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Trojan War Net Homework Help

Index of Mythological Figures

If your question isn't answered here, ask Paris!

By the way, who asked about Ajax? Your email address didn't register. However I've put up a little bio of him below.

Also by the way, who asked how the Trojan War got started? Here's your answer!

Achilles Son of Peleus and Thetis. Great Greek hero in the Trojan War who was completely invulnerable to mortal weapons-- except in his heel. He did many deeds of valor during the first months of the Trojan War, then took a nine-year hiatus from battle because he was sore that Agamemnon had taken his slave-girl, Briseis. After his *friend* and companion Patroclus was killed in battle in Achilles's armor, Achilles rejoined the fray to take vengeance, killing Hector, foremost of the Trojans, and spelling doom for Troy. He was, however, caught by a rogue arrow in the heel, shot from the bow of Paris, and promptly died. His ashes were mingled with those of Patroclus in the same urn. He is said to reside on the White Isle with Helen, Iphigenia, Medea, Deidamia, and Polyxena, although this is doubtful. (Essentially, whenever the author of a myth wished to reward his heroine, he promised her eternity with Achilles on the White Isle. It is questionable whether Achilles woudl have enjoyed being stuck with these women on the island for the rest of his now-eternal life. However, you'd have to ask Patroclus about that...)

Aegisthos Lover of Clytemnestra. Helped her murder Agamemnon in the bath. Then got killed himself by Orestes, Agamemnon's son. Probably deserved it, though.

Agamemnon Agamemnon was the son of Atreus and the brother of Menelaus. Like most of the Atrides, he had really rotten luck. He and Menelaus married two sisters, Helen and Clytemnestra. This would have been cute were it not for the fact that both Helen and Clytemnestra were not the most... faithful women around. Helen ran off with Paris, which naturally irritated Menelaus just a tad, starting the Trojan War. Because Agamemnon was king of Argos, he had to go marshal forth the troops. Unfortunately there was a minor problem before they set sail for Troy. It appears Artemis was having a bad day, because she refused to let the ships set sail unless Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to her. Most men would have said, "No way! My brother's wife is SO not worth this!" but Agamemnon dutifully sacrificed Iphigenia (which irritated his wife just a tad...) and sailed off to Troy. Agamemnon's (cough) brilliant people skills (cough) also came into play there, because he managed to alienate Achilles by taking his slave-girl, Briseis. So Achilles stalked off in a huff and refused to fight, which soon resulted in the Greeks being pushed back against their hulls, about ready to die. Then Achilles sent out Patroclus in his armor... But we all know this story, or, if we don't, we can read the Achilles section, so let's get back to Agamemnon. Once the war ended he set off for home with Cassandra (yes, the prophetess Cassandra) in tow. He arrived home to a surprisingly warm welcome, considering that he was bringing back another woman. At least it appeared to be a warm welcome until Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthos hacked him to death in the bath. Like I said, Agamemnon didn't have such great luck.

Aisakos (Aesacus) Aisakos was the son of Priam, king of Troy, and Arisbe, his first wife. Merops, his maternal grandmother, taught him how to interpret dreams. Some sources say it was he, not Cassandra, who interpreted the dream of Helenus to mean that Paris would be the destruction of Troy if he was not put to death. (But that would be so much less interesting...) Some sources also say Aisakos married Asterope, daughter of the river god Cebren, and that he was turned into a bird when he mourned her death. Other sources say Aisakos was in love with Cebren's daughter, Hesperia, that he chased her through the woods. Hesperia must have been pretty eager to get away from him, because she didn't notice the snake in her path and it bit and killed her. This made Aisakos very sad. (A bit late, though.) He threw himself into the sea and Tethys turned him into a diver bird.

Ajax Ajax was one of the greatest mortal greek heroes. Or should I say two? There were two Ajaxes who fought in the Trojan War, Greater Ajax and Lesser Ajax. (I'm sure that did a lot for Lesser Ajax's ego.) Lesser Ajax was supposed to be quite a good runner, but he was in general no match for Greater (or just Great) Ajax. Great Ajax, also called Telamonian Ajax, was positively immense. He had an enormous shield made from seven oxhides. He was enormously strong and came quite close to beating Hector in single combat. But unfortunately he ran into some difficulties at Achilles's mourning games. He lost to Odysseus in competition for Achilles' armor and killed himself in a fit of madness. Ouch. Poor Odysseus always felt bad about it afterwards, but Ajax, even in the land of the dead, bore him a grudge. The other Ajax, while he didn't go mad and knock himself off, also ran into some difficulties. He was one of the worst Greeks when it came to raping and pillaging; supposedly he raped Cassandra on the Altar of Athene. Let's just say that didn't sit too well with the goddess...

