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Semi-Divine Entities

Not to be confused with "demons"note , daimon is an umbrella term for any semi-divine being that is more than a mortal, but less than a god. In other words, when someone describes an entity as a "demigod" and are not referring to the offspring of a god and a mortal, they are describing a daimon. Many minor gods are classified as daimons instead of, or in addition to, being full-fledged divinities depending on who's classifying them. Though the words "daimon" and "demon" are linguistically connected, the former giving rise to the latter, daimon essentially means "spirit" and daimons can be good, evil, neutral, or anywhere in between; and nomenclature exists to distinguish good and evil daimons. With evil daimons being called kakodaimons (literally "evil spirits" making them synonymous with demons) and good daimons being called agathodaimons or eudaimons (literally "good spirits"). Nymphs and satyrs are often considered to fit under the banner of daimons.
  • Angelic Transformation: Two groups of agathodaimons, the chryseoi daimons (golden spirits) and the argryeoi daimons (silver spirts), were both early generations of humans before the gods raised them up to become daimons. The former were from the golden age humans while the latter were from the silver age humans. The chryseoi daimons lived in the air and guarded and blessed humans, while the argryeoi daimons lived underground/the Underworld and did the same.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Agathodaimons, being good aligned daimons are functionally angels, serving the gods and often protecting and blessing mortals the gods favor.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Kakodaimons are evil aligned daimons that spread misfortune and harm.

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 attendants 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.
  • 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. The most notable exception is Nerites, beloved of Poseidon and the only male Nereid.
  • Our Nymphs Are Different: Classic myth is the Trope Maker and Trope Namer. Nymphs—nymphe, which is also Greek for bride, or a woman of marriable age—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.
  • Aurae were nymphs of winds and breezes; some texts treat them as a singular being, Aura, the daughter of the titan Lelantos.
  • Dryads (druas) were the nymphs of trees. Originally, the term specifically referred to the nymphs of oak trees (drys, in Ancient Greek), before expanding to tree nymphs in general; the nymphs associated with other trees had their own specific names—meliads for ash trees, for instance. Hamadryads were a subtype who were associated with one individual tree, rather than forests and trees in general, and perished if that tree was cut down.
  • The Hesperides were the nymphs of the twilight and the West. There were only three, who guarded Hera's golden apples in a garden in the utmost west of the world. They're usually considered to be the daughters of the titan Atlas, although some myths have them as daughters of Zeus or of Nyx and Erebus.
  • The Hyades were a group of nymphs who brought rain.
  • The Lampades were the nymphs of the Underworld, and accompanied Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft and magic, in her nightly travels.
  • Naiads presided over freshwaters. They were further subdivided into numerous types associated with specific water bodies, such as limnads (lakes), potamides (rivers) and pegasides (springs). They were often associated with river gods, who were either their fathers, their sons, or just generally their male equivalents.
  • Nereids were the nymphs of the seas, particularly the Aegean and the Mediterranean as a whole. They were strongly associated with Poseidon, whom they often accompanied. Some myths describe them as the daughters of the sea god Nereus, hence their name, and the Oceanid Doris.
  • Oceanids, despite what the name would make you think, were the nymphs of both fresh and salt water, as well as rain. They numbered three thousand and were the daughters of the titans Oceanus and Tethys, and sisters of the three thousand river gods the two titans had also begat.
  • The Oreads were the nymphs of the mountains, and were associated with Artemis.
  • The seven Pleiades, another group of daughters of Atlas, were companions to Artemis and were at some point transformed into the stars that bear their name.
  • Individual nymphs include Amphitrite, a nereid and Poseidon's wife; Echo, who was cursed by Hera to only be able to repeat what others said and eventually faded away to only a disembodied voice and Metis, an Oceanid and Athena's mother. There's also a running theme of nymphs being transformed into plants after misadventures involving the gods—Daphnenote , for instance, was a naiad who was pursued by an amorous Apollo, prayed to her river god father for escape and was transformed in to a laurel tree; the naiad Minthe tried to seduce Hades and was turned into the first mint plant by a furious Persephone; the dryad Syrinx met a similar fate to Daphne's, being transformed into a river reed by her sisters to escape Pan; the oread Pytisnote  was transformed into a pine tree under the same circumstances.
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Initially they were always shown as rather ugly, but later on better looking ones became common in art.
  • Beast Man: The upper body of a man, but with horns, goat-like ears, tails, and hooves.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Were said to be well-endowed, and were usually portrayed as lewd and lecherous.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Originally the nymphs were this, but later artists implemented satyresses.
  • The Fair Folk: Modern audiences wouldn't see them as fairies, but were considered forest spirits by the Greeks and could be quite malevolent.
  • Greek Chorus: The original, most Greek dramas had a chorus dressed up as Satyrs who commented in the action. In fact, the term "tragedy" roughly translates into "goat song" because of this.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite many being portrayed as ugly, they still had no trouble finding romantic partners.
  • One-Gender Race: No female satyrs are explicitly mentioned in mythology, but as mentioned above do in later portrayals.

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.
  • Achilles in His Tent: The Trope Namer. After losing his lover Briseis, he quits from the battlefield of the Trojan War, allowing the trojans to temporarily be the front runners of the war. He eventually leaves it when Patroclus dies, bringing his side back on top again.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Contrary to popular belief, Achilles is at most bisexual rather than gay. He gets Dragged into Drag by his mother after initial protests after seeing the beautiful Princess Deidamia, who ends up giving birth to his son. He also is clearly attracted to Briseis, whom he sleeps with and might've married had he lived; fell in love with the Trojan Princess Polyxena in one account, to the point where he was prepared to end the war in exchange for her hand in marriage; and married Medea after he died and went to the Elysian Fields. At the same time, he and Patroclus also have a close, possibly romantic, relationship, with the homoerotic aspect emphasized in later works.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He's indisputably attracted to women, as shown by his fathering of Pyrrhus and attraction to Briseis, but his relationship with Patroclus comes off as very homoerotic in nature.
  • Anti-Hero: Bordering on Villain Protagonist. Achilles performs many acts of douchebaggery throughout The Iliad and is one of the biggest jerks in ancient literature. This makes for a good foil between him and Hector, who is arguably 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 Patroclus's death.
  • Blood Knight: He's not fighting in the Trojan War for honor or 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 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.
  • Byronic Hero: He is a charismatic, amazingly skilled fighter who is the one of the most handsome men 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.
  • 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.
  • Divine Parentage: His mother, Thetis, is a goddess of the sea. Additionally, through his father, he is a descendant of Zeus.
  • Doomed by Canon: Ancient writers were pretty much in agreement that he died at Troy, so it's hardly a shock when it happens in any adaptation.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Chasing the entire Trojan army into the city, only to be 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. Granted, this is ancient Greece: the "Men Don't Cry" thing is a more modern trope.
  • Glory Hound: The one of The Iliad. One of the biggest in literature. He even has a specific reason for it: it's prophesied that he'll either die old and be forgotten or young and be famous for all time, and he's made his choice.
  • Heartbroken Badass: After Patroclus's death, he is completely wracked with guilt and swears to avenge him, going on one of the most famous Roaring Rampage Of Revenges in the history of literature.
  • Heinz Hybrid: Not only was his mother a sea goddess, he's a paternal descendant of Zeus, and many of his female paternal ancestors were also nymphs. Some sources add that 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).
  • Invincible Hero: The reason why Homer keeps 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 are 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. Achilles's son Neoptolemus also proved to be a fierce warrior when he joined the fight in the final year of the war despite his likely Improbable Age. 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 serious blow to the Greek army) but prays to the Gods to make the Greeks lose.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Achilles's father was the warrior Peleus, a badass in his own right and a frequent ally of Heracles. Achilles's 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 best friend and possible lover Patroclus dying at the hands of Hector has terrible consequences on his emotional state.
  • Love Redeems: Achilles's 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 sneaks into the Achaean 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 to 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.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is open to several interpretations, but a well-known one holds that it comes from akhos ("grief") and laos ("people" or "army"), making him someone who brings grief to armies (which he does—both the Trojans' and his own).
  • 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.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In later versions of his story, he has this as a result of his mother dunking him into the River Styx or literally burning away his mortality in a fire. This doesn't appear to be the case in The Iliad.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Turns out he has an Achilles' Heel! Of course, at this point, everybody knows that.
  • One-Man Army: Even in stories where he's not invulnerable, 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 he feels sheer disgust at the act, even after his own men nearly stone him to death when he protested the sacrifice.
    • His return of Hector's body is also a humanizing moment.
    • Achilles does genuinely love Patroclus and is horrified when he finds his inaction in the war has led to Patroclus's untimely death.
  • Psycho for Hire: Some interpretations of the The Iliad depict Achilles and his Myrmidons as a tribe of Blood Knight mercenary nutjobs.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Could be the Ur-Example in ancient times, and it still holds up today. However, Achilles's experience in the battlefield was minimal compared to that of the rest of the kings taking part in the war, and he was more of a loose cannon at best.
  • 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 madman (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.
  • What a Drag: Achilles drags Hector's body with his chariot after killing him.

A son of the Sun Helios and the Oceanid Perse, making him a brother of Circe, Pasiphaë, and Perses. Originally the ruler of 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).
  • Outliving One's Offspring: He outlived his son Absyrtus... because Aeëtes's daughter Medea killed him.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Housed Phrixus kindly and even gave his daughter's hand in marriage. As thanks, Phrixus gave him the Golden Fleece, which allowed Aeëtes's kingdom to become one of the greatest in the ancient world (until it was taken by Jason, fairly though).

Aeneas was a Trojan hero in Greek mythology, son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. He is more extensively mentioned in Roman mythology, and is seen as an ancestor of Remus and Romulus, founders of Rome.
  • Ascended Extra: He started out as a very minor figure in the Iliad, only mentioned by name because he's the son of Aphrodite. When Rome became big, however, they elevated him to legendary hero on par with Odysseus and Achilles, seeing him as their mythical founder.
  • Divine Parentage: The son of Aphrodite.
  • Guardian Angel: Aphrodite protects him throughout the Trojan War, Apollo also steps in now and then.
  • Our Founder: Considered the first hero of Rome, ancestor of Romulus and Remus and while a minor Greek Hero is a major Roman one often credited with it's founding.

The daughter of King Minos of Crete and Queen Pasiphaë of Colchis, Princess Ariadne of Crete became infatuated with the hero Theseus, who intended 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 thrown in; she thus helped Theseus by giving him a ball of string to use to find his way 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 on the island of Naxos. Dionysus took pity on and fell in love with her, eventually making her his immortal wife. 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 into 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 mostly just resigned herself to her fate after Theseus abandoned her. However, some versions state the gods answered her prayers to punish Theseus by making him forget to change the black sails on his ship to white ones to signify that he survived; when his father Aegeus saw the black sails, he threw himself into the sea out of dea. Thankfully, Dionysus "found" her.
  • Foil: She and Medea were both princesses and granddaughters of Helios. Each also threw her whole life away due to her infatuation with a hero (Theseus and Jason, respectively), only for said hero to abandon her even after she had helped him escape alive. However, while Medea became an Ax-Crazy murderess who took matters into her own hands, Ariadne was possibly too meek to do much other than lament her fate and pray to the gods for justice after Theseus abandoned her.
  • The Maze: She controlled the labyrinth. To this day, writers make nice allusions 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.

    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.
  • Agent Peacock: A very effective Sibling Team among The Argonauts, but very proud of their looks (they had great pride in who had the longest curls between the two of them and by boasting about these locks, they were uplifted).
  • Magic Hair: Their curly hair enabled them to fly.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: According to the Argonautica, they were the ones who convinced the Argonauts to leave Heracles behind as he searched for Hylas. An unamused Heracles would get even later down the line by killing them for their roles in his abandonment.

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.
  • Accidental Murder: According to a Scholium on Theocritos, Heracles unwittingly killed him with a Hydra-poisoned arrow while fighting some centaurs.
  • Badass Teacher: When you consider how his students such as Achilles and Herakles turned out, you gotta give him props for being this.
  • Cool Uncle: Many of the heroes he mentored happened to be his nephews since they were children of his half-brother Zeus.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Chiron pricks himself on Heracles's poisoned arrow-heads while examining them and dies completely anti-climatically afterward.
  • Genius Bruiser: Just because he was more intellectual than his common kin doesn't mean he was any less of an ass-kicker.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The most generally acknowledged version of his death is that he gave up his immortality to release Prometheus from his punishment.
  • 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. Chiron was known for being wise and skilled, and personally trained many heroes, including Herakles, Perseus, Theseus and Achilles
  • 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.
  • 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. Chiron was a son of Cronus (yes, the Cronus who also fathered Zeus and several of the other Olympians), which explains his wisdom and compassion. All of the other centaurs were the offspring of the mortal king Ixion, who could charitably be described as a piece of human garbage.
  • 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.



