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Minotaurus

(461 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Μινώταυρος; Minṓtauros). Hybrid of man and bull (probably as early as in Hes. Cat. 145), with the animal half generally more prominent. The Minotaur is the product of the union of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, with the bull that Poseidon sends Minos to consolidate his rule. Daedalus [1] prepares Pasiphae a hollow wooden cow as a disguise to enable congress with the bull (Bakchyl. 26). Minos shuts the resulting Minotaur up in the Labyrinth, where either it is generally fed with huma…

Nectar

(321 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (νέκταρ/ néctar, Latin nectar). Nectar (derived from the Egyptian ntry, ‘divine’ [1]) together with ambrosia [2] served as the food of the gods of Olympia, who, according to Hom. Il. 5,339-341, neither ate bread nor drank wine. In the main, nectar is imagined to be a beverage whilst ambrosia is a food (e.g. Hom. Od. 5,93), though there is also the reverse view; in Alcm. fr. 42 PMG and Anaxandrides fr. 58 PCG nectar is food. Originally nectar and ambrosia had the same consistency (cf. Hom. …

Minos

(824 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Μίνως, Mínōs). Mythical king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europe [2]; Asterius (Asterion [1]) is said to be his mortal father (Apollod. 3,1,2). M. is the brother of Rhadamanthys (Hom. Il. 14,321f.) and already in Hes. Cat. 140 also of Sarpedon; as Pasiphae's husband, he is the father of Deucalion, Ariadne, Phaedra and other children, from other liaisons as well (their names are listed in Apollod. 3,1,2). Diod. 4,60,3 distinguishes between two rulers named M., grandfather and grandson. M. is particularly well known for his role as a judge and as the first law-m…

Somnus

(509 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (also Sopor, Greek  ῞Υπνος/ Hýpnos). As a god personifying sleep, Hypnos (= H.) is already mentioned in the Iliad, where Hera visits him on Lemnos and asks him to lull Zeus to sleep (Hom. Il. 14,230-360). In return she promises him Pasithea [2], one of the Graces (cf. Catull. 63,42 f.). Once he had done this, so that Hera could inflict harm on Heracles after the first destruction of Troy, H. had to flee from Zeus's anger to Nyx (Night). He then hides from Zeus in the form of a night b…

Mestor

(170 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
(Μήστωρ; Mḗstōr). [German version] [1] Son of Perseus and Andromeda The son of Perseus and Andromeda; the husband of Lysidice, a daughter of Pelops; and the father of Hippothoe. His great-great-grandson, the son of Pterelaus, was also named M. (Apollod. 2,4,5). Stenger, Jan (Kiel) [German version] [2] Son of Priam The son of Priamus, killed by Achilles on Mount Ida (Apollod. Epit. 3,32); Priamus laments his death in Hom. Il.24, 255ff. [1. 283f.]. In Dictys 6,9, M. accompanies Pyrrhus as a prisoner. Stenger, Jan (Kiel) [German version] [3] Son of Locrian Ajax, companion of Agamemnon A son …

Xuthus

(309 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
(Ξοῦθος; Xoûthos). [German version] [1] Son of Hellen and Orseis/Othreis Son of Hellen and Orseis/Othreis, brother of Dorus and Aeolus [1] (Hes. fr. 9 MW; Hellanicus FGrH 4 F 125; Apollod. 1,49); X. is the mythical ancestor of the tribe of the Ionians (Iones). With Creusa [2], the daughter of the Athenian king Erechtheus, he fathered Ion [1], Achaeus [1] and Diomede (Hes. fr. 10a,20-24 MW; Hdt. 7,94; 8,44; Apollod. 1,50). X. is sent away from Thessaly by his father and journeys to Attica, where he founds …

Megareus

(108 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
(Μεγαρεύς; Megareús). [German version] [1] Son of Poseidon Son of Poseidon (Hyg. fab. 157), father of Hippomenes (Ov. met. 10,605). M. brings an army to the aid of Nisus against Minos and falls in the battle. The city of Nisa is renamed after M. to Megara [2] (Paus. 1,39,5). According to others, M. is married to Nisus's daughter Iphinoe and succeeds him (ibid. 1,39,6; see also 1,41,3). Stenger, Jan (Kiel) [German version] [2] Son of Creon [1] and Eurydice Son of Creon [1] and Eurydice. He saves Thebes by sacrificing his own life in war (Aeschyl. Sept. 474; Soph. Ant. 1303 with schol.). Stenger, J…

