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Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare. In the two Henry IV plays, he is a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A fat, vain, boastful, and cowardly knight, Falstaff leads the apparently wayward Prince Hal into trouble, and is ultimately repudiated after Hal becomes king. Falstaff also appears in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Though primarily a comic figure, Falstaff still embodies a kind of depth common to Shakespeare's tricky comedy. In Act II, Scene III of Henry V, his death is described by the character "Hostess", possibly the Mistress Quickly of Henry IV, who describes his body in terms that parody Plato's description of the death of Socrates.
He appears in the following plays:
His death is mentioned in Henry V but he has no lines, nor is it directed that he appear on stage. However, many stage and film adaptations have seen it necessary to include Falstaff for the insight he provides into King Henry V's character. The most notable examples in cinema are Laurence Olivier's 1944 version and Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film, both of which draw additional material from the Henry IV plays.
There are several works about
In Greek mythology, Dardanus (Greek: Δάρδανος) was a son of Zeus and Electra, daughter of Atlas, and founder of the city of Dardania on Mount Ida in the Troad.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1.61–62) states that Dardanus' original home was in Arcadia where Dardanus and his elder brother Iasus (elsewhere more commonly called Iasion) reigned as kings following Atlas. Dardanus married Chryse, daughter of Pallas, by whom he fathered two sons: Idaeus and Dymas. When a great flood occurred, the survivors, who were living on mountains that had now become islands, split into two groups: one group remained and took Deimas as king while the other sailed away, eventually settling in the island of Samothrace. There Iasus (Iasion) was slain by Zeus for lying with Demeter. Dardanus and his people found the land poor and so most of them set sail for Asia.
However another account by Virgil in his Aeneid (3.163f), has Aeneas in a dream learn from his ancestral Penates that "Dardanus and Father Iasius" and the Penates themselves originally came from Hesperia which was afterward renamed as Italy. This tradition holds that Dardanus was a Tyrrhenian prince, and that his mother Electra was married to
Lohengrin is a character in German Arthurian literature. The son of Parzival (Percival), he is a knight of the Holy Grail sent in a boat pulled by swans to rescue a maiden who can never ask his identity. His story, which first appears in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, is a version of the Knight of the Swan legend known from a variety of medieval sources. Wolfram's story was expanded in two later romances. In 1848 Richard Wagner adapted the medieval tale into his popular opera Lohengrin.
Lohengrin first appears as "Loherangrin," the son of Parzival and Condwiramurs in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival. Wolfram's story is a variation of the Knight of the Swan tale, previously attached to the Crusade cycle of medieval literature. Loherangrin and his twin brother Kardeiz join their parents in Munsalväsche when Parzival becomes the Grail King; Kardeiz later inherits their father's secular lands, and Loherangrin remains in Munsalväsche as a Grail Knight. Members of this order are sent out in secret to provide lords to kingdoms that have lost their protectors and Loherangrin is eventually called to this duty in Brabant, where the duke has died without a male heir. His daughter Elsa
The real and historical Shammuramat (in Akkadian and Aramaic) (in Greek, Semiramis, in Persian 'Shamiram'), was the Assyrian queen of Shamshi-Adad V (ruled 824 BC–811 BC), King of Assyria and ruler of the Neo Assyrian Empire, and its regent for four years until her son Adad-nirari III came of age.
For the ancient Greeks and Persians Semiramis (pronounced /səˈmɪrəmɪs/) was the legendary queen of king Ninus, succeeding him to the throne of Assyria.
The legends narrated by Diodorus Siculus, Justin and others from Ctesias of Cnidus describe her and her relationship to King Ninus, himself a mythical king of Assyria, not attested in the Assyrian King List.
The name of Semiramis came to be applied to various monuments in Western Asia and Asia Minor, the origin of which was forgotten or unknown. Nearly every stupendous work of antiquity by the Euphrates or in Iran seems to have ultimately been ascribed to her, even the Behistun Inscription of Darius. Herodotus ascribes to her the artificial banks that confined the Euphrates and knows her name as borne by a gate of Babylon. However, Diodorus stresses that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built long after Semiramis had reigned, and not in
In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Acis (Greek: Άκις) was the spirit of the Acis River in Sicily, beloved of the nereid, or sea-nymph, Galatea (Γαλάτεια; "she who is milk-white"). Galatea returned the love of Acis, but a jealous suitor, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder. Distraught, Galatea then turned his blood into the river Acis. The Acis River flowed past Akion (Acium) near Mount Etna in Sicily.
According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Acis was the son of Faunus and the river-nymph Symaethis, daughter of the River Symaethus.
The tale occurs nowhere earlier than in Ovid; it may be a fiction invented by Ovid "suggested by the manner in which the little river springs forth from under a rock". According to Athenaeus, ca 200 CE the story was first concocted as a political satire against the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, whose favourite concubine, Galatea, shared her name with a nereid mentioned by Homer. Others claim the story was invented to explain the presence of a shrine dedicated to Galatea on Mount Etna.
A first-century fresco removed from an Imperial villa at Boscotrecase, preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius, and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Othello is a character in Shakespeare's Othello (c.1601–1604). The character's origin is traced to the tale "Un Capitano Moro" in Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. There, he is simply referred to as the Moor.
Othello is a brave and competent soldier of advanced years and Moorish background in the service of the Venetian Republic. He elopes with Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of a respected Venetian senator. After being deployed to Cyprus, Othello is manipulated by his Ancient (pronounced Ensign) Iago, into believing Desdemona is an adultress. Othello murders her and, upon discovering Iago's deceit, kills himself.
Othello was first mentioned in a Revels account of 1604 when the play was performed on 1 November at Whitehall Palace with Richard Burbage almost certainly Othello's first interpreter. Modern notable performers of the role include Paul Robeson, Orson Welles, Richard Burton, James Earl Jones, and Laurence Olivier.
Othello is a Moorish prince living in Venice, an ambassador of the Moors. After time in Venice, Othello is appointed general in the Venetian Army. His officer Iago tricks him into believing that his wife Desdemona is having an affair with
Hyacinth /ˈhaɪəsɪnθ/ or Hyacinthus (in Greek, Ὑάκινθος, Hyakinthos) is a divine hero from Greek mythology. His cult at Amyclae, southwest of Sparta, dates from the Mycenaean era. The santuary (temenos) grew up around his burial mound (tumulus), located in the Classical period at the feet of Apollo's statue. The literary myths serve to link him to local cults, and to identify him with Apollo.
In Greek mythology, Hyacinth was given various parentage, providing local links, as the son of Clio and Pierus, King of Macedon, or of king Oebalus of Sparta, or of king Amyclas, progenitor of the people of Amyclae, dwellers about Sparta. His cult at Amyclae, where his tomb was located, at the feet of Apollo's statue, dates from the Mycenaean era.
In the literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful boy and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth
Fierabras (from French: fier à bras, "brave/formidable arm") or Ferumbras is a fictional Saracen knight (sometimes of gigantic stature) appearing in several chansons de geste and other material relating to the Matter of France. He is the son of Balan, king of Spain, and is frequently shown in conflict with Roland and the Twelve Peers, especially Oliver, whose prowess he almost rivals. Fierabras eventually converts to Christianity and fights for Charlemagne.
The oldest extant text of the story of Fierabras is a 12th-century (c. 1170) Old French chanson de geste of roughly 6,200 alexandrines in assonanced laisses. The story is as follows: the Saracen king Balan and his 15-foot-tall (4.6 m) son Fierabras return to Spain after sacking the church of Saint Peter's in Rome and taking the relics of the passion. Charlemagne invades Spain to recover the relics and sends his knight Olivier de Vienne, Roland's companion, to battle Fierabras. Once defeated, the giant decides to convert to Christianity and joins Charlemagne's army, but Olivier and several other knights are captured. Floripas, Fierabras' sister, falls in love with one of Charlemagne's knights, Gui de Bourgogne. After a series of
Perseus (Ancient Greek: Περσεύς), the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians. Perseus was the Greek hero who killed the Gorgon Medusa, and claimed Andromeda, having rescued her from a sea monster sent by Poseidon in retribution for Queen Cassiopeia declaring that her daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than the Nereids.
Because of the obscurity of the name Perseus and the legendary character of its bearer, most etymologists pass it by, on the presumption that it might be pre-Greek; however, the name of Perseus’ native city was Greek and so were the names of his wife and relatives. There is some prospect that it descended into Greek from the Proto-Indo-European language. In that regard Robert Graves has espoused the only Greek derivation available. Perseus might be from the ancient Greek verb, "πέρθειν" (perthein), “to waste, ravage, sack, destroy”, some form of which appears in Homeric epithets. According to Carl Darling Buck (Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin), the –eus suffix is
Cerberus ( /ˈsɜrbərəs/), or Kerberos, (Greek form: Κέρβερος, [ˈkerberos]) in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed hound (usually three-headed) which guards the gates of the Underworld, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Cerberus featured in many works of ancient Greek and Roman literature and in works of both ancient and modern art and architecture, although the depiction and background surrounding Cerberus often differed across various works by different authors of the era. The most notable difference is the number of its heads: Most sources describe or depict three heads; others show it with two or even just one; a smaller number of sources show a variable number, sometimes as many as 50 or even 100.
Cerberus was the offspring of Echidna, a hybrid half-woman and half-serpent, and Typhon, a fire-breathing giant whom even the Greek gods feared. Its brother is Orthrus, always depicted as a two-headed hellhound. The common depiction of Cerberus in Greek mythology and art is as having three heads. In most works the three-heads each respectively see and represent the past, the present, and the future, while other sources suggest the heads
In Greek mythology, Antigone (pronunciation: /ænˈtɪɡəniː/ an-TI-gə-nee; Ἀντιγόνη) is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Oedipus' mother. The name has been suggested to mean "opposed to motherhood", "in place of a mother". It may also mean "against men" since men were dominant in the Ancient Greek family structure, and Antigone clearly defied masculine authority, or "anti-generative", from the root gonē, "that which generates" (related: gonos, "-gony"; seed, semen).
Antigone is a daughter of the accidentally incestuous marriage between King Oedipus of Thebes and his mother Jocasta. She is the subject of a popular story in which she attempts to secure a respectable burial for her brother Polynices, even though he was a traitor to Thebes and the law forbids even mourning for him, on pain of death.
The oldest version of the story, the burial of Polynices takes place during Oedipus' reign in Thebes, before Oedipus marries Jocasta. However, in the best-known versions, Sophocles' tragedies Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, it occurs in the years after Oedipus' banishment and death, and Antigone has to struggle against Creon. In Sophocles' version, both of Antigone's brothers are killed
Bradamante (also spelled Bradamant) is the sister of Rinaldo, and one of the heroines in Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto in their handling of the Charlemagne legends, also called the Matter of France.
She falls in love with the Saracen warrior Ruggiero, but refuses to marry him unless he converts from Islam. Bradamante and Ruggiero were destined to become the ancestors of the noble House of Este who were the patrons to both Boiardo and Ariosto. Bradamante rescues Ruggiero from being imprisoned by the wizard Atlante, but they are separated soon afterward. The two lovers are separated many times in the story, but are finally married after Ruggiero's conversion to Christianity.
Bradamante is depicted as one of the greatest female knights in literature. She is an expert fighter, and wields a magical lance that unhorses anyone it touches. She is also one of the main characters in several novels including Italo Calvino's surrealistic, highly ironic novel Il Cavaliere inesistente (The Nonexistent Knight).
Robert Garnier, French dramatist of the 16th century, wrote the tragicomedy named Bradamante that further develops the love story
In Greek mythology, Menelaus (Ancient Greek: Μενέλαος, Menelaos) was a legendary king of Mycenaean (pre-Dorian) Sparta, the husband of Helen of Troy, and a central figure in the Trojan War. He was the son of Atreus and Aerope, and brother of Agamemnon king of Mycenae and, according to the Iliad, leader of the Spartan contingent of the Greek army during the War. Prominent in both the Iliad and Odyssey, Menelaus was also popular in Greek vase painting and Greek tragedy; the latter more as a hero of the Trojan War than as a member of the doomed House of Atreus.
Although early authors such as Aeschylus refer in passing to Menelaus' early life, detailed sources are quite late, post-dating 5th-century BC Greek tragedy. According to these sources, Menelaus' father Atreus had been feuding with his brother Thyestes over the throne of Mycenae. After a back-and-forth struggle that featured adultery, incest and cannibalism, Thyestes gained the throne after his son Aegisthus murdered Atreus. As a result, Atreus’ sons, Menelaus and Agamemnon, went into exile. They first stayed with King Polyphides of Sicyon, and later with King Oeneus of Calydon. But when they thought the time was ripe to
In Greek mythology, Peleus ( /ˈpɛlˌjuːs/; Greek: Πηλεύς, Pēleus) was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BC. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles. He and his brother Telamon were friends of Heracles, serving in his expedition against the Amazons, his war against King Laomedon, and with him in the quest for the Golden Fleece. Though there were no further kings in Aegina, the kings of Epirus claimed descent from Peleus in the historic period.
Peleus and his brother Telamon killed their half-brother Phocus, perhaps in a hunting accident and certainly in an unthinking moment, and fled Aegina to escape punishment. In Phthia, Peleus was purified by Eurytion and married Antigone, Eurytion's daughter, by whom he had a daughter, Polydora. Eurytion received the barest mention among the Argonauts, where Peleus and Telamon were also present, "yet not together, nor from one place, for they dwelt far apart and distant from Aigina;" but Peleus accidentally killed Eurytion during the hunt for the Calydonian Boar and fled from Phthia.
The witch of Endor, sometimes called the medium of Endor, was a woman who apparently called up the ghost of the recently deceased prophet Samuel, at the demand of King Saul of the Kingdom of Israel in the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28:3–25. The witch is absent from the version of that event recounted in the deuterocanonical Book of Sirach (47:19–20).
After Samuel had died, he was buried in Ramah. After Samuel's death Saul received no answer from God from dreams, prophets, or the Urim and Thummim as to his best course of action against the assembled forces of the Philistines. Consequently Saul, who had earlier driven out all necromancers and magicians from Israel, sought out a medium, anonymously and in disguise. Following the instruction of her visitor, the woman claims that she sees the ghost of Samuel rising from the abode of the dead. The voice of the prophet's ghost, after complaining of being disturbed, berates Saul for disobeying God, and predicts Saul's downfall, with his whole army, in battle the next day, then adds that Saul and his sons will join him, then, in the abode of the dead. Saul is shocked and afraid, and following the encounter his army is defeated and Saul
Doris (Δωρίς), an Oceanid, was a sea nymph in Greek mythology, whose name represented the bounty of the sea. She was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and the wife of Nereus. She was also aunt to Atlas, the titan who was made to carry the sky upon his shoulders, whose mother Clymene was a sister of Doris. Doris was mother to the fifty Nereids, including Thetis, who was the mother of Achilles, and Amphitrite, Poseidon's wife, and grandmother of Triton. Doris is a semi-common female name.
In Greek mythology, Rhadamanthus (Ῥαδάμανθυς; also transliterated as Rhadamanthys or Rhadamanthos) was a wise king, the son of Zeus and Europa. Later accounts even make him out to be one of the judges of the dead. His brothers were Sarpedon and Minos (also a king and later a judge of the dead) .
Rhadamanthus was raised by Asterion. He had two sons, Gortys and Erythrus.
Other sources (e.g. Plutarch, Theseus 20) credit Rhadamanthys rather than Dionysus as the husband of Ariadne, and the father of Oenopion, Staphylus and Thoas. In this account, Ariadne was the daughter of Minos, Rhadamanthys' brother; another Ariadne was the daughter of Minos' grandson and namesake, who features in the Theseus legend, and was rescued by Dionysus.
According to one account, Rhadamanthus ruled Crete before Minos, and gave the island an excellent code of laws, which the Spartans were believed to have copied.
Driven out of Crete by Minos, who was jealous of his popularity, he fled to Boeotia, where he wedded Alcmene. Homer represents him as dwelling in the Elysian Fields (Odyssey iv. 564), the paradise for the immortal sons of Zeus.
According to later legends (c. 400 BC), on account of his inflexible
Ortrud is a female character from Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin (1848).
In act I, Ortrud and her husband Friedrich von Telramund accuse Elsa von Brabant of murdering her brother Gottfried. Gottfried having disappeared, they claim the land of Brabant as Ortrud's. This claim fails when the mysterious Grail-Knight Lohengrin arrives and vindicates Elsa in a duel with Telramund. Elsa and the unknown knight become engaged. In act II, Ortrud is blamed by Telramund for having originated the plot against Elsa. Ortrud reveals to the audience the fact that she is a witch. Undaunted, Ortrud has already hatched another plan. She pleads with Elsa for forgiveness and tries to make her doubt the character of Lohengrin, who has made Elsa swear never to ask him to reveal his identity. Act III sees Ortrud's triumph when Elsa, on the day of her wedding to Lohengrin, breaks her vow. Lohengrin answers her question (Grail Narrative) and, as required by Grail law, leaves her. But his parting prayers free Gottfried, who had been turned into a swan by Ortrud herself. Frustrated at the last, Ortrud dies of sheer rage.