A handsome young man and the lover of Selene, the titan goddess of the moon. Because Selene wanted Endymion to remain eternally beautiful and youthful (or simply because she liked how he looked while he slept), Selene asked Zeus to grant him eternal youth, which Zeus delivered on by placing Endymion in a wakeless slumber. In another version, it was Endymion that made the choice.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Myia is this for him. She fell in love with him, and kept waking him up with her sleep. He was not amused, and Selene turned her into a fly.
  • Deep Sleep: He goes into a wakeless one to preserve his youth forever.
  • Deity of Human Origin: In myths where he's not the son of Zeus, he was made immortal by either Selene's request to Zeus, his own request to Zeus, or by Hypnos. The catch is that the only way to preserve his deathlessness and perpetual youth is by keeping him in an eternal slumber.
  • Don't Wake the Sleeper: As Myia learned the hard way...
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Possibly. Endymion is known for being placed into an endless slumber by Zeus, but he still managed to father 50 daughters with Selene, though it's not clear if this was before or after Selene petitioned Zeus. A lot of ancient artwork depict Selene next to a very awake Endymion.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Selene has 50 daughters with the sleeping Endymion.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In one version of his story, rather than Selene, it was Hypnos who placed him in an eternal slumber with his eyes open so that Hypnos could eternally admire his beauty.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: In the versions where Zeus is his father.
  • Literal Genie: In one telling, Selene had learned from the incident where Eos asked for immortality but not eternal youth for her lover (guy aged until he shriveled into a cricket) and so instead asked Zeus to preserve Endymion as he was when she first met him... forgetting that as a moon goddess, she'd first seen him while he was asleep.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Who he was before the incident with Selene: either a shepherd, a hunter, an astronomer, or a king.
  • Questionable Consent: In versions of the myths where he isn't the one who asked for it, it's never explained whether he consented to being put in a wakeless sleep. And then there's the fact that Selene has sex with his unconscious body every night... sure, they were lovers before he was put to sleep but...

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.
  • 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".



A young boy who was said to be the most beautiful of the mortals. While tending to sheep, he caught the attention of the gods and was promptly whisked away by Zeus in the form of an eagle, taken to Olympus where he would be given immortality, eternal youth, and serve as the cup-bearer of the gods. It is said that he relieved Hebe of her duties upon her marriage to Herakles. In some myths, he is the personal cup-bearer of Zeus rather than serving all of the Olympians.
  • Abduction Is Love: He was abducted by Zeus in the form of an eagle and carried off to Mount Olympus.
  • Age Lift: Ganymede was either a toddler, a young boy, or a young man when Zeus abducted him, depending on the portrait depicting him.
  • Ambiguously Gay: It's most commonly considered that Ganymede was one of Zeus' lovers, although he was selected to be Zeus' cup-bearer. While it's hardly the only time a male god took a male lover, it is notable that Ganymede is the only one that Zeus made immortal. Socrates (by way of Xenophon) disputed this interpretation, claiming that Zeus loved Ganymede for his mind. Either way, it's clear that Hera considered him enough of a rival for Zeus' affections for Zeus to turn him into a constellation to keep his safe from her wrath.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Was once the child of a shepherd who was abducted by Zeus to become the cupbearer of the Gods. Once brought to Olympus he was made immortal and given eternal youth.
  • Flat Character: In most variations of the myth, little about Ganymede is known other than that he was the son of a shepherd that Zeus admired the beauty of and abducted to become the cupbearer of the gods. His feelings at the time of the abduction and what becomes of him after he's immortalized don't tend to be explored by writers. However, one myth portrays a post-immortalization Ganymede being quite hot-tempered, as he throws a tantrum at Eros' attempt to cheat him in a game of chance.
  • Stellification: In some myths, he was turned into the constellation Aquarius to keep him safe from Hera.
  • Uniqueness Value: Not only is Ganymede the most famous of Zeus' male lovers, if not his only male lover, but he also has the distinction of being the only lover that Zeus immortalized.
  • Western Zodiac: He is associated with the constellation "Aquarius" and in some traditions is said to have been turned into the constellation by Zeus.
  • World's Most Beautiful Man: He was so beautiful that the gods decided to deify him so that his beauty would never fade.

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.
  • Depending on the Writer: One of the most common examples of this. Was Helen kidnapped by Aphrodite/Paris, or did she go with him willingly? Did she go with him out of love, rebeliousness, stupidity, malice, or all of the above? Did she even love Menelaus in the first place? One philosopher has even argued that Paris persuaded her to come with logical debate while some more recent minds believe Paris mightíve actually threatened to murder Menelaus to force her to go with him.
  • 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.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Zeus impregnated her mother... assuming her biological mother was Leda, who was a mortal (Nemesis was the goddess of divine retribution).
  • Happily Adopted: One story written down in the 2nd century claims that Helen was raised by Leda, whereas her real mother was Nemesis.
  • Happily Married: It depends on the writer, but the play ďHecubaĒ by Euripides, Helen willingly chose Menalaus as her husband out of all her suitors, as opposed to having him be chosen for her.
  • 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. Especially when the writers didnít really describe that much of what she looked like.
  • It's All My Fault: zigzagged. 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). She does however show resentment at her, the Trojans and Greeks being used as pawns in Aphrodite and the gods petty games to where she gives Aphrodite a ďThe Reason You SuckĒSpeech.
  • 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" (what she was known as 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, forced, 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.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Based on the fact she was twelve when Theseus abducted her near the end of his reign, traditionally said to have ended in 1205 BC, Helen's date of birth is at least in 1217 BC. Her daughter Hermione was said to be nine (other sources say six) when she was abducted by Paris and the traditional date for the Trojan War is 1194-1184 BC. If Hermione was born in 1203 BC, then that means Helen was fourteen years old when she gave birth.

    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.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Heracles once got wasted and beat up the personification of death to bring his friend Admetus' dead wife back to life in atonement for failing to realize Admetus was politely accommodating him while hiding his bereavement over his wife's demise. When you're Heracles, alcoholic foolishness will of course still lead to over-the-top heroism.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Trope Namer. The Amazon Queen Hippolyta took one look at the handsome new arrival to her island's muscular frame and she immediately gave up her belt to him both literally and figuratively.
  • 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. This is due to Zeus' deifying him and his funeral pyre burning away his mortal side, leaving only his immortal half.
  • 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.
  • Barbarian Hero: He's a Hot-Blooded, Book Dumb Boisterous Bruiser with Super-Strength and a Hair-Trigger Temper who went around dressed in the skin of the Nemean Lion, solved most of his problems by hitting them with his club, and was very resourceful in overcoming challenges he couldn't just beat up.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Heracles was inconsolable when his younger half-brother Iphicles was killed in Heracles's punitive expedition against King Hippocoon of Sparta. 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. Well, he had to fuel the Super-Strength after all.
  • 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.
  • Book Dumb: He doesn't seem all that educated outside of his combat skills, and was in fact a Dreadful Musician, but Heracles was extremely resourceful at figuring out how to overcome problems he couldn't just beat up.
  • Boulder Bludgeon: His tenth Labor was to retrieve the cattle of the ogre Geryon. When he brought them back to Greece, he was confronted by the giant Alcyoneus (not the same Alcyoneus he'd kill in the Gigantomachy). Alcyoneus demanded Heracles hand over the cattle, and hurled a boulder at him when he refused. Heracles easily dodged the boulder and hurled it right back at Alcyoneus. Heracles didn't miss.
  • 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. Similarly, another story during his tenth labor has him be subject to Sexual Extortion by either Echidna or the Scythian Dracaena after she stole and hid his horses—this was for the intent of her producing children, by which she had three from Hercules.
  • Broken Ace: He was the strongest hero of Greek Mythology, but he suffered from occasional fits of murderous rage thanks to Hera.
  • The Cameo: He occasionally shows up in tellings of Daedalus' and Icarus' ill-fated escape from Crete to fetch Icarus' dead body from the sea and give it funerary rites (which Daedalus could not do himself because he was still trying to keep himself aloft).
  • 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.
  • Cloak of Defense: Some depictions of Heracles have him wearing the Nemean Lion pelt as a cloak instead of as a full leather armor.
  • 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.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Being poisoned by the Hydra's blood apparently proves to be so agonizing that Heracles literally builds his own funeral pyre to burn himself on while still alive to help get it over with.
  • 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. Completely understandable judging from his other feats.
  • 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).
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Occasionally, he got permission from other gods before fightings them.
  • Dreadful Musician: Heracles was highly skilled at many things and very crafty, but music was not one of his gifts. 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 so hard it killed him on the spot.
  • Easily Forgiven: Even Heracles's 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.
  • Girls vs. Boys Plot: For whatever reason, there's a lot of very interesting gender symbolism present in many myths of Heracles:
    • Heracles' main heroic trait is his super strength, and his flaw is rage, both of which are traditionally associated with masculinity.
    • Heracles has to retrieve the girdle of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, a race of warrior women who have taken on all the traditionally male roles in their society.
    • At one point, Heracles is sentenced to serve queen Omphale, who forced him to wear a dress and sew while she wore his lion skin and club. This actually cures him of his rage!
    • Heracles meets his ultimate end at the hands of his 4th wife, Deinara, which means husband-destroyer.
  • 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: This trope pretty much defines Heracles's personality.
    • If you crossed him, he would never forgive you and exact a violent, brutal revenge even if he had to wait years to do it. King Laomedon of Troy refused to honor his pledge to give Heracles a pair of magic horses he'd received from Zeus in exchange for saving Laomedon's daughter Hesione from a Sea Monster, King Neleus of Pylos refused to purify him when he was cursed for killing Iphitus, and King Augeus of Ellis refused to give Heracles the tenth of his cattle herds he promised in exchange for cleaning out his stables, and King Hippocoon of Sparta usurped the throne from Heracles's friend Tyndareus and killed another friend of Heracles's for defending himself against a Spartan dog that attacked him. In every case, Heracles led a massive army against his enemies and proceeded to utterly destroy them.

