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  • Adaptation Displacement: The sportswear brand named after Nike is better known now than she is. One comedic fantasy story suggested that she adapted to modern times by founding it.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Every myth comes in at least two or three variants Depending on the Writer, and that is just the ones handed down to the present! Of note are:
    • One of Ares' Hymns described him as kind of a Proud Warrior Guy while the other described him as more of the Blood Knight that people are more familiar with.
    • Either Persephone was tricked into eating pomegranate seeds so that she'd have to split her time, she was hungry and ate a pomegranate without thinking, she chose to eat them so she could stay with Hades and just claimed she was tricked in order to get My Beloved Smother off her back, or she never claimed to have been tricked and instead refused to eat them until Hades gave her the power she needed/wanted in their marriage. Some versions of the story indicate that Persephone was equally attracted to Hades for his power and knew what she was doing when she plucked the flower that brought on her abduction and especially when she ate the seeds (because she perfectly knew what eating them meant, and wanted to split her time to get benefits from both her husband and her mom). Others state that the "abduction" was just the final part of a Batman Gambit from both Hades and Persephone so they would be able to get married without interference (since Zeus had meddled in their previous meetings).
      • Then there is the topic as to why Hades fell in love with Persephone in the first place. Most sources don't give a reason other than Love at First Sight, though Ovid mentions it was due to Aphrodite wanting to prove that her son Eros (Cupid) can make anyone fall in love, making him fire his love arrows on Hades. How much of the love between the couple was genuine or faked by Cupid in both short and long term is up for debate.
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    • Persephone's beauty putting Psyche to sleep is either an accident or it is a Secret Test of Character for Cupid to see if he loves Psyche enough to defy his mother in order to save her. Since the original text didn't give Persephone much characterization, both readings are equally famous among readers.
    • Plato thinks Orpheus is a coward who mocked the gods by trying to go to Hades and get his lover back alive, instead of choosing to die in order to be with the one he loved.
    • Loads and loads for Odysseus. Is he one of the most cunning and admirable heroes because he was faithful to his men, loyal towards his wife (relatively) and ultimately hated warfare, and was a Guile Hero on top of it? Or is he a slimy, low-life coward for exactly those same traits, making him a womanly wimp who would never win in a square fight?
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    • Some believe Achilles and Patroclus to have been not just best friends but lovers, which may add another dimension to Achilles' behavior after Patroclus' death. Since nearly Everyone Is Bi it is very much likely to have been the case. And before you start to assume this is a modern interpretation of the story cooked up by Yaoi fans, this way of looking at the story is so old, prominent authors like Plato, Aeschylus, Pindar and Aeschines commented on how probable this was.
    • Athena's punishment of Medusa in Ovid's version of her myth. For some, she turned her to a monster to exact revenge on all men. (Which is egregious since she's a Daddy's Girl compared with other daughters of Zeus). For others, she simply did it because she couldn't punish Poseidon for desecrating her temple, so she went for the nearest target instead.
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    • The idea that Medusa was transformed at all is an example. She and her sisters were originally the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto (children of Pontus and Gaia) and were already monstrous. It wasn't until the fifth century that artists began portraying them as beautiful and it wasn't until Ovid about three hundred some odd years later that they became maidens who were transformed by the gods.
    • That said, in Ovid's ACI, were Medusa and Poseidon lovers or did Poseidon rape her? If the latter, then did Athena truly intend to punish her, or was her transformation a means to ensure she could never be violated again?
    • Medusa's sisters, Stheno, and Euryale get tons of this (when people remember them, anyway), primarily because very little is written about them. Who were they? Where did they go after their sister was vanquished? In the Roman transformation version, what did they do to elicit Athena's wrath? Did they do anything at all?
    • Hera in general. She's usually seen as an unbelievably cruel and vengeful goddess, and her role as the protector of women, marriage, and families is almost always forgotten. However, according to a Watsonian perspective, all of the tales of mythology are supposedly inspired by the Muses, who are illegitimate daughters of Zeus — of course they're going to paint Hera in a negative light. And as the story of Jason and the Argonauts can attest, when Hera picks a mortal champion to favor, she helps them loyally and with all the power at her disposal as long as they honor her back. When Jason didn't and abandoned Medea (who had sacrificed everything for him already), Hera was really fucking angry AND the other Gods backed her up.
    • The story of Arachne has multiple variations, which each paint both Arachne and Athena in different lights, although Arachne always ends up as a spider in the end.
      • Version 1: Athena wins the contest, and the humiliation causes Arachne to commit suicide. Out of respect for Arachne's skill, Athena turns her into a spider so she could keep weaving. This version has Athena as being gentle and honorable, seeing Arachne as a Worthy Opponent.
      • Version 1.5: Athena wins, and turns Arachne into a spider for losing. This makes her look proud and unforgiving.
      • Version 2: Arachne wins the contest fair and square, upon which Athena flies into a rage and either kills Arachne or drives her to suicide by destroying the winning tapestry. Afterwards, she regrets her actions and turns Arachne into a spider as an apology. In this version, Athena is spiteful and hot-headed, but also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold capable of regretting her actions.
      • Version 3 (one of the most popular versions): Athena and Arachne's tapestries are of equal quality, but while Athena wove a tapestry depicting the gods in a positive light, Arachne depicted the gods making fools of themselves. Athena was obviously less than impressed and destroys Arachne's tapestry to punish her for hubris, upon which Arachne commits suicide. Athena then feels sorry for her and turns her into a spider so she can continue weaving. In this version, while Athena is a stern punisher of Arachne's flippant attitude, she is also somewhat merciful.
    • The myth of how Cassandra receives her curse has many different versions, all of which paints Apollo in different light; she either cheats on him, accepts his gift of prophecy while he was courting her and then blew him off (both of which makes his curse excessive but understandable), or she left her service as his priestess after receiving the gift of prophecy (which paints him as petty).
    • Hope in Pandora's Box myth could mean either of two things: That it is a force of good that will be released later to help fix everything that has gone wrong (or a force of good that allows one to endure all other ills), or that it is the worst of all evils and Pandora has done well by sealing it. How can it be evil? Well, there's the hope that helps you get back up... and the hope where you tell yourself someone else will come along to fix your problems for you, which the Greeks saw as the worst reaction possible.
