Nemesid (The Mythology of the Modern World)

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Now that's loyalty. Meaning : Paradise Greek Myth : The Greeks did not believe in a heaven and hell per se; instead, their dead went to the realm of the god Hades.


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Elysium, also known as "Isle of the Blessed", was where the exceptional humans were sent; most mere mortals became mere "shades" upon their deaths. A few worthless beings ended their being in Tartarus, the closest equivalent to hell in Greek mythology.

IV. Examples of Nemesis in Literature

Meaning : Any one person causing disaster, especially war. Greek Myth : This is a direct reference to Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world. The abduction of her by the Trojan prince Paris caused Menelaus, her husband, to declare war on Troy. Because of prior alliances, eventually all of the Argives Greeks were involved; thus, Helen's beauty had "launched a thousand ships" into war.

Meaning : Evitable, predestined turn of events. Based on the Greek notion of the "thread of life", the Fates are representated as spinners. Lachesis allots each man a length of the thread of life, Clotho spins it, and Atropos severs it. No one — not even Zeus, ruler of the gods — could alter their decisions. Meaning : Lucious, unbelievably delicious delicacies. Greek Myth : Nector and ambrosia were what the gods normally ate they could, of course, eat almost anything, including humans.

If a mortal were to eat the ambrosia nector was the drink he or she would be rendered immortal. Meaning : Intense, uncontrollable anger. Greek Myth : The Furies were the "avengers", so to speak, of crimes. They would pursue anyone with bloodstained hands; they are particularly cruel to Orestes after the murder of Clytemnestra, his mother.

Some scholars believe the Furies represent one's own tormented conscious. Meaning : Large, massive beings Greek Myth : Giants were an enormous race whose existence began when Uranus, the first king of gods, was castrated by his son Cronus.


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Cronus was a Titan and the father of the gods; the Titans were therefore the "original" gods and actually aunts and uncles of them. Both Giants and Titans went to war with the gods, with the gods crushing both. Meaning : An extremely perplexing puzzle or problem. Greek Myth : Legend mixes with mythology with this term. King Gordius of Phrygia tied the knot and it was destined that whomever could untie it revealed himself as the future lord of Asia. After many frustrating attempts to untie it, Alexander the Great finally sliced the knot with his sword, proving it would take brute force to eventually capture Asia.

Thus, to cut the Gordian knot means to solve a puzzle in a powerful, decisive manner. Meaning : A severely ugly woman. Greek Myth : The Gorgons were three sisters who were so repulsive looking that their very gaze would turn a man to stone. Although they had apparently always been that way, there is a myth that one sister, Medusa, actually had been beautiful once; she was caught making love to the god Poseidon in the temple of Athena.

Athena caught the lovers and immediately changed Medusa into a horrid Gorgon. Meaning : Incessantly bother.

Fascinating Classical Myths Which Are Still Relevant Today

Greek Myth : Jason, in quest for the golden fleece, encounters King Phineus, who is continually tormented by Harpies. The Harpies are winged creatures whose origins might actually represent wind spirits. To King Phineus, the Harpies are grotesque women who constantly snatch his food and drink and will not let him be. What the "action pack" show may not tell you is that Heracles was obligated to fulfill twelve tasks, called the Labors of Heracles. Any effort we nowadays may deem as tremendous can be attributed as "Herculean", or great, and is associated with the Labors.

Meaning : Possessing both male and female genitalia. Greek Myth : Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. The nymph Salmacis fell in love with him, but he rejected her. She entertwined her arms around him and held tight; the gods molded the two bodies together, never to part. Two sexes became one. Meaning : Sweltering heat Greek Myth : As previously mentioned, Hades was the ruler of the underworld, and the Greeks did not have a concept of heaven or hell.

However, it might be deduced that perhaps the real origin of this saying may be more appropriately changed to "hot as Tartarus", since that was the place in Hades's realm where punishment was dealt and would have been surely "hot".


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In ancient Athens , hubris was defined as the use of violence to shame the victim this sense of hubris could also characterize rape [6]. Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because of anything that happened to the committer or might happen to the committer, but merely for that committer's own gratification:. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: naive men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater. The concept of honour included not only the exaltation of the one receiving honour, but also the shaming of the one overcome by the act of hubris.

This concept of honour is akin to a zero-sum game. Rush Rehm simplifies this definition of hubris to the contemporary concept of "insolence, contempt, and excessive violence". Claims like these were rarely left unpunished, and so Arachne , a talented young weaver, was transformed into a spider when she said that her skills exceeded those of the goddess Athena.

These events were not limited to myth, and certain figures in history were considered to be have been punished for committing hubris through their arrogance.

The myth of Narcissus, Echo and Narcissus

One such person was king Xerxes as portrayed in Aeschylus's play The Persians , and who allegedly threw chains to bind the Hellespont sea as punishment for daring to destroy his fleet. The goddess Hybris has been described as having "insolent encroachment upon the rights of others".

The word hubris as used in the New Testament parallels the Hebrew word pasha , meaning transgression. It represents a sense of false pride that makes a man defy God, sometimes to the degree that he considers himself an equal.

Hubris, Nemesis and Greek Mythology

In contrast to this, the common word for sin was hamartia , which refers to an error and reflects the complexity of the human condition. Its result is guilt rather than direct punishment as in the case of hubris [14]. In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride combined with arrogance. Sometimes a person's hubris is also associated with ignorance. The accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in Greek mythology.

The proverb "pride goeth goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" from the biblical Book of Proverbs , is thought to sum up the modern use of hubris. Hubris is also referred to as "pride that blinds" because it often causes a committer of hubris to act in foolish ways that belie common sense. Examples of hubris are often found in literature, most famously in John Milton 's Paradise Lost , in which Lucifer attempts to compel the other angels to worship him, is cast into hell by God and the innocent angels, and proclaims: "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

As the time mentioned in the contract with the devil exhausts, the devil takes his soul to Hell, where he suffers eternal damnation. The myth of Narcissus comes in two different versions, the Greek and the Greco-Roman version, as both Conon the Greek and Ovid, the Roman poet, wrote the story of Narcissus, enhancing it with different elements.

According to Conon, Aminias, a young man fell in love with Narcissus, who had already spurned his male suitors. Aminias was also spurned by Narcissus who gave the unfortunate young man a sword. Narcissus was once walking by a lake or river and decided to drink some water; he saw his reflection in the water and was surprised by the beauty he saw; he became entranced by the reflection of himself.