    • On the other hand, if he was your friend Heracles would move heaven and earth (sometimes literally!) to help you if you were in trouble. When Tyndareus was deposed as King of Sparta by his rival Hippocoon, Heracles led the army that restored his throne. Heracles was so overwhelmed at Admetus's honoring him with Sacred Hospitality despite being in mourning for the death of his wife Alcestis, he fought Thanatos, Death himself, to bring her back to life.
  • Humble Hero: He was offered a throne among the 12 Gods upon his death, but refused.
They report of Heracles further that Zeus enrolled him among the twelve gods but that he would not accept this honour; for it was impossible for him thus to be enrolled unless one of the twelve gods were first cast out; hence in his eyes it would be monstrous for him to accept an honour which involved depriving another god of his honour.
  • Iconic Outfit: If you're looking at a guy in ancient Greek or Roman artwork wearing a lion's skin, then you're probably looking at Heracles wearing the Nemean Lion's pelt.
  • Ironic Name: His parents renamed him to something translating to "Glory of Hera" in an attempt to appease her. It didn't work, and he ended up being 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: Defeats the hydra by chopping its heads off and searing the necks shut with a torch to keep the heads from growing back.
  • The Lancer: To Jason on the Argo.
  • Lover and Beloved: Sometimes traveled with Pretty Boy attendants who unfortunately wound up getting kidnapped by nymphs.
  • Manly Man: The reason the Greeks admired Heracles more than any other hero was that he best represented the traits they admired, such as sexual prowess, intelligence, athleticism, strength and skill, hard work, willpower and success in war.
  • 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, his birth name before he was renamed to try to placate Hera, means strength.
  • Meaningful Rename: In addition to the theory that interprets his name as glory gained from Hera's obstructions against him, it's definitely a fair guess that Hera will heavily impact his life after he was renamed into Heracles.
  • 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. Of course he Really Gets Around.
  • 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.
  • Nemean Skinning: One of his most famous accomplishments was killing the nigh invulnerable Nemean Lion and making a coat out of its skin (although another version says that it was from a different lion he killed before starting the Labors). A great deal of ancient Greek or Roman depictions of him can be easily noted by presence of his Nemean Lion coat.
  • 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.
    • The story of him impregnating the Scythian Dracaena/Echidna has it that the youngest of the three sons (Scythes) from their union started the line of kings of Scythia, Scythian Dracaena/Echidna following Heracles' instructions to only keep the sons that can bend his bow and wear his belt after they reach adulthood. The other two sons' (Agathyrsus and Gelonus) are who the Agathyrsi and Gelonians are named after.
  • 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.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Preferred eating bread and meat over honey and fruit.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: One of the manliest characters in all of mythology actually quite liked weaving—Queen Omphale attempted to humiliate him by making him take up it up whilst wearing a dress, which actually backfired as he grows to enjoy it, primarily because it eases a lot of his tension compared to fighting and killing gigantic monsters. No word on whether or not he started liking the dress though.
  • Really Gets Around: Like father, like son. He slept with 50 princesses in a single night as a reward for killing the Lion of Cithaeron (not to be confused with the Nemean Lion). Every single one of them was knocked up. There are versions of this where he only slept with 49 (the 50th declined) but still had 50 children due to one having twins. Also like his father, he had male lovers—indeed, unlike Zeus, his many male lovers have names attached.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Becomes this by the time he visits Philoctetes and convinces him to go to Troy via Godhood.
  • Renaissance Man: Demigod, adventurer, bodybuilder, sailor, mercenary, shepherd, athlete...weaver (he was rather forced to, but he did end up liking it)...Heracles did it all.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Laomedon and Augeas both tried to cheat him, while Neleus refused to purify him. Heracles responded with this trope in spades.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: While he's definitely a Heroic Build sort, Herakles was not depicted as a "nothing but skin and muscles" kinda guy in ancient artwork. His muscle definition looked more like that of a typical modern long-time exercising and health-conscious man. It seems that it was in the Renaissance that particularly muscle-defined depictions of him came about.
  • Sex God: Not literally which one might be could be mistaken for actually being the case with a demigod like Heracles, but it's implied he was very good in the sack, since he impregnated fifty women in one night... Or, maybe that means he was bad.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Inverted, as he only shoots Apollo after he starts healing Ares, whom Hercules had previously speared in the thigh.
  • Shout-Out: That bit in Superman's intro about how he can "change the course of mighty rivers"? It's a deliberate reference to Hercules' unusual method of stable-cleaning.
  • So Proud of You: Most versions agree on that fact that Zeus thinks Heracles was way cool. Unfortunately, his bragging about his son's exploits just draws even more of Hera's ire.
  • Spell My Name With An S: While "Hēraklês" is the original ancient Greek spelling, his name is more commonly rendered as "Heracles"—and that's not even mentioning the Roman rendition of "Hercules", which is the overwhelmingly more popular way of spelling his name even when people are thinking of him as being a Greek myth rather than a Roman one.
  • Strong and Skilled: He wasn't just incredibly strong, he was also skilled at using his strength, even inventing Pankration to be better at it.
  • Super-Strength: He's stronger than most gods, let alone mere mortals, but you probably already knew that. It's even in the dictionary after all.
  • Superpower Lottery: One of the few demigods in Greek myth to inherit incredible outright superpowers from his divine progenitor. To put this feature into perspective, Perseus, who is also a bastard son of Zeus, is pretty much a bog standard human.
  • Too Dumb to Live: This doesn't apply to Heracles himself, but rather to anyone who deliberately crossed him. King Augeas and King Laomedon both broke the agreements they made with him, while King Neleus refused to purify him after he'd killed his friend Iphitus in a moment of temper. Heracles exacted an act of rather bloody revenge on them for screwing him over.
  • Trope Codifier: What people usually think of as the original man's man and strong guy (Gilgamesh has Heracles beat in being the truly-earliest surviving example of both, though). It's not for nothing that thousands of years later we're still using Herculean as an adjective. Even Ancient China got in on it, as the guardian deity of the Shaolin Temple is based on Heracles. Which is how artwork like this depicting Heracles defending a Buddha comes to be.
  • Victory by Endurance: As noted above, Heracles captured the Ceryneian Hind by chasing it for so long that it became too tired to keep running.
  • We Do the Impossible: As can be plainly noted by Eurystheus hiding in a jar/pot in terror whenever Heracles brought him back some famous monster that he ordered him to get, Eurystheus never expected him to actually succeed in doing so. This proves to just be a bit of a starting point Heracles' superhuman deeds.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Some interpretations of his character attribute many of his feats to seeking the regard of Zeus.
  • When All You Have Is a HammerÖ: One of his Twelve Labors is to capture the Ceryneian Hind, a sacred deer of Artemis, so fast that it can outrun an arrow. In one version, he simply chased after it, and while he wasn't fast enough to catch it, it was enough that the deer didn't have a chance to rest either. After a whole year of running, the deer gave up.note 
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Omphale, Queen of Lydia, forced him to dress in woman's clothing and do women's work. To add insult to injury, she wore his Nemean Lion skin during this. It turns out to be beneficial for Heracles though, a couple of peaceful years of cross-dressing and housework made him much calmer.
  • World's Strongest Man: In pure strength he is unrivaled. Even Zeus was shocked to see him take the sky on his shoulders.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Probably one of the oldest and well-known examples. He is said to have invented Pankration, one of humanity's oldest martial arts that saw widespread use across the entirety of the Hellenic Medditeranean, and resembled a mix of wrestling, Kung Fu and Muay Thai or Kickboxing. Heracles himself used it in defeating a number of different opponents, including the Nemean Lion and bear-hugged the giant Antaeus to death after holding him aloft as he was invincible while touching the ground.


Hippolyta, or Hippolyte (/hɪˈpɒlɪtə/; Greek: Ἱππολύτη Hippolyte) was a daughter of Ares and Otrera (the original Amazon queen) and the most prominent member and queen of the Amazons of myth. Her sisters were Antiope and Melanippe. She bore a golden girdle given to her by her father.

  • Best Her to Bed Her: This is how most interpret her relationship with Theseus (and occasionally her relationship with Heracles, if it is depicted as consensual).
  • Super-Strength: Said to have inherited such from her father hence why Heracles defeating her was such a feat.

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.
  • 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.
  • Forced Transformation: 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.
  • 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 sic 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.
  • Eats Babies: Lamias were often known to prey on children in particular. This is because the original lamia had lost her own children and was envious of other parent's having them when her's were forever lost to her.
  • Eye Scream: The original lamia, in addition to being turned into a monster, was also cursed to be unable to sleep. Out of compassion for his former lover, Zeus gave her the ability to circumvent this curse by giving her removable eyes, thus granting her the ability to sleep while they were removed.
  • Hermaphrodite: Despite being female, Aristophanes claimed that her monster form had testes.
  • 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 man by Aphrodite.
  • Snake People: Lamiai were sometimes described as serpentine from the waist down.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: She Eats Babies as a very-unhealthy form of coping with her grief/envy of her children having been lost or killed.

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.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Originally, it was the citizens of Corinth who killed Medea's children to avenge their murdered king and princess. Medea killing her own children just to spite Jason seemed to have been Euripides's invention, but it eventually became the more popular version.
  • Anti-Hero: Oddly enough, she is this regarding her story with Jason, if one takes into account the values of Ancient Greece. Despite the gruesome murders she commits, including her own children and brother, all of her actions are justified in the eyes of the gods, since retribution was considered as a valid version of justice. In contrast, while Jason's crime is much more tame by our standards, this labels him as an oath-breaker and an adulterer, aka the Berserk Buttons of Zeus and Hera, his patron goddess at the time, respectively.
  • Ax-Crazy: One of her most consistent character traits is how bloodthirsty 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?
    • 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 and we all know either of them could have done that alone if they wanted to.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • In some versions, her brother Absyrtus was an adult who had been sent out by their father to find her after she and the Argonauts fled with the Golden Fleece, and Medea helped Jason ambush and kill him by fooling her brother into think she'd been kidnapped. Alternatively, he was a child whom she'd taken aboard the Argo with her; when their father began pursing them, Medea later chopped Absyrtus into pieces and threw them overboard, knowing her father would need to stop to gather the pieces if he wanted a body to bury.
    • Her children might have been killed by the angry Corinthians whose king and princess she had just burned to death, or she might've killed them herself just to get Revenge by Proxy on their father. She might've also killed her children by mistake or as part of a Mercy Kill so they won't be enslaved.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Theseus' father. Her plan to kill Theseus was foiled but again she escaped.
  • Evil Genius: She's very clever, resorting to elaborate tactics and manipulation to achieve her goals, and assuring a way out for herself before unleashing her revenge.
  • 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 clever princesses and granddaughters of Helios 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. Ariadne was largely powerless to do anything to Theseus (although some versions say her prayers to the gods resulted in Theseus forgetting to change the sails and thus caused Theseus's father's death). Medea, however, took matters into her own hands and really made Jason pay.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Accorting to the Argonautica, Medea's dark rites left Nyx aghast.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Questionable Consent: Like Helen, it's ambiguous how much of Medea's love for Jason, and his hers, was their own choice or the will of the gods—especially in Pindar's version where Jason seduced her with magic.
  • 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, while in other versions Jason himself learned how to use music and dance to brainwash her.
  • The Unfettered: She's not above manipulating Pelias's daughters into chopping him off into pieces to get her beloved on the throne or killing Glauce and her father using her own children by Jason as conduits for the murder. In some versions, she's even willing to murder her own children to get back at her former beloved when he betrays her.
  • 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 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 son of the Titaness of Dawn, Eos, and the Trojan Prince Tithonus, Memnon is an Aethiopian king who arrives with his vast army to defend Troy.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A rather fast-paced one. Memnon kills Antilochus after the latter slays Memnon's dear comrade Aesop. Antilochus's anguished father Nestor tries to avenge his son by challenging Memnon to a fight, but Memnon declares that it'd be shameful for him to fight such an elderly man and refuses. Nestor then convinces Achilles to avenge Antilochus in his stead, and after a long fight, he kills Memnon before losing his own life to Memnon's cousin Paris soon afterwards.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Nestor challenges him to a fight after seeing his son Antilochus get killed by Memnon. The Aethiopian King refuses on account of Nestor's old age and lets him go instead.
  • Hope Spot: His arrival gives a huge morale boost to Troy, which had just lost its greatest warrior Hector. However, the city's destruction is a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Mirror Character: He and Achilles are emphasized to be extremely alike each other despite fighting on opposite sides of the Trojan War. Both are demigods with a divine mother and a mortal father descended from Zeus and wear armor made by Hephaestus. They each have a touching Pet the Dog moment towards an enemy; Achilles when he lets Priam have Hector's body so the king can give his son a proper funeral, and Memnon when he refuses to fight Nestor due to the man's old age and lets him go free. They're also basically evenly-match in battle prowess, which is what makes them Worthy Opponents for each other.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He spares Nestor's life due to the elderly king's advanced age after killing the man's son Antilochus. Nestor then tells Achilles about what happened and begs him to avenge Antilochus on his behalf, and Achilles is only too happy to oblige. The resulting fight between Achilles and Memnon ends with the latter's death.
  • Thicker Than Water: Marches his army all the way to Troy to help defend the city ruled by his paternal uncle.
  • Worthy Opponent: Is this to Achilles. They're so evenly matched, Zeus decides to make them the size of giants so that everyone can see them clash against each other, as well as tireless to draw out their fight. He also orders all the other gods not to help one or the other.

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: Downplayed. His mother, Europa, is a Phoenician of Argive descent, while his father is Zeus, 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.
    • He also shows spectacularly bad judgement when he prays for Poseidon to send him a mighty bull so he can provide a worthy sacrifice, then decides to keep it for himself. Needless to say, Poseidon made him regret it.
  • 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. It didn't stop Poseidon from punishing him when he refused to sacrifice the Cretan Bull, which he specifically prayed for so he could honor Poseidon with a worthy sacrifice.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Poseidon sent a magnificent bull out of the sea at Minos's request so he could honor the god by sacrificing it. Minos then idiotically decided to keep the Cretan Bull as part of his own herds. An angry Poseidon got Aphrodite to make Minos's wife fall in love with the Bull and bear the Minotaur, and then he made the Bull rampage all over the island.
  • 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 being the one who didn't honor Poseidon, the god instead had Aphrodite curse Pasiphae, Minos's wife, by making her fall in love with the Cretan Bull. Then Minos demanded yearly sacrifices of 14 teenagers from Athens as a peace treaty for invading them. What punishment did he get? Being tasked to be a judge of the Underworld. Then again, he is a demigod son of Zeus, known for his douchebaggeries and ability to get away with them, just because he can. Moreover, prior to becoming a judge of the Underworld, he died a horrible, painful death by being tricked into taking a bath where either boiling hot water or oil scalded him to death. As for Pasiphae, his wife bearing a monstrous bastard child through an affair with a bull was a way of humiliating Minos, 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's vendetta against Athens is usually due to his son being killed during some games being held there, sometimes by the Cretan Bull.
  • 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.

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.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The most famous version of his death has Apollo and/or Gaia sic a giant scorpion on him.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A Casanova Wannabe who caught the eye of Eos, a serial rapist and became abducted and raped by her.
  • The Big Guy
  • Carry a Big Stick: His weapon of choice was a jeweled club.
  • Chick Magnet: You'd better believe it! Even famous virgin goddess 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).
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: After getting banished because he tried to seduce a princess, Eos kidnapped and raped him. This seemingly killed off his player side, since Artemis grew to genuenly love him.
  • Rescue Romance: Depending on who you ask. After Eos raped him he ended up on Delos where he was cared for by Artemis, and Eos husband stopped envying Orion after that. This implies that Artemis was protecting Orion from 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.
  • 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 Oeagrus, King of Thrace, and 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 and still grieving his wife, Orpheus avoided the company of women, until he was torn into pieces by the women of Thrace for not reciprocating their advances.