      • Speaking of Pandora, was she an Unwitting Pawn made too curious for her own good, or was she a Femme Fatale who willingly participated in Zeus's plan?
    • Why is Aphrodite attracted to Ares? Some say it's a simple case of All Girls Want Bad Boys, but other people have a more generous interpretation. They argue that Aphrodite likes Ares due to him being (in their view) the most pro-woman of the male Olympians, something that a Goddess of Love would definitely appreciate.
      • On the other side of the coin, some have suggested that Ares' continuous affair with Aphrodite is at least partly because she seems to be the only Olympian who actually likes him.
    • Was Pandora just an Unwitting Pawn for Zeus? Or was she in on the plan to punish humanity all along? Hesiod seems to go with the latter.
    • Why did Helen go with Paris? Was she tired of her husband? Did Aphrodite make her fall in love with Paris? Or did he abduct or otherwise coerce her? All three of these interpretations — and some others — have popped up, both in original tellings of the myth and later on.
    • Atalanta's engagement with Hippomenes. Either she was actually distractable enough that he won solely by throwing down golden apples that she then chased after, or she let him win because she liked him and/or didn't want to kill him.
    • The most common interpretation of Aphrodite as a primary pacifist goddess who started a war because of her shipping is actually this. The Spartans worshipped her before the rest of Greece, and in their eyes, she had some affinity as a war goddess. Because they were Spartans.
    • Given that Ariadne only helped to kill the Minotaur because she fell in love with Theseus despite possessing both the ball of string and the golden sword, modern readers have interpreted that she genuinely loves the Minotaur as a brother and can't bring herself to kill him.
    • On the subject of the Minotaur, was he as brutal and bloodthirsty as he was by natural inclination? Did he choose to be that way? Or was he warped into a monster by his experiences?
    • Eris dropping the golden Apple of Discord with the words "To The Fairest" inscribed on it during the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. While it is easy to think that she did it purely to cause chaos amid the Goddesses as revenge for not getting invited, another interpretation is that it was actually a wedding gift for Thetis. After all, who is more fairer than a bride on her wedding day?
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Athena. While she is widely admired for her cunning, intelligence and her Action Girl status, there are some who find her equally as bad as the rest of the gods. The most common attack against her is the moment she punished Medusa for failing to remain virgin, even though Medusa was loyal to her and she was the one being raped by Poseidon. This action of hers isn't considered just.
    • Ares. He isn't the most famous and the most beloved god, due to his war-like personality, but some argue that he is actually one of the nicest, due to his deep love for his kids, his mother (he tried to help her when she was imprisoned by Hephaestus) and Aphrodite.
    • Zeus, big time! A lot of people despise him and consider him to be one of the worst deities to ever exist. His tendecy to cheat on his wife, Hera, and his horny personality are the main reasons why he is so unlikeable among classical mythology fans. Then again, there are some fans who show respect towards him, believe that the hate he receives is too much and highlight some of his Hidden Depths. This post makes some really good points, with moments taken from The Iliad. But even his defenders, don't like the fact that he cheated on his wife on multiple occasions.
    • Theseus, as well. He is one of the most popular greek heroes, possibly the second most popular after Heracles - at least, in his hometown - and his adventures are discussed and adapted on various forms even to this day. However, he has a huge hatredom, entirely created due to his Too Dumb to Live moments (that one time where him and his friend tried to kidnap Persephone), his awful tendecy to kidnap women (with the most famous example being Helen of Troy when she was twelve), as well as him abandoning Ariadne to Naxos. Some will mention the other side of the myth where the reason he abandoned Ariadne to this island was not because he had forgotten her, but because Dionysus told him that he had seen Ariadne, he had fallen in love with her and that he wanted to marry her and Theseus was forced to obey - and considering what happened to some other mortals who disobeyed the gods, that was actually a pretty smart move to do.
    • Odysseus, even from ancient times. Depending on who you ask, he is either a cunning, intelligent and Guile Hero, who deserves respect and praise, or a low coward who tricks his way out of fighting violently like a real man.
  • "Common Knowledge": There are quite a few misconceptions about the mythology that have gained traction.
    • Ares:
      • Some have characterized Ares as a noble, heroic figure, albeit with some Hot-Blooded tendencies. This is a fairly accurate characterization of Mars (aside from the Hot-Blooded part, since Mars tends to be more subdued, if not outright stoic), but not so much for Ares. In the original myths, he was a bloodthirsty thug with a cruel streak a mile wide.
      • Others have reacted to the mischaracterization by portraying Ares as a monstrously heinous bastard with no redeeming qualities. While not quite as inaccurate as the above, this is a pretty serious case of overcorrection. Ares was very protective of his children, loved his mother Hera enough to fight on her behalf, and unlike many other Greek divinities, all of his sexual partners unambiguously consented.
    • Some people think Amazon warriors would have their right breasts cut off or burnt out. But none of the original myths make any mention of this, and ancient works of art always depict Amazons with both breasts intact. This misconception probably stems from the ancient historian Justin, who assumed this to be the case due to indulging in some folk etymology.
    • Many of Ovid’s tellings of myths were fudged to suit his tastes. While the gods were no saints he sometimes made up some parts of the original myth. Like for example, Medusa’s most famous backstory was made up by him, she was originally a monster from birth. While they might count as Roman mythology, they have no basis in the earlier Greek ones.
    • That Hestia gave up her seat at Olympus. Listings of the Olympians would include Hestia or Dionysus but not both, so later people assumed he supplanted her, but it’s just regular inconsistency.
    • Speaking of Dionysus, the idea that his Roman name is Bacchus—Bacchus was an epithet used for Dionysus in both Greece and Rome, and the Greeks referred to him as such as well, just not as frequently. His Roman name was actually Liber.
    • Artemis wasn’t in love with Orion. While there was a myth where Apollo tricked Artemis into killing him out of fear of this, there was no evidence to suggest that she was in love with him. This was something made up by later translators, writers, etc. to spicen up the story.