Megareus

(108 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
(Μεγαρεύς). [English version] [1] Sohn des Poseidon Sohn des Poseidon (Hyg. fab. 157), Vater des Hippomenes (Ov. met. 10,605). M. kommt mit einem Heer dem Nisos gegen Minos zu Hilfe und fällt im Kampf. Nach M. wird die Stadt Nisa in Megara [2] umbenannt (Paus. 1,39,5). Nach anderen ist M. mit Nisos' Tochter Iphinoe verheiratet und folgt diesem in der Herrschaft (ebd. 1,39,6; s. auch 1,41,3). Stenger, Jan (Kiel) [English version] [2] Sohn des Kreon [1] und der Eurydike Sohn des Kreon [1] und der Eurydike; rettet Theben durch Opferung des eigenen Lebens im Krieg (Aischyl. Se…

Mantichoras

(127 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (μαντιχώρας; mantichṓras, also martichoras, μαρτιχώρας; martichṓras). According to Ctesias (in Aristot. Hist. an. 2,1, 501a 24ff.), an Indian animal with the body of a lion and the face of a human, with three rows of teeth. The fur was vermilion and the tail was shaped like a scorpion's so that the mantichoras could shoot deadly spines like arrows. The voice sounded like a mixture of a shepherd's pipe and trumpet. The mantichoras is described as fast, wild and man-eating (the meaning of the name, which is of Persian origin; cf. Ael. NA 4,21). Accordi…

Peleus

(787 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Πηλεύς; Pēleús). Son of Aeacus (Hom. Il. 21,189) and the daughter of Chiron, Endeis, brother of Telamon (Ov. Met. 7,476f.; cf. Pind. P. 8,100; in Pherecydes FGrH 3 F 60, they are only friends), husband of the Nereid Thetis, father of Achilles [1]. As P. and Telamon intentionally kill their half-brother Phocus (Alcmaeonis F 1 EpGF; Apollod. 3,160), they are banished from their homeland of Aegina by Aeacus. P. goes to Phthia, to Eurytion [4] who purifies him and gives him his daught…

Melaneus

(88 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Μελανεύς/ Melaneús). Son of Apollo (in Pherecydes FGrH 3 F 82a of Arcesilaus), father of Eurytus [1] and Ambracia. A skilled archer who ruled over the Dryopians and conquered Epirus by war (Antoninus Liberalis 4,3). According to Paus. 4,2,2 the Messenians claimed that he had been given the territory of Oechalia by Perieres, the ruler of Messenia. The city of Oechalia is supposed to have received its name from M.'s wife. Eretria on Euboea was previously named Melaneís after M. (Str. 10,1,10). Stenger, Jan (Kiel)

Tantalus

(383 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Τάνταλος/ Tántalos, Lat. Tantalus). Mythological king on the Sipylus, son of Zeus (Eur. Or. 5; Paus. 2,22,3) or of Tmolus (schol. Eur. Or. 4) and Pluto [1], husband of Dione or Euryanassa and father of Broteas, Niobe and Pelops [1]. In Greek and Roman literature and the visual arts, T. is represented primarily along with Ixion, Sisyphus and Tityus as the ones undergoing punishment in the underworld. According to Homer, T. stands in the water there but cannot drink from it because it…

Nemesis

(609 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Νέμεσις/ Némesis). Greek goddess and personification of retribution, avenger of hýbris , daughter of Nyx/Night (Hes. Theog. 223f.). As a mythical figure, N. played a role in the ‘Cypria (Kypria) as the mother of Helen [1]. Beset by aidṓs (shame) and némesis (a feeling of internal reluctance), N. tried to flee from Zeus, who pursued her over sea and land to mate with her. On her flight she transformed herself into all kinds of land and sea creatures (Cypria F 7 EpGF). When she had taken on the form of a goose, Zeus overc…

Philoctetes

(460 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Φιλοκτήτης/ Philoktḗtēs; Lat. Philoctetes). Thessalian hero, son of Poeas (Hom. Od. 3,190) and Demonassa (Hyg. Fab. 97,8); outstanding archer and companion of Heracles [1]. P. is distinguished by his bow, a token of thanks from Heracles for igniting his funeral pyre on Mt. Oeta (Soph. Phil. 801-803). In Apollod. 3,131 and Hyg. Fab. 81, P. is counted among the suitors of Helena [1]. Party, with seven ships, to the Greek campaign against Troy (Hom. Il. 2,716-725), he is bitten by a sn…

