Homeric world EPIRUS (Region) GREECE - GTP + Greek Travel Pages

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Homeric world (32)

Editor's remarks

Homeric Ephyre

KICHYROS (Ancient city) EPIRUS
All information concerning Homeric Ephyre are recorded in this location.

Ancient myths

Heracles & Astyoche

Astyoche. A daughter of Phylas, king of Ephyra, by whom Heracles, after the conquest cf Ephyra, begot Tlepolemus. (Apollod. ii. 7.6, 8; Hom. Il. ii. 658; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. vii. 24)

. . . Tlepolemos, son of Herakles, a man both brave and large of stature, brought nine ships of lordly warriors from Rhodes. These dwelt in Rhodes which is divided among the three cities of Lindos, Ialysos, and Kameiros, that lies upon the chalk. These were commanded by Tlepolemos, son of mighty Herakles and born of Astyochea, whom he had carried off from Ephyra, on the river Selleis, after sacking many cities of valiant warriors. (Hom. Il. 2.650)

Hercules marched with the Calydonians against the Thesprotians, and having taken the city of Ephyra, of which Phylas was king, he had intercourse with the king's daughter Astyoche, and became the father of Tlepolemus.<
Commentary:
Compare Diod. 4.36.1, who gives Phyleus as the name of the king of Ephyra, but does not mention the name of his daughter. According to Pind. (O. 7.23(40)ff., with the Scholiast), the mother of Tlepolemus by Herakles was not Astyoche but Astydamia.

Ancient towns

Ephyre

Some scholars suggest that Odysseus went to this Ephyre and not the Eleian one during his return to Ithaca (Od. 1.259, 2.328).

Country

The land of the Thesprotians

EPIRUS (Ancient country) GREECE
Homer calls Epeirus "the land of the Thesprotians", who lived around Dodona under the rule of the king Pheidon, who entertained Odysseus, when he visited the oracle of Dodona in order to learn the willing of Zeus (Od. 14.316-327).

Gods & demigods

Zeus (Dodonean and Pelasgian)

DODONI (Ancient city) IOANNINA
Zeus. The son of Cronus by Rhea (Il. 15.187), the supreme god (Il. 19.258), father of men and gods. In Homer, besides Olympian (Il. 2.309, 24.140, Od. 1.60 etc.), he is also called Dodonaean and Pelasgian (Il. 16.233).

