Archive for the ‘Greek’ Tag

Ancient Greek Olympics   24 comments

The mythological origins of the Olympics

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The Olympic Games, originally a religious event, was the most important national festival of the ancient Greeks originally created to honour Zeus, king of the Greek gods. It is also said that Zeus founded the Olympic Games to commemorate his victory over his father Kronos whom it is claimed he wrestled with at Olympia.

 

 

profimedia-0086671418Apollo competed in a footrace with Hermes and also defeated Ares, the god of war, in a boxing match. And the heroic Hercules, descendant of the Idaean Herakles who guarded Zeus after he was born along with 1758162-herc02_mediumfour other Daktyloi was also was said to have taken part in the Games. 

 

Records of the Olympics date back to 776 BC when the official "First Olympiad" was held. The games were held every four years (time periods which the Greeks called Olympiads.) Discontinued by Emperor Theodosius I of Rome in the 4th century AD, they were not reinstated in Athens till 1896.

 

 

                                    The Olympics – sacred festival

HalicarnassusTheaterThe Olympic stadium was built southwest of Athens in Olympia close by Zeus’s temple. The 42 foot high gold and ivory statue of Zeus residing within the temple’s walls was sculpted by Pheidias, and was viewed as one of seven wonders of the ancient world.

Zeus’s alter was said to have been erected on the site struck by a thunderbolt, the god had hurled from his throne aloft Mount Olympus, the assembly point of the gods. To honour this legend Elis’s coins were engraved on their reverse side with the design of a mighty thunderbolt.

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Individual competitors trained rigorously. Winning an Olympic contest was a glory held in higher regard than winning a battle but was also intended through displays of great strength and personal agility to be pleasing and impressive to the gods, to whom athletes often prayed to for victory and made gifts of animals, produce, or small cakes, in thanks giving offerings for their victories. They were presented with garlands of laurel, a tree that was sacred to Apollo following the transfiguration of his cherished Daphne into a laurel tree. They were then given a crown of olive wreaths, and gained the privilege of being viewed as national heroes.

Women and the Olympic Flame

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 2426272Male competitors were proud individuals, usually competing nude, in order to strut and display the strength and prowess of their perfectly worked out bodies.

Consequently women, foreigners, slaves, and the unfortunates who had been dishonoured were prohibited from competing; Married women, were barred altogether from even watching any Olympic events, with dire consequences if they disobeyed, the only exception being the chariot races where the olympic-torch-9men were fully clothed.

They did however have their own Games in honour of the beautiful Hera – the Heraia, at Argos, held for women every four years until the time of the Roman rule. This was a sprinting competition in which sixteen women took part in three races, divided by age.

olympictorch-postprocessed-byrjt2004image007And it should not be forgotten that one of the most enduring images of the Greek Olympic Games are the those of the priestesses endowed with beautiful costumes igniting the Olympic flame with a colossal solar reflector.

The Olympic Torch or Flame a symbol of the Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece and symbolizes fire, which was Olympic_Torch-2stolen from Greek god Zeus by Prometheus. The sacred flame burned by way of celebration throughout the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia inside of the temple of Hera, carefully guarded by her priestess and it said to have never gone out since its first lighting.

Today eleven women, representing the “Vestal Virgins”, stage a ceremony in which the Olympic torch is set ablaze by the light of the Sun. The Olympic Torch Relay ends on the day of the opening ceremony in the central stadium of the Games.

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The Isthmian Games 

olympic_coinThe Olympic Games were just one of Greece’s four major national festivals – others known as the Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian Games. The Isthmian Games were of a lighter hearted nature than the others and as such were especially well received.

Olive leaf prize

The Olympic Games were held to honour Zeus, whereas the Isthmian Games were a festival of athletic and musical competitions which honoured the sea god Poseidon whose legendary sanctuary was on the Isthmus of Corinth. Poseidon also presided over earthquakes and horses, and in the early Olympic Games, chariot racing with horses was a very important component of the Games.

