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Fun Facts You Don’t Need to Know About Greek Mythology, But I’ll Tell You Anyway

5

September 12, 2013 by Renee

As many of you know, I bit the bullet last year during NaNoWriMo and combined my fascination with Greek mythology with my love of writing. That decision produced the first book in what I plan to be a series called FOR THE LOVE OF GODS. The first installation is LUCKY, and it is schedule to be published by Crescent Moon Press in 2014.

So, because I’m excited and neck deep in mythology as I write the second book, which features Dionysus and a few of his friends, I thought, “Hey, why don’t I share this shit with others?” I’d share it with Kurt or my kids, but their eyes glaze over pretty fast. I don’t have to watch you guys get bored.

For this installment (Oh yes, there will be more), I’ll tell you about the gods of LUCKY. The next installment we’ll look at the gods of Dionysus’s story, which include Aphrodite, Eros, Eris, Zeus, and a gaggle of others.

Artemis

Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth, virginity and the protector of young girls. Her purity is revered, although some believe her to be quite…lusty.

It is said that Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. Around the age of three, Artemis is said to have sat on her father’s lap and asked him to grant her six wishes:

  • To remain a virgin forever
  • To have many names so no one would mistake her for her brother, Apollo
  • To have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so she could hunt, and twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her shit while she rested
  • To have sixty “daughters of Okeanos”, all nine years of age, to be her choir
  • That no city be dedicated to her, but to be able to rule the mountains
  • To have the ability to help women during childbirth

Some say Artemis only loved Orion, who was killed before she could rethink the eternal virgin wish. Others claim she’s the only deity who is immune to Aphrodite’s love powers. I see her as a snarky, intelligent woman who knows how to get what she wants sexually while sticking to that virgin thing.

Dionysus

Dionysus is the god of the vine. Like the wine he created, Dionysus has a dual nature: On one hand he can bring about joy and ecstasy, on the other he inspires brutal, mindless rage. Sounds like most of the male population, no? Anyway, women who refuse his charms are driven mad. Women who don’t refuse are driven mad too. Basically, he can drive everyone insane if he so chooses. He is the son of Zeus and a human named Semele, and that’s where his batshit craziness was born. Are you fascinated yet? He’s really an awesome character.

The bulk of his history is shared in LUCKY, because he’s a bit of a whiner, so we won’t get into too much detail here. Basically, as he tried to hide from Hera, Dionysus gathered a shit-ton of followers on Earth. His fame and massive following, and his parentage, bought him a place among the gods on Mount Olympus.

Dionysus is one of the most important gods among us regular folks because, unlike the other gods, he was not only outside his followers but also within them. That’s how he makes us lose our shit. To be honest, I’m kind of turned on by his bad self, so I’m glad the editor suggested he have his own story.

Hades

Hades is the brother of Zeus and he’s an uncle to most of the other gods on Olympus. Zeus is a slut. What? Anyway, after the overthrow of their father, Cronus, he drew lots with Zeus and Poseidon, another brother, for shares of the world. Hades got the short straw, and was made lord of the underworld, ruling over the dead. He is a greedy god who likes to have lots of souls. He only views those who increase the number of dead favorably, and loathes to let any of his subjects leave. I guess he figures since he rarely leaves his home in the underworld, why should anyone else?

Although he is unpitying and can be cruel, Hades is rarely impulsive. One exception to this might be his romancing of Persephone, whom he abducted and tricked into marriage.

While he can be easygoing to a point, Hades’ wrath is something you’d be wise to avoid. He is feared and loathed due to his association with Death and the underworld, but Hades is not Death itself. He’s Death’s boss. The actual embodiment of Death is Thanatos.

Sometimes people refer to the underworld as Hades, but as Thanatos explains to Caerus, Hades is a god. In LUCKY, he has a sense of humor, because I believe the man in charge of “Hell” would be hilarious.

Thanatos

LUCKY’s protagonist, Thanatos, is a dark character in Greek mythology who screamed for a love story. He is a god known for non-violent death, or saving men from the misery of life and he’s the twin brother of Hypnos, god of sleep.