    • It is common to depict Apollo as the charioteer of the sun or that he inherited the job from Helios, Titan of the Sun. While Apollo became conflated with Helios (insofar he was a solar deity), they were originally quite distinct figures; and the identification was, in fact, never carried out completely, for no Greek poet ever made Apollo ride in the chariot of Helios through the heavens, and among the Romans we find this idea only after the time of Virgil.
      • The same can be said for Artemis and Selene, although far less frequently.
    • A figure named Macaria (meaning "the blessed one") is often perceived as a daughter of Hades by modern writers. However, the sources that mention her as such were written long after the worship of the Greek Pantheon ceased being a living tradition and indeed, most of the mythographers who backed it up were from the 14th century. A character by the name of Macaria does exist in in the ancient Greek mythos, getting a starring role in one of Euripides' plays, but in it she's a daughter of Heracles, not Hades.
    • The idea that Hades and Persephone were the only functional marriage among the Greek Gods. Yes, they were happier than, say, Zeus and Hera, but there were plenty of other god couples that were just as functional and sometimes just as faithful—Poseidon, though as much a philanderer as his brother, seemed generally happy with Amphitrite; Eros never cheated on Psyche or mistreated her; Heracles was happily married to all of his wives, with the situations with Megara and Deinira being manipulated by outside sources; Dionysus became a one-woman man when he realized how much his sleeping around hurt his wife Ariadne; even Demeter was quite happy with her demigod husband Iasion, having tearfully begged Zeus to let them be together and mothering two children with him. Out of all the Greek deities, the most obvious examples of Awful Wedded Life mainly seem to be Zeus and Hera, Kronos and Rhea, Ouranos and Gaia and Aphrodite and Hephaestus, the majority of which appear to be played up this way on purpose to prove a point and the last ultimately gets resolved when Hephaestus finds love with someone else.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Zeus sex escapades are severe cases of rape that aren't funny... if it wasn't for the audacity in how he does it. Turning into a goose? Turning into a golden rain? Pretending to be your best friend? Heck, the most popular song from Destripando La Historia is about Zeus.
  • Designated Hero: Whether you were a "hero" in Greek myth had little to do with how moral you were. All you needed to do was accomplish great deeds. Outside of that you could be as big a Jerkass as you liked. In fact many of their character flaws led directly to their own deaths - a key part of Greek Tragedy.
  • Discredited Meme: The Alternate Character Interpretation that Athena didn't curse Medusa, but actually pitied her and gave her the "curse" to protect her and that Perseus was actually the villain for going after her was a very popular feminist take on Tumblr, though it's since fallen out of favor as it was apparently discovered that the users propelling the theory were transphobic. Additionally, the interpretation makes less sense when you remember Athena was the one who sent Perseus to kill Medusa (either out of regret over cursing her or to salt the wound), and the idea that even a wise woman could make fallible judgements and victim-blame also became more accepted for being a lesson about something that does happen in real life.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Hephaestus is considered one of the nicest gods (and to a great extent, he was), but many people seem unaware (or tend to ignore) of the fact that he once tried (and failed) to rape Athena (though, to be fair, Poseidon was jealous of Hephaestus and Athena's friendship and told him that Athena was sexually interested in him).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Hades has developed a popular following among modern fans of Greek myths, who like to see him as a stern but fair god of the underworld who isn't actively malicious, but merely fulfilling his role as the keeper of the dead - and a faithful husband to boot. This characterization is probably more attributable to what Hades doesn't do than what he does. Since ancient Greeks didn't even like to say his name, there are very few myths featuring him, meaning less opportunity to depict him participating in jerkass behavior like all the other gods. The Greeks hated and feared Hades not because he was petty and vindictive, but specifically because he inevitably took all human souls and refused to let them go. The characterization of Hades as "nice" is definitely a recent invention.
      • Persephone is also pretty well liked, due to being Happily Married to Hades and having surprising depth as both the goddess of spring and queen of the Underworld. She’s probably the most popular non-Olympian goddess. And in fact, Hades and Persephone might very well be the most popular and beloved couple in mythology (in modern times) due to the fact that they completely loved each other, were always faithful and never cheated on each other, had a perfectly happy and stable marriage which was extremely rare in Greek Mythology.
    • Endovelicus is the only Lusitanian god still remembered by the Portuguese people, and also very popular as a recipient of worship in the Western Roman Empire.
    • Hephaestus is considered one of the major Woobies of the Pantheon due to his shoddy treatment for being lame and "ugly" despite being one of the most intelligent and useful residents of Olympus, especially by his own wife.
    • Prometheus has become a positive symbol of progress, ingenuity, determination, and human resourcefulness. It helps that he's usually considered responsible for humanity's creation and is one of the kindest deities. This is a big step up for a somewhat-controversial minor deity with few cults or rituals associated with him.
    • Psyche. Her love story with Cupid is only a fifth of the original novel's length but is the best remembered portion and has been depicted in many works while inspiring tons of romance story, most notably Beauty and the Beast. The fact that they are one of the few Happily Married couples doesn't hurt.
    • Diomedes for being badass enough to wound two Olympian gods during one of the battles at Troy.
    • Despite only appearing in minor capacity as a supporting characters in classical works and myth, Cassandra is massively beloved because of both her unique circumstances as well as being a massive Woobie. She is perhaps the most well-known mortal from Greek Mythology.
    • Minor gods like Flora, Enyo, and Eris became popular over the centuries despite having little myths attributed to them (mainly due to Flora being the flower goddess appeal while Enyo and Eris has the Evil Is Sexy vibes).
    • Thanks in part to Overly Sarcastic Productions doing a deep dive into his character history, Dionysus got a big uptick in popularity around 2018.