Zeus. The supreme god in the Greek mythology; according to the common legend, the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, hence called Cronides. According to a myth indigenous to Crete, he was the youngest son, and Rhea, in dread of Cronus, who had swallowed all his previous children, bore him secretly in a cave of the island, where he was suckled by the goat Amalthea, while the Curetes drowned the cries of the child by the clash of their weapons; but Rhea outwitted Cronus by giving him a stone to swallow instead. When he was grown up, Zeus married Metis, who, by means of a charm, compelled Cronus to disgorge the children he had swallowed. When, with the help of his brothers and sisters, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Here, he had overthrown Cronus and the Titans, the world was divided into three parts, Zeus obtaining heaven, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the lower world; the earth and Olympus being appointed for the common possession of all the three. But the king of the gods is Zeus, whose power, as Homer says, is greater than that of all the other gods together.
    Next to him, but in a subordinate position, stands, as queen of the gods, his sister and consort Here, the mother of Ares, Hephaestus, and Hebe, who was regarded as preeminently his rightful wife. Not incompatible with this, however, was the idea that the marriage with Here was the earliest of a series of marriages with other goddesses--first, according to Hesiod, with Metis, whom he swallowed, in order to bring forth Athene from his own head; then with Themis, the mother of the Hours and the Fates; afterwards with Eurynome, the mother of the Graces; Demeter, the mother of Persephone; Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses; and Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. The fact that still later, in Dodona, Dione, the mother of Aphrodite, was also honoured as the wife of Zeus shows the origin of the legend. Originally different wives of Zeus were recognized in the different local cults. When the legend of the marriage with Here had become the predominant one, an attempt was made to harmonize the different versions of the story by the supposition of successive marriages. In the same way the loves of Zeus with half-divine, half-mortal women, of whom Alcmene, the mother of Heracles, was said to be the last, were originally rural legends, which derived the descent of indigenous divinities, like Hermes and Dionysus, or of heroes and noble families, from the highest god; and not until they had become the common property of the whole Greek people, which was practically the case as early as the time of Homer, could the love affairs of the greatest of the gods become the theme of those mythical stories which are so repugnant to modern taste.
    The very name of Zeus (Skt. dyaus, "the bright sky") identifies him as the god of the sky and its phenomena. As such he was everywhere worshipped on the highest mountains, on whose summits he was considered to be enthroned. Of all places the Thessalian mountain Olympus, even in the earliest ages, met with the most general recognition as the abode of Zeus and of the gods who were associated with him. From Zeus come all changes in the sky or the winds; he is the gatherer of the clouds, which dispense the fertilizing rain, while he is also the thunderer, and the hurler of the irresistible lightning. As by the shaking of his aegis he causes sudden storm and tempest to break forth, so he calms the elements again, brightens the sky, and sends forth favouring winds. The changes of the seasons also proceed from him as the father of the Hours.
    As the supreme lord of heaven, he was worshipped under the name of Olympian Zeus in many parts of Greece, but especially in Olympia, where the Olympian Games were celebrated in his honour. The cult of Zeus at the ancient seat of the oracle at Dodona recognized his character as dispenser of the fertilizing dew. Among the numerous mountaincults in the Peloponnesus, the oldest and most original was that of the Lycaean Zeus, on Mount Lycaeus in Arcadia, where human beings were actually sacrificed to him in propitiation. In Attica, again, many festivals refer to the god as a personification of the powers of nature. Various rites of purification and expiation were observed in his honour as the god of wrath (Maimaktes), in the month Maemacterion (Nov. -Dec.), at the beginning of the winter storms; while towards the end of winter he was worshipped as the gracious god (Meilichios) at the festival of the Diasia. Among the islands, Rhodes and Crete were the principal seats of the worship of the sky-god; not only his birth but also his death was there celebrated, and even his grave was shown, in accordance with the widely spread notion that the annual death of Nature in winter was the death of the god. In Asia, the summit of Mount Ida in the Troad was especially and beyond all other places sacred to Zeus.
    As he presides over the gods and the whole of nature, so also is he the ruler of men, who all stand in need of his help, and to whom, according to Homer, he weighs out their destinies on golden scales, and distributes good and evil out of the two jars which stand in his palace, filled the one with good and the other with evil gifts. But his natural attributes are goodness and love; hence Homer calls him "the father of gods and men." He gives to all things a good beginning and a good end: he is the saviour in all distress. To Zeus the Saviour (Soter) it was customary to drink the third cup at a meal, and in Athens to sacrifice on the last day of the year. From him comes everything good, noble, and strong, and also bodily vigour and valour, which were exhibited in his honour, particularly at the Olympian and Nemean Games. He is also the giver of victory; indeed, the goddess of victory, and her brothers and sister, Force, Might, and Strife (Bia, Kratos, Zelos), are his constant companions. From him, as ruler of the world, proceed those universal laws which regulate the course of all things, and he knows and sees everything, the future as well as the past. Hence all revelation comes in the first instance from him. At times he himself announces to mortals his hidden counsels by manifold signs, thunder and lightning and other portents in the sky; by birds, especially the eagle, which was sacred to him; by prophetic voices and special oracles. At times he makes use of other deities for this purpose, chiefly of his son Apollo, through whose mouth he speaks at Delphi in particular. Thus the course of the world is ordained by him; he is the author and preserver of all order in the life of men. In conjunction with Themis, Dike, and Nemesis, he watches over justice and truth, the foundations of human society; in particular he is the special god who guards the sanctity of the oath; he is also the avenger of perjury, the keeper of boundaries and of property, the defender of the laws of hospitality and the rights of the suppliant. But nevertheless to him who has offended against the laws of human life, Zeus, as the supreme god of atonement, offers the power of expiating his guilt by rites of purification. As he presides over the family and community of the gods, so also he is the chief patron of the family and of all communal life. In the former relation he was especially worshipped in all branches of the family as protector of house and home (Herkeios), and defender of the domestic hearth (Ephestios): in the latter, as the shield of the State, e. g. in Athens at the Diipolia; as director of the popular assembly and of the council; as the god of covenants; as the source of kingship, whose symbol, the sceptre, was traced back to him. From him also proceed both national and personal freedom; hence a sanctuary was dedicated at Athens by freedmen to Zeus the Liberator (Eleutherios); and after the battle of Plataea a thanksgiving festival, Eleutheria, was instituted by the allied Greeks, which was still celebrated by the Plataeans in Roman times, and attended by deputies from the other States.
    Zeus is to the Greeks--as Iupiter, who in his principal characteristics exactly corresponds to him, is to the Romans--the essence of all divine power. No deity received such widespread worship; all the others were, in the popular belief, subordinated to him at a greater or less distance. The active operations of most of the gods appear only as an outcome of his being, particularly those of his children, among whom the nearest to him are Athene and Apollo, his favourites, who often seem to be joined with their father in the highest union.
    The eagle and the oak were sacred to Zeus; the eagle, together with the sceptre and the lightning, is also one of his customary attributes. The most famous statue of Zeus in antiquity was that executed by Phidias in gold and ivory for the temple at Olympia. It represented the enthroned Olympian god with a divine expression of the highest dignity, and at the same time with the benevolent mildness of the deity who graciously listens to prayer. The figure of the seated god was about forty feet high; and since the base was as high as twelve feet, the statue almost touched with its crown the roof of the temple, so as to call forth in the spectator the feeling that no earthly dwelling would be adequate for such a divinity. The bearded head was ornamented with a wreath of olive leaves, the victor's prize at Olympia. The upper part of the body, made of ivory, was naked, the lower part was wrapped in a golden mantle falling from the hips to the feet, which, adorned with golden sandals, rested on a footstool. Beside this lay golden lions. The right hand bore the goddess of victory, the left the sceptre, surmounted by an eagle. Like the base, and the whole space around, the seat of the throne was decorated with various works of art. It was supported by figures of the goddess of victory; and on the back of the throne, which rose above the head of the god, were represented the hovering forms of the Hours and the Graces. This statue was the model for most of the later representatives of Zeus. Among those that are extant the well-known bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Ocriculum in Umbria), and now in the Vatican Museum, is supposed to be an imitation of the great work of Phidias. In the most direct relation to the latter stand the figures of Zeus on the coins of Elis. Among the standing statues of Zeus the most famous was the bronze colossus, forty cubits (or sixty feet) high, by Lysippus at Tarentum.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Surnames of Zeus