The Isthmian Games were held in spring every second and fourth years of the Olympic Games. They competed for a prize consisting of a wreath of celery and later, for one of pine leaves and sometimes a statue or an ode.

 

21st Century Athens Olympics Opening Ceremony

 

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Sirius the Dog Star   31 comments

 

GalacticWolves3126Sirius the Dog Star

Alpha Canis Majoris

Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) the brightest star in the sky is located in the constellation of Canis Major -The Great Dog, named after the Dog Star. It can be seen from almost every inhabited region on Earth’s surface. And in the right conditions can be seen in day light.

It appears to be a single bright star but is actually a large binary star system. The main sequence star; Sirius A, is 22 times brighter than the Sun and 6th closest system to our own. Its faint companion star, Sirius B (the pup) was the first recognized white dwarf.


Electromagnetic fields

They orbit each other, every 49.98 years and Sirius B has a tremendous effect on the electromagnetic fields of our galaxy, the solar system, planets, and Earth itself. When at its closest to Sirius A the magnetic properties of Sirius B and it’s remarkable density, create massive magnetic storms resulting in the stars exchanging copious amounts of highly charged particles. These are injected into the galactic magnetic field of the Milky Way. Sirius’s magnetic storms are particularly intense around five years before their closest approach, and for up to five years following.

1944 occurrence, was during our history’s greatest conflict, World War II. And most recently almost 50 years later, in June, 1993 when, Sirius was hidden from Earth’s view by our Sun, the largest flood of the past century occurred. Mississippi, (Nile River), overflowed its banks and that flood continued through till mid-August. When Sirius re-appeared from behind the sun, the flood waters receded and the immediate life-threatening crisis subsided. A reflection of the great rivers of energies streaming out from Sirius?

Liberation

Sirius is associated with liberation. Ancient teachings say the very concept of freedom exists in human consciousness because of the Sirius system’s influence. And every year, on July 4, Sirius is hidden from view by our Sun -America’s Independence Day! And Bastille Day, the French Independence Day, is July 14.

As the most recent "great conjunction" of Sirius A and B occurred around 1993, a wave of freedom was sweeping our world that climaxed in the breakdown of the communist rule in Europe and the liberation of the Russian people from the hard-line Communist party. As the cold war finally concluded so the Berlin Wall fell … events that occurred simultaneously with the highest intensity of Sirius’s magnetic forces.


SiriusCelestial_Sirius Associations

Sirius has consistently been associated with a celestial dog throughout the classical world; China, identified the star as a Heavenly wolf.” Ancient Chaldea  (present day Iraq), knew it as the "Dog Star that Leads," / "Star of the Dog." Assyria, named it "Dog of the Sun" and ancient Akkadia, "Dog Star of the Sun."

Greece associated it with the heat of summer calling it “Seiros” the scorcher or the glowing. Hindu writings referred to it as “Sukra” the Rain God” or “Rain Star.”

The Dog is also described as "He who awakens the gods of the air, and summons them to their office of bringing the rain." The Wolf (Skidi) tribe of Nebraska knew it as the “Wolf Star.” Further north, the Alaskans called it “Moon Dog.”

 


Mythology

The Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of either end of the "Path of Souls; a watchman of the heavens. The ancient Egyptians believed Sirius was the doorway to the afterlife and for 70 days following July 4, when the star Sirius is hidden from view by the sun’s glare they refused to bury their dead because during this period the doorway was thought to be closed. 

In Greek times Aratus referred to Canis Major as Orion’s guard-dog, following its master’s heels, and standing on its hind legs carrying Sirius in its jaws. Manilius called it the "dog with the blazing face." Canis Major (large dog) seems to pursue the hare across the sky, the hare being represented by the constellation Lepus under Orion’s feet.

