Classical Mythology

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List of possible subjects on the final exam

Achilles-
Achilles was a powerful hero in Homer's Iliad, and undoubtedly the greatest warrior on the battlefield at Troy. In his youth, he had been a pupil of Chiron. When Achilles was just an infant, his mother immersed him in the river Styx, which separates the land of the living from the land of the dead, to confer on him immortality, and to make him invincible in battle. But when doing this, she committed a grave error. Through her oversight and negligence, she held Achilles by his left heel when immersing him in the river Styx, and forgot to immerse his heel as well.

Agamemnon-
Agamemnon was a king of Mycenae. He is the husband of Clytemnestra and brother to Menelaus. Agamemnon led the Greeks in battle during the Trojan War, after Menelaus' daughter Helen was abducted and taken to Troy by Paris. On the way to fight the war, Agamemnon experiences a plague and unusually calm winds, preventing him from reaching Troy promptly. These are said to be the wrath of Artemis, who was angered by the coming war. A prophet tells Agamemnon that he must sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to please the goddess. After his victory at Troy, Agamemnon took the Trojan princess Cassandra as a concubine. When Agamemnon returned to Greece, he brought Cassandra. Clytemnestra killed both Agamemnon and Cassandra as punishment for the killing of Iphigenia.

Ariadne-
She is the daughter of Pasiphae and the Cretan king Minos. She fell in love with the Athenian hero Theseusand, with a thread or glittering jewels, helped him escape the Labyrinth after he slew the Minotaur, a beast half bull and half man that Minos kept in the Labyrinth. Here the legends diverge: she was abandoned byTheseus and hanged herself; or, Theseus carried her to Naxos and left her there to die, and she was rescued by and married the god Dionysus.

Cadmus -
Phoenician founder of Thebes, brother of Europa. Cadmus went looking for his sister when she was carried off by Zeus in the form of a bull. The Oracle of Delphi told him to abandon the search. Instead he was to venture forth until he should meet a cow, to follow this cow wherever it should lead and found a city upon the spot where it lay down. Cadmus populated his new city by sowing dragon teeth which sprouted into warriors. Cadmus taught them the alphabet, which he had brought from Phoenicia.

Circe -
A sorceress, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and of the ocean nymph Perse. She was able by means of drugs and incantations to change humans into wolves, lions, and swine. The Greek hero Odysseus visited her island, Aeaea, with his companions, whom she changed into swine. But Odysseus, protected by the herb moly (a gift from Hermes), compelled her to restore them to their original shape. He stayed with her for one year before resuming his journey.
Clytemnestra -
Clytemnestra is the daughter of Leda and Tyndareus and wife of Agamemnon, commander of the Greek forces in the Trojan War. She took Aegisthus as her lover while Agamemnon was away at war. Upon his return, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon. Clytemnestra was then killed by her son,Orestes, with the help of his sister Electra, in revenge for his father’s murder.

Cyclopes -
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. They were released by Zeusand 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 thunderbolts. Arges was killed by Hermes while he guarded...
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