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Semi-Divine Entities

Beautiful female nature spirits, considered desirable maids by mortals and gods alike. There were many subgroupings of nymphs, but the most famous were the Hesperides (sunset nymphs who tend the garden with the golden apples), Dryades (tree spirits), Naiads, Nereids, Oceanids (different kinds of water nymphs), and the Pleiades (nymphs of the Pleiades constellation). Some types of nymph served as attendents to gods, like the Lampads (who followed Hecate around) and the Maenads (crazed nymphs who partied with Dionysus). The full list can be found here. Be warned, it's very long.
  • The Ageless: Usually portrayed as being eternally youthful.
  • Born as an Adult: The Meliae Dryades were born fully formed from the Earth via the blood of Ouranos.
  • Depending on the Writer: Their status as gods. As a group nymphs are often treated as a separate (and lesser) species to gods but individually several nymphs are outright said to be goddesses (notably Amphitrite, Calypso, Chloris and Thetis). So whether nymphs count as minor gods or something else is anyone's guess.
  • The Fair Folk: Do remember that a Greek farmer does not live In Harmony with Nature; that is a conceit of city folk. Nature brings blights and floods, and Nymphs know how to arrange such things when they get irritated at a farmer's disrespect.
  • Fairy Sexy: Ever wonder where the word "nymphomaniac" originated? Now you do.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Their most famous trait is their youthful, irresistible appearance.
  • Ms. Fanservice: It could be said the species wears this as their hat, since they are considered extremely desirable, almost always depicted naked in paintings and statues, and very sexually liberated, hence the term "nymphomania" though there are exceptions such as the ones that followed Artemis and wished to remain chaste. Still, there is a good reason why several heroes and Gods took them as wives and lovers respectively.
  • Nature Spirit: Some of them, such as Dryades, Naiads, Nereids, and Oceanids.
  • Odd Job Gods: One interpretation of nymphs is that they're minor goddess of specific parts of nature; a Dryad is the goddess of a particular tree (or grove of trees), a potamides is goddess of a single river, and an Oread is a goddess of one mountain.
  • One-Gender Race: Pretty much all of them are female. One of the few known exceptions is Nerites, the only male Nereid.
  • Our Nymphs Are Different: Classic myth is the Trope Maker and Trope Namer. Nymphs — nymphe — are a major class of semi-divine creatures, essentially minor female deities who watch over landscapes and natural landmarks. They're often depicted as the lovers, mothers or daughters of various heroes and divinities, and come in a staggering variety of types associated with specific landforms and environments.
  • Our Elves Are Different: They share some traits with elves, what with their enchanting looks, eternal youth, and close relationship with nature.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: They're usually shown to be the benevolent type, being beautiful, playful nature spirits, but some of them, like the Maenads, are more similar to The Fair Folk.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: Nymphs were often held responsible for making natural phenomena occur; the Aurae caused breezes, the Hyades brought rain, and so on.
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: Many nymphs found themselves getting the wrong sort of attention and becoming victims of rape by male deities and monsters. Arethusa was relentlessly pursued by the river god Alpheus, Daphne was almost raped by Apollo and Galateia was desired by the cyclops Polyphemus, who crushed her lover Alcis with a boulder out of mad jealousy.
  • Spontaneous Generation: The Meliae were born from the blood of Ouranos when it spilled upon the Earth.
  • Water Is Womanly: The nereids are sea nymphs and symbolic of the sea's kindness and beauty, singing melodious songs as they dance around their father Nereus and appearing as gorgeous women.

Rustic fertility spirits, companions of Dionysus/Pan, they were depicted as short, goat-like hairy men with erect members.

Named Demigods/Immortals

The son of King Peleus of Phthia and the sea nymph (and sometimes his great-grandmother) Thetis. A powerful Greek warrior best known for his heroics and later death during the Trojan War. Also for being the Trope Namer for the Achilles' Heel.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Contrary to popular belief, Achilles is actually bisexual rather than gay. He does genuinely love Briseis, who he often calls his wife even though he died before he could ever properly emancipate and marry her, yet he and Patroclus also have a close, possibly romantic, relationship. However some modern writers like to make Achilles wholly gay and adapt out Briseis all together.
  • Achilles' Heel: Trope Namer.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Once again, the Trope Namer.
  • Anti-Hero: Bordering on Villain Protagonist. Achilles performs many acts of douchebaggery throughout the poem and is one of the biggest jerks in ancient literature. This makes for a good foil between him and Hector, who can be seen as much more heroic than his Greek opponent.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Achilles asks Zeus to help the Trojans punish the Greeks for Agamemnon's unfairness towards him, which ends in his lover Patroclus' death.
  • The Berserker: One of the most widely known in literature.
  • Blood Knight: He's not fighting in the Trojan War for honor, or for gain. He's fighting because he likes it...and because he's very, very good at it.
  • Break the Haughty: Achilles spends most of the Iliad petulantly sulking in his tent over a slight... until Patroclus is killed. Suddenly, Achilles realizes he should have joined the battle a lot sooner.
  • Broken Ace: Best exemplified in The Iliad
  • Byronic Hero: He is a charismatic, amazingly skilled fighter who is the most handsome man in the world, with serious personal issues.
  • Desecrating the Dead: His dragging of Hector's corpse behind his chariot after killing him in battle. Even the gods thought that was going too far.
  • Divine Parentage: His mother was a goddess of the sea, Thetis.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted. When he tried to fight the local river god at Troy he got his ass kicked and nearly drowned. Hephaestus had to come down and personally fight the river to make sure Achilles didn't die before his destined time.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Chasing the entire Trojan army into the city, taken down by Paris with the help of Apollo? Achilles is just that badass.
  • Emotional Bruiser: He has no problem with crying or showing emotion. Though, this is Ancient Greece: the "Men Don't Cry" thing is a more modern trope.
  • Fatal Flaw: Both pride and wrath.
  • Glory Hound: The one of Iliad. One of the biggest in literature.
  • Heartbroken Badass: After Patroclus' death, he is completely wracked with guilt, and swears to avenge him, going on one of the most famous RoaringRampageOfRevenges in the history of literature.
  • Heinz Hybrid: Not only was his mother a sea nymph, he was a paternal descendant of Zeus and many of his female paternal ancestors were also nymphs, and some sources say his great-grandfather was the centaur Chiron. So human, nymph, Olympian and centaur heritage. His father was also the king of the Myrmidons, who were descendants of ants made human by Zeus (though the Myrmidon Kings weren't usually said to be ant descendants).
  • Heroic BSoD: After Patroclus's death. His Roaring Rampage of Revenge happens shortly after he breaks out of it.
  • Invincible Hero: The reason why Homer kept him out of the fighting for so long. Once Achilles starts fighting, it is game over for the Trojans.
  • In the Blood: Achilles and Ajax were cousins, sons of the Bash Brothers Peleus and Telamon. Peleus and Telamon were mighty warriors in their own right, who became famous fighting alongside Heracles. Being a badass tended to run in their family.
  • It's All About Me: When he feels he's been ripped off by the Greeks he's fighting under, he not only withdraws from the conflict and refuses to fight (which comes as a series blow to the Greek army) but prays to the Gods to make the Greeks lose.
  • It's All My Fault: His belief regarding Patroclus's death. He’s not wrong.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Achilles' father was the warrior Peleus, a badass in his own right who was a frequent ally of Heracles. His own son goes on to be a brutal killing machine.
  • Lover and Beloved: By the time of Plato's Symposium, it was taken for granted that Achilles and Patroclus had a pederastic relationship. Plato asserts that Achilles is the Beloved, being the younger of the two, even though Achilles is vastly more powerful than Patroclus. In short, Achilles is a power bottom.
  • Love Hurts: His lover Patroclus dying at the hands of Hector has terrible consequences on his emotional state.
  • Love Redeems: Achilles' most evil act is by far parading Hector's corpse around Troy in front of his family, including his father, wife, and infant son. However, when Priam goes undercover in the Achean camp to retrieve his son's corpse, Achilles sees his pain, which reminds him of the pain he felt when Hector killed Patroclus, breaks down in tears alongside the old man, and lets him take his son's body back at Troy.
  • Manly Tears: The most famous example being between Achilles and King Priam when Priam begs Achilles to return the body of his son Hector for burial. Priam's passion moves Achilles who begins thinking about his lost friend Patroclus; and the two men weep together over the respective loss.
  • Momma's Boy: Borders on Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas; Achilles cared deeply for his mother Thetis.
  • Morality Pet: Patroclus was one of the few people (other than himself) that Achilles cared about. Even though he'd withdrawn himself from the fighting, he even gave Patroclus his shield and armor to fight for the Greeks, just so he'd be safe.
  • Narcissist: Has a great deal of trouble caring about anybody other than himself.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Turned out he had an Achilles' Heel! Of course at this point, Everybody knows that.
  • One-Man Army: His combat abilities are pretty much a Story-Breaker Power, hence why Achilles in His Tent happened.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Achilles is willing to fight the entire Greek army to defend Agamemnon's daughter, Iphigenia, when the latter has to sacrifice her to appease Artemis. Agamemnon had duped the girl into coming by promising her marriage to Achilles offending his honor, making him feel somewhat responsible, and sheer disgust at the act. His return of Hector's body is also a humanizing moment.
    • Achilles did genuinely love Patroclus, and was horrified when he found his inaction in the war had led to his untimely death.
  • Psycho for Hire: Some interpretations of the Illiad depict Achilles and his Myrmidons as a tribe of Blood Knight mercenary nutjobs.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He has his moments.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Could be the Ur-Example in ancient times and still hold up today. However, Achilles's experience in the battlefield was minimal compared to the rest of the kings taking part in the war, and he was more of a loose cannon at best.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He goes on one after Patroclus's death, which is the most legendary one in literature.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Medieval writers like Dante never read Homer because they didn't know Greek and only knew Achilles from later Latin sources, so they tended to Flanderize Achilles into a one dimensional mad man (with a heavy dose of Values Dissonance).
  • Straw Nihilist: Achilles predates Nietzsche by millennia, but he gets to rant about how life and the heroic code are meaningless, and they're all going to die and be forgotten anyway. He goes so far as to wish everyone but himself and Patroclus dead in the hope that then, their glory might actually endure. Even after he dies and descends into the underworld, he's still a whiner!
  • Superior Successor: A prophecy said that his mother Thetis would have a son more powerful than his father. Because of this prophecy, Zeus and Poseidon, who had both desired her, made her marry Peleus, a mortal, fearing if she coupled with a god, the child could potentially overthrow Zeus. Achilles grew up to be a mightier warrior than his father.

Aeetes is a weird one. He is never actually mentioned as a deity, but he is not a demigod either, since his parents are both divine: his father is the Titan sun god Helios, while his mother is Perse, an Oceanid, making him a brother of Circe, Pasiphaë, and Perses. Originally ruling Corinth, Aeëtes founded a new civilization at Colchis (present-day Georgia) and became its first king, fathering two daughters: Medea and Chalciope, and a son: Absyrtus, along the way. He also welcomed Phrixus after his attempted murder by his stepmother, Ino, and gave him Chalciope's hand in marriage. In return, Phrixus gave him the Golden Fleece. Jason later came to get this along with Medea, who killed Absyrtus to stop him from following them. Aeetes was forced to let them go to collect Absyrtus' remains. He was later succeeded by Perses, either after his death or because Perses deposed him, though not for long, since Medea's son, Medus, later came into his rightful inheritance.
  • Divine Parentage: Son of a sun god (Helios) and a water nymph (Perse). This would make him a deity, too, but...(see below).
  • The Good King: He was a just king and welcomed his subjects. He even allowed Jason to take the Golden Fleece if he completed several tasks first. Pity that he had to lose two of his children because of that (Medea ran away and killed Absyrtus in the process).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He welcomed Jason and allowed him to take the Golden Fleece by completing three tasks. In return, he lost his daughter, Medea, who was swayed by Jason, and son, Absyrtus, who was killed to cover up their escape.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: He outlived his offspring Absyrtus...because his other offspring (Medea) killed him.
  • The Power of the Sun: Possibly. His father, sisters, and daughter all have one, so it's not implausible.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Housed Phrixus kindly and even gave his daughter for marriage. In return, he was given the Golden Fleece, which allowed his kingdom to become one of the greatest in the ancient world (until it was taken by Jason, fairly though).

The daughter of King Minos of Crete and Queen Pasiphaë of Colchis, Princess Ariadne of Crete became infatuated with the hero Theseus who was about to put an end to the yearly sacrifices of Athenian boys and girls to the Minotaur. Minos tasked her to control the labyrinth where the sacrifices would be put in; she thus helped Theseus by giving him directions inside the maze. Because of this, Ariadne is associated with labyrinths and mazes. She eloped with Theseus after he slayed Minotaur, but the latter left her in Naxos island. Dionysus took pity and made her immortal, then wed her. Of course, there are versions where Dionysus forced Theseus to abandon her in the first place.
  • Back from the Dead: After she died, Dionysus descended to the Underworld to bring her to Olympus.
  • Divine Parentage: She is the daughter of Minos, who is the son of Zeus, and Pasiphaë, who is the daughter of sun god Helios and the Oceanid Perse, not to mention being a goddess in her own right.
  • Extreme Doormat: She just resigned to her fate after Theseus abandoned her. Thankfully, Dionysus "found" her.
  • Foil: She and Medea were both princesses and granddaughters of Helios, they were both infatuated with a hero (Theseus and Jason, respectively), and threw their whole lives for them, plus, said heroes abandoned them even after they had helped them to escape alive. However, while Medea became an Ax-Crazy, Ariadne was possibly too meek to do anything other than lamenting her fate after Theseus abandoned her. Also unlike Medea, who remained single afterward, Ariadne married someone else (Dionysus).
  • Happily Married: To Dionysus.
  • The Maze: She controlled the labyrinth. To this day, writers could make a nice allusion of someone in a labyrinth and maze using her name or its variants Ariadna/Arianna/Ariane (like in Inception)
  • Warrior Princess: She was tasked by her father to control the labyrinth, which contained the Minotaur inside.

    Calais & Zetes (Boreads) 
The twin sons of Boreas the North Wind and Oreithyia. They joined the Argonauts and chased the Harpies away from Phineas. Calais was the beloved of Orpheus in one tradition.
  • Magic Hair: Their curly hair enabled them to fly.

The legendary centaur son of the titan Cronus and the Oceanid Phylra, he is an ever-present figure in Greek myths for tutoring many famous heroes including Herakles, Perseus, Theseus and Achilles.
  • Badass Teacher: When you consider how his students such as Achilles and Herakles turned out, you gotta give him props for being this.
  • Child by Rape: In some versions, he was conceived when Kronos forced himself on Philyra.
  • Cool Uncle: Many of the heroes he mentored happened to be his nephews since they were children of his half-brother Zeus.
  • Genius Bruiser: Just because he was more intellectual than his common kin doesn't mean he was any less of an ass-kicker.
  • Lamarck Was Right: He turned out part horse because his father quickly disguised himself as a horse to avoid discovery by Rhea.
  • Mentor Archetype: The Trope Codifier for Greek mythology.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Chiron dies in the line of duty, though the circumstances change from version to version, they always seen connected to Herakles' poisoned arrows.
    • Accidental Murder: According to a Scholium on Theocritos, Herakles unwittingly killed him with a Hydra-poisoned arrow while fighting some centaurs.
    • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Chiron pricks himself on Herakles' poisoned arrow-heads while examining them and dies completely anti-climatically afterward.
    • Heroic Sacrifice: The most generally acknowledged version of his death is that he gave up his immortality to release Prometheus from his punishment.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Most centaurs were wild, brutish and vulgar creatures with the tendency to ravish nymphs and mortal women. Chiron, by contrast, was kind, noble and civilized, but then again he shared a completely different lineage than other centaurs.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: He differs from other centaurs by virtue of being pretty much a god of his own right in a centaur form since his dad was a Titan and his mom was a nymph.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Doesn't matter which version of his death, he is one of the few genuinely noble characters in Greek myth and he bites it in one of the most painful ways imaginable.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Depicted by some as a having a human body, just with what's best described as the hind of a horse where his human hind should be.

