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Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

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Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by w_ch on Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:15 pm

Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis. He was the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War, and was the hero of Homer's Iliad.

Achilles Thetis attempted unsuccessfully to make her son immortal. There are two versions of the story. In the earlier version, Thetis anointed the infant with ambrosia and then placed him upon a fire to burn away his mortal portions; she was interrupted by Peleus, whereupon she abandoned both father and son in a rage. Peleus placed the child in the care of the Centaur Chiron, who raised and educated the boy. In the later version, she held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the river Styx; everything the sacred waters touched became invulnerable, but the heel remained dry and therefore unprotected.

When Achilles was a boy, the seer Calchas prophesied that the city of Troy could not be taken without his help. Thetis knew that, if her son went to Troy, he would die an early death, so she sent him to the court of Lycomedes, in Scyros; there he was hidden, disguised as a young girl. During his stay he had an affair with Lycomedes' daughter, Deidameia, and she had a son, Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus), by him. Achilles' disguise was finally penetrated by Odysseus, who placed arms and armor amidst a display of women's finery and seized upon Achilles when he was the only "maiden" to be fascinated by the swords and shields. Achilles then went willingly with Odysseus to Troy, leading a host of his father's Myrmidons and accompanied by his tutor Phoenix and his close friend Patroclus. At Troy, Achilles distinguished himself as an undefeatable warrior. Among his other exploits, he captured twenty-three towns in Trojan territory, including the town of Lyrnessos, where he took the woman Briseis as a war-prize. Later on Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks, was forced by an oracle of Apollo to give up his own war-prize, the woman Chryseis, and took Briseis away from Achilles as compensation for his loss. This action sparked the central plot of the Iliad, for Achilles became enraged and refused to fight for the Greeks any further. The war went badly, and the Greeks offered handsome reparations to their greatest warrior; Achilles still refused to fight in person, but he agreed to allow his friend Patroclus to fight in his place, wearing his armor. The next day Patroclus was killed and stripped of the armor by the Trojan hero Hector, who mistook him for Achilles.

Achilles was overwhelmed with grief for his friend and rage at Hector. His mother obtained magnificent new armor for him from Hephaestus, and he returned to the fighting and killed Hector. He desecrated the body, dragging it behind his chariot before the walls of Troy, and refused to allow it to receive funeral rites. When Priam, the king of Troy and Hector's father, came secretly into the Greek camp to plead for the body, Achilles finally relented; in one of the most moving scenes of the Iliad, he received Priam graciously and allowed him to take the body away.

After the death of Hector, Achilles' days were numbered. He continued fighting heroically, killing many of the Trojans and their allies, including Memnon and the Amazon warrior Penthesilia. Finally Priam's son Paris (or Alexander), aided by Apollo, wounded Achilles in the heel with an arrow; Achilles died of the wound. After his death, it was decided to award Achilles' divinely-wrought armor to the bravest of the Greeks. Odysseus and Ajax competed for the prize, with each man making a speech explaining why he deserved the honor; Odysseus won, and Ajax then went mad and committed suicide.

During his lifetime, Achilles is also said to have had a number of romantic episodes. He reportedly fell in love with Penthesilia, the Amazon maiden whom he killed in battle, and it is claimed that he married Medea.
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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by w_ch on Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:35 pm

Agamemnon was the son of Atreus and the brother of Menelaus. He was the king of either Mycenae (in Homer) or of Argos (in some later accounts), and was the leader of the Greek forces during the Trojan War. He married Clytemnestra and had several children by her, including Orestes, Electra, and Iphigenia.

When the Greeks sailed for Troy, their fleet was trapped by unfavorable winds at Aulis. The seer Calchas revealed that their misfortune was due to Agamemnon, who had boasted that he equalled Artemis in hunting; the winds would only change if Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia was sacrificed. Agamemnon reluctantly agreed to the sacrifice, but Artemis herself whisked Iphigenia away from the altar and substituted a deer in her place.

During the seige of Troy, Agamemnon offended the greatest of the Greek warriors, Achilles, when he took the girl Briseis from him. Achilles' anger with Agamemnon furnished the mainspring of the plot in the Iliad. After the sack of Troy, Agamemnon acquired Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam, as his concubine, and took her home with him to Greece.

Agamemnon had an unhappy homecoming. He was either blown off course and landed in the country of Aegisthos, or he came home to his own land to find Aegisthus waiting for him. In either case, Aegisthus had become the lover of Clytemnestra, and the two together murdered Agamemnon and Cassandra shortly after their arrival. Aegisthus and Clytemnestra then ruled Agamemnon's kingdom, but were eventually killed by Agamemnon's son, Orestes (or by Orestes and Electra in some accounts). The homecoming of Agamemnon and its aftermath were favorite subjects for Greek tragedy.
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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by messi on Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:08 am

Oh man! I can't get it into my head:drefdref: ! and those names are really hard to remember! sorry! snifou1
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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by the youth on Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:20 am

Not all people need remember these names..History does...

thnx wady.
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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by w_ch on Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:59 pm

Thanks for your comments mates, including the non-encouraging ones. Here's another Mythical hero, in a form of an epic poem, which most of us (if not all of us) know about.
Beowulf:

About one thousand to twelve hundred years ago, an unknown author put pen to paper and transcribed an epic that had already been circulating for about two centuries. The work which he wrote was a sweeping Anglo-Saxon tale entitled "Beowulf." It is the oldest piece of English literature extant today, though it nearly did not make it here; it was almost destroyed by King Henry VII along with the monastery in which it was housed. A library fire threatened to take in 1731 before it was finally put in the British museum in 1753, where it remains today.