Zeus Panhellenius

Panhellenius (Panellenios), i. e. the god common to, or worshipped by all the Hellenes or Greeks, occurs as a surname of the Dodonaean Zeus, whose worship had been transplanted by the Hellenes, in the emigration from Thessaly, to Aegina. Subsequently, when the name Hellenes was applied to all the Greeks, the meaning of the god's surname likewise became more extensive, and it was derived from the propitiatory sacrifice which Aeacus was said to have offered on behalf of all the Greeks, and by the command of the Delphic oracle, for the purpose of averting a famine (Paus. i. 44.13). On that occasion Aeacus designated Zeus as the national god of all the Greeks (Pind. Nem. v. 19; Herod. ix. 7; Aristoph. Equit. 1253; Plut. Lycuarg. 6). In Aegina there was a sanctuary of Zeus Panhellenius, which was said to have been founded by Aeacus; and a festival, Panhellenia, was celebrated there. (Paus. i. 18. 9)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Aug 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Zeus Aegiduchos

Zeus Aegiduchos or Aegiochos (Aigidouchos or Aigiochos), a surname of Zeus, as the bearer of the Aegis with which he strikes terror into the impious and his enemies. (Hom. II. i. 202, ii. 157, 375, &c.; Pind. Isth. iv. 99; Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 13.) Others derive the surname from aix and oche, and take it as an allusion to Zeus being fed by a goat. (Spanh. ad Callim. hymn. in Jov. 49)

Zeus Alastor

Alastor. According to Hesychius and the Etymologicum M., a surname of Zeus, describing him as the avenger of evil deeds. But the name is also used, especially by the tragic writers, to designate any deity or demon who avenges wrongs committed by men. (Paus. viii. 24. ยง 4; Plut. De Def Orac. 13, &c.; Aeschyl. Agam. 1479, 1508, Pers. 343; Soph. Track. 1092; Eurip. Phoen. 1550, &c.)

Cronides or Cronion

Cronides or Cronion (Kronides or Kronion), a patronymic from Cronus, and very commonly given to Zeus, the son of Cronus. (Hom. Il. i. 528, ii. 111, &c.)

Limenia, Limemites, Limenitis, Limenoscopus

Limenia, Limemites, Limenitis, Limenoscopus, (Limenodkopos), i. e. the protector or superintendent of the harbour, occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Zeus (Callimach. Fragm. 114, 2ded. Bentl.), Artemis (Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 259), Aphrodite (Paus. ii. 34.11; Serv. ad Aen. i. 724), Priapus (Anthol. Palat. x. 1, 7), and of Pan (Anthol. Palat. x. 10.)

