Monday, November 26, 2012

The line of Tethys and Okeanos (Part 1)

Ok, so here's the thing.  I'm using Hesiod as my guide and then filling in the blank spaces and whatnot.

Hesiod spends about thirty lines talking about them (thirty four, I believe) and it goes like this:
Tethys and Okeanos brought into the world eddying rivers 
[Names of rivers] 
She also brought into the world holy daughters who with the rivers and lord Apollo and the Rivers are responsible for human youths by the will of Zeus. 
[Names of daughters] 
Styx is the coolest.  These are but the names of the eldest, but there are many others too.  3000 in all.  And there are as many rivers.  But damn is it hard for a mortal to tell all 6000 fracking names in one sitting (what the hell do you think I am?) so lets move on and talk about the next couple.  Those who live by them know their names and that's more than enough for me.
Ok, so I took a little creative licence near the end, but that's basically it: these two got together, they had [names] bit about having kids in their domains they had daughters [more names] there are many more but it's hard for a mortal to list them since there are 3000 daughters, and as many sons, those who live near them know their names.

That's rather boring, rather annoying to write, and doesn't add a lot to my wordcount.  So here goes, entirely new stuff, for the most part, but based on actual myth unlike the Nereid expansion.


Once upon a time, before time itself, there was nothing but Chaos, then into existence popped Gaia, the earth, and some other gods (notably Eros, love), last amoung them Nyx, night, and Erebos, the gloom of Misty Tartaros.

Eros brought together Nyx and Erebos, and soon Nyx gave birth to children.

Gaia, seeing that such a thing as birth was possible brought forth children of her own, including Ouranos.

Eros brought together Gaia and Ouranos, and their first children were the Titans.

The oldest male was Okeanos, the youngest female Tethys.

There was a whole big thing with Ouranos being overthrown and Kronos taking over the universe, but we don't really care about that right now because we're concentrating on Okeanos and Tethys who Eros brought together in love.

This pairing bore fruit.

They had thirty times one hundred daughters, the eldest amoung them being Peitho, persuasion, Admente, Ianthe, Electra, Doris, Prymno, Ourania, Hippo, Klymene, Rhodeia, Kallirhoe, Zeuxo, Klytia, Idyia, Peisithoe, Plexaura, Galaxaura, Dione, Melobosis, Thoe, Polydora, Kerkeis, Plouto, wealth, Perseis, Ianeira, Akaste, Xanthe, Petraia, Menestho, Europe, Metis, counsel, Eurynome, Telesto, success, Khryeis, Asia, Kalypso, Eudora, Tyche, fortune, Amphiro, Ocyrhoe, and Styx.  Styx, the last of the eldest brood of daughters, is the most important and she would become the waters on which the Olympian Gods swore inviolable oaths.

It is, perhaps, understandable why the names of all their daughters are not remembered or recited by any one mortal but it is said that those who live near one, and are in touch with the old ways, know her name, and in this way the names of all live on.

As a group the daughters are known as the Okaenides.  Styx, a river, is rare amoung the daughters, most rivers are male and are numbered amoung the thirty times one hundred eddying Potamoi, rivers, the eldest of whom are Neilos, Alpheios, deep-eddying Eridanos, Strymon, Maiandros, Istros of the beautiful waters, Phasis, Rhesos, silver-swirling Akheloios, Nessos, Rhodios, Haliakmon, Heptaporos, Grenikos, Aisepos, Simoeis, who is godlike, Peneios, Hermos, Kaikos strongly flowing, great Sangarios, Ladon, Parthenios, Euenos, Ardeskos, and holy Skamandros.

When Zeus came to power he gave to the children of Tethys and Okeanos the duty of nurturing mortal peoples throughout the earth, when Apollo came of age Zeus included him in this duty as well.

[Hesiod tends to list mothers in male lines, so there may be some repeats here:]

These are some of the many grandchildren of Tethys and Okeanos, first, from their eldest daughters:

Peitho first met the Elder Eros and with him bore Hygeia, good health.  Much later her married Hermes and with him bore Iynx.

