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ActI A meadow by a lake, in fairy-tale times. The water nymph Rusalka sits sadly by

the water as wood nymphs sing and dance. When her father, the Water Sprite, asks

why she is unhappy, she tells him that she fell in love with a human Prince when he

came to swim in the lake. Now she wants to become human herself and live on land

with him. Horrified, the Water Sprite tells her that humans are evil and full of sin.

When Rusalka insists, claiming they are full of love, he says she will have to get help

from the witch Jez?ibaba, then sinks back into the lake in despair. Rusalka calls on the

moon to tell the Prince of her love. Jez?ibaba arrives and agrees to turn Rusalka into

a human—but warns her that if she doesn’t find love she will be damned and the

man she loves will die. Also, by becoming mortal, she will lose her power of speech.

Convinced that her feelings for the Prince can overcome all spells, Rusalka agrees

and Jez?ibaba gives her a potion to drink. As dawn breaks, the Prince appears with

a hunting party and finds Rusalka by the lake. Even though she won’t speak to him,

he is captivated by her beauty and leads her away to his castle. From the lake, the

voices of the Water Sprite and the other water nymphs are heard, mourning the loss

of Rusalka.

ActII The Prince’s castle. The Gamekeeper and the Kitchen Boy talk about the

approaching wedding of the Prince and his strange new bride, whose name nobody

knows. The Prince enters with Rusalka. He wonders why she is so cold toward him

but remains determined to win her. A Foreign Princess, who has come for the

wedding, mocks Rusalka’s silence and reproaches the Prince for ignoring his guests.

The Prince sends Rusalka away to dress for the ball and escorts the Princess into the

castle for the beginning of the festivities.

In the deserted garden, the Water Sprite appears from the pool. Rusalka, who has

become more and more intimidated by her surroundings, rushes from the castle in

tears. Suddenly recovering her voice, she begs her father to help her, telling him that

the Prince no longer loves her. The Prince and the Princess come into the garden,

and the Prince confesses his love for her. When Rusalka intervenes, rushing into his

arms, he rejects her. The Water Sprite warns the Prince of the fate that awaits him,

then disappears into the pool with Rusalka. The Prince asks the Princess for help but

she ridicules him and tells him to follow his bride into hell.

ActIII The meadow by the lake. Rusalka sits by the lake once again, lamenting her

fate. Jez?ibaba appears and mocks her, then hands her a knife and explains that

there is a way to save herself: she must kill the Prince. Rusalka refuses, throwing the

weapon into the water. When her sisters reject her as well, she sinks into the lake in

despair. The Gamekeeper and the Kitchen Boy arrive to ask Jez?ibaba for help. The

Prince, they say, has been bewitched by a strange wood girl he was going to marry.

Enraged, the Water Sprite rises from the lake, saying that it was the Prince who

deceived Rusalka. Terrified by the supernatural sight, the two run away. The Wood

Nymphs enter, singing and dancing, but when the Water Sprite explains to them

what has happened to Rusalka, they fall silent and disappear.

The Prince, desperate and half crazy with remorse, emerges from the forest,

looking for Rusalka and calling out for her to return to him. She appears from the

water, reproaching him for his infidelity, and explains that now a kiss from her would

kill him. Accepting his destiny, he asks her to kiss him to give him peace. She does,

and he dies in her arms. Rusalka asks for mercy on his soul and sinks into the water.



