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Heroes of Ancient Greece

There are other people that share the mythological picture, here are some heroes that were admired all over ancient Greece.

Achilles -
Achilles was the son of Peleus and Thetis, a sea nymph. He was the husband of Deidamia; father of Neoptolemus. He is the central figure in Homer’s The Iliad, the story of the Trojan War. It had been prophesied that without the aid of Achilles the Greeks would never defeat the Trojans. Achilles fought valiantly and the war was won by the Greeks. He was indeed a hero in battle, and he has become a symbol of the fighting man who appears in all cultures throughout the ages, ddomed to die in war but glorying in the fulfillment of heroism and achievment. His character was given to rage and revenge, such as his ruthless treatment of the body of the Trojan hero Hector (Hektor).
Achilles’ childhood was very unique. His mother Thetis was a sea nymph that had been wooed by the great Zeus and Poseidon. She had to marry Peleus who she left right after Achilles was born. She wanted the child to be immortal, so she bathed him the river Styx. She held the infant by his heel, which remained dry, which never became immortal, and later was the cause of his death. He grew up with the Centaur Chiron and was raised to be brave. When the time came to leave for war, his mother knew he would die and put him in the court of Lycomedes, disguised as a woman. He had to go as prophesied, so the hero Odysseus came to the court and found him, and took him to war. Achilles is still known for his Achilles Heel which brought on his death when Paris/Apollo shot an arrow at it and killed him.

Aeneas -
Aeneas was a Trojan hero of both Greece and Rome. He appears in the Latin epic poem The Aeneid, by the poet Virgil. His parents were Aphrodite and Anchises. In The Iliad, he is an ally of Troy during the famous war. He was a gallant warrior and was often aided by the gods. After the fall of Troy, and many travels this warrior and his wife Lavinia and built the town of Lavinium. He was worshipped as the founder of the Roman race.

Agamemnon -
Agamemnon was the king of Argos and Mycenae, regions in the northern Peloponnesus; son of Atreus and Aerope. He was the grandson of Pelops and great-grandson of Tantalus and the last of the unfortunates in the house of Pelops. He was the brother of Menelaus and Anaxibia, he was the husband of Clytemnestra, the mortal sister of Helen. Clytemnestra and Agamemnon were the parents of Chrysothemis, Electra, Iphiginia, and Orestes. King Agamemnon was the leader of the Achaean (Greek) forces in the Trojan War. He is murdered by his wife and her lover, Aegisthus on his return from the war. This probably happened because his wife was upset that they had to sacrifice their daughter to Artemis after the hero offended her. He tricked Clytemnestra into sending Iphiginia to get “married” she was sent to her death. He also stole Briseis, the beloved of Achilles which caused his fellow hero to withdraw from the war which he later rejoined. In short Agamemnon was a valiant hero and one of the prinicipal characters in The Iliad. He was a very treacherous and selfish man too.

Ajax (1) -
Ajax was the son of Telamon, king of Salamis. He was one of the heroes that sailed with the Achaeans to Troy. In The Iliad he is second only to Achilles in bravery. He is described as a tall and strong though slow witted , and prone to rages and madness. He took his own life in despair after he lost the contest for the armour of Achilles.

Ajax (2) - (“The Lesser”)
Ajax was the son of Oileus; a Greek warrior in the Trojan War. Unlike the above Ajax, he was small but swift footed and a skilled spearman. Ajax was drowned on his way home to Greece after the fall of Troy; some say he was the victim of Poseidon; some claim that Athena was his killer.