    • Hermes is arguably one, as he's the second youngest of the Olympians and much lower on the power scale than Zeus, Hades, or Athena. As discussed in an Overly Sarcastic Productions video on him, he pops up in pop culture constantly, perhaps due to how versatile he was as a god - as the god of merchants, travelers and medicine, as well as thieves and liars, it does make some degree of sense that our modern, capitalist world would idolize him. Despite being an antihero, much like Hades, he's also much more likable than the god of hospitality, Zeus, and has a plucky underdog quality which makes him endearing.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Echidna. Granted she was half-snake. Eris could also qualify.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Different Greek city-states (poleis) chose different gods as especially important and different heroes to claim as their own. Also, every city had to have at least one mythical founder, preferably a demigod or god, whose name frequently tied in with the city's name. This of course led to quite a few conflicting myths which basically showed that "our town's deity or our local hero can beat their deity or hero" or "this great hero really is our local boy, not theirs". For instance, Thebes and Argos quarreled over Herakles; unfortunately we only know the Theban version (partly because the Thebans were on better terms with the Athenians), but quite possibly the villainous role played by Hera is due to the fact that the Argeians were great worshipers of Hera.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Do not claim that Hades actually raped Persephone. You'll end up like this person.
  • Fanon:
    • In general, Classical Mythology is a myth, meaning that no version of the story is less valid than any other, not even modern ones.
    • Technically there's no myth saying that Hestia gave up her title as one of the Twelve Olympians for Dionysus; it's just that some lists have her and some have him, and it's entirely in her character to do so.
    • Modern versions of the story tends to give Hades and Persephone the Adaptational Consent treatment, which isn't too far fetched, since Hades and Persephone by all accounts had a far more stable marriage than anyone else in the pantheon.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The number of modern interpretation of Orion not being the only man Artemis ever attracted to can rarely be seen, despite not having any basis in ancient source and is a Renaissance interpretation.
  • Faux Symbolism:
    • Atalanta and Hippomenes being turned into lions for making love? The Greeks believed that lions only mated with leopards, so the punishment was considered rather cruel to them.
    • Scholars have really read into the Extra Parent Conception versions of the Orion myth.
  • Fridge Horror: The story of King Midas plays on this trope: "OK, yippee, everything you touch turns to gold. Now go try to eat your dinner. Or hug your daughter."
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Ares doesn't get much respect for his savage nature. As Mars, the Romans thought he was hardcore, with his barbaric side toned down via Historical Hero Upgrade. Though that may be a little bit of Crazy-Prepared. A city at war as often as Rome might prefer to have his favor after all. And after all one could argue that Mars was grateful to Rome.
    • Spartans were fervent worshipers of Athena more than Ares, despite the former being the patron goddess of their main rival Athens. Archaeological evidence of Sparta shows that there are three times as many temples dedicated to Athena compared to Ares.
    • Unsurprisingly, Athens takes great pride in proclaiming Athena to be the patron goddess. The vast majority of Greek myth we have comes from the Athenians, and they saw themselves as the embodiment of her (goddess of—among other things—defensive/just war and strategy).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Amazons. In the myths, they were just about the only civilization at the time where women oppressed men instead of the other way around. What part of the world do you think they lived in? Ukraine and Russia (according to Herodotus, that is).
    • Eros and Psyche. The God of Love falls in love with and marries a girl who later goes on to become the Goddess of the Soul. You could say that they are Heart and Soul.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Quite a lot going on here. The Greeks had different ideas on homosexuality than modern cultures do. Just to name a few famous duos, Achilles and Patroclus, Apollo and Hyacinth(us), Heracles and Hylas, Zeus and Ganymede. The list really goes on.
    • On the ladies' side, we have this...interesting mention of Athena and Artemis during the story of Persephone's kidnapping:
      ...Pallas [Athene], on that side hand in hand with her beloved Diana [Artemis]...
      • However, this may simply be reference to the dance of Persephone from a Roman version of her story, mentioning how she danced from god-to-god during her flower picking activities. Indeed, the Rape of Persephone is the only clear reference to a friendship between the three goddesses, in an older time where they may have been more childlike. The complete quote is as follows.
      "Proserpine [Persephone] in spring-time led the dance over Hymettus’ flowery ridges or beneath the cliffs of Sicily, on this side stepping close by Pallas [Athene], on that side hand in hand with her beloved Diana [Artemis], taller than they and surpassing her fellows, ere, she grew pale at the sight of Avernus [Haides] and all her beauty fled.
    • There are myths that suggest that Callisto willingly slept with "Artemis" (actually Zeus in disguise), and when Artemis discovered her pregnancy and asked who did it to her, Callisto truly believed that Artemis was the one who impregnated her. And considering Artemis and her huntresses often bathed together and were really affectionate with each other, it's not hard to imagine that they certainly got up to some things - especially as the term "virgin" in ancient times possibly meant "unmarried".
    • Athena and Chariclo. In Callimachus' version of the story of Teiresias, his mother Chariclo was described as the beloved of Athena, who loved her beyond all companions and went with her everywhere. She was even the reason Teiresias was given the gift of prophecy and a long life, as Athena wanted to appease her angry and mournful beloved.
  • Idiot Plot: The entire Midas myth could have easily been resolved had he wrapped in cloth to not turning things he doesn't want into gold.
  • Memetic Badass: Every Greek hero either became this or sought to become this. Who would win in a fight between Achilles and Leonidas, again?
    • Heracles stands above them all, being probably the most widely recognized of all the Greek heroes. Having once wrestled death itself into submission and holding up the sky itself, his Roman name has entered into the English language as "Herculean", a feat of extraordinary strength, while his original name entered most world languages as... "hero". Yes, he was so badass, the very concept of heroism is named after him. It doesn't get any more badass than that.
    • Atalanta deserves some mention, for being the most important and well-known female hero in an age where women hardly had any agency or power. Especially as she was the only woman in the Argonauts - until Medea - and fought alongside the men in the voyage and against the monstrous Calydonian Boar.
  • Memetic Molester: Zeus. There's a reason he's the page image for Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal. Notably, though, most depictions of him leave out such things as Ganymede...even if those works which depict him without his bisexuality will happily show female-on-female action.. Although that may have something to do with Ganymede being frequently agreed to be underage.
  • Memetic Troll: Apollo has become one in the age of the internet (especially on Tumblr); every time someone makes a joke prediction post that somehow ends up becoming true, the original poster (or someone else) will accuse Apollo of giving them the gift of prophecy for fun.