There are two characters named Galateia: one is a sea nymph from Ovid's Metamorphosis that has an ill-fated romance with the satyr Acis. The other is a statue created by a stone carver named Pygmalion, who came to hate women and their flaws so much that he decided to create a perfect woman with his own hands. After falling in love with his own creation, he prayed to Aphrodite and she breathed life into the statue, who then became his wife.
  • Apparently Human Merfolk: The first Galateia was a nereid.
  • Beast and Beauty: She is the Beauty to Polyphemus' beast.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Nereid Galateia. After her boyfriend is murdered by the jealous Polyphemus, she manages to revive Acis by turning him into a river stream and decides to join him for all eternity, never returning to the surface again.
  • Living Statue: The second Galateia was created by a mortal and given life by a goddess.
  • Love Triangle: The beautiful Nereid loved the handsome satyr Acis, but she was also coveted by the hideous cyclops Polyphemus.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name means "She who is milk-white".
  • Pygmalion Plot: The second Galateia serves as Trope Namer.

Daughter of Zeus and either Leda or Nemesis, and wife of Menelaus, who was considered the World's Most Beautiful Woman. Her abduction by Paris kicked off the Trojan War. She is thought to be derived from a proto-Indo-European sun goddess, with her kidnapping a reflex of the broader Indo-European "marriage drama" myth, and was in fact still worshipped as the sun goddess of Sparta.
  • Alone in a Crowd: The only Greek who lived in Troy (at least briefly).
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Her father Zeus turned her into a goddess when Agamemnon’s son Orestes attempted to murder her.
  • Damsel in Distress: Twice: first she was kidnapped by Theseus (in some versions, when she was twelve years old) and had to be rescued by Castor and Pollux, and then she was abducted by Paris (though she goes with him willingly in other versions), which started the Trojan War.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Early on in The Iliad, she verbally flips off Aphrodite by basically stating, "If you think the bed needs filling, why don't you go screw [Paris] yourself?"
  • Distracted by the Sexy: There's four accounts about how this saves her life when Menelaus first meets her again as Troy is sacked, variably stopping him/his soldiers from executing her in his fury at her unfaithfulness. Two accounts of those accounts also said her clothes got wrecked and exposed her in the kerfuffle, for good measure.
  • Divine Parentage: Her father is usually said to be Zeus, with the mother being the mortal woman Leda. Some writers, on the other handnote  claim that the mother was Nemesis, goddess of vengeance, which is rather appropriate.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Depicted with golden hair in some paintings.
  • Happily Adopted: One story written down in the 2nd century claims that Helen was raised by Leda, whereas her real mother was Nemesis.
  • Human Mom Non Human Dad: Zeus impregnated her mother.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Because she's supposed to have beauty so great that a war happened because of it, it can be somewhat hard to get across in paintings of her.
  • It's All My Fault: In the Odyssey she expresses regret regarding her hand in starting the Trojan War. Going as far as to call her younger self a "selfish whore" (which adds more credence to the idea that she went with Paris willingly).
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Despite being a wealthy queen, Helen was essentially friendless in Troy, besides Hector, and missed her home very much.
  • Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Dumb: Whether or not she actually loved Paris back varies: some versions say that Aphrodite effectively brainwashed her into an infatuation with Paris, while others say that she loved Paris of her own volition and went with him willingly.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: She's mainly known as "Helen of Troy" because of her abduction by a Trojan prince, and very uncommonly as "Helen of Sparta" (which she was when she was married to Menelaus).
  • The Power of the Sun: Originally a sun goddess and still worshipped as such in Sparta.
  • Questionable Consent: Her tale is ambiguous about whether she was brainwashed into loving Paris by Aphrodite, legitimately wanted to leave with him, or even outright abducted without her consent.
  • Ship Tease: With Hector, to an extent. He's one of few people in Troy to treat her decently, and in turn, she subtly derides Paris for making Hector do all the fighting and at one point wishes that Paris were more like Hector.
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: Her legendary beauty gave her a lot of unwanted attention, and was what got her to be Aphrodite's bribe to make Paris choose her as the most beautiful goddess on Olympus over Hera and Athena.
  • Talking to the Dead: At Hector's funeral:
    Helen: Hector, dearest to me of all my husband's brothers! These tears of sorrow that I shed are both for you and for my miserable self. No one is left, in all of Troy, that is gentle or kind to me.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: The Trope Namer and Trope Maker.

    Herakles/Heracles (Hercules) 
Son of Zeus and mortal Queen Alcmene and the most famous classical hero, known as Hercules in Latin. His name means glory of Hera (explanations for this name are varied), but she hated him and tried her best to kill him since his infancy. His real name was Aclides (Aclaeus) but after seeing the priestess at Delphi, he changed his name. Most famous for his Twelve Labors (essentially one Fetch Quest after another), turning up in other people's stories whenever a strongman is needed. He eventually became a full god upon his death and married the Goddess of Youth, Hebe. Was worshiped as a God of Strength, athletics and health.
  • Accidental Pornomancer: Hercules got a lot of action thrown his way. In particular, there was the matter of the fifty princesses in one night...
  • Adaptational Curves: In classical artwork, Heracles was depicted as well-built, but leaner than one might expect. From The Renaissance onward, he's generally been depicted as very brawny.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Trope Namer. Queen Hippolyta was so impressed by his muscular frame that she gave up her belt freely.
  • Anti-Hero: By modern standards, he wasn't exactly a paragon of heroic virtue. He killed more than one innocent person simply for being too close when his temper got the better of him. That said, he went to great lengths to help his friends, and by killing monsters like the Hydra and the Nemean Lion and murderous humans like the ghoulish Cycnus he did mankind a world of good. He also tended to feel great sadness and remorse whenever he killed an innocent person.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: After his death, it's said he became a full god himself.
  • The Atoner: His twelve labors were to atone for killing his family in a Hera-induced rage.
  • Badass Family: Heracles's mortal stepfather Amphitryon, his half-brother Iphicles, and his nephew Iolaus all accompanied him on many of his military expeditions.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Heracles was inconsolable when his younger half-brother Iphicles was killed in Heracles's punitive expedition against the Spartan Hippocoon. Heracles was also a mentor to Iphicles's son Iolaus, who he took under his wing and relied on as a charioteer and lieutenant. One myth also has a now-divine Heracles get his goddess wife Hebe to restore Iolaus's youth so that he can protect Heracles's children from a vengeful Eurystheus.
  • Big Eater: According to Euripides in his play "Alcestis", Herakles ate so much to terrify Admetus' servants.
  • The Big Guy: He was pretty big and took this role when in adventures with other heroes, like the Argonauts.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The most famous one in the myths.
  • Breeding Slave: One of his lesser-known feats occurred during his stay with the Amazons alongside Theseus. The queen, wanting to enjoy Theseus' company as long as possible, told them they were prisoners until Hercules had impregnated 50 Amazon women. Being, well, Hercules, he did so in one night.
  • Broken Ace: He was the strongest hero of Greek Mythology, but he suffered from occasional fits of murderous rage thanks to Hera.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Heracles's iconic weapon was a club he carved from the wood of an olive tree he ripped up by the roots. Notably, it was the weapon with which he secured his first victory, killing the Lion of Cithaeron.
  • The Chosen One: The Gigantomachy (the attempt by the Giants to overthrow the Olympians) was arguably the greatest threat the gods ever faced. They could not be killed by the gods, although a mortal man could kill them ...if he were strong and brave enough. Prometheus foresaw that Zeus would have a son, born of a mortal woman, that would save the Olympians during the Gigantomachy. Heracles, born of Zeus's union with Alcmena, proved to be that hero, finishing off the giants after the Olympians had wounded them.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He saved the horrifically poisonous blood of the Lernean Hydra and used it to poison his arrows in order to kill several other opponents.
  • Cultured Badass: Well-educated, a successful military commander, an occasional trickster and a master of Indy Ploys.
  • Death Glare: The reason Charon gave him a free ride for the twelfth labor.
  • Deus Exit Machina: He was originally supposed to be one of the Argonauts, but his arms-bearer/boy-toy, Hylas was abducted by nymphs and the Argo had to set sail without him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: So many, but beating up Thanatos (the Greek personification of Death) is just one example. He takes it even further when he decides to sack Pylos. Hercules takes on Hera, Ares, Hades and Poseidon with only Athena to aid him. He spears Ares in the thigh, wounds Hera in her right breast and shoots Hades in the shoulder with his arrows. If that wasn't overkill, he shoots Apollo in the shoulder just for trying to heal Ares. It's worth pointing out that he may very well have been drunk when he beat Thanatos (Ancient Greek wine is not something to be taken lightly; a few cups is enough to knock out a full grown cyclops).
  • Dreadful Musician: Heracles was highly skilled at many things, but music was not one of them. He had so much trouble trying to learn music as a child that his teacher Linus slapped him. Bad idea. Little Heracles was so incensed that he whacked Linus with the lyre and killed him on the spot.
  • Easily Forgiven: Even Heracles' True Companions weren't safe from his Hair-Trigger Temper. He killed Iphitus in a moment of fury, and in one myth he nearly killed Telamon when the latter was helping him invade Troy. Telamon was the first one to breach the Trojan walls, and Heracles was so angered at Telamon gaining an honor he coveted that he raised his sword to kill him. Telamon saved himself by quickly building an altar in honor of Heracles. Heracles was so pleased by this that he not only forgave Telamon but gave him the Trojan princess Hesione as a wife.
  • Eternal Love: With Hebe.
  • Famed in Story: It eventually applies to most heroes in Greek mythology, but Heracles stands out. When the young heroes gathered for Jason's quest, they wanted Heracles to lead them because he was already a long established hero.
  • Four-Star Badass: Led an army for the first time when he was 16-18 years old and literally kept on winning wars until the day he died. He and his friends conquered Troy in a couple of days. 2-3 generations later it took all of Greece sending their badasses at the Trojans and a 10-year siege to beat them.
  • Genius Bruiser: It's Sadly Mythtaken, but Heracles was smart. Examples include his defeating Antaeus, tricking Atlas to take back possession of the sky and his escaping from a sacrificial altar by using the claws of his lion cloak to cut through the bindings. Not for nothing did Athena like Heracles more than any other Olympian except Zeus. He was a natural battle strategist. A standout example is the cleaning of the Augean Stables. Having failed to kill him in earlier labors, Eurystheus wants to humiliate him by having him shovel feces and orders him to clean the Augean Stables (which hadn't been cleaned in 30 years). Heracles knows this and scouts the area noticing the two rivers. He then goes to Augeas and promises to clean the Stables in 1 day if the King gives him a 10th of his cattle without telling him that he was under orders to clean them anyways. The King thinking that it's impossible and that he'd be getting a free day's labor agrees and Heracles brings his own sons to watch him swear an oath. He then diverts the two rivers to wash the stables clean, doesn't get his hands dirty and has Augeas' own sons testify against him when he tries to deny him his reward.
  • Gladiator Games: He didn't take part in these in the myths for obvious reasons, but the Ancient Romans considered him the patron God of Gladiators and when Gladiators were freed, their weapons would be left in his temples as an offering.
  • Happily Adopted: Amphitryon, the mortal husband of Heracles's mother Alcmena, treated Heracles like his own born son. He oversaw Heracles's training as a warrior, and also accompanied him on some of his military expeditions.
  • Hello, Sailor!: An interesting subversion. His bisexuality was never a central focus, and "sailor" was one of many hats he wore. He was one of the Argonauts, and often sailed and took male lovers with him.
  • The Hero: As the most important person in Greek myth, he was the Trope Codifier (and technically Trope Namer, since the english word "hero" is derived from Heracles).
  • Heroic Build: According to ancient sources he was very tall and extremely muscular. Ancient Greeks even used the term Herculean to describe a heavily muscled physique.
  • Heroic Lineage: Heracles is a descendant of Perseus, who is in turn a descendant of Cadmus who is a descendant of Io. Heroism is clearly in Heracles' blood.
  • Hot-Blooded: And holy shit, how. This guy would go stage a huge war for a mere verbal insult one day, and then on another he'd fight Thanatos to bring an old friend's dead wife back to life.
  • Ironic Name: His parents renamed him to something translating to "Glory of Hera" in an attempt to appease her. He is tormented by her arguably more than all the other children of Zeus combined.
  • The Juggernaut: If you weren't Zeus or Apollo, you might as well just pack it in if Herc wanted a piece of you. Notably, he conquered Troy with 12 men at his side. A generation later, it would basically take all of Greece throwing their badasses at Troy to take it down, and it still took ten years to do it.
  • The Lancer: To Jason on the Argo.
  • Master Archer: Because he's the World's Best Warrior, he is of course a legendary archer. His bow was so powerful that no one without his Super Strength could draw it, and after he dipped his arrows in the blood of the hydra they were so poisonous that a single scratch would be fatal.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • According to some authors, the name came from the glory he gained overcoming all the obstacles Hera threw his way.
    • Later on, anyone named Hercules or a derivative of Hercules or Heracles was usually either very powerful or a hero.
    • Alcaeus/Alicides, means strength.
  • The Medic: The ancient Greeks believed he had the power to heal.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A handsome man with a Heroic Build who's very often depicted nude in art.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Heracles was already a tough guy, but the impenetrable Nemean Lion's pelt cloak made him almost invulnerable. He even dons the aegis of Zeus himself when he's in a pinch against Alebion, his brother Bergion and their army; with Zeus' aegis, he manages to come out on top. According to Hesiod, he's also got a kick-ass suit of armor forged by Hephaestus, with a shield wrought in adamant.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Demigod, adventurer, bodybuilder, sailor, mercenary, shepherd, athlete, Heracles did it all.
  • Nonindicative Name: In other versions, his name was an attempt to appease Hera but really didn't work at all to that end.
  • Our Founder:
    • The Spartans claimed descent from him, typically from his son Hyllus.
    • It wasn't just the Spartans. Most Greek Kings claimed descent from him to justify their right to rule. Even Alexander the Great claimed descent from Heracles through his father, and descent from Achilles through his mother.
    • He is also often credited as the founder of the original Olympic Games.
  • Parental Favoritism: Zeus liked to brag about Heracles to the extent that it intensified Hera's hatred of Heracles.
  • Physical God: Becomes this after he joins the Olympians on Olympus. He's arguably this before ascending too.
  • Rated M for Manly: The reason the Greeks admired Heracles more than any other hero was that he best represented the traits they admired, such as sexual prowess, athletic skill, and success in war.

