Acho To Aegina (Greco-Roman Mythology)



Mountain, also called Mount Hacho, at the far northern tip of Morocco that is sometimes identified as being Abyla (or Ceuta), the southernmost of the Pillars of Heracles (Hercules), the northernmost being Calpe, commonly identified with the Rock of Gibraltar.



Offspring of Ares, the god of war, though it may simply be a misspelling of Alcippe (daughter of Ares).



The son of a river nymph and, according to some accounts, of Faunus, god of the River Acis (Aci) in eastern Sicily. He loved the sea nymph Galatea but had a rival for her love in the Cyclops Polyphemus. Some accounts say that Polyphemus crushed Acis under a huge rock and that Galatea, in order to release him, turned him into the river that carries his name. Other accounts say that Polyphemus simply threw huge boulders at him—they landed in the sea to become the Isole Ciclopi near Acitrezza—and that Acis turned himself into the river in order to escape.


1. Greek

According to tradition the aconite flower grew where the saliva of Cerberus, guardian dog of Hades, fell.

2. Roman Flower sacred to Saturn.



A youth of Chios (Ceos) who, during a festival in Delos, fell in love with the Athenian maiden Cydippe. In order to win her he threw her a quince upon which he had scratched the words, "I swear by the sanctuary of Artemis that I will marry Acontius." Cydippe picked up the quince, and, as the ancients always did, read the message aloud, and was compelled by Artemis to keep her vow.



Son of Abas, the twelfth king of Argos, and the twin brother of Proetus. After much discussion, following the death of their father, the twins agreed to divide their inheritance. Proetus became the ruler of Tiryns, whose massive walls he built with the aid of the Cyclopes. Acrisius, for his part, ruled uneasily in Argos, for an oracle had foretold that he would be killed by a son born to Danae, his daughter.

In an attempt to circumvent this prophesy, Acrisius imprisoned Danae in a brazen dungeon or tower, with doors of brass, but all in vain, for while imprisoned she was visited by Zeus in a shower of gold, and she conceived Perseus. Unwilling to kill his daughter and her son, Acrisius set them adrift in a chest that floated to the island of Seriphos, one of the Cyclades. Here it was found by the sailor Dictys, who took mother and child to the king, Polydectes, who received them hospitably.

Many years later Perseus, having slain Medusa and rescued Andromeda, made Dictys king of Seriphos and returned with Danae and Andromeda to Argos. Immediately fearing for his life as he remembered the prophecy, Acrisius fled to Larissa, but even this was in vain, for Perseus visited the city and, taking part in public games, accidentally killed his grandfather with a discus he had thrown.


Also: Akrocorinth

The name specifically applied to the acropolis above ancient Corinth where Aphrodite’s fertility cult was established, possibly not until as late as the eighth century B.C.



The name given to the citadel or central upper fortified part of an ancient Greek city. The most famous one is in Athens; situated on a hill about 250 feet high, it was walled before the sixth century B.C. It originally contained the palace of the first kings of the city and a temple of Athene, thus being used for both religious and defensive purposes. After destruction by the Persians, the Acropolis was rebuilt during the fifth century B.C. with the Parthenon—then containing an enormous statue of Athene; the temple of Athene Nike; the Erechtheum—a shrine to a fabled king of Athens; and the Propylaea, or porch.



The son of Aristaeus and Autonoe, a daughter of Cadmos, the legendary founder of Thebes. He became a skillful hunter after learning the art of hunting from the centaur Cheiron. One day, however, he was unfortunate enough to come across Artemis bathing naked in a spring with her nymphs, and in anger Artemis turned him into a stag. He was torn to pieces by his own fifty hounds on the slopes of Mount Cithaeron.

Actaeus Greek

The first king of Athens and grandfather of Agraulos.

Actium Greco-Roman A town, now called Akri, and a promontory in Acarnania (opposite modern Preveza on the Gulf of Amurakia) in the Ambracian Gulf of the Ionian Sea, the promontory being the site of a temple to Apollo. A naval battle was fought and won by Augustus (Octavian) on 2 September 31 B.C. against Antony and Cleopatra off of the promontory.