Ortrud was originally written for a soprano, as stated in the first edition vocal score
In Greek mythology, Callisto or Kallisto (Greek: Καλλιστώ [kallisˈtɔː]) was a nymph of Artemis. Transformed into a bear and set among the stars, she was the bear-mother of the Arcadians, through her son Arcas.
The name Kalliste (Καλλίστη), "most beautiful", may be recognized as an epithet of the goddess herself, though none of the inscriptions at Athens that record priests of Artemis Kalliste (Άρτεμις Καλλίστη), date before the third century BCE. Artemis Kalliste was worshipped in Athens in a shrine which lay outside the Dipylon gate, by the side of the road to the Academy. W. S. Ferguson suggested that Artemis Soteira and Artemis Kalliste were joined in a common cult administered by a single priest. The bearlike character of Artemis herself was a feature of the Brauronia.
The myth in Catasterismi may be derived from the fact that a set of constellations appear close together in the sky, in and near the Zodiac sign of Libra, namely Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Boötes, and Virgo. The constellation Boötes, was explicitly identified in the Hesiodic Astronomia (Αστρονομία) as Arcas, the "Bear-warden" (Arktophylax; Αρκτοφύλαξ):
He is Arkas the son of Kallisto and Zeus, and he lived in the
Guinevere /ˈɡwɪnɨvɪər/ was the legendary Queen consort of King Arthur. In tales and folklore, she was said to have had a love affair with Arthur's chief knight Sir Lancelot. This story first appears in Chrétien de Troyes' Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, and reappears as a common motif in numerous cyclical Arthurian literature, starting with the Lancelot-Grail Cycle of the early 13th century and carrying through the Post-Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Guinevere and Lancelot's betrayal of Arthur was often considered as having led to the downfall of the kingdom.
The Welsh form Gwenhwyfar, which seems to be cognate with the Irish name Findabair, can be translated as The White Enchantress, or alternately The White Fay/Ghost, from Proto-Celtic *Uindo- "white, fair, holy" + *seibarV (V=vowel) "magic" (cf. Old Irish síabar "magic"). Some have suggested that the name may derive from "Gwenhwy-fawr" or Gwenhwy the Great, contrasting the character to "Gwenhwy-fach" or Gwenhwy the less; Gwenhwyfach appears in Welsh literature as a sister of Gwenhwyfar, but Welsh scholars Melville Richards and Rachel Bromwich, both dismiss this etymology (with Richards suggesting that
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore, a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Although not part of his original character, since the begining of the 19th century he has become known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes. The origin of the legend is claimed by some to have stemmed from actual outlaws, or from ballads or tales of outlaws.
Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the medieval period continuing through to modern literature, films and television. In the earliest sources, Robin Hood is a yeoman, but he was often later portrayed as an aristocrat wrongfully dispossessed of his lands and made into an outlaw by an unscrupulous sheriff.
In popular culture, Robin Hood and his band of "merry men" are usually portrayed as living in Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire, where much of the action in the early ballads takes place. So does the very first recorded Robin Hood rhyme, four lines from the early 15th century, beginning: "Robyn hode in scherewode stod." However, the overall picture from the surviving
The Gravediggers (or Clowns) are examples of Shakespearean fools (also known as clowns or jesters), a recurring type of character in Shakespeare's plays. Like most Shakespearean fools, the Gravediggers are peasants or commoners that use their great wit and intellect to get the better of their superiors, other people of higher social status, and each other.
The Gravediggers appear briefly in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, making their one and only appearance at the beginning of Act v, Scene i. They are first encountered as they are digging a grave for the newly deceased Ophelia, discussing whether she deserves a Christian burial after having killed herself. Soon, Hamlet enters and engages in a quick dialogue with the first Gravedigger. The beat ends with Hamlet's speech regarding the circle of life prompted by his discovery of the skull of his father's beloved jester, Yorick.
The penultimate scene of the play begins with the two clowns digging a grave for the late Ophelia. They debate whether she should be allowed to have a Christian burial, because she committed suicide. This quickly leads them into a discussion of the impact of politics on the decision, and the two parody lawyer
Heracles ( /ˈhɛrəkliːz/ HERR-ə-kleez; Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλῆς, Hēraklēs, from Hēra, "Hera", and kleos, "glory"), born Alcaeus (Ἀλκαῖος, Alkaios) or Alcides (Ἀλκείδης, Alkeidēs), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson (and half-brother) of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae (Ἡρακλεῖδαι) and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.
Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among his characteristic attributes. Although he was not as clever as the likes of Odysseus or Nestor, Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not
Sir Lancelot (or Launcelot) du Lac ( /ˈlænsələt/, /ˈlɔːnsələt/, /ˈlænsəlɒt/, or /ˈlɔːnsəlɒt/; and /djuːˈlæk/ or /djuːˈlɑːk/) was one of the Knights of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend. He was the most trusted of King Arthur's knights and played a part in many of Arthur's victories. Lancelot is best known for his love affair with Arthur's wife Guinevere and the role he played in the search for the Holy Grail. He is also known as the most loyal friend of Arthur's nephew, Sir Gawaine. His first appearance as a main character is in Chrétien de Troyes' Le Chevalier de la Charette, or "Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart," which was written in the 12th century. In the 13th century, he was the main focus in the lengthy Vulgate Cycle, where his exploits are recounted in the section known as the Prose Lancelot. Lancelot's life and adventures have been featured in several medieval romances, often with conflicting back-stories and chains of events.
Lancelot's literary origins are mysterious. Prior to his appearance in the works of Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot is virtually unknown. Scholar Roger Sherman Loomis suggests that Lancelot is related to the Welsh hero Llwch Llenlleawg ("Llwch of
Sancho Panza [ˈsantʃo ˈpanθa] is a fictional character in the novel Don Quixote written by Spanish author Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1605. Sancho acts as squire to Don Quixote, and provides comments throughout the novel, known as sanchismos, that are a combination of broad humour, ironic Spanish proverbs, and earthy wit. "Panza" in Spanish means "belly" (cf. English "paunch," Italian "pancia").
Sancho Panza is not a servant of Alonso Quijano before his madness turns him into Don Quixote, but a peasant living in the same unnamed village. When the novel begins Sancho has been married for a long time to a woman named Teresa Cascajo and has a daughter, María Sancha (also named Marisancha, Marica, María, Sancha and Sanchica), who is said to be old enough to be married. Sancho's wife is described more or less as a feminine version of Sancho, both in looks and behaviour. When Don Quixote proposes Sancho to be his squire, neither he nor his family strongly oppose it.
Sancho is illiterate and proud of it but by influence of his new master he develops considerable knowledge about some books. Sancho instead provides the earthly wisdom of Spanish proverbs, surprising his master.
In Greek mythology, Cassandra (Greek Κασσάνδρα, also Κασάνδρα, also known as Alexandra) was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo's temple, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future (this is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future). When Cassandra of Troy told him she wanted to stay a virgin, Apollo placed a curse on her so that she and all her descendants' predictions would not be believed. She is a figure both of the epic tradition and of tragedy, where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the ironic condition of humankind.
Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba and the twin sister of Helenus. She was said to have had red hair kept in curls, blue eyes, and fair skin and she was very beautiful, intelligent, charming, desirable, elegant, friendly, and gentle, but she was considered to be insane. Cassandra was described as the "second most
The ghost of Hamlet's late-father is a character from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, also known as The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. In the stage directions he is referred to as "Ghost."
He is loosely based on a legendary Jutish chieftain, named Horwendill, who appears in Chronicon Lethrense and in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum. According to legend, the Ghost was originally played by Shakespeare himself.
King Hamlet appears as a Ghost four times in the play: in Act I Scenes i, iv, and v, and Act III Scene iv. The ghost arrives at 1.00 a.m. in at least two of the scenes, and in the other scene all that is known is that it is night.
The Ghost appears first to a duo of soldiers—Barnardo and Marcellus—and a visitor to Denmark, Horatio. Francisco never sees the Ghost having the immediate preceding watch to Barnardo and Marcellus. The men draw their swords and stand in fear, requesting that Horatio, as a scholar, address the ghost. Horatio asks the ghost to speak, and reveal its secret. It is about to do so when the cock crows, signaling morning, and the ghost instead disappears. In this scene, the Ghost is clearly recognized by all present as the King, dressed in his full
Oedipus (US /ˈɛdɨpəs/ or UK /ˈiːdɨpəs/; Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Oidípous meaning "swollen foot") was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology, Oedipus fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thereby brought disaster on his city and family. The story of Oedipus is the subject of Sophocles's tragedy Oedipus the King, which was followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Together, these plays make up Sophocles's three Theban plays. Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual's powerlessness against the course of destiny in a harsh universe.
Oedipus was born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta. In the most well-known version of the myth, Laius wished to thwart a prophecy saying that his child would grow up to murder his father and marry his mother. Thus, he fastened the infant's feet together with a large pin and left him to die on a mountainside. The baby was found by shepherds and raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope in the city of Corinth. Oedipus learned from the oracle at Delphi of the prophecy, but believing he was fated to murder Polybus
Signy or Signe (sometimes known as Sieglinde) is the name of two heroines in two connected legends from Scandinavian mythology which were very popular in medieval Scandinavia. Both appear in the Völsunga saga, which was adapted into other works such as Wagner's 'Ring' cycle, including its famous opera The Valkyrie. Signy is also the name of two characters in several other sagas.
The first Signy is the daughter of King Völsung. She was married to the villainous Geatish king Siggeir who has her whole family treacherously murdered, except for her brother Sigmund. She saves her brother, has an incestuous affair with him and bears the son Sinfjötli. She burnt herself to death with her hated husband.
The second Signy is the daughter of King Siggeir's nephew Sigar. She fell in love with the Sea-King Hagbard, and promised him that she would not live if he died. They were discovered and Hagbard was sentenced to be hanged. Hagbard managed to signal this to Signy who set her house on fire and died in the flames whereupon Hagbard hanged himself in the gallows. See Hagbard and Signy.
A third Signy is the daughter of a witch named Grid in Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra. They are both delivered from a
Actaeon ( /ækˈtiːən/; Ancient Greek: Άκταίων), in Greek mythology, son of the priestly herdsman Aristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero. Like Achilles in a later generation, he was trained by the centaur Chiron.
He fell to the fatal wrath of Artemis, but the surviving details of his transgression vary: "the only certainty is in what Aktaion suffered, his pathos, and what Artemis did: the hunter became the hunted; he was transformed into a stag, and his raging hounds, struck with a 'wolf's frenzy' (Lyssa), tore him apart as they would a stag." This is the iconic motif by which Actaeon is recognized, both in ancient art and in Renaissance and post-Renaissance depictions.
Among others, John Heath has observed, "The unalterable kernel of the tale was a hunter's transformation into a deer and his death in the jaws of his hunting dogs. But authors were free to suggest different motives for his death." In the version that was offered by the Hellenistic poet Callimachus, which has become the standard setting, Artemis was bathing in the woods when the hunter Actaeon stumbled across her, thus seeing her naked. He stopped and stared, amazed at her ravishing beauty. Once
Publius Horatius Cocles was an officer in the army of the ancient Roman Republic who famously defended the Pons Sublicius from the invading army of Lars Porsena, king of Clusium in the late 6th century BC, during the war between Rome and Clusium.
The army of Clusium marched on Rome and attacked the city. Concentrating his forces on the Etruscan side of the Tiber, Porsenna assaulted the Janiculum and took it from the terrified Roman recruits with all its stores. An Etruscan garrison was detailed to hold it. Porsenna's army made for the Pons Sublicius, but found there a Roman line of battle across the bend of the river. Porsenna drew up a line of battle opposite it, apparently without hindrance, relying on numerical superiority to cow the Romans. The Tarquins commanded the Etruscan left wing facing the troops of Spurius Larcinus and Titus Herminius. Octavius Mamilius took the Etruscan right commanding rebel Latins, facing Marcus Valerius Volusus and Titus Lucretius Tricipitinus. Porsena commanded the Etruscan center, facing the two consuls.
The two lines closed. After a "considerable time", Valerius and Lucretius having been carried wounded off the field in full view of the troops,
King Claudius is a character and the antagonist from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. He is the brother to King Hamlet, second husband to Gertrude and uncle to Hamlet. He obtained the throne of Denmark by murdering his own brother with poison and then marrying the late king's widow. He is loosely based on the Jutish chieftain Feng who appears in Chronicon Lethrense and in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum.
Claudius is seen at the beginning of the play to be a capable monarch as he deals diplomatically with such issues as the military threat from Norway and Hamlet's depression. It is not until the appearance of King Hamlet's ghost that it is revealed that Claudius may have poisoned the old king in his sleep in order to usurp both his throne and his wife. During the play's progression he takes a turn for the worse by first resorting to spying, and, when that fails, murder.
It is in Act III scene 3, when Claudius forestalls Hamlet's revenge by confessing his sins to God in his own private chapel, that the audience can be sure of his guilt. He is shown to be discontent and unhappy with the events taking place. The young prince spies him brooding about his wrongdoings and trying to pray
In the Finnish Kalevala, Kullervo was the ill-fated son of Kalervo. He is the only irredeemably tragic character in Finnish mythology.
The story of Kullervo is laid out in runes (chapters) 31 through 36 of the Kalevala.
Untamo is jealous of his brother Kalervo, and the strife between brothers is fed by numerous petty disputes. Eventually Untamo's resentment boils into open warfare, and he kills all of Kalervo's tribe save for one pregnant woman named Untamala, who submits to Untamo. Shortly afterwards, Untamala gives birth to a baby boy she names Kullervo.
When Kullervo is three months old, he is heard uttering vows of revenge and destruction on Untamo's tribe. Untamo tries three times to have Kullervo killed (by drowning, fire and hanging). Each time, the infant Kullervo is saved by his latent magical powers.
Untamo then allows the child to grow up, then tries three times to find employment for him as a servant in his household, but all three attempts fail as Kullervo's wanton and wild nature makes him unfit for any domestic task. In the end, Untamo decides to rid himself of the problem by selling Kullervo into slavery to Ilmarinen.
The boy is raised in isolation because of his
Atalanta (Ancient Greek: Ἀταλάντη, Atalantē, "balanced") is a character in Greek mythology.
Atalanta was the daughter of Iasus (or Mainalos or Schoeneus, according to Hyginus), a Boeotian (according to Hesiod) or an Arcadian princess (according to the Bibliotheca). She is often described as a goddess. The Bibliotheca is the only one who gives an account of Atalanta’s birth and upbringing. King Iasus wanted a son; when Atalanta was born, he left her on a mountaintop to die. Some stories say that a she-bear suckled and cared for Atalanta until hunters found and raised her, and she learned to fight and hunt as a bear would. She was later reunited with her father.
Having grown up in the wilderness, Atalanta became a fierce hunter and was always happy. She took an oath of virginity to the goddess Artemis.
When Artemis was forgotten at a sacrifice by King Oineus, she was angered and sent a wild boar that ravaged the land, men, and cattle and prevented crops from being sown. Atalanta joined Meleager and many other famous heroes on a hunt for the boar. Many of the men were angry that a woman was joining them, but Meleager, though married, lusted for Atalanta, and so he persuaded them to
Iseult (/ɪˈsuːlt/ or /ɪˈzuːlt/), alternatively Isolde (/ɪˈsoʊldᵊ/ or /ɪˈzoʊldᵊ/), Iseo, Yseult, Isode, Isoude, Izolda, Esyllt, Isotta, is the name of several characters in the Arthurian story of Tristan and Iseult. The most prominent is Iseult of Ireland, wife of Mark of Cornwall and adulterous lover of Sir Tristan. Her mother, the Queen of Ireland, is also named Iseult. The third is Iseult of the White Hands, the daughter of Hoel of Brittany, sister of Sir Kahedin, and eventual wife of Tristan.
The Irish princess, Iseult of Ireland (also La Belle Iseult, Iseult "the Fair"), is the daughter of King Anguish of Ireland and Queen Iseult the Elder. She is a main character in the Tristan poems of Béroul, Thomas of Britain, and Gottfried von Strassburg and in the opera Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner.
Iseult is first seen as a young princess who heals Tristan from wounds he received fighting her uncle, Morholt. When his identity is revealed, Tristan flees back to his own land. Later, Tristan returns to Ireland to win Iseult's hand in marriage for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. She is supposed to marry an evil steward who claims that he has killed a dragon, but when Tristan proves
Iago is a fictional character in Shakespeare's Othello (c. 1601–04). The play's main antagonist, Iago is the husband of Emilia, who is in turn the attendant of Othello's wife Desdemona. Iago hates Othello (who is also known as "The Moor") and devises a plan to destroy him by making him believe that his wife is having an affair with his lieutenant, Michael Cassio.
