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Greek gods (Apollo, Artemis, Poseidon)

Apollo

Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were the children of Zeus and Leto. Born in the little island of Delos he has been called "the most Greek of all the gods." He is a beautiful figure in Greek poetry, the master musician who delights the gods of Olympus with his golden lyre. He is the Archer- god, master of the silver bow. He is the god of Light, in all the gods, like in men, there is a continuous struggle between good and evil, their light and dark sides, whatever the proportion of one to the other might be; in Apollo there was almost no darkness at all, his primitive and cruel side was shown only briefly and in very few myths. He is also the god of Truth, no false word ever fell from his lips, because of this his oracle at Delphi was very important to people, serving ad a link between men and gods. He was also the Healer- god, who first taught men medicine and the art of healing.

One of his more important daily tasks was to drive the Sun across the sky in his golden chariot. Sometimes he is called the son-god and Helios is said to be one of his many names, but in other myths Helios is separate god, the son of the titan Hyperion. One of Apollo's great deeds for mankind was his killing of the serpent Python, who lived in the caves of Parnassus after the Great Flood, because of this he was sometimes called Pythian. In the Iliad he is also called "the Sminthian," the Mouse-god, but it is unknown whether it was because he protected or destroyed mice.

Apollo is usually shown as a manly, beardless youth of great beauty, his head crowned with laurel leaves, either the bow or his lyre in his hand. His tree was the laurel. Many creatures were sacred to him, chief among them the dolphin and the crow. One of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes, was actually a statue of Apollo. Many festivals were held in his honor, the most famous of which were the Pythian Games, celebrated at Delphi every three years.

He had a huge temple in Didyma which became rival to the one in Delfi.

Artemis

Artemis and her younger twin brother Apollo were the children of Zeus and Leto, born in Delos. She is the lady of the forest and all the wild things, as well as the Huntsman- in-chief to the gods, an odd office for a woman. Like Apollo she hunts with silver arrows. She is one of the three virgin goddesses along with Athena and Hestia. Surprisingly, she also presides over childbirth, this goes back to the fact that she did not cause her mother any pain when she was born. As always in Greek Mythology, she also had her dark side, showing her as fierce and vengeful warrior. For example, although she is the protector of the young, she kept the Greek Fleet from sailing to Troy, until Iphigenia, a royal maiden, daughter of the Commander in Chief Agamemnon was sacrificed to her. All because the Greek soldiers killed one of the creatures, a hare, together with her young. On the other hand, when women died a quick and painless death, they were said to have been slain by Artemis' silver arrows.

Artemis was vindictive and there were many who suffered from her anger. One of her actions was to join Apollo in killing the children on Niobe. Artemis took part in the battle against the Giants, where she killed Gration. She also destroyed the Aloadae and is said to have killed the monster Bouphagus. Other victims of Artemis included Orion and Actaeon, as well as Meleager, who was fated to die as the result of the Calydonian Boar hunt instigated by Artemis.

Artemis was also associated with the moon, and called Phoebe and Selene (Luna in Latin), neither name originally belonged to her. Phoebe was a titan, one of the elder gods. So was Selene, a moon- goddess and sister of Helios, the sun-god often confused with Artemis' brother, Apollo. In the later poems Artemis became associated with another goddess, Hecate, the dark and awful goddess of the lower world. Hecate was the Goddess of the Dark of the Moon, the black nights when the moon is hidden. She was associated with deeds of darkness, the Goddess of the Crossways, which were held to be ghostly places of evil magic; and awful divinity. Thus she became "the goddess with three forms," Selene in the sky, Artemis on earth and Hecate in the lower world as well as in the world above, when it is wrapped in darkness. In Artemis is shown most vividly the uncertainty between good and evil which exists in every god. Ironically, this contrast is least apparent in her brother, the God of Light, Apollo.

Artemis was held in honor in al the wild and mountainous areas of Greece, in Arcadia and in the country of Sparta, in Laconia on Mount Taygetus and in Elis. Her most famous shrine was at Ephesus. Artemis absorbed some cults that involved human sacrifice, such as that practiced in Tauris. She was also the protecting deity of the Amazons who, like her, were warriors and huntresses and independent of men.

The cypress is her tree. All wild animals are scared to her, but especially the deer. She is almost always depicted with her bow and a fawn; and very often, also with Apollo.

Her biggest temple was build in Ephesus which became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the nearby museum of Selcuk you can sea two beautiful marble statues of Artemis Polimastros (with many breasts), as she was called in the Ionian region of Asia Minor.

Poseidon

Poseidon is the ruler of the sea, often called the "Earth- shaker." After Zeus, with his brothers and sisters, defeated the Titans and dethroned Cronus, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades drew lots for one of the three realms to rule. Zeus got the heavens and thus became the supreme ruler, Hades got the underworld and Poseidon got the sea. Poseidon is very powerful, second only to Zeus himself. Poseidon had a magnificent palace beneath the sea, but spent much of his time participating in the festivities in Olympus with the other gods. Poseidon's wife is Amphitrite, granddaughter of the titan Oceanus.

Poseidon, had a very encroaching disposition, he was very dissatisfied with the his share of the world and once even conspired to dethrone Zeus. But his plot was discovered and in punishment Zeus exiled him to earth. There he was to build the walls of Troy in Anatolia for king Laomedon. He was helped by Apollo, who at the time was also banished from Olympus at that time, Apollo was able to move the heaviest of stones with just the sound of his lyre. After the task was completed Laomedon refused to reward them as promised and that was the chief reason why Poseidon was on the Greek side during the Trojan War.

Although Poseidon did give men the first horse, his primary importance was as Lord of the Sea, at his command winds rose and the most violent of storms began, but when he drove in his golden car over the water, the storms subsided and tranquil peace followed his wheels.

Both the bull and the horse are associated with Poseidon, but the bull is associated with many other gods as well, so the horse can be considered his animal. He was always depicted carrying, or using, his distinguishing weapon, the trident, a three- pronged spear which he used to shatter and shake anything he pleased.

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