version] A. Definition K. sind vierbeinige Mischwesen aus Mensch und Pferd, als deren Heimat das griech. Festland, etwa die Bergwälder Thessaliens, insbes. das Pholoe-Gebirge und das Kap Malea angesehen wurde. Sie treten oft als aggressive Gruppe von Frevlern auf, die v.a. durch Frauenraub provoziert. Sie fordern sowohl Heroen (wie z.B. Herakles, Peleus, Atalante) als auch Menschen(-gruppen) he…
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