Today I am going to write about the Rusalka, I hope that you will see why I find ghostly nymph so beautiful, and that is why I chose to write about her to share her with my readers. So lets begin. In Slavic mythology, a rusalka (plural: rusalki or rusalky) is a female ghost, water nymph, succubus, or mermaid-like demon that dwelt in a waterway. According to most traditions, the rusalki were fish-women, who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, mesmerize them, then lead them to the river floor to their death. In most versions, the rusalka is an unquiet dead being, associated with the "unclean force." According to Zelenin peope who die violently and before their time, such as young women who commit suicide because they have been jilted by their lovers, or unmarried women who are pregnant, must love out their designated time on earth as a spirit. The ghostly version is the soul of a young woman who had died in or near a river or a lake and came back to haunt that waterway. This undead rusalka is not invariably malevolent, and will be allowed to die in peace if her death is avenged. Rusalki can also come from unbaptized children, often those who were born out of wedlock and drowned by their mothers for that reason. Baby rusalki supposedly wander the forest begging to be baptized so they can have peace. They are not necessarily innocent however, and can attack a human foolish enough to approach them. While her primary dwelling place was the body of water in which she died, the rusalka could come out of the water at night, climb a tree, and sit there singing songs, sit on a dock and comb her hair, or join other rusalki in circle dances (Polish: korowody) in the field. Though in some versions of the myth, their eyes shine like green fire, others describe them with extremely pale and translucent skin, and no visible pupils. Her hair is sometimes depicted as green or golden, and often perpetually wet. The Rusalka could not live long on dry land, but with her comb she was always safe, for it gave her the power of conjure water when she needed it. According to some legends, should the rusalka's hair dry out she will die. Rusalki like to have men and children join in their games. they can do so by enticing men with their singing and then drowning the, while the children were often lured with baskets of fruit. Men seduced by a rusalka could die in her arms, and in some versions hearing her laugh could also cause death. Alternatively, they would attract men, mainly bachelors, and tickle them to death. Specifics pertaining to rusalki differed between regions. Although in most tales they lived without men, in Ukraine they were often linked with water, while in Belarus they were linked with the forest and field. Where land was fertile, the maidens appeared naked and beautiful. In harsher areas of Russia, they appeared as "large breasted amazons." Often in the north, they were ugly and covered in hair. The rusalki were believed to be at their most dangerous during the Rusalka Week (Rusal'naia) in early June. At this time, they were supposed to have left their watery depths in order to swing on branches of birch and willow trees by night. Swimming during this week was strictly forbidden lest mermaids would drag a swimmer down to the river floor. A common feature of the celebration of Rusal'naia was the ritual banishment of burial of the rusalka at the end of the week, which remained as entertainment in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine until the 1930s. The rusalki has also  been in tons of fiction and some of the fiction the rusalka/rusalki are in are as follows. The novel Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay features being called riselka that are based on rusalki. The Rusalka trilogy novels by C. J. Cherryh feature and revolve around a rusalka named Eveshka. The third story "A Grain of Truth" from the short story collection The Last Wish by Andzej. Sapkowski features a bruxa, named Vereena who is intially mistaken for a rusalka. Rusalka is an opera by Antonin Dvarak. Rusalka is an opera by Alexander Dargomyzahsky. The third tale "May Night, or the Drowned Maiden" from the short story collection Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka by Nikolai Gogol. The short story "Byezhin Prairie" in A Sportsman's Sketches by Ivan Turgenev has a mention of an encounter with a rusalka. The second tale "Urchins, While Swimming" from the short story collection Ventriloquism by Catherynne M. Valente, feature a rusalka and her daughter. It is perhaps of note that the creatures from Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid were translated as "rusalka" The video game Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia features a boss called "Rusalka" who attacks the player with water and giant waves. The video game Quest for Glory 4 features a "rusalka" who the player (only as Paladin) can choose to set her soul to rest by destroying the spirit of the man who murdered her (found out to be a miserly wraith guarding his treasure) One of Alexander Pushkins's short tragedies is titled "Rusalka." It features a young woman who, drowning herself after being jilted by her love the prince, becomes a rusalkas' queen. The play is unfinished; the title was given by editors after Pushkin's death. The Magic: the Gathering card Guildpact features five "Rusalka" creatures. Each is a female ghost with an ability relating to the way she died. In the 2010 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops, the Rusalka is a Cuba-based Soviet cargo ship housing an underwater broadcast station. Poul Anderson's novel The Mermaid Children features a rusalka. Rusalkas and Vilas are mentioned in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods traveling together to Lookout Mountain to assist the Old Gods in the battle with the New Gods. In the video game Devil May Cry 4, the Rusalka is a puppet used by "Bael & Dagon" to attract victims. "Rusalka" is the title of a track in the album Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Do What Thou Wilt) by the Greek Black Metal band Rotting Christ. "Rusalka" is used in American post-hardcore band Alesana's single from their yet untitled album. And that is just some. And now this post is over, so as always if you would like to know more about rusalka then you can go to and if you liked this post then follow my blog and share it with friends and family so they can enjoy it as well. Also if you have any request then please ask I always take request and would be happy to write a post for you.