I read somewhere that he “has a heart of iron and a spirit as pitiless as bronze…” whatever that means. Basically, the life he is fated to take, he takes. No begging, no deals. Sadly, Thanatos is hated by (and hateful towards) mortals and most of the gods are said to steer clear of him too. While he rarely lets anyone free from the Underworld once he’s taken them, he has been outwitted once or twice. For example, when it came time for King Sisyphus to die, Sisyphus tricked Thanatos into his own shackles. This turned into a disaster of course, because with Thanatos tied up, no one could die. But then Ares got his panties in a bunch when human battles just went on and on because neither side could be killed. I mean, imagine being the god of war. You get out there, jonesing for some good old fashioned bloody dying, and the bastards just keep getting up and carrying on. That’d suck. So Ares freed Thanatos and handed King Sisyphus over to the god of Death. King Sisyphus was sentenced to an eternity in Tartarus, where he rolled a boulder up a hill, just to have it roll back down when he neared the top. Don’t you love a man with a sense of humor?

Tartarus

Tartarus plays an influential role in many Greek legends. In my world it’s the deep abyss in the underworld that is where souls go for judgment after death, and it’s a dungeon for the wicked. According to legend, it’s also a prison for the godly villains, including the Titans. Uranus threw his own children down there because he worried they might overthrow him. Oh, the paranoia of the mighty. It’s good stuff.

Some sources claim that Tartarus is both a deity and a place in the underworld. In the Greek poet Hesiod’s Theogony(c. 700 BC), Tartarus was the third of the primordial deities, after Chaos and Gaia. 

The Fates

I had the most fun developing the characters for The Fates, who are Thanatos’s sisters. These ladies are a scary trio with the subtle but awesome power of deciding a man’s destiny.

Clotho is the spinner of the life thread, and the youngest. She has a very suckish sense of humor. Actually, they all do.

Lachesis is the measurer. She determines your lot in life and just how long you’re stuck with it. In other words, if you’re life sucks, she’s probably made it that way.

Atropos, the oldest, is the one that cuts the thread. She’s kind of a hard-ass about most things and is sometimes referred to as “the inevitable.” She chooses how you will die too, so it’s best to keep on her good side.

The Fates are said to pre-date the gods. Some believe they decide the fate of the gods as well as humans. Not even the most powerful being is willing to fuck with them. Gods and man must submit to them, with Zeus being the only exception. (But even Zeus is careful about messing with their shit).

In Greek mythology, the Fates are also referred to as Morai. Some believe they’re the daughters of Zeus and Themis (who was the embodiment of divine order and law), but others believe Nyx is their mother, sans Daddy. That makes the most sense to me.

And there you have it. Some fun facts and an introduction to some of the characters in LUCKY. Anyone else use fictional or historical characters for their stories? Do you use the information already recorded or make up your own facts? I like to do a combination of the two. I use basic information that is considered common knowledge, but the personalities and appearance are my own.

Now, I’m supposed to be working on articles so my kids can eat this week.

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5 thoughts on “Fun Facts You Don’t Need to Know About Greek Mythology, But I’ll Tell You Anyway

  1. lillianavon says:

    Hi I liked your post. I’m interested in mythology too . My writing mixes urban myth with absurdity into a landscape of reality. I was brought up on African folklore I question whether what is happening in our world today will be seen as myths in future generations.

  2. Renee says:

    I wonder that too sometimes, Lillian. It’d be interesting, wouldn’t it? I wonder which “characters” will be cast as villainous. 🙂 And I love absurdist fiction, although I’m terrible at writing it. Your mixture of elements sounds really cool.

  3. I never realized this before, but Greek mythology fits you to a T. All that angst, and infidelity, and cursing mortals with bizarre, over the top punishments. It’s so YOU. LOL.

    Glad you found your niche.

  4. Renee says:

    I know, right? I don’t know why I was so reluctant to just go with it. I LOVE writing these characters and the drama suits them. 🙂

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Renee

Renee

I like to write stuff. Sometimes it's funny. I've published some novels and short fiction. I also battle an addiction to cake and potato chips, and I sometimes have inappropriate fantasies involving Kevin Spacey.

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