The role is thought to have been first played by Robert Armin, who typically played intelligent clown roles like Touchstone in As You Like It or Feste in Twelfth Night.
The character's source is traced to Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio's tale "Un Capitano Moro" in Gli Hecatommithi (1565). There, the character is simply "the ensign". Iago is a soldier and Othello's ancient (ensign or standard bearer).
Othello has its source in the 1565 tale, "Un Capitano Moro" from Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. While no English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible Shakespeare knew the Italian original, Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation, or an English translation in manuscript. Cinthio's tale may have been based on an actual incident occurring in Venice about 1508.
Snegurochka (Russian: Снегу́рочка; IPA: [snʲɪˈgurətɕkə]), or The Snow Maiden, is a character in Russian fairy tales.
In one story, she is the daughter of Spring and Frost, and yearns for the companionship of mortal humans. She grows to like a shepherd named Lel, but her heart is unable to know love. Her mother takes pity and gives her this ability, but as soon as she falls in love, her heart warms and she melts.
This version of the story was made into a play by Aleksandr Ostrovsky, with incidental music by Tchaikovsky.
The modern Snegurochka is also depicted as the granddaughter and helper of Ded Moroz, the Russian version of Father Christmas.
The motherland of Snegurochka is Schelikovo near Kostroma.
Tales of the Snegurochka type are Aarne-Thompson type 703* The Snow Maiden. It compares to tales of type 1362, The Snow-child, where the strange origin is a blatant lie.
In 1878, the composer Ludwig Minkus and the Balletmaster Marius Petipa staged a ballet adaptation of Snegurochka titled The Daughter of the Snows for the Tsar's Imperial Ballet. The tale was also adapted into an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov titled The Snow Maiden: A Spring Fairy Tale (1880-81).
In a different
In Greek mythology, Deidamia (or Deidamea, Deidameia; Greek Δηιδάμεια) is the daughter of King Lycomedes of Scyros.
Deidamia was one of King Lycomedes's seven daughters with whom Achilles was concealed. Some versions of this story state that Achilles was hidden in Lycomedes's court as one of the king's daughters, some say as a lady-in-waiting under the name "Pyrrha". Despite the fact that Achilles and Deidamea could have been as young as eight years old, the two soon became romantically involved to the point of intimacy. After Odysseus arrived at Lycomedes's palace and exposed Achilles as a young man, Achilles decided to join the Trojan War, leaving behind a pregnant, heart-broken Deidamia. Their son, Neoptolemus, later joined his father in the Trojan War but was eventually killed by Orestes. It is also mentioned that Neoptolemus gave Deidamia in marriage to his ally Helenus. Ptolemy Hephaestion mentions that Achilles and Deidamia had another son, Oneiros, who was unwittingly killed by Orestes.
Aeacus (also spelled Eacus, Greek: Αἰακός) was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.
He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this island was afterwards called Aegina. According to some accounts Aeacus was a son of Zeus and Europa. Some traditions related that at the time when Aeacus was born, Aegina was not yet inhabited, and that Zeus changed the ants (μύρμηκες) of the island into men (Myrmidons) over whom Aeacus ruled, or that he made men grow up out of the earth. Ovid, on the other hand, supposes that the island was not uninhabited at the time of the birth of Aeacus, and states that, in the reign of Aeacus, Hera, jealous of Aegina, ravaged the island bearing the name of the latter by sending a plague or a fearful dragon into it, by which nearly all its inhabitants were carried off, and that Zeus restored the population by changing the ants into men.
These legends seem to be a mythical account of the colonization of Aegina, which seems to have been originally inhabited by Pelasgians,
In Greek mythology, Chiron /ˈkaɪrən/ (also Cheiron or Kheiron; Greek: Χείρων "hand") was held to be the superlative centaur among his brethren.
Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind, but he was not related directly to the other centaurs. He was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. According to an archaic myth he was sired by Cronus when he had taken the form of a horse and impregnated the nymph Philyra. Chiron's lineage was different from other centaurs, who were born of sun and raincloud, rendered by Greeks of the Classic period as from the union of the king Ixion, consigned to a fiery wheel, and Nephele ("cloud"), which in the Olympian telling Zeus invented to look like Hera. Myths in the Olympian tradition attributed Chiron's uniquely peaceful character and intelligence to teaching by Apollo and Artemis in his younger days.
Chiron frequented Mount Pelion; there he married the nymph Chariclo who bore him three daughters, Hippe (also known as Melanippe (also the name of
In Greek mythology Danaus, or Danaos (Ancient Greek: Δαναός), was the twin brother of Aegyptus and son of Achiroe and Belus, a mythical king of Egypt. The myth of Danaus is a foundation legend (or re-foundation legend) of Argos, one of the foremost Mycenaean cities of the Peloponnesus. In Homer's Iliad, "Danaans" ("tribe of Danaë") and "Argives" commonly designate the Greek forces opposed to the Trojans.
Danaus had fifty daughters, the Danaides, twelve of whom were born to Polyxo and the rest to Pieria and other women, and his twin brother, Aegyptus, had fifty sons. Aegyptus commanded that his sons marry the Danaides. Danaus elected to flee instead, and to that purpose, he built a ship, the first ship that ever was.
In it, he fled to Argos, to which he was connected by his descent from Io, the maiden wooed by Zeus and turned into a heifer and pursued by Hera until she found asylum in Egypt. Argos at the time was ruled by King Pelasgus, the eponym of all autochthonous inhabitants who had lived in Greece since the beginning, also called Gelanor ("he who laughs"). The Danaides asked Pelasgus for protection when they arrive, the event portrayed in The Suppliants by Aeschylus.
The Devil appears frequently as a character in works of literature and popular culture. In Christianity, the figure of the Devil, or Satan, personifies evil.
The musical interval of an augmented fourth, or tritone, was called the Devil's Chord (Latin: Diabolus in musica – the Devil in music) and was banned by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. Composers avoided the interval, and although it is sometimes found in secular music of the time, it was used in religious music only in very specific circumstances until the existing system of keys came into use.
The Devil is featured as a character in many musical representations from the Middle Ages to modern times. Hildegard of Bingen's 11th-century Ordo Virtutum features him, as do several baroque oratorios by composers such as Carissimi and Alessandro Scarlatti. During the 19th century, Gounod's Faust, in which the Devil goes by the name Mephistopheles, was a staple of opera houses around the world.
Highly virtuosic violin music was sometimes associated with the Devil. Tartini's Devil's Trill sonata and Paganini's Devil's Laughter caprice are examples. The theme is taken up by Stravinsky in the "Devil's Dance" from The
In Greek mythology, Erigone was the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius was from Athens. He was cordial towards Dionysus, who gave his shepherds wine. They became intoxicated and killed Icarius, thinking he had poisoned them. His daughter, Erigone, and her dog, Maera, found his body. Erigone hanged herself over her father's grave. Dionysus was angry and punished Athens with making all of the city's maidens commit suicide in the same way. Erigone was placed in the stars as the constellation Virgo.
According to Ovid, Dionysus "deceived Erigone with false grapes", that is, assumed the shape of a grape cluster to approach and seduce her.
Mordred or Modred (/ˈmoʊdrɛd/; Welsh: Medraut, Medrod, etc.) is a character in the Arthurian legend, known as a notorious traitor who fought King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, where he was killed and Arthur fatally wounded. Tradition varies on his relationship to Arthur, but he is best known today as Arthur's illegitimate son by one of his half-sisters, Morgan le Fay or Morgause. In earlier literature, he was considered the legitimate son of Morgause, also known as Anna, with her husband King Lot of Orkney. His brothers or half-brothers are Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, and Gareth, along with a few other half brothers or sisters. The name (from either Old Welsh Medraut, Cornish Modred, or Old Breton Modrot) is ultimately derived from Latin Moderātus.
Mordred appears very early in Arthurian literature. The first mention of him, as Medraut, occurs in the Annales Cambriae entry for the year 537:
The Annales themselves were completed between 960 and 970, though their authors drew on older material. Mordred was associated with Camlann even at that early date, but as Leslie Alcock points out, this brief entry gives no information as to whether he killed or was killed by Arthur, or even
In Greek mythology, Pylades ( /ˈpaɪlədiːz/; Greek: Πυλάδης) is the son of King Strophius of Phocis and of Anaxibia, daughter of Atreus and sister of Agamemnon and Menelaus. He is mostly known for his strong friendship with his cousin Orestes, son of Agamemnon.
Orestes had been sent to Phocis during his mother Clytemnestra's affair with Aegisthus. There he was raised with Pylades, and so considered him to be like a brother. While Orestes was away, Clytemnestra killed her husband, Orestes' father Agamemnon.
As an adult, Orestes returns to Mycenae/Argos seeking revenge for the death of Agamemnon. With his friend Pylades' assistance, Orestes murders mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. While Pylades seems to be a very minor character, he is arguably the most vital piece of Orestes' plan to avenge his father. In The Libation Bearers, the second play of Aeschylus' trilogy Orestia, Pylades speaks only once. His lines come at the moment Orestes begins to falter and second guess his decision to kill his mother. It is Pylades who convinces Orestes to follow through with his plan for revenge and carry out the murder. The significance of Pylades' lines has invited speculation into
This article is about the mythological hero Sigmund; for other meanings see: Sigmund (disambiguation).
In Norse mythology, Sigmund is a hero whose story is told in the Völsunga saga. He and his sister, Signý, are the children of Völsung and his wife Hljod. Sigmund is best known as the father of Sigurð the dragon-slayer, though Sigurð's tale has almost no connections to the Völsung cycle.
In the Völsunga saga, Signý marries Siggeir, the king of Gautland (modern Västergötland). Völsung and Sigmund are attending the wedding feast (which lasted for some time before and after the marriage), when Odin, disguised as a beggar, plunges a sword into the living tree Barnstokk ("offspring-trunk") around which Völsung's hall is built. The disguised Odin announces that the man who can remove the sword will have it as a gift. Only Sigmund is able to free the sword from the tree.
Siggeir is smitten with envy and desire for the sword. He invites Sigmund, his father Völsung and Sigmund's nine brothers to visit him in Gautland to see the newlyweds three months later. When the Völsung clan arrive, they are attacked by the Gauts; King Völsung is killed and his sons captured. Signý beseeches her husband
In the Middle High German Nibelungenlied, Alberich is a dwarf, who guards the treasure of the Nibelungen, but is overcome by Siegfried. News of the gold robbery and ring of power incited gods and giants alike to action. The giants Fafner and Fasolt demanded the ring in payment for building Valhalla, and carried off Freyja as a hostage. In the border, the gods, Odin, Frigg, Loki, Freyr, and Thor all search despairingly for the hidden treasure. * Oberon is the French translation of Alberich (used for the name of the "King of Fairies" in French and English texts).
In Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, Alberich is chief of the Nibelungen race of dwarfs and the main antagonist driving events. Wagner's Alberich is a composite character, mostly based on Alberich from the Nibelungenlied, but also on Andvari from Norse mythology. He has been widely described, most notably by Theodor Adorno, as a negative Jewish stereotype, with his race expressed through "distorted" music and "muttering" speech; other critics, however, disagree with this assessment.
Cephalus (Greek: Κέφαλος Kephalos) is an Ancient Greek name, used both for the hero-figure in Greek mythology and carried as a theophoric name by historical persons. The word kephalos is Greek for "head", perhaps used here because Cephalus was the founding "head" of a great family that includes Odysseus. It could be that Cephalus means the head of the sun who kills (evaporates) Procris (dew) with his unerring ray or 'javelin'. Cephalus was one of the lovers of the dawn goddess Eos.
Sumptuous sacrifices for Cephalus and for Procris are required in the inscribed sacred calendar of Thorikos in southern Attica, dating perhaps to the 430s BCE and published from the stone in 1983.
According to pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke Cephalus was an Athenian, son of Hermes and Herse.
Cephalus is also made out to be an Aeolian, the son of Deion/Deioneos, ruler of Phocis, and Diomede, and grandson of Aeolus. Athenians further localised the myth by asserting that Cephalus was married to Procris, a daughter of Erechtheus, an ancient founding-figure of Athens. The goddess of dawn, Eos, kidnapped Cephalus when he was hunting. The resistant Cephalus and Eos became lovers, and she bore him a son named
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also one dissatisfied with his life, who therefore makes a deal with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works.
The meaning of the word and name has been reinterpreted through the ages. Faust, and the adjective faustian, are often used to describe an arrangement in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success: the proverbial "deal with the Devil".
"Faust" also means "fist" in High German.
The Faust of early books—as well as the ballads, dramas, movies and puppet-plays which grew out of them—is irrevocably damned because he prefers human to divine knowledge; "he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of Theology, but preferred to be styled doctor of Medicine".
Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles to figures of vulgar fun. The story was popularised in England by
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy (in Greek, Ἑλένη, Helénē), also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda (or Nemesis), step-daughter of King Tyndareus, wife of Menelaus and sister of Castor, Polydeuces and Clytemnestra. Her abduction by Paris brought about the Trojan War.
The etymology of Helen's name has been a problem for scholars until the present. Georg Curtius related Helen (Ἑλένη) to the moon (Selene Σελήνη). Émile Boisacq considered Ἑλένη to derive from the noun ἑλένη meaning "torch". It has also been suggested that the λ of Ἑλένη arose from an original ν, and thus the etymology of the name is connected with the root of Venus. Linda Lee Clader, however, says that none of the above suggestions offers much satisfaction.
If the name has an Indo-European etymology, it is possibly a suffixed form of a root *wel- "to turn, roll", or of *sel- "to flow, run". The latter possibility would allow comparison to the Vedic Sanskrit Saraṇyū, a character who is abducted in Rigveda 10.17.2. This parallel is suggestive of a Proto-Indo-European abduction myth. Saraṇyū means "swift" and is derived from the adjective saraṇa ("running", "swift"), the feminine of which is
Ariadne ( /æriˈædniː/; Ἀριάδνη; Latin: Ariadna; "most holy", Cretan Greek αρι [ari] "most" and αδνος [adnos] "holy"), in Greek mythology, was the daughter of Minos king of Crete, and his queen Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She is mostly associated with mazes and labyrinths, due to her involvement in the myths of the Minotaur and Theseus. Her father put her in charge of the labyrinth where sacrifices were made as part of reparations (either to Poseidon or to Athena, depending on the version of the myth); however, she would later help Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and saving the would-be sacrificial victims. In other stories, she became the bride of the god Dionysus, with the question of her background as being either a mortal or a goddess varying in those accounts.
Since ancient Greek myths were passed down through oral tradition, many variations of this and other myths exist. According to an Athenian version of the legend, Minos attacked Athens after his son was killed there. The Athenians asked for terms, and were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens every seven or nine years to the Minotaur. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus,
Eurydice ( /jʊˈrɪdɨsiː/; Εὐρυδίκη, Eurudikē) in Greek mythology, was an oak nymph or one of the daughters of Apollo (the god of light). She was the wife of Orpheus, who tried to bring her back from the dead with his enchanting music.
Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus, who loved her dearly; on their wedding day, he played joyful songs as his bride danced through the meadow. One day, a satyr saw and pursued Eurydice, who stepped on a venomous snake, dying instantly. Distraught, Orpheus played and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept and told him to travel to the Underworld and retrieve her, which he gladly did. After his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, his singing so sweet that even the Erinyes wept, he was allowed to take her back to the world of the living. In another version, Orpheus played his lyre to put Cerberus, the guardian of Hades, to sleep, after which Eurydice was allowed to return with Orpheus to the world of the living. Either way, the condition was attached that he must walk in front of her and not look back until both had reached the upper world. However, soon he began to doubt that she was there and that Hades had deceived him. Just
Hans Heiling (Jan Svatoš in Czech) is a legendary person in German and Bohemian mythology.
The stories originate from German inhabitants of Loket (now in the Czech Republic). The son of a water fairy from the river Ohře, who taught him to master magic and command spirits. Once he had become rich and powerful, he ordered the spirits under his command to build a great city. The granite rocks above the Ohře, named Hans-Heiling-Felsen (Svatošské Skály in Czech), were believed to be the ruins of this city. When Hans Heiling discovered that he could not achieve human happiness even with his supernatural powers, he discarded them and died fighting a bear. Another variant of the story is that the rock formation is a petrified wedding party. A notable opera of the same name was inspired by the tale.
Pinocchio (IT: [piˈnɔkkjo]; UK: /pɪˈnəʊkiəʊ/; US: /pɪˈnoʊkioʊ/) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the 1883 children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi, an Italian writer, and has since appeared in many adaptations of that story and others. Carved by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he was created as a wooden puppet, but dreamed of becoming a real boy. He has also been used as a character who is prone to telling lies and fabricating stories for various reasons.