Apollo Son of Zeus. Twin of Artemis. God of music and art. Patron of Thebes, I believe. Has a very special bow given to him by Zeus containing gold arrows which cause painful deaths. Often associated with the son.

Artemis Daughter of Zeus. Twin of Apollo. Goddess of virgins and the hunt. Very, very cruel. Turned a guy into a stag for ogling her as she bathed. Has a special bow from Zeus containing silver arrows whcih kill painlessly. Likes to run wild in the woods with her troupe of huntresses. Once was interested in Orion but he is her only known love.

Athene (Athena) Daughter of Zeus and Metis. Zeus had swallowed Metis before Athena was born and so she had to break a hole out of his head (with the help of Athene's brother Hephaestos the smith) in order to give birth. Athene emerged in full armor. She is the goddess of wisdom and war. She gave Athens the olive tree and it bears her name. Like her sister Artemis, she is a virgin. Athene takes care to only support just causes in war.

Aphrodite No relative of Athene's, thank heavens. She is the goddess of love and beauty. She emerged from the sea, from the foam created by Uranus's severed genitals. Very, very, beautiful and equipped with a golden girdle that makes her irresistible. She won the golden apple in the dispute which began the Trojan War. Her son Eros is the god of love, and essentially plays the role of Cupid (his more famous Roman equivalent) in the world.

Cassandra Daughter of Priam and Hecuba and a Trojan princess. She received the gift of prophecy from Apollo as a little girl. She had been sleeping in his temple with her twin, Helenus, when this gift was given. It is unclear quite how she and her twin received this gift, and one of the stories includes the tale that sacred snakes licked clean the ears of the two children as they slept, giving them the ability to see (hear?) the future. As a young woman, Cassandra spent another memorable night in Apollo's temple, this time without her twin. Apollo attempted to impregnate her, but she resisted his advances, causing him to curse her so that, although she would continue to see the future, her prophecies would no longer be believed. Nonetheless, Cassandra made several important prophecies for Troy. The first of these (which, surprisingly enough, the people did believe) was the prophecy which allowed her to realize that the returned shepherd boy Paris was actually her brother, thus allowing him to be welcomed back to Troy and setting the events of the war in motion. The second, and more important, prophecy, however, was not believed by the Trojans. Cassandra's prophetic ability enabled her to see that it was not a good idea to let the wooden horse into Troy, and she went about the city foretelling doom to all the revelers. Sadly, we all know the story of what happened next. The Greeks charged out of the horse and pillaged Troy. Cassandra was among the loot, and she was sent home with Agamemnon to be his slave girl. Upon her arrival, she was killed by Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's conniving wife (and Helen's sister.) Although hers couldn't be described as a happy life, Cassandra nonetheless was a pivotal figure of mythology.

Clytemnestra Clytemnestra was Agamemnon's wife. She was just another example of the fact that the Atrides family got all the bad luck. Like Helen, she was the daughter of Leda, wife of Tyndareus of Sparta. Unlike Helen, she was most likely Tyndareus's daughter, not Zeus's. Let's just say Leda was messing around a little bit, although most would argue it wasn't exactly her fault. You see, Zeus took her while in the form of a swan. So, a few months later, Leda laid two eggs-- one containing Helen and Pollux, both children of Zeus and thus immortal, and the other containing Clytemnestra and Castor, both children of Tyndareus and thus mortal. Castor and Pollux went on to become a constellation, the Dioscuri (talk about big stars... sorry, bad pun) but that doesn't matter much to our story. Helen married Menelaus and Clytemnestra married Agamemnon, Menelaus's brother. This was kind of sweet, but it didn't work out too well for either brother. Helen ran off with Paris, igniting the Trojan War, and so Agamemnon had to go off and fight. However, before leaving, he was ordered by Artemis to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia-- otherwise, the troops wouldn't be able to sail. But instead of saying 'This is ridiculous! My brother's wife is SO not worth this!' he sacrificed his daughter. Let's just say this made Clytemnestra a tad mad. She set about getting revenge. Not only did she have an affair with Aegisthos, but, when Agamemnon returned from Troy with Cassandra in tow, she killed both of them. However this revenge did not work out too well either because shortly afterwards she was killed by her own son, Orestes, who was encouraged by one of her other daughters, Electra. (Chrysothemis, her remaining daughter, didn't really do much.)

Demeter Goddess of the harvest, helps crops. Devoted to Persephone, her daughter, who was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld.