Ruskala is apparently another freshwater spirit in the form of a beautiful young maiden with long golden hair. She loves to dance in the moonlight, sometimes followed by smaller soirits who help her dress and adorn herself with flowers. One folktale about her is similar to Han's Christian Anderson's-The Little Mermaid.

I think I like this version best.

"Trolls, Elves and Fairies" by Jan Slovak- inspired



The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece. A myth is defined as a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form, within the field of folkloristics. Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways.In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any story originating within traditions.

The Olympian Gods and Goddesses

In Greek mythology, twelve gods and goddesses ruled the universe from atop Greece's Mount Olympus. These Olympians had come to power after their leader, Zeus, overthrew his father, Kronos, leader of the Titans. All the Olympians are related to one another. The Romans adopted most of these Greek gods and goddesses, but with new names.

Zeus (Roman name: Jupiter)

The most powerful of all, Zeus was god of the sky and the king of Olympus. His temper affected the weather, and he threw thunderbolts when he was unhappy. He was married to Hera but had many other lovers. His symbols include the oak and the thunderbolt.

Hera (Roman name: Juno)

Hera was goddess of marriage and the queen of Olympus. She was Zeus's wife and sister; many myths tell of how she sought revenge when Zeus betrayed her with his lovers. Her symbols include the peacock and the cow.

HERA was the Olympian queen of the gods and the goddess of women and marriage. She was also a goddess of the sky and starry heavens. She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. Sometimes she held a royal lion or had a cuckoo or hawk as her familiar.

Some of the more famous myths featuring the goddess include:--

  • Her marriage to Zeus and her earlier seduction by the god in the guise of a cuckoo bird;
  • The birth of Hephaistos who she produced alone and cast from heaven because he was crippled;
  • Her persecution of the consorts of Zeus, especially Leto, Semele and Alkmene;
  • Her persecution of Herakles and Dionysos, the favourite bastard sons of Zeus;
  • The punishment of Ixion, who was chained to a fiery wheel for attempting to violate the goddess;
  • The assisting of the Argonauts in their quest for the golden fleece, their leader Jason being one of her favourites;
  • The judgement of Paris, in which she competed against Aphrodite and Athene for the prize of the golden apple;
  • The Trojan War, in which she assisted the Greeks.



Poseidon (Roman name: Neptune)

Poseidon was god of the sea. He was the most powerful god except for his brother, Zeus. He lived in a beautiful palace under the sea and caused earthquakes when he was in a temper. His symbols include the horse and the trident (a three-pronged pitchfork).

POSEIDON (Poseidôn), the god of the Mediterranean sea. His name seems to be connected with potos, pontos and potamos, according to which he is the god of the fluid element. (Müller, Proleg. p. 290.)

He was a son of Cronos and RheaHe was accordingly a brother of Zeus, Hades, Hera, Hestia and Demeter, and it was determined by lot that he should rule over the sea.  Like his brothers and sisters, he was, after his birth, swallowed by his father Cronos, but thrown up again.

According to others, he was concealed by Rhea, after his birth, among a flock of lambs, and his mother pretended to have given birth to a young horse, which she gave to Cronos to devour. A well in the neighbourhood of Mantineia, where this is said to have happened, was believed, from this circumstance, to have derived the name of the "Lamb's Well," or Arne. According to Tzetzes   the nurse of Poseidon bore the name of Arne; when Cronos searched after his son, Arne is said to have declared that she knew not where he was, and from her the town of Arne was believed to have received its name. According to others, again, he was brought up by the Telchines at the request of Rhea.