Besides his musical talent, Orpheus was known as a poet and prophet, and is said to be the founder of Orphism, a religion focused on worship of Dionysus. What hymns survive conflate several gods and goddesses and are told in second-person to his disciple/son, Musaeus.

  • The Ace: The Orphic Argonautica, as related to his disciple Musaeus, has Orpheus as the glue holding the Argonauts together as he calms arguments with his music, performs sacrificial rites to please the gods, defeats the Sirens as in other tellings, and knows what herbs to use in medicine and magic.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Snarl: Most accounts agree Orpheus was dismembered by maddened women, but one single account (Erastothenes' report on a lost play by Aeschylus) attributes his death to the Bassarae, the Thracian worshippers of Dionysos sent by the god due to Orpheus disdaining his worship in favour of Apollo, which of course contradicts with the common tradition of Orpheus having spread the worship of Dionysos and his Mysteries accross Greece. Another account (a fragment attributed to Conon) casts Orpheus as a priest of Dionysos who forbade the presence of women in his rites, until, jealous for how he has lured away their husbands, infiltrating his sacred precint the Ciconian women snatched their husbands' weapons and killed Orpheus as well as any men who rushed to defend him. Seems something got Lost in Translation...
  • 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, Depending on the Writer: the Maenads, either Ax-Crazy followers of Dionysus or generic Thracian women driven mad by the god (or by Aphrodite), tore him apart for not singing happy songs, not worshiping their god the way they did, and/or ignoring their advances, sometimes in favor of young men while other times he was too focused on losing Eurydice to respond.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Early accounts of his Underworld trip told through oral tradition had him be successful in retrieving his wife, but by the time Virgil wrote it down, the tale had morphed into the familiar tragedy.
  • Friend to All Living Things: His music was so good it made animals, trees, and rocks congregate to listen, and he soothed Cerberus, Hades, and Persephone themselves. In Ovid's version of his death, the women initially failed to harm him because everything they threw stopped short as if apologizing.
  • 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.
  • Losing Your Head: Orpheus's head was still alive post-dismemberment and still sang songs. In some tellings his head became an oracle until Apollo got jealous and had the Muses bury it, finally freeing his spirit.
  • 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 Oeagrus, the king of Thrace. Similarly, he can either be an only child, have Linus of Thrace as a brother, or the Charites/Graces as sisters.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: If anything's known about him, it's that he got past Cerberus by playing his lyre for him to get him to calm down and sleep.
  • Nice Guy: Orpheus is among the kindest of Greek heroes and is known for charming anything around him with his music, neither speaking nor singing an ill word against anyone even during his own murder.
  • Non-Action Guy: He is not remembered for killing monsters or slaughtering warriors, but for his beautiful music that made even Hades shed tears.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why Orpheus turned around has been debated since the myth's inception, with reasons ranging from doubting Hades' promise, to turning in joy at the sunlight, to hearing Eurydice stumble and turning back to help her.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Though he failed his quest to resurrect his wife, after his death she is right there waiting for him to guide him to Elysium.
  • Together in Death: In his death, he was finally able to reunite with his wife that he tried to resurrect.

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, justÖ donít.
  • 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 Medusaís head on him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Some myths have him doing this to Andromedaís 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. Perseus being a kind and faithful husband made him one of the incredibly few children of Zeus to be on Hera's good side.
  • 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 practicing with the discus for a nearby city's sport competitions not knowing Acrisius was visiting, his throw veered, Acrisius got hit on the headÖ
  • 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 Medusaís 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.
  • Token Good Teammate: He's the only Greek hero who has no morally ambiguous qualities.

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 adoptive mother 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.
  • Heroic Lineage: In addition to being sons of Mars, they were descendants of Aeneas (and by extension Venus) through their mother.
  • Raised by Wolves: Either that or a prostitute; it's the same word in Latin.
  • Sibling Team: They were this until their argument that ended with Remus' death.

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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Demands to see Zeus' true form despite being warned why that would be a really bad idea.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: She found this lesson out the hard way.

Perhaps the most famous son of Poseidon—unless the mortal Aegeus was his real father after all (accounts often say both are)—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, founding the Isthmian Games, inventing the mixed martial art of pankration (with Heracles), and inventing the ''geranos'' dance. He also interacted 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.
  • Asshole Victim: With the obvious exception of Athens, most city-states in Ancient Greece agreed that Theseus was a douche and any karma and divine punishments he received were well-deserved.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike Heracles, the hero synonymous with godlike strength, the almost-as-famous Theseus isn't especially known for having any superhuman abilities (except maybe Super Not-Drowning Skills).
  • 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.
  • Dance Sensation: According to some, after witnessing the Nereids dance when he dived under the sea to fetch Minos' ring Theseus invented the geranos, a type of dance which supposedly mimicked the movements and interweavings of the Labyrinth.
  • Death by Irony: Theseus, son of the Sea God Poseidon who famously had his other father Aegeus commit suicide by throwing himself in the Aegean sea, was notably killed by... being thrown off a cliff by King Lycomedes at the island of Scyros, right into the sea.
  • Divine Parentage: Depending on the Writer. Sometimes Theseus' father is the mortal King Aegeus, sometimes it's Lord of the Ocean Poseidon, sometimes it's both.
  • 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.
  • Hero of Another Story: Guest stars in several stories where he is not the focus, but his other adventures are alluded to.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Theseus traveled overland to Athens to meet Aegeus to confront many of the bandits and murderers that still infested Greece at the time. This trope became his trademark in dealing with several of them:
    • Periphetes the Clubman earned his nickname for the giant club he carried. Theseus stole it from him in their battle and bashed his head in.
    • Sinis the Pine-Bender was known for tying his victims between two bent pine trees and then having the trees tear them in half. Theseus tied him between two of his own pines and ripped him apart the same way.
    • Sciron had a giant pet turtle that he fed by throwing travelers off a cliffside path. Theseus put Sciron on the turtle's dinner menu.
    • King Cercyon of Eleusis challenged travelers to a wrestling match and killed everyone he beat. Theseus was the first man to beat him and the last man to see him alive.
    • Procrustes invited travelers to stay in his house and sleep on his "magic bed" that supposedly stretched to whoever fit it. In fact, he made them fit either by stretching them out on the rack if they were too short, or by cutting off their heads and limbs if they were too tall. Theseus trapped him on his own bed and then chopped his head and legs off.
  • Informed Ability: Frequently labeled as highly intelligent, but most of his feats of cleverness in the Six Labors amounted to "figure out this person is a murderer, then kill them right back", whereas fellow Genius Bruiser characters like Odysseus and Heracles tended to be far more overt in thinking out solutions to their problems—and that's if one disregards his Too Dumb to Live moments, of which there are many.
  • 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 Not-Drowning Skills: In Bacchylides' account, Theseus dived under the sea to fetch Minos' ring, and was received in Poseidon's underwater palace by Amphitrite herself. It's ambiguous if he had the ability to breathe underwater or if he merely held his breath for a really long time, but considering his death, it's probably the latter.
  • 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 harbor, his father Aegeus was overcome with grief and threw himself into the sea (now called the 'Aegean'). Justified in some versions where he didn't just abandon Ariadne but was forced to leave her by a deity (Athena, Hermes or Dionysus himself) so the latter could 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: Unlike Perseus or other famous heroes, Theseus was not famed for receiving divine help. Depends on the Writer; some accounts have Amphitrite herself help him fetch Minos' ring under the sea, and she gives him a wreath of roses and a purple cloak to prove his divine heritage. Poseidon or Dionysus helped getting Theseus' son Hippolytus killed after his wife Phaedra told him that Hippolytus raped her, but that wasn't exactly helping him perform a great deed.
  • 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 either Athena, Hermes or Dionysus himself 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.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The tales that claimed he killed the minotaur with bare hands attribute him as another originator for the Pankration martial art along with Hercules, variably saying he finished off the minotaur with a good punch to the face or strangling it.

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.) Another myth says that Apollo was angered by Aphrodite blinding his son Erymanthus for accidentally seeing her bathing, and sent the Boar to kill Adonis in revenge.
  • 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.
  • Canon Foreigner: He was originally a Middle Eastern god called Tammuz/Dumuzid, whose cult was spread into Ancient Greece.
  • Green Thumb: Quite Downplayed—if you've heard only one thing about him, you heard about how hot he was. However, he had roots in a fertility god, was born from a tree, raised by Persephone (the daughter of the Olympian of the Green Thumb, Demeter), and part of the Adonia festival celebrating him involved growing lettuce and fennel in terracotta pieces. So while he didn't have power over plants himself, he was still associated with them.
  • Love Triangle: He was at the middle of one between Aphrodite and Persephone, and was in another with Aphrodite and Ares (which was what led to his death, see Murder the Hypotenuse). He also had multiple other suitors.
  • Mr. Fanservice: It's probably not a coincidence his festival was celebrated by women...indeed, the celebration of his festival is the only surviving indication of him being worshipped in Athens.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: He's the hypotenuse in this case. He was gored by a boar sent by a jealous Ares, Aphrodite's lover.
  • Really Gets Around: He was also pursued 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.
  • Revenge by Proxy: One myth has Apollo sending the Erymanthian Boar to kill Adonis as revenge on Aphrodite for blinding his mortal son when the son accidentally saw Aphrodite naked.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Ultimately, his beauty was one of the main factors behind his death. In some myths, the Erymanthian Boar is so enamored with Adonis that he tries to kiss him...but forgot about his tusks and accidentally gored poor Adonis.
  • 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 the choice was his alone or if he made it with some "encouragement" from Aphrodite varies from story to story).
  • "World's Best" Character: Helen was the World's Most Beautiful Woman, but that left space for Adonis to be the World's Most Beautiful Man.

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, either by Aegisthus' henchmen (per Homer) or by his own wife, Clytemnestra (per Aeschylus).
  • 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. More prozaic interpretations of the Trojan tend to ascribe this to him since if it's not the gods scheming to create the Trojan War, then Agamemnon would seem more like just a warmonger.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the original stories, he's a badass on the same tier as Achilles and even known to go berserk at a few moments and take entire Trojan battalions alone, to the point that even Achilles has to admit begrudging respect after a major battle. But going hand-in hand-with the above Adaptational Villainy, most modern adaptations of the Iliad and Greek mythology portray Agamemnon as a cowardly backstabbing armchair general who sits behind his troops in the midst of battle. The worst offenders, such as the film Troy, show him as being solely responsible for many of the Greeks' defeats 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.
  • Asshole Victim: In the Oresteia, 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 have 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 that she's more than willing to kill two of her other kids (Electra and Orestes) and neglects her remaining daughter Crysothemis.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: If Achilles is so badass, why is Agamemnon in charge? He has the most ships, by ten.
  • The Berserker: To the surprise of anyone familiar with the various adaptations. Seriously, read his rampage in Book 11 of the Iliad. It screams Unstoppable Rage.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Agamemnon in the original Classical Mythology has this in spades. Paris fucks with Menelaus, Agamemnon will make Troy burn.
  • Big Good: Agamemnon is a subversion. He's the leader of the Greeks and the one who begins the campaign, but not even he can resist the temptation to Kick the Dog.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Agamemnon is part of the House of Atreus, a family descended from Tantalus who were best known for murdering each other in a big Cycle of Revenge...guess what happens to him and his immediate family.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Depending on the source, Agamemnon incurs the wrath of Artemis by boasting that he is her equal after killing a deer that was sacred to her. The first but far from last of his mistakes.
  • Fatal Flaw: Agamemnon's is his pride. His refusal to initially release the captive daughter of Apollo's priest leads to a plague. His failure 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. And of course, in some stories there is his Blasphemous Boast that leads to him having to sacrifice Iphigenia.
  • 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.
  • The High King: Rules the wealthiest and most powerful of a motley of Greek city-states, and thus takes charge of the campaign against Troy.
  • 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.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Downplayed—he's a pretty bad motherfucker who's overall in charge of the Greeks at Troy, but he's just a bit behind Achilles and Diomedes in sheer asskickingitude.
  • Rightful King Returns: It goes much less pleasant than some of his other brethren.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Both personally leads and fights on the frontlines of a major war.
  • 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, which is as hilarious as it sounds.
  • Shipper on Deck: Agamemnon becomes exponentially funnier if you view him as a Helen/Menelaus shipper. It's not even inaccurate.
  • Tragic Hero: Technically, he is fighting to avenge his brother's dishonoring at the hands of Paris, who kidnapped his wife (whether willingly or not). Due to values dissonance he's more considered a Tragic Villain in modern days for his many character flaws and less than noble deeds.
  • 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.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Though an Aithiopian, her thrice-great-grandmother was the Argive princess Io.
  • 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 versions, 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.
  • 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 goddess 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?
  • Forced Transformation: There's a reason that spiders are called "Arachnids"
  • 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.
  • "Just So" Story: She was a girl who loved weaving and was turned into the first spider by Athena, explaining why spiders weave webs.
  • 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. In some versions of the myth, her tapestry matched or exceeded Athena's in quality, only for her to get turned into a spider either because Athena was a Sore Loser or she decided to use said tapestry to make fun of Zeus.
  • 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.
  • Action Girl: Much like Artemis (who she worshipped), Atalanta was a woman (quite atypical for ancient Greek culture) able at hunting. She was said to have killed two centaurs with her bow for attempting to rape her. One account of the Argonauts has her fight alongside them in a battle in Colchis. Another has Jason refuse to let her join the Argonauts, only because as a woman she'd likely cause strife among the men on the ship while entirely acknowledging her skill otherwise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Snarl: Did she sail with the Argonauts or was she rejected because being the only woman on the ship would lead to problems later into the quest? Sources vary.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Her and Hippomenes turning into lions. The idea was that they could never have sex again because lions supposedly only mated with leopards, but from a modern perspective, they get to be Panthera Awesome and the separation part is moot because lions do in fact mate within their species. The historian Adrienne Mayor even thinks that the incompatible-lions belief is without basis and interprets turning them into lions was allowing a perfect couple to live free of judgement from Greek society.
  • Forced Transformation: She and her husband, were turned into lions for having sex in Zeus' temple. Some Ancient Greeks believed that lions could only mate with leopards, not other lions which thus should have cursed them to never make love with one another again.
  • Leg Focus: 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Often depicted in artwork wearing quite revealing clothes, usually very short skirts, and bare breasts, but this vase painting demonstrates that the trend of depicting female heroes wearing skimpy bikinis is much Older Than They 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.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: She was a princess in addition to being a powerful huntress and warrior, though sources contradict each other on what land she was the princess of. One states she was from Arcadia and her parents were named Iasus and Clymene; another has her as the daughter of King Schoeneus from Boeotia.
  • Raised by Wolves: She was raised by a female bear who cubs were killed by hunters until eventually those hunters found Atalanta as well.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only woman who sailed with the Argonauts in the quest for the Golden Fleece.
  • 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.