Dionysus God of wine. Followed around by the Bacchiads, a bunch of crazy drunks, but on the whole a nice guy. Son of Zeus (aren't they all?)

Eros Son of Aphrodite. No known father. Mischievious little imp who flies around and makes people fall in love..or hate. He is equipped with a quiver of golden arrows-- which cause love-- and leaden arrows-- which cause hate. Small, but dangerous.

Fauns Similar to satyrs, these half-man, half-goat creatures are often found frolicking with Pan, god of nature, who was one.

Gaea Mother Earth. Most everything came from her. Mother of Zeus. Also mother of the hideous Cyclops. Tends to be revengeful towards Zeus and the other immortals because of their cruelty to her deformed children.

Ganymede Exceptionally comely Trojan youth who served the gods as cupbearer after being granted immortality by Zeus. He appears in the night sky as the constellation, Aquarius. Abducted rather suddenly by Zeus in the form of a giant eagle, Ganymede left his father, King Tros, distraught until Zeus gave word of Ganymede's advancement and provided Tros with two incredibly swift horses.

Hades God of the Dead. Brother of Zeus. Not EVIL. Repeat: NOT EVIL. Abducted Persephone to be his queen, she now rules 6 months each year with him. Has a hideous dog named Cerberus. Very powerful, but a softie within.

Hebe Hebe was the daughter of Hera and Zeus. (One of the few legitimate children of Zeus!) She served as cupbearer to Zeus until Zeus replaced her with the more comely former mortal Ganymede. However, she was placated for being removed from her position by being guaranteed Heracles's hand when he ascended to Olympus.

Helen Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, wife of Tyndareus. (For other possible origins of Helen, see Helen) At a young age, she was abducted by Theseus, legendary Athenian king, and was recaptured by her brothers, Castor and Polydeuces. After a few years, she had many suitors, including almost all the kings of the Greek states. Her (mortal) farther being concerned that war might break out between the suitors came up with a brilliant plan to avoid strife between the winner and the losers of Helen’s hand. He created the Oath of the Horse. All who wished to marry Helen had to swear upon the bones of a sacrificed horse to support the winner of Helen’s hand and to rally around him if any tried to abduct her. All the men having sworn, Tyndareus chose Menelaus, fat king of Sparta, a warrior state. Luckily for Helen, after bearing Menelaus one daughter, Hermione, she was abducted by the handsome, young Paris of Troy. This began the 10-year Trojan War. Paris was killed in the war’s 9th year; Helen was handed off to Deiphobus, Paris’s brother, for the remaining one. She was then recaptured by Menelaus and spent the uneventful rest of her life with him, until his death, after which she was captured by a band of mad women and forced to hang herself. Supposedly she and Achilles met after death, as did she and Faust, a character of literature who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for her and other sensual delights.

Hera Queen of the gods. Zeus's wife and favorite sister. (Hey, some gods swing that way.) Very, very jealous but with reason, considering that Zeus is not terribly faithful. Her sacred bird is the peacock.

Heracles Strongest man in the history of the world and a great hero. One of Zeus's children, thus, Hera hated him from birth and sent two serpents to strangle him in his crib. The tiny babe playfully squeezed them to death. Heracles (also known as Hercules) was incredibly strong and performed a set of feats known as the Twelve Labors of Heracles. There were, originally, only 9 labors, brought on because Heracles, in a fit of madness, had killed his wife and children. However, after he had completed all 9 of them, his uncle (who was running the labors) decided that he had had help on three of them because he had not done them using merely his own strength. Thus, Heracles had to complete 3 more. These labors include fetching Cerberus, three-headed hell-dog, getting apples from Hera's sacred tree, fighting the Amazons, and dressing as a woman for a year and learning house skills. All these labors gained him great honor and fame. However, his wife grew jealous and her revenge killed him. A centaur had once told her that, if she rubbed some of his (the centaur's) blood on Heracles's tunic when Heracles had forgotten her, it would cause him to love her once more. Sadly, this blood was poison, and Heracles, although he was too strong to die, could not stand the pain. He had himself burned on a funeral pyre, on which he rose to Mount Olympus to be with the gods, fight one of their enemies-- and win. Even Hera respected him now, and he was made an honorary god.

Hestia Not a famous goddess. Tends the sacred flames on Olympus's hearth.

Hermes Messenger of the gods. Son of Zeus. Very quick witted and clever, making him the patron god of highwaymen and robbers, as well as all who live by their wits. Very popular with the gods. Once consorted with Aphrodite, producing a son called Hermaphrodite.

