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Awesome / Classical Mythology

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In ancient Greek literature, such moments are called aristeia, meaning "excellence", usually used for moments of awesomeness of Greek heroes.

  • Zeus saving his siblings and uniting them against Cronus.
    • Zeus releasing the Cyclopses and Hecatonchires bound in Tartarus, thus proving that he was a better leader then Cronus ever hoped to be.
  • Hephaestus getting revenge on Hera by making her own throne into a trap that holds her completely immobile while he gives her "The Reason You Suck" Speech and offers to be her best and favorite son if she accepts him.
  • Athena coming out of Zeus's head fully grown and equipped with weapons and armor. It is debated whether Prometheus aided in the "birth" with an axe.
  • Prometheus and Epithemeus were set to create all the creatures of the earth. Epimetheus set to work giving each of them great gifts, but when it came time to make man, the greatest of these creatures, he was all out of gifts. Prometheus, however, was clever, and he had found the greatest of all gifts that he would give man. First, he gave reason, the ability to think ahead like Prometheus did, but man also needed protection so they could use that reason, and Prometheus was prepared to give them better protection than any hide or claw or shelter: He gave fire, the element from which all civilization springs.
  • Everyone adores Hestia for being the one person who you can always get along with. Even Eris and Ares are close with her. Hestia is held in high honor as a result. Minor vegetation god Priapus tries to force himself on her while she's asleep at a party? Cue every god present at the party rushing to Hestia's defense and having Priapus declared a Persona Non Grata for any future events held by the Gods. A minor one for donkeys, as a donkey is what woke her up.
  • The horrific monster Typhon, last child of Gaia and father of many monsters, strode towards Olympus to kill the gods, destroying cities and throwing mountains with his bare hands along the way. He possessed a hundred dragon heads, shot fire from his eyes and was so large his head scraped the stars and his arms spanned the horizon. While early versions of the battle were a Curb-Stomp Battle in Zeus's favor, later accounts had Typhon attack Zeus and beat him, removing the sinews from his legs, crippling him, until Hermes restored them and healed Zeus. As Zeus prepared for their last showdown on Olympus, all of the other gods (minus Athena, who stayed alongside her father, and Hades, who stayed in the Underworld) having fled to Egypt in fear. They fought, Typhon wielding fire, Zeus his thunderbolts, creating earthquakes and tsunamis with their blows, until finally Zeus cast Typhon into Tartarus.
    • Pan defeating Typhon. To put this into perspective, Typhon had just completely taken down all the other Gods, trapped Ares in a vase and was using Zeus as a mattress. Pan tricked Typhon to come out from his lair, and into the open, by the "promise of a banquet of fish," letting Zeus escape and defeat him.
    • Zeus may often be a hedonistic dick in legends, but that story confirms more than any other why he is the ruler of the gods. When all others fled before Typhon, he stood still.
    • Qualifies as a CMOA for Typhon too, who may well be the Ur-Example of a Hero Killer. When you make the entire Olympian pantheon run in fear and defeat Zeus you are a badass among badasses.
    • To put extra emphasis on Typhon's defeat, Zeus slammed Mount Etna on top of him. He literally knocked Typhon from this dimension into Tartarus.
    • Some minor points for Athena too; she was the only God along with Zeus who didn't flee at the sight of Typhon. Could also count as a Heartwarming Moment as it shows how loyal she was to her father.
    • Hades stayed at his post, too, although he is described to have been shivering in fear when the shockwaves from Typhon's battle with Zeus could be felt all the way down to Tartarus. Then again, when you think about it, that he was just as scared as everyone else, but still didn't flee makes it all the more impressive.
    • Hephaestus also deserves a mention here too, as after the battle, Zeus charged him with guarding Mount Etna where Typhon was imprisoned. He doesn't just guard the place, he makes the damn mountain his workshop.
  • Eris throwing the fateful apple and causing The Trojan War.
    • Palamedes outsmarted Odysseus. Someone outsmarted Odysseus. Not once, but twice.