Hades (Roman name: Pluto)


Hades was king of the dead. He lived in the underworld, the heavily guarded land where he ruled over the dead. He was the brother of Zeus and the husband of Persephone, Demeter's daughter, whom he kidnapped.

After the war with the Titans, Zeus divided the world between himself and his brothers Poseidon and Hades. Zeus ruled the sky and the living; Poseidon ruled the Seas and all who travelled on it; and Hades ruled the underworld which was the land of the dead.

Hades has a cap made for him by the Cyclopes which renders him invisible. He also has a staff that he uses to guide the souls of the dead into the underworld (though later this task was often assigned to Hermes).

Hades abducted Persephone (daughter of Demeter) to be his wife. Though later Demeter was able to secure her return to the world above, through trickery Hades was able to have her stay in his realm for part of the year.


The Underworld

Normally only those who are dead enter the underworld. All the Gods of Olympus (except for Hermes and Iris who acted as messengers) would not do so. Orpheus, Heracles and Aeneas are the only mortals to venture to that realm and return to the land of the living. Hades seldom left his realm, and then used his cap of invisibility to do so unobserved. Hecate also inhabits the underworld, and this was as a reward for her assistance in recovering Persephone.

The underworld lies deep beneath the earth. There are few entrances from above, and passage to the underworld is normally one way only. There was an oracle to the dead at Thesproti in Thrace. Odysseus when at the ends of the earth consulted the dead seer Tiresias. But while sometimes the living desire to contact the dead, the dead have no point in contacting the living.

Hermes would as psychopomp conduct souls to the underworld, and the Ferryman Charon would also ferry them across Oceanus to the gates of bronze. Once through the gates there was no return to the land of the living. Oceanus is the world sea, and surrounds both the land of the living and the land of the dead. The rivers of Acheron, Cocytus, Phlegethon and Styx all run into Oceanus.

The dead appear as mere shadows and if touched appear to be thin air. They only regain the power of thought and recognition after drinking sacrificial blood. Those that died and were unburied had to wait for 100 years near the gates until Charon would pass them any further.

Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus)

Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, and the protector of sailors. She may have been the daughter of Zeus and the Titan Dione, or she may have risen from the sea on a shell. Her symbols include the myrtle tree and the dove.



by Micha F. Lindemans

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture. According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros ("sea foam") arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her to either Cyprus or Cythera. Hence she is often referred to as Kypris and Cytherea. Homer calls her a daughter of Zeus and Dione.

After her birth, Zeus was afraid that the gods would fight over Aphrodite's hand in marriage so he married her off to the smith god Hephaestus, the steadiest of the gods. He could hardly believe his good luck and used all his skills to make the most lavish jewels for her. He made her a girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magic into the filigree work. That was not very wise of him, for when she wore her magic girdle no one could resist her, and she was all too irresistible already. She loved gaiety and glamour and was not at all pleased at being the wife of sooty, hard-working Hephaestus.

Aphrodite loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis. Some of her sons are Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios and Aeneas (with her Trojan lover Anchises). She is accompanied by the Graces.



Apollo was the god of music and healing. He was also an archer, and hunted with a silver bow. Apollo was the son of Zeus and the Titan Leto, and the twin of Artemis. His symbols include the laurel tree, the crow, and the dolphin.



by Ron Leadbetter

The son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo was the god of music (principally the lyre, and he directed the choir of the Muses) and also of prophecy, colonization, medicine, archery (but not for war or hunting), poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry and the carer of herds and flocks. He was also a god of light, known as "Phoebus" (radiant or beaming, and he was sometimes identified with Helios the sun god). He was also the god of plague and was worshiped as Smintheus (from sminthos, rat) and as Parnopius (from parnops, grasshopper) and was known as the destroyer of rats and locust, and according to Homer's Iliad, Apollo shot arrows of plague into the Greek camp. Apollo being the god of religious healing would give those guilty of murder and other immoral deeds a ritual purification. Sacred to Apollo are the swan (one legend says that Apollo flew on the back of a swan to the land of the Hyperboreans, he would spend the winter months among them), the wolf and the dolphin. His attributes are the bow and arrows, on his head a laurel crown, and the cithara (or lyre) and plectrum. But his most famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers.