Electra married Thaumas and from this marriage came forth swift Iris, who would become messenger to the gods, and the lovely haired Harpyai, snatchers/whirlwinds/hurricanes, Aello and Okypete, who fly as fast as time.

Doris married Nereus and bore fifty of the fifty one Nereids, where the fifty-first comes from, and which one it is, they're not saying.  (See here for the family Nereus belongs to, and here for more on the Nereids.)

Klymene and the Titan Iapetos married and the names of their children, or at least one of them, are, or is, known to all.  They had only sons and their names were Atlas, one of unconquerable spirit who would one day be cursed to hold the sky, Meniotios, one of great pride who would one day be blasted by a lightning bolt into Misty Tartaros, Prometheus who created mortal humans, twice tricked Zeus (once to allow mortals to keep the meat of their sacrifices, once to give them fire), and was condemned by Zeus only to be freed by Zeus's son, and Epimetheus, to whom Pandora would be given.

Kallirhoe married Khrysaor, holder of the golden sword and part time winged boar who sprang from the decapitated head of Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon.  Their son was the three bodied giant Geryones.  Whom Herakles killed.  Along with his dog.  And his cowherd.

Klytia who loved and was loved by Helios, the sun, until he moved onto greener pastures.  Specifically the Persian princess Leukothoe.  She did not produce a child by Helios, instead her constant pining for the sun turned her into the purple flower known for its turning to face the sun and thus known as the heliotrope.  By her Tethys and Okeanos had a most unexpected crop of grandchildren, an entire speices of flower.

Other Okeanides had better luck with Helios, the younger Klymene (when you have ten times three hundred daughters you reuse names once or twice) bore him Phaethon, for example

Idyia who married the mortal Aeetes and bore to him the famous Medeia.

Dione married Zeus for a short time, before he settled on Hera.  In that time the two produced no children, but they adopted Aphrodite as she had lived her entire life without ever knowing parents and wished to be part of a family.

Perseis bore Helios four children.  Witches all.  The female witches were Pasiphae and Kirke (who Odysseus once encountered) and the male witches were Aeetes, king of Kolkhis and father of Medeia, and Perses, ruler of Persia.

Kirke, daughter of Perseis would delay Odysseus on her island and bear to him Agrios, Latinos, and Telegonos.

Metis was Zeus' first chosen bride, but he was warned that her second child would be a son who, if allowed to be born, would overthrow him so he ate her.  Their first child was forced to fight her way out of his body, eventually emerging in full battle armor as she broke her way out of his skull.  Her name was Athena.  Metis remains within Zeus to this day.  (As far as we know.)

Eurynome became Zeus's third wife and bore to him the Kharites, graces: Aglaia, splendor/glory, Euphrosyne, mirth, Thalia, festivity.  Aglaia was the only of these to have children of her own.  She bore to Hephaestos four children Eukleia, good repute, Euthenia, abundance, Eupheme, praise, Philophrosyne, friendliness.

Kalypso held captive Odysseus for seven years, during which time he impregnated her with Nausithoos and Nausinoos.

Tyche, with unknown mate, produced a child she named Ploutos, wealth, after her sister Plouto.  (It's a fairly popular name.)

Ocyrhoe bore to Helios a child about which nothing is remembered except that he was named for his uncle Phasis.  This caused some confusion, as common names often do.

Styx and Pallas married to produce Nike, victory, Zelos, rivialry, Kratos, strength, and Bia, force.

[And if you think that's a long boring list, just wait till we get to the Rivers.]


[Rewriting Greek Myth Index]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Something that interested me about Underworld that Rise of the Lycans erased

Since I'm talking about the Underworld series, here's something that I actually found rather interesting in the original that Rise of the Lycans, which theoretically would have shown it, retroactively erased.
We were slaves once. The daylight guardians of the vampires. I was born into servitude. Yet I harbored them no ill will. Even took a vampire for my bride. It was forbidden, our union. Viktor feared a blending of the species. Feared it so much he killed her. His own daughter. Burnt alive for loving me. This is his war. Viktor's. And he spent the last 600 years exterminating my species. 
Nothing we see in the first movie, and nothing we hear from Viktor, contradicts this.