A mighty warrior whose greatest feat was slaying the Trope Namer for Classical Chimera while riding Pegasus. He accomplished several other great deeds, but was eventually struck down by Zeus for his hubris in thinking he was equal to the gods.
  • Assassin Outclassin': To kill Bellerophon without violating xenia, King Iobates sent him on a series of quests he was sure were impossible. Bellerophon succeeded at all of them, fighting the Chimera, the warlike Solymi, the Amazons, the pirate Cheirmarrus and his assassins to finally even Iobates's own guards.
  • Blasphemous Boast: As Bellerophon's fame became greater and greater, he started to think he was on the same level as the gods. When he tried to fly to Mount Olympus, an offended Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus, making it rear up and causing Bellerophon to fall to his death.
  • Boulder Bludgeon: After Bellerophon killed the Chimera, King Iobates sent him on a further series of quests to try and kill him. One of them was a foray against the Amazons, who Bellerophon defeated by flying over them with Pegasus and dropping a series of large boulders.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Bellerophon couldn't get close enough to attack the Chimera because of her fiery breath. Instead, he tied a lump of lead to his speartip and thrust it into the Chimera's mouth. Her fire breath melted the lead, causing it to fill her throat and choke her to death.
  • Cool Horse: On his quest to kill the Chimera, he tamed no less than Pegasus, the original cool horse. It would later be the death of him, as he tried flying to Olympus after thinking he was good enough to hang out with the gods.
  • False Rape Accusation: King Proteus's wife came on to Bellerophon, then lied and accused him of rape when he rejected her advances. Proteus was livid, but he knew that killing Bellerophon would violate xenia. Instead, he sent Bellerophon to his father in law King Iobates with a letter asking him to Please Shoot the Messenger.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. As his list of heroic deeds grew, so did his ego and pride. He thought he was good enough to be in the company of the gods and tried flying to Olympus. Zeus didn't appreciate this.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Bellerophon was exiled from his homeland for supposedly killing his brother, although the myths aren't entirely clear on his brother's name or even how it happened. He sought refuge as a guest of King Proteus, who cleansed him of his crime.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Depending on the Writer, he was either the son of the mortal Glaucus or of Poseidon. The latter would explain why some myths have Poseidon helping Bellerophon tame Pegasus, and sent a flood to protect him from Iobates's palace guards when Iobates sent them against him.
  • Please Shoot the Messenger: Proteus was angry at Bellerophon supposedly raping his wife, so to kill him without violating xenia he asked Bellerophon to take a letter to King Iobates. The letter asked Iobates to kill Bellerophon, so Iobates sent him to fight the Chimera. He thought this would get Bellerophon killed without his violating xenia.
  • Sacred Hospitality: This trope, known as "xenia", is extremely Serious Business to the classical Greeks and saves Bellerophon twice. The first time, King Proteus's wife claimed that Bellerophon tried to rape her out of anger at his rejecting her advances, but the host didn't want to risk violating xenia. Proteus instead sent Bellerophon to his father-in-law King Iobates with a request to kill Bellerophon for him. Iobates didn't want to violate xenia either, so he sent Bellerophon on a mission to kill the Chimera, convinced that Bellerophon would be killed.
  • Uriah Gambit: Pulled on him multiple times in fact. The first and most famous, was when he was sent to slay the Chimera. Iobates wanted to kill him without violating xenia, see above, and thought the monster, which had felled multiple warriors by herself, was the perfect way to solve the problem. When Bellerophon returns triumphant from this quest with a flying horse, Iobates sent him to single handedly fight a tribe of barbarians and then the Amazons. The king eventually dropped the pretense and sent his royal guard to kill Bellerophon directly.

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. In one version of his transformation into a serpent after asking the gods for it, she immediately begs to share his fate and is granted it.
  • 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 brought 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.

Callisto is usually an Arcadian princess born to King Lycaon, although a writer or two made her a nymph. She was one of Artemis' followers, and was expected to remain a virgin. This wasn't meant to be as she caught the eye of Zeus, who slept with her, sometimes while transformed into Artemis. She fell pregnant, and then either Hera or Artemis transformed her into a bear when found out, each for her own reasons. In some versions, Artemis kills her for breaking her vows, in others it's her teenage son who kills her while hunting. Zeus turned mother and son both into constellations, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor respectively.
  • Action Girl: A gifted hunter, though not known for doing any great feats.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Versions where Zeus shapeshifts into Artemis to deceive her came later than those where they he just seduced her, but then again there's no "right" or "wrong" version in mythology.
  • Badass Normal: An excellent huntress who is merely a mortal princess. Subverted in the versions where she is a nymph.
  • Bed Trick: In some versions, Zeus disguised himself as either Artemis or Apollo (rare) in order to sleep with her.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The playright Amphis wrote Callisto based on this myth, which was a comedy. In his version, Zeus disguises himself as Artemis, rapes the unsuspecting Callisto and leaves her pregnant. When Artemis questions her about her pregnancy, Callisto replies to her face that she got her pregnant.
  • Blaming the Victim: Both Hera and Artemis did this, depending on version, transforming Callisto into a bear and/or straight up killing her, Hera is angry that Zeus had cheated on her again, Artemis is furious that Callisto had lost her virginity, never mind that it was beyond her control. Their anger comes off as somewhat more understandable in the versions where Callisto willingly slept with Zeus.
  • Break the Cutie: Is possibly raped by Zeus, loses Artemis' favour and trust, is expelled from the group, is transformed into a bear by either Artemis or Hera and in the end is killed, possibly by her former patroness or her own son, not recognizing her.
  • Broken Bird: After everything goes to hell.
  • Butch Lesbian: A huntress who is romantically and sexually interested in women.
  • Celibate Heroine: She was supposed to be this, but...
  • Child by Rape: Her son Arcas.
  • Cosmic Plaything: For Zeus, Artemis and Hera. Nothing goes Callisto's way.
  • Depending on the Writer: Almost every detail of her story, the most notable whether Zeus simply slept with her, or transformed into Artemis to deceive her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Even when you take into account the versions where she willingly had sex with Zeus (and was thus not a rape victim), Artemis and Hera still turned her into a bear, and perhaps killed her.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Her rape at the hands of Zeus.
  • Forced Transformation: One of the few consistent elements across versions is that Callisto is turned into a bear, either by Artemis for losing her virginity, Hera for sleeping with Zeus, or Zeus wanting to hide her from Hera.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Just count all the Renaissance paintings featuring Artemis!Zeus being very intimate with Callisto.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: In one version, Callisto doesn't suspect a thing and when she falls pregnant, she 100% buys it that Artemis got her pregnant. To be fair to her, although a male god, Zeus did impregnate Callisto in female form.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: In one version Zeus actually reveals himself to Callisto after having cornered her; Callisto cannot escape, and he forces himself on her.
  • Kick the Dog: Zeus, Artemis and/or Hera tend to end up doing this to her in her tale, and pretty hard. Zeus rapes a companion of his daughter and brings about an unraveling of her entire life, Hera punishes a woman already in dire straits because her husband raped her, and Artemis provides no sympathy whatsoever to a previously-valued companion.
  • "Just So" Story: One explanation for the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor constellations is that Zeus barely prevented Arcas from unwittingly committing Matricide by whisking them both into the sky as stars.
  • Matricide: In some versions she is killed by Arcas, the son she had by Zeus, who does not realize that this bear is his long lost mother.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name translates to "the most beautiful one."
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Callisto loses her virginity via rape (possibly by fraud) and then loses her goddess' favor, her social circle, gets turned into a bear, and is later killed by her unwitting son. Callisto's tale has got to be pretty up there in severity of this trope.
  • Pet the Dog: Deplorable as Zeus generally comes off during this tale, he does do this in the version where he prevents Arcas from unknowingly killing his mother (now a bear) by turning them both into the Ursa Major and Minor constellations just before Callisto would be killed.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Some versions paint her relationship with Artemis like this. The ones with Zeus' Bed Trick on the other hand...
  • Rape as Drama: In Ovid, Callisto actually realizes at the last moment that this is not Diana; but it's too late by this point, and Jupiter simply overpowers her while she fights him off in vain. Later, when the real Diana finds her, Callisto panics for a moment, thinking it's Jupiter again.
  • Sex Miseducation Class: Some versions have Callisto genuinely believing that Artemis had impregnated spite of Artemis being female, which casts doubt that Artemis' followers had much of anything resembling a sexual education (...which would be unsurprising given they were also all virgins). Amphis' play on her tale even had it Played for Laughs.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Her beauty only brought her unwanted attraction...and then it got much worse.
  • Token Lesbian: She is the only female character in the entire Greek and Roman mythology to show sexual affection toward women (at least, explicitly so), and even that depends on version.

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.
  • Belated Happy Ending: In death, she is accepted into the Elysian Fields due to her piety.
  • Break the Cutie: It starts with Apollo deciding to curse her for not letting him force himself on her and keeps going south from there.
  • Broken Bird: Cassandra was (possibly) raped, cursed, and was stuck on the losing side of the Trojan War, already aware of its ultimate outcome and her fate. She was eventually taken as a slave by Agamemnon and killed alongside him by Clytemnestra.
  • 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 clearly 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.
  • Child by Rape: In Pausanias' Description of Greece, Agamemnon impregnated Cassandra after raping her (as a concubine/war prize, she didn't have the ability to say no and thus couldn't consent). Cassandra became pregnant with and possibly birthed twin boys Agamemnon named Pelops and Teledamus...who were then murdered by Aegisthus.
  • 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 or allows to be killed by her lover Aegisthus, who has his own vendetta. Killed in revenge by her son Orestes.
  • Abusive Mom: Towards Electra.
  • Cycle of Revenge: She's smack dab in the middle of a particularly nasty cycle, killing her husband in revenge for his killing their daughter, and then being in turn killed by their son Orestes, who then had to seek absolution by court to break the cycle.
  • Depending on the Author: Her personality: Homer depicts her as weak and submissive while Aeschylus portrays her as ruthless and manipulative. Her motives also change: Most commonly she's said to have wanted revenge for Iphigenia, but Homer never mentions Iphigenia and merely has Clytemnestra become morally corrupted by Aegisthus, and in some versions of the myth, she had a previous husband whom Agamemnon killed.
  • 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 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.

Regent King of Thebes between Laius and Oedipus, then again following Oedipus' exile and the deaths of his sons. Brother-in-law to Laius via his sister Jocasta, Uncle/brother-in-law to Oedipus also via Jocasta, and father-in-law of Heracles via his daughter Megara. Plays a major role in both Oedipus Rex and Antigone.