  • Misblamed: Some stories depict that Aphrodite took her wrath to anyone who was claimed to be more beautiful than her, and even said that she was the one who turned Medusa into a Gorgon because she's more beautiful than Aphrodite, or she was the one Cassiopeia boasted Andromeda on in terms of beauty, causing her to request Poseidon to demand Andromeda's sacrifice. The more believed versions was that Aphrodite has no business within these territories, she only did those jealousy things on Psyche; Medusa either became a gorgon because Poseidon raped her in Athena's temple which incited Athena's wrath or was a monster from the very beginning, whereas Cassiopeia boasted that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, beautiful creatures of the sea, which was taken as an insult by Poseidon. There were also several women considered most beautiful/on equal/better than Aphrodite, and she didn't go on a jealous rage: Helen of Troy (in which she even approves and uses to persuade Paris in the Trojan War) and Heracles' mother Alcmene.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Hubris. That was the cardinal sin; you could do just about anything else (yes, even rape and murder with a good enough excuse) and come out a hero, but putting yourself above your place (as compared to the gods) was a big no-no.
    • The big three were Hubris (See above), impiety, and violation of xenias. Hubris and xenias were often a part of impiety; people indulging in hubris often didn't limit themselves and ridicule the gods, which tended to get negative attention. And xenias was the domain of Zeus himself, making repeated, willful violations of hospitality as good as direct affronts to the authority of the Lord of Olympus. Honoring xenias honored Zeus, trampling the tenants of hospitality was an insult to him.
    • Kinslaying (the killing of one's own family members) was also a big one, and this is part of the reason so many antagonistic family members in Greek Myths don't just directly kill their heroic adversaries.
    • Cronus eating his newborn children one by one as each were born, becoming the same as his prejudiced father, Uranus, but worse.
    • The many denizens of Tartarus ended up there with ironic punishments specifically for the fact that they crossed this. These include, but are not limited to...
      • Ixion being pardoned from the killing of his father-in-law only to start forcing himself on Hera while the Gods have him over for dinner. His punishment was being strapped to a fiery wheel for all eternity.
      • Tantalus killing his own son and cooking him to serve to the Gods. His punishment was to spend eternity in a state of starvation and thirst, with relief just out of reach in the form of a fruit grove and a pool of water that both recede whenever he tries to reach for them.
      • Sisyphus killing his houseguests and stealing from them, then using lies and trickery to evade the consequence of death. His punishment was to push a boulder up hill forever.
      • Tityos trying to rape Leto. His punishment was to be pinned to the ground as a pair of vultures peck at his eternally regenerating liver.
      • Forty-nine of the fifty daughters of Danaus killing their husbands. Their punishment is to carry water to a large bath in which they can cleanse their sin once it's filled, but the bath is constantly leaking, so it will never be full.
      • Phlegyas burning down Apollo's temple in retaliation for the death of his sister. His punishment is to be trapped in a rock and starve while he watches the Furies host a lavish dinner party right in front of him.
      • The Aloadae (twin giants and sons of Poseidon) trying to kidnap Artemis and Hera. Their punishment is to be tied to a pillar, back to back, while an owl constantly screams at them.
      • Curiously, there is one denizen of Tartarus, Ocnus, who got an ironic punishment in the form of having to weave a rope out of straw whilst constantly being followed by a donkey that eats the rope before he can finish it, but no records survive of just why he ended up in that position in the first place.
  • Never Live It Down: Pretty much the whole Pantheon. Pick almost any one of the Olympians and you can guarantee that they have done something utterly deplorable and often hypocritical. Some especially well-known examples include:
    • Zeus, the arrogant king of the gods and posterchild for Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal. All the moons of Jupiter are named after his lovers and children, and 79 moons later, they still haven't run out.
    • Hera, Zeus's nominal wife, who vented her frustration about his constant cheating by inflicting horrible Revenge by Proxy on Zeus's children, lovers, and rape victims.
    • Athena turning Medusa into a monster because she got raped by Poseidon in one of Athena’s temples.
    • For that matter, Poseidon raping Medusa in the first place.
    • Demeter holding Earth's food supply hostage until Persephone returned.
    • Artemis cursing a random hunter and getting him killed by his own dogs because he intruded in her bathing by total accident.
    • Aphrodite for having an affair with Ares, made worse given her husband is Hephaestus who is one of the only non-jerk gods. She is also mostly responsible for the Trojan War, albeit indirectly.
    • Despite Hades’ reputation for being much nicer than the other gods, his most notable action is still kidnapping one of his fellow gods and proceeding to try and force her to marry him. Though this isn’t held against him too much nowadays considering that Persephone ends up falling in love with him in as well and they have perhaps the happiest marriage in the Pantheon in most versions.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Helen of Troy is frequently remembered by modern audience as a cheater who caused the Trojan War despite the original texts tend to depict her more as a victim of circumstances. Doesn't help by the fact that many other characters who far outstrip her in term of characterization and popularity like Achilles, Hector and Cassandra all got caught up in the Trojan War and die horribly because of it.
    • Demeter is mostly remembered for starving the Earth until Persephone was given back to her (which even than was done out of grief at her daughter going missing), but is otherwise a loving mother and reasonable goddess (if not prvoked), and plays other, if smaller, integral roles in the canon mythology which don't involve Persephone (advising Psyche for one). Modern interpretations however rarely give her a personality outside of being an overprotective, overbearing, and sometimes even abusive mother to Persephone, and her starvation of the earth is portrayed more as sheer pettiness of her daughter gaining some agency in her marriage than despair at losing her.
    • Some view Perseus negatively for slaying the Medusa, who - in some versions of the myth - only became a monster due to being cursed by Athena as punishment for Poseidon raping her. It's also not uncommon for these people to interpret Athena's snake heads as a gift to ward off further advances from men. However, at the time that the story of Perseus killing Medusa was first created, this was not Medusa's backstory: in the original version, Medusa was born an evil monster along with her sister gorgons. Furthermore, this interpretation ignores that Perseus was oathbound by the king to return with Medusa's head, and that Athena helps Perseus kill Medusa.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The Romans were both much more fond of Ares (as his local Expy) than the Greeks were (the Greeks tended to favor the strategic war goddess Athena over Ares). On the other other hand, modern media seems to be learning enough from Sadly Mythtaken portrayals to have Ares as the God of Evil rather than Hades. Properly speaking, if you're looking for a Greek god of evil you won't find one: however; there are Kakia (vice), Hubris (see above), Dyssebia (impiety), Dysnomia (anarchy or political corruption, the correct interpretation is not known), Koros (greed and a rare male example of good or evil), Ate (foolishness) and others.