Slavery in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period is not a subject I have much studied.  Roman or Greek Slavery I could tell you a bit about, American Slavery as well.

Anyway, slavery wasn't racial at the time, but for vampires it really had to be.  They couldn't have members of their own race guarding them during the day, such slaves would go up in flames and die.  They could have had human slaves, but why have humans when you can have the more powerful werewolves?  (They may well have had both.)

For an average of twelve hours a day the slaves wouldn't be able to be supervised in any place that daylight touched.  And yet the slaves remained slaves.

Lucian's description of being born into servitude and harboring his masters no ill will is one that is completely believable.  There have been times in history when slaves have been trusted with immense amounts of power and proved completely trustworthy with it.

So we get a picture of a largely content group of slaves, tough surely some must have wanted freedom, and the one who led them in the revolt that gained their freedom, and the war that followed, did so not out of a desire for freedom, not out of a desire to avenge some wrong done to his species, but out of the love of a vampire.

Lucian rallied the lycans to take their freedom from the vampires because a vampire executed another vampire and Lucian wanted to avenge that.  Viktor killed Sonja because she was pregnant by a lycan.  Viktor considered that an abomination, and a betrayal, and her painful death what was necessary.

Lucian was forced to watch, and then made his escape.

Then rallied the lycans, freed them, fought a war for survival, faked his death, made a bargain that endured for centuries (before he was stabbed, er... shot, in the back) to get a peace treaty, and started looking into how to make another like the "abomination" that Viktor killed.  His entire research into creating a hybrid can be seen as trying to give life to the child Viktor executed Sonja to prevent the birth of.

But think about this story for a moment.  He's a slave who harbors no ill will toward his masters, he loves one of them, and yet he becomes the leader of the slave revolt.  If he's been discussing the question of slavery before the execution of Sonja he's been doing it on the pro-slavery side.  And yet, somehow, he gets them to rally behind him.

And do they know?  Do they know that it's for the love of a vampire that they're rising up against the vampires?  Does Lucian yell, "For Sonja," as a battle cry?  Does he tell about the fact that vampires and lycans can apparently interbreed as a part of his argument why they shouldn't be slaves?  (We're the same species  look, we can even have kids together, Viktor killed his own daughter because he was afraid that you'd learn that and realize you weren't lower beings than them.)

That's a story I'm interested in hearing more about.

But that is not the story told in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.  Instead he's someone who wants his freedom from the start, and there's not a lot involved in getting other lycans to rally behind him.  Also he's, like, super special because he's the first lycan who can take human form and isn't that all awesome and stuff?

The Underworld series and the fall of the Lycans

I've just seen the most recent of the Underworld movies, I might have missed a bit of the beginning, but no more than a bit, and there's a trend I've been noticing.

Spoilers for all the movies.

In Underworld Vampires and Lycans (Short for "Lycanthrope" which means WolfMan, as opposed to "Werewolf" which means ManWolf) are both portrayed as complex groups that are ultimately composed of people.

We see the world of these creatures largely through the eyes of Selene and Michael.  Selene, a vampire warrior, has been told a history of the war between the two species which she comes to realize is a lie.  Michael, a human who shares a common ancestor with Vampires and Werewolves alike, hasn't been told a damn thing and is thrown into the center of things ignorant of all.

What we eventually realize is that while the Vampires are working toward extermination of their former slaves, the Lycans, the Lycans are working toward a different goal.  They're trying to unite the two species.  For all the death destruction and kidnapping (well, just the one kidnapping) they rain down on the world, they're basically the good guys.

The vampires want to kill the other side, the Lycans want peace.  Lucian's end goal is to create a hybrid species and to have a peace treaty.

And when we find out how the war started, we learn that it was because Victor (one of the head vampires) had his own daughter executed while Lucian was forced to watch for the crime of getting pregnant by Lucian.  Victor, a racial purist, didn't want the species to mingle.  Prior to that Lucian was a willing slave.

The Lycan leader's embrace of the Vampires as kindred extends all the way to the Vampire that ultimately betrays and murders him.  Whom he, in his dying breath, calls "Cousin."