  • Anti-Villain: In Antigone, where he rules Thebes with an iron fist, but he keeps his word and is surprisingly willing to listen to reason, and he is only actively malicious towards people who've committed a crime. When he realizes the unnecessary death his authoritarianism has caused, he is horrified.
  • Break the Haughty: Creon's arrogance leads to tragedy. He ends up lording his own judgement over that of his son, a seer, and the gods until that judgement leaves him without a son or wife. His despair is so great that he's little more than a "breathing corpse."
  • The Creon: The Trope Namer, if not also Trope Maker and Trope Codifier. He defends himself against Oedipus' accusations of treason by saying quite frankly that he's not interested in being king, finding it much more pleasant to be the one with the power and not the responsibility.
    "Would any mortal choose a troubled reign of terrors, rather than secure repose, if the same power were given him? As for me, I have no natural craving for the name of king, preferring to do kingly deeds, and so thinks every sober-minded man. Now all my needs are satisfied through thee, and I have naught to fear; but were I king, my acts would oft run counter to my will. How could a title then have charms for me above the sweets of boundless influence? I am not so infatuate as to grasp the shadow when I hold the substance fast. Now all men cry me Godspeed! wish me well, and every suitor seeks to gain my ear, if he would hope to win a grace from thee. Why should I leave the better, choose the worse? That were sheer madness, and I am not mad. No such ambition ever tempted me, nor would I have a share in such intrigue."
  • Desecrating the Dead: He orders that Polynices go unburied and his body be left to rot as punishment for his treason of attacking the city to claim kingship. The plot of Antigone follows Polynices eponymous sister working against Creon to see that Polynices is buried.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Creon does seem like he is doing what he thinks is best for Thebes, but things just keep getting worse and worse until he loses everything.
  • Evil Uncle:
    • Subverted to Oedipus, who thinks this, even accusing him of working with the Blind Seer Tiresias to frame Oedipus and overthrow him. Creon, however, has no designs on the throne. In fact, Oedipus and Creon do not even realize the nature of their nephew/uncle relationship until much later.
    • Played straight toward Antigone. However, unlike many other examples, this is due to his treating Antigone like he would any other who broke the law.
  • Genre Savvy: Though stubborn, he (unlike Oedipus) is smart enough to ultimately realize that Tiresias is always right and he has to reverse his actions before it is too late. Unfortunately, it still comes too late.
  • The Good Chancellor: He serves as one for Laius, Oedipus, Oedipus' twin sons Eteocles and Polynices, and then finally Eteocles young son Laodamas. He always does what he thinks is best for Thebes (even though it doesn't always work out) and has no designs on becoming king himself.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Many of Creon's mistakes come from the time he wastes misinterpreting the motives of everyone around him rather than any malice or ill intent. He doesn't understand that Antigone is appealing to a different law than the one he's upholding, he unjustly accuses the Sentry and then Tiresias of being corrupt, and when Haemon tries to persuade him to think again, he gets upset about the fact that his own son is daring to question his judgement.
  • Idiot Ball: After being much more reasonable and even outright Genre Savvy in previous tales, he does not seem to realize how bad of an idea it is to go against the will of the gods in Antigone, despite pretty much every other Greek myth being about how bad of idea it is.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: What he genuinely believes about his second regency. He is trying to hold Thebes and his cursed family together by upholding the law.
  • Mirror Character: Creon's story very closely mirrors that of the title character of prequel work Oedipus Rex. Both start out as kings on top of the world, but their stubborn pursuit of their goals despite the advice of those around them causes their entire lives to come apart.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Creon succeeds in having Antigone executed for her crimes, but loses everything he cares about in the process.
  • Tragic Hero: As with so many Greek heroes. He is upholding the law by executing Antigone, but by not realizing how unjust it is, doing so ultimately costs him everything he cares about.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He believes he is doing what is best for Thebes by upholding the law and having Antigone, his niece and foster daughter, executed. No one, not an always-right Blind Seer, his own son, nor the gods themselves can convince him otherwise.

An inventor and craftsman of both Cretan and Attic legend, who is most renowned for building the labyrinth of Crete to contain the Minotaur and for fashioning artificial wings allowing himself and his son Icarus to fly away from Crete after losing the favor of Minos, for whom the labyrinth was built.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Originally Cretan by birth, the Athenians later made him an Athenian living in exile in Crete.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Daedalus did not suffer an impulse to bestiality himself, but he played a key role in the birth of the Minotaur by providing Pasiphae with the disguise of a cow (one of his living statues) that she used to trick the Cretan bull into impregnating her.
  • Characterization Marches On: Daedalus' son Icarus. While in classical times Icarus was used as an icon of hubris (hence flying too high spelled his doom), later interpreters like to see in Icarus a figure of ambition and pushing the limits of human capability and technology.
  • Divine Parentage: Certain lineages trace his ancestry to Erechtheus or Erechthonius (who may or may not be the same king of Athens, depending on who you talk to), which makes him a distant descendant of Hephaestus and Gaia.
  • Driven by Envy: One of the main reasons that he fled Athens for Crete was the attempted murder of his nephew for rivaling and even outdoing him in invention while still under Daedalus' tutelage. (Athena saved his nephew by turning him into a partridge, a bird allegedly too clever for the risky high-flying that later killed Icarus).
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The wings of wax and feathers he made to escape Minos were frankly old hat compared to his ability to making moving statues somehow.
  • Golem: A Ur-Example. A lesser known feature of Daedalus' renown was his ability to craft living statues and sentient gold. Some of these statues had to be tied down lest they up and wander away. It is known that he never quite managed to imbue them with the gift of speech, though.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Daedalus had to helplessly watch as his son Icarus ignored his instructions and ultimately plummeted to his doom.
  • Royal Blood: Daedalus was the grandson of Athenian king Erechtheus via his father Metion and was part of the effort to drive out his uncle King Pandion II (son of Erechtheus' brother and successor to the throne Cecrops I), with Metion's other sons Eupalamus and Sicyon.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Minos was so incensed at Daedalus for turning against him that he spent the rest of his life chasing him down, not overtly with an army but in secret. Minos would travel from city to city offering a very complicated riddle that only Daedalus could solve, and ultimately succeeded.
  • Writer on Board: Evidence indicates that Daedalus originated in the legends of Crete before the Athenians got ahold of him and gave him an Athenian birth and backstory.

    The Danaides 
Among the less well-known denizens of Tartarus, these are the fifty daughters of Danaus. They were supposed to be married to the fifty sons of Aegyptus (their father's twin brother). Danaus didn't want the marriages to go through, but feared starting a war if he prevented them, so he gave all his daughters knives and instructed them to kill their husbands on their wedding nights. All but one followed through, and so all but one wound up condemned to Tartarus, where their punishment was to carry water in sieves to fill up a bath with which to wash away their sins, but either the jugs, the basin, or both had holes so the task would never be completed. Danaus himself was killed by Lynceus, the only one of Aegyptus's sons to be spared.
  • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Despite Danaus's extreme measures to prevent the Danaides's first marriages to the sons of Aegyptus, he later ends up...having trouble finding suitors for his many daughters, causing him to offer their hands in marriage as prizes in a foot race.
  • 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.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Subverted. Hypermnestra spares her husband's life because he respected her wish to remain a virgin. Her father threw her to the Argive Courts for her disobedience, but Aphrodite saves her. Later, Hypermnestra is the only one among her sisters who goes to Elysium, with the rest eternally punished in Tartarus.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: One out of fifty isn't a great batting average, but nonetheless—Lynceus respected Hypermnestra's desire to remain a virgin, and the two would later have a fruitful marriage that would found the Danaid dynasty.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Hypermnestra was the sole Danaid to spare her husband, and was spared from both her angry father killing her (Aphrodite saved her) and from her sisters' fate in Tartarus.
  • 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 named mortal women with an explicitly described punishment in Tartarus. (Though there were implicitly many unnamed ones and ones whose torments were never described.)
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: The reason they're in Tartarus is that all but one of them murdered their husbands.
  • Token Good Teammate: Hypermnestra, who opted to let her husband, Lynceus, live when she learned he respected her desire to remain a virgin. She ended up founding the Danaid dynasty with Lynceus and escaped the punishment of her sisters.

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.
  • Driven to Suicide: After she finds out that she actually killed her husband.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: It was shockingly easy for her to goaded by her dying, would-be rapist about fears over her husband's faithfulness (...who is the reason the would-be rapist was just would-be). Granted, Herakles' second most famous trait after his Super-Strength was that he Really Gets Around.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name roughly translates to "Husband Destroyer".
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Mentions it, but refuses to murder her husband's other woman.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After she finds out that she killed her husband.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Let's just say that it was...unwise to trust the guy that Herakles just killed for trying to rape her.

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.
  • Humble Hero: Though he has his moments, Diomedes avoids committing the sin of hubris more than any other character in the The Iliad. He's able to handle insults from Agamemnon without lashing out like Achilles, and though he attacks Ares and Aphrodite with Athena's blessing, he backs off from Apollo and later Hector when Zeus sends thunder as a warning Diomedes to leave. He also declares that regardless of any current setbacks, Troy will fall Because Destiny Says So and You Can't Fight Fate, showing his humility as a mortal before the power of fate and the gods.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Aphrodite got revenge on him for attacking her by having Diomedes's wife take his best friend's son as a lover. When Diomedes finally returned home, he was banished from his own kingdom.
  • 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, and that he will get all the glory if Troy falls or be blamed for failing to capture the city.
    • Nevertheless, he still calls Agamemnon out on his bad decisions, namely trying to bribe Achilles into rejoining the fight. Diomedes correctly points out that doing so has only made things worse by encouraging Achilles's pride.
  • 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.
  • Broken Bird: Due to the years of mistreatment on the hands of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
  • Child Supplants Parent: Electra hated her mother for her abusive nature and murdering her father, and encouraged Orestes to go forward with Clytemnestra's murder.
  • Determinator: Relentlessly holds onto her hatred at her own expense until her father's murderers are brought to justice.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her desire for revenge and her obsession with her brother, Orestes, and her father, Agamemnon.
  • Foil: Chrysothemis towards Electra
  • Hot-Blooded: She gets it from her father
  • Rebellious Princess: Her behavior under the rule of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: What Aegisthus plans to do to her.
  • The Un-Favourite: Because unlike Chrysothemis, she openly rebels against her abusive mother.

Eurystheus was the King of Mycenae and the cousin Heracles had to serve under for a decade to atone for the crimes he committed while possessed by the Goddess Hera, ordering him to performing the famed Twelve Labours.
  • Butt-Monkey: The myths depict him as a pathetic weakling, he's constantly humiliated by running and hiding whenever Heracles brings back a dangerous monster, he lives in terror when Artemis threatens him for forcing Heracles to capture the Golden Hind, he gets his ass kicked when he tries to kill Heracles's children, and either Heracles's son Hyllus or nephew Iolaus finally puts him out of his misery.
  • 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.
  • General Failure: He leads an army to try and kill Heracles's children, gets his ass kicked, and finally suffers a Karmic Death either from Heracles's son Hyllus or his nephew Iolaus.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He was jealous of Heracles' power, abilities and fame.
  • Impossible Task: The general idea of the labors he ordered Heracles to perform, but what's impossible for most of us is dramatically different from what's impossible for Heracles.
  • Jerkass: He was a real asshole to Heracles when he was his servant.
  • Off with His Head!: Some say he was ultimately decapitated by Herculesí son Hyllus.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After Heracles ascends to Olympus, Eurystheus tries to kill off Heracles' many children in revenge for all of the terrified hiding-in-a-jar he caused him. This ends up costing him and his sons their lives as they fail in attacking Athens where Heracles' children took refuge.
  • Rules Lawyer: He did this to give Heracles grief during the Twelve Labors by refusing to credit him for some of them. He wouldn't accept Heracles's killing the Lernean Hydra because Iolaus helped him, and refused to accept his cleaning the Augean Stables either because he got "help" from the rivers he rerouted through the stables or because he'd arranged with King Augeas to get a share of the royal herds as payment.
  • 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.

Maid to Alcmene, she was present when the latter went into labor with Heracles. Realizing that Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, was preventing Alcmene from giving birth, she tricked the goddess into thinking the baby had already been born, distracting Eileithyia just enough for Heracles to be born. For deceiving a goddess, she was transformed into a weasel.
  • Animal Motifs: Associated with weasels due to being turned into one after deceiving a goddess.
  • Batman Gambit: Lies to Eileithyia that Alcmene's already given birth, knowing that Eileithyia would lose her concentration from the shock.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Succeeds in tricking the goddess of childbirth into thinking Alcmene had already been born.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Seeing how much pain her mistress was in due be being stuck in labor, Galanthis decides to trick Eileithyia so that Aclmene could finally give birth. She was turned into a weasel as punishment.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Invoked. By telling Eileithyia that Alcmene's child had already been born, Galanthis surprises the goddess enough to break her concentration and allow Alcmene to indeed give birth.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Responsible for Heracles being born. Additionally, her becoming a pet after her transformation started the practice of weasels being kept as household animals.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Alcmene was grateful to her for what she did and let her live with the family as a house pet after her transformation. Hecate also later took pity on Galanthis and made the weasel her sacred animal, while Heracles built a sanctuary to Galanthis when he was an adult.