Ares (Roman name: Mars)



Ares was the god of war. He was both cruel and a coward. Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, but neither of his parents liked him. His symbols include the vulture and the dog, and he often carried a bloody spear.

ARES was the great Olympian god of war, battlelust, civil order and manly courage. In Greek art he was depicted as either a mature, bearded warrior dressed in battle arms, or a nude beardless youth with helm and spear. Because of his lack of distinctive attributes he is often difficult to identify in classical art.

Some of the more famous myths featuring the god include:--

  • His adulterous affair with Aphrodite in which the pair were trapped in a net laid by her husband Hephaistos;
  • The slaying of Adonis, his rival for the love of Aphrodite, in the guise of a boar;
  • The transformation of Kadmos of Thebes and his wife Harmonia into serpents;
  • The murder of Hallirhothios to avenge his daughter's rape and his subsequent trial in the court of the Areiopagos;
  • The arrest of Sisyphos, an impious man who kidnapped the god Death;
  • The battle of Herakles and Kyknos in which the god intervened in support of his son;
  • His support of the Amazones, warrior daughters of the god;
  • His capture by the Aloadai giants who imprisoned him in a bronze jar;
  • The Trojan War in which he was wounded by Diomedes in battle with the help of Athene.

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Heroes in Greek Mythology


Achilles was the strongest and most fearless warrior in the Greek war against the Trojans. As an infant his mother dipped him into the River Styx, which made him invulnerable everywhere but the heel by which she held him. For ten years Achilles was a great hero in the Trojan War. But in the end Paris, son of the Trojan king, fatally wounded Achilles in the heel. Today, the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone is called the Achilles tendon, and a small but dangerous weakness is known as an “Achilles heel.”

When Achilles was a boy, the seer Calchas prophesied that the city of Troy could not be taken without his help. Thetis knew that, if her son went to Troy, he would die an early death, so she sent him to the court of Lycomedes, in Scyros; there he was hidden, disguised as a young girl. During his stay he had an affair with Lycomedes' daughter, Deidameia, and she had a son, Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus), by him. Achilles' disguise was finally penetrated by Odysseus, who placed arms and armor amidst a display of women's finery and seized upon Achilles when he was the only "maiden" to be fascinated by the swords and shields. Achilles then went willingly with Odysseus to Troy, leading a host of his father's Myrmidons and accompanied by his tutor Phoenix and his close friend Patroclus. At Troy, Achilles distinguished himself as an undefeatable warrior.

Hercules (Herakles)



Brave and powerful Hercules is perhaps the most loved of all Greek heroes. The son of Zeus and Alcmene (a granddaughter of Perseus), Heracles grew up to become a famed warrior. But Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, made him temporarily insane, and he killed his wife and children. As punishment Heracles performed twelve seemingly impossible labors (see The Twelve Labors of Hercules), which have been the subject of countless works of art and drama. Heracles is often depicted wearing a lion skin and wielding a club.

Hercules was both the most famous hero of ancient times and the most beloved. More stories were told about him than any other hero. Hercules was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome.


Zeus and Alcmene

There are as many different versions of Hercules' life story as there are storytellers. Differences between the Disney movie version and other versions include the explanation of who Hercules' parents were, and why he had to perform the 12 Labors. Zeus, Hercules' father, was the most powerful of the gods. That meant Zeus could do anything he pleased, but it also meant that sometimes Zeus was not a very good husband to his wife, Hera, the queen of the gods.