                                                          Mythol_Path of Souls Canis Major-Laelaps                                                          

In mythology it was said the constellation represented Laelaps, a dog so swift that no prey could outwit or escape it. Laelaps was given by Zeus to Europa, whose son Minos, King of Crete passed it on to Procris, daughter of Cephalus. The dog was given to Procris along with a javelin that could never miss. In a strange twist of fate Cephalus accidentally killed her in a hunting accident.

Inheriting the dog, Cephalus took it with him to Thebes, north of Athens, where a vicious but swift and uncatchable fox was terrorising the countryside. However no prey could ever escape the pursuit of Laelaps. Zeus’s answer to the unsolvable paradox of the inescapable dog in pursuit of the uncatchable fox, was to turn them both to stone placing the dog but not the offending fox, in the sky.


Ice wolves of Europa

Sirius is bluish white the dominant colour of the star and of the wolves and at rising and setting it flashes with the colours of the rainbow and the moon wolves.

The Ice Wolves of Europa are the “celestial wolves, the star chasers, the moon dogs of the night.” Known as the Moon Dog” and the Wolf Star” in mythology Sirius was one of the dogs given to Europa as a gift and a guardian. Today’s Ice wolves are – the most direct descendants of the original Pathfinder – the one known as “Star of the Celestial Wolf.”

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Fire wolves of Io

All ancient sources described Sirius as a “red”, “fiery” and “copper” star. To Romans this meant “angry god” and they are known to have sacrificed red dogs to it and the hottest part of summer is still known as “Dog Days.”

Today Sirius is bright white, tinged with blue. The mystery remains.

Sirius the Dog Star


Mythology of the Stars   22 comments

Interstellar Mythology…Star Myths

The stars, remote but also familiar, have been a source of fascination us throughout history and are an integral part of many myths and legends. Early references to the Greek constellations mythological significance are found in the works of Homer, dating back to around the 7th century B.C

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“Children of the sun and moon” is the way The Paiute of North America refer to the stars. They consider the sun loves to eat his children, based on the stars disappearing at sunrise. They say the moon, is the mother of the stars, who dances happily across the sky with them. To the Yakut of Siberia, see the stars as crystal windows giving the gods opportunity to look upon earth. The Turko-Tatar, tent-dwellers of Central Asia view the sky as a large tent covering earth, and the stars tiny holes in it.

Myths of the Milky Way.

The Milky Way, the faint band of light visible in the sky on clear dark nights, runs along the line of the galactic equator, marking the centre of the galaxy to which our solar system belongs. It consists of a combination of the light of a vast array of stars, and in areas clouds of obscuring interstellar gas and dust. 

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One Peruvian tradition, believes the Vilcanota River is a reflection of the Milky Way and water constantly circulates back and forth between the river and the heavens. In the minds of The Navajo the Milky Way was created by “Coyote” a con artist who using a blanket threw and scattered in a huge arc, in the sky, an array of sparkling stone chips to form a pathway between heaven and earth.

           Vilcanota_Rivernavajo xibalba

The Maya considered the Milky Way to be the road to Xibalba, the underworld. Native Americans believed the Milky Way was the path the souls of the dead walked. According to the Southern African Zulu and Ndebeles the stars are the ancestor’s eyes, watching over them.

Constellations and Individual Stars in Myths.

 By the 5th century B.C., most of the constellations were connected to myths, “At this stage, the fusion between astronomy and mythology is so complete that no further distinction is made between them” (the Catasterismi of Eratosthenes)

In Chinese mythology gods such as the god of literature and the god of long life, were connected with the stars.

                                                god of literature god of longlife

In Greek mythology Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan, Atlas and the ocean nymph Pleione. Zeus placed them in the sky to protect them from Orion the hunter. But Orion became a constellation and continued to chase the Pleiades across the heavens. The Inuit of northern Greenland considered Orion a series of steps in a great bank of snow linking earth and heaven.