      • The first time, after Paris took Helen to Troy, Agamemnon sent Palamedes to Ithaca to retrieve Odysseus, who had promised to defend the marriage of Helen and Menelaus. Odysseus did not want to honor his oath, so he pretended to be insane and plowed his fields with salt. Palamedes guessed what was happening and put Odysseus' baby son, Telemachus, in front of the plow. Odysseus stopped working and revealed his sanity.
      • The second time, when Odysseus had been sent to Thrace to search for wheat and brought nothing, he was violently attacked by Palamedes and replied that it was not his fault, and that if he wanted so badly wheat, Palamedes just had to go look around for himself: he wouldn't find anything. Palamedes went there, and brought back a huge quantity of wheat.
    • Diomedes wounding Ares and Aphrodite.
      • And as for what this blog has to say about that:




      • He also charged at Apollo to spear him and Aeneas (whom Aphrodite had tried to protect before, earning her a sword to the arm) thrice, Apollo only keeping him away by blinding him each time with a powerful flare of light.
      • And if that isn't enough (he was admittedly helped by Athena against the immortals), he defeated over thirty well-known warriors of the time, and outmatched most of his fellow Greeks in various sporting events. They even had to stop his fight against Ajax because they feared he might kill the giant man.
      • His shield doubles as a flamethrower. AWESOME!
    • Hera, the Non-Action Girl by excellence, utterly destroys Artemis, with the latter's own weapons.
    • Achilles chose a short glorious life (and eternal fame) over a long, quiet one. Highlights include killing the Amazonian Queen Penthesilea and the final battle of Achilles vs. Hector. It is an epic Combat by Champion for the ages.
    • By the bucket load for Odysseus. Some pretty epic ones are his chewing out of Agamemnon, covering and protecting Ajax from a wave of countless Trojans while the other man was recovering Achilles's body, and of course the creation of the Trojan Horse.
  • Arachne beating Athena, the goddess of handicraft, in weaving. She may have been arrogant, but she had the skills to back it up.
    • And to put salt in the wound, some myths claimed that Arachne weaved very unsavory pictures about the gods - more precisely Zeus - during the challenge with Athena.
  • Theseus killing the Minotaur with his bare hands. Granted, the beast was asleep, but still impressive.
    • It was asleep when he started.
    • When Heracles visited Pittheus, king of Troezen, he pulled out his Nemean Lion skin and threw it at the floor. A group of boys that passed by saw the lion skin, mistaked it for a real lion and ran away in fear. All, except from one, who, without a second thought, attack it. This boy was Theseus. Did we mention that Theseus was seven-eight (possibly younger) when he did it?
  • On the subject of Hercules/Herakles, Hera tried to kill him in the cradle and get it over with by sending two snakes to his mother's house. Herc's mom and stepdad hear Herc's half-brother wailing like mad and run into the room... to see Herc holding two snakes he just choked to death with his baby hands.
    • Hercules solving his 12 Labors. To elaborate:
      • Killing a lion, a flock of man-eating birds, a herd of man-eating horses and the Hydra.
      • Capturing Artemis' sacred stag, a giant boar, a sacred bull, a herd of cattle belonging to a three-headed giant, and Hades' pet Cerberus.
      • Cleaning a really dirty stable by diverting 2 rivers into it.
      • Stealing the Amazon Queen's girdle and some golden apples by tricking Atlas.
      • Some myths said that Herc actually held up the sky for Atlas while he was picking apples that insta-killed any mortal that touched them.
    • How about Hercules fighting and defeating Thanatos, the Greek Personification of Death, to bring an old friend's dead wife back to life?
    • On one of his adventures, Hercules visited the kingdom of King Busiris, who performed human sacrifices. Just as the king was about to sacrifice Hercules, he broke free from his ropes, grabbed a priest by the ankle, flung him around like a club to kill the king’s entire army and sacrificed Busiris on his own altar.
    • Heracles was crucial to the gods winning in the Gigantomachy, as a prophecy stated the giants could not be killed by the gods alone, but with the help of a mortal. His round of giant-slaying saved many Olympians, including his stepmother Hera, who is never recorded as being against him after that. One giant in particular, Alcyoneus, was immortal within his native land, so Heracles dragged him offsite and finished the job.