Argonauts -
The Argonauts aren’t a hero but all of the men that sailed with Jason in the Argo. There were many Argonauts which I will list.
Acastus - son of King Pelias
Actor - son of Deion, the Phocian
Admetus - prince of Pherae
Amphiaraus - the argive seer
Ancaeus - of Samos
Ancaeus - of Tegea, son of Poseidon
Argus - the builder of the Argo
Ascalaphus - son of Ares
Asterius - a Pelopian
Atalanta of Calydon - the only woman, the great huntress
Augeias - of Elis
Butes - of Athens
Caeneus - the Lapith
Calais - the winged son of Boreas the north wind
Canthus - the Euboean
Castor - brother of Helen, Clytemnestra and Polydeuces.
Cepheus - son of the Arcadian Aleus
Coronus - the Lapith
Echion - son of Hermes
Erginus - of Miletus
Euphemus - of Taenarum
Euryalus - son of Mecisteus, on of the Epigoni
Eurydamus - the Dolopian Heracles of Tiryns - the strongest man who ever lived.
Hylas - “Friend” of Heracles
Idas - son of Aphareus of Messene
Idmon - the the Argive, son of Apollo
Iphicles - son of Thestius
Iphitus - brother of King Eurystheus
Jason - the captain of the ship
Laertes - father of Odysseus
Lynceus - brother of Idas
Melampus - son of Poseidon
Meleager - of Calydon
Mopsus - the Lapith
Naupilus - the Argive, son of Poseidon, a noted navigator
Oileus - father of the hero Ajax
Orpheus - the poet, son of Calliope the muse
Palaemon - son of Hephaestus
Peleus - the Myrmidon
Peneleos - of Boeotia
Periclymenus - son of Poseidon
Phalerus - the Athenian archer
Phanus - the Cretan son of Dionysus
Poeas - son of Thaumacus the Magnesian
Polydeuces - see Castor (above)
Polyphemus - son of Elatus, the Arcadian, not the Cyclops
Staphylus - brother of Phanus
Tiphys - the helmsman of the Argo
Zetes - brother of Calais

Atalanta -
Atalanta was a renowned huntress and daughter of of Iasus, king of Arcadia and Clymene. Iasus put Atalanta on Mount Parthenon to die because he didn’t want a girl. Artemis sent a she-bear to take care of the baby. A band of hunters reared the child. Her hunting skills were so excellent that she dared to hunt with the all male hunting groups that went after the Calydonian Boar at the request of Meleager, prince of Calydon. Atalanta was the first to spear the boar. Meleager killed the boar and presented its hide and tusks to Atalanta, thus causing anger and strife among the men. Of course now she was famous, King Iasus claimed her as his long lost daughter and told her to marry. Atlanta was told by an oracle that she wouldn’t be happy in marriage, so she set out a contest for suitors; they would foot race her, if he lost, he would die. One suitor, Melanion, was helped by Aphrodite. She gave him 3 golden apples, he threw these off path during the race. Atalanta couldn’t resist these apples and she had to go pick them up, thus losing the race. She then married him.

Bellerphon -
Bellerphon was the son of King Glaucus. In one story, Bellerphon, a very handsome young man loved by many women, is sent on a seemingly impossible mission to kill the Chimera, the fire breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat and a serpent’s tail. He prayed to Athena for a bridle, she gave him it and he captured Pegasus with it. He rode Pegasus into battle and melted some lead into the Chimera’s belly which killed it. Bellerphon got cocky and tried to fly to Olympus, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus who threw Bellerphon into a thicket of thorns, he spent the rest of his life as a cripple and an outcast.

Cadmus -
Cadmus was the son of King Agenor adn Telephassa; brother of Europa, Cilix and Phoenix. After the dissapearance of Europa (Zeus carried her off in the shape of a bull to be the queen of Crete) Cadmus was sent off to find her. He consulted an oracle which told him to quit searching and to found a city. He was to follow a white cow and where she sat he would found his city. He did all of this. When he got there, he sent a man to fetch water, he didn’t come back, slowly all of his men disappeared. He finally went himself and found a dragon had eaten all of his men. Since it was full Cadmus easily slayed it. By the help of Athena he was instructed to plow a field and sow the dragons teeth in the furrows. He did this and soon a field of warriors sprang up and charged at Cadmus. He was again instructed to throw a rock among the soldiers. All of the men blamed the other for the rock and soon only a few remained alive. Cadmus nursed them back to health and they helped him found the city of Thebes, the city of Seven Gates. But Cadmus had slain one of Ares’ dragons and served eight years as a slave. He then married Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. This was the first wedding of mortals that all twelve Olympians attended. CAdmus had 12 golden thrones set up for them. Aphrodite gave her daughter a necklace that made her irresistible and after Harmonia died this necklace was given to all of the queen’s of Thebes. They had four daughters; Ino, Agave, Antonoe and Semele (mother of Dionysus). Cadmus is also said to have invented the alphabet.