    • To the ancient Greeks themselves, Hades was The Scrappy. Thanks to Values Dissonance, however, he's (usually) the nicest Greek God nowadays. Hell, even one of his Sadly Mythtaken portrayals is an Ensemble Dark Horse!
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: These were the epic myths. Many heroes these days can be considered to be a mary sue or even villains due to their flaws being more of an Informed Attribute (only affecting them for a few scenes at most) and Values Dissonance (you were considered a great hero on how strong you were). Additionally, this was done before the concept of Character Development was considered to be important.
  • Signature Scene: If there's any entry into the Greek myths that just about everyone knows about, it's of Persephone and Hades. If it's not, it's the romance between Psyche and Cupid due to how popular Beauty and the Beast is.
  • Squick:
    • How Kronos castrated his father Uranos. Think about it (if you dare): At first, Uranos made sure that Gaia's children never were born, by constantly raping her, so their way out was...blocked. So Gaia gave unborn Kronos a weapon, and Kronos did the deed while Uranos was doing the other deed.
    • Poseidon's various escapades in stallion guise with the mares of Greece, fathering many of the supernatural horses populating the mythic world (Including Pegasus in Ovid's myths, via his rape of Medusa, although he was probably in human form this time). Of course, once again he's got nothing on his younger brother Zeus.
    • Pasiphaë gave birth to a freaking bull-man. By copulating with a bull. How she managed to do it is left to interpretation (then again, she is a goddess).
  • Super Couple: Hades and Persephone, without a doubt—the pairing among the Olympians that has captivated audiences for ages and prevails even to this day.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Aegeus, standing at the top of the mountain, waiting anxiously for his son to return. He notices that the sails of the ship that carried Theseus to Crete are black (he told the captain that, if Theseus survived the Minotaur, he would put white sails), assumes that his son died (while in reality, he was still alive, it was just that the captain forgot his task) and falls from the cliff and drowns. To make matters worse, Theseus was his only child, so imagine how devastated he must have felt.
    • The fate of Cadmus and his family.
    • The Rape and Abduction of Persephone; First Persephone gets taken by Hades, screaming and crying for her friends and mother the whole time and taken to the Underworld, crying and terrified. Then the nymph Cyane tries in vain to stop Hades, but he instead ruins her stream, making her dissolve into tears. Then Persephone's mother Demeter desperatly searches the earth for her, killing it in her anger and grief. They are finally reunited, but only for half the year when Persephone is forced to return to her husband and Demeter is again griefstricken and the land plunged into winter until her return.
    • In addition to that, Demeter hears Persephone’s screams before she plummets into the underworld but is too late to save her or even see what happened. She then goes on a desperate, futile search around the world to locate her daughter, but her grief only gets worse when she’s informed Persephone was married off behind her back. Demeter is so distraught she exiles herself from Olympus and abandons her duties to the earth until Persephone is returned to her.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • The ancient Greeks never intended for Ares, Hades, or Hephaestus to be sympathetic - they never even really liked them. Although it was more justifiable in Ares' case, Hades was hated by the Greeks because they feared death, and Hephaestus was loathed because he was an ugly cripple. To modern audiences, however, Hades and Hephaestus are often viewed as the nicest of the Greek Gods, while the gods the Greeks adored, such as Zeus and Hera, often come across as Jerkass Gods at best or tyrants at worst.
    • Ares, on the other hand, was adored by the militaristic Romans (and possibly Spartans, though archaeological evidence show rather few temples devoted to him in Sparta) conflated him with Mars - he got a Mythological Hero Upgrade. Certainly the fact that classical mythology attributing Ares (who the Romans associate with Mars) as helping found Rome had a lot to do with it.
    • It's really easy for modern reader to sympathize with the Minotaur since it is treated horribly by Minos. Its end by Theseus and the help of its sister Ariadne read less like a heroic victory but a tragic abused man being killed. For one example, see The House of Asterion from Jorge Luis Borges.
  • Values Dissonance: Well, what do you expect from stories that are over two millennia old?
    • The cause of Achilles's sulk was a much bigger deal in his milieu. Some would notice that Achilles' sulk is also an example of a lack of a soldierly sense of duty to his comrades.
    • Also, the way nearly everybody treated women, the way kings sometimes treated their subjects, and the way hospitality was taken so extremely seriously. Now it's kinda... silly, in comparison.
    • There's a story where one of Hera's faithful priestesses has trouble getting to the temple to fulfill her duties so the priestess' sons take the place of the horses and take her there. Touched by their piety and duty, the priestess asks Hera to grant the greatest boon to her sons that a mortal can have. Hera kills them in their sleep. We are supposed to focused on how they died without pain and getting sick and weak (they were young men at the peak of their health), but readers likely forget this in the fact that they, well, died.
    • Iolaus, Heracles's charioteer is sometimes portrayed as Heracles's lover. While people in the twenty first century might not find too much bad about this... they might object more to the fact that Iolaus is not only young enough to be his son, but he's also Heracles's nephew.
    • Hades' kidnapping of Persephone, as mentioned earlier, was considered a Greek wedding. By today's standards, it would be kidnapping, but an appropriate modern interpretation of the events would be Hades and Persephone falling in love, reaching an agreement, eloping behind Demeter's back to dodge her Parental Marriage Veto and Zeus' meddling and THEN dealing with the aftermath, and not to mention they're most stable couple in the Pantheon. And that's not even getting into whether one prefers Persephone as the sweet little innocent who gets kidnapped and perpetually victimised, or the smothered teen who intentionally seduced Hades to get free and snag some agency for herself, (Or maybe both).
