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Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

Alcinous (1) (Ἀλκίνοος), in mythology, son of Nausithous (Od. 7.63), husband of Arete, his niece (7. 66), king of the Phaeacians in Scheria (6. 12, etc.), father of *Nausicaa. He received *Odysseus hospitably and sent him to Ithaca on one of the magic ships of his people (13.70 ff.), though he had had warning of the danger of such services to all and sundry (13.172 ff.). In the Argonautic legend (see especially Ap. Rhod. 4.993 ff.) the *Argonauts visit Scheria (here called Drepane) on their return from Colchis; the Colchians pursue them there and demand *Medea. Alcinous decides that if she is virgin she must return, but if not, her husband *Jason (1) shall keep her. Warned by Arete, she and Jason consummate their marriage. For a *temenos of Alcinous on *Corcyra see Thuc. 3.70.4 with Hornblower, Comm. on Thuc.

Article

Alcmaeon (1), the son of *Amphiaraus and Eriphyle, who killed his mother in revenge for his father's death. Bribed by Polynices with the necklace of Harmonia, Eriphyle gave a judgement in favour of *Adrastus against her husband when adjudicating between them as to whether Amphiaraus should join the expedition of the *Seven against Thebes despite his prophetic knowledge that all the participants except Adrastus would die. Amphiaraus ordered Alcmaeon to avenge him with death; alternatively, the *Delphic oracle advised him to kill his mother. In some variants Eriphyle endangered also Alcmaeon's life, by persuading him to participate in the expedition of the *Epigoni, having been bribed by Polynices' son with Harmonia's peplos. After murdering his mother Alcmaeon became mad and wandered about pursued by the *Erinyes. In one version the oracle advised him to settle in a land that had not existed when he had killed his mother; he settled in a place silted up by *Acheloüs, and the land was named *Acarnania after Alcmaeon's son *Acarnan.

Article

Alcmene  

Emily Kearns

Alcmene, mother of *Heracles. Her father was Electryon, who was accidentally killed by her husband *Amphitryon; she followed Amphitryon into exile in *Thebes (1), but refused to sleep with him until he had avenged the death of her brothers on the Taphians and Teleboans. *Zeus came to her in Amphitryon's shape a little before the latter's return, and she gave birth to twins—Heracles by Zeus, *Iphicles by Amphitryon. *Hera in jealousy obstructed the birth, thus ensuring that *Eurystheus was born before Heracles and so became king of *Argos (1) (ll. 19. 95–125). After the death of Heracles, Alcmene with the rest of his family was persecuted by Eurystheus, and in *Euripides' Heraclidae took refuge with them in Athens, insisting on Eurystheus' death after his defeat in battle. At her own death she was taken to the *Islands of the Blest to marry *Rhadamanthys, and a stone substituted in her coffin.

Article

Emily Kearns

Son of *Aegisthus, killed by *Orestes in Mycenae (Hyg., Fab. 122, perhaps from the Attic tragedy Aletes, TrGF 3. 2. fr. 1b). His name (‘Wanderer’) may suggest an aetiological connection with the aletis rite at the Attic festival *Anthesteria, linked in mythology with his sister *Erigone.

Article

Aloadae  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Ken Dowden

Aloadae, in mythology, Otus and *Ep(h)ialtes (2), sons of Iphimedia and not in fact Aloeus but *Poseidon (Od. 11. 305; Hes. Catalogus mulierum fr. 19 M–W). After nine years they were 9 cubits broad and 9 fathoms tall (Od. 11. 310–11). They imprisoned *Ares in a bronze vessel for thirteen months, but *Hermes got him out (Il. 5. 385–91). To reach heaven, they piled *Ossa on *Olympus (1) and *Pelion on Ossa, filling the sea with mountains and making land into sea (Apollod. 1. 7. 4, and perhaps Hes. Cat. fr. 21 M–W). This story in some ways echoes the Hurrian myth of Ullikummi, the vast rock giant that threatens heaven. The Aloadae also had designs on *Artemis and *Hera; but Artemis changed into a deer in their midst and they shot each other—an event somehow orchestrated by *Apollo on *Naxos (1) (Apollod 1.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

Alphesiboea, in mythology, daughter of *Phegeus of Psophis and wife of *Alcmaeon (1). According to Propertius 1. 15. 15, she and not Callirhoë's children avenged him; perhaps a mere blunder, perhaps an unknown variant.