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Mythology, influenced the naming of many objects in the night sky, including planets. Their Roman mythological name reflected their characteristics

In Norse mythology Venus was originally the toe of the hero Aurvandil. Thor carried Aurvandil out of Giantland across the river Elivagar. En-route, one of Aurvandil’s toes froze, so breaking it off Thor threw it into the sky. To the Greeks, Venus was Hesperus, grandfather of the goddesses called Hesperides. She who guarded the golden apples of eternal life on western sea

            Surface_of_VenusThor planet-venus

Even the names of the Galilean moons of Jupiter (the four largest). Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto were all desired–and taken by force–by Jupiter. Ironically the mythological women the king of the gods so fervently pursued now revolve around him.

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**(Credit for this blog post topic and also previous one: “Androgoth Prince of Goths”)

Thank you for the subject suggestions Androgoth Smile

 

Giants and Nymphs in Mythology   42 comments

 

Mythological Giants and Nymphs

 

Giants

Giant1Giants can represent powerful natural forces that frighten and threaten humans. In the mythology of the Native AmericanAni_Giant Lakota people, Waziya is a northern giant who blows the winter wind. In some traditions, a giant appears as a symbol of chaos, threatening to disrupt the orderly natural world or social community. 

The word giant comes from the Greek Gigantes (meaning earthborn), a race of huge creatures who were the offspring of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the heavens. These giants were half man, half monster, with serpents’ tails instead of legs. Also related were three Cyclopes each with one eye in the middle of the forehead. The three Hundred-Armed giants each had 50 heads and 100 arms and were the jailors of Tartarus, the underworld’s place of punishment.

Giants hurled huge rocks and mountaintops and brandished burning oak trees, in a great battle between themselves and the mighty Hercules, son of Zeus, who won the battle by picking off the giants one by one with his arrows.giant2

Norse mythology says originally there was a chasm, bound on either side by fire and ice. When fire and ice met, they combined to form a giant, named Ymir. Odin  killed Ymir whose blood killed all the frost giants he had created. From his body, Odin created the world and Ygdrasil the World Tree grew.

In native American mythology giants start fights among humans so that in the confusion they can steal the men’s wives. Others steal children, sometimes to eat them.  Tall Man, a giant of the Seminole people, smells bad, while giants in Lakota stories look like oxen.

 Giants Under the Earth

As the giant Enceladus ran from the battlefield, during a struggle with the Greek gods, the goddess Athena smashed him with the island of Sicily. Thereafter, he lay imprisoned under the island, breathing his fiery breath out through the volcano called Etna.

Nymphs

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Nymphs are mythological nature spirits that appear as beautiful young women. The word nymph is related to the Greek word for bride. Nymphs are often shown as lovers of gods and heroes or as their mothers. Dionysos had his wild-eyed Mainades and Bakkhai, Artemis was accompanied by a band of huntress nymphs, Poseidon’s court was attended by sea nymphs, and the Olympian court by nymph handmaidens.

Nymphs were female spirits of the natural world, minor goddesses of the forests, rivers, springs, meadows, mountains and seas. They were responsible for designing  the wild beauty of nature, from arranginNymphs_3g and overseeing tFlowerNymphsTreeNymphshe growth of plants, flowers and trees, and the nurturing of wild birds and animals, to the formation of rocky caverns, springs, wetlands and brooks,with which Water nymphs were associated.

                                                                                                                                      Forest nymphs were connected with woods and forests and in particular Oak trees. Another kind lived inside trees and shared in the trees suffering including death when the tree died. Mountain and meadow nymphs were also common.

In Swedish mythology sea nymphs like mermaids were powerful, dangerous beings. Sailors for example were warned to be very careful to avoid them. Nymphs can cause metamorphoses and women can also be changed into nymphs 

                                                    SeaNymph  WaterNymphs

Mythological nymphs are depicted as females who mate with men or women at their own volition and are completely outside male control, the term is often used for women who are perceived as behaving similarly…How Naughty!!! Smile