      • This is an issue that appears frequently, since the ancient Greeks didn't really differentiate between what we'd consider rape or abduction and the seduction of a woman by a man other than her husband. Hence, for example, why it's often unclear if Helen of Troy consented to leaving with Paris or not.
      • Demeter's treatment of Persephone is a more mild example; the fact that she kept trying to protect her whether Persephone wanted it or not and starved the world for months when Persephone went missing was treated as a good thing because it showed her as a devoted mother. By today's standards, this is seen as exceedingly extreme.
    • The myth about Procne. When her husband Tereus raped her sister Philomena, she and her sister decided to take revenge on him. What does Procne do? She murders the son they had together, then cooked and served him as a meal to Tereus. And he had nothing to do with his father's crime. Interestingly when Tereus finds out and wants to kill the women, they pray to Zeus who turns all three of them into birds because the guy was definitely horrible but the women weren't all innocent after killing and cooking the kid either.
    • Publius kills his sister for daring to mourn her betrothed who was killed fighting for the other side.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: The Chimera is supposed to be female, but since she has a mane (typically associated with male lion’s, though in fact possible on female), you'd be forgiven if you thought she was male.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • The very concept of Hubris. The gods being not only very real but extremely active in governing the world means only an idiot would go out of his way to piss them off, but it is all too often the case that someone will try and learn the hard way why they shouldn't.
    • There were occasions where, given the circumstances, mortals did things so thoroughly stupid and/or pig-headed that the gods' typical Disproportionate Retribution was hard to bat an eye at. For example, the crew of the Odyssey (save Odysseus himself) perished under Poseidon's wrath after killing and eating the sacred cattle of Helios. Which the blind seer Tiresias had specifically warned them not to do. On top of that, they had already made Poseidon mad beforehand.
      • This one is actually somewhat excusable, compared to other moments of idiocy in Classical Myth. Odysseus' crew was stranded on Helios' island, was rapidly running out of food, and had little else to eat besides the cattle. Considering that gods actually control the winds, and you've got a nice recipe for You Can't Fight Fate - it's not too unbelievable to imagine that Poseidon or someone dropped the wind-gods a line to trap Odysseus' crew between a rock and a hard place.
    • Also, Theseus and Pirithous' plan to abduct Persephone from the Underworld was widely recognized as absolutely hare-brained. Hades got pissed, tied them both up in chains of forgetfulness, and only agreed to let Theseus go (he was only there to help out his friend) when Hercules arrived to rescue them.
    • Laomedon, Priam's father and a king of Troy, had Apollo and Poseidon working for him as part of their punishment for ticking off Zeus in some way. So he had Apollo watch his herds and Poseidon build a wall. And then he tried to welsh on paying them. Apollo sent a plague that killed thousands of people, and Poseidon sent a sea monster to eat one of Laomedon's daughters, but Laomedon managed to talk Heracles into killing the beast. And then tried to welsh on paying him. So Heracles and his comrades sacked Troy.
    • Arachne. Did she honestly think that she could get away with claiming to be better than Athena at weaving? Even more so if we consider that in at least one version, Athena herself told Arachne to not be arrogant an warned her about her own damnation.
    • As well as all those mortals, Cronus, leader of the Titans, counts too. After defeating Uranus to free the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires, you'd think he would try to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Instead, he goes and reimprisons them with no well-recorded reason, pissing off Gaia all over again and inciting her to raise Zeus to overthrow Cronus.
  • The Woobie:
    • Both Hades and Hephaestus, by modern standards. One is the lonely (until he got his wife), overworked, generally disliked and often-misunderstood god of the Underworld. The other is the equally-disliked, equally-overworked, crippled, undeniably brilliant smith-god with a hot wife who's screwing everyone but him.
    • Persephone, who in her famous myth was kidnapped from her home and forced into marriage by Hades (a union sanctioned by her own father Zeus, unbeknownst to her or her mother Demeter) and terrified out of her mind. Thankfully things get better for her as she still got to see her mother and have a stable marriage with Hades, as well as her her own Underworld to boot.
    • Demeter as well. Her role in the myth of Persephone is desperately searching for her daughter who disappeared screaming. Again, things do also work out for her when she got to see her daughter half of the year.
    • Io got a crappy deal too. After being desired by Zeus, she had to be turned into a cow to hide from Hera's wrath. And Hera still found her and had her tethered and guarded by the hundred-eyed watchman Argus. And even after Hermes beheaded Argus and saved Io, Hera sent a gadfly to chase her out of Greece and into Egypt. Only then did Io find peace as a priestess of Isis.
      • Her father Inachus also counts. He is eventually reunited with his lost daughter-turned-heifer and the two cry together over her fate. Io is then driven away by Hera, and Inachus never gets to know what happens to her, hiding in a cave and deepening the river with his tears for his lost child
    • In Ovid's Metamorphoses, the sisters Medusa, Euryale and Stheno got turned into Gorgons after Medusa was raped (in some versions of the myth, in others it was consensual) by Poseidon in Athena's temple - and of course we all know Medusa's final fate at the hands of Perseus, with Athena's help.
    • There is no version of Tiresias that was not put upon by the world. Once a priest of Zeus, he's said to have been turned to a woman for interrupting snakes mating. S/he then spent several years as either a priestess of Hera, a prostitute, or both. S/he is later turned back to a male by leaving another set of snakes alone, but this gets the attentions of an arguing Zeus and Hera. They're having an argument about who enjoys sex more: Zeus says women get more pleasure out of it, and Hera says the man gets more pleasure. They ask Tiresias (who clearly has experience on both ends), and he lets out the secret that a woman's climax is ten times better than a man's climax. Hera gets upset and strikes him blind; Zeus can't undo the blindness, instead giving him prophesy to make up for it. Which makes Tiresias miserable, because peoples like Oedipus waste his time by demanding his help and then ignoring his advice.
      • Then there's the one where he was struck blind by stumbling across Athena in the bath. By accident. Athena also cannot undo said blindness and is sincerely sorry for her mistake... but then she gives him prophesy too, and you know what followed.
    • Nerites; there is no version of him that doesn't get transformed into a shellfish for extremely petty (by today's standards) reasons. To make matters worse, in one of them, he was the first person Poseidon truly loved.