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Dodona

Homer mentions that the Peraibi, who dwelt about Dodona, participated in the Trojan War under the leadership of Gouneus (Il. 2.750). The poet also calls Zeus Dodonaean (Il. 16.233).

Kings

Echetus

EPIRUS (Ancient country) GREECE
He was the king of Epirus, who maimed men and threw them to the dogs (Od. 18.85 & 116, 21.308).

Echetus, (Echetos), a cruel king of Epeirus, who was the terror of all mortals. He was a son of Euchenor and Phlogea. His daughter, Metope or Amphissa, who had yielded to the embraces of her lover Aechmodicus, was blinded by her father, and Aechmodicus was cruelly mutilated. Echetus further gave his daughter iron barleycorns, promising to restore her sight, if she would grind them into flour. (Hom. Od. xviii. 83, &c., xxi. 307 ; Apollon. Rhod. iv. 1093; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1839.)

Phylas

KICHYROS (Ancient city) EPIRUS
Phylas. King of Ephyra, in Thesprotia, and father of Polymele and Astyoche, by the latter of whom Heracles was the father of Tlepolemus

Mermerus

Mermerus (Mermeros). A son of Pheres, and grandson of Jason and Medeia. He was the father of Ilus and Ephyra, and skilled in the art of preparing poison. (Hom. Od. i. 260; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1416.)

Ilus

Ilus. A son of Mermerus, and grandson of Jason and Medeia. He lived at Ephyra, between Elis and Olympia; and when Odysseus came to him to fetch the poison for his arrows, Ilus refused it, from fear of the vengeance of the Gods. (Hom. Od. i. 259, ii. 328; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1415, &c.; Strab. viii. p. 338.)
GTP's note: ed. William Smith, undertakes that Homeric Ephyra located in Elis, instead Thesprotia.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited Apr 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Pheidon

THESPROTIA (Ancient country) EPIRUS
The king of the Thesprotians (Od. 14.316, 19.287).

Nations & tribes

Peraebi

DODONI (Ancient city) IOANNINA
They participated in the Trojan War under the leadership of Gouneus. According to Homer, a part of them dwelt in the region around the Titaressus river, tributary of Peineius, and another part around Dodona (Il. 2.749).

Aethices

ETHIKIA (Ancient area) IOANNINA
People, who lived on the Mount Pindus (Il. 2.744).

Thesprotians

THESPROTIA (Ancient country) EPIRUS
A people who lived in Epeiros, around Dodona, and their king Pheidon entertained Odysseus, when the latter visited the oracle of Zeus (Od. 14.315 & 335).

Rivers

Acheron

ACHERON (River) EPIRUS
A river of Hades, into which flew Periphlegethon and Cocytus (Od. 10.513).

Acheron. In ancient geography there occur several rivers of this name, all of which were, at least at one time, believed to be connected with the lower world. The river first looked upon in this light was the Acheron in Thesprotia, in Epirus, a country which appeared to the earliest Greeks as the end of the world in the west, and the locality of the river led them to the belief that it was the entrance into the lower world. When subsequently Epirus and the countries beyond the sea became better known, the Acheron or the entrance to the lower world was transferred to other more distant parts, and at last the Acheron was placed in the lower world itself. Thus we find in the Homeric poems (Od. x. 513; comp. Paus. i. 17,5) the Acheron described as a river of Hades, into which the Pyriphlegeton and Cocytus are said to flow. Virgil (Aen. vi. 297, with the note of Servius) describes it as the principal river of Tartarus, from which the Styx and Cocytus sprang. According to later traditions, Acheron had been a son of Helios and Gaea or Demeter, and was changed into the river bearing his name in the lower world, because he had refreshed the Titans with drink during their contest with Zeus. They further state that Ascalaphus was a son of Acheron and Orphne or Gorgyra (Natal. Com. iii. 1). In late writers the name Acheron is used in a general sense to designate the whole of the lower world (Virg. Aen. vii. 312; Cic. post redit. in Senat. 10; C. Nepos, Dion, 10). The Etruscans too were acquainted with the worship of Acheron (Acheruns) from very early times, as we must infer from their Acheruntici libri, which among various other things treated on the deification of the souls, and on the sacrifices (Acheruntia sacra) by which this was to be effected. The description of the Acheron and the lower world in general in Plato's Phaedo is very peculiar, and not very easy to understand.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Seers

Selli

DODONI (Ancient city) IOANNINA
They were the priests of Zeus in Dodona, who interpreted the oracles. Homer says that they were "men with unwashen feet that couch on the ground" (Il. 16.234).

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