Admete Greek

The daughter of Eurystheus for whom Heracles had to fetch the golden girdle of the Amazon queen Hippolyte as his ninth labor.



King of Pherae in Thessaly to whom Pelias promised the hand of his daughter, Alcestis, provided he came to claim her in a chariot drawn by a lion and a boar. Apollo, who was undergoing a banishment on earth at that time, was working as Admetus’s cattle drover and helped him to accomplish this task. At the wedding feast Admetus forgot to sacrifice to Artemis, and realizing that Admetus was doomed, Apollo promised him that he need not die on the day decreed by the Fates provided he could find a willing substitute; he arranged this by getting the Fates (Moirae) drunk and making them promise this condition.

When the time came and Hermes summoned Admetus to Tartarus the only willing substitute that could be found was his wife, Alcestis. There two versions of what happened next. The earlier says that Persephone, queen of the Underworld, refused her sacrifice and sent her back. The latter says that on the day of her death Heracles arrived in Pherae and either prevented Hades, who had arrived in person, from carrying her off or, alternatively, went down into the Underworld and so harried Hades that he was compelled to send her back to her husband.


Greco-Phoenician The true Phoenician name of this divinity is uncertain. The name we use is that used by the Greek Philo and seems to derive from the Canaanite adon, meaning "lord" or "master." The Greeks adopted the fertility cult associated with Adonis, who was killed by a wild boar, an animal that was sacred to the Syrians. His most important temples were at Byblos, where he was the third most important god, and Paphos. In Byblos, the temple of Astarte celebrated the annual death of Adonis, his reappearance on earth being marked by the blooming of the red anemone. The River Adonis, which flowed through Byblos, ran red with blood each year on the festival of his death. The Greeks worshipped him as a god of vegetation and made him the son of an incestuous relationship between Myrrha or Smyrna and her father, Theias, king of Syria, or Cinyras, king of Cyprus—the girl’s punishment for refusing to honor Aphrodite. Under the cover of darkness, her nurse helped her to satisfy her craving, but when her father discovered the trick he tried to kill her. The gods rescued her by transforming her into a myrrh tree. In due course the tree gave birth to Adonis, who was brought up by nymphs.

He was such a handsome youth that Aphrodite became infatuated with him, but he was killed while hunting, either by the jealous Hephaistos, Aphrodite’s husband, or by a boar (according to the Phoenician legend) on Mount Idalion or Mount Lebanon. This boar may have been sent, for unknown reasons, by Artemis and may have been Ares in animal form. From his spilled blood sprang the anemone. Aphrodite mourned his passing so keenly that the gods called a dispensation on death, but Persephone, having restored him back to life in Hades, had also fallen for his beauty. To resolve the problem Zeus decreed that Adonis should spend half of the year on earth with Aphrodite, the other half with

Persephone in the Underworld. His death and subsequent resurrection were celebrated in the cult of the winter-spring rhythm of nature. In Athens and elsewhere a spring festival was celebrated by women in which small trays, known as Gardens of Adonis, were planted with lettuces, watered until they sprouted, and then left to wither and die. The rite symbolized the transience of the life of vegetation.

A variant of this story says that Adonis was brought up in the Underworld by Persephone, who refused to return him because of his beauty, this alone being the reason for his spending part of the year above earth, part below. The lengths of time are variously given, the most common being half above and half below, but others say that Adonis spent two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite in the land of the living, one-third in the dark realm of the Underworld.

He seems to have been identified with the Egyptian god of the Underworld, Osiris, and is called Tammuz in the Holy Bible (see Ezek. 8:14).

Astronomical: The name Adonis has been applied to one of the asteroids.



King of Argos, the son of Talaus. Adrastus fled to Sicyon, where the king bequeathed him the kingdom when Talaus was murdered during a riot by Amphiaraus, his cousin. He and Amphiaraus made their peace when Adrastus offered the hand of his daughter, Eriphyle, to his cousin, and returned to become king of Argos. Both Polyneices of Thebes, who married Adrastus’s daughter Argia, and Tydeus of Calydon, who married Argia’s sister, Dei-phyle, sought refuge at his court, and together with Capaneus, Hippomedon, Parthen-opaeus, the son of Meleager and Atalanta, and Amphiaraus, Adrastus led the expedition of the Seven Against Thebes, even though Amphiaraus, a seer, had prophesied death for all the leaders save Adrastus.