Meges

(93 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] (Μέγης/M égēs). Son of Phyleus, sailed with 40 ships from Dulichium to Troy (Hom. Il. 2,625ff.), where he killed several enemies (e.g. ibid. 5,69; Q. Smyrn. 1,276ff.). He is one of Odysseus's men who fetched the propitiatory gifts for Achilles from Agamemnon's tent (Hom. Il. 19,238ff.), and one of those in the Wooden Horse (Quint. Smyrn. 12,326). M. is also mentioned as one of Helen's suitors (Apollod. 3,129). According to Apollod. Epitome 6,15a he is one of the many who died on Euboea during the return voyage. Stenger, Jan (Kiel)

Soul, weighing of the

(303 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] ( Psychostasia). The weighing of the soul occurred in Egyptian religion; the hearts of the dead, which were thought to contain the memory of their actions, are weighed with a feather under the supervision of Osiris [1.321-323]. The Greek idea of the weighing of the soul is entirely different: it takes place before death and is not assessed according to moral criteria. Here men's fates are weighed (κήρ/ kḗr, Ker), as a result of which it is decided who will live or die ( kerostasia). This version was probably already known to the author of the Aethiopís from which the Iliad too…

Patroklos

(905 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel) | Ameling, Walter (Jena)
(Πάτροκλος, auch Πατροκλῆς; lat. Patroclus). [English version] [1] Gefährte des Achilleus Sohn des Menoitios [1] aus Opus (Hom. Il. 11,814; der Name der Mutter bei Homer nicht genannt, Varianten bei Apollod. 3,176), bester Freund des Achilleus [1]. In seiner Kindheit tötet P. aus Zorn beim Würfeln einen Spielkameraden, worauf er nach Phthia zu Peleus flieht, der ihn dem Achilleus zum Gefährten gibt (Hom. Il. 23,85-90; Hellanikos FGrH 4 F 145; Apollod. 3,176). Nach Pind. O. 9,70-79 kämpft P. schon vor dem e…

Metaneira

(166 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel) | Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld)
(Μετάνειρα). [English version] [1] Gattin des eleusinischen Königs Keleos Gattin des eleusinischen Königs Keleos (nach schol. Eur. Or. 964 des Hippothoon), Mutter des Demophon [1] und mehrerer Töchter. M. nimmt die nach Persephone suchende Demeter in ihrem Haus auf und vertraut ihr den kleinen Demophon an. Sie stört aber unwissentlich die Göttin bei dem Versuch, das Kind im Feuer unsterblich zu machen, worauf sich Demeter von ihm zurückzieht (Hom. h. 2,185-291; Ov. fast. 4,507ff., wo M. und Keleos einfac…

Menoitios

(176 words)

Author(s): Stenger, Jan (Kiel) | Ameling, Walter (Jena)
(Μενοίτιος). [English version] [1] Sohn des Aktor und der Aigina Sohn des Aktor [1] und der Aigina, der sich in Opus ansiedelt (Pind. O. 9,69f.); Gemahl der Sthenele (oder der Periopis oder Polymele), Vater des Patroklos und der Myrto (Apollod. 3,13,8; Plut. Aristeides 20,7). In der Ilias wird M. als hḗrōs genannt (Hom. Il. 11,771; 18,325). Als Patroklos im Streit Kleitonymos, den Sohn des Amphidamas, tötet, flieht M. mit ihm aus Opus zu Peleus nach Phthia; von dort entsendet er seinen Sohn nach Troia, damit er Achilleus [1] unterstützt (Hom. I…

Deluge, legend of the

(716 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Mesopotamia, the legend of the deluge is preserved in a Sumerian as well as an Akkadian version; the Akkadian one is transmitted in 17th-cent. BC copies of the  Atraḫasīs myth[3. 612-645]. Extensive passages reappear verbatim on the 11th tablet of the recension of the Epic of  Gilgamesh from Niniveh [3. 728-738], and the myth is later also transmitted by  Berosus [1. 20 f.]. The gods perceive the noisy behaviour of the humans as hubris, causing them to eliminate …
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