A Naiad Nymph born to the river god Inachus. Infamously goes through a series of trials and tribulations at the hands of both Zeus and Hera after being turned into a cow.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Zeus turned her into a cow to cover his tracks when Hera caught him trying to sleep with her, with the likely intention to change her back ASAP...unfortunately, Hera knew Zeus a little too well and demanded that he give the "cow" to her as a gift.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being turned into a cow, forced into captivity by Hera, stung continuously by a gadfly on Hera's orders and ultimately collapsing from exhaustion, she finally regains her humanity, bears two divine children, marries an Egyptian king and becomes hailed as a goddess in Egypt. Additionally, her bloodline would give rise to some of the most famous Greek Heroes, such as Cadmus, Perseus and Heracles.
  • Heroic Lineage: Io's bloodline would eventually produce many heroes, namely Cadmus, Perseus, Rhadamanthys, Minos and Heracles, as well as Semele, who would give birth to Dionysus. That said, she's also the great-great-great grandmother of the Danaides, who are most well known for being punished in Tartarus.
  • The Scapegoat: Or scapecow as it were, Hera's response to Hermes killing Argus to free Io is to get angry at her for it and sicc a Fury on her.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Maybe not on Cassandra's level, but Io is, in order: impregnated by Zeus, who then transforms her into a cow (granted, he had every intention of changing her back but Hera prevented that), is turned into a pet by Hera under the guard of Argus, gets blamed for Argus' death by Hera who then sics a gadfly on her and is finally chased throughout the Mediterranean by said fly, who stings her throughout the chase. Fortunately, things turn out alright for her in the end.

Lamia was a daughter of Poseidon and beautiful queen of Libya who had an affair with Zeus. When Hera learned of this, she stole their children (or killed them, Depending on the Writer). Lamia went mad with grief and tore out her own eyes. Zeus then transformed her into a monster allowing her to exact her revenge by hunting and devouring the children of others.
Lamia often appears as a bogey-monster, a night-haunting demon which preyed on children. She was sometimes pluralised into ghostly, man-devouring demon Lamiai.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Lamiai are just one of four kinds vampire-like monsters in Classical Mythology, the other three being Empusai, Keres, and Strix.
  • Shark Man: Lamia means "Large Shark", which may indicate that she is a shark woman. She also had a son by Zeus named Akheilos who was transformed into a shark by Aphrodite.
  • Snake People: Lamiai were sometimes described as serpentine from the waist down.

Eldest of the Pleiad Nymphs, Maia was the daughter of the Titan Atlas and his lover Pleione and is most well-known for being the mother of Hermes. She was a loving, nurturing parent, but known to be rather shy and thus didn't concern herself with the Olympians, preferring to live her life in a cave in Arcadia, though Hermes did make sure she got the recognition she deserved by becoming an Olympian himself. In some stories, she was also the adoptive mother of Arcas, the son of Zeus and Callisto.
  • Good Parents: Was a kind and loving mother to Hermes and Arcas, which is even reflected in her name.
  • Mama Bear: In some tellings, part of the reason she lived in a cave was to keep Hermes safe from Hera's wrath, though Hermes had other ideas...
  • Meaningful Name: Maia is Greek for "nurturing mother" and Maia was a mother who cared not only for Hermes but also Arcas.
  • Non-Human Humanoid Hybrid: Daughter of a Titan and an Oceanid Nymph.
  • Shrinking Violet: Along with being Hermes' mother, she's most well-known for being one of these; the reason she hid away in a cave was partly due to the fact that Hera would mess her up if she found out about Hermes and partly because she was shy and preferred to live on her own.

A powerful demigoddess, sorceress and princess of a distant kingdom, who ends up betraying her own father and brother for Jason. Jason proceeds to royally piss her off: see the tragedy named after her for the results.
  • Ax-Crazy: One of her most consistent character traits is how blood thirsty she is.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Jason, you knew she was Ax-Crazy and capable of killing immortals with just a look, why did you cheat on her? Depending on the version, the Corinthians could be this. In the original version they killed two of her children after Medea killed Jason's new girlfriend and accidentally burned down the royal palace as a side effect. Did they really expected she wouldn't kill half of them and let the survivors live in terror she'll return to finish the job?
    • The Thebans too. They drove her out of town while she was Herakles' guest after she left Corinth. In a subversion, Medea and Herakles didn't destroy the city.
  • Chariot Pulled by Cats: Medea's chariot was pulled by flying dragons that were born of Titans blood.
  • Dark Action Girl: She's got powerful magic and a high body count.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Theseus' father. Her plan to kill Theseus was foiled but again she escaped.
  • The Evil Princess: the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis. Betrayed her family to help Jason get the Golden Fleece.
  • Foil: Of Ariadne. Both were princesses who fell in love with a hero and helped him achieve his goal, betraying their kingdom in the process. Both of their respective heroes ended up screwing them over. While Ariadne was powerless to do anything to Theseus, Medea really made Jason pay.
  • Hot Witch: Not just a sorceress, but also a demi-goddess.
  • Lady of Black Magic: An incredibly powerful sorceress who can kill with a look and regal princess to boot.
  • Light Is Not Good: Her powers stem from her association with the sun, and she is not a nice woman in even the most charitable interpretations.
  • Magical Eye: She can kill an unkillable bronze giant by looking at it in the eyes, either torturing him into killing himself or hypnotizing him into doing the deed. Either way, it just took her a look. This power is traditionally seen in Hellenic culture to be derived from Helios, and predictably it's mostly seen by witches descending from him.
  • The Medic: She's good enough to raise the dead younger and healthier than when they died. Assuming you can actually convince her to do it...
  • Offing the Offspring: She killed her children after burning Glauce. Though earlier versions avoid this, and have the Corinthians kill her kids with predictable results.
  • The Power of the Sun: As a granddaughter of Helios, her powers came from the Sun, and are what Greeks believed to be spells associated with his domain. Examples include casting the evil eye (see below) and invoking a dragon-pulled Sun chariot in order to flee.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: The consequences of Jason dumping her were not pretty. Although there were not-so-subtle hints that there was something wrong with her from before Jason left her.
  • Tragic Villain: Especially when you consider that, according to certain versions of the myth, an entire cabal of goddesses conspired to essentially brainwash her into falling in love with Jason ... Kind of puts a new spin on the story.
  • Wicked Stepmother: To Theseus. She tried to poison him to ensure her own son would get the throne.
  • Woman Scorned: The phrase comes from Euripides' play entitled, well, Medea, making her the Trope Namer. When Jason left her, she burned her rival alive with a fire so intense it set on fire the royal palace, set on fire the city of Corinth for being ruled by the man who got Jason to dump her, and killed her own children to end his line.
  • Yandere: As she escaped with Jason, she took her brother along and chopped him up and threw his body parts into the sea to slow down their pursuers. You'd think Jason would notice that there's something wrong with her at this point.

The first King of Crete. He and his brothers Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon were the sons of Zeus and Europa, and had been raised by Asterion of Crete. After Asterion died, Minos ascended to the throne and banished his brothers, before marrying Pasiphaë of Colchis and having eight children with her, though he already had relationships with other women and had many other children too. When he refused to honor Poseidon by killing a precious white bull, Poseidon cursed Pasiphaë to fall in love with the bull and give birth to the Minotaur ("Minos' bull"). Minos then invaded Athens and demanded them yearly sacrifices of young boys and girls to the Minotaur, which was eventually put to an end by Theseus. Later, the architect whom he employed to design the labyrinth, Daedalus, double-crossed him by manipulating his daughters into killing him. After his death, Minos became one of the judges of the Underworld.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Possibly one of the first examples of this trope, coming from Ancient Greece. His mother, Europa, is Phoenician (yes, Phoenicians as in those people who resided in modern-day Lebanon and worshiped Canaanite gods also worshipped by the ancient Israelite before they became monotheistic), while his father is Zeus, who is, by all means, a Greek god.
  • The Caligula: What else do you call a king who gladly sacrifices his war prisoners to a horrible monster? When his characterization is split, it's almost always the younger Minos who is portrayed this way.
  • Dead Guy Junior: When portrayed as a Decomposite Character, the Tyrannical King Minos is usually portrayed as the Good King Minos' grandson.
  • Decomposite Character: Due to a mix of the contradictory characterization of him being a grade A tyrant yet still ending up as a judge of the Underworld and the timeline issues of one "King Minos" somehow ruling Crete for several generations, many have rationalized that there are two Minos—the "Good King Minos" being the first king and brother of Rhadamanthys held in high regard by the Olympians, "King Minos II" being his grandson who was named after him and the one who sacrificed Athenians to the Minotaur.
  • Divine Parentage: A son of Zeus, the king of the gods. It's possibly because of this parentage that he was allowed to become a judge of the Underworld, despite his Jerkass records.
  • The Good King: When portrayed as a Decomposite Character, the elder King Minos is often portrayed as a fair, just and wise man, which earned him a place as one of the judges of the Underworld.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite him actually being the one who didn't honor Poseidon, Poseidon instead cursed "him" by making his wife fell in love with a bull. Then he demanded yearly sacrifices of 14 teenagers from Athens as a peace treaty for invading them and what punishment did he get? Being tasked to be a judge of the Underworld, of course. Then again, he is a demigod son of Zeus, a god known for his douchebaggeries and ability to get away with them, just because he can.
    • Though before he became a judge of the underworld he did die a horrible, painful death by being tricked into taking a bath where either boiling hot water or oil scalded him to death. Plus As for the Pasiphae thing, his wife having an affair with a bull and her having a monstrous bastard child was a way of humiliating him, making him look like a really pathetic husband by Ancient Greek standards.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: What exactly he did to piss of the gods varies. Sometimes it was the standard hubris, other times he refused to sacrifice the Cretan Bull, causing Poseidon to call in a favor from Aphrodite.
  • Papa Wolf: Minos' vendetta against Athens is usually due to his son being killed during some games being held there.
  • Really Gets Around: Polyamory isn't forbidden even to this day, let alone in the past. Though his sorceress wife Pasiphae did slow his affairs by slipping him a potion that made vipers and scorpions shoot out of his penis and kill his mistresses every time he cheated on her. The only lover who avoided that was also a sorceress who gave Minos a potion that counteracted the one Pasiphae slipped him.

King of Ithaca, husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, and son of Laertes and Anticlea, Odysseus is renowned for his guile and resourcefulness, and is hence known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning (mētis, or "cunning intelligence"). He is most famous for the twenty eventful years he took to return home after the ten-year Trojan War and his famous Trojan Horse trick. The Romans called him Ulysses.
  • Abdicate the Throne: Odysseus leaves Thesprotia to Polypoites after the queen dies. Admittedly, he just goes right back to being king in Ithaca.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Odysseus (Ulysses) is treated as a pure villain in Roman mythology, such as in The Aeneid and later works influenced by it, like The Divine Comedy. In part, this was due to the Romans seeing themselves as the distant descendants of the Trojans whom Odysseus tricked and defeated. Earlier than that, Euripides detested him for his apparent lack of ethics.
  • The Alliance: It was his idea in order to stop a battle between the Kings Of Greece for the hand of Helen by creating this. It actually came to bite him in the ass later on. But he tried to escape even this.
  • Anti-Hero: By Ancient Greece standards, he was this, almost always using trickery. He does fit the modern understanding of the trope: he has no problem killing people at his mercy when they've surrendered, is pretty brutal when dealing with his enemies, and is mostly motivated by self-interest.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: King of Ithaca and no slouch in combat.
  • Badass Normal: Considered a major Greek hero, alongside Heracles, Achilles, Perseus, get the idea. But unlike most other Greek heroes, Odysseus isn't a demigod.
  • Bash Brothers: With Diomedes. It also has a Brains and Brawn dynamic, especially in the 10th book
  • Badass Boast: Odysseus does this to Polyphemos the cyclops. This, however, bites him in the ass when Polyphemos, having learned Odysseus's name through his boasting, invokes a favor from his father Poseidon to make his journey home a living nightmare. Daddy delivers.
  • Badass Bookworm: While his cunning is his greatest quality and the one he's most renowned for, he's also a very strong and capable fighter.
  • Bluff the Imposter: Invoked when he returned home and revealed himself to his wife. She doesn't quite believe him, and makes an offhand remark that their bed was moved. Odysseus states that his bed's headboard is part of a massive tree (which he himself carved) that the palace is built around, and that it's virtually impossible to move. This removes any lingering doubt.
  • Call to Agriculture: Odysseus' goal after going home.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: He's never actually associated with this in the Odyssey itself, but other writers thereafter brought up the comparison and it's not a rare thing in modern adaptations.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: A lot of people try to treat Odysseus' non-consensual relationships with Circe and Calypso as though they were affairs.
  • Eye Scream: Eat Odysseus' sailors and reap the consequences!
  • Genius Bruiser: Smart enough to think up how to end a decade-long siege in a day, strong enough to use a bow that few others can, and brave enough to enough to blind a cyclops when he could just escape it because the big asshole ate some of his troops. He's not smart enough to not boast about his name and titles to the cyclops after the fact, though.
  • Guile Hero: His most dangerous weapon by far was his tremendously sharp mind. Which makes sense when you remember that he is the grandson of Autolycus, the world's greatest thief, which makes Hermes, a Trickster God himself, his great-grandfather.
  • Happily Married: In The Odyssey, where all he wants to do is get home to his wife. Yes, there are stories where he cheats on her and/or she cheats on him, but they're not by Homer, which makes them the ancient Greek equivalent of fanfiction; in the real canon he is faithful to Penelope and she to him.
  • The Infiltration: Odysseus's recon of Troy.
  • King Incognito: Before taking his final revenge on the suitors.
  • In the Blood: One of the trickiest heroes ever was the great-grandson of the Greeks' Trickster God, Hermes.
  • Only Sane Man: During the Trojan War, being blinded neither by pride, wrath, nor greed.
  • Papa Wolf: He tried to feign madness to not go to war — but when an emissary named Palamedes put him and his infant son Telemachus in a really risky situation to see what he would do, he immediately dropped the charade so the kid wouldn't be hurt. He would later exact revenge on Palamedes for ruining his attempt to keep out of the war, either getting him executed by planting evidence that he was betraying the war effort for the Trojans, or just murdering him with much less of a pre-text.
  • Pride: He probably would have got home a lot smoother and faster if he just didn't have to tell his real name to Polyphemos to boast about it, letting Polyphemos pray to his father Poseidon to make the journey back... difficult.
  • Rightful King Returns: He successfully got home and regained his throne.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Odysseus slaughters every suitor and twelve maids in his home once he returns.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Besides being king, he is also a genius strategist and a warrior.
  • Sadistic Choice: Scylla and Charybdis. One will eat some of his men, the other will eat all his men.
  • Schmuck Bait: He thinks and plans the greatest one in recorded legend, the Trojan Horse.
  • The Smart Guy: After ten years of failure by force, Odysseus' stroke of genius breaches Troy's walls - the Achaeans break camp, sail out of sight, and leave the Trojan Horse with a number of Achaeans concealed within it. The Trojans bring the horse inside, celebrate the end of a decade-long siege and are left unprepared when the Achaean infiltrators kill off the sentries and open up their gates. This plan is actually especially genius since it's a lose-lose situation for the Trojans, because even if they didn't let the horse inside, refusing the gift would have disrespected Poseidon as the horse was also a tribute to him and surely cause him to end his protection upon the city.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": He's known as "Ulysses" in Latin likely because his Greek name was sometimes spelled with an L instead of a D, "Olysseus". Never in Homer though.
  • Supernatural Aid: Athena took a shine to him during the Trojan War and continued to help him on his journey home.
  • Trojan Horse: The mastermind of the trope.
  • Who's on First?: Calling himself the Greek version of "Nobody" to Polyphemos would basically cause one of the oldest recorded examples of this trope ever - after blinding Polyphemos during his sleep, Polyphemos would explain to other cyclops responding to his pained anguish that "Nobody blinded me", causing them to think that an unfortunate accident that they could do nothing about occurred.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Odysseus could have become immortal living with eternally youthful Circe or Calypso, but chose to return to Ithaca and his aging wife. Ironically, in a common continuation of the myth, his two sons and his widow do become immortal.
  • Worthy Opponent: Even the Trojans were in awe of this man. He was considered one of the mightiest and most respectable Achaians during the war.