Daedalus - (Cunningly Wrought) -
Deadalus was a legendary Athenian and a descendant of Hephaestus. Daedalus was a great craftsmen, architect, sculptor and inventor. His nephew Talus, was also a gifted craftseman and became the apprentice of Daedalus. Talus invented the saw which made Daedalus jealous, he murdered the young man and fled to Crete. He was the craftsmen of King Minos of Crete for whom he built the amazing Labyrinth that hid the world from the horrid Minotaur. After the construction of the maze or Labyrinth, Minos held Daedalus captive and wouldn’t let him reveal the secret of the maze. Daedalus made a set of wings out of feathers and wax for him and his son Icarus who flew out of the palace of Minos. Poor Icarus flew too high and the sun melted the wax, he fell to his death in the sea. Daedalus landed in the court of King Cocalus of Sicily, where he made trinkets and toys for the kings daughters. Minos searched for his craftsmen. He gave a test and Daedalus solved it, Minos knew only he could solve the puzzle and tried to be cunning and stayed in the court, planning to abduct him. Daedalus had a different plan and when Minos got in the tub, Daedalus made it so hot, the evil king died.
Daedalus isn’t a hero persay, but he did play a very important role in the Theseus myth and I thought I’d include him.

Deucalion -
Deucalion was the son of the imprisoned Titan Prometheus. His father warned him that Zeus so angry with the evils of man that he was planning annihilation of all mankind. Deucalion, the equivalent to the Christian Noah, built an ark. After nine days of rain, they landed safely on Mount Parnassus. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, sacrificed to Zeus. The Titan Themis told them to throw the bones of their mother over their shoulders. She was of course talking about Mother Earth’s rocks. They did this and and behind Pyrrha there was women, behind Deucalion, men. Their eldest son Hellen, the was the ancestor of the race of Hellenes, or later known as Greeks.
Again, he wasn’t a warrior, but still a hero for mankind.

Hector - (Hektor) -
Hector was the eldest son of Priam, king of Troy and of Hecuba, he was the father of Astyanax by Andromache. His only mythology is in The Iliad. He fought the Greek Ajax and was killed by Achilles, who violated his body, hitched him to the back of a cart and dragged his body around the outside of Troy.

Heracles (Herakles) -
He will be under Demi - gods.

Jason -
Jason was the son of King Aeson of Iolcus and of Queen Alcimede. Pelias, the half brother of Aeson, took the kingdom from Aeson and threatend to kill all those who opposed him. Jason was taken to be cared for by Chiron. After a few years, Jason went back to claim his throne. On his way, he encountered an old woman trying to cross a river. He picked her (Hera) up and took her across. He lost a sandal in this trip. Pelias was told by an oracle to fear a one-sandalled man. When Jason came, Pelias sent him to do the impossible task of obtaining the Golden Fleece. He built the Argo, and recruited 49 men and one woman, see the Argonauts for details. They set sail and got to the kingdom of Aetes. The king gave Jason impossible tasks to do i.e. harnessing fire breathing bulls to plow a field. Luckily Aetes daughter Medea helped him for she was in love. He completed these tasks, but the king wouldn’t give up the fleece, him and Medea stole the fleece and they set off back to Iolcos. For the rest of this story see The Golden Fleece under myths.

Menelaus -
Menelaus was the brother of Agamemnon. He was the lucky husband of Helen who was stolen away by Paris. This act set off the Trojan War. He is popular in The Iliad and came across as a good soldier in the War. He is also somewhat embarrased for the war being fought on his account. In The Odyssey, he and Helen are visited by Telemachus, son of Odysseus, who is looking for his father.

Nausicaa -
Nausicaa was the daughter of Alcinous, king of the Phaecians. She is a hero because she found the hero Odysseus and brought him back to her fathers kingdom where he told his story or his Odyssey.

Odysseus - [Ulysses]
Odysseus was the son of Laertes and Anticlea. He was the king of Ithaca and on the birth of his son, Telemachus, was drafted to the Trojan War, he pleaded insanity and went on a plowing frenzy. Another soldier, Palamedes, placed the infant Telemachus in front of the plow, Odysseus turned and therefore wasn’t insane and had to go to war. Odysseus was the husband of Penelope, the cousin of Helen. After the war was over Odysseus took an additional 10 years to get home. (See The Odyssey under The Odyssey)

Orpheus -
Orpheus was the son of Oeagrus, king of Thrace and the muse Calliope. He is famous for his love for Eurydice (See Orpheus and Eurydice under myths). He is a hero because of his love for Eurydice and also for saving all of the Argonauts from death by singing and distracting the men from the Sirens song.

Perseus -
Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danae and the husband of Andromeda, for reference on this myth see Perseus(coming soon) under Myths.

Theseus -
Theseus was the son of Aegeus, king of Athens, and Aethra. Theseus was brought up by Pittheus and Aethra until he was 16. He then set out to Athens to claim his throne. On his way he had countless adventures (See the future Theseus and The Minotaur under Myths), he also was famed for slaying the Minotaur.

That is all of the Heroes that I can think of to put on this section. If you think their is someone else please email me at poseidon64@hotmail.com