Headscratchers: Classical Mythology

  • Why is the opinion towards the greek gods so schizophrenic? On one moment, everyone calls them amoral bastards (even though up to 60% of them were decent if not benevolent, like Hestia, Helios, Eos, Hades, et cetera), while on another moment everyone praises Ares (the most horrible of the Olympians, by the way) and trying to "defend" the honour of the gods by being homophobic and ignoring their bisexuality. Make your fucking minds up!
    • I'm a little puzzled here — about whom are you speaking? What people harbour these opinions? People today? The Greek gods have been subject to Depending on the Writer (or Depending on the City State, or Depending on the Century) for millennia, so this is nothing new.
    • For that matter, what reason do the Greek gods have for being such assholes? Did they think that this is what people would be like if they were gods? If so, that's rather unsettling, even with the Values Dissonance back then.
      • Some people talk of the beautiful design and grace and consistency of the universe, and how this is representative of a unified force of benevolence and order above us all. Other people (and most of our ancestors) look at the unending and schizophrenic cruelty and kindness within reality, look at the Gods they believe in, and say "well, THAT makes sense then".

  • Now, in the Gigantomachy, Gaea urged the Gigantes to fight the Olympians in order to restore the Titans from Tartarus, yes? Well, wasn't in Cronos who imprisoned the Gigantes shortly after they were "born" via Ouranous' castration? Why would they fight for people who trapped them there, and fight against those who (seemingly) freed them?
    • Because Mama Gaia told them to, and Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas ?
      • Because the giants were born after the overthrow of the Titans. Uranus trapped the Cyclops and the Hecatoncheires.
  • In the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, wouldn't it get colder as they flew up? The sun's several million miles away, they'd have to be in outer space or something...
    • Science Marches On. The Greeks didn't know how far away the sun really was; whilst we know it would get colder, no-one at the time had been up that far, so it's only natural for them to think it would get warmer the closer they got to the sun.
    • Speaking of that particular myth, has anyone else noticed that the real flaw wasn't Icarus' hubris in flying too close to the sun, but rather in Daedalus' poor judgement in using wax, which he knew melted at high temperatures, to make the wings?
      • What material would you suggest? Besides, Daedalus flew away successfully, and so too would Icarus have aside if he had minded his elevation better.
      • Icarus was specifically warned not to fly too close to the sun because the wings were made out of wax, but he did it anyway. So, yes, his hubris was still the cause of his demise.
    • You forgot that Daedalus was locked inside his own labyrinth, he was lucky enough to get his hands on wax and enough feathers to build two pairs of wings.
  • The line of succession bugs me. From what I understand(and I could be wrong on this, and if so, do correct me), Greeks were fairly big on the idea of the oldest male child inheriting from the father. Zeus gets around this by having the drawing of lots between himself, Poseidon, and Hades, and it can be argued that being spat out fully grown by Cronos was a "second birth", making Zeus the eldest. However, tracing the line back, Zeus' grandfather, Uranus, doesn't apparently have any right to rule as he's one of the younger of the protogenoi; he's Gaia's offspring, and Gaia is younger than Phanes, Nyx, Erebus, and Tartarus. Presumably either Phanes, Erebus, or Tartarus should have been in charge. But Uranus just kind of takes the helm.
    • Greek inheritance, like Roman, was partible, with male children splitting the estate.
      • Thank you. That doesn't quite explain how Uranus established a royal line despite there being other viable claimants, but it does help with the Zeus issue.
      • Authority Equals Asskicking maybe? Uranus's only notable act in the Myths was to imprison the Cyclops and the Hecatoncheires in Tartarus, I guess after that, everyone accepted him as ruler.
      • If you look at it, the greek Gods had a continous line of Youngest Child Wins in place all the way from Ouranos to Kronos to Zeus. I guess it would be 'special'/noteworthy/'magical' exactly because it's the opposite of how it used to go 'normally'.
    • Depending on how you look at it, they are in control. The Olympians mainly spend their time bossing around mere mortals, commanding their elements. The Protogenoi control the aspects that make up the entire Hellenic universe. Gaia's surface and the creatures living on it must seem uninteresting to them. And considering that ZEUS is afraid of Nyx's wrath, they won't have to worry about those upstart kids stepping on their turf.
  • This has bugged me for years - in its own era, what was Classical Mythology called, since it wasn't "mythology" for them? For example, one who follows Jesus is called a Christian, one who follows the teachings of Muhammed is called Islamic, so what would you have called the followers of Classical Mythology? Pantheonists? Zeusians?
    • they called themselves hellenes in that matter. it even meant in byzantine greek pagan. basicly following the gods and being greek was quite interwined in the antique
  • As his first labour, Heracles had to fight the Nemean lion, whose skin could not be pierced by anything. Depending on the Writer, he either bludgeoned the lion to death or strangled him. He then made himself an armor from the lion's skin. How did he do that?
    • I believe he used the lion's own claws.
    • Maybe he hollowed the thing out and wore it like a onsie?
  • Why didn't King Midas wear gloves? Sure, "everything you touch turns to gold", but wearing gloves removes that element of touch, at least when it comes to his hands. If it didn't, Midas would have a LOT more to worry about.
    • I guess wearing gloves made of gold leaf wasn't exactly a practical long-term solution.
    • Behold the mighty King Midas and his big gold mittens!
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