Zeus fell in love with a beautiful Greek woman named Alcmene [Alk-ME-ne]. When Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, was away, Zeus made her pregnant. This made Hera so angry that she tried to prevent the baby from being born. When Alcmene gave birth to the baby anyway, she named him Herakles. (The Romans pronounced the name "Hercules," and so do we today.) The name Herakles means "glorious gift of Hera" in Greek, and that got Hera angrier still. Then she tried to kill the baby by sending snakes into his crib. But little Hercules was one strong baby, and he strangled the snakes, one in each hand, before they could bite him.

Hera remained angry. How could she get even? Hera knew that she would lose in a fight, and that she wasn't powerful enough to prevent Zeus from having his way. Hera decided to pay Zeus back for his infidelity by making the rest of Hercules' life as miserable as she could.


Jason was the leader of the Argonauts, the 50 heroes who sailed in search of the Golden Fleece. Jason's uncle, Pelias, had stolen the kingdom that should belong to Jason. He promised to return it only if Jason would bring home the Golden Fleece—the wool from the magical winged ram that became the constellation Aries. On their journey Jason and the Argonauts faced down such dangers as the deadly singing Sirens. They ultimately captured the fleece with the help of the sorceress Medea, who became Jason's wife.

Odysseus (Ulysses)


King of Ithaca and a celebrated warrior, Odysseus helped the Greeks triumph in the Trojan War. Afterward he journeyed nearly ten years to return home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope. Along the way Odysseus's courage and cleverness saved him and his men from such monsters as the Cyclops Polyphemus, the Sirens, and Scylla and Charybdis. Back in Ithaca, Odysseus proved his identity to Penelope and once again ruled his homeland. These adventures are told in Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey.

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Monsters in Greek Mythology



Argus may have had as many as one hundred eyes, which were located all over his body. Hera employed him as a guard. He was killed by Hermes. Afterward, Hera put Argus's eyes in the tail of the peacock, her favorite bird.


Cerberus was a huge and powerful three-headed dog. He was owned by Hades, god of the dead, who used the fearsome hound to guard the entrance to the underworld. In his final labor, Hercules went to the underworld and kidnapped Cerberus.



Each of the Cyclopes was gigantic and had a single eye in the middle of its forehead. The Cyclopes made lightning and thunderbolts for Zeus to use. The brutal Polyphemus, a Cyclops and a son of Poseidon, lived on an island, where he was blinded by Odysseus.

The Cyclopes were gigantic one eyed monsters. The most famous is Polyphemus, the Cyclops blinded by Odysseus. Hesiod mentions only three (not a race or tribe): Arges (thunderbolt), Steropes (lightning), and Brontes (thunder), obviously storm gods.They were born to Gaea and Uranus. They were also the first smiths. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. The were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans. As a reward for their release the Cyclopes gave Zeus his weapons of lighting and thunder. They continued as his workers at Mount Olympus forging his thunerbolts

Arges was killed by Hermes while he guarded Io for Hera

Apollo killed at least one of the Cyclopes to retribution for Zeus killing his son Aesculapius.





by Micha F. Lindemans In Greek mythology a Gorgon is a monstrous feminine creature whose appearance would turn anyone who laid eyes upon it to stone. Later there were three of them: Euryale ("far-roaming"), Sthenno ("forceful"), and Medusa ("ruler"), the only one of them who was mortal. They are the three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto.

The Gorgons are monstrous creatures covered with impenetrable scales, with hair of living snakes, hands made of brass, sharp fangs and a beard. They live in the ultimate west, near the ocean, and guard the entrance to the underworld.

A stone head or picture of a Gorgon was often placed or drawn on temples and graves to avert the dark forces of evil, but also on the shields of soldiers. Such a head (called a gorgoneion) could also be found on the older coins of Athens. Artists portrayed a Gorgon head with snake hair, and occasionally with a protruding tongue and wings.

The Gorgons were horrifyingly ugly monsters who lived at the edge of the world. Their hair was made of serpents, and one look from a Gorgon's eyes would turn a man to stone. Perseus killed the Gorgon Medusa by beheading her while looking only at her reflection.