Beowulf is an epic poem that simply chronicles the adventures of its namesake, as he battles various and sundry fell beasts. It is divided into three major parts, or battles: Grendel, Grendel's mother in the lake, and the dragon.

The beginning of the poem details the trials and tribulations of Hrothgar, king of the Danes; his beautiful hall Heorot is besieged by the demon Grendel. When Beowulf hears of this, he comes straightaway to Heorot and battles the monster, ultimately ripping its arms off. The resulting celebration is cut short when Grendel's mother, in a frenzy of grief, kills several of the revelers. Beowulf then follows her to a lake, where he descends into the depths and battles her with a sword he finds there, killing her.

The third part of the tale jumps forward many years. Beowulf is now an ageing king of his people, and a dragon is enraged and begins to ravage the land. Good king that he is, Beowulf meets the dragon in battle, defeating it but receiving a death-blow in turn. The funeral of this great hero marks the tragic end of the tale.

One of the most remarkable facets of Beowulf, and one of the reasons for its popularity, is its use of kennings, or extreme personification. For example, rather than use the term "ocean," the poem would use "swan-road;" rather than "water-churning boat," "foamy-necked floater." This makes for an extremely interesting read, as many things are referred to in a roundabout way.
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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:22 pm

Wow, that's really wonderful..Thanks a lot W and Sassy, keep on!

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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by w_ch on Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:13 am

You're welcome Angeleyes, anytime.

Cadmus was the son of Agenor and the brother of Europa. He was the founder of the city of Thebes.

After Zeus kidnapped Europa, Agenor ordered her brothers -- Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix -- to search for her, instructing them not to return until they had found her. It was a hopeless quest, and all three brothers became exiles. Phoenix founded the country of Phoenicia, and Cilix established Cilicia.

Cadmus consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to follow a cow that he would find near the oracle; where the cow lay down to rest, he should found a city. He followed the cow to the future site of Thebes. There he instructed his men to bring water so that he could offer a sacrifice to Athena; however, the men encountered a giant serpent which was sacred to Ares, and they were all killed. Cadmus came upon the carnage and gave battle, eventually slaying the serpent. A voice then spoke to him, prophesying that he himself would eventually become a serpent.

Cadmus was left with a site for a city, but no one to help build it. Athene intervened, telling him to sow the serpent's teeth in the earth. He did so, and armed men sprang up from the teeth. They fought one another until only five were left; these five became the ancestors of the noble Thebans. Cadmus then spent eight years in servitude to Ares, as a penalty for the killing of the serpent.

Afterwards, Cadmus married Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. The couple had four daughters (Ino, Semele, Autonoe, and Agave) and one son (Polydorus). Near the ends of their lives, Cadmus and Harmonia left Thebes and went to Illyria. There they were transformed into serpents, as the voice had foretold.
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Re: Mythical Stories of Ancient Heroes

Post by w_ch on Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:48 pm

Diomedes

A legendary Greek hero, son of Tydeus and Deipyle (Tydides). He was the favorite of Athena and was under her protection. Diomedes participated in the expedition of the Epigone ("the After-born") against Thebes. Later he succeeded his grandfather Adrastus as the king of Argos and joined the Greeks against Troy. On the Greek side, the two greatest champions were Ajax and Diomedes. They fought gloriously and many a Trojan fell before their weapons. Diomedes nearly slew Prince Aeneas. Aeneas was of royal blood, and the goddess Aphrodite (his mother) hastened to the battlefield to save him. She lifted him in her arms, but Diomedes leaped towards her and wounded her hand. Crying out she let Aeneas fall, and weeping for pain she made her way to the Olympus. Although Aphrodite failed to save her son, Aeneas did not die that day. Apollo enveloped him in a cloud and carried him to sacred Pergamos, the holy place of Troy, where Artemis healed him of his wound.

The battle went on, and Diomedes, wreaking havoc in the Trojan ranks, came face to face with Hector. There to his dismay, he saw the war-god Ares too, fighting for Hector. At the sight of the bloodstained murderous god, Diomedes cried to the Greeks to fall back, slowly, and with their faces toward the Trojans. When Hera saw what was happening, she became very angry and urged her horses to Olympus. She asked Zeus if she might drive Ares from the battlefield, and Zeus, who loved him no more than she did although he was their son, willingly gave her leave. She hastened down to stand besides Diomedes and urged him to smite the terrible god and have no fear. At her words, joy filled his heart and Diomedes rushed at Ares and hurled his spear at him. Athena drove it home, and it entered Ares' body. The god bellowed as loud as ten thousand cry in battle, and at the awful sound trembling seized the whole host, Greeks and Trojans alike. Ares fled from the battlefield and with the war-god gone, the Trojans were forced to fall back.

Diomedes also accompanied Odysseus in the nocturnal raid on Troy, to steal the Palladium; the ancient figure of the goddess and venerated by the Trojans more than anything else. They managed to secretly carry it away, and Diomedes took it with him to Argos (but in other stories, it was Aeneas who took the Palladium with him).

When he returned home he discovered that his wife Aegiale had been unfaithful to him. He left Argos and arrived after some journeys in southern Italy where he supposedly founded several cities, among which Brindisium (Brindisi) and Arpus Hippium (Arpi).
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