Article

Alpheus  

Thomas James Dunbabin, Robert J. Hopper, and Antony Spawforth

Alpheus (Ἀλφειός), the largest river of the *Peloponnese, rises in south *Arcadia near Asea and flows past *Olympia to the Ionian Sea. Its main tributaries are the Arcadian Ladon and Erymanthus; the Cladeus joins it at one corner of the ancient sanctuary at Olympia. As early as Homer (Il.

Article

Frederick Norman Pryce, John Boardman, Antony Spawforth, and J. Linderski

Indispensable adjunct of *sacrifice in ancient religion.The chief type was the raised bōmos (βωμός) on which a wood fire was lit for the cremation of the victim's thigh-bones and spit-roasting of the entrails; *hero-cults by contrast commonly employed the eschara (ἐσχάρα), a low altar onto which the victim's blood was made to flow; the domestic altar was for bloodless offerings (natural produce, *cakes, etc.). In Greek *sanctuaries monumental open-air bōmoi, usually of dressed stone (the ash altar of Zeus at *Olympia seems to have been unusual), are well attested archaeologically from the 6th cent. bce onwards; they were typically rectangular and sometimes approached by a flight of steps. Independent altars on a spectacular scale are a feature of the Hellenistic age—e.g. the so-called Great Altar of *Pergamum (early 2nd cent. bce), incorporating a sculptured frieze c.120 m. (130 yds.) long; the tradition was continued in the Roman east with the so-called Great Antonine Altar of *Ephesus (begun c.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

Althaemenes, in mythology, son of *Catreus, king of Crete. Warned by an oracle that he would kill his father, he left Crete for Rhodes. Long after, his father came to seek him; Althaemenes took him for a pirate and killed him (Diod. Sic. 5. 59; Apollod. 3. 12–16).

Article

J. N. Bremmer

Amalthea, the goat that suckled *Zeus after his birth, when he was hidden in a cave to prevent his father *Cronus from devouring him (Callim. Hymn 1); later, rationalizing versions made the goat into a nymph. The myth was connected by Ovid (Fast. 5. 111–28) with another, perhaps originally independent, tradition about a (bull's) horn of plenty’ of the nymph Amalthea, (Pherec. FGrH 3 F 42).

Article

Amazons  

Adrienne Mayor

In Greek myth, Amazons were fierce female warriors, arch-enemies of the Greeks, dwelling around and beyond the Black Sea. Depicted in ancient literature and art as the “equals of men,” Amazons were as brave and skilled in combat as male warriors. Glorying in riding horses, hunting, warfare, and sexual independence, Amazons were deemed formidable adversaries of the greatest Greek heroes of myth. Bellerophon battled Amazons, and Heracles, Theseus, and Achilles each proved their valour by defeating powerful Amazon queens—Hippolyte, Antiope, and Penthesilea. Amazons and Amazonomachies (battle scenes) were extremely popular in Greek art, in public spaces and on privately owned pottery. In the myths and artistic representations, Amazons were consistently portrayed as courageous, athletic, attractive, and heroic, running towards danger, and fighting and dying valiantly in battle. Amazons were first described in Homer’s Iliad as antianeirai, which can be translated as “men’s equals.” Many classical scholars consider Amazons to be purely fictional figures with no basis in reality, invented by Greek men to serve as “anti-women” and/or to symbolize Persians. Notably, ancient authors such as Herodotus (4.110–117), Plato (Laws 7.