Handsome giant gifted with the ability to walk on water by his father Poseidon. Actually he has three fathers. He was born from the urine of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hermes. Yeah... Orion is most notable for being the only man Artemis ever loved. This didn't go down well with her twin brother Apollo, so he had him killed, using methods that vary depending on the writer.
  • Awesome McCoolname: One translation of his name is "Of the mountain", which makes sense for a son of Gaia who frequents the wilderness.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The most famous version of his death has Apollo and/or Gaia sic a giant scorpion on him.
  • The Big Guy
  • Carry a Big Stick: His weapon of choice was a jeweled club.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Usually, though he did successfully get together with Eos (granted Eos was cursed to have insatiable lust for every cute guy she met).
  • Chick Magnet: You'd better believe it! Even famous man-hater Artemis went for this guy.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: While hunting with Artemis he gets it in his head he could hunt down every animal on Earth. Some accounts attribute this to a jealous cursing by Apollo. Either case, the Earth itself didn't appreciate this boasting and sent the aforementioned scorpion as retribution.
  • Extra Parent Conception: The stories that don't give him conventional parentage state he was conceived by three gods urinating on a cowhide and leaving it buried for ten days. The latter detail also makes Gaia his mother.
  • Eye Scream: One story has a king poke out his eyes with a dagger for attacking/making the moves on his daughter. He gets his sight back from Helios, though.
  • Hunter of Monsters: His preferred quarry. Spent years clearing out all the dangerous creatures plaguing an island kingdom so he could win the hand of the local princess. Unfortunately for Orion, the king went back on his word, and refused to let the two marry, and even went as far as to stab Orion's eyes out.
  • Master Archer: He was so impressive with the bow that he drew the attention of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, herself.
  • Meaningful Name: His name makes sense if you read his description.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The aforementioned urine thing aside, another possible backstory for him is as the son of Poseidon and Euryale—usually assumed to be a daughter of King Minos rather than the second Gorgon sister.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: It depends on the telling, but some myths claim that Orion was this with Artemis—sharing a love of hunting with her, but not being interested in her romantically (in stark contrast to his views on other ladies). Others avert this, however, depicting him as a Casanova Wannabe who was killed for making unwanted advances on her.
  • Rule of Three: The stories that give him three parents. Some scholars go so far as to infer he's an allegorical character whose parentage each contribute an aspect in some metaphor for the water cycle.
  • Unfortunate Name: His name means simply "Urine". Unless you go with the more likely translation of his name, which translates to "Of the mountain."
  • Walk on Water: He was said to be capable of this, which is why the more popular sources say Poseidon is his father.

Son of the Muse Calliope, Orpheus learned musical skills from Apollo, and joined Jason and the Argonauts. Even the famous Sirens couldn't beat Orpheus when it came to singing. After his wife Eurydice died, Orpheus travelled to the underworld and got past all obstacles by his music, even softening the hearts of Hades and Persephone. Hades agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth on one condition: he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. Orpheus failed, either because he was careless or just unable to trust Hades wholeheartedly. Heartbroken, Orpheus disdained the worship of all gods save for Apollo. One morning, he went to salute Apollo, but was rent to pieces by Maenads for not honoring Dionysus.
  • An Arm and a Leg: He was torn limb-from-limb by either the Maenads or generic Thracian women, depending on the telling.
  • Belated Happy Ending: In some versions of his myth, Orpheus' spirit passed to the underworld after his head was buried in Lesbos, where he was finally reunited with Eurydice.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: His Argonaut adventure has him in love with the son of the wind spirit Boreas named Calais, but what happened to Calais or how their relationship ended is unknown. One tradition says Orpheus was torn to pieces while thinking of Calais, ignoring all else around him.
  • Determinator: Nothing in the Underworld stops him from making a case for Eurydice's life back, not Cerberus, Charon, or Hades himself.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: On the receiving end: The Maenads, Ax-Crazy followers of Dionysus, tore him apart for not singing happy songs and/or ignoring them in favor of young men.
  • Driven to Suicide: One version of the myth says he killed himself out of grief at losing Eurydice.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Hades did warn him that Orpheus would never meet Eurydice again if he failed the trial. Some text say he wasn't dead even when vivisected, his head still singing mournful songs. That's until inhabitants of Lesbos Island buried his head and built a shrine in his honour.
  • Heroic BSoD: Has one since Eurydice's death; he recovered for a while, but losing her for a second time put him over the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Magic Music: His music and singing can charm birds, fish and wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance, and even divert the course of rivers. His song even beat the song of Sirens; some texts even say the Sirens committed suicide afterward. Then he calmed down Cerberus, got Charon to let him ride for free, and made Hades shed Manly Tears.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: He's either a mortal, a son of a Muse, Apollo's son, or son of the king of Thrace.
  • Non-Action Guy: He is not remembered for killing monsters or slaughtering warriors, but for his beautiful music that made even Hades shed tears.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: The former Trope Namer, and the most famous story involving him.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Almost every version of his myth has a downer ending where he turns around too soon and loses Eurydice. In Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice opera, after Orpheus turns around, Cupid brings her back to life in honor of their undying love and they depart happily.

One of Zeus' most famous demi-god children. Perseus was the Greek hero who killed the Gorgon Medusa in order to fulfill the evil king Polydectes' demands and save his mother Danae from the guy who wanted to marry her against her will under threat of death. Along the way he married Andromeda, having rescued her from a sea monster sent by Poseidon in retribution for Andromeda's mother Queen Cassiopeia declaring herself more beautiful than the sea nymphs. Herakles is a descendant of him.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: What Perseus uses to kill Medusa.
  • Accidental Murder: He accidentally killed his own grandfather at an athletic competition when the old man wandered into the path of his discus.
  • Berserk Button: Do not try anything with his mother, just… don’t.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While he's one of the most conventionally heroic (by modern standards) figures of Greek Mythology, pissing him off is very unwise. Just look at the multiple incidents where he turned groups of enemies into statue galleries.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He pulls this twice. The first time is the saving of his future wife and lover, Andromeda, from the Cetus (sea monster) to which she was to be sacrificed. The second one was to his beloved mother, as he manages to arrive just in time to stop her marriage to King Polydectes and in fury he uses Medusa’s head on him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Some myths have him doing this to Andromeda’s parents for their actions, especially her mother. Subverted with his grandfather Acrisius: in the major part of the myths, Perseus killing him is a genuine accident.
  • The Chosen One: The Gods themselves chose him to slay Medusa, and the prophets set him on that path by seeing another aspect of his future and telling what they saw.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When he has to kill someone or something, he's perfectly okay with taking an underhanded tactic. He killed Medusa by decapitating her in her sleep, and used her head to petrify groups of enemies on at least two occasions.
  • Good Is Not Soft: One of the nicest heroes of Greek Mythology, but capable of surprising ruthlessness.
  • Gruesome Grandparent: His grandfather locked him and his mother and sent them out to sea because of a prophecy that he'd kill him. Unlike most examples of this kind of prophecy he kills his grandfather by complete accident rather than getting back at him for it.
  • Guile Hero: Sometime seen as this, as he overcame the two biggest challenges in his trip to kill Medusa; his introduction to the Graeae and the killing of Medusa herself, with quick thinking and rather ingenious planning. Could also be considered to be a Genius Bruiser. In one account Athena guided his hand to slay Medusa.
  • Happily Adopted: After she got pregnant, Perseus' mother Danae was set adrift at sea in a large chest. When she washed up on shore, she was found by the kindly fisherman Dictys, who brought her into his home and effectively served as an adoptive father to Perseus. Perseus later paid him back by giving him Polydectes' throne after the bastard was turned to stone (not to mention, Polycdetes was Dictys' brother and threw him out of the court), and had him marry Danae.
  • Happily Married: Perseus and Andromeda have this, one of the incredibly few and most memorable in Greek Mythology.
  • Heroic Bastard: One of the many, many, many offspring of Zeus.
  • Ideal Hero: He's one of the very few heroes of Greek Mythology who meets the modern standard of this trope.
  • Impossible Task: King Polydectes sending Perseus to bring him the head of Medusa.
  • It Was a Gift: The other interpretation being that rather than his wits, it was the gifts various gods gave him that made it possible for him to kill Medusa. Maybe it was a combination of the two.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Perseus using his shield as a mirror in order to kill Medusa without having to look at her is a classic example from Greek mythology.
  • Momma's Boy: An incredibly badass version of one. Not to mention a sympathetic one: Danae was a very sweet mom to him, so Perseus obviously loves her lots and would lay down his life for her.
  • Nice Guy: By far one of the most heroic characters in Greek Mythology by modern standards, he is a fiercely devoted and protective son to both his mother and adoptive dad, a loving and completely faithful husband to Andromeda, a good father to his children, and a fair and just ruler of Mycenae.
  • Our Founder: The first demigod hero and the mythical founder of Mycenae, kicking off the Mycenaen age of Ancient Greece.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: In one version of his myth, he tosses the Graeae's eye into a river for no apparent reason, which runs counter to his usual Nice Guy portrayal.
  • Prince Charming: A very straight example, especially for classical mythology. He even saves a princess, and he is technically a prince on his mother's side.
  • Rescue Romance: With Andromeda.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: His killing of Acrisios. So the grandpa spirited baby and Danae away to save his own skin and avoid being murdered by a descendant? Years later, Perseus kills him by complete accident — he was practising with the discus for a nearby city's sport competitions not knowing Acrisius was visiting, his throw veered, Acrisius got hit on the head…
  • Supernatural Aid: The Gods themselves are on his side, especially Athena. Though they can't help him directly, they can give him advice and the stuff he needs.
  • Taken for Granite: With Medusa’s head, he does this to the sea monster Cetus (saving Andromeda), Phineas (saving himself) and Polydectes (saving his mother). In an alternate version, he accidentally uses it on Acrisius, who happened to be visiting Polydectes.

Man-eating cyclops son of Poseidon, most famous for being blinded by Odysseus. One less well-known story has him fall in love with the nymph Galateia, who turned him down for love of the beautiful youth Acis. The jealous cyclops discovered the couple lying together, and crushed Acis with a boulder.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Galateia.
  • Beast and Beauty: The Beast to Galateia's beauty.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: As he was a one-eyed giant, he had one of these by default. Of course media usually depicts at as pretty broad.
  • Carpet of Virility: Was consistently described as shaggy. "Trees without their leaves are ugly, and a horse is ugly too without a mane to veil its sorrel neck. Feathers clothe birds and fleeces grace the sheep: so beard and bristles best become a man."
  • Hidden Depths: Despite his crude, barbaric exterior, he was quite musical. He was skilled with the kithara, and panpipes, and according to one story, he even taught Galateia how to sing.
  • Eye Scream: Odysseus stabs his eye out.
  • I Know Your True Name: Averted at first, since Odysseus called himself "Nobody", but the guy just couldn't keep his mouth shut.
  • To Serve Man: Munched down four of Odysseus' men, two at a time. Of course, he's not human.
  • Too Dumb to Live: This exchange sums it up:
    Other Cyclops: Brother! Who has blinded you!?
    Polyphemus: Nobodynote ! Nobody has blinded me!
  • Who's on First?: As can be noted under Too Dumb to Live. He probably should have realized Odysseus was just using an alias and perhaps yelling "This guy I'm planning to eat later blinded me!" would have prevented any of them from getting out alive.

    Romulus & Remus 
Twin sons of Mars appropriately given their cities' most famous occupation and their stepmother was equally appropriately a Noble Wolf. Remus is killed by Romulus in a quarrel.
  • Cain and Abel: They argued about which hill to build their city that would become Rome on. They tried to settle it by watching for omens from birds (which Romulus wins from saying he saw twelve birds to Remus' six), but the argument continued and saw Remus killed either by his brother or one of his followers. Also, their tale is said to have predated Cain and Abel's by at least three centuries.
  • Divine Parentage: They are the sons of Mars, result of the syncretism between Ares and an Etruscan agricultural deity.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: Romulus is said to be founder of the city of Rome.
  • Raised by Wolves: Either that or a prostitute; it's the same word in Latin.

Daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, Semele was once the mortal lover of Zeus and the mother of Dionysus. Incinerated when Zeus revealed his true godly form to her, Dionysus later found her in the Underworld after seeking to revive his wife Ariadne, resulting in him bringing them both back and making them goddesses.
  • Amicable Exes: Oddly enough, some sources claim that after her deification, she and Zeus remained on mostly good terms despite no longer pursuing a relationship.
  • Back from the Dead: Thanks to her son, she's brought back and made immortal.
  • Brown Note: Her death from seeing Zeus' true form, which was far too powerful for her to comprehend.
  • Death by Childbirth: An odd variant—she doesn't die giving birth to Dionysus, she dies while pregnant with him when Zeus accidentally vaporizes her and Dionysus is recovered from her remains.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Acccording to some myths, Semele becomes the Goddess of Bacchic Frenzy post-deification.