Pinocchio is known for having a short nose that becomes longer when he is under stress (chapter 3), especially while lying. His clothes are made of flowered paper, his shoes are made of wood and his hat is made of bread (page 16 of Collodi's Le Avventure di Pinocchio).
In Greek mythology, Athamas (Ancient Greek: Ἀθάμας) was a Boeotian king. He was a son of Aeolus and Enarete, and sired several children by his first wife, the goddess Nephele, and his other wives Ino and Themisto. Nephele first bore to him the twins Phrixus and Helle. He subsequently married Ino, daughter of Cadmus, with whom, he had two children: Learches and Melicertes.
Phrixus and Helle were hated by their stepmother, Ino. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the town's crop seeds so they would not grow. The local farmers, frightened of famine, asked a nearby oracle for assistance. Ino bribed the men sent to the oracle to lie and tell the others that the oracle required the sacrifice of Phrixus. Athamas reluctantly agreed. Before he was killed, though, Phrixus and Helle were rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Nephele, their natural mother. Helle fell off the ram into the Hellespont (which was named after her) and died, but Phrixus survived all the way to Colchis, where King Aeëtes took him in and treated him kindly, giving Phrixus his daughter Chalciope in marriage. In gratitude, Phrixus gave the king the golden fleece of the ram, which Aeëtes
Penthesilea (Greek: Πενθεσίλεια) or Penthesileia was an Amazonian queen in Greek mythology, the daughter of Ares and Otrera and the sister of Hippolyta, Antiope and Melanippe. Quintus Smyrnaeus explains more fully than pseudo-Apollodorus how Penthesilea came to be at Troy: Penthesilea had killed Hippolyta with a spear when they were hunting deer; this accident caused Penthesilea so much grief that she wished only to die, but, as a warrior and an Amazon, she had to do so honorably and in battle. She therefore was easily convinced to join in the Trojan War, fighting on the side of Troy's defenders.
Penthesilea arrives in Troy at the start of Posthomerica the night before the fighting is due to recommence for the first time after Hector's death and funeral. She came to Troy for two reasons: firstly, to prove to others that her people, the Amazons, are great warriors and can share the hardships of war and, secondly, to appease the Gods after she accidentally killed her sister, Hippolyta, while hunting. She arrived with twelve companions and promised the Trojans that she would kill Achilles. On her first, and only, day of fighting, Penthesilea kills many men and clashes with Telamonian
Captain Macheath is a fictional character who appears both in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, its sequel Polly and roughly 200 years later in Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera.
Macheath made his first appearance in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera as a chivalrous highwayman. He then appeared as a pirate in Gay's sequel.
He was probably inspired in part by Jack Sheppard who, like Macheath, escaped from prison and enjoyed the affections of a prostitute, and despised violence. His nemesis is Peachum who, in John Gay's original work, keeps an account book of unproductive thieves (something that Macheath himself does in Bertolt Brecht's work). Both characters can be understood as satires of Robert Walpole.
Don Juan (Spanish) or Don Giovanni (Italian) is a legendary, fictional libertine whose story has been told many times by many authors. El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra (The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest) by Tirso de Molina is a play set in the fourteenth century that was published in Spain around 1630. Evidence suggests it is the first written version of the Don Juan legend. Among the best known works about this character today are Molière's play Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre (1665), Byron's epic poem Don Juan (1821), José de Espronceda's poem El estudiante de Salamanca (1840) and José Zorrilla's play Don Juan Tenorio (1844). Along with Zorrilla's work (still performed every year on November 2nd throughout the Spanish-speaking world), arguably the best known version is Don Giovanni, an opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, first performed in Prague in 1787 (with Giacomo Casanova probably in the audience) and itself the source of inspiration for works by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Alexander Pushkin, Søren Kierkegaard, George Bernard Shaw and Albert Camus.
Don Juan is used synonymously for "womanizer", especially in Spanish
In Greek mythology, Ekho (Greek: Ἠχώ, Ēkhō, "echo", from ἦχος (ēchos), "sound") was an Oread (a mountain nymph) who loved her own voice. Zeus loved consorting with beautiful nymphs and visited them on Earth often. Eventually, Zeus's wife, Hera, became suspicious, and came from Mt. Olympus in an attempt to catch Zeus with the nymphs.
Sometimes the young and beautiful nymph Echo would distract and amuse Zeus' wife, Hera, with long and entertaining stories while Zeus took advantage of the moment to ravish the other mountain nymphs. When Hera discovered the trickery, she was so annoyed she punished the talkative Echo by taking away her voice, except in foolish repetition of another's shouted words. Thus, all Echo could do was repeat the voice of another.
Echo fell in love with a vain youth named Narcissus, who was the son of the Nymph Liriope of Thespiae. The river god Cephisus had once encircled Liriope with the windings of his streams, trapping her, and seduced the nymph. Concerned about her infant son's future, Liriope consulted the seer Teiresias. The nymph asked the seer if her son would live to see the old age of senescence, to which Teiresias replied "if he does not know
Michael Cassio, or simply Cassio, is a fictional character in William Shakespeare's Othello. The source of the character is the 1565 tale "Un Capitano Moro" by Cinthio; Cassio is unnamed in Cinthio but referred to as "the squadron leader". In the play, Cassio is a young and handsome lieutenant under Othello's command who becomes one of Iago's several victims in a plot to ruin Othello.
Othello has its source in the 1565 tale "Un Capitano Moor" from Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. While no English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, it is probable that Shakespeare knew both the Italian original and Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation. Cinthio's tale may have been based on an actual incident occurring in Venice about 1508. Cassio is based upon Cinthio's squadron leader.
Cassio is a Florentine gentleman soldier, a man of high manners and theoretical learning, and one of Othello's chief lieutenants. There is a supposed rivalry between Cassio and the play's villain, Iago. Iago claims to resent Cassio because Othello chose Cassio rather than Iago as his lieutenant, in spite of the fact that Cassio has no practical knowledge of
Alcestis (Ἄλκηστις) is a princess in Greek mythology, known for her love of her husband. Her story was popularised in Euripides's tragedy Alcestis. She was the daughter of Pelias, king of Iolcus, and either Anaxibia or Phylomache. In the story, many suitors appeared before King Pelias, her father, when she became of age to marry. It was declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and a boar (or a bear in some cases) to a chariot. The man who would do this, King Admetus, was helped by Apollo, who had been banished from Olympus for 9 years to serve as a shepherd to Admetus. With Apollo's help, Admetus completed the king's task, and was allowed to marry Alcestis. After the wedding, Admetus forgot to make the required sacrifice to Artemis, and found his bed full of snakes. Apollo again helped the newly wed king, this time by making the Fates drunk, extracting from them a promise that if anyone would want to die instead of Admetus, they would allow it. Since no one volunteered, not even his elderly parents, Alcestis stepped forth. Shortly after, Heracles rescued Alcestis from Hades, as a token of appreciation for the hospitality of Admetus. Admetus and Alcestis had a son,
Ismene (Ancient Greek: Ἰσμήνη, Ismênê) is the name of two women of Greek mythology. The more famous is a daughter and half-sister of Oedipus, daughter and granddaughter of Jocasta, and sister of Antigone, Eteocles, and Polynices. She appears in several plays of Sophocles: at the end of Oedipus the King, in Oedipus at Colonus and in Antigone. She also appears at the end of Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes.
When Oedipus stepped down as King of Thebes, he gave the kingdom to Eteocles and Polynices, who both agreed to alternate the throne every year. However, after the first year, Eteocles refused to step down and Polynices attacked Thebes with his supporters (the Seven Against Thebes). Both brothers died in the battle. King Creon, who ascended to the throne of Thebes, decreed that Polynices was not to be buried, but left to rot on pain of death.
However, Antigone defied the order and was caught. In the opening scene of the play when Antigone is about to perform the burial rituals on Polynices, Ismene serves as the compassionate but rational and prudent counterpart to Antigone's headstrong style of decision-making with no regard for consequence. While Antigone resolves to honor her
Lord Ruthven is a fictional character. First appearing in print in 1816, he was one of the first vampires in English literature.
There is a genuine title of Lord Ruthven of Freeland in the Peerage of Scotland which is a subsidiary title of the Earl of Carlisle in the United Kingdom. The fictional characters are not related to the historical title holders.
The first fictional Lord Ruthven appeared in the 1816 Gothic novel Glenarvon by Lady Caroline Lamb. This character was based on the genuine Lord Byron and was not a vampire. Lady Caroline was a former lover of Lord Byron's and the novel did not offer a flattering portrait.
Lord Ruthven appeared as the titular character in the 1819 short story The Vampyre. This had been written in 1816 by Dr. John William Polidori, another acquaintance of Byron's. It was published in the April 1819 edition of The New Monthly Magazine. The publishers falsely attributed the authorship to Byron. Both Byron and Polidori disputed this attribution.
In the story, a young Englishman Aubrey meets Lord Ruthven, a man of mysterious origins who has entered London society. Aubrey accompanies Ruthven to Rome, but leaves him after Ruthven seduces the daughter of
In Slavic mythology and Norse mythology, vodyanoy (Russian: водяно́й; IPA: [vədʲɪˈnoj], literally "watery"), vodyanoi, Belarusian vadzianik (Belarusian: вадзянік), Ukrainian vodianyk (Ukrainian: водяник), Polish wodnik, Czech and Slovak vodník, Bulgarian and Macedonian vodnik (Bulgarian: водник), Slovene povodni mož or Serbian vodenjak (Cyrillic: водењак) and Norwegian havmannen is a male water spirit. Vodník (or in Germanized form hastrman) in Czech fairy tales is the same creature as the Wassermann or nix of German fairy tales. In many such languages the word is also used to mean the Aquarius zodiac sign.
Vodyanoy is said to appear as a naked old man with a greenish beard and long hair, with his body covered in algae and muck, usually covered in black fish scales. He has webbed paws instead of hands, a fish's tail, eyes that burn like red-hot coals. He usually rides along his river on a half-sunk log, making loud splashes. Consequently, he is often dubbed "grandfather" or "forefather" by the local people. Local drownings are said to be the work of the vodyanoy (or rusalkas).
When angered, the vodyanoy breaks dams, washes down water mills, and drowns people and animals.
Orpheus ( /ˈɔrfiːəs/ or /ˈɔrfjuːs/; Ancient Greek: Ὀρφεύς) was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld, and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music. As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, opera, and painting.
For the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries. He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which survives. Shrines containing purported relics of Orpheus were regarded as oracles. Some ancient Greek sources note Orpheus's Thracian origins.
The earliest literary reference to Orpheus is a two-word fragment of the sixth-century BCE lyric poet Ibycus: onomaklyton Orphēn ("Orpheus famous-of-name"). He is not mentioned in Homer or Hesiod. Most ancient sources accept his historical
Benvolio Montague is a fictional character in William Shakespeare's drama Romeo and Juliet. Benvolio is Montague's nephew and Romeo's cousin. Benvolio serves as an unsuccessful peacemaker in the play, attempting to prevent violence between the Capulet and Montague families.
In 1554, Matteo Bandello published the second volume of his Novelle which included his version of Giuletta e Romeo. Bandello emphasises Romeo's initial depression and the feud between the families, and introduces the Nurse and Benvolio. Bandello's story was translated into French by Pierre Boaistuau in 1559 in the second volume of his Histoires Tragiques. Boaistuau adds much moralizing and sentiment, and the characters indulge in rhetorical outbursts.
The name Benvolio means "good-will" or "well-wisher" or "Peacemaker" which is a role he fills, to some degree, as a peace-maker and Romeo's friend. (For comparison, see the derivation of Malvolio - ill-will - in Twelfth Night.)
Benvolio is Lord Montague's nephew and Romeo's cousin, with a distant relation with Paris on the part of his father's divorced wife. He is a kind and thoughtful person who, most of the time, attempts to look out for his best friend. He and
Froh is the name of one of the gods in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. He is Fricka's brother, and the god of spring/happiness. He is considered to be equivalent to the Norse god Freyr or Frey.
Horatio is a character from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. A friend of Prince Hamlet from Wittenberg University, Horatio's origins are unknown, though he is evidently poor and was present on the battlefield when Hamlet's father defeated 'the ambitious Norway'. Horatio is evidently not directly involved in the intrigue at the Danish court; thus, he makes a good foil or sounding board for Hamlet. He is often not identified as any specific court position, but simply as "friend to Hamlet."
Horatio is Hamlet's most trusted friend, to whom Hamlet reveals all his plans. Horatio swears himself to secrecy about the ghost and Hamlet's pretense of madness, and conspires with Hamlet to prove Claudius's guilt in the mousetrap play. He is the first to know of Hamlet's return from England, and is with him when he learns of Ophelia's death.
At the end of the play, Horatio proposes to finish off the poisoned drink which was intended for Hamlet, saying that he is 'more an antique Roman than a Dane', but the dying prince implores Horatio not to drink from the cup and bids his friend to live and help put things right in Denmark; "If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, / Absent thee from
In Greek mythology, Phaedra (Greek Φαίδρα - Fedra) is the daughter of Minos and Pasiphaë, sister of Ariadne, wife of Theseus and the mother of Demophon of Athens and Acamas. Phaedra's name derives from the Greek word φαιδρός (phaidros), which meant "bright".
Though married to Theseus, Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus' son born by either Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, or Antiope, her sister. Euripides placed this story twice on the Athenian stage, of which one version survives. According to some sources, Hippolytus had spurned Aphrodite to remain a steadfast and virginal devotee of Artemis, and Aphrodite made Phaedra fall in love with him as a punishment. He rejected her.
In one version, Phaedra's nurse told Hippolytus of her love, and he swore he would not reveal her as a source of information. In revenge, Phaedra wrote Theseus a letter that claimed Hippolytus raped her. Theseus believed her and cursed Hippolytus with one of the three curses he had received from Poseidon. As a result, Hippolytus' horses were frightened by a sea monster and dragged their rider to his death.
Alternatively, after Phaedra told Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her, Theseus killed his son
Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden and most notably the Ramsund carving (c. 1000) and the Gök Runestone (11th century).
As Siegfried, he is one of the heroes in the German Nibelungenlied, and Richard Wagner's operas Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.
As Sivard Snarensven(d) he was the hero of several medieval Scandinavian ballads.
The name Sigurðr is not the same name as the German Siegfried. The Old Norse form would have been Sigruþr, a form which appears in the Ramsund carving that depicts the legend. Sivard is another variant name of Sigurðr; these name forms all share the first element Sig-, which means victory.
In the Völsunga saga, Sigurd was supposedly the posthumous son of Sigmund and his second wife, Hiordis. Sigmund dies in battle when he attacks Odin (who is in disguise), and Odin shatters Sigmund's sword. Dying, Sigmund tells Hiordis of her pregnancy and bequeaths the fragments of his sword to his unborn son.
Hiordis marries King Alf, and then Alf decides to send Sigurd to Regin as a
Gudrun is a major figure in the early Germanic literature centered on the hero Sigurd, son of Sigmund. She appears as Kriemhild in the Nibelungenlied and as Gutrune in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.
In Norse mythology, Gudrun (Guðrún Gjúkadóttir) was the sister of Gunnar. Gudrun fell in love with Sigurd, who did not care for her, because he was in love with the valkyrie Brynhild, to whom he gave the ring Andvarinaut. Gudrun's brother Gunnar, however, wished to marry Brynhild, but this was impossible because Brynhild, knowing that only Sigurd could do so, had sworn to marry only the man who could defeat her in a fair fight.
In another version, Brynhild is imprisoned inside a ring of fire as a punishment by Odin. Sigurd had already gone through the fire once and promised his marriage to Brynhild, but he is cursed by Andvarinaut and bewitched. He switches bodies with Gunnar, and in this guise rides through the fire and wins Brynhild, who, deceived, marries the real Gunnar.
Gudrun's mother Grimhild, who is called Ute in the Nibelungenlied, gave her a potion to make Sigurd forget his love for Brynhild. Gunnar allowed Sigurd to marry Gudrun under the condition, that Sigurd would win
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, is best remembered for her legendary extravagance and for her death: she was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror at the height of the French Revolution in 1793 for the crime of treason. Her life has been subject of many historically accurate biographies, as well as subject of romance novels and films.