Iphigenia Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, she was sacrificed to Artemis before the ships could sail to Troy. This permanently enraged Clytemnestra against Agamemnon, as she had been told that Iphigenia was going off to marry Achilles, and when he returned from Troy she and her lover, Aegisthos, promptly slaughtered him. Iphigenia was also said to have been transformed into a white deer before her death to show her purity, or even to have been replaced by one and not sacrificed at all, but this is purely speculation.

Menelaus Fat husband of Helen. 'Nuff said.

Olympus Mountain home of the gods.

Orion Demi-god whose image is in the stars, love of Artemis but was killed by a scorpion (sent by Artemis's twin, Apollo.) Very modest, he easily won Artemis's friendship in the hunt by not boasting of his great skill (although he easily hunted as well as she.)

Pan God of nature, he is a half-man, half-goat (see Fauns) creature who enjoys playing his panpipes (named for him) and scaring the neighboring nymphs. When he is disturbed, he utters bloodcurdling screams which cause Pan-ic in all those who hear them. This is in fact the origin of the term panic. Pan is the son of Hermes and a nymph, who was so shocked by his ugliness when he was born that she ran away. Pan enjoys seducing nymphs and claims to have coupled with Echo and Eupheme, as well as some of the Maenads who follow Dionysus.

Paris Son of Priam, king of Troy, and Hecuba, his queen. Paris’s full name is Paris Alexandros. he earned the surname Alexandros (defender) during his time as a shepherd on Mount Ida, defending his sheep from wild beasts. When Paris was born, it was prophesied that he would be a burning brand that would destroy Troy; thus, when he was born, he was left upon Mount Ida for wild beasts to devour. The story varies from this point. Some say that he was found by a she-bear, who nursed him and protected him, and that when the servant charged with the disposal of the boy returned to see whether the infant Paris was dead, he took the bear’s care as a sign from the gods, saving the boy to rear as his own. Other stories simply say that the servant was too taken with the infant to dispose of him and took him home to be raised as his own son, or that Hecuba, sad to see her son disposed of, paid him to do so. Regardless of which story is true, all agree that Paris grew handsome and strong, roaming Mount Ida as a shepherd and consorting with wood nymph Oenone. Oenone bore him two sons, Agathus and Corythus (some attribute Agathus to Helen.) Chosen by the gods to judge between Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena in the infamous beauty contest, Paris selected Aphrodite and her bribe-- the most beautiful woman in the world for his wife-- changing his life forever. Entering Troy and being recognized by his sister Cassandra as Paris, prince of Troy, Paris soon left Oenone for Helen. Oenone promised him that if ever he were wounded, she, who knew much of healing, would heal him. Paris won Helen’s heart easily, being, according to most sources, the most handsome man on earth at that time, and they sailed for Troy, Aphrodite blowing them a favorable wind. Thus began the 10-year Trojan War, for Menelaus, Helen’s husband, refused to let Paris abduct Helen in peace, and rallied all her former suitors against him. Paris died in the war’s 9th year, killed by one of Heracles’s poisoned arrows, wielded by Philoctetes, a Greek warrior. Oenone forgot her promise to him, embittered by years of loneliness, and let him die. Paris, however, never made it to Olympus.

Persephone Daughter of Demeter, abducted by Hades and dragged into th eunderworld, causing her mother great misery. Because she refused to eat and pined constantly for her beloved mother, Demeter was able to persuade Zeus to let her return to the land of sun-- on the condition that she had eaten none of the food of the dead. Knowing this condition, Hades made her eat 6 pomegranate seeds, thus, she was forced to stay in Hades as his queen for 6 months of the year, while the rest she could spend above with her mother.

Sisyphus Clever mortal who foolishly tried to outwit Hadea nd Zeus. he was a king who gained a stream for his city by telling an angry river god about Zeus's affair with his daughter, earnign Zeus's wrath. He escaped death twice-- first, by tying up Hades and stopping all death, next, with his wife's help, by failing to fulfill the traditional death rites-- but then died of old age and was punished by having to roll a rock up a hill, a rock which continually slips from his grasp and rolls back down.

Uranus Sure, laugh at the name. Uranus was Gaea's first husband, father of the Titans and her other first children. His son, Cronus, overcame him and he disappeared form power, leaving only his genitalia to create Aphrodite.

Zeus The big honcho. The chief muck-a-muck. Zeus is the king of the gods and (pardon the exaggeration) the father of about every Grecian hero. Has thunderbolts which give him enormous power. Mortals cannot look upon him with impunity-- he is too glorious, cauing them to die after gazing upon him. Very, very powerful. Killed his father, Cronos, who, in turn, overthrew his father, but Zeus took no chances and was thus not overthrown by his offspring.

More to be added later...