Perhaps the most famous son of Poseidon — unless the mortal Aigeus was his real father after all — and the second most famous hero, after Heracles. He is most well known for slaying the Minotaur and ruling the city of Athens. Among his other deeds are killing serial killers, with Heracles inventing the mixed martial art of pankration, and his interactions with other famous mythological people like Heracles, Oedipus, and Medea.
  • Abduction Is Love: Theseus had a nasty habit of kidnapping women against their will or their husbands'.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Given that he was the founder king of Athens, it's no surprise that a lot of Athenian versions of myths involving Theseus tend to try and explain away or justify his less noble actions, including aging up Helen of Troy to an adult when he kidnaps her and claiming that Dionysus forced him to abandon Ariadne so he could have her all to himself.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Married the queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta.
  • Cain and Abel: Many of the serial killers Theseus killed on the way to Athens were either his half-brothers through Poseidon or otherwise related to him.
  • Continuity Snarl: As very popular heroes, Theseus, Hercules, and Jason are very commonly stuffed into one another's stories in ways that don't really make a clean timeline.
    • Theseus is sometimes listed as one of Jason's Argonauts, which doesn't mesh with the common understanding that Medea (Jason's sorceress ex-wife) was already consorting with King Aegeus when Theseus first arrived in Athens. Theseus' heroic career starts with his journey to Athens and thus would have to come before he could join the Argo, but Medea's presence in Athens indicates the voyage of the Argo was already long over.
    • Several of the famous labors of Hercules influence Theseus' adventures. Hercules captured the Cretan Bull, which in many tellings goes on to become the same Marathonian Bull that Theseus captures and/or kills King Minos' son Androgeus (whose death leads to the sacrifice of Athenian children to the Minotaur); Hercules also rescues Theseus from the underworld during his final task. Unfortunately, Hercules' famous labors are usually considered to have been undertaken over the course of ten years, which is a tighter schedule than Theseus' adventures tend to allow for. (Hercules is also commonly cited as adventuring with the Argonauts during his labors, so the gap in time between the Argo's voyage and Medea's arrival in Athens also snarls things up).
    • Theseus is usually said to confront the Minotaur during the third sacrifice of Athenian children to Crete, which occurred every seven or nine years, so Androgeus died at least fourteen years prior to that fight. If Androgeus died to the Cretan/Marathonian Bull after Hercules brought it from Crete, Theseus' encounter with the Minotaur doesn't happen until well after Hercules' labors should be over, which doesn't fit with the common understanding that the death of the Minotaur happens more or less right after Theseus' early triumphant arrival in Athens. In some versions Androgeus is killed by the Marathonian Bull after Theseus captures it and brings it to Athens.
    • Theseus' abduction of Helen, especially the versions where she's a young child, is hard to fit together with the details of her birth and siblings, the twins Castor and Pollux, who were famously members of the Argonauts. In the versions where Helen is similar in age to the boys (indeed, sometimes she's said to be born from the same egg), who were adults when they sailed with the Argonauts, then she was probably not a little girl when Theseus abducted her.
  • Disney Villain Death: Him being villainous is more of a case of Values Dissonance, but he met his end by being thrown off a cliff by King Lycomedes.
  • Divine Parentage: Depending on the Writer. Despite possibly being Poseidon's son, Theseus has no notable encounters with any god recorded in myth.
  • Driven to Suicide: Not him, but his father - after Theseus went off to try to kill the Minotaur, he told his father he'd herald his return with white sails on his ship. Failing to do this for whatever reason, his father Aegeus saw black sails returning to him and committed suicide in grief (some sources saying by jumping off a cliff into the sea, leading to said sea being named the Aegean Sea).
  • Extra Parent Conception: Some versions of his story give him two fathers: Aegeus and Poseidon. Some scholars believe that the god of the sea was added to his family tree later on to explain Athens being the dominant sea power of Ancient Greece.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not very well known, but the way he retrieved his father's sword and shoes in the Secret Test of Character and the way he completed his Six Labors while on the road to Athens showcase this.
  • Has Two Daddies: In some tellings of his story, he's the son of both Aegeus and Poseidon.
  • Hero of Another Story: Guest stars in several stories where he is not the focus, but his other adventures are alluded to.
  • Karma Houdini: King Pitthius, Theseus' maternal grandfather, who deliberately got Theseus' father King Aegeus to violate the terms of the prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi the night Theseus was conceived, and was thus directly implicated in Aegeus' grief-stricken death after Perseus had grown. Nothing ever befalls him for this.
  • The Jailbait Wait: When Theseus kidnapped Helen, she was just a little girl. He intended to marry her when she got old enough, but her brothers (Castor and Pollux) rescued her while Theseus was trapped in the Underworld.
  • Jerkass: Even by Ancient Greek standards, Theseus is regarded as kind of a dick. He's significantly more well-liked in Athens for obvious reasons, but most other city states depicted him as a jerk with a nasty habit of being Too Dumb to Live.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Decided to abduct and marry Helen of Troy. She was so young he had to wait till she reached marriageable age compared to himself, who was already fully grown and married once. Subverted as he soon got trapped in the underworld and Helen got rescued by her brothers Castor and Pollux.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Does this to all the Serial Killers (because seriously, that's what they are) that he meets on the road to Athens, killing them all in the same way that they killed their victims.
  • Pet the Dog: He gladly and without hesitation gave asylum to Oedipus when so many cities had denied him this. In Euripides' and Seneca's plays about Heracles, he does the same for Heracles after he murdered his wife and child.
  • The Prophecy: Childless King Aegeus received an obscure prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi—"Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athensnote , lest you die of grief."—and seeking to understand it stops off in Troezen to seek the advice of the wise King Pitthius. Pitthius understands the prophecy, and then proceeds to get Aegeus drunk and has his guest get his daughter Aethra pregnant with the man who would become Theseus.
  • Super Strength: Some accounts claim he killed the Minotaur with his bare hands.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • He and his friend Pirithous once swore oaths to help each other get new wives. Theseus wanted Helen, but Pirithous decided to abduct Perspheone, wife of Hades. This was not a good idea, and Theseus knew it, but could not break his oath. Thus, the trope is subverted for Theseus, but played completely straight with Pirithous. Theseus was eventually freed from the underworld by Heracles, but Pirithous was not so lucky.
    • On Theseus' way back to Athens from Crete, he experienced several idiotic moments. For example, he managed to leave Ariadne, the woman who had helped him to exit the labyrinth by giving him a thread to tie to the entrance, on an island. He just got up and sailed away without her. Later on that same journey, he forgot to change the sails on his ship - he had set out with black sails, and promised to switch them for white if he returned victorious. Seeing the ship with black sails enter the harbour, his father Aegeus was overcome with grief and threw himself into the sea (now called the 'Aegean'). Justified in some version, he didn't just abandon Ariadne, but was forced to leave her by Dionysus so he can seduce her. And as he didn't recover from his sorrow, he completely forgot about the white sails until it's too late.
  • The Unchosen One: Compared to Perseus he had to do everything all on his own.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After Ariadne helped him survive the Labyrinth, he left her on a beach. Fortunately for her, Dionysus came to her rescue. As noted, some version subvert this as Dionysus forced him to abandon her.
  • Wolverine Publicity: As a side-effect of Athens ending up curating most of the mythology handed down to moderns, Athenian hero Theseus shows up in tellings of adventures that it may or may not make sense for him to actually be on, like the voyage of the Argo.

A Giant, conceived by Zeus and Elara, then carried to term by Gaia when Zeus hid Elara from Hera underground and Elara died. Tityos is, like Tantalus, Sisyphus, Ixion and the Danaides, most famous for his eternal punishment in the Underworld—after he tried to rape the titaness Leto as she traveled to the temple of her son Apollo, Tityos was slain by Apollo and his sister Artemis who pelted him with a rain of arrows. In Tartarus, Tityos was condemned to be nailed to the ground while a pair of vultures pecked at his eternally regenerating liver (similar to Prometheus).
  • And I Must Scream: Like Prometheus, he spends eternity having his liver eaten by birds.
  • Asshole Victim: His punishment seems harsh until you learn what he did to deserve it.
  • Attempted Rape: Sometimes at Hera's behest, he tried to rape Leto. Fortunately, Artemis and Apollo killed him before he could.
  • Foil: Suffered pretty much the same punishment as Prometheus. Unlike Prometheus, who was punished for an act of kindness and ultimately freed, Tityos was truly guilty of a cruel, heinous deed and punished accordingly.
  • Jerkass: Yeah, trying to force yourself on a woman while she's on her way to meet her son is kind of a dick move.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: He's a giant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tried to rape Leto... while she was approaching her son's temple.


Most famous for being considered the world's most beautiful man, Adonis was conceived when his mother, Myrrha, fell in love with her father, Theias, and tricked him into impregnating her, and subsequently had the gods turn her into a tree to escape punishment. When Adonis was born from his tree-mother, his beauty was already so great that he charmed not one, but two goddesses: Aphrodite and Persephone. When Adonis came of age and chose Aphrodite to be his lover, he was killed by a wild boar sent by Ares (Or the boar was Ares. It's confusing), who was jealous of the relationship between Adonis and Aphrodite. (Though there are versions of the myth that say it was Artemis, or Apollo who was jealous of Adonis' skill with a bow, that sent the wild boar to kill him.)
  • Adaptational Wimp: Ultimately has roots in Canaanite veneration of Tammuz (Dumuzid), under the title adon, meaning "lord." For whatever reason, Adonis (sort-of) lost his divine status, perhaps because the Greeks had a pre-existing shepherd god and his own myth was far too close to Persephone's, who would become his ward. This being so, the divide between the Underworld and the living world was recast as taking place during Adonis's life, and in most accounts, Adonis is Killed Off for Real. Given, the original Inanna's Descent stopped at Dumuzid's death, making this transformation understandable.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The original myth of Dumuzid has him as more-or-less a god of rarer agricultural commodites like milk, and eventually punished for not mourning his wife Ishtar enough during her yearly descent to the Underworld. In Classical Mythology, Adonis is so hot it's essentially what kills him. Also see Really Gets Around below.
  • Ambiguously Human: Definitely mortal at some point, at least in Classical Mythology, but the Late Antiquity figure Origen references that there was some recognition of Adonis as being Back from the Dead in some manner, at least when more closely syncreticized with his origin Tammuz. This could indicate a continued deification, as women continued to mourn Adonis in the Adonia.
  • Love Triangle: He was at the middle of one between Aphrodite and Persephone. Unless one interprets Persephone's love as being maternal, rather than romantic (there is room in the texts for this interpretation). But he's still in a love triangle with Aphrodite and Ares.
    • This is nothing to say about his apparent multiple other suitors. See Really Gets Around below.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: He's the hypotenuse in this case. He was murdered by a jealous Ares, Aphrodite's lover.
  • Really Gets Around: Also persued by the equally bisexual Apollo, Heracles and Dionysus. Funnily enough, the centaur Nessos was also smitten with him, and was taught by Aphrodite herself how to get his attention. Possibly because unlike Persephone, Nessos didn't ask for undivided attention.
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: Ultimately, his beauty was one of the main factors behind his death.
  • Wife Husbandry: His main caretaker, Persephone, fell in love with him and tried to raise him to be her lover, but he chose Aphrodite instead (although whether choice was his alone or if he made it with some "encouragement" from Aphrodite varies from story to story). Though it is still entirely possible that Persephone's love was merely a possessive maternal love, as some Greeks interpreted this tale as representing the two most important yet opposing women in a man's life: first his mother, then his wife.

King of Mycenae and brother of Menelaus, who commanded the Greek forces in the Trojan War. When he prepared to sail to Troy with his army from Aulis, he incurred the wrath of Artemis (the reasons for this vary) and was forced to offer his daughter, Iphigenia, as a sacrifice to appease her. In the war itself, he actively fought on the battlefield and, in the final year, had a quarrel with Achilles over a slave named Briseis, which resulted in Achilles in His Tent and nearly cost the Greeks victory. When he returned from Troy, he was killed by his wife, Clytemnestra.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The man was no saint, but he was no more “evil” than the rest of the Greek or Trojan warriors during the war. The film Troy has him as an example of Ambition Is Evil.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Going hand in hand with the above Adaptational Villainy, most modern adaptation of The Illiad and Greek mythology portray Agamemnon as a cowardly backstabbing armchair general who is sitting behind his troops in the midst of battle. The worst offenders such as the film Troy show him as being solely responsible for much of the Greek's defeat in the Trojan War with his arrogance and never portray him clashing in melee with the Trojans. Even the most favorable modern TV and film portrayals downplay Agamemnon's martial prowess and simply portray him commanding far from the front lines with 20 or more bodyguards. Whereas in the original stories, he was a badass on the same tier as Achilles and even known to berserk on a few moments and take entire Trojan battalions alone. To the point that even Achilles had to admit begrudging respect after a major battle.
  • Asshole Victim: At the hands of his wife, Clytemnestra - or at least by modern standards. In this particular case is rather hard and difficult to pinpoint which of them really is the bigger asshole: they both had their countless moments, and even the main driving reason for Clytemnestra’s killing of him (the sacrifice of Iphigenia) rings rather hollow when one takes into consideration she was more than willing to kill two of her other kids (Electra and Orestes) and neglected her remaining daughter Crysothemis.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: If Achilles is so badass, why is Agamemnon in charge? He has the most ships, by ten.
  • Fatal Flaw: Agamemnon's is his pride. His refusal to initially realize that his treatment of Achilles is unfair leads to his army's near defeat, although this consequence pales in comparison to Achilles' and Hector's. He does later realize the foolishness of this action but never admits any blame or apologizes
  • Genius Bruiser: Nowhere near Odysseus' level, but being a Genius Bruiser was the norm for any king at the time. His ghost actually gives Odysseus some rather sage advice about being prepared for anything when returning to one's own home
  • Good Parents: Tragically, it’s strongly implied by Electra’s memories of him that he was this before everything when to hell.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Subverted in some cases - his sacrifice of his daughter to appease Artemis' anger gets him murdered by his wife's lover and her (who definitely cheated and killed him out of anger) upon his return, but in some versions he actually never succeeds in killing her through the mercy of Artemis, who whisks her away and leaves a deer/goat.
  • Rightful King Returns: It goes much less pleasant than some of his other brethren.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • Secret Test of Character: Early on, in preparation for an attack, Agamemnon tests the Greeks' fighting spirit by saying, in short, "We'll never take Troy; let's pack up and go home." The leaders then have to stop their troops from following through
  • Shipper on Deck: Agamemnon becomes exponentially funnier if you view him as a Helen/Menelaus shipper. It's not even inaccurate.
  • Tragic Hero/Tragic Villain: Due to values dissonance he's the latter in modern days.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Agamemnon had to kill one of his daughters, Iphigenia, for a favorable wind in order to go to war.

A princess of Joppa in Palestine (then a part of Aithiopia, not be confused with Ethiopia), who was Chained to a Rock as a sacrifice for a sea monster, Cetus, sent by Poseidon when her mother Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids. However, she was saved from Cetus by Perseus, who she married.
  • Chained to a Rock: As a sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus.
  • Damsel in Distress: One of the earliest examples. What's more, she did nothing wrong or stupid; her mother was the one who caused the mess, Andromeda was involved by proxy, and shit went down for her.
  • Happily Married: To Perseus, which is one of the incredibly few, and most memorable, examples in Greek mythology.
  • Human Sacrifice: Intended to be one for Cetus, in order to keep the coast of Joppa from being ravaged. Fortunately, Perseus saves her from this fate.
  • Race Lift: She's generally described in the original sources to have the dusky appearance of the Aithiopians, which ancient authors likened with the modern Middle East, North Africa and Northern India. Modern depictions tend to make her either white (if they assume her to be Greek) or black (if they confuse Aithiopia with Ethiopia).
    • Aithiops is derived from the two Greek words, from αἴθω + ὤψ (aitho "I burn" + ops "face"); translating as Burnt-face in noun form and red-brown in adjectival form, as a reference to the red-brown skin tones of the North Africans and Middle Easterners.
  • Rescue Romance: With Perseus.

A mortal woman with a talent for weaving. She boasted about being better than even Athena herself. Athena was so offended that she challenged Arachne. Regardless of what happened next, it always ends with Arachne becoming a spider.
  • Adaptational Badass: While as usual with Greek Mythology, there are many version, the myth usually despicts Athena as turning Arachne into a normal spider, small size included. Practically all the adaptations since then have despicted her post-transformation either as a Giant Spider or Spider People.
    • Some versions depict a different outcome of the challenge. For example, a tie between Athena and Arachne, or the former winning. But the most popular and admitted version, Ovid's version is that Arachne won.
  • Baleful Polymorph: There's a reason that spiders are called "Arachnids"
  • Blasphemous Boast: The reason Athena got angry at her, since Pride was one of the worst sins that a human could ever commit against the Gods.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Athena may have turned her into a spider, but in the most popular version (Ovid's), she still won the contest. Against the godess of handcraft. Think about this for a minute.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: She made fun of Zeus in her weaving. Knowing Athena, what did you expect?
  • Interrupted Suicide: One of the oldest versions of the myth says that Arachne tried to hang herself after beating Athena in the weaving contest. Athena tried to save her, but accidentally turned her into a spider in the process. Another version holds that she lost to Athena, and attempted suicide because the terms were that the loser would never use a needle or spindle again. Athena stopped her and turned Arachne into a spider so that she could weave without tools.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: More like "Multiple Choice Future". The story is rarely consistent with what happens between Athena challenging her and Arachne turning into a spider.
  • Smug Super: She may not be a superhero, but not only she was very honest about her arrogance, but she had the skills to back it up.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Arachne, Arachne, Arachne...did you really believe Athena would let you get away with claiming to be better than her?
    • In some versions, she used her tapestry to make fun of Zeus...AKA, Athena's father. With Athena being Athena, you can guess that this didn't end well for her.