He also says, in the sentence immediately preceding that, that his will is done regardless of his death when a hybrid is created.  (Michael.)

So the goals of the two species in the first movie:
Vampires: Exterminate the enemy.
Lycans: Make peace with the enemy.  Bring into the world the kind of hybrid Victor's daughter would have had, had she not been killed by Victor.

Lycans seem to be the good guys.  Especially when we consider that the only people to turn out to be truly undeniably evil are vampires (Victor, Kraven.)


Underworld: Evolution does some creative rewriting of the back stories of various things, but when comparing vampires to Lycans it works like this:
Vampires: Include characters good, bad, and medium.
Hybrids: Include characters good and bad.
Lycans: Don't even get to speak.  Appear as either monsters to be killed on sight (not the Lycans you know) or guard dogs to be killed.

The Lycans have gone from the driving force of the first movie to the hardly important force of the second.  They've gone from the good guys to acceptable cannon fodder.


The next film made was Underword: Rise of the Lycans which, from an in-world perspective, comes first.

It completely overturns everything we were told about the original situation of the Lycans in the first film.  It changes events significantly and reframes the entire narrative.

That said, unlike the film before and the film after, it does show the Lycans in a positive light.  They are slaves who wish to be free, they are hunted like animals, they are capable of camaraderie beyond racial lines and love beyond species lines.

The vampires, by comparison, are slave holders and extorters.  They are a privileged class that preys on those less fortunate and the only one who appears as anything approaching good does so via the love of a Lycan.

It's a pretty good image for the Lycans to have.


The next film, the one I just saw, and the most recent in universe as well as in the real world, is Underworld: Awakening.

Lets put it this way:
Vampires: Complex tending toward heroic and compassionate.
Lycans: Evil to the point of vivisecting a twelve year old girl (well, trying to at any rate.)  There is no complexity, there is no variety, there is no dissent.  They are simply Evil.  No.  That doesn't do it justice.  They are EVIL.


In in-universe chronological order it goes like this:
Prequel movie: Lycan = I am Spartacus!  Except I win rather than get crucified.
Original movie: Lycan = I am complex but my ultimate goals are peace and reconciliation.
The next movie: Lycan = I am acceptable cannon fodder.
Most recent movie: Lycan = I am Evvvviiilll...  Find me a twelve year old girl so I can cut her into little pieces.  Let me kill people for the fun of it.

Notice any kind of a trend here?


If you're interested in seeing for yourself, and have a blu-ray player you can get all four together for what looks to be a bit cheaper than getting them separately. [Link removed because: Screw you, Amazon.]

.hack//Sign: Information and Instinct

[meta bit: more than two months ago, when I wrote the last post, I was thinking two things.  The first is that I would be getting back into writing such posts regularly, the second was that what I was writing was more of a half post than a whole post.  So it's followed up with a sort of half post here]

.hack recap: We left BT and Mimiru sitting on a bench in silence after they seemed to have run out of things to say.  Bear was absent for unexplained reasons.

(I recommend actually buying .hack//Sign since my words don't really do it justice.  One can get either the DVD this episode is on, or the full series as a set.)

.hack//Sign, Episode 4: Wanted, 6:52-8:45

The silence is broken by a beeping which Mimiru hears, but BT doesn't seem to hear.

Mimiru: Oh, this again!  This annoys me!

It vexes me.  I am terribly vexed.

BT responds with a "Hmm"  Then gets her own beeping.  She closes her eyes:

So that's what's going on...

Mimiru isn't sure what she's talking about at which point beeping for Mimiru again and we, the audience, find that Sora is messaging both of them.

BT: Shall we meet up with him?
Mimiru: Wha?  Are you serious?

Apparently yes because the scene changes to the land of mushrooms, ranging from normal sized to as tall as multistory buildings.  BT and Mimiru walk through the mushrooms until BT points to Sora, atop one of the taller ones.  She explains:

Idiots love to climb up to high places.