His six companions were killed during the campaign, and Adrastus alone escaped and took refuge in Athens. Ten years later he accompanied a second expedition of the sons of the previous champions (the Epigoni) against Thebes, and this time they won. Polyneices’ son Thersander became king of Thebes, but Adrastus’s own son, Aegialeos, was killed, and Adrastus died from his grief at Megara.

In Sicyon Adrastus was venerated as a hero and an object of cult worship until the tyrant Cleisthenes, at war with Athens, transferred the cult to Dionysos.



Name given to the descendants of Aeacus.



The son of Zeus and the nymph Aegina. He was born on the island of Oenone (later to be called Aegina), and to populate it he asked Zeus to turn its numerous ants into people, which were called Myrmidones (or Myrmidons), from myrmex, or "ant." He was the father of Telamon and Peleus by Endeis and thus the grandfather of Achilles, who led the Myrmidones to Troy. By the Nereid Psamanthe he was the father of Phocus (Seal). Telamon and Peleus killed their half-brother with a discus, so Aeacus expelled them from Aegina.

He helped Apollo and Poseidon build the walls of Troy; another time, when all of Greece was struck by a terrible drought and the Delphic Oracle pronounced that only the prayers of Aeacus could relieve it, he climbed Mount Panhellenion on his island home of Aegina, prayed to Zeus, and was rewarded with success.

So virtuous was his life that after death he became one of the three judges of the Underworld, along with the brothers Minos and Rhadamanthus.



The island home of the enchantress Circe, daughter of Helios and Perse. When the sole surviving ship of Odysseus landed on the island, the men he sent to explore were turned into swine by Circe; of these men, only Eurylochus returned unaltered to tell Odysseus the news. Hastening to their rescue, Odysseus was given the plant moly by Hermes, and this vanquished Circe’s charms. She restored Odysseus’s men and then lavishly entertained them for a year.



The daughter of Pandareus, wife of Zethus, king of Thebes, and mother by him of Itylus. Aedon was envious of Niobe, the wife of Zethus’s brother, Amphion, who had a family of 12, and she resolved to kill Niobe’s eldest son. However, she mistakenly killed her own son, Itylus, and her constant lamentation induced Zeus to change her into a nightingale, whose song still mourns for Itylus.



King of Colchis, father of Medea and her half-brother, Absyrtus. He had been given the Golden Fleece of the ram that carried Phrixus to safety and had hung the fleece on an oak tree in the sacred grove of Ares, where it was guarded by a sleepless dragon (Draco?).

When Jason and the Argonauts arrived in Colchis on their quest, Aeetes promised that he would give Jason the fleece provided he could yoke together a pair of fire-breathing bulls with brazen feet, the work of Hephaistos, plough the field of Ares, and sow it with the dragon’s teeth left over from the time Cadmos sowed them at Thebes. It was the sorceress-princess, Medea, who enabled Jason to accomplish this terrible feat. She had fallen instantly in love with Jason and promised to help him if he would swear, by all the gods, to marry her and remain faithful. This he did, and she gave him a fire-resistant lotion that enabled him to complete the task. However, Aeetes then failed to keep his promise, so Medea charmed the dragon to sleep while Jason took down the fleece, and they fled together in the Argo Navis.

Aeetes gave chase, but Medea, who had taken the young Absyrtus with them, killed and cut up the youth and threw the pieces of his body over the side of the ship. Aeetes stopped to collect these parts of the corpse for burial, and the fugitives thus escaped.



Another name for Briareus.

Aegean Sea


That part of the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Asia Minor, subdivided into the Thracian Sea in the north, the Myrtoan in the west, the Icarian in the east, and the Cretan in the south. It is connected via the Dardanelles (Hellespont) with the Sea of Marmara.