Greek mythology's most famous heroine, and the only female member of the hero team-up known as the Argonauts, Atalanta was a mortal princess exposed at birth because her father wanted a boy. Was found and suckled by a she-bear before she was discovered and raised by hunters. Grew up to be very beautiful and very fast. Eventually she was reunited with her father, who insisted that she get married. She wasn't too keen on this, so she promised to marry the man who could beat her in a foot race, but the losers would be executed. When Hippomenes (or Melanion) defeated her, she married and made love with him in Zeus or Aphrodite's temple. Zeus (or Aphrodite) was so enraged by the desecration that he (or she) turned them both into lions.
  • Amazonian Beauty: So beautiful that men came from all over ancient Greece to risk their lives for her hand. The one guy who finally got her couldn't even wait until he got home to consummate the marriage, leading to the embarrassing incident described below under Baleful Polymorph.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: She got distracted from her footrace with Hippomenes by the gold apples he rolled while he ran, which cost her the race and gave Hippomenes the chance to marry her.
  • Badass Normal: One of Greek Mythology's "A-Lister" heroes but she was completely mortal with no divine parents. Despite this she's a skilled warrior and hunter who played a major role in the Argonauts' adventures and battles. Atalanta was such an amazing runner the only person who could beat her in a footrace had to use divine apples made to distract mortal eyes to win, and even then, it's implied she only barely lost despite taking her sweet time to pick up and admire each apple. Damn.
  • Baleful Polymorph: She and her husband, were turned into lions for having sex in Zeus' temple. The Ancient Greeks believed that lions could only mate with leopards, not other lions.
  • Battle Couple: Her relationship with Meleager. Some sources even claim they consummated their relationship, resulting in a son named Parthenopeus.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Atalanta challenged her suitors to a race in order to marry her...the losers were killed. The one guy who actually won had to cheat to do it, though in some versions, Atalanta was cool with that because he was the only one she actually liked.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: She seems to have some superhuman abilities despite her apparent lack of divine parentage.
  • Cursed With Awesome: Sort of. She couldn't mate with Hippomenes again, but still...
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: In vase painting. Greek maidens traditionally wore knee-length dresses while hunting, but artists consistently painted her in dresses that barely covered her ass for some reason.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Often depicted in artwork wearing quite revealing clothes, usually very short skirts, and bare breasts, but Turned Up to Eleven in this vase painting that demonstrates that the trend of depicting female heroes wearing skimpy bikinis is much Older than You Think.
  • Panthera Awesome: She and her husband, were turned into lions for having sex in Zeus' temple.
  • Parental Abandonment: Not only was she herself abandoned by her father, she later abandoned her own son Parthenopeus on Mount Parthenius in Arcadia, to conceal the fact that she was no longer a virgin.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only woman who sailed with the Argonauts in the quest for the Golden Fleece.
  • She's Got Legs: A lot of writers, both ancient and modern, love to put emphasis on the shapeliness of her legs. Which makes sense, given how famously fast she was.
  • Super Speed: Her defining trait. No explanation is given for why a baseline mortal would have such an ability.
  • Virgin Power: She swore an oath of virginity to Artemis, and became well-known as a virgin huntress. She didn't do a very good job keeping it, though. See Battle Couple and Parental Abandonment above.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Everyone more or less stopped doubting her after she beats Peleus in wrestling, who you might recall is Achilles' dad and a bonafide badass in his own right.

The founder-king of Thebes and husband to the goddess Harmonia. Cadmus may not be as well-known in the modern day, but he's an important figure in the mythology as the very first Greek hero ever, descendant of Io and ancestor of Dionysus. The story of Cadmus was a turbulent one, beginning with being sent by his father to rescue his sister Europa from Zeus, to founding Thebes, to slaying a water-dragon sacred to Ares and serving him for eight years as punisment, to finally being transformed into a serpent at the end of his life.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most of his life was wrought with ill-fortune due to both slaying a sacred water-dragon and the Necklace of Harmonia gifted to his wife at their wedding, bringing misfortune upon his family and unrest to his city.
  • The Dragonslayer: Slew a water-dragon of some sort after it killed several of his men. Unfortunately for him, that dragon was sacred to Ares, leading to the start of his troubles.
  • Genre Savvy: Some sources say it wasn't that he was unsuccessful in his search for his sister but rather that he was reluctant to go against Zeus. Given how capricious the gods are it was probably a wise choice.
  • Happily Married: Harmonia, while a reward for his eight years of penance, genuinely loved him and bore him several children.
  • Heroic Lineage: He's Dionysus maternal grandpa.
  • Irony: Married the goddess of harmony. His life was anything but.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: When he finally had enough of the misfortune brough upon him by killing a sacred water-dragon he remarked to the gods that if they were so enamoured by the life of a serpent then he might as well wish for that himself. They granted it.
  • Scaled Up: Became a serpent at the end of his life, either before or after his death and either alongside or shortly followed by his wife, depending on the source.
  • Ur-Example: He was the first Greek hero.

A seer and the sister of Hector who was cursed by Apollo in shady circumstances. The curse was that no one would ever believe her visions of the future. She is the trope namer for The Cassandra and Cassandra Truth.
  • The Cassandra/Cassandra Truth: Duh, she's the Trope Namer
    • Subverted in the Orestiada — she begins to describe the bloody story of the city of Argos and Agamemnon's lineage as clealy as if she had been there, which is impossible for obvious reasons. This prompts the initially unconvinced Argos Elders to have sympathy for her plight.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Dear Gods, absolutely nothing ever seems to go right for this poor girl!
  • Depending on the Writer: Some versions say that Cassandra was a priestess of Apollo and made a chastity vow as a part of said devotion, with Apollo cursing her when she broke it. Others state that she and Apollo were lovers and he cursed her when she either dumped him or cheated on him. In others, see Rape as Drama.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Uhm, where do we start...?
  • Kick the Dog: Like you wouldn't believe.
  • Mad Oracle: What people saw her as. Later she becomes this for real.
  • The Ophelia: Specially in the Orestiada
  • Rape as Drama: In some myths, Apollo almost raped her and refusing him is believed to be how she was cursed in the first place. In all of them, Ajax the Lesser successfully raped her.
  • Sanity Slippage: Around the time the Trojan War rolled in and her brother died, she pretty much snapped.
  • Seers: She was a gifted prophet, but nobody believed her predictions. Some say that she got the ability from having her ears licked by snakes (most sources say that she could only hear the future, not see it); others said that Apollo gave her her powers as a gift.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Her entire life is one traumatic event after another. By the end of it all, she actually lets someone kill her just to get out of it.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Her beauty was even compared to Aphrodite!

Half-sister to Helen, wife of Agamemnon and mother of Iphigenia, Electra, Chrysothemis and Orestes, whom she kills in revenge for the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia. Killed in revenge by her son Orestes.
  • Abusive Mom: Towards Electra.
  • Adult Fear: Deceived by Agamemnon into taking Iphigenia to Aulis, believing her daughter is to be married to Achilles.
  • Depending on the Author: Her personality: Homer depicts her as weak and submissive while Aeschylus portrays her as ruthless and manipulative. She had a previous husband whom Agamemnon killed in some versions of the myth.
  • Evil Matriarch: To Electra
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Played with; while she's manipulative and vengeful, there isn't much evidence of her being a bad ruler.
  • Tragic Villain: She is pushed into villainy after the death of her daughter and ultimately her act of revenge comes to bite her later on.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Aegisthus.
  • Unwanted Spouse: In some versions of the myth Agamemnon killed her first husband and forced her into marrying him.
  • Woman Scorned: In Electra by she cites Agamemnon taking on Cassandra as his concubine as one of the reasons for murdering him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: She murdered Agamemnon and Cassandra’s children.

    The Danaides 
Among the less well-known denizens of Tartarus, these are the fifty daughters of Danaus. Arranged to marry the fifty sons of their uncle Aegyptus, all but one of them murdered their husbands on their wedding night under their father's orders, and as punishment, the forty-nine who were guilty were condemned to Tartarus—there, they were tasked with carrying water to fill a bath where they would be able to cleanse their sins, but the bath has holes in it, so no matter how much water they pour, it will never fill. The one who was innocent, Hypermnestra, was spared this torment.
  • And I Must Scream: Part and parcel for those punished in Tartarus, the Danaides were condemned to constantly repeat a meaningless task forever.
  • Asshole Victims: Given that they were noteworthy for having ended up in Tartarus, this is a given.
  • Kissing Cousins: Their husbands were the sons of their father's twin brother. This may be why they were punished so harshly, as they effectively committed kinslaying.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: There are fifty of them.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: The reason they're in Tartarus is that all but one of them murdered their husbands.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Okay, there's forty-nine of them, but they're all more or less treated as The Dividual and they have the highly dubious honor of being the only mortal women known to have suffered an ironic punishment in Tartarus.
  • Token Good Teammate: Hypermnestra, who opted to let her husband live when she learned he respected her desire to remain a virgin. She was spared the torture of the Underworld, while her sisters were trapped in it.

Deianira was Herakles's third and last mortal wife. After their marriage, they come across a river and Nessus offers to ferry her across. However, once he reaches the other shore he tries to rape her. Herakles shoots him with poisoned arrows. In a final gambit before he dies, Nessus convinces Deianira that his blood is a love potion. She takes a vial of it, and he tells her to smear it on her husband's clothes if he ever proves unfaithful. She does just that, but it doesn't end well. The sister of Meleager and a princess of Calydon.

A fierce Greek warrior and king of Argos who fought at the Trojan War.
  • The Ace: Diomedes was the second greatest warrior at Troy, surpassed only by Achilles - though Hector's brother says Diomedes is the better warrior and greatest overall out of all the Greek forces - and only equaled by Hector and Ajax the Greater, he was wise and intelligent, young, handsome, well respected, brought the third largest force to Troy and was the only full mortal to get away with wounding Gods. He was favorably compared to even Herakles.
  • Badass Normal: He was no demigod and had no divine lineage. Yet he managed to do something that very few demigods managed it: defeat a god in open battle.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Defeating two of the gods was undeniably his Moment of Awesome. On top of that, he did it in the same day, and those gods were Aphrodite, who was trying to save her son, Aeneas, from Diomedes. After Apollo made him back off, Diomedes ended up having to face off against Ares himself, who was there to punish him for wounding Aphrodite. Athena liked him enough to aid him against Ares, and he actually wounded the god of war.
  • The Dreaded: The Trojans were scared of him a lot more than they were Achilles. Beating the god of war in single combat, with no one aware Athena herself is helping you, tends to do that.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Both his shield and Cool Helmet could expel a stream of flame.
  • Genius Bruiser: When he realizes Ares is fighting alongside the Trojans, he quickly pulls back his troops, not out of fear but because he knew that they couldn't hope to stand against Ares. Only with Athena's encouragement and a promise of her aid does he take the field and defeat Ares. He also frequently shows himself a pragmatic warrior on the battlefield.
  • Meaningful Name: His name means "god-cunning" referencing his intelligence and wisdom.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Usually was the one to give the best advice during meetings of the Greek generals. When Agamemnon insults him for taking so long to get his men into battle, he tolerates it and rebukes his companion who tries to defend him, reminding him that Agamemnon is their commander, that if Troy falls he will get all the glory or be blamed for falling to capture the city.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like many of the Greek generals, he was a member of nobility, as his father was Tydeus, king of Argos before him, who was one of the Seven Against Thebes. However, before the Trojan War, Diomedes had already made a name for himself by avenging his father's death, crushing Thebes when he was just a teenager alongside the other sons of the Seven Against Thebes. He was the most experienced of all the Greek generals despite being the youngest as well.

Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Plots her death in revenge for the death of Agamemnon. She's the focus of Electra by Sophocles and an eponymous play by Euripides. Also appears in The Oresteia
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Towards Clytemnestra
  • Big Brother Worship: Towards Orestes, but it is entirely contingent on the fact that she thinks he will kill Clytemnestra one day. If he chose to stay happily in exile for the rest of his life she'd probably disown him, but as her only ally and potential saviour, he is the recipient of all her love.

Eurystheus was the King of Mycenae and the cousin Heracles had to serve under to atone for the crimes he committed while possessed by the Goddess Hera.
  • Dirty Coward: He was an arrogant, boastful prick when Heracles had to be subservient to him. However, Heracles revealed his true colors by unleashing many of the creatures he captured as part of the Labours, such as the Erymanthian Boar, the Cretan Bull and Cerberus. Every time, Eurystheus ran away screaming in terror and hid in a giant brass pot.
  • Evil Is Petty: After Heracles successfully completes several of his labors, Eurystheus sends him to clean Augeas' Stables figuring that if he can't kill him, he'll at least embarrass him by making a Son of a God do menial work. Hercules figured a way around it.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He was jealous of Heracles' power, abilities and fame.
  • Jerkass: He was a real asshole to Heracles when he was his servant.
  • Off with His Head!: Some say he was ultimately decapitated by Hercules’ son Hyllus.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After Heracles ascends to Olympus, Eurystheus tries to kill off Hercules' many children.
  • Running Gag: Every time Heracles brought back some sort of dangerous creature during the Labours, Eurystheus would run and hide in a large brass pot, screaming in terror until Heracles took the creature away.
  • The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: Subverted. Heracles was originally set to become King of Mycenae, but Hera tricked Zeus into decreeing that Eurystheus should be the king instead. As their profiles show, Heracles would have made a far more impressive king than Eurystheus turned out to be.

    The Horatii 
Roman triplets and great warriors. Most famous for defending a bridge against the Etruscan forces.

  • Adaptational Heroism: This Hector is not always as heroic as the ones you'll find in Troy or Helen of Troy.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking : The Commander of Trojan army and their greatest warrior.
  • Badass Normal: Not a demigod, not favored by a god, not washed in a river and given Nigh-Invulnerability, yet he is the best warrior in Troy, and is only defeated because of Achilles's Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hector only attacks Patroclus with a swarm of men, runs like the wind when confronted by Achilles, and only goes out to fight him when he thinks his brother Deiphobus is with him. That being said, he was up against Achilles. He knew he was outclassed on his own and knew he was going to die if he fought him alone.
  • Happily Married: With Andromache.
  • The Hero: Many regard Hector as the closest thing to one in the Iliad as he is the most sympathetic main character fighting to protect his nation rather than personal glory or power compared to the Greeks, or by his own lust like his brother Paris (who started the whole conflict to begin with). And there is also the fact the story closes with his funeral, though we don't actually see Troy being destroyed until the Odyssey.
    • Hero Antagonist: Hector is defending his homeland from foreign invaders... Unfortunately, these foreign invaders happen to be the Greeks.
  • Honor Before Reason: Treats Helen with the utmost courtesy and fights to keep her at Troy, despite knowing how utterly insane and self-destructive the latter will turn out to be for literally everyone inside of it.
  • Jerkass Ball: Planned to decapitate Patroclus' body in revenge for Patroclus killing his charioteer.
  • Only Sane Man: Seems to be the only Trojan who realises that kidnapping Helen was a spectacularly stupid idea.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • Ship Tease: Despite being married, he gets some of this with Helen. He was always nice and courteous to her, and she herself wished her husband was more like Hector. At his funeral, she even gave a big tear-jerking eulogy about how upset she was at his death and how she essentially had no one else in Troy.
  • Warrior Prince: Crown Prince of Troy and their champion to boot.