Sora greets them, Mimiru tries to set boundaries explaining that being called over and over is getting really annoying.  Sora is completely dismissive, BT gets to why she came:

BT: Where are the Knights?
Sora: I'm not with them today.  It's a little stifling to be with them all the time.
Mimiru: Then you didn't have to associate with them in the first place!
Sora: This lady over here understands.
Mimiru: What?
BT: It's been said that information gathers where the Knights are.

What's been said and what is true are not always the same, but in this case there is a certain amount of truth to the matter, and not just for the reasons we'll get into in a moment.  The Knights are the closest thing The World has to a police force.  When there's something strange in the neighboorhood, the Knights are who get called.  The Knights have an organization that can run regular patrols meaning that they're more likely to run across anything interesting than an given ordinary player.

The Knights are the ones called in when something goes wrong or someone has a problem they can't handle on their own.

This in itself gives them more information, and a better chance of seeing the bigger picture, than most.

Yet at the same time it would be foolish to forget that at the end of last episode we learned that the idea of what is within the Crimson Knights' power and the actuality do not match.

What Bear thought shouldn't be too difficult turned out to be impossible.  When BT brought up the fact that the Knights gather information, Subaru cautioned, "Not that much, though."

The legend of the Knights doesn't match the reality, and that bears reiterating.  Hell, Subaru has to reiterate it to her second in command, though on a topic other than information.

Anyway, returning to the conversation:

Sora: Yup.  From inside the net as well as outside.
Mimiru: Outside too?
BT: They're assisting the system administration.  Information the sys admin believes is necessary goes out to the Crimson Knights as well.

This is true, insofar as it goes, but there is (see the case of Bear above) an overestimation of how much information that is.

The Crimson Knights are players who formed a group.  Nothing more.  Their goals are, to an extent, aligned with those of the system administration's goals and so they do work together at times.  This has produced a relationship in which they are closer to the system administration than most players, and some of the information that they get from system administration probably isn't available to ordinary players.

We'll see later on that they try to calm the populous when things go wrong and do so by acting like they have privileged information, we'll see before the end of the episode that Subaru was given information that was probably not intended for the general population.  That information came to her after she made a request that, I'm guessing, any player could make but, if it weren't the leader of the Crimson Knights, one wonders if it would have been complied with so readily.

And yet, even given the close relationship they have with system administration, they are still nothing more or less than a player group.

Something that is occasionally forgotten, not just by outsiders but by members of the nights as well, to the detriment of all.

Anyway, BT changes the subject.  Turning to face Sora she says:

BT: Can I ask you something
Sora: You can ask, though I won't necessarily answer you.

For whatever it's worth, probably not much, this closely parallels an exchange between Tsukasa and Mimiru immediately before he asked her if she could log out in the first episode.

BT: Do you think our much-talked about Wavemaster got ahold of the Key of the Twilight?
*Sora goes "Hmm" as he falls from the mushroom to the ground, prompting a sound of shock from Mimiru*
Sora: No, not yet.
BT: What do you base that on?
Sora: Instinct.
BT: I see.  Then I'm signing off.

Everyone is left to find their own way to enjoy The World.  BT found hers at the beginning of the last episode.  There's a rumored hidden item that can overturn the rules from their very foundations.  It took her all of last episode to learn its name.  Her interest in Tsukasa, as well as Sora's, is solely in how useful he is in obtaining the Key of the Twilight.

She previously considered the possibility that Tsukasa had already found it, some of the things he does are quite impossible after all, now she's found Sora's opinion on the matter and what he bases it on.  She's done here.

Mimiru: What was that?
*BT goes bye-bye*
*Sora closes the gap between himself and Mimiru*
Sora: Let's go into a dungeon!
Mimiru: This is the pits.

Sora is just bored.  Mimiru is abandoned, and I don't know the exact rules about warping out, so I'm not sure if she can get away from Sora when he's that close.  If it takes any amount of time (which based on past experience it seems to) then he could kill her before she did.  On the other hand, there do seem to be ample opportunities for losing someone like Sora.


Saturday, November 24, 2012


[Apparently it's traditional to begin these things wit an invocation to the muse(s).]