The Hydra


The Hydra was a massive and poisonous serpent with nine heads. Every time one head was injured, another two grew in its place. Hercules sought out the monster in its dark marsh and succeeded in destroying it.


The Minotaur was a man-eating monster with the head of a bull. King Minos kept it hidden in a labyrinth (a maze) in Knossos, on the island of Crete, where he used it to frighten his enemies. Theseus killed the Minotaur.


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The Nine Muses

The Nine Muses were Greek goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences and offered inspiration in those subjects. They were the daughters of Zeus, lord of all gods, and Mnemosyne, who represented memory. Memory was important for the Muses because in ancient times, when there were no books, poets had to carry their work in their memories.

Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.


Clio was the muse of history.

Erato was the muse of love poetry.

Euterpe was the muse of music.

Melpomene was the muse of tragedy.

Polyhymnia was the muse of sacred poetry.

Terpsichore was the muse of dance.

Thalia was the muse of comedy.

Urania was the muse of astronomy.




Gods and Goddesses Around the World


  • Huitzilopochtli was the god of the sun and of war. He was the patron god of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, where Mexico City now stands. The Aztecs built a great temple there in his honor and sacrificed many humans to him.
  • Coatlicue was the goddess of the earth and the mother of all the gods. She also gave birth to the moon and stars. In Tenochtitlán the Aztecs carved a gigantic stone statue of her wearing a necklace made of human hearts and hands.
  • Chicomecoatl was the goddess of corn and fertility. So important was corn to the Aztecs that she was also known as “the goddess of nourishment.”
  • Quetzalcoatl was the god of learning. A wise god, he helped to create the universe and humankind and later invented agriculture and the calendar. He is often depicted as a magnificent feathered serpent.


  • Ra was the supreme god and the god of the sun. The early pharaohs claimed to be descended from him. He sometimes took the form of a hawk or a lion.
  • Nut represented the heavens and helped to put the world in order. She had the ability to swallow stars and the pharaohs and cause them to be born again. She existed before all else had been created.
  • Osiris was the god of the underworld and the judge of the dead. He was associated with the continuity of life and was often shown wearing mummy wrappings.
  • Isis invented agriculture. She was the goddess of law, healing, motherhood and fertility. She came to be seen as a kind of Mother Earth figure.
  • Horus was a sky god who loved goodness and light. The son of Osiris and Isis, he was sometimes depicted as a young child.
  • Thoth was the god of wisdom and magic. He was believed to have invented writing, astronomy and other arts, and served as a scribe to the gods.
  • Nephthys was the goddess of the dead. She was a kind and understanding companion to the newly dead as well as to those left behind.

See also Egyptian Mythology.


  • Hunahpu was a god of the sun and the father of the first humans. A great hero, with his brother he defeated the forces of death and went on to rule in the heavens.
  • Hurakan was the god of storms and winds. When the first humans made him angry, he swept them away in a violent flood. The word “hurricane” comes from his name.
  • Ixchel was the goddess of the moon and the protector of pregnant women. She was often depicted as an old woman wearing a full skirt and holding a serpent.
  • Chac was the god of agriculture and a great friend to humankind. He brought them rain and used his vast tail and fangs to protect planted fields.
  • Itzamna was the state god of the Mayan empire and the founder of its people. Corn, chocolate, writing and calendars were among his many gifts to them.


  • Odin was the supreme god and, along with his brothers Vili and Ve, the creator of the world. He was also the ruler of war and wisdom.
  • Frigg was the goddess of the sky, marriage and motherhood. It was believed that she knew the fate of each person, but kept it a close secret.
  • Loki was the god of mischief and death. He liked to invent horrible ways to harm the other gods. His nastiness and trickery earned him many an enemy.
  • Freyja was the goddess of love and fertility. She was very beautiful and enjoyed music and song. Fairies were among her most beloved companions.
  • Balder was the god of light, peace and joy. A kind and gentle god, he was slain in a plot hatched by Loki. He was greatly mourned, especially by his parents, Odin and Frigg.