    • And to cap an awesome life with a Dying Moment of Awesome: towards the end of his life, he was away a lot and his wife Deianeira (whom he saved from a centaur) was starting to have doubts. So when she heard that Herakles brought home a girl among his other bounty from his recent excursion and his first thing to do is taking that girl to the Temple of Zeus, she in a fit of jealousy smeared his clothes with centaur blood which she thought was a love potion. Unaware, Herakles puts on the clothes, goes to the temple to offer the girl as a temple servant... and someone points out he is burning, because the centaur bloodnote  is literally burning away his flesh and causing it to melt together with the clothes. He leaves the temple, builds a funeral pyre, gives his bow to his friend Philoctetes with orders to shoot Herakles as soon as he gets on top, and climbs it himself. There were no recorded objections when Zeus announced he will make him a god after all this, meaning even Hera agreed.
  • Orpheus descending to the underworld to rescue Eurydice, with his singing making Hades weep iron tears, calm Cerberus, and momentarily relieve Tartarus's inhabitants of their punishments. And he almost pulled it off too.
  • Psyche did pull it off. Put into perspective, only six people had managed to do so. The other five were Aeneas, Heracles, Orpheus, Theseusnote  [all half divine] and Odysseus [who had divine ancestry.] Psyche was the only woman, pregnant, and completely mortal at the time, to wander down into Hades, finish her quest [asking Persephone for a box of beauty], and make it back to the surface even after having spent some time suffering abuse at the hands of Aphrodite and completing 2 or 3 previous quests for her. Epic.
  • Perseus killing Medusa. And if that wasn't enough, on his way home, he saved Andromeda from being devoured by Poseidon's sea monster, without any rest. Other myth sources say that he used Medusa's head (that he just decapitated) to petrify said monster.
    • Also, the other use he gave to Medusa's head — petrifying the corrupt king that sent him for it with the intention of killing him off so he could take Perseus's beloved mother as his wife. And then he didn't take the throne - in a Heartwarming Moment he gave it to his kind adoptive father, who also happened to be the evil king's brother who should have reigned from the start, but was banished away by his evil sibling.
  • Sisyphus, whose life and repeated cheating of death straddle the line between this and Crowning Moment of Evil.
    • The gods give finally getting him back by making him push a boulder up a hill. The boulder always comes rolling back down the other side.
  • When a lady of good family is raped by a prince, in many cultures it will be endured lest worst things happen. What do Romans do when this happens to Lucretia? They enact a Roaring Rampage of Revenge-and follow it by creating the greatest empire on earth.
    • For additional context; Lucretia was the daughter of a Roman Prefect, and wife of a Governor during the last years of the Roman Kingdom. While the monarchy was unpopular, after Lucretia requested retribution which included killing herself during the debate on what to do, it is easy to assume that this is the point at which "King" became a dirty word in Rome. The subsequent revolution resulted in the Roman Republic being established.
  • Apollo slaying the dragon Python. For perspective, Python was a monster who terorized his mother Leto before Apollo was born. Once Apollo made it to adulthood, he decided, "You know what? I'm going to kill that thing that harassed my mother". He chased down the huge dragon to the cave where it lived, cornered it, and shot it with arrows. The site of Python's death later became the seat of Apollo's own oracle. Moral of the story? Don't mess with Apollo's mom.
  • Pollux forcing the entire pantheon into a Logic Bomb. He and his (technically half) brother Castor were inseparable, dedicating themselves to each other and the protection of Sparta. But Castor was mortal. Pollux was a demigod (the product of their mom's one-night stand with Zeus). When they fell in battle, Pollux was spirited up to Olympus and had everything he could have ever wanted...except his brother. But his brother is in the mortal underworld, not a very nice place. So he takes all the wonders the Gods can offer, tells them to shove it, marches down to the Underworld, finds his brother and refuses to leave. They can't keep Pollux there as he's a demigod, but Pollux ain't going anywhere without his brother. Finally, they work out a deal and the brothers are now the constellation Gemini.