As were many people and events involved with the French Revolution, Marie-Antoinette's life and role in the great social-political conflict were contingent upon many factors. Many have speculated as to how influential she actually was on the nature of the revolution, and the direction it eventually took. In light of the varying contingencies surrounding her life that made her a hated and despised figure in the eyes of the revolutionaries, it is interesting to note that during her tenure as Queen of France, these factors caused her to be viewed as a genuine model of the old regime, perhaps even more so than her husband, the king. Due to her frivolous spending and indulgent royal lifestyle, as well as her well-known desire to promote the Austrian empire, her caring, motherly nature was overshadowed, and revolutionaries only saw her as an
In Greek mythology, Thoas was a son of the god Dionysus and Ariadne, the daughter of Cretan king Minos. Some however consider him to be Theseus’s son, together with his brother Oenopion. Rhadamanthus, Ariadne's uncle, bequeathed Thoas the island of Lemnos, over which he reigned until his daughter Hypsipyle, unable to kill her own father to avenge the offenses against the Lemnian women, tied him secretly in an oarless boat and sent him adrift into the Aegean Sea. He was carried to the island of Oinoie, where he consorted with the nymph of the island, also called Oinoie, and had by her a son Sicinus, who later had the island renamed after himself. Thoas eventually arrived at Tauris, in the Crimea, where he was made king and where Artemis installed Agamemnon's daughter Iphigeneia as her temple's priestess.
In the play Iphigenia in Tauris, Iphigenia is ordered to execute her brother, Orestes, after he tries to steal a statue of Artemis. When the siblings discover each others' identity, they discuss ways to escape. Orestes wants to kill King Thoas, but Iphigenia suggests that they trick him. Iphigenia meets Thoas and claims that the statue has been tainted with the sin of matricide. She
Mímir (Old Norse "The rememberer, the wise one") or Mim is a figure in Norse mythology renowned for his knowledge and wisdom who is beheaded during the Æsir-Vanir War. Afterward, the god Odin carries around Mímir's head and it recites secret knowledge and counsel to him.
Mímir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson of Iceland, and in euhemerized form as one of the Æsir in Heimskringla, also written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. Mímir's name appears in the names of the well Mímisbrunnr, the tree Mímameiðr, and the wood Hoddmímis holt.
Mímir is mentioned in the Poetic Edda poems Völuspá and Sigrdrífumál. In Völuspá, Mímir is mentioned in two stanzas. Stanza 28 references Odin's sacrifice of his eye to Mímir's Well, and states that Mímir drinks mead every morning "from the Father of the Slain's [Odin] wager." Stanza 46 describes that, in reference to Ragnarök, the "sons" of Mím are at play while "fate burns" (though no further information about these "sons" has survived), that the god Heimdallr blows the Gjallarhorn, and that Mímir's decapitated head gives
Roderigo is a fictional character in Shakespeare's Othello (c.1601-1604). He is a dissolute Venetian lusting after Othello's wife Desdemona. Roderigo has opened his purse to Iago in the mistaken belief that Iago is using his money to pave the way to Desdemona's bed. When the assassination of Michael Cassio runs amiss, Iago fatally wounds Roderigo.
Shakespeare's source for Othello was the tale "Un Capitano Moro" by Cinthio, and, while Shakespeare closely followed his source in composing Othello, Roderigo has no counterpart in Cinthio. The character is completely Shakespeare's invention.
Othello has its source in the 1565 tale "Un Capitano Moro" from Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. While no English translation of Cinthio was available in print during Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible the dramatist knew the Italian original, Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation, or an English translation in manuscript. Cinthio's tale may have been based on an actual incident occurring in Venice about 1508.
Roderigo makes his first appearance in Act One, Scene One when, as Iago's confederate, he rouses Brabantio with the news that Desdemona has eloped with Othello. In
Antaeus (also Antaios) (Ἀνταῖος) in Greek and Berber mythology was a half-giant, the son of Poseidon and Gaia, whose wife was goddess Tinge. Antaeus had a daughter named Alceis or Barce.
Greeks of the sixth century BC, who had established colonies along the coast, located Antaeus in the interior desert of Libya.
He would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches, kill them, and collect their skulls, so that he might one day build out of them a temple to his father Poseidon. He was indefatigably strong as long as he remained in contact with the ground (his mother earth), but once lifted into the air he became as weak as other men.
Antaeus had defeated most of his opponents until it came to his fight with Heracles (who was on his way to the Garden of Hesperides for his 11th Labour). Upon finding that he could not beat Antaeus by throwing him to the ground as he would regain his strength and be fortified, Heracles discovered the secret of his power. Holding Antaeus aloft, Heracles crushed him in a bearhug. The story of Antaeus has been used as a symbol of the spiritual strength which accrues when one rests one's faith on the immediate fact of things. The struggle between Antaeus
Clytemnestra or Clytaemnestra (pronounced /ˌklaɪtəmˈniːstrə/; Greek: Κλυταιμνήστρα, [klytai̯mnɛ̌ːstra]), in ancient Greek legend, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae or Argos. In the Oresteia by Aeschylus, she was a femme fatale who murdered her husband, Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess Cassandra, whom he had taken as war prize following the sack of Troy; however, in Homer's Odyssey, her role in Agamemnon's death is unclear and her character is significantly more subdued.
The name form Κλυταιμνήστρα (Klytaimnēstra) is commonly glossed as "famed for her suitors". However, this form is a later misreading motivated by an erroneous etymological connection to the verb μνάoμαι 'woo, court'. The original name form is believed to have been Κλυταιμήστρα (Klytaimēstra), without the -mn-, and the modern form with -mn- does not occur before the middle Byzantine period. Aeschylus, in certain wordplays on her name, appears to assume an etymological link with the verb μήδoμαι, 'scheme, contrive'.
Clytemnestra was the daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, the king and queen of Sparta. According to the myth, Zeus appeared
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as the wizard featured in the Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt (Merlinus Caledonensis), a North Brythonic prophet and madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of the Romano-British war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus to form the composite figure he called Merlin Ambrosius (Welsh: Myrddin Emrys).
Geoffrey's rendering of the character was immediately popular, especially in Wales. Later writers expanded the account to produce a fuller image of the wizard. Merlin's traditional biography casts him as a cambion: born of a mortal woman, sired by an incubus, the non-human wellspring from whom he inherits his supernatural powers and abilities. The name of Merlin's mother is not usually stated but is given as Adhan in the oldest version of the Prose Brut. Merlin matures to an ascendant sagehood and engineers the birth of Arthur through magic and intrigue. Later authors have Merlin serve as the king's advisor
Priam (/ˈpraɪ.əm/, Greek Πρίαμος Priamos) was the king of Troy during the Trojan War and youngest son of Laomedon. Modern scholars derive his name from the Luwian compound Priya-muwa-, which means "exceptionally courageous".
Priam had a number of wives; his first was Arisbe, who had given birth to his son Aesacus, who met his death before the Trojan War. Priam later divorced her in favor of Hecuba (or Hecebe), daughter of the Phrygian king Dymas. By his various wives and concubines Priam was the father of fifty sons and many daughters. Hector was Priam's eldest son by Hecuba, and heir to the Trojan throne. Paris (also known as Alexander), another son, was the cause of the Trojan War. Other children of Priam and Hecuba include the prophetic Helenus and Cassandra; eldest daughter Ilione; Deiphobus; Troilus; Polites; Creusa, wife of Aeneas; Laodice, wife of Helicaon; Polyxena, who was slaughtered on the grave of Achilles; and Polydorus, his youngest son.
Priam was originally called Podarces and he kept himself from being killed by Heracles by giving him a golden veil embroidered by his sister, Hesione. After this, Podarces changed his name to Priam. This is an etymology based on
In Greek mythology, Procris (Ancient Greek: Πρόκρις, gen.: Πρόκριδος) was the daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens and his wife, Praxithea. She married Cephalus, the son of Deioneus. Procris had at least two sisters, Creusa and Orithyia. Sophocles wrote a tragedy called Procris which has been lost, as has a version contained in the Greek Cycle, but at least six different accounts of her story still exist.
The earliest version of Procris' story comes from Pherecydes. Cephalus remains away from home for eight years, because he wanted to test Procris. When he returns, he succeeds in seducing her while disguised. Although they are reconciled, Procris suspects that her husband has a lover, because he is often away hunting. A servant tells her that Cephalus called to Nephele (cloud) to come to him. Procris follows him the next time he goes hunting, and leaps out of the thicket where she is hiding when she hears him call out to Nephele again. He is startled and shoots her with an arrow, thinking that she is a wild animal, and kills her.
Ovid tells the end of the story a bit differently in the third of his books on The Art of Love. No goddesses are mentioned in this earlier published
Brisēís ( /braɪˈsiːɪs/; Greek: Βρισηΐς, pronounced [brisɛːís]; also known as Hippodameia Greek: Ἱπποδάμεια, [hippodámeːa]) was a mythical queen in Asia Minor at the time of the Trojan War. Her character lies at the center of a dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon that drives the plot of Homer's Iliad.
In Greek Mythology, Briseis, a daughter of Briseus, was a princess of Lyrnessus. Briseis was said to have had long hair, blue eyes, and fair skin and she was considered to be very beautiful and clever. Her husband was Mynes. When Achilles led the assault on that city during the Trojan War, she was captured and her family (including her father, her mother, and her three brothers) and her husband died at his hands. She was subsequently given to Achilles as a war prize to be his concubine. In the Trojan War, captive women like Briseis were little more than objects to be traded amongst the warriors.
Patroclus comforted Briseis in her fear of being alone among her enemies and her grief over the loss of her country, her family, and her freedom and did not let her weep by promising to have Achilles make her his wife and that he would give a wedding feast for them on their return to Phthia
In Greek mythology, Electra (Greek: Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) was the daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra, and thus princess of Argos. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father, Agamemnon.
Electra is the main character in two Greek tragedies, Electra by Sophocles and Electra by Euripides, and has inspired other works. In psychology, the Electra complex is also named after her.
Electra's parents were King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. Her sisters were Iphigeneia and Chrysothemis, and her brother was Orestes. In the Iliad, Homer is understood to be referring to Electra in mentioning "Laodice" as a daughter of Agamemnon.
Electra was absent from Mycenae when her father, King Agamemnon, returned from the Trojan War to be murdered, either by Clytemnestra's lover Aegisthus, by Clytemnestra herself, or by both. Clytemnestra had held a grudge against her husband Agamemnon for murdering their eldest daughter, Iphigenia, as sacrifice to Artemis, so he could send his ships to fight Troy for the Trojan war(disputed). When he cam back he brought with him his war prize, who had already bore his
Ruggiero (often translated Rogero in English) is a leading character in the Italian romantic epics Orlando innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. Ruggiero had originally appeared in the twelfth-century French epic, Aspremont, reworked by Andrea da Barberino as the chivalric romance Aspramonte. In Boiardo and Ariosto's works, he is supposed to be the ancestor of Boiardo and Ariosto's patrons, the Este family of Ferrara, and he plays a major role in the two poems.
He is the son of a Christian knight (Ruggiero II of Reggio Calabria, a descendant of Astyanax, son of Hector) and a Saracen lady (Galaciella, daughter of Agolant, king of Africa). When Ruggiero's father is betrayed and murdered, his mother escapes to the sea by boat, lands on the shores of Libya and dies after giving birth to twins. Ruggerio is raised since infancy by the wizard Atlante in Africa as a Saracen warrior (in Ariosto, Marfisa is Ruggiero's twin sister).
Ruggiero is the subject of two possible prophecies. His first possible fate is to convert to Christianity, marry Bradamante and sire a line of heroes that lead to the noble house of Este in Italy, but will be betrayed and
In Ovid's Metamorphoses (xiii.750-68) Acis was the spirit of the Acis River, which flowed past Akion (Acium) near Mount Etna in Sicily. According to Ovid's poem, Acis was the son of Faunus and the river-nymph Symaethis, daughter of the River Symaethus. Acis loved the sea-nymph Galatea, but a jealous suitor, the Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder. Galatea then turned his blood into the river Acis.
The tale occurs nowhere but in Ovid; it may be a fiction invented by Ovid suggested by the manner in which the little river springs forth from under a rock. A first-century fresco removed from an Imperial villa at Boscotrecase, preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius, and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows the figures as incidents in a landscape.
It was a familiar tale from the Renaissance onwards: there are paintings of the subject, sometimes as mythological incidents in a large landscape, by Adam Elsheimer Nicolas Poussin (National Gallery of Ireland), Claude Lorrain (Dresden), and musically in Lully's Acis et Galatée and Handel's Acis and Galatea. Acis also shows up in early modern literature, such as in Luis de Góngora's poem La Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea, which
In Norse mythology, Jörð (Icelandic "earth", pronounced [ˈjörð] or "yurd" and from Old Norse jǫrð, pronounced [ˈjɔrð], sometimes Anglicized as Jord or Jorth; also called Jarð, jɑrð as in Old East Norse), is a female jötunn. She is the mother of Thor and the personification of the Earth. Fjörgyn and Hlóðyn are considered to be other names for Jörð. Jörð is reckoned a goddess, like other jötnar who coupled with the gods. Jörð's name appears in skaldic poetry both as a poetic term for the land and in kennings for Thor.
Jörð is the common word for earth in Old Norse, as are the word's descendants in the modern Scandinavian languages; Icelandic jörð, Faroese jørð, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian jord. It is cognate to English "earth" through Old English eorðe.
In Gylfaginning, the first part of the Prose Edda, Jörð is described as one of Odin's concubines and the mother of Thor. She is "counted among the ásynjar (goddesses)" and is the daughter of Annar and Nótt and half-sister of Auðr and Dagr.
However, scholar Haukur Thorgeirsson points out that the four manuscripts of Gylfaginning vary in their descriptions of the family relations between Nótt, Jörð, Dagr, and Dellingr. In other words,
Narcissus or Narkissos (Greek: Νάρκισσος), possibly derived from ναρκη (narke) meaning "sleep, numbness," in Greek mythology was a hunter from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty. He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis saw this and attracted Narcissus to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself.
Several versions of this myth have survived from ancient sources. The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses (completed 8 AD). This is the story of Narcissus and Echo. An earlier version ascribed to the poet Parthenius of Nicaea, composed around 50 BC, was recently rediscovered among the Oxyrhynchus papyri at Oxford. Unlike Ovid's version, this one ends with Narcissus committing suicide. A version by Conon, a contemporary of Ovid, also ends in suicide (Narrations, 24). A century later the travel writer Pausanias recorded a novel variant of the story, in which Narcissus falls in love with
In Greek mythology, Phaëton or Phaethon ( /ˈfeɪ.ətən/ or /ˈfeɪ.əθən/; Ancient Greek: Φαέθων "shining") was the son of Helios and the Oceanid Clymene. Alternate, less common genealogies make him a son of Clymenus by Merope, of Helios and Rhode (thus a full brother of the Heliadae) or of Helios and Prote. Phaëton's best friend and lover was Cycnus, the king of Liguria.
Perhaps the most famous version of the myth is given us through Ovid in his Metamorphoses (Book II). Phaeton seeks assurance that his mother, Clymenē, is telling the truth that his father is the sun god Helios (as her husband is Merops, a mortal king). When Phaeton obtains his father's promise to drive the sun chariot as proof, he fails to control it and the Earth is in danger of burning up when Phaeton is killed by a thunderbolt from Zeus to prevent further disaster.
The name "Phaëton", which means "shining", is also an epithet of Eosphoros, the Morning Star Venus.
Phaethon is also the name of another minor Greek deity, the god of the wandering star Dios (the planet Jupiter).
In the version of the myth told by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, Phaeton ascends into heaven, the home of his suspected father. His mother Clymene
Pygmalion is a legendary figure of Cyprus. Though Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton, he is most familiar from Ovid's Metamorphoses, X, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. Pumayyaton means "the gift of Pumay" or "Pumay has given as a gift/blessing," referring to a Phoenician god whose name appears on a stone in Nora.
In Alimo's narrative, Pygmalion was a Cypriot goldsmith who was interested in sculpture; he carved a woman out of ivory. According to Ovid, after seeing the Propoetides prostituting themselves (more accurately, they denied the divinity of Venus and she thus "reduced" them to prostitution), he was "not interested in women", but his statue was so fair and realistic that he fell in love with it.
In time, Venus' festival day came, and Pygmalion made offerings at the altar of Venus. There, too scared to admit his desire, he quietly wished for a bride who would be "the living likeness of my ivory girl". When he returned home, he kissed his ivory statue and found that its lips felt warm. He kissed it again and touched her breasts with his hand and found that the ivory lost its hardness. Venus had
William Tell (in the four languages of Switzerland: German: Wilhelm Tell; French: Guillaume Tell; Italian: Guglielmo Tell; Romansh: Guglielm Tell) is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th-century Swiss chronicle.
It is set in the period of the original foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century. According to the legend, Tell — an expert marksman with the crossbow — assassinated Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of Habsburg Austria positioned in Altdorf, Uri.
Along with Arnold Winkelried, Tell is a central figure in Swiss patriotism as it was constructed during the Restoration of the Confederacy after the Napoleonic era.
There are several accounts of the Tell legend. The earliest sources give an account of the apple-shot, Tell's escape and the ensuing rebellion. The assassination of Gessler is not mentioned in the Tellenlied, but is already present in the White Book of Sarnen account.