I've read that tales such at this begin by invoking the Mousai, Muses, but which ones I wonder.  Again the answer comes down to me through time, the nine younger Mousai, not those of the former generation.  Which is probably for the best because I don't even know where the Elder Mousai lived.

So, Helikonian muses, dust off your instruments, stretch you limbs, and sing a few scales, because it's time for us to get this whole thing started.  Strike the ground with your feet in a syncopated beat, start the dance and begin the song, and tell me how all this came to be.

Erato, beloved, tune you kithara, or grab a guitar I suppose. Euterpe, giver of much delight, clean your aulos, or whatever flute you use these days.  Terpsikhore, delighting in dance, bring out your lyre.  Kleio, fame-maker, unfurl your scrolls. Ouranie, heavenly one, get out your charts, Polymnia, many hymns, prepare your hymns.  Melpomene, celebrate with song, tell me where things went wrong.  Thaleia, rich festivity, tell me where they went right.  Kalliope, beautiful-voice, I could use some help with the writing.

Let none of us speak softly now, for the hour is getting late.

For thousands of years you've graced the mountain tops and whispered in artists' ears, now, like those who came before and those who will come after, I call on you to help me with this project.

Fact, or fiction you spin it well but for now, tell me truly how is it that this all came to be.  Night and Day, Life and Death, Land and Sea.  Mortal and Immortal.  How did these things come into being, what was their order, how were the created?

You have long sung the stories of your father Zeus and your mother, one of the three Elder Mousai, Mnemosyne, memory, sing now of how they, and you, came to be.  Sing the story of creation, sing the story of how everything came to being.

Sing it to me, and let me write it as you sing.

Tell, through me, the story of all creation, its ages, its high and low points, its struggles and its triumphs.  Tell me how the undying gods came to reside on Olympus and why Poseidon rules over the sea.  Tell me of Hekate, and Nyx, and Gaia.  Tell me of Nereus, and Erebos, and Othos.

Tell me of the first generations and of the world we have come to know.  Tell me also of yourselves, praised by all for you storytelling talents and musical abilities.

Tell me of how this world has come to be.

If it pleases you to do so.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Expanding the story of the Nereids through the time honored tradition of making shit up

I'm tired, I'm not in the right frame of mind to do the work necessary to move forward, I'm waiting for someone who is usually late and may have forgot she is coming, so I'm going expand some of what we went over here.  Specifically the part where it's just a list of minor goddesses names and meanings, and nothing else.  I tried, I swear I did, to find any actual tradition on these people, but I did not succeed and so... making stuff up.

Also, I think I started this (and wrote the above) three days ago.


Nereus and a beautiful haired daughter Okeanos named Doris, had fifty daughters collectively named the Nereids.  The Nereids are:

Ploto, whose name means swimmer, or floater, in all its senses, especially the metaphorical.  When the Nerieds first wondered at the Argos, the first shift every to sail the waves, it was Ploto who saw the potential it held, floating buildings that could swim across the surface of the deep, connecting previously unknown lands, mixing peoples long kept apart.  It is not surprise that her name came to be associated with navigable waters, for she made herself patron of navigation as soon as their was navigation to be patron of.

Never ranging far from the water, except for very special occasions, Ploto is seen, even to this day, as a dripping wet maiden present at rescues and escapes, but she is also not without her wrath, and it is said that her glare could ignite water itself when she overlooks easily avoided disasters on the sea.

She never forgot her relatives, the perpetual swimmers: fish -all sea life- and she watches over them as well.  Rumors that she holds sway with a Kracken waiting to be unleashed in overfished places are probably just rumors.

She is said to enjoy swimming competitions, and reward those who remember her in their prayers.

Eukrante, whose name means good or successful voyage shares many of the same duties as Ploto.  Indeed most successful voyages naturally involve the use of Ploto's navigable waters, but where Ploto is much more concerned with the act of swimming from shore to shore, Eukrante is concerned also with the intent.  For Ploto it is the journey that matters, and while she's willing to help the innocent be rescued or escape calamity, especially if such itself involves feats of swimming or shipping, she cares little about the destination.