    The Horatii 
Roman triplets and great warriors. Most famous for defending a bridge against the Etruscan forces.
  • And This Is for...: Publius said he killed the first two Curiatii for his fallen brothers, but the last one was for Rome.
  • Badass Family: These triplets were all legendary warriors.
  • Heroic Vow: The Oath of the Horatii, where they swear an oath to defend Rome before their father. A famous painting in the late-18th century depicted it.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: With his brothers dead and realizing it would be folly to fight the three Curiatii together (even if they were injured), Publius ran from them to kill them as they separated to chase him, unable to keep in step with other as they were differently injured in degree.
  • Morton's Fork: Camilla got to lose someone important to her no matter whether the Horatii or the Curiatii won the fight because she was the Horatii's sister and the fiance of one of the Curiatii. Publius proved unsympathetic to her dilemma.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Publius killed his sister Camilla on the spot for mourning one Rome's fallen enemies, as she was overcome with grief after realizing Publius killed her fiance since she was betrothed to one of the Curiatii and gave him a cloak which Publius was wearing while it was blood-stained from his death. Publius gets in trouble for his sororicide, though he manages to get his sentence commuted and his family had to atone for it.
  • Sibling Team: The three fought together.
  • Sole Survivor: Publius was the only one of the Horatii to survive the combat against the Curiatii.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Their defining legendary moment was preventing the Etruscans from crossing a bridge.

Paris's brother, and a genuine hero. It's just such a shame he was fighting on the wrong side.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While he fights to defend his home and is definitely A Lighter Shade of Grey than most of his enemies, the original Hector frequently comes off as more of a flawed, prideful Anti-Hero than the ones you'll find in Troy or Helen of Troy.
  • 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 by Achilles.
  • 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 that didnít stop him from going down fighting when he was forced to.
  • 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 other than Cassandra and his wife who realizes that kidnapping Helen was a spectacularly stupid idea that would only end in blood and tears if not rectified immediately. He is certainly the only one with authority who tried to peacefully stop the conflict before it even began by advocating that Helen be sent back to her husband with all the reparations included as an apology for Parisís actions (or have Paris explain himself to Menelaus in person), too bad for him and Troy that he was overruled by almost everyone else (with Cassandra and his wife being the sole exceptions).
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking : The commander of Trojan army and their greatest warrior.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Unlike the other royals of Troy who stay behind itís walls Hector instead rides out and fights among the soliders of Troy and their allies and is a formidable opponent for the Greeks despite being a Badass Normal. In fact it takes Achilles himself to bring the prince down to stop him in a one-sided battle; Hectorís funeral actually briefly halts the war so that both sides can pay their respects as Homer actually describes his funeral ceremony in detail which shows just how much admired and respected Hector was especially in comparison to Parisís own pitiful murder of Achilles followed by him being Killed Offscreen in the Odyssey.
  • 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.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He fought to protect his cousins (Heracles's children) from King Eurystheus. Some myths depict him as the one who finished the wicked king off.
  • Hour of Power: When Eurystheus tries to kill all of Heracles's children, their cousin Iolaus is either aged or in some myths dead. Either Heracles gets his wife Hebe to restore Iolaus's youth, or Iolaus himself pleads with Hades to return to life for just one day, so he can help his cousins in their battle.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Much like his father Iphicles, Iolaus was a skilled warrior in his own right and accompanied Heracles on some of his military expeditions.
  • 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.
  • Badass Normal: Iphicles obviously couldn't match Heracles's divine strength or skill, but he was still a fine warrior and a trusted lieutenant to his brother.
  • Bash Brothers: A few sources have him accompanying Heracles on some of his military expeditions, where he is wounded or killed.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Iphicles was a skilled warrior who served as a faithful ally to Heracles. Iphicles' son Iolaus was a similarly brave warrior and had a similar relationship with his uncle.
  • 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 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: 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.
  • Like Father, Like Son: With the obvious exception of Chiron (who wasn't related to the other Centaurs, much less fathered by Ixion), most Centaurs were drunken, violent thugs who never passed up a chance to harass nymphs or human women. Sounds like Ixion's spawn, alright.
  • 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, Euphemus can Walk on Water, Lycenus has X-Ray Vision, Mopsus can see the future, Aethalides has... really good memory... Depends On The Writer, though; sometimes Jason has Erotic Magic as his ability, taught in it by none other than Aphrodite herself.
  • Book Ends: The tales of his heroics truly begins with the Argo. Fittingly then, after all glory had left him, the Argo would be what ends his life entirely.
  • The Casanova: In Pindar's account, Jason learned (from none other than Love Goddess Aphrodite) how to seduce Medea through sorcery and his own charm, leaving her with only eyes for him.
  • 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'.
  • A Friend in Need: Sometime after Jason betrayed Medea, his last heroic act was helping Peleus defeat Queen Astydameia and King Acastus' army so Peleus could get his revenge on them after Astydameia tricked Peleus' first wife, Antigone of Phthia, into committing suicide, then pulled a False Rape Accusation on him so that Acastus would try to murder him.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: He gained Hera's favor by carrying her across a river while she was disguised as an old woman.
  • 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 for him. This not only angered her, but angered his patron goddess Hera, the goddess of marriage, women and children, Zeus, the patron of law and oaths, 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: She was so shamed by her rape that she stabbed herself to remove said shame.
  • 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.
  • Proper Lady: She was considered the epitome of Roman ladyhood.
  • Rape as Drama: Her rape and subsequent suicide prompt the Romans to turn against Sextus.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Was weaving when she was assaulted.

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.
  • 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.
  • Forced Transformation: Transformed into a wolf in punishment for his savagery.
  • Freudian Excuse: According to some accounts, Callisto, who was raped by Zeus and then punished for it by Artemis by Forced Transformation, 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'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.

The King of Sparta and Helen's husband.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Beats Paris in single combat. He would've killed him too, if Aphrodite hadn't stepped in.
  • 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.

The King of Phrygia, and the origin of the phrase "Midas Touch".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: What he wished for; the ability to turn everything he touches to gold. What he got; the ability to turn everything he touches into gold, including food and water and even his own daughter! At least it didnít end up being permanent.
  • Blessed with Suck: Turning anything you touch into gold sounds great until you have to eat. However unlike most examples of this trope Midas was successfully able to get it removed.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: He got off surprisingly easy compared to Apollo's other victims, but by insulting his musical skills (when Apollo is the god of music), he gets his ears turned into donkey ears.
  • Forced Transformation: For claiming Apollo (the god of music) was bad at music during a contest, Apollo said he must have the ears of an ass. Right after, Midas grew donkey ears. As stated above he got off easy.
  • Midas Touch: The Trope Namer and perhaps most famous example. He made a deal with Dionysius that everything he touches would turn to gold. He got what he asked for at his expense. He later lost this power by washing his hands in the river Pactolus—this was a "Just So" Story since the Pactolus River had reserves of electrum at one point.

A beautiful hunter so proud and self-absorbed that he rejected all suitors. When one ended up dying as a direct result of his brutal rejection (either Echo suffering a Death by Despair or Amenias killing himself—sources vary on the suitor's identity), Nemesis takes notice and makes Narcissus suffer the same as his suitors by cursing him to fall in love with the only thing he considered good enough for him—himself, in the form of his reflection on a nearby pool. Narcissus pined away looking at his reflection until he died (either committing suicide when he realized he couldn't actually interact with his reflection, or wasting away because he was too enamored with his reflection to eat), with the Narcissus flower sprouting in that spot.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: There are two different stories on whose death pushed things over the edge and caught Nemesis's attention—in one, it's the nymph Echo, and in the other, it's a man named Amenias. This was Ancient Greece, so it was expected that a young beauty like Narcissus would have suitors of both genders. What made him unusual was his careless attitude towards their feelings.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Narcissus was so gorgeous that Even the Guys Want Him, but he was a careless and cruel person who left broken hearts and wrecked lives behind him.
  • Fatal Flaw: Vanity. Narcissus was so self-absorbed and proud of his own beauty that the only thing he could love was himself.
  • It's All About Me: Narcissus is the gold standard for selfishness in Greek mythology. He never cared that his cruel treatment of his suitors lead to at least one death—in fact, in the Amenias version, he actually encouraged Amenias to kill himself.
  • Narcissist: The Trope Namer, although we only get to see him display traits 1,2, and 3 (with no real opportunity in the myth for him to show trait 4 and trait 5). Narcissus firmly believes that he is in a class above his suitors (trait 1), and couldn't care less how he hurts them (trait 2). And in some versions of the myth, he commits suicide when he realizes that his reflection can't have a positive opinion of him since it's just a reflection (trait 3, to an extent, though like traits 4 and 5 we don't get to see him in situations where other humans think poorly of him).
  • Spurned into Suicide: He's the one doing the spurning. With Amenias, he even encouraged it by sending Amenias a sword.
  • Suicide Dare: He gave Amenias a sword with the clear implication that Amenias was to use it on himself.

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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Her husband in some versions of the tale tries to avenge his children against Apollo. Apollo of course just kills him with his arrows easily.
  • 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.
  • History Repeats: In the version where one of Niobe's children do get spared (Chloris gets to live), she ends up marrying Neleus and having many children by him...then Herakles goes to Neleus asking to be absolved for killing Iphitus in a madness, Neleus refused, and Herakles does as Apollo did by killing him and all of his sons save for one in retaliation (Nestor, who just wasn't there at the time). Poor Chloris...though at least there's no tale of her bereavement after almost all of her kids were killed, so she's presumed to have not entirely shared her mother's fate.
  • Kick the Dog: Killing her children...perhaps barely passable. Turning everyone in the city to stone is just plain cruel.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: She sobbed over her many dead children so much that the gods themselves thought they should turn her to stone to quiet her down.
  • "Just So" Story: Niobe being turned to stone wasn't just some godlike-action for the gods to do to her: the story explains why Mount Sipylus, the place Niobe was turned to stone at, has a rock formation which looks a woman's face and "weeps" whenever it rains due to the rainwater going through its limestone.
  • Mercy Kill: Niobe was turned to stone to end her nigh-incapacitating (she was said to have not had any sustenance for an entire nine days after her children's deaths) bereavement. Of course, since Mount Sipylus has a cliff which resembles a woman's face that seem to "weep" whenever it rains, one could speculate that being turned to stone wasn't truly her end...
  • 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.
  • Papa Wolf: Her husband gets points for trying to be this in some variants of Niobe's story, but since he was up against Apollo, he just ended up another warning mark of the disparity between mortals and gods.
  • Say Your Prayers: The versions that have Chloris survive the massacre of her siblings have that be because she prayed to Leto.
  • Taken for Granite: Her demise, to end her wailing and suffering. Apparently, this explained a unique-looking rock formation at Mount Sipylus.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Invoked. In some versions, one of Niobe's children are spared an immediate demise from Artemis and Apollo, namely Chloris. She's said to have had her skin become uncannily pale out of the horror of her siblings' deaths and her name means something to the tune of "greenish-yellow", "pale green", "pale", or "pallid". However, the point is she is not dead (though certainly rather associated with the concept...) and she ends up giving birth to many children herself (which also ends badly..).

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. The plague was ravaging Thebes and he wanted to stop it.
  • Eye Scream: A broach pin to the eye cannot feel good. That is one painful version of Brain Bleach.
  • Fisher King: A plague afflicted Thebes at some point while he was ruling it. The Oracle at Delphi said this was because the killer of the preceding king of Thebes had to be brought to justice, hence the plague was caused because of Oedipus' Patricide.
  • Guile Hero: His defeat of the Sphinx makes him the epitome of this.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He has a very short fuse which comes back to haunt him. He unwittingly killed his faither Laius when they argued over the right of way at a crossroads, causing the plague that later ravaged Thebes. When the oracle tells him that the reason Thebes is suffering is because the people are harboring a murderer, he immediately swears to bring the villain to justice.
  • Happily Adopted: He clearly left his adoptive parents out of care for them, due hearing of the prophecy that he could would kill his father and marry his mother.
  • 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.
  • Karmic Death: Killing a man and his entire retinue in an argument over the right of way might seem extreme, but Oedipus fulfilled this trope when he killed King Laios. When Laios was forced into exile by a usurper years before, he took refuge with his fellow King Pelops. He became the tutor to Pelops's son Chrysippus, who he later kidnapped and raped. Laios, his family and Thebes were cursed by the gods for his ghastly crime. In some myths, Chrysippus killed himself out of shame and an enraged Pelops cursed Laios to be killed by one of his own sons.
  • Oblivious Adoption: He was not aware that Polybius and Merope were his adoptive parents. This caused him to leave them when he learned of the prophecy, which just caused him to unknowingly get involved with his biological parents.
  • Older and Wiser: In Oedipus at Colonus.
  • Parental Incest: As you probably already knew, 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.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Part of the great tragedy of his life was the fact that he was this as a king. He searched for the killer of King Laios because that person being at large was causing a plague to be upon the kingdom of Thebes according to the Oracle at Delphi.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Despite his and his birth father's best efforts to avoid the prophecy being true, he did end up killing his father and marrying his mother.
  • 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, and mistakenly thought it was referring to who he didn't know were his adoptive parents. 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.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The killer of the preceding king of Thebes was...himself.
  • 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.