The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) goes as follows: William Tell, who originally came from Bürglen, was known as a strong man and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht (or
Morgan le Fay /ˈmɔrɡən lə ˈfeɪ/, alternatively known as Morgan le Faye, Morgane, Morgaine, Morgana and other names, is a powerful sorceress in the Arthurian legend. Early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a fay or magician. She became much more prominent in the later cyclical prose works such as the Lancelot-Grail and the Post-Vulgate Cycle, in which she becomes an antagonist to King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. She is said to be the daughter of Arthur's mother, the Lady Igraine, and her first husband, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, so that Arthur (son of Igraine and Uther Pendragon) is her half-brother.
The early accounts of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Gerald of Wales refer to Morgan in conjunction with the Isle of Apples (later Avalon) to which the fatally wounded Arthur was carried. To the former, she was an enchantress, one of nine sisters; to the latter, she was the ruler and patroness of an area near Glastonbury and a close blood-relation of King Arthur. In the early romances of Chrétien de Troyes, also, she figures as a healer.
Though in later stories, she becomes an adversary of the Round Table when Guinevere discovers her adultery with one of
Polyphemus ( /ˌpɒlɨˈfiːməs/; Greek: Πολύφημος Polyphēmos) is the gigantic one-eyed son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes. His name means "much spoken of" or "famous". Polyphemus plays a pivotal role in Homer's Odyssey.
In Homer's Odyssey (Book 9), Odysseus lands on the Island of the Cyclopes during his journey home from the Trojan War. He leaves his 11 other ships behind at an island and takes one ship and crew to see who lives at the other islands. They reach and land on an island with a giant cave filled with sheep and goats, he then left his boat at the shore and brought along his twelve best men to find who lived in the cave. Eventually they find that the large cave is the home of the great Cyclops Polyphemus. When Polyphemus returns home with his flocks and finds Odysseus and his men, he blocks the cave entrance with a great stone, trapping the remaining Greeks inside. Polyphemus then eats two men after killing them by removing their brains as his meal the first night.
The next morning, Polyphemus kills and eats two more of Odysseus' men for his breakfast and exits the cave to graze his sheep. The desperate Odysseus devises a clever escape plan. He
For other uses, see Theseus (disambiguation)
Theseus /ˈθiːsiːəs/ (Ancient Greek: Θησεύς Greek: [tʰɛːsěu̯s]) was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order. As Heracles was the Dorian hero, Theseus was the Athenian founding hero, considered by them as their own great reformer: his name comes from the same root as θεσμός ("thesmos"), Greek for "institution". He was responsible for the synoikismos ("dwelling together")—the political unification of Attica under Athens, represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing highly localized ogres and monstrous beasts. Because he was the unifying king, Theseus built and occupied a palace on the fortress of the Acropolis that may have been similar to the palace that was excavated in Mycenae. Pausanias reports that after the synoikismos, Theseus established a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos ("Aphrodite of all the People") and Peitho on the southern slope of the
Cadmus or Kadmos (Ancient Greek: Κάδμος), in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores of Phoenicia by Zeus. Cadmus founded the Greek city of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honor.
Cadmus was credited by the ancient Greeks (Herodotus is an example) with introducing the original Alphabet or Phoenician alphabet -- phoinikeia grammata, "Phoenician letters" -- to the Greeks, who adapted it to form their Greek alphabet. Herodotus estimates that Cadmus lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 BC. Herodotus had seen and described the Cadmean writing in the temple of Apollo at Thebes engraved on certain tripods. He estimated those tripods to date back to the time of Laius the great-grandson of Cadmus. On one of the tripods there was this inscription in Cadmean writing, which as he attested, resembled Ionian letters: Ἀμφιτρύων μ᾽ ἀνέθηκ᾽ ἐνάρων ἀπὸ Τηλεβοάων ("Amphitryon dedicated me [don't forget]the spoils
Iphigenia ( /ɪfɨdʒɨˈnaɪ.ə/; Ancient Greek: Ἰφιγένεια, Iphigeneia) is a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra in Greek mythology. In Attic accounts, her name means "strong-born", "born to strength", or "she who causes the birth of strong offspring."
Artemis punished Agamemnon after he killed a deer in a sacred grove and boasted he was the better hunter. On their way to Troy to participate in the Trojan War, Agamemnon's ships were suddenly motionless, as Artemis stopped the wind in Aulis (ancient Greece). The soothsayer, Calchas, revealed an oracle that appeased Artemis, so that the Achaean fleet could sail. This much is in Homer, who does not discuss the aspect of this episode in which other writers explain that the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice Iphigenia to her. According to the earliest versions he did so, but other sources claim that Iphigenia was taken by Artemis to Tauris in Crimea to prepare others for sacrifice, and that the goddess left a deer or a goat (the god Pan transformed) in her place. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women called her Iphimede (Ἰφιμέδη) and told that Artemis transformed her into the goddess Hecate. Antoninus Liberalis said that Iphigenia was
Prince Charming is a stock character who appears in a number of fairy tales. He is the prince who comes to the rescue of the damsel in distress, and stereotypically, must engage in a quest to liberate her from an evil spell. This classification suits most heroes of a number of traditional folk tales, including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, even if in the original story they were given another name, or no name at all.
These characters are often handsome and romantic, a foil to the heroine, and are seldom deeply characterized, or even distinguishable from other such men who marry the heroine.
In many variants, they can be viewed more as rewards for the heroine rather than characters.
"Prince Charming" is also used as a term to refer to the idealized man some people dream of as a future spouse.
Mail Online referred to Chris O'Neill, a New York financier whom Princess Madeleine of Sweden fell in love with, as "Millionaire Prince Charming".
Charles Perrault's version of Sleeping Beauty, published in 1697, includes the following text at the point where the princess wakes up: "'Est-ce vous, mon prince?' lui dit-elle, 'vous vous êtes bien fait attendre'. Le Prince charmé de
In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas ( /ɪˈniːəs/; Greek: Αἰνείας, Aineías, derived from Greek Αἰνή meaning "to praise") was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. He is a character in Greek mythology and is mentioned in Homer's Iliad, and receives full treatment in Roman mythology as the legendary founder of what would become Ancient Rome, most extensively in Virgil's Aeneid.
In the Iliad, Aeneas is a minor character, where he is twice saved from death by the gods as if for an as yet unknown destiny. He is the leader of the Trojans' Dardanian allies, as well as a third cousin and principal lieutenant of Hector, son of the Trojan king Priam. Aeneas' mother Aphrodite frequently comes to his aid on the battlefield; he is a favorite of Apollo. Aphrodite and Apollo rescue Aeneas from combat with Diomedes of Argos, who nearly kills him, and carry him away to Pergamos for healing. Even Poseidon, who normally favors the Greeks, comes to Aeneas' rescue after he falls under the assault of Achilles, noting that Aeneas, though from a junior branch of the
The story of Armida, a Saracen sorceress and Rinaldo, a soldier in the First Crusade, was created by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso. In his epic Gerusalemme liberata, Rinaldo is a fierce and determined warrior who is also honorable and handsome. Armida has been sent to stop the Christians from completing their mission and is about to murder the sleeping soldier, but instead she falls in love. She creates an enchanted garden where she holds him a lovesick prisoner. Eventually two of his fellow Crusaders find him and hold a shield to his face, so he can see his image and remember who he is. Rinaldo barely can resist Armida’s pleadings, but his comrades insist that he return to his Christian duties.
Many painters and composers were inspired by Tasso's tale. The works that resulted often added or subtracted an element; Tasso himself continued to edit the story for years. In some versions, Armida is converted to Christianity, in others, she rages and destroys her own enchanted garden. She occupies a place in the literature of abandoned women such as the tragic Dido, who committed suicide, and the evil Circe, whom Odysseus abandoned to complete his voyage, but she is considered by many
In Greek mythology, Eteocles Ἐτεοκλῆς was a king of Thebes, the son of Oedipus and either Jocasta or Euryganeia. The name is from earlier *Etewoklewes Ἐτεϝοκλέϝες, meaning "truly glorious". Tawaglawas is thought to be the Hittite rendition of the name. Oedipus killed his father Laius and married his mother without knowing his relationship to either. When the relationship was revealed, he was expelled from Thebes. The rule passed to his sons Eteocles and Polynices. However, because of a curse from their father, the two brothers did not share the rule peacefully. Eteocles was succeeded by his uncle, Creon.
In the Thebaid, the brothers were cursed by their father for their disrespect towards him on two occasions. The first of these occurred when they served him using the silver table of Cadmus and a golden cup, which he had forbidden. The brothers then sent him the haunch of a sacrificed animal, rather than the shoulder, which he deserved. Enraged, Oedipus prayed to Zeus that the brothers would die by each other's hands. However, in Sophocles's Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus desired to stay in Thebes but was expelled by Creon. His sons argued over the throne, but Eteocles gained the
In Greek mythology Europa (Greek Ευρώπη Eurṓpē) was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, from whom the name of the continent Europe has ultimately been taken. The name Europa occurs in Hesiod's long list of daughters of primordial Oceanus and Tethys. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as Kerényi points out "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa".
The daughter of the earth-giant Tityas and mother of Euphemus by Poseidon was also named Europa.
Europa's earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century BCE. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhynchus. The earliest vase-painting securely identifiable as Europa, dates from mid-7th century BCE.
The etymology of her Greek name (εὐρυ—"wide" or "broad" + ὀπ—"eye(s)" or "face") suggests that Europa as a goddess represented the lunar cow, at least on some symbolic level. Metaphorically, at a later date her name could be construed as the intelligent or open-minded,
Macbeth is the protagonist in William Shakespeare's Macbeth (c. 1603–1607). The character is based on the historical king Macbeth of Scotland, and is derived largely from the account in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of Britain. Macbeth is a Scottish noble and a valiant military man. He is portrayed throughout the play as an anti-hero. After a supernatural prophecy, and at the urging of his wife, Lady Macbeth, he commits regicide and becomes King of Scotland. He thereafter lives in anxiety and fear, unable to rest or to trust his nobles. He leads a reign of terror until defeated by Macduff. The throne is then restored to the rightful heir, the murdered King Duncan's son, Malcolm.
Shakespeare's version of Macbeth is based upon Macbeth of Scotland, as found in the narratives of the Kings Duff and Duncan in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587).
Macbeth is Thane of Glamis, later Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. He is the central protagonist/antagonist of the play.
The tragedy begins amid a bloody civil war when Macbeth is first introduced by a wounded soldier, who gives a colourful and extensive exaltation of Macbeth’s prowess and valour in battle. When the battle is won,
Ophelia is a fictional character in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet. As one of the few female characters in the play, she is used as a contrasting plot device to Hamlet's mother, Gertrude.
In Ophelia's first speaking appearance in the play, she is seen with her brother, Laertes, who is leaving for France. Laertes warns her that Hamlet, the heir to the throne of Denmark, does not have the freedom to marry whomever he wants. Ophelia's father, Polonius, enters while Laertes is leaving, and also forbids Ophelia to pursue Hamlet, whom he fears is not earnest about her.
In Ophelia's next appearance, she tells Polonius that Hamlet rushed into her room with his clothing askew, and with a "hellish" expression on his face, and only stared at her and nodded three times, without speaking to her. Based on what Ophelia tells him, about Hamlet acting in such a "mad" way, Polonius concludes that he was wrong to forbid Ophelia to see Hamlet, and that Hamlet must be mad because of lovesickness for Ophelia. Polonius immediately decides to go to Claudius (the new King of
In Greek mythology, Polynices or Polyneices (Greek: Πολυνείκης, transl. Polyneíkes, "manifold strife") was the son of Oedipus and Jocasta. His wife was Argea. His father, Oedipus, was discovered to have killed his father and married his mother, and was expelled from Thebes, leaving his sons Eteocles and Polynices to rule. Because of a curse put on them by their father, Oedipus, the sons, Polynices and Eteocles, did not share the rule peacefully and died as a result by killing each other in a battle for the control of Thebes.
In the Thebaid, the brothers were cursed by their father for their disrespect towards him on two occasions. The first of these occurred when they served him using the silver table of Cadmus and a golden cup, which he had forbidden. The brothers then sent him the haunch of a sacrificed animal, rather than the shoulder, which he deserved. Enraged, Oedipus prayed to Zeus that the brothers would die by each other's hand. However, in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus desired to stay in Thebes but was expelled by Creon. His sons argued over the throne, but Eteocles gained the support of the Thebans and expelled Polynices, who went to Oedipus to ask for his
Tartaglia is a dainty character in the Commedia dell'arte. He is farsighted and with a minor stutter (hence his name; cf. Spanish tartamudear), he is usually classed as one of the group of old characters (vecchio) who appears in many scenarios as one of the lovers (innamorati). His social status varies; he is sometimes a bailiff, lawyer, notary or chemist. Dramatist Carlo Gozzi turned him into a statesman, and so he remained thereafter. Tartaglia wears a large felt hat, an enormous cloak, oversized boots, a long sword, a giant moustache and a cardboard nose. His characteristics formed the basis of Porky Pig. In the opera Le maschere by Mascagni, one of the characters is Tartaglia, a stuttering servant. He usually represents the lower working class but at times the middle or upper class in the commedia dell'arte
Tartaglia is depicted as the voluble Sgt. Gino Tartaglia, played by Charles Calvert, in the radio crime drama Broadway Is My Beat.
Silver-footed Thetis (Ancient Greek: Θέτις), disposer or "placer" (the one who places), is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient one of the seas with shape-shifting abilities who survives in the historical vestiges of most later Greek myths as Proteus (whose name suggests the "first", the "primordial" or the "firstborn").
When described as a Nereid in Classical myths, Thetis was the daughter of Nereus and Doris (Hesiod, Theogony), and a granddaughter of Tethys with whom she sometimes shares characteristics. Often she seems to lead the Nereids as they attend to her tasks. Sometimes she also is identified with Metis.
It is likely, however, that she was one of the earliest of deities worshiped in Archaic Greece, the oral traditions and records of which are lost. Only one written record, a fragment, exists attesting to her worship and an early Alcman hymn exists that identifies Thetis as the creator of the universe. Worship of Thetis as the goddess is documented to have persisted in some regions by historical writers such as Pausanias.
In the Trojan War cycle of myth, the wedding of
A west wind is a wind that blows from the west, in an eastward direction. In Western tradition, it has usually been considered the mildest and most favorable of the directional winds.
In Greek mythology, Zephyrus was the personification of the west wind and the bringer of light spring and early summer breezes; his Roman equivalent was Favonius. In the myth of Cupid and Psyche, Zephyrus was the attendant of Cupid, who brought Psyche to his master's palace.
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of the "swete breth" of Zephryus, and a soft, gentle breeze may be referred to as a zephyr, as in Shakespeare's Cymbeline (IV, ii): "They are as gentle / As zephyrs blowing below the violet, / Not wagging his sweet head."
Griselda (anglicised to Grizzel and similar forms) is a figure from certain folklores whose name is eponymous for patience and obedience. In the tale as written by Giovanni Boccaccio, Griselda marries Gualtieri, the Marquis of Saluzzo. He tests her by declaring that their first child—a daughter—must be put to death, likewise their second child—a son. Griselda obediently gives up both of them without protest, while Gualtieri secretly sends them away to Bologna to be raised rather than killed. In a final test, Gualtieri publicly renounces Griselda, claiming he has been granted papal dispensation to divorce her and marry a better woman; she goes to live with her father. Some years later, Gualtieri announces he is to remarry and recalls Griselda as a servant to prepare the wedding celebrations. He introduces her to a twelve-year old girl he claims is to be his bride but who is really their daughter; Griselda wishes them well. At this, Gualtieri reveals their grown children to her and Griselda is restored to her place as wife and mother.
Griselda occurs in tales by Petrarch and Chaucer (The Clerk's Tale in the Canterbury Tales). Patient Griselda is a tale by Charles Perrault. The play
Chrysothemis or Khrysothemis (Ancient Greek: Χρυσόθεμις, "Golden Justice"), is a name ascribed to several characters in Greek mythology.
Most prominently among these, Chrysothemis was a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Unlike her sister, Electra, Chrysothemis did not protest or enact vengeance against their mother for having an affair with Aegisthus and then killing their father.
She appears in Sophocles's Electra.
Other characters named Chrysothemis include:
In Greek mythology, Daphnis (Ancient Greek: Δάφνις, from δάφνη, daphne, "Bay Laurel") was a Sicilian shepherd who was said to be the inventor of pastoral poetry. According to tradition, he was the son of Hermes and a nymph, despite which Daphnis himself was mortal. His mother was said to have exposed him under a laurel tree, where he was found by shepherds and named after the tree under which he was found. He was also sometimes said to be Hermes favourite or beloved rather than his son.