  • While not participating in many myths due to his job, Hades has no shortage of awesome moments.
    • During the Titanomachy he receives a helmet while Zeus and Poseidon get actual weapons and what does he do? He sabotages the Titans by going into their camp and destroying their weapons with his bare hands (or some mortal weapons) and we know what happened after.
    • Theseus and Pirithous attempt to kidnap his wife so he welcomes them into his house and then binds them forever to their chairs (or chains them to a rock) freeing only Theseus after Hercules begs.
    • During the Thebaid, Amphiaraus is killing enemies by the dozens until a chasm opens and he briefly falls into the underworld alive before dying. Hades, assuming he's being invaded, snaps. Talking about how he has to keep the Titans and Gigantes in their prisons lest they conquer Olympus, threatening to attack his brothers and make a Stygian sky, and ordering the furies to make monsters; and to crown it all, after he's done the underworld stops shaking from the sound of his voice.
  • Years after the Trojan War, Troy finally gets vengeance on Greece: Rome, which was created by a descendant of one of the last Trojans, storms Greece, crushes it into powder, and makes it a part of their empire.
  • Demeter is otherwise a harmless goddess, but one you'd be damn sure to stay on the good side of judging by these myths:
  • Atalanta wounding the fierce Calydonian boar and Meleager, who subsequently killed it, refusing to take full credit. She also bested many men in footraces to become her suitor, only losing when Hippomenes prayed to Aphrodite for aid.
  • Even if Hera's coup against Zeus failed and she was punished for it, you got to admit that it was still impressive and ballsy of her to take initiative and organize it in the first place.
  • Typhon and Echidna had at least ten nasty children. Over the course of his twelve labors, Heracles subdued six of them (the Nemean Lion, the Lernean Hydra, the Caucasian Eagle, the Orthrus, the Ladon and Cerberus) and killed five.
  • After being effectively banned from giving birth anywhere on Earth, Leto has to wander the world searching for a place she can safely have her twin children, Artemis and Apollo. Hera sends as many obstacles as she can against Leto, including Ares spying on her, Iris being sent to tell anyone who may take pity on her not to under penalty of incurring Hera's wrath, sometimes holding the Goddess of childbirth hostage and even sending a dragon to chase Leto throughout her travels. Does Leto give up? Hell no. She keeps going. She continues her wanderings, refusing to stop until she can find a safe haven to give birth. Come Hell or high water, Leto will have her children.
  • Ares is usually subject to The Worf Effect, but gets a moment to shine when he frees Thanatos from Sisyphus, and later killed a giant in the Gigantomachy.
  • A Roman myth has a nymph named Minthe attempt to seduce Hades after his marriage to Persephone. Either Demeter or Persephone stops her by turning her into a mint plant and stomping on her.
    • One for Hades, the fact that he refused to be seduced. Unlike his brothers Zeus and Poseidon who are notoriously unfaithful cheating husbands, Hades stayed faithful to his wife. In a pantheon full of unhealthy and toxic marriages and relationships, Hades and Persephone stood out as one of the few couples who had a happy and loving marriage.
  • In at least one (unfinished) text from antiquity about the Giant War, Hades is described with Persephone riding in chariots side by side, leading an army of the dead against the attacking giants.
  • Hera sent Argus, a hundred-eyed giant, to guard the cow Io had been transformed into. The monster's many eyes meant even when sleeping, he could still guard Io, so when Zeus sent Hermes to kill Argus, the messenger god had to think smart. Hermes disguised himself as a shepherd and, depending on the tale, told such a boring story that all one hundred eyes closed or lulled him to sleep with music, then successfully killed him. "Argus-slayer" became one of Hermes' epithets as a result, while Hera honored Argus by placing his eyes on peacocks' tails.
  • For all of Zeus' feats, there was one time even he had to back down. That was when he tried to kill Hypnos for making him fall asleep (an awesome moment for Hypnos). The moment Zeus tried, cue Hypnos' mother Nyx showing up and telling Zeus in no uncertain terms to leave her son alone.