Iolaus was Hercules' nephew, squire, and sidekick (and sometimes lover), accompanying him on many of his adventures.
  • Old Soldier: By the time Heracles ascends to Olympus he's this. He's given his youth back for the day by the Goddess of Youth, Hebe (Heracles' wife) so that he can fight Eurystheus.
  • Side Kick: He was Heracles' squire, and often went with him on his adventures. One of the oldest examples.

Iphicles was Herakles's mortal half-brother, the son of his mortal adoptive father Amphitryon.
  • Bash Brothers: A few sources have him accompanying Heracles on some of his military expeditions, where he is wounded or killed.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Iphicles is seen by some modern writers as cowardly and weak, but several sources say that he actually participated in the Calydonian Boar hunt, the quest for the Golden Fleece as an Argonaut, and also accompanied Heracles on some of his military expeditions.

Ixion was the king of the Lapiths, who invited his father-in-law to a feast and then murdered him by throwing him into a pit of burning coals and wood in a dispute over a bridal payment. He went mad from his violation of xenia, the Greek custom of Sacred Hospitality, but the other Greek kings were so disgusted by his actions that they refused to purify him. Ixion eventually fled to Mount Olympus and begged Zeus for mercy. Zeus granted this, but then got suspicious that Ixion was lusting after Hera. To test Ixion, Zeus created a duplicate of Hera out of clouds named Nephele. When Ixion was tricked into laying with her, she bore the race of Centaurs. Zeus was so enraged by Ixion's violation of xenia and his attempts to rape Hera that he lashed Ixion to a flaming wheel and sent it spinning either through the night sky or through Tartarus for the rest of eternity.
  • And I Must Scream: Ixion is tied to a flaming wheel that spins for all eternity, either through the sky or through the Underworld.
  • Asshole Victim: Like most inmates of Tartarus, he was a terrible person in life.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: While Zeus and company were often Jerkass Gods, sometimes they also gave mortals like Ixion exactly what they deserved.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Zeus gave this in spades to Ixion.
  • Man on Fire: Being bound to a wheel of fire for the rest of eternity is not a pleasant existence.
  • Pride: Ixion acts as though the rules of xenia don't apply to him, first by murdering his guest and then lusting after his host's wife. For extra pride points, he acted this way when his host was the king of the gods.
  • Too Dumb to Live: First Ixion violates xenia by killing his father in law. Then he violates it again by lusting after his own host's wife. Said wife is also the queen of the gods.

    Jason and the Argonauts 
One of the few mortal heroes of Greek myth. He is famous for assembling the Argonauts, virtually every hero of worth in ancient Greece before Troy, and questing for the Golden Fleece. He is also somewhat infamous for his stupidity in his treatment of the sorceress Medea.
  • Badass Normal: Purely mortal and lacking any magical weapons unlike nearly every other Greek Hero That's only Jason, mind. Several Argonauts have unique powers — Periclymenus is a shapeshifter, Lycenus has X-Ray Vision, Aethalides has... really good memory...
  • The Chosen One: Jason is perhaps the only mortal hero to be favored by Hera and was chosen to avenge the killing of a woman in Hera's temple by his uncle Pelias.
  • Downer Ending: One of the most downers in all of Greek myth thanks to his own stupidity. Jason ends up losing his family, any kingdom he might have had, and spend his last years wandering the early as a lonely beggar before falling asleep under the rotting timber of the Argo, reflecting on past glories, and a piece falls off, killing him.
  • Dwindling Party: His crew suffers a number of casualties over the course of their voyage, but the losses aren't so bad as they were with, say, Odysseus'.
  • Hero of Another Story: Heracles departs from the Argonauts about a third of the way through to look for his missing friend (and possible lover) Hylas. It is usually stated that he was required to return to his labors.
  • The Quest: The most famous one from Greek myth guest starring everyone with a name.
  • Story-Breaker Power: The most likely reason Heracles was written out. Who needs Medea and her magic or any other hero when you have someone that can fight gods?
  • Super Team: The Argonauts may be the Ur-Example. The exact list tends to vary ranging from forty to fifty heroes. Lists typically include the most famous heroes of Greece alive at the time: Heracles, Orpheus, Atlanta, Meleager, Nestor, Castor and Pollux.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Eager to advance in power and position, Jason abandoned the sorceress Medea. The same sorceress who had been instrumental in obtaining the fleece, defeating a bronze giant, and chopped her own brother to pieces from him. This not only angered her, but angered his patron goddess Hera, the goddess of marriage, women and children and further the other Olympians for breaking an oath sworn by their names. It did not end well for him.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: His treatment of Medea. She gave up everything for him and was the one who made his successes possible, saving his life multiple times in the process. After all this and years of marriage, he divorces her to marry another princess and claims he owed her nothing, owing only the gods. She disagreed and so did the Olympians.

The epitome of Roman femininity and the reason Romans disliked admitting they had had Kings even well into the time of the Emperors. When a wager was made over who the most virtuous wife in Rome was, spies were sent out and she was found patiently working at her weaving. Shortly thereafter, the Etruscan Royal Brat Sextus raped her in what may count as one of the stupidest acts in ancient history. Following this, Lucretia is so shamed that she goes before her husband and family and stabs herself to remove her shame. Her family and all of Rome are outraged at the deed done to a proper Roman woman and respond as proper Roman men should.
  • Defiled Forever: Played with. She thought she was, but her husband had no such thoughts at least according to one version. In any case she is remembered as a heroine of Rome; whether or not it was because her suicide was felt to have "cleansed" her is debatable.
  • Mugging the Monster: Well, Rome wasn't exactly the most famous military power in the history of civilization yet. Still that kind of thing was not well-advised.

The tyrant of Arcadia, Lycaon was paid a visit by Zeus. Determined to prove that this was not really a god, Lycaon plotted not only to kill Zeus in his sleep, but to serve him human flesh at dinner. In punishment for this, Lycaon was transformed in the first werewolf, so that his outside might reflect what he had been on the inside all along.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Transformed into a wolf in punishment for his savagery.
  • Expy: Started out as one of Tantalus. By the time of the Roman versions, and especially Ovid's take on the myth, he's become a rather different character—a barbarous tyrant to Tantalus' wannabe Evil Genius.
  • First Of Its Kind: The first werewolf.
  • Freudian Excuse: According to some accounts, Callisto, who was raped by Zeus and then punished for it by Artemis by Baleful Polymorph, was his daughter, which may explain his hatred of Zeus.
  • Gruesome Grandparent: Some takes on the story has his grandson be the person he cooks, rather than his son.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Tries to pull this on Zeus.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: He not only serves human flesh to Zeus, but dines on it himself.
  • Offing the Offspring: Depending on the version of the myth, Lycaon serves Zeus a prisoner—or one of his own sons/grandsons (usually the White Sheep of the family).
  • Really Gets Around: Has fifty sons, forty-nine of whom are as bad as he is.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In one version, he sacrifices a baby on Zeus's altar to see how his guest will react.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Hated by his people; this is one of the reasons why he sets out to prove to them that Zeus is not really paying them a visit.

  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Beats Paris in single combat. He would've killed him too, if Aphrodite hadn't stepped in.
  • Lunacy: Possible remnant of the pre-greek lunar god.
  • Silly Reason for War: Actually, not the case when examined a bit more closely. Menelaus herds together the other former suitors of Helen to get her back not just because some punk ran off with his wife and they promised to preserve his marriage, but because she was actually "Helen of Sparta" before the whole Trojan War happened and so his marriage to her was his claim to the Spartan throne, making his Trojan War also a prevention of a Succession Crisis.
  • Youngest Child Wins: He escapes the curse on the House of Atreus and lives happily ever after with Helen.

A queen of Thebes who made the mistake of boasting she was better than Leto since she had 14 children: seven sons and seven daughters compared to Leto's two: Apollo and Artemis. The twins quickly retaliated by killing all of her children despite pleas to spare at least one. note  Her husband was either killed for swearing revenge or committed suicide. Eventually, she was turned to stone by the gods in an effort to make her stop crying. Her children's bodies remained unburied for nine days because Zeus had turned every citizen of Thebes to stone despite pleas for mercy. All in all, one of the most tragic figures in Greek mythology.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Her crime of comparing herself to Leto.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Might as well be the poster child for this trope. Sadly, there were several others who suffered as much as she did if not more.
  • Kick the Dog: Killing her children...perhaps barely passable. Turning everyone in the city to stone is just plain cruel.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The gods themselves upon realizing they maybe they went a tad too far, what with the stench of rotting corpses and her incessant mourning, buried the children themselves and turned her to stone to try and shut her up.

The son of Manto and Tiberinus Silvius, who founded modern Mantua to honor his mother. Alternatively, he was the son or brother of Auletes and founded Felsina. Ocnus was condemned to Tartarus after death, where he was forced to weave a rope out of straw, only for it to be eaten by a donkey as quickly as it was made. Why he was punished is unknown.

  • Riddle for the Ages: What he did to receive his punishment has been lost to the mists of time.

The man who was prophesized to kill his father and marry his mother, and the responsible of defeating the Living Sphinx outside the walls of the city-state of Thebes by outsmarting it and answering all of its riddles. Following the defeat of the Sphinx, the queen of Thebes tells Oedipus that the King was killed and that the city needed a new king, which he agrees by marrying her, becoming the King of Thebes. Many years later he would find out that he indeed fulfilled the prophecy by killing his father (which was at the center of a procession he slaughtered years before for blocking his path one day) and married his mother, making their children his half-siblings, this revelation leads to the Queen's suicide and Oedipus to rip out his eyes in rage and disgust and flee city.
  • Abdicate the Throne: In Sophocles's play Oedipus Rex he exiled himself from Thebes out of shame. Although Homer had Oedipus continue ruling until his death, Sophocles' take became the norm even in Homer-esque epics like The Thebaid, where Oedipus dwells in the depths of Thebes in shame and poverty.
  • Anti-Hero: How he comes off to modern readers depending on which version of his confrontation with Laios you know.
  • Awful Truth: The woman he fell in love with is actually his mother.
  • Berserk Button: Some versions of the story depict him with a club foot, and him being very sensitive about it (his name, "Oedipus," actually means something like "lame foot"). In these version the crossroads incident where he unknowingly killed his father was triggered when the chariot driver accidentally ran over said foot.
  • Blind Seer: He becomes this in Sophocles's Oedipus at Colonus.
  • Break the Haughty: In spades. Oedipus goes from a strong and beloved king to a shell of his former self in the course of a single day.
  • Determinator: He had to find out who killed the king.
  • Eye Scream: A broach pin to the eye cannot feel good. That is one painful version of Brain Bleach.
  • Guile Hero: His defeat of the Sphinx makes him the epitome of this.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: His crusade to find out who killed the king. The issue being he was unaware that this was the case.
  • Irony: One of the oldest examples. His attempts at averting the prophecy caused it to happen.
  • Oedipus Complex: Trope Namer, though he himself did none of that deliberately or knowingly.
  • Older and Wiser: In Oedipus at Colonus.
  • Parental Incest: Oedipus's wife is his mother and all his children are also his half-siblings.
  • Patricide: The killing of King Laios.
  • Poor Communication Kills: All of the situation might have been avoided if had his adoptive parents just told him he was adopted. Perhaps they were justified, since in those days being of uncertain descent could cause no end of problems for a person in a prominent position.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Despite his and his birth father's best efforts to avoid the prophecy being true, he did kill his father and married his mother.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Part of the great tragedy of his life was the fact that he was this as a king.
  • Surprise Incest: One of the most famous examples. His parents abandoned him because his father was prophecised to die by his son's hands. Oedipus got a similar prophecy telling him that he'd kill his father and marry his mother. Since nobody recognised each other, Oedipus fulfilled the prophecy by unknowingly killing his father and marrying his mother. When Oedipus and his mother found out the truth, she committed suicide and he blinded himself out of rage, horror and disgust.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Oedipus makes sure that Thebes will not benefit from his death, and ensures the future success of Athens.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Prior to becoming a king in Thebes, he kills his father for basically cutting him off at the crossroads (and being a complete Jerkass about it). He marries his mother, completing the other half of the famous complex, at leisure though. Having been adopted by another family and kept in the dark about his parentage, he did not recognize either one.
  • Tragic Hero: In Sophocles's plays, Oedipus is one that has survived from his tragic fall and since gained some measure of dignity back through the blessing his bones will bring to Athens.
  • Walking the Earth: In Sophocles's plays, after leaving Thebes, until he found asylum at Athens.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Despite his best intentions to avoid it, Oedipus ends up fulfilling the prophecy.

The first human woman created by the gods. She was married to Epimetheus. Also the owner of the box (actually a pithos, that is, a large jar) which she later opened, releasing all evils to the world until she managed to close it with Hope left inside.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: She gave in to her curiosity and opened the box despite being told not to, causing all sorts of problems.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He was being hosted by Menelaus in Sparta and he was wooing his wife behind his back. According to Sacred Hospitality he's a world-class dick (but you can argue that he'd be also by modern standards).
  • The Chosen One: Chosen to damn Troy that is.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When he realizes he sucks at hand-to-hand combat, he uses a bow and arrows instead. He wounds Diomedes and kills Achilles with them. The Greeks considered him a coward for killing from a distance.
  • Dirty Coward: A defining example. It's why he's depicted using long-range weapons while the other characters were fighting in melee range, since long-range weapons were considered cowardly back then.
  • Disappeared Dad: Left his wife Oenone and his young son Corythus to be recognized of his Trojan royal blood and abduct Helen. He'd eventually doom them both anyway - Corythus would grow up to go to Troy, not be recognized, and murdered by Paris for falling in love with Helen. Oenone would kill herself in grief during Paris' funeral.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Paris had married and had a son with a nymph named Oenone before the whole Trojan War mess occurred. He would be mortally wounded during the war but live long enough to go over to Oenone for her to refuse to save his life with her herbal arts.
  • Lonely Funeral: Oenone, ironically despite the Murder by Inaction mentioned for Paris' Laser-Guided Karma, would prove to be the only genuine mourner for his funeral in Troy, the city and all of its people that they all know he doomed. She would kill herself by the end of it, the most extensive account saying she threw herself onto his funeral pyre.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Abducting the wife of the powerful king of Sparta is probably one of the least sensible decisions anyone's ever made. Hoping that sheltering at Troy would save them both rather than trying to disappear wasn't great either. It's hard to say how much of that isn't Aphrodite's fault, though.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Paris is often described as being very eager to get into combat and help out his brother. It's a pity he mostly sucks at it.
  • Offing the Offspring: Is said to have killed his abandoned son Corythus, from his first wife Oenone, in jealousy after Corythus grows up, goes to Troy and like a lot of people, falls in love with Helen. Paris was unaware of their relation.