A naiad (possibly Echenais or Nomia) was in love with him and promised to be faithful to him. However, he was seduced, with the aid of wine, by the daughter of a king, and, in revenge, this nymph either blinded him or turned him to stone. Pan also fell in love with him and taught him to play the pan pipes.
Daphnis was also the name of a member of the group of Prophetic sisters, known as the Thriae.
Longus's legend of Daphnis and Chloe describes two children who grow up together and gradually develop mutual love, eventually marrying after many adventures.
Hagbard and Signe (Signy) (the Viking Age) or Habor and Sign(h)ild (the Middle Ages and later) were a pair of lovers in Scandinavian mythology and folklore whose legend was widely popular. The heroes' connections with other legendary characters place the events in the 5th century AD. Hagbard and his brother Haki were famous sea-kings (see Haki for his battles over the throne of Sweden). Like the name Hagbard (Hagbarðr), the legend is believed to have continental Germanic origins.
During the centuries of popularity the story changed. This is the most comprehensive version from Gesta Danorum (book 7).
Hagbard was the son of Haamund while Signy was the daughter of Sigar. Once, when Hagbard and his brothers were pillaging, they started to fight with Signy's brothers. The battle was even and they finally decided to have peace. Hagbard followed Signy's brothers and managed to be alone with Signy in secret. She promised him her love, in spite of being more interested in Haki, the more famous brother.
When a German nobleman proposed to Signy, it became apparent that she was more interested in Hagbard. The German, then, started intriguing and created an animosity between the two groups of
Tristan /ˈtrɪstən/ (Latin/Brythonic: Drustanus; Welsh: Drystan, Trystan; also known as Tristran, Tristram /ˈtrɪstrəm/, etc.) is one of the main characters of the Tristan and Iseult story, a Cornish hero and one of the Knights of the Round Table featuring in the Matter of Britain. He is the son of Blancheflor and Rivalen (in later versions Isabelle and Meliodas), and the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, sent to fetch Iseult back from Ireland to wed the king. However, he and Iseult accidentally consume a love potion while en route and fall helplessly in love. The pair undergo numerous trials that test their secret affair.
Tristan makes his first medieval appearance in the early twelfth century in Celtic folklore circulating in the north of France, and Brittany in particular, which had close ancestral and cultural links with Cornwall by way of the ancient British kingdom of Dumnonia, as made clear in the story itself. Although the oldest stories concerning Tristan are lost, some of the derivatives still exist. Most early versions fall into one of two branches, the "courtly" branch represented in the retellings of the Anglo-Norman poet Thomas of Britain and his German successor
In Greek mythology, Agamemnon (English pronunciation: /æɡəˈmɛmɒn/; Ancient Greek: Ἀγαμέμνων; modern Greek: Αγαμέμνονας, "very steadfast") was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area. When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was abducted by Paris of Troy, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War.
On Agamemnon's return from Troy he was murdered (according to the fullest version of the oldest surviving account, Odyssey 11.409–11) by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife Clytemnestra. In old versions of the story: "The scene of the murder, when it is specified, is usually the house of Aegisthus, who has not taken up residence in Agamemnon's palace, and it involves an ambush and the deaths of Agamemnon's followers too". In some later versions Clytemnestra herself does the killing, or they do it together, in his own home.
Hittite sources mention Akagamunaš, ruler of Ahhiyawa (land of Achaeans) in the 14th century BC. This is a possible prototype of the
In Slavic folklore, Koschei (Russian: Коще́й, tr. Koshchey; IPA: [kɐˈɕːej], also Kashchei or Kashchey; Ukrainian: Кощій, Koshchiy; Polish: Kościej; Czech: Kostěj) is an archetypal male antagonist, described mainly as abducting the hero's wife. None of the existing tales actually describes his appearance, though in book illustrations, cartoons and cinema he has been most frequently represented as a very old and ugly-looking man. Koschei is also known as Koschei the Immortal or Koschei the Deathless (Russian: Коще́й Бессме́ртный, Ukrainian: Кощій Безсмертний, Czech: Kostěj nesmrtelný), as well as Tzar Koschei. As is usual in transliterations, there are numerous other spellings, such as Koshchei, Kashchej and Kaschei. The spelling in Russian and other Slavic languages (like Polish "Kościej" or Czech "Kostěj") suggests that his name may be derived from the word kost' (rus. кость, pol. kość) meaning 'bone', implying a skeletal appearance.
Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest (sometimes the chest is crystal and/or
In Greek mythology, Jocasta, also known as Jocaste (Ancient Greek: Ἰοκάστη), Epikastê, or Iokastê was a daughter of Menoeceus and Queen consort of Thebes, Greece. She was the wife of Laius, wife and mother of Oedipus by Laius, and both mother and grandmother of Antigone, Eteocles, Polynices and Ismene by Oedipus. She was also sister of Creon and mother-in-law of Haimon.
The tale goes that one day her husband, King Laius of Thebes, consulted an oracle while she was heavily pregnant with Oedipus. The oracle told Laius that the child was destined to kill his father and sleep with his mother. Hence, in an attempt to evade the prophecy, King Laius decided that the child must be brought up to the mountain separating the city of Thebes from Corinth. He bade a servant travel to the top of the mountain to expose the infant, but once there the servant was overcome by pity and unable to abandon the baby. Instead, he passed the infant on to a nearby shepherd, and eventually Oedipus was adopted by Polybus, the king of Corinth, and raised as a prince.
Oedipus thus grew up in Corinth under the assumption that he was the biological son of Polybus and his wife (whose name is Merope according to
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas. Arthur's name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.
The legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest largely through the popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful and imaginative 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). Some Welsh and Breton tales and poems relating the story of Arthur date from earlier than this work; in these works, Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh Otherworld, Annwn. How much of Geoffrey's Historia (completed in 1138) was adapted from
Reginn, often Anglicized as Regin, in Norse mythology, was the son of Hreiðmarr and foster father of Sigurd. His brothers are Fafnir and Ótr. When Loki mistakenly kills Ótr, Hreiðmarr demands to be repaid with the amount of gold it takes to fill Ótr's skin and cover the outside. Loki takes this gold from the dwarf Andvari, who curses it and especially the ring Andvaranaut. Fafnir kills his father for this gold, and Regin gets none of it and becomes smith to the king. He eventually becomes Sigurd's foster father, and teaches him many languages as well as sports, chess, and runes.
Regin had all wisdom and deftness of hand. Of his two brothers, he has the ability to work iron as well as silver and gold and he makes many beautiful and useful things. While Sigurd is living with Regin, Regin challenges Sigurd's respect in the kingdom. He tells Sigurd to ask for a horse. Sigurd asks the advice of an old man in the forest, and the old man shows him how to get a horse that is descended from Sleipnir, the eight legged horse of Odin. Regin continues to goad Sigurd, this time into killing Regin's brother. He offers to make a sword for Sigurd, but Sigurd broke every sword Regin forged for him
A nymph (Greek: νύμφη, nymphē) in Greek mythology is a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. There are 5 different types of nymphs, Celestial Nymphs, Sea Nymphs, Land Nymphs, Wood Nymphs and Underworld Nymphs. Different from goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis. They are believed to dwell in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes. Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various forms. Charybdis and Scylla were once nymphs.
Other nymphs, always in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally the huntress Artemis. Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. They are frequently associated with the superior
Laertes ( /leɪˈɜrtiːz/) is a character in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. His name is taken from the father of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. Laertes is the son of Polonius and the brother of Ophelia. In the final scene, he kills Hamlet with a poisoned sword to avenge the deaths of his father and sister, for which he blamed Hamlet. While dying of the same poison, he implicates King Claudius. The Laertes character is thought to be originally from Shakespeare, as there is no equivalent character in any of the known sources for the play.
In the first Act, Laertes is seen warning Ophelia against Hamlet's romantic pursuit of her, saying Hamlet will soon lose his desire for her, and that it is not Hamlet's own choice but the king's as to whom he will marry. Before Laertes returns to France (he had returned to attend the coronation of King Claudius), his father, Polonius, gives him advice to behave himself in France.
During Laertes's absence, Hamlet kills Polonius in Gertrude's parlor. Laertes, informed of his father's death, returns to Denmark, and leads a mob to storm and take the castle. Laertes confronts the King, thinking he was responsible for Polonius' death. The King explains to
Pyramus and Thisbē are two characters of Roman mythology, whose love story of ill-fated lovers is also a sentimental romance. The tale is told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.
In the Ovidian version, Pyramus and Thisbe is the story of two lovers in the city of Babylon who occupy connected houses/walls, forbidden by their parents to be wed, because of their parents' rivalry. Through a crack in one of the walls, they whisper their love for each other. They arrange to meet near at Ninus' tomb under a mulberry tree and state their feelings for each other. Thisbe arrives first, but upon seeing a lioness with a mouth bloody from a recent kill, she flees, leaving behind her veil. The lioness drinks from a nearby fountain, then by chance mutilates the veil Thisbe had left behind. When Pyramus arrives, he is horrified at the sight of Thisbe's veil, assuming that a fierce beast had killed her. Pyramus kills himself, falling on his sword in proper Roman fashion, and in turn splashing blood on the white mulberry leaves. Pyramus' blood stains the white mulberry fruits, turning them dark. Thisbe returns, eager to tell Pyramus what had happened to her, but she finds Pyramus' dead body under the
In Greek mythology, Danaë (Ancient Greek: Δανάη) was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and his wife Queen Eurydice. She was the mother of Perseus by Zeus. She was sometimes credited with founding the city of Ardea in Latium.
Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, Acrisius asked an oracle if this would change. The oracle told him that he would be killed by his daughter's son. She was childless and, meaning to keep her so, he shut her up in a bronze tower or cave. But Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, and impregnated her. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.
Unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods by killing his offspring, Acrisius cast Danaë and Perseus into the sea in a wooden chest. The sea was calmed by Poseidon and at the request of Zeus the pair survived. They washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by Dictys - the brother of King Polydectes - who raised Perseus to manhood. The King, charmed by the disinterested Danaë, agreed not to marry her only if her son could travel to the foreign land of the Grey Ladies and slay the hideous Gorgon Medusa. With the use of Athena's shield, he was able to evade her gaze and eventually kill
In Greek mythology, Pandora (ancient Greek, Πανδώρα, derived from πᾶς "all" and δῶρον "gift", thus "all-gifted" or "all-giving") was allegedly the first woman, who was made out of clay. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold her out of earth as part of the punishment of mankind for Prometheus' theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering her "seductive gifts". Her other name, inscribed against her figure on a white-ground kylix in the British Museum, is Anesidora, "she who sends up gifts," up implying "from below" within the earth. According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box" (see below), releasing all the evils of mankind — although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod — leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.
The myth of Pandora is ancient, appears in several distinct Greek versions, and has been interpreted in many ways. In all literary versions, however, the myth is a kind of
The fictional representation of the doomed king of France who was mostly known for having been wed to Marie Antoinette and having been executed by guillotine at the command the French Revolutionary government.
In Greek mythology, Minos (Ancient Greek: Μίνως, Minōs) was a king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every year (or every nine years in some sources) he made King Aegeus pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to Daedalus' creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by the Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in the underworld. The Minoan civilization of Crete has been named after him by the archaeologist Arthur Evans. By his wife, Pasiphaë (or some say Crete), he fathered Ariadne, Androgeus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Glaucus, Catreus, Acacallis and Xenodike. By a nymph, Pareia, he had four sons, Eurymedon, Nephalion, Chryses and Philolaus, who were killed by Heracles in revenge for the murder of the latter's two companions; and by Dexithea, one of the Telchines, he had a son Euxanthius. By Androgeneia of Phaestus he had Asterion, who commanded the Cretan contingent in the war between Dionysus and the Indians. Also given as his children are Euryale, possibly the mother of Orion with Poseidon, and Pholegander, eponym of the island Pholegandros.
Minos, along with his brothers, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon, was raised by king Asterion (or Asterius) of Crete. When
Amphitryon (Greek: Ἀμφιτρύων, gen.: Ἀμφιτρύωνος; usually interpreted as "harassing either side"), in Greek mythology, was a son of Alcaeus, king of Tiryns in Argolis.
Amphitryon was a Theban general, who was originally from Tiryns in the eastern part of the Peloponnese. He was friends with Panopeus.
Having accidentally killed his father-in-law Electryon, king of Mycenae, Amphitryon was driven out by Electryon's brother, Sthenelus. He fled with Alcmene, Electryon's daughter, to Thebes, where he was cleansed from the guilt of blood by Creon, his maternal uncle, king of Thebes.
Alcmene, who was pregnant and had been betrothed to Amphitryon by her father, refused to marry him until he had avenged the death of her brothers, all of whom except one had fallen in battle against the Taphians. It was on his return from this expedition that Electryon had been killed. Amphitryon accordingly took the field against the Taphians, accompanied by Creon, who had agreed to assist him on condition that he slew the Teumessian fox which had been sent by Dionysus to ravage the country.
The Taphians, however, remained invincible until Comaetho, the king's daughter, out of love for Amphitryon cut off her
Bellerophon( /bəˈlɛrəfən/; Greek: Βελλεροφῶν) or Bellerophontes (Βελλεροφόντης) is a hero of Greek mythology. He was "the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles", whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail: "her breath came out in terrible blasts of burning flame."
One possible etymology that has been suggested is: Βελλεροφόντης
Desdemona is a character in William Shakespeare's play Othello (c.1601 – 1604). Shakespeare's Desdemona is a Venetian beauty who enrages and disappoints her father, a Venetian senator, when she elopes with Othello, a man several years her senior. When her husband is deployed to Cyprus in the service of the Republic of Venice, Desdemona accompanies him. There, her husband is manipulated by his ensign Iago into believing she is an adulteress, and, in the last act, she is murdered by her estranged spouse.
The role has attracted notable actresses through the centuries and has the distinction of being the role performed by Margaret Hughes, the first actress to appear on an English public stage.
Desdemona becomes the title character in a 2011 play written by Toni Morrison, revolving around Desdemona's relationship with the African nurse who raised her. The play arose from a collaboration between Morrison, director Peter Sellars, and musician Rokia Traoré.
Othello has its source in the 1565 tale, "Un Capitano Moro" in Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. While no English translation of Cinthio was available in print during Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible that
In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Gertrude is Hamlet's mother and Queen of Denmark. Her relationship with Hamlet is somewhat turbulent, since he resents her for marrying her husband's brother Claudius after he murdered the King (young Hamlet's father, King Hamlet). Gertrude reveals no guilt in her marriage with Claudius after the recent murder of her husband, and Hamlet begins to show signs of jealousy towards Claudius. According to Hamlet, she scarcely mourned her husband's death before marrying Claudius.
Gertrude is first seen in Act 1 Scene 2 as she tries to cheer Hamlet over the loss of his father, begging him to stay at home rather than going back to school in Wittenberg. Her worry over him continues into the second act, as she sides with King Claudius in sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to raise the spirits of her son. Also, rather than ascribing Hamlet's sudden madness to Ophelia's rejection (as thought by Polonius), she believes the cause to be his father, King Hamlet's death and her quick, subsequent marriage to Claudius: "I doubt it is no other but the main; His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage." In Act three, she eagerly listens to the report of
Paris (Ancient Greek: Πάρις; also known as Alexander or Alexandros, c.f. Alaksandu of Wilusa), the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War. Later in the war, he fatally wounds Achilles in the heel with an arrow, as foretold by Achilles's mother, Thetis.
Paris was a child of Priam and Hecuba (see the list of King Priam's children). Just before his birth, his mother dreamed that she gave birth to a flaming torch. This dream was interpreted by the seer Aesacus as a foretelling of the downfall of Troy, and he declared that the child would be the ruin of his homeland. On the day of Paris's birth it was further announced by Aesacus that the child born of a royal Trojan that day would have to be killed to spare the kingdom, being the child that would bring about the prophecy. Though Paris was indeed born before nightfall, he was spared by Priam; Hecuba, too, was unable to kill the child, despite the urging of the priestess of Apollo, one Herophile. Instead, Paris's father prevailed upon his chief herdsman, Agelaus, to remove the child
Prince Hamlet is a fictional character, the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudius and son of the previous King of Denmark, Old Hamlet. Throughout the play he struggles with whether, and how, to avenge the murder of his father, and struggles with his own sanity along the way. By the end of the tragedy, Hamlet has caused the deaths of Polonius, Laertes, Claudius and his two childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He is also indirectly involved in the deaths of his love Ophelia (drowning) and of his mother Gertrude (poisoned by mistake). Hamlet himself is the final character to die in the play.
Perhaps the most straightforward view sees Hamlet as seeking truth in order to be certain that he is justified in carrying out the revenge called for by a ghost that claims to be the spirit of his father. The 1948 movie with Laurence Olivier in the title role is introduced by a voiceover: "This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind."