Ploto's protection is welcome to every voyager through the seas, but if one is concerned with getting there, wherever there may be, on time and with intact cargo, Eukrante deserves libation as well.

Sao, rescue, oversees what is unfortunately necessary because not all voyages can fall into Eukrante's domain.  She can often depend on Ploto to help her, and Eukrante is usually quite willing to lend a hand, but even together the three are not nearly powerful enough to protect all who would roam the seas.

Even together all the Nereids are not powerful enough to protect all who would roam the seas.

Sao counts those she saves, rather than dwelling on those she does not.  If she dwelled on all those she couldn't save she would sink into depression and despair, but instead she comforts herself by remembering the names and the faces of those whom she did save, and reminding herself that she made a difference to them.

Amphitrite married into the new order by becoming Poseidon's wife.  For more information on her one need only look at everything Poseidon ever did that didn't involve extra-marital affairs.

Eudoragood gifts, oversees all the gifts of the seas, from the bountiful harvests it gives to fishermen, to the iridescent shells left on its shores, to the way it smooths broken glass into almost mystical gem-like objects.

Her domain may be less glamorous than some of her sisters, but it is none the less important, for without the seas where would life on earth be?  The clouds themselves, overseen by Okeanids, are a gift of the sea, and without them no rain would fall.  All life on land would cease.

Thetis.  While all the Nereids came to wonder at the Argo, the first ship to swim through the water, it was only Thetis who fell in love with one of the sailors on it.  This would come to dominate her story.

The courtship was delayed some time because Zeus sought her out, in spite of already having a wife in Hera, but finally Prometheus warned Zeus that Thetis would bear a son greater than his father and Zeus, mindful of how he had come to power, and his father before him, finally decided that it was best to let Thetis marry the mortal she had fallen in love with.

So Peleus and Thetis were wed, and Thetis would bear Achilles, whose story would overshadow her own for all time.  Thus Thetis is remembered not for her own deeds (such as pushing for serious renovation of the afterlife so that her son's eternal existence would not suck) but for being the mother of Achilles.

Galenecalm of the sea, has two sides.  On the one hand she can be the safe waters that are easy to navigate, on the other she can be the doldrums that are impossible to escape.  All sailors wish her to bless their voyage, just not too much.

She has extended her domain to include those who are on the sea, and so can settle frantic sailors, but can also lull them into complacency.

As with most gods, it's best to be on her good side.

Glaucegleaming, is a simple goddess of simple pleasures, the glittering reflections of lights upon the water -moon light, sunlight, artificial light, all light - she does that.  All of it.  Across the orb of the world.

She is largely content with doing this, her constantly changing art form, but if angered she can cast a glare in just the wrong place at just the wrong moment.

An artist at heart, she can be the decisive force in a conflict at sea.

Kymothoewave-swift, is one of two messengers of the group.  They do not always travel in a pack and so need communications of their own if they are to stay in contact and keep each other safe.  One might expect her role to be diminished by the likes of Iris and Hermes, but the Nereids prefer to keep things in the family, so to speak.

As with many of her sisters, she can also show a side frightful to those who test the seas.  Swift waves fall within her domain, and while she may not be responsible for all of them, she can certainly create them if she wants to.

Speioseacave, there are places where the race of land dwelling mortals might encounter some of her haunts, but in truth she prefers those hidden beneath the waves.

It is said that some of her closest friends are octopodes.

Thoeswift, the second of the messengers of the Nereids, as well as the one you want to pray to if you need your journey to be done fast, she never stays in one place for long, and is always on the move.

It is a feat to slow her down, and when she must remain still or slow, she has a tendency to fidget.

Charming Haliebrine, is what she sounds like.  In the beginning Pontos was the Salty Sea, largely still, Okeanos, the sea river, brought currents and fresher water, Thalassa was somewhere between the two and assisted in smoothly bringing the two together into what mortals perceive as a single entity, but the difference between brackish water and fresh was never named or embodied, it was never given form, until charming Halie was born.

She also happens to oversee the preservation of food by means of salt.

Pasitheaall-divine, is the great mediator of the sea.  She overseas and brings together all the various