The Greek civilization was the most influential civilization in the history of the world. All of today’s thoughts and ideas can be traced back to the Greeks. They gave us democracy, mathematics, drama, philosophy, Olympics and a whole bunch of Gods and tomes of mythology that has been adapted by many subsequent cultures. Recent movies such as Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, etc. have brought Greek mythology back into the limelight once again. Here are top 10 interesting facts revolving around Greek mythology.
10. Hercules gave us the saying “Taking the bull by its horns”:
The saying, “Taking the bull by its horns”, comes from Greek mythology. It was one of the 12 labors of Hercules that he had to perform to repent for killing his own wife and children in a fit of madness caused by Hera. He saved the city of Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.
9. Athena defeated Poseidon to become the guardian of Athens:
Athena and Poseidon both wanted to become the guardian of a certain city so they decided to give a gift each to please the residents of the city. Poseidon gave them water in the form of a spring but the water was salty and of no use. Athena gave them an olive tree which was much more useful as it gave food, oil and wood and so she won and since then that city has been known as Athens.
8. Hera restored her virginity each year:
Hera was the sister of Zeus who later became his wife as she was very much in love with him. She got a love charm from Aphrodite to make Zeus fall in love with him. But the most interesting thing about her is that she restored her virginity each year by bathing in a sacred spring called Kanathos.
7. Apollo commandeered a ship in his dolphin form:
Delphinius was the dolphin form of Apollo which was worshiped at Delphi. This is strange because Delphi is in the mountains away from the sea but apparently, Apollo in his dolphin form jumped up on the deck of a ship and commandeered it to the coast at Delphi. According to the Greek mythology, the sailors became the first priests there.
6. Athena’s thousands of grey eyes:
Athena is supposed to have a thousand eyes in the form of the leaves of the olive tree. She gifted the olive tree to the city of Athens and became its guardian goddess. The leaves of the olive tree are grey at the back and when the wind blows and lifts the leaves up, it looks like a thousand eyes are watching over the city.
5. Pandora was the first mortal women:
Pandora was made by Zeus and was the first mortal woman according to Greek mythology. She received a gift from each of the Gods to make her perfect. Zeus gave her to Epimetheus who had been warned by his brother Prometheus to not take any gifts from Zeus but he got enchanted by Pandora’s beauty and accepted. He gave her a box and told her never to open it. But she couldn’t resist and opened it, letting out all evil and mistrust in the world.
4. Atlas was punished to hold the heavens not the Earth:
Atlas was a Titan who fought and led a battle of Titans against Zeus but got defeated and was punished by Zeus to hold up heavens on his shoulders for all eternity. For a while he got Hercules to hold it up for him but then later resumed his duties when Hercules cheated him into holding the weight of the heavens again. He is wrongly portrayed to be holding up the earth.
3. Prometheus kept stealing from the Gods:
Prometheus was another interesting Titan in the Greek mythology. He was the wisest among the Titans and could apparently see the future. He knew Zeus would win and fought from his side when he fought Cronus. He is notorious for thinking himself to be smarter than the Gods and kept stealing from them. When he stole fire from the Gods and gave it to the mortals he was caught and was punished by Zeus.
2. Hades was technically an Olympian but not counted as one:
Hades was as powerful as any of the other twelve Olympians which technically made him the thirteenth Olympian but since he resided in the underworld and not on Mount Olympus he was not known as an Olympian. Hades was also the one who helped Zeus defeat their father Cronus and helped them to become Gods.
1. Zeus was an opportunist:
Zeus was the all powerful God, the king of Gods, the controller of rain and thunder, the father of many children and the vanquisher of the Titans. But he couldn’t have done it alone. Greek mythology tells us that Hades was the one to surprise Cronus by wearing his invisibility helmet and Poseidon was the one who immobilized his body. Zeus seized this opportunity and killed his father by striking him with a thunderbolt and became the king of Gods.