Tantalus' son. Tantalus killed and cooked Pelops in a meal he served to the gods. They discovered what he had done, and Zeus had Pelops restored to life. Pelops later became a lover of Poseidon and a king in his own right, although he turned out to be almost as wicked as his father and brought a terrible generations-long curse on his family, which led them to commit even more vile crimes than that.
  • Back from the Dead: Thanks to Zeus asking the Fates to bring him back to atone for Tantalus' actions. This is probably the only time the Fates have ever decided to do such a thing. In another version of the myth, Hecate takes Pelops's remains and placed them in a magical brew which brought Pelops back to life. In either case, Demeter accidentally ate one of Pelops's shoulders because she was distraught over losing Perspehone. The Olympians gave Pelops a new shoulder made of ivory, courtesy of Hephaestus.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Pelops's crimes led to Myrtilus casting a terrible curse on his family, and they turned into this. Pelops' descendants would commit a serious of hideous crimes on each other for Pelops's kingdom until Orestes finally ended the curse several generations later.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Pelops was almost as treacherous and spiteful as his father. He courted a princess named Hippodameia, whose father Oenomaus forced her suitors to beat him in a chariot race and killed the losers. Pelops prayed to Poseidon for some magical horses and a chariot to help him, which Poseidon granted. This wasn't enough, so he got Oenomaus's charioteer Myrtilus to help him cheat. Myrtilus agreed to rig Oenomaus's chariot to crash in exchange for Hippodameia's virginity and half the kingdom. While Myrtilus held up his end of the bargain and Oenomaus was killed, Pelops murdered Myrtilus by throwing him off a cliff, and as he fell Myrtilus placed a curse on Pelops' family.
  • Lover and Beloved: Got together with Poseidon after being brought back, and later married Hippodameia.
  • Sins of the Father: Pelops's family suffered the effects of his curse, and many of them turned out to be just as wicked as Tantalus and Pelops himself.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Pelops's role in the Tantalus myth is very similar to the role Nyctimus plays in his father Lycaon's myth (see above). Like Pelops, Nyctimus was killed, cooked and fed to Zeus by his evil father. Like Pelops, Nyctimus was resurrected by Zeus once he'd punished Lycaon. The only difference is that unlike Pelops, Nyctimus didn't turn out to be as much of an evil bastard as his father.

Wife to Odysseus, mother to Telemachus, and also cousin to Helen and Clytemnestra. She is famously a devoted, classy wife, but in The Odyssey she shows some serious Silk Hiding Steel material while dealing with a bunch of crass, greedy suitors who want to fill the power void left by her husband, while the poor guy is not even officially dead.
  • Birds of a Feather: Odysseus and Penelope. They even unknowingly echo each other to drive this home.
  • Bluff the Impostor: When a stranger walks up to Penelope and claims to be her lost husband Odysseus, Penelope casually asks for Odysseus's bed to be prepared, but outside the bedroom. The stranger, who really is Odysseus, is dismayed by this, since he had built the bed himself on the stump of an olive tree, making it impossible to move the bed without sawing off the stump (something only he and Penelope knew about, supposedly). As he recounts all the work he put into making it he realizes that she had just been testing him. The funny thing is that he expected her to test him, and told his son that she would, and he still fell for it.
  • Guile Hero: The lady has wits to match her husband's. She's clearly in command of her conversation with a certain stranger in figuring out his purpose there, she's been manipulating a throng of men straight for three years, and on top of that, she sets up the archery tournament, which basically spearheads Odysseus's reclamation of his home. To top it off, when Odysseus finally reveals his identity, she uses a masterful Bluff the Impostor to make sure he truly is who he claims to be (which, of course, he is). And people wonder why Odysseus would ditch a goddess for this woman.
  • Happily Married: Before Odysseus left for Troy, they were very happy together, and that's why they are both so determined to reunite.
  • Hero's Muse: She's the one for Odysseus, who despite all the odds (and the goddesses who throw themselves at him) wants to return to her.
  • I Will Wait for You: The Ur-Example and perhaps the most famous in literature.
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: Her story is staying at Ithaca, waiting for Odysseus' return. She's not spared from troubles, though.
  • My Girl Back Home: One of the most famous examples, if not the Ur-Example. She waited her husband for twenty years, but her suffering was rewarded.
  • Proper Lady: Domestic and beautiful, she has stayed faithful to Odysseus, waiting for him for twenty years.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Penelope is no wallflower. She will defend herself and her house, but in her own way. That is the one that doesn't make you even notice you've been fooled for years.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Her trick in the book to keep her Unwanted Harem at bay is faking to weave a shroud for her father-in-law, and she will take a decision after the work is done. She keeps the charade going on for three years.
  • Trickster Girlfriend: Yes, a Proper Lady can be one too. She is revealed to be pretty sharp herself (Odysseus must have married her for a reason) as she keeps the suitors under her thumb with various tricks...and then she plays a mind game with her husband, the King of Tricksters when he shows up in disguise, ordering a slave to drag Odysseus's bed from their chamber -causing Odysseus to demand who dared to cut the bed from the living olive tree he carved it from. It's something only the two of them knew, thus tricking him into proving his identity while she proved her fidelity to him in a single move.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The last challenge for her suitors is stringing and shooting with Odysseus' old bow, a weapon so heavy and thick that no one save thean himself was able to use it. Penelope was quite sure that anyone would fail, save for a wandering stranger...who is Odysseus himself in disguise.
  • You Have Waited Long Enough: The suitors want to convince Penelope of this. She's not buying it. Correctly, as Odysseus isn't actually dead.

The Oracle at Delphi, high priestess sworn to Apollo. Unlike many of the others, she's confirmed to be based on a real person, but appears often enough in the myths that she warrants a mention.
  • High Priestess: To Apollo, in his temple at Delphi. It is generally believed that Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy in the first place, though others claim that Gaia gave them to her through vapors coming from the ground.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: The Oracle at Delphi was a real person, but obviously, it's unlikely that she was all-knowing or could see the future for real. There are actually attempts at scientifically explaining her prophecies, including, hilariously, that she was constantly high.
  • Ms. Exposition: Gods, demigods and mortals alike come to her seeking information.
  • The Omniscient: She's frequently portrayed as such, knowing all and providing vital info for the Gods and mortals alike.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: A recurring detail about the Oracle in Greek Mythology: EVERY prophecy she makes comes true. Not always in the way the subject therein expects it, but no matter what, they come true.
  • Seers: As her title suggests, she sees the future.

One of the worst of Tartarus' residents, Sisyphus was damned to eternally roll a rock up a hill. The rock would inevitably turn and roll back down just as he was achieving anything. This was not Disproportionate Retribution for his crimes.
  • Asshole Victim: He ended up in Tartarus for being a murderer and a con man.
  • Bed Trick: Some versions of his myths say he performed one on Odysseus' mother, thus conceiving Odysseus and explaining the latter's knack at trickery.
  • Cain and Abel: With his brother, Salmoneus, going so far as to consult the oracle at Delphi on how to kill Salmoneus without incurring any penalties, and seducing his niece Tyro just to hurt Salmoneus.
  • The Casanova: In addition to seducing Odysseus' mother on her wedding night, Sisyphus had numerous other affairs, including one with his niece, Tyro.
  • The Charmer: Conned Persephone out of death with a well-told sob story, and was widely known for being a charming trickster.
  • The Chessmaster: Planned for almost everything, including his own death.
  • Con Man: He frequently invited people in his house, only to murder them and take their possessions.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Repeatedly. He persuades Death to put on the handcuffs that were meant for him, talks Persephone into letting him to return to life to haunt his wife, exposes Zeus' secrets...this guy was a a one-man Cthulhu-conning operation.
  • Dirty Coward: His story is often seen as an explanation of why being so desperate to stave off your own mortality is foolish. Death is inevitable and resorting to underhanded tactics to escape it is cowardly.
  • Enemies with Death: Ohhh boy do Hades, Persephone and Thanatos hate this guy. Trapping Thanatos, deceiving Persephone and just generally messing with Hades, Sisyphus managed to piss off all three death gods so effortlessly that by the time his inevitable demise finally catches up to him, all three of them are ready to trap him in as miserable a punishment as possible.
  • Evil Genius: It takes a great deal of cunning to manage to literally trick death. Twice.
  • Greed: Killed travellers and took their stuff.
  • "Just So" Story: One theory says the Rock is meant to be the sun, which keeps rolling across the sky and going back where it was.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Despite killing his guests and looting their bodies, which was a huge deal in Ancient Greece, capturing Thanatos, stopping everyone on Earth from dying for months, and seriously pissing off Ares in the process, and tricking Persephone into letting him get back into the world of the living, where he stayed for a few extra decades until his trick was discovered and was faced by a very pissed Hades, Persephone, and Thanatos who proceeded to drag him to Tartarus. This time for good.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He may be Odysseus' real father.
  • Manipulative Bastard: When he is dragged off to the Underworld, he takes advantage of Persephone's gentle nature by telling her his wife didn't even bother to give him a proper funeral, and asked to go back to the land of the living to haunt her for a bit. Persephone accepted, Sisyphus hopped back into his body and stayed for a few extra decades until his ruse was found out and he was dragged back.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: Antics not withstanding... things did not end well for him.
  • Pride: Believed himself to be smarter than Zeus. Then again...
  • Sisyphus Vs Rock: Original Trope Namer.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Was forced to roll a rock up a hill every day. It took his mind off of plotting and scheming a way to escape the Underworld a third time.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Talked his way out of death, and then Hades, until he couldn't anymore.
  • The Undead: Persuaded Persephone to let him return to life to haunt his wife.

    Telamonean Ajax (Ajax the Greater) 
  • Animal Motifs: One myth describes Ajax as being born when Heracles was visiting his father Telamon. Heracles swaddled little Ajax in the skin of the Nemean Lion, prophesying that by the will of Zeus Ajax would grow up to be as strong and courageous as a lion.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He was prince of Salamis.
  • Ax-Crazy: Driven to this after his Blasphemous Boast.
  • Badass Normal: Ajax has no divine blood, and actively refuses divine aid. He proceeds to withstand the strength of multiple gods.
  • Bash Brothers: Ajax and his illegitimate brother Teucer. Typically the latter will hide behind Ajax's shield and fire over it, providing long-range support, while Ajax handles the close up stuff. It's rather heartwarming when you realize that despite Teucer's bastard status, the two of them are very close.
  • The Big Guy: Of the Achaians as their largest warrior. He is described as the "castle of Achaians" in text.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Ajax rejects the gods' help and boasts that he will be the best fighter on his own merit. He pretty much does.
  • Brains and Brawn: The Brawn to Teucer’s Brain.
  • Break the Haughty: Athena, helped along by Ajax himself, does a stellar job of this.
  • Determinator: Ajax is a man who is determined to follow his will, no matter what, without the help of the gods.
  • Dissonant Laughter: Though his protracted torture of sheep is upsetting enough for his friends and family, the sheer glee Ajax derives in doing it just makes it worse.
  • Driven to Suicide: Once his madness is lifted.
  • Drop the Hammer: Homer describes Ajax as wielding a large two-handed war hammer as if it weighed nothing. Notably, he even did this with one hand, while using the other to carry his shield.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Coming from a culture where self-worth is relative to publicly received respect, Ajax's anger is slightly more understandable. Odysseus wins Achilles' armor through persuasion, but Ajax, now the greatest warrior on the Greek side, has reason to think he deserved it more.
  • Due to the Dead: Odysseus, filled with fear and pity at how the gods can humble men, refuses to continue his grudge against Ajax and argues for his proper funeral rites.
  • Genius Bruiser: The norm for any of the Greek Generals. Ajax actually was quite eloquent and verbose.
  • Glory Seeker: Not to extreme levels, but it certainly gets it to him that Achaians do not value his martial skill.
  • Heroic BSoD: Ajax is fairly subdued once he is relieved of his madness and discovers everyone knows what he's done. This is a prelude to suicide.
  • Honor Before Reason: And this in part tragically turns out to be his own undoing.
  • In the Blood: Achilles and Ajax were cousins, sons of the Bash Brothers Peleus and Telamon. Peleus and Telamon were mighty warriors in their own right, who became famous fighting alongside Heracles. Being a badass tended to run in their family.
  • Large and in Charge: He was by far the largest champion of the Greeks, as well as one of their leaders.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Ajax's father was the warrior Telamon, a badass in his own right who was a frequent ally of Heracles.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: In one hand, Ajax wielded a massive hammer that would take lesser men two hands to swing. In his other hand, Ajax carried a large shield made of seven cow hides and a layer of bronze.
  • Now You Tell Me: Played for Drama when Calchas arrives too late to warn against Ajax leaving his tent.
  • One-Man Army: Diomedes may have defeated two gods in one day (Ares and Aphrodite), and Patroclus may routed an army until he lost his armor, but both were defeated by Apollo. Ajax, however, was never beaten in the Illiad, even by the gods. In fact, when Zeus forbids the gods from helping the Greeks (but not from opposing them), all the Greek heroes are driven from the field, one by one, except Ajax, who is wounded by several gods, but never stops fighting. How many times can you put "the combined efforts of several gods, while he had none to help him, failed to stop this guy" on someone's resume? He racks up a mook body count roughly equal to Achilles, he defeats Hector in a fair fight within the first five chapters (yeah, that's right, if not for the gods intervening - by making his own allies throw themselves in the way - to keep Ajax from finishing Hector then and there, Ajax would have cut the Illiad down from an epic poem to a short story), and when he actually does die in later it's by suicide. That's right, the only thing badass enough to defeat Ajax is... Ajax. Wow.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: As with all Achaians kings.
  • Tragic Hero: Flawed through his pride and individualism which are also his best assets.
  • Worthy Opponent: After his Combat by Champion against Hector, both warriors are so impressed with the other that they exchange tokens as symbols of respect and admiration.

One of Tartarus' most infamous residents, Tantalus was a Greek king and a favored host of Zeus'. In order to prove that Zeus was not all powerful via tricking him, Tantalus murdered his son Pelops, cooked him in a stew, and served him at a banquet with Zeus in attendance. Enraged, Zeus resurrected Pelops, and condemned Tantalus to eternity in Tartarus.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Odd example. What so outraged the gods about Tantalus, in addition to the obvious "murdering your son" thing, was his horrible treatment of his guests. This is actually a bigger deal than it sounds, as at the time, guest right was one of the most sacred facets of Greek culture. Now it just seems silly.
  • Asshole Victim: Seeing as he murdered and cooked his own son, it's hard to feel any sympathy for him when he suffers eternal torment in Tartarus.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Set out to prove the Greek gods were idiots. Instead he proved that even Jerkass Gods have standards, and got himself thrown in an Ironic Hell to boot.
  • Fatal Flaw: His ego. This is standard for mythical villains and heroes of course.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Does this to the Greek gods; Demeter falls for it, but only because she was distraught over the missing Persephone.
  • Idiot Ball: Big time. Some versions of the myth even have him thinking that killing his son, cooking him, and serving him to the gods would be the ultimate honor to them, since he sacrificed something very important to him in order to please the gods.
  • Ironic Hell: Stands up to his neck in water, with fruit hanging over his head. When he reaches for the fruit the wind blows them away. When he bends to take a drink, the water recedes. This is what gave us the word 'tantalize' to mean tormenting someone by dangling something unobtainable in front of them.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, his murder of Pelops and cooking him in an attempt to trick the gods into cannibalism, which gets him smote straight to Tartarus. It's often thought that Tantalus's story was the original morality myth on why you shouldn't a) disrespect the gods, b) disrespect your guests, c) commit cannibalism, and d)kill family members, all of which were serious taboos for the ancient Greeks.
  • Offing the Offspring: Tantalus is in the running for "worst father ever" after what he did to Pelops.
  • Pride: Not atypically for this sort of myth, Tantalus' Fatal Flaw is his own egoism, and need to prove he is smarter than Zeus.
  • Smug Snake: Very commonly portrayed as such in adaptations. Not an inaccurate portrayal, of course; this is the guy who killed his own child just so he could say he tricked the gods.


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