Article

Alan H. Griffiths

Ambrosia and nectar are the food and drink of eternal life—usually in that order, though nectar is for eating in Alcman (fr. 42 Page, PMG) and Sappho thinks of ambrosia as a drink (fr. 141 LP). They are thus properly reserved for the gods, as traditional stories emphasize: see Od. 5. 196–9 on *Odysseus' meals with *Calypso. *Heracles was formally served with a draught of immortal spirit by Athena on his assumption into Olympus, but the dying *Tydeus was refused the same favour at the last moment when the goddess found him devouring his enemy's brains (Pherec. FGrH 3 F 97). One version of *Tantalus' crime claims that, having tasted divine food himself, he tried to smuggle some away for others who were not so privileged (Pind., Ol. 1. 60 ff.). Those who ingest such rarefied substances naturally have not blood but a special fluid called ichor coursing through their veins (Il.

Article

Ammon  

Alan H. Griffiths

Ammon (Ἄμμων), *Hellenized name of Amun, the great god of Egyptian *Thebes (2) and chief divinity of the developed Egyptian pantheon; thus naturally identified with *Zeus (so first in Pindar, who composed a hymn to the god and is supposed to have commissioned an image for his temple in (Greek) Thebes (1) from the sculptor *Calamis; Paus. 9. 16. 1). Greek interest, probably mediated through the city of *Cyrene (on whose coins his head is shown from the early 5th cent. with the typical ram's horns) centred on the oracular cult at the oasis of *Siwa, in the Libyan desert; Herodotus assumes its fame, and Plutarch claims consultations by several prominent 5th-cent. Greeks including *Cimon, *Lysander, *Alcibiades, and *Nicias (1). In the 4th cent., in line with the growth of foreign cults, his worship is attested at Athens (where one of the two sacred triremes was renamed ‘Ammonias’ in his honour) and elsewhere in the Greek homeland; but it was above all *Alexander (3) the Great's visit in 331 (Arr.

Article

Hanne Eisenfeld

Seer and warrior, member of royal family of Argos, descended from Melampus. Son of Oecles, husband of Eriphyle, father of Alcmaeon (1) and Amphilochus. Unwilling participant in the expedition of the Seven against Thebes, whence he did not return. Consulted as an oracle and, from the later 5th centurybce, as a healer, on the model of Asclepius.Amphiaraus opposed the expedition against Thebes, knowing through his mantic foresight that it was doomed to failure. He was nonetheless forced to participate through the intervention of his wife, Eriphyle, who was also the sister of Adrastus (1). During an earlier quarrel between her husband and her brother, she had been empowered to decide disputes between them (Ap. Bib. 3.6.2; Diod. Sic. 4.65.6). Polynices, the Theban prince who was seeking Argive support for the attack against Thebes, knew of this arrangement and offered her a golden necklace in exchange for exercising her influence and forcing her husband to take part in the expedition (some variation on this is already alluded to at Od.

Article

Jakob Aall Ottesen Larsen and P. J. Rhodes

Amphictiony (from amphiktiones, ‘dwellers around’) is the name given to Greek leagues connected with *sanctuaries and the maintenance of their cults. Most were concentrated in the locality of the sanctuary, but the most important, such as the amphictiony of Anthela and *Delphi, came to include representatives from much of Greece. They could punish those who offended against the sanctuary, and the Delphic amphictiony could even declare a *Sacred War against an offending state.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

Amphilochus, in mythology, brother of *Alcmaeon (1), and, in some accounts (as Apollod. 3. 82 and 86), his comrade in the expedition of the *Epigoni and helper in slaying Eriphyle. After Homer he takes part in the Trojan War (e.g. Quint. Smyrn. 14. 366), and is celebrated as a diviner. He and *Calchas left Troy together by land and came to *Claros (Strabo 14. 1. 27). A number of local tales (or constructions of Greek historians) connect Amphilochus with the origins of places and peoples in Asia Minor, as Poseideion on the borders of Syria and Cilicia (Hdt. 3. 91. 1), the Pamphylian nation (Hdt. 7. 91. 3), but above all the famous mantic shrine in Mallus (Strabo 14. 5. 16). Apollo killed him in Soli (Hes. fr. 279 M–W).