    • The original cyclopes. Their father locked them in Tartarus since birth. Their older brother Cronus doesn't bother to free them after his rebellion. When Zeus frees them, they return his favor by forging weapons for the gods and finally live peacefully working as Hephaestus's helpers. That's until Zeus kills Asclepius and a vengeful Apollo doesn't have the guts to turn against his father, so he kills the group of cyclopes who forged Zeus's lightning bolt instead. Though there are versions that have both them and Asclepius get better.
    • Cassandra. There's literally nothing that ever seems to go right for this girl, making her perhaps one of the biggest woobies in Classical Mythology on a whole. First: either Apollo tries to rape her, she commits the "sin" of blowing his affections off, she cheats on him, or she leaves her work as a priestess of his temple in Troy without counting on how that would piss the Hell outta him. Then, he curses her so that none of her visions of the future are ever believed. Then the Trojan War happens and her brother Hector dies. Then she starts to lose it. Then she tries to hide in Athena's temple only to be kidnapped and violently raped by Ajax the Lesser, while her entire family is either killed or enslaved. Then, she ends up as King Agamemnon's concubine. And finally, Agamemnon's cheating wife Clytemnestra kills her. And if the Agamemnon play is to be believed, she clearly knew shit was about to go down but was resigned already to her and Agamemnon's bloody fate, not attempting to run away even when the local elders expressed sympathy for her.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Hera's not nice by a long shot, but her husband continually cheats on her- the goddess of marriage- even though he knows it will make her mad. And she can't punish him because he's stronger than her, so she has to settle for hurting his lovers and children.
    • Oedipus. Big Time. He accidentally kills his own father while traveling in order to avoid this fate, marries his mother and have four children with her, then blinded himself after finding the truth. It doesn't end there. His two sons exile him and he dies wandering with his daughter, who's also his half-sister.
    • A case could be made for Actaeon too: he accidentally sees Artemis bathing and gets turned into a stag only to be torn apart by his own hounds. And, in Ovid's Metamorphoses at least, it's implied that's what she wanted to happen (" They say Diana the Quiver-bearer’s anger was not appeased, until his life had ended in innumerable wounds.") All because he accidentally walked in on her bathing.
    • Callisto. She’s one of Artemis’s hunting companions and followers, either Lycaon's daughter or a nymph. She never does anything wrong except looking beautiful, and even then she wasn’t intentionally doing so. Zeus sees her, and he transforms his appearance into that of his daughter Artemis to get close to Callisto and rape her. Despite Callisto’s effort, Zeus is Zeus and he overpowers and rapes her. Callisto hides her pregnancy for nine months, then when Artemis and her followers decide to take a swim, her “sin” is discovered. Artemis banishes Callisto, or in some versions, is the one to turn her into a bear. Callisto gives birth to Arcas, but she doesn’t get to see him for 15 years because Hera, angry at Callisto for “flaunting Zeus’s affair with her” (by giving birth to a child by Zeus), turns her into a bear. For 15 years, she lives in fear of hunters (what she used to love doing) and other bears. Then either Artemis herself kills Callisto with an arrow, or Arcas, Callisto’s son. Callisto recognizes Arcas after 15 years, he sees a bear staring at him, and shoots. Zeus decides this is too messed up so her transformed both into constellations (both now in bear form). Hera bans Callisto to set her feet below the ocean. Later, Phaeton in a flaming chariot burns her.
    • Dionysus' early story reads like a Trauma Conga Line. His mother was burnt to death while still pregnant with him because his mother was tricked by Hera to ask Zeus to show himself in his true godly form, so Zeus had to sew fetus Dionysus into his thigh. After the baby was ready to be born, Zeus gave him to Hermes to take to the relatives of the dead mother, who dressed him up as a girl to hide his presence from Hera. They succeeded... for three years. Then Hera drove them insane, made them kill their own children and themselves, and the only reason why Dionysus survived was because Zeus turned him into a goat. The toddler gets shipped off to Mount Nysa, where he is raised by satyrs and nymphs and lives the good life, having friends, till one of them dies trying to get him a new strange plant, which Dionysus makes bear fruit in penance, creating the first grapes and then wine. He starts to get a following and then the first time he and his entourage offer the king of a city their help, said king kills several of the satyrs, Dionysus' SECOND stepmom, and almost Dionysus himself too, but he gets away into the sea where he stays with Thetys for a while to regroup.
    • Hyacinth. A young prince who enters a loving relationship with Apollo. And what does he get for his trouble? A brutal death by a discus to the head either by wanting to impress Apollo or because Zephyrus got jealous. At least he got a flower named after his honor.
    • Chrysippos, son of Pelops and a nymph. Laius, his father's honored guest, was his teacher in chariot-racing — and took the first opportunity to abduct the pretty Chrysippos to Thebes and rape him. And after that, his half-brothers, Pelops' legitimate sons from his wife Hippodaimia, see him as a rival for their heritage because he's Pelops' favorite son, and murder him.
    • Iron Woobie: Psyche. No matter how much crap life (and Aphrodite) throws at her, she never gives up on her love for Eros. It's easy to see why the latter disobeys his own mother to forgive and save her from the deep sleep from Persephone.
    • Myrrha/Smyrna, is another Jerkass Woobie. While falling in lust with her father, and tricking him into having sex with her is undeniably a fucked up thing to do, most version of the myth strongly imply (or state outright) that it's not her fault she's this way, and was made to have such feeling due to a curse of some kind. One version even says Aphrodite cursed her because her mother said that she (Myrrha) was more beautiful than the goddess, meaning she's getting punished for something her mother did that she had no control over.
    • Echo's unrequited love for Narcissus. Due to a curse, she is only about to speak the last words another person has spoken. One day she spots Narcissus in the woods and falls in love, but is rejected, and flees in shame and grief to a cavern where she wastes away. Yet her love for him only grows. When Narcissus dies, wasting away before his own reflection and looks one last time into the pool utters "Oh marvellous boy, I loved you in vain, farewell", Echo can only helplessly echo "Farewell." Eventually Echo begins to fade away to nothing, till only her weak, eternally repeating voice is left

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