T. S. Eliot offers a similar view of Hamlet's character in his critical essay, "Hamlet and His Problems" (The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism). He states, "We
In Greek mythology, Aegisthus (Ancient Greek: Αἴγισθος ; also transliterated as Aegisthos) was the son of Thyestes and of Thyestes' daughter, Pelopia.
Thyestes felt he had been deprived of the Mycenean throne unfairly by his brother, Atreus. The two battled back and forth several times. In addition, Thyestes had an affair with Atreus' wife, Aerope. In revenge, Atreus killed Thyestes' sons and served them to him unknowingly. After eating his own sons' corpses, Thyestes asked an oracle how best to gain revenge. The advice was to father a son with his own daughter, Pelopia, and that son would kill Atreus.
When Aegisthus was born, his mother was ashamed of her incestuous act. She abandoned him and he was raised by shepherds and suckled by a goat, hence his name Aegisthus (from αἴξ, buck). Atreus, not knowing the baby's origin, took Aegisthus in and raised him as his own son.
In the night in which Pelopia had shared the bed of her father, she had taken from him his sword which she afterwards gave to Aegisthus. This sword became the means by which the incestuous intercourse between her and her father was discovered, whereupon she put an end to her own life. Atreus in his enmity towards
In Ovid's moralizing fable (Metamorphoses VIII), which stands on the periphery of Greek mythology and Roman mythology, Baucis and Philemon were an old married couple in the region of Tyana, which Ovid places in Phrygia, and the only ones in their town to welcome disguised gods Zeus and Hermes (in Roman mythology, Jupiter and Mercury respectively), thus embodying the pious exercise of hospitality, the ritualized guest-friendship termed xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved.
Zeus and Hermes came disguised as ordinary peasants, and began asking the people of the town for a place to sleep that night. They were rejected by all before they came to Baucis and Philemon's simple rustic cottage. Though the couple were poor, their generosity far surpassed that of their rich neighbours, at whose homes the gods found "all the doors bolted and no word of kindness given, so wicked were the people of that land."
After serving the two guests food and wine (which Ovid depicts with pleasure in the details), Baucis noticed that, although she had refilled her guest's beechwood cups many times, the pitcher was still full. Realising that her guests were gods, she and her husband "raised their hands
Brynhildr (sometimes spelled Brunhild, Brünnhilde, Brynhild) is a shieldmaiden and a valkyrie in Norse mythology, where she appears as a main character in the Völsunga saga and some Eddic poems treating the same events. Under the name Brünnhilde she appears in the Nibelungenlied and therefore also in Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. She may be inspired by the Visigothic princess Brunhilda of Austrasia. The history of Brynhildr includes fratricide, a long battle between brothers, and dealings with the Huns.
According to the Völsunga saga, Brynhildr is a shieldmaiden (and seemingly though not explicitly a valkyrie) who is the daughter of Budli. She was ordered to decide a fight between two kings, Hjalmgunnar and Agnar, and knew that Odin preferred the older king, Hjalmgunnar, yet she decided the battle for Agnar. For this Odin condemned her to live the life of a mortal woman, and imprisoned her in a remote castle behind a wall of shields on top of mount Hindarfjall, where she must sleep within a ring of fire until any man rescues and marries her. The hero Sigurðr Sigmundson (Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied), heir to the clan of Völsung and slayer of the dragon
Delilah (דלילה – Dlila, Standard Hebrew meaning "[She who] weakened or uprooted or impoverished" from the root dal meaning "weak or poor") appears only in the Hebrew bible Book of Judges 16, where she is the "woman in the valley of Sorek" whom Samson loved, and who was his downfall. Her figure, one of several dangerous temptresses in the Hebrew bible, has become emblematic: "Samson loved Delilah, she betrayed him, and, what is worse, she did it for money". Madlyn Kahr begins her study of the Delilah motif in European painting. The story of Samson in Judges 13-16 shows us that he was a strong man who could do great things with his body but then failed at the end. He was born in an Israelite family and he was the son of Manoah but he was a Nazarene.
Delilah was approached by the lords of the Philistines, to discover the secret of Samson's strength, "and we will give thee, every one of us, eleven hundred pieces of silver." Three times she asked Samson for the secret of his strength, and all three times he gave her a false answer. The first time, he told her, "If they bind me with seven green withes that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man." Then he told her,
"Dulcinea del Toboso" (real name Aldonza Lorenzo) is a fictional character who is referred to (but does not appear) in Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote. Seeking the traditions of the knights-errant of old, Don Quixote finds a true love whom he calls Dulcinea. She is a simple peasant in his home town, but Quixote imagines her to be the most beautiful of all women. At times, Quixote goes into detail about her appearance, though he freely admits that he has seen her only fleetingly and has never spoken with her.
Don Quixote describes her appearance in the following terms: "... her name is Dulcinea, her country El Toboso, a village of La Mancha, her rank must be at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and lady, and her beauty superhuman, since all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her; for her hairs are gold, her forehead Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her fairness snow, and what modesty conceals from sight such, I think and imagine, as rational reflection can only extol,
In Norse mythology, Fáfnir (Old Norse and Icelandic) or Frænir was a son of the dwarf king Hreidmar and brother of Regin and Ótr.
In the Icelandic Volsunga Saga (late 13th century), Fáfnir was a dwarf gifted with a powerful arm and fearless soul. He guarded his father's house of glittering gold and flashing gems. He was the strongest and most aggressive of the three brothers.
Regin recounts to Sigurd how Odin, Loki and Hœnir were traveling when they came across Ótr, who had the likeness of an otter during the day. Loki killed the otter with a stone and the three Æsir skinned their catch. The gods came to Hreidmar’s dwelling that evening and were pleased to show off the otter's skin. Hreidmar and his remaining two sons then seized the gods and held them captive while Loki was made to gather the ransom, which was to stuff the otter’s skin with gold and cover its outside with red gold. Loki fulfilled the task by gathering the cursed gold of Andvari's as well as the ring, Andvaranaut, both of which were told to Loki as items that would bring about the death of whoever possessed them. Fáfnir then killed Hreidmar to get all the gold for himself. He became very ill-natured and greedy, so
Hagen (German form) or Högni (Old Norse Hǫgni, often anglicized as Hogni) is a Burgundian warrior in tales about the Burgundian kingdom at Worms. Hagen is often identified as a brother or half-brother of King Gunther (Old Norse Gunnarr).
In the Nibelungenlied, he is called Hagen of Tronje (perhaps Drongen in Ghent). In German tradition, Hagen is especially grim, implacable, and violent and in two accounts one-eyed. According to the Thidreks saga, Hagen was not fully human, being fathered by an elf on the king's wife. In these accounts, it is Hagen who kills the hero Siegfried during a hunt, wounding him on the only part of his body which was not invulnerable. This version of the character appears in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (in this version, Hagen drowns trying to steal the Rhinegold). In Norse tradition, Hagen's counterpart Högni is less extreme and the actual slayer of Sigurd (the Norse counterpart to Siegfried) is Gutthorm, a younger brother of Gunnar and Högni. But Gutthorm does so when egged on by his elder brothers.
In German accounts, Gunther and Hagen are the last survivors of the fall of the Nibelungs. Hagen refuses to reveal the hiding place of the Nibelung
In Greek mythology and later art, the name Hesione refers to various mythological figures, of which the Trojan princess Hesione is known most.
According to the Bibliotheca, the most prominent Hesione was a Trojan princess, daughter of King Laomedon of Troy, sister of Priam and second wife of King Telamon of Salamis. Apollo and Poseidon were angry at king Laomedon because he refused to pay the wage he promised them for building Troy's walls. Apollo sent a plague and Poseidon a sea monster to destroy Troy. Oracles promised deliverance if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster (in other versions, the lot happened to fall on her) and he exposed her by fastening her naked to the rocks near the sea.
Heracles (along with Telamon and Oicles) happened to arrive on their return from the expedition against the Amazons. Seeing her exposed, Heracles promised to save her on condition that Laomedon would give him the wonderful horses he had received from Zeus as compensation for Zeus' kidnapping of Ganymedes. Laomedon agreed and Heracles slew the monster, in some accounts after being swallowed by it and hacking at its innards for three days before it died and
In Greek mythology Ino (/ˈaɪnoʊ/ Greek: Ἰνώ [iː'nɔː]) was a mortal queen of Thebes, who after her death and transfiguration was worshiped as a goddess under her epithet Leucothea, the "white goddess." Alcman called her "Queen of the Sea" (θαλασσομέδουσα), which, if not hyperbole, would make her a doublet of Amphitrite.
In her mortal self, Ino, the second wife of the Minyan king Athamas, the mother of Learches and Melicertes, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia and stepmother of Phrixus and Helle, was one of the three sisters of Semele, the mortal woman of the house of Cadmus who gave birth to Dionysus. The three sisters were Agave, Autonoë and Ino, who was a surrogate for the divine nurses of Dionysus: "Ino was a primordial Dionysian woman, nurse to the god and a divine maenad" (Kerenyi 1976:246).
Maenads were reputed to tear their own children limb from limb in their madness. In the back-story to the heroic tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Phrixus and Helle, twin children of Athamas and Nephele, were hated by their stepmother, Ino. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the crop seeds of Boeotia so they would not grow. The local farmers, frightened of
In Greek mythology, Laomedon (Λαομέδων) was a Trojan king, son of Ilus, brother of Ganymede and Assaracus, and father of Priam, Astyoche, Lampus, Hicetaon, Clytius, Cilla, Proclia, Aethilla, Medesicaste, Clytodora, and Hesione. Tithonus is also described by most sources as Laomedon's eldest legitimate son; and most sources omit Ganymedes from the list of Laomedon's children, but indicate him as his uncle instead. Laomedon's possible wives are Placia, Strymo (or Rhoeo) and Leucippe; by the former he begot Tithonus and by the latter King Priam (see John Tzetzes' Scholia in Lycophronem 18 («ὁ μὲν γὰρ Πρίαμος ἦν Λευκίππης, ὁ δὲ Τιθωνὸς Ῥοιοῦς ἢ Στρυμοῦς τῆς Σκαμάνδρου θυγατρὸς υἱός»: "Priamus was the son of Leucippe, whereas Tithonus was the son of Rhoeo or Strymo, the daughter of Scamander")). He also had a son named Bucolion by the nymph Calybe, as recounted by Homer in the Iliad (6.22). Dictys Cretensis (4.22) added Thymoetes to the list of Laomedon's children.
Laomedon owned several horses with divine parentage that Zeus has given him as compensation for the kidnapping of Ganymedes. Anchises secretly bred his own mares from these horses.
According to one story, Laomedon's son,
Mephistopheles (also Mephistophilus, Mephistophilis, Mephostopheles, Mephisto, Mephastophilis and variants) is a demon featured in German folklore. He originally appeared in literature as the demon in the Faust legend, and he has since appeared in other works as a stock character version of the Devil.
The name is associated with the Faust legend of a scholar — based on the historical Johann Georg Faust — who wagers his soul against the Devil.
The name appears in the late 16th century Faust chapbooks. In the 1725 version which was read by Goethe, Mephostophiles is a devil in the form of a greyfriar summoned by Faust in a wood outside Wittenberg. The name Mephistophiles already appears in the 1527 Praxis Magia Faustiana, printed in Passau, alongside pseudo-Hebrew text. It is best explained as a purposely obscure pseudo-Greek or pseudo-Hebrew formation of Renaissance magic.
From the chapbook, the name enters Faustian literature and is also used by authors from Marlowe down to Goethe. In the 1616 edition of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Mephostophiles became Mephistophilis.
The word derives from the Hebrew mephitz, meaning "destroyer", and tophel, meaning "liar"; "tophel" is
In Greek mythology, Orestes (/ɒˈrɛstiːz/; Greek: Ὀρέστης [oˈrestɛːs]) was the son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. He is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays and of various myths connected with his madness and purification, which retain obscure threads of much older ones.
Orestes has a root in ὄρος (óros), "mountain". The metaphoric meaning of the name is the person "who can conquer mountains".
In the Homeric story, Orestes was a member of the doomed house of Atreus which is descended from Tantalus and Niobe. Orestes was absent from Mycenae when his father, Agamemnon, returned from the Trojan War with the Trojan princess Cassandra as his concubine, and thus not present for Agamemnon's murder by his wife, Clytemnestra, in retribution for his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia to obtain favorable winds during the Greek voyage to Troy. Seven years later, Orestes returned from Athens and with his sister Electra avenged his father's death by slaying his mother and her lover Aegisthus.
In the Odyssey, Orestes is held up as a favorable example to Telemachus, whose mother Penelope is plagued by suitors.
According to Pindar, the young Orestes was saved by his nurse Arsinoe (Laodamia)
Percival or Perceval /ˈpɜrsɨvəl/ is one of King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table. In Welsh literature his story is allotted to the historical Peredur. He is most famous for his involvement in the quest for the grail.
Chrétien de Troyes wrote the first story of Perceval, le Conte du Graal; Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, and the now lost Perceval of Robert de Boron are other famous accounts of his adventures.
There are many versions of Perceval's birth. In Robert de Boron account Saint Graal he is of noble birth; his father is stated to be Alain le Gros either King Pellinore or another worthy knight. His mother is usually unnamed but plays a significant role in the stories. His sister is the bearer of the Holy Grail, she is sometimes named Dindrane. In tales where he is Pellinore's son his brothers are Sir Aglovale, Sir Lamorak and Sir Dornar, and by his father's affair with a peasant woman he also has a half-brother named Sir Tor.
After the death of his father, Perceval's mother takes him to the Welsh forests where she raises him ignorant to the ways of men until the age of 15. Eventually, however, a group of knights passes
In Slavic mythology, a rusalka (plural: rusalki or rusalky) is a female ghost, water nymph, succubus, or mermaid-like demon that dwelt in a waterway.
According to most traditions, the rusalki were fish-women, who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, mesmerize them, then lead them away to the river floor to their death.
In most versions, the rusalka is an unquiet dead being, associated with the "unclean force". According to Zelenin, people who die violently and before their time, such as young women who commit suicide because they have been jilted by their lovers, or unmarried women who are pregnant, must live out their designated time on earth as a spirit.
The ghostly version is the soul of a young woman who had died in or near a river or a lake and came back to haunt that waterway. This undead rusalka is not invariably malevolent, and will be allowed to die in peace if her death is avenged.
Rusalki can also come from unbaptized children, often those who were born out of wedlock and drowned by their mothers for that reason. Baby
Scylla is a princess of Megara in Greek mythology. She is mentioned by Ovid.
As the story goes, Scylla was the daughter of Nisus (Nisos) the King of Megara, who possessed a single lock of purple hair which granted him invincibility. When Minos, the King of Crete, invaded Nisus's kingdom, Scylla saw him from the city's battlements and fell in love with him. In order to win Minos's heart, she decided that she would grant him victory in battle by removing the lock from her father's head and presented it to Minos. Disgusted with her lack of filial devotion, he left Megara immediately. Scylla did not give up easily and starting swimming after Minos's boat. She nearly reached him but a sea eagle, into which her father had been metamorphosed after death, drowned her. Scylla was transformed into a seabird (ciris), relentlessly pursued by her father, who was transformed into a sea eagle (haliaeetus).
Scylla's story is a close parallel to that of Comaetho, daughter of Pterelaus. Similar stories were told of Pisidice (princess of Methymna) and of Leucophrye.
Scylla appears in Alexander Pope's mock-heroic "Rape of the Lock" as part of an extended representation of gallant chatter round a card
Semele ( /ˈsɛməliː/; Greek: Σεμέλη, Semelē), in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. In another version of his mythic origin, he is the son of Persephone. The name "Semele", like other elements of Dionysiac cult (e.g., thyrsus and dithyramb), is not Greek but Thraco-Phrygian;, derived from a PIE root meaning "earth". Her son was a god who died in order to be reborn.
It seems that certain elements of the cult of Dionysos and Semele were adopted by the Thracians from the local populations when they moved to Asia Minor, where they were named Phrygians. These were transmitted later to the Greek colonists. Herodotus, who gives the account of Cadmus, estimates that Semele lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 B.C. In Rome, the goddess Stimula was identified as Semele.
In one version of the myth, Semele was a priestess of Zeus, and on one occasion was observed by Zeus as she slaughtered a bull at his altar and afterwards swam in the river Asopus to cleanse herself of the blood. Flying over the scene in the guise of an eagle, Zeus fell in love with Semele and
Woglinde (whose name means "gentle evenness or balance") is one of the three Rhinemaidens who appear in Richard Wagner's Ring cycle.
When the curtain rises at the beginning of Das Rheingold, she is guarding the magic Rhinegold lying at the bottom of the river Rhine. As it turns out, the Rhinemaidens are unsuccessful in preventing Alberich stealing the gold and forging the eponymous Ring.
She and her two sisters Wellgunde and Flosshilde also sing to Siegfried in Gￃﾶtterdￃﾤmmerung, but are equally unsuccessful in inducing him to return the Ring.