Article

A. Schachter

Amphion and Zethus, sons of *Zeus and *Antiope: they founded and walled seven-gated *Thebes (1) (Od. 11. 260–5).

The story is fleshed out by Sophocles (Niobe) and Euripides (Antiope). The brothers were born in a cave on Cithaeron and were said to have ruled Eutresis before coming to Thebes. Their mother, having been maltreated by *Dirce, was avenged by her sons. Amphion married *Niobe, with unfortunate issue; Zethus, an altogether more shadowy figure (Amphion's name can at least be connected with his walking around the site of Thebes playing his lyre and charming the stones into a wall), married the equally vague Thebe, or possibly *Aëdon (Heinzel 20, see bibliog. below). A prehistoric burial-mound immediately north of the Cadmea is probably the site variously identified as the tomb of one or the other or both.

Article

A. Schachter

Amphitryon, son of Alcaeus king of Tiryns. He and his fiancée *Alcmene (daughter of Electryon king of *Mycenae) were forced to flee to *Thebes (1) after he had accidentally killed Electryon. After helping the Thebans to rid themselves of the Teumessian fox, he set out to fight the Teleboans (who had killed eight of Alcmene's nine brothers), and defeated them. In his absence, *Zeus lay with Alcmene, who bore him *Heracles (Il. 14. 323–4); in the same accouchement she bore *Iphicles to Amphitryon.

Amphitryon led the Thebans successfully in war against the Euboeans (Paus. 9. 17. 3, 8. 15. 6; Plut., Amatoriae narrationes 3 (774c)), but was less fortunate against the *Minyans, fighting whom he died (Heracles subsequently freed the Thebans from their oppression). Amphitryon was buried at Thebes, jointly with *Iolaus (Schachter 1. 30–1; 2. 18, 64–5, see bibliog. below). He seems to have been a local Theban warrior hero (the tomb is attested from the 5th cent.), whose role was partially usurped by Heracles.

Article

amulets  

H. S. Versnel

Amulets were magically potent objects worn (hence the Greek names: περίαμμα, περίαπτον) for protection against witchcraft, illness, the evil eye, accidents, robbery, etc. (hence the Greek name: φυλακτήριον); also to enhance love, wealth, power, or victory. Houses, walls, and towns could be protected in the same way. Any kind of material might be employed: stones and metals as well as (parts of) animals and plants, since to every sort of material could be attributed an inherent ‘magical’ virtue (see magic); parts of human bodies (especially of people who had suffered a violent death: *gladiators, executed criminals, victims of *shipwreck etc. ) were also used as amulets. Their efficacy might be enhanced by engraved figures, e.g. deities or symbols, especially on stones and gems in rings. Powerful names taken from exotic (especially Egyptian and Hebrew) myth and cult were popular: Abraxas, Solomon (e.g. in the formula: ‘sickness be off, Solomon persecutes you’), magical words (e.g. abracadabra) and formulae (e.

Article

Amycus  

Herbert Jennings Rose

Amycus, in mythology, king of the Bebryces, a savage people of *Bithynia. He was of gigantic strength and compelled all comers to the land to box with him, the loser to be at the absolute disposal of the winner. When the *Argonauts arrived in his country, Polydeuces accepted his challenge, and being a skilled boxer overcame Amycus' brute force. In the fight Amycus was killed (*Apollonius (1)), or knocked out (*Theocritus), and made to swear to wrong no more strangers, or, having lost the fight, was bound by Polydeuces (Epicharmus and *Pisander (1) in schol.