The Aegean Sea is reputedly named after the legendary King Aegeus who, believing that his son, Theseus, had been killed, threw himself into the sea and drowned.



One of the four sons of Pandion. Originally childless, he consulted the Delphic Oracle, which told him that he should not loosen the spout of the wineskin until he returned to Athens. Unsure about the meaning of this ambiguous oracle, Aegeus consulted Pit-theus, king of Troizen (Troezen); in response Pittheus made him drunk and gave him his daughter, Aethra, to lie with, and thus Theseus was conceived. Some said that she was visited on the same night by Poseidon and that Theseus was really the son of Poseidon. Aegeus told Aethra, before leaving for Athens, to bring up her son without revealing the identity of his father; he also said that when the boy was big enough he was to move a certain rock, underneath which he would find Aegeus’s sandals and sword as a token of paternity.

When Theseus was of age, Aethra showed him the sandals and sword, an heirloom of Cecrops; Theseus, able to lift the rock, recovered the tokens and proceeded to Athens.

Meanwhile, Aegeus had married Medea, who had fled to Athens for safety from Corinth, and they had borne a son, Medus. When Theseus arrived Medea recognized him; jealous for her own son, she attempted to poison him. Luckily Aegeus recognized Cecrops’s sword in the nick of time and welcomed his son amid great rejoicing. Medea fled, taking Medus with her, and Theseus scattered other rivals—the fifty sons of Pallas, nephew of Aegeus, who had hoped to succeed him to the throne.

During the Panathenaic Games a son of Minos, Androgeos, won every contest but was slain at the instigation of Aegeus. In revenge Minos invaded Attica, thus originating the annual tribute of youths and maidens to be fed to the Minotaur. Some accounts number these as high as fifty youths and fifty maidens, but the most common number is seven of each. Theseus determined to end this barbaric tribute and sailed as a member of one year’s tribute to kill the Minotaur, promising his father that his ship would carry black sails on its return if he had failed, white ones to signify success. However, Theseus, in his joy at overcoming the Minotaur and returning home to his father, forgot this promise, and Aegeus, seeing the black sails and thinking his son had perished, threw himself from the southwest corner of the Acropolis into the sea, which thenceforth bore his name, the Aegean Sea.

Aegial~eos, ~eus


One of the Epigoni, the son of Adrastus, who was killed before the walls of Thebes during the second campaign of the Seven Against Thebes; upon hearing of his death his father, Adrastus, died of grief in Megara.



1. Greek A^yna or A^yina. An island in the Gulf of Aegina about 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Piraeus with an area of 83 square kilometers (32 square miles). It was originally called Oenone but became known as Aegina after the daughter of Asophus, Aegina, gave birth to Aeacus, the son of Zeus, there.

Commercially very active, this island is distinctive for striking the silver tortoises that were to become the first Greek—indeed, European— coinage sometime in the seventh century B.C. The island also provides a fine scenic setting for the temple of Aphaia (built c. 490 B.C.), a goddess who seems to have been connected with Artemis and was the protector of women, having been pursued from Crete by Minos.

The island was conquered and colonized by Athens in the fifth century B.C., and in 1811 remarkable sculptures were recovered from a Doric temple situated in the northeast of the island (restored by Thorwaldsen) and taken to Munich. Between 1828 and 1829, Aegina was the capital of Greece.

2. The daughter of the river god Asophus who, on the island of Oenone, gave birth to Aeacus, her son by Zeus. Thereafter the island became known as Aegina.

Aegis Greco-Roman The aegis is usually attributed to Zeus/Jupiter and was said to have been the sacred skin of the goat Amalthea, which suckled the infant Zeus; the skin was worn by him or occasionally borrowed by his daughter, Athene/Minerva. Later the word came to mean a shield, although usually the aegis was worn whereas the shield was carried. The aegis was possessed with the power to protect friends and terrify enemies.

Later Athene/Minerva was said to have her own aegis, which in this case was a shield patterned with a border of snakes; having a central petrifying image of the head of the Gorgon Medusa, it is said to have been given to Athene by Perseus.

Next post:

Previous post: