Glossary for Configurations (Greek version)

Agapemo: (Greek)  (a-GAH-pay-mo) my love

Aphrodite:   In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture. According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros ("sea foam") arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her to either Cyprus or Cythera. Hence she is often referred to as Kypris and Cytherea. Homer calls her a daughter of Zeus and Dione.

After her birth, Zeus was afraid that the gods would fight over Aphrodite's hand in marriage so he married her off to the smith god Hephaestus, the steadiest of the gods. He could hardly believe his good luck and used all his skills to make the most lavish jewels for her. He made her a girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magic into the filigree work. That was not very wise of him, for when she wore her magic girdle no one could resist her, and she was all to irresistible already. She loved gaiety and glamour and was not at all pleased at being the wife of sooty, hard-working Hephaestus.

Aphrodite loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis. Some of her sons are Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios and Aeneas (with her Trojan lover Anchises). She is accompanied by the Graces.

Her festival is the Aphrodisiac which was celebrated in various centers of Greece and especially in Athens and Corinth. Her priestesses were not prostitutes but women who represented the goddess and sexual intercourse with them was considered just one of the methods of worship. Aphrodite was originally an old-Asian goddess, similar to the Mesopotamian Ishtar and the Syro-Palestinian goddess Ashtart. Her attributes are the dolphin, the dove, the swan, the pomegranate and the lime tree.

In Roman mythology Venus is the goddess of love and beauty and Cupid is love's messenger.

Boreas:  The Greek god of the North Wind who lived in Thrace. He is depicted as being winged, extremely strong, bearded and normally clad in a short pleated tunic. He is the son of Eos and Astraeus, and the brother of Zephyrus, Eurus and Notus.

Boreas has two sons, two daughters and twelve mares which can race over the ground without destroying the grain. When the Persian navy of Xerxes threatened the city of Athens, the Athenians begged his assistance. The Great Wind of the Wintery North blew his anger at the Persians and 400 Persian ships sank immediately. Among other violent acts he abducted Oreithyia, the daughter of the king of Athens, when she was playing on the banks of the Ilissus. In Latin, he is called Aquilo.

chiton:  (KY-ton) a draped and pinned garment worn by Greek citizens after around 800? BCE; usually made of linen, sometimes wool, of many dyed colors and having decorations and embroidery on it as desired.

Demeter:  The Greek earth goddess par excellence, who brings forth the fruits of the earth, particularly the various grains. She taught mankind the art of sowing and ploughing so they could end their nomadic existence. As such, Demeter was also the goddess of planned society. She was very popular with the rural population. As a fertility goddess she is sometimes identified with Rhea and Gaia.

In systematized theology, Demeter is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus by whom she became the mother of Persephone. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld, Demeter wondered the earth in search of her lost child. During this time the earth brought forth no grain. Finally Zeus sent Hermes to the underworld, ordering Hades to restore Persephone to her mother. However, before she left, Hades gave her a pomegranate (a common fertility symbol). When she ate from it, she was bound to spend a third of the year with her husband in the infernal regions. Only when her daughter is with her, Demeter lets things grow (summer). The dying and blossoming of nature was thus connected with Demeter.

In the Eleusinian Mysteries, Demeter and Persephone were especially venerated. When she was looking for her daughter, in the shape of an old woman called Doso, she was welcomed by Celeus, the king of Eleusis (in Attica). He requested her to nurse his sons Demophon and Triptolemus 1. To reward his hospitality she intended to make the boy Demophon immortal by placing him each night in the hearth, to burn his mortal nature away. The spell was broken one night because Metanira, the wife of Celeus, walked in on her while she was performing this ritual. Demeter taught the other son, Triptolemus, the principles of agriculture, who, in turn, taught others this art.  In Demeter's honor as a goddess of marriage, women in Athens, and other centers in Greece, celebrated the feast of Thesmophoria (from her epithet Thesmophoros, "she of the regular customs"). Throughout Classical times members of all social strata came from all parts of the Mediterranean world to be initiated in and celebrate her Mysteries at Eleusis.

In ancient art, Demeter was often portrayed (sitting) as a solemn woman, often wearing a wreath of braided ears of corn. Well-known is the statue made by Knidos (mid forth century BC). Her usual symbolic attributes are the fruits of the earth and the torch, the latter presumably referring to her search
for Persephone. Her sacred animals were the snake (an earth-creature) and the pig (another symbol of fertility). Some of her epithets include Auxesia, Deo, Chloe, and Sito. The Romans equated her with the goddess Ceres.

The Fates and Clotho:   The three goddesses of human destiny; they decide the life of a person from birth to death. They are Clotho, the Spinner, who with her distaff spins the thread of human life; Lachesis, the Disposer, who determines the length and course of human life; and Atropos, the Inflexible, who with her shears cuts it off. Homer, however, mentions only one Fate (Moira).

The Moirae ("allotted fate"), or Fates, are regarded as the daughters of Zeus and Themis. The Greeks portrayed them as ugly old women.

Hades:  Hades is the lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world, which is referred to as the domain of Hades or, by transference, as Hades alone. He owns all the wealth in the ground and the people referred to him as the Rich One. They were frightened to say his real name for fear that it would attract his attention. Black sheep were offered to him, and the sacrifice was performed with the face averted. Mortals who enter his world had no hope of returning, and so Hades was characterized as pitiless and inexorable. Hades had abducted Persephone and made her his wife.

Hypnos:  Hypnos is the personification of sleep in Greek mythology. He is the son of Nyx and Erebus, and the twin of Thanatos ("death"). Both he and his brother live in the underworld. He gave Endymion the power of sleeping with open eyes so he could see his beloved, the moon goddess Selene.

Hypnos is portrayed as a naked young man with wings attached to his temples, or as a bearded man with wings attached to his shoulders.

Kronos (Cronus):  In Greek myth, Cronus is the youngest of the twelve Titans, son of Uranus and Gaia. He is married to his sister Rhea and the father of Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon and Zeus.

After Uranus had thrust his children deep down beneath the earth, and out of resentment that she had to bear so many children, Gaia turned them against their father. She incited them to castrate Uranus, but none dared to do this, except for Cronus. He stealthily accomplished the deed while Uranus slept.
Afterwards Cronus assumed the rule and under his and Rhea's leadership a time of prosperity and harmony began, the Golden Age. To secure his own dominion, however, he had devoured his children after birth, but Rhea managed to save one child: Zeus.

When Zeus reached maturity, he overpowered Cronus and forced him disgorge the children he had swallowed. With the aid of his brothers and sisters, and other partisans among the gods, Zeus dethroned Cronus and became king of gods and men.

la ciel:  (French)  Heaven

l’enfer: (French)  Hell

Nyx:  The Greek personification of the night, and its goddess. She is the daughter of Chaos in the Hesiodic Theogony, but also Phanus, a primordial Greek sun god, is mentioned as her father. With her brother Erebus she is the mother of Aether and Hemera. Also of a whole series of abstract forces are attributed to be their children, such as Moros, the Keres, Hypnos, Thanatos, Oizys "distress"), Nemesis, Apate ("deceit"), and the Hesperides. The ferryman of the dead Charon is also regarded as her son. Her realm was in the far West beyond the land of Atlas.

Persephone:  Persephone is the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Persephone was such a beautiful girl that everyone loved her, even Hades wanted her for himself.  When she was a little girl, she and the Oceanids were collecting flowers on the plain of Enna, when suddenly the earth opened and Hades rose up from the gap and abducted her. None but Zeus had noticed it.

Broken-hearted, Demeter wandered the earth, looking for her daughter until Helios, the all-seeing, revealed what had happened. Demeter was so angry that she withdrew herself in loneliness, and all fertility on earth stopped.  Finally, Zeus sent Hermes down to Hades to make him release Persephone.  Hades grudgingly agreed, but before she went back he gave Persephone a pomegranate to eat, thus she would always be connected to his realm and had to stay there one-third of the year. The other months she remained with her mother. When Persephone was in Hades, Demeter refused to let anything grow and winter began. This myth is a symbol of the budding and dying of nature. In the Eleusinian mysteries, this happening was celebrated in honor of Demeter and Persephone, who was known in this cult as Kore.   The Romans called her Proserpina.

Philo: (Greek) (FEE-lo)  friend

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