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 ten 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.
  • Actually, I Am Him: He disguised as a tramp.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: The Telegony, which was written down by an unknown author but definitely not Homer, makes Odysseus far less likeable, including having him leaving Penelope and marrying a different woman.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Odysseus (Ulysses) is treated as a slimy 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. This is why Dante has him in Hell in The Divine Comedy. Although e.g. the Julian family was proud to claim descent from Ulysses through Aeneas' wife Lavinia, who was descended from Odysseus' grandsons Latinus and Italus. 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.
  • Rank Scales with 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.
  • The Good King: An Informed Attribute as we never see him rule, but while pleading for his freedom with Zeus and the rest of the Olympians, goddess Athena curses humanity to never again have a fair ruler; enraged by the way Odysseus' men and subjects treat him in his / their absence, abusing his Sacred Hospitality and repeatedly mutineering against him when he has tried his damndest to keep them alive. It's notable that even when they have tried to woo his wife, Odysseus does wish for Athena to show mercy to the suitors that gave him food while he was disguised as a beggar and the servants that are not vying for Penelope's hand still profess Undying Loyalty for him after 20 years of absence.
  • 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's 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.
  • Trauma Congaline: Possibly the Trope Codifier. In the 10 years it takes for the man to reach Ithaka after leaving Troy, Odysseus is put through so much shit that by the time he finally gets home to see the suitors lining up to steal his wife there is no wonder the man snaps. The man in summary: Has his men drugged and is faced with mutiny when trying to retrieve them, is imprisoned by a Cyclops and forced to watch as one by one his 12 companions get their brains smashed against the rocks, is set free only to be antagonized by the god of the sea himself, finally finds help from wind god Aeolus only to have his men piss him off as well - setting their journey back to square zero right when they were about to dock on Ithaca, sees all except one of his ships eaten by sea giants, has his men transformed to pigs by a sorceress and has to sleep with her under threat of death, finds his friends and mother (all except a couple alive when he left) dead in Hades, is tortured by Sirens (though this was his own fault, really), once again has a sea beast eating his men, has the remainder of his men mutineer against him by adding Zeus and Helios to the roster of gods wishing hell upon him, is left the Sole Survivor when Zeus subsequently strikes their ship, is saved from the brink of death by goddess Calypso only to be imprisoned and raped every night for so many years even Zeus starts to feel sorry for him, upon release has Poseidon send him back to Carybdis to drown, miraculously survives this event and is saved by Phaecians only to have Poseidon turn his saviors to stone, has his dog die at his feet upon homecoming, returns to his palace to find the subjects he once treated as a father abuse his wife and hospitality in his absence, is hurt and humiliated ceaselessly for the next few days, has Athena force him to kill men he would otherwise spare when ridding himself of the suitors, and finally - in the impopular sequel - gets killed by his own Child by Rape in an extremely embarassing fashion.
  • 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.

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.
  • The Ace: She's named Pandora ('all-gifted') because every Olympian gave her some gift or talent; Hephaestus gave her beauty, Hermes gave her intelligence, Athena gave her knowledge of all crafts (and some nice clothes), Aphrodite gave her seductiveness, the Graces gave her jewelry, and the Seasons gave her a garland of flowers.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: She gave in to her curiosity and opened the box despite being told not to, causing all sorts of problems.

The Prince of Troy, who was supposed to be killed at birth to avert a prophecy that he'd bring about Troy's downfall. But since nobody was willing to actually kill the baby, he was exposed at Mt. Ida and raised by a herdsman. When he grew up, he was chosen to judge who amongst Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera was the most beautiful. His choice of Aphrodite (and her promise of giving him Helen of Sparta, the World's Most Beautiful Woman, as a wife) ended up causing the Trojan War.
  • 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 one 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Returns to Oenone over a decade after he left her and their son to pursue Helen and begs her to heal him, saying he abandoned her because it was the will of fate and the gods. He's not entirely wrong, as Aphrodite had bribed him by offering him Helen of Sparta, and it was prophesized that Troy would eventually fall, as well as that Paris would be the reason for it. However, him trying to deny any personal responsibility for his own choices and actions, as well as the fact that he only bothered returning to Oenone to save his own life, robs him of any sympathy.
  • 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 Dumb: 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.
  • Never My Fault: When he finally returns to Oenone after being mortally wounded, he begs for her to save his life, saying he only abandoned her due to the will of fate and the gods. Unsurprisingly, Oenone is not impressed and lets him perish.
  • Offing the Offspring: Is said to have killed Corythus, his abandoned son 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.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: In his youth, Paris earned the epithet Alexander ('Protecter of Men') for defeating a gang of cattle thieves and was chosen as judge for the apple contest because he'd earlier demonstrated his trustworthiness by honoring his offer of giving a golden crown to any bull that could defeat his own in a fight (Ares was the eventual winner, after disguising himself as a bull). Then Aphrodite told him that she could hook him up with the hottest girl in Greece, and it all went downhill from there.
  • Sissy Villain: This is how the Greeks generally portrayed him; note that he fights with a bow, which was generally considered as coward's way to avoid directly facing foes.

A mortal grandson of Zeus through King Aeacus, Peleus is perhaps best known for his marriage to the sea goddess Thetis. Their wedding led to the infamous Judgement of Paris and then the Trojan War, which their son Achillles died fighting in.
  • Accidental Murder: In some versions, he and his brother Telamon accidentally killed their half-brother Phocus (most accounts say it was on purpose due to jealousy). Peleus was purified of this by King Eurytion of Phthia, whom he then accidentally killed in the Calydonian boar Hunt.
  • Bash Brothers: With his brother Telamon. The two were members of the Argonauts, participated the Calydonian boar hunt, and helped their friend Heracles invade Troy a generation before the Trojan War.
  • Desecrating the Dead: Dismembered Astydameia (and in some cases, her husband Acastus) and then marched his army between the pieces.
  • Designated Hero: Was chosen to marry the sea goddess Thetis because he was "the noblest of men." However, in many accounts, he and his brother Telamon murdered their own half-brother Phocus out of jealousy. It's also arguable that Peleus Desecrating the Dead crossed the line, especially if he gave the same brutal treatment to Acastus, who had purified Peleus for murdering Eurytion and only betrayed him due to being lied to. Then there's the Questionable Consent (at least by modern standards) regarding how he got Thetis to agree to marry him when she initially refused.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Him Desecrating the Dead after killing Astydameia. Given this was the woman who tried to seduce Peleus while he was her husband Acastus's guest and then, when rebuffed, turned her husband against Peleus via a False Rape Accusation and tricked Peleus's wife Antigone into committing suicide, it's hard to feel sorry for her.

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 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.
  • Prophecy Twist: Every prophecy she makes comes true, but few of them do so in any straightforward manners.
  • 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.
  • Determinator: You definently need guts to cheat death, defying multiple gods in the process. Deconstructed in some variations of his tale. He's told that if he gets the rock to the top, he will be let free. He can stop at any time but arrogantly believes he can succeed once again, trapping him in an endless, unwinnable cycle.
  • 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.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Hades finally puts an end to his nonsense by trapping him in one. There is nothing keeping him rolling the boulder up the hill other than his own pride, and thatís the point. (In most tellings it is implied Hades intentionally avoids telling Sisyphus he can only try to roll the boulder up once before he goes to Tartarus, utterly confident Sisyphus will keep trying to do it, even after heís figured out Hades is making sure the boulder will always roll back because that would mean admitting he canít outfox a god.
  • Evil Genius: It takes a great deal of cunning to manage to literally trick death. Twice.
  • Greed: Killed travellers and took their stuff.
  • Hated by All: He gets not the slightest kind of sympathy from those that can see beyond his charming tricks. It's especially notable that he got five major deities (Zeus, Ares, Persephone, Hades and Thanatos) to completely despise a human like him.
  • Hope Spot: This is essentially his punishment in a nutshell as he's forced to roll a boulder up a steep hill only to lose his grip just as he reaches the top, forcing him to do it over and over again.
  • Ironic Hell: The greatest offense he committed against the Cthonic gods was to defy their will and cheat death, which eventually failed when he died of old age. Thus, their punishment for him is to endlessly push a boulder up a hill only for it to inevitably roll at the bottom. As such, in life as in death, he performs a tiresome task that he will never succeed, and thus meaningless.
  • "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.
  • Loophole Abuse: Subverted. Hades told Sisyphus heíd let Sisyphus have a chance to avoid Tartarus and go to the Elysian Fields if he could push a boulder up a hill, it fails but Sisyphus notes Hades never said how many times he could try and it keeps falling every time he tries, but Sisyphus just canít admit defeat, so he keeps trying over and over; Naturally the rock being a part of The Underworld will obey Hadesí will and keep rolling down. Most tellings imply Hades deliberately choose his words assured Sisyphus would take the wording as Shmuck Bait.
  • 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.
  • Metaphorically True: He didn't lie when he said to Persephone that his wife threw his body in the street without even bothering to give him the proper funeral rites. However, he did omit to mention that she did so because he told her to, in order to further his plans to evade death.
  • 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...
    • In some interpretations, this is his downfall even in death; there's nothing actually forcing him to roll the rock, and he could just chill out on the side of the hill for eternity. But he just can't admit that there's something he can't do.
  • Shmuck Bait: Hades leaves a gaping loophole in his wording that Sisyphus canít help but exploit, but the loophole is a trap and now Sisyphus is stuck trying to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity or else admit to himself heíd been had.
  • 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.
  • 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 Teucerís 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. Adding the fact that Achilles was actually his cousin, Ajax has more right to the armour than Odysseus, with only Achilles' son Neoptolemus having a better right to it than him.
  • 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 their uncle 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 nephew and 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.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: He was prince of Salamis and among the most powerful of Greece's warriors at Troy, second only to Achilles.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Royally Screwed Up: His line, the House of Atreus, was best known for backstabbing, kinslaying, and generally being completely messed up. Unsurprisingly, Agamemnon was also of this line.
  • 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.

A Theban oracle of Apollo and advisor to Cadmus. He angers Hera after hitting a pair of copulating snakes with a stick, so she transforms him into a woman for seven years. Later, he is blinded by the gods with different accounts giving different reasons, the most famous of which being that Zeus and Hera came to him to settle an argument as to whether men or women get more pleasure out of sex given his unique experience with both. He says that it is women, which Zeus claimed (as part of his All Women Are Lustful argument), again angering Hera who blinds him. Zeus consoles him by giving him the gift of prophecy. The other common version states that he saw Athena bathing (possibly with his mother Chariclo) and was blinded by her in a fit of anger before regretting her actions; unable to undo them, she gave him the gift of prophecy to compensate. Either way, Tiresias dies after drinking water from a tainted spring.

  • Berserk Button: In Antigone, he is enraged at being accused of taking bribes and gives a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Creon.
  • Blind Seer: The archetypal example, if not also the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier. In fact, his name became a title for prophets, oracles, and soothsayers throughout classical mythology. When prophesying, he reportedly spoke in short, cryptic, but always accurate statements that required a little interpretation to understand. For example, he tells the mother of Narcissus that "the boy will thrive as long as he never knows himself".
  • The Cassandra: Oedipus doesn't believe him when he claims that it was Oedipus himself that killed the previous king, Laius.
  • Fainting Seer: In Oedipus the King, while giving his signature warning to Oedipus, he repeatedly collapses to the ground and has to be aided back to his feet.
  • First Law of Gender Bending: Averted as, after spending seven years as a woman, he is turned back into a man. The myths give several varying reasons as to why he is turned back.
  • Gender Bender: Went from man to woman for seven years as a punishment from Hera, then back to man.
  • If Only You Knew: He doesn't tell Oedipus all he knows for this reason, particularly the part about Parental Incest.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: His prophecies, while they cryptic and requiring some thought to understand at times, were said to be "always accurate".
  • Second Law of Gender-Bending: Downplayed in that he never stated whether he preferred being a man or a woman, but he does admit to Zeus and Hera that sex is more pleasurable for women.