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She saw that Circe, far from being purely a villain or a vanquished witch, had a benevolent side and played a crucial role guiding Odysseus back to Ithaca. She had planned to stay away from epics for a while, but kept thinking about the witch, alone on her island. Why did she transform men into animals?

What happened to her after Odysseus and his crew sailed away, or in the centuries before they arrived? She decided Circe deserved her own epic. Recycling classical myths is a well-worn literary trope; everyone from Shakespeare to Margaret Atwood and Rick Riordan have riffed on and remixed Greek and Roman stories. Miller, 39, who lives outside Philadelphia, is particularly well equipped to tackle Homer. She began studying Latin when she was 12, started on Greek a couple of years later, and seems to have near encyclopedic knowledge of ancient Western gods and goddesses.

In Ms. Her family members, who treat her with cruelty or indifference, become infamous in their own right: Her sister Pasiphae marries King Minos and gives birth to the Minotaur, a bullheaded, man-eating monster; while her brother Aeetes grows up to rule Colchis, the land of the Golden Fleece, and fathers Medea, who later murders her children.

After she turns a nymph, Scylla, into a six-headed sea monster, Helios banishes Circe to a remote island where she spends centuries in exile, with wolves and lions as her companions.

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Athena's Appearance : A young woman wearing a helmet and holding a shield, often accompanied by a small owl. A huge statue of Athena depicted this way once stood in the Parthenon.

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Athena's symbol or attribute: The owl, signifying watchfulness and wisdom; the aegis small shield showing the snaky head of Medusa. Athena's strengths: Rational, intelligent, a powerful defender in war but also a potent peacemaker. Athena's weaknesses: Reason rules her; she is not usually emotional or compassionate but she does have her favorites, such as the beleaguered heroes Odysseus and Perseus.

Birthplace of Athena: From the forehead of her father Zeus.

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It is possible this refers to the mountain of Juktas on the island of Crete, which appears to be a profile of Zeus lying on the ground, his forehead forming the highest part of the mountain. A temple on top of the mountain may have been the real birthplace. Athena's siblings : Any child of Zeus had numerous half-brothers and half-sisters.


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Athena is related to dozens, if not hundreds, of other children of Zeus, including Hercules, Dionysos, and many others. Athena's spouse: None. However, she was fond of the hero Odysseus and helped him whenever she could on his long journey home. Some major temple sites for Athena: The city of Athens, which is named after her. The Parthenon is her best-known and best-preserved temple. Almost all people went to Hades after they died whether they were good or bad.

To get there, the dead had to cross the river Styx. Charon was the name of the boatman who ferried the souls of the dead across the river Styx to Hades. Typically, the gods punished those who were bad. For example, Tantalus who killed his own son and served him to the gods for dinner was sent to Hades and made forever thirsty and hungry.

Although there was a pool of clear, fresh drinking water at his feet, whenever Tantalus bent down to drink, the pool would dry up and disappear. Likewise, over his head hung the most delicious fruit. However, whenever Tantalus reached for them, a wind would blow them just out of his reach. The English word "tantalize" derives from the name Tantalus.

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Myths helped explain how the world came to be the way it was. In one myth, Zeus created an incredibly beautiful and nearly perfect woman named Pandora. Her one flaw was that she was very curious and suspicious. Hermes, Zeus's messenger, gave Pandora a golden box. He warned her never to open it because terrible things would occur if she did. But Pandora could hardly contain her curiosity and eventually broke down and opened the special box.


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  6. Out from the box flew all the evils that plague humanity: famine, greed, pain, sorrow, etc. Only one thing remained in the box — hope — which humans managed to hold on to. This myth explains the origins of human misfortune. At the same time, it teaches a moral lesson by warning of the dangers of curiosity. In addition to myths about gods, the ancient Greeks also told stories about heroes. One of the most famous Greek heroes was Hercules, the world's strongest man. Hercules was the illegitimate son of a mortal woman and Zeus, who tricked the woman by disguising himself as the woman's husband.

    Hera, Zeus's wife, was angry about Zeus' affair and sought to punish Hercules. Hera tricked Hercules into believing that his entire family were dangerous beasts, which Hercules then proceeded to kill. When Hercules realized that he had killed his entire family, he agreed to perform 12 tasks to atone for his terrible actions. For one of the tasks, Hercules had to slay the nine-headed monster called the Hydra.

    For another task, he had to clean the filth from Augean stable, which had not been attended to in 30 years.

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    To do this, Hercules diverted the course of a river that washed away the mess. In the end, he completed the so-called 12 Labors of Hercules and made up for the murder of his family. Report broken link. Ancient Civilizations 1. How Do We Know? Geographers and Their Space 2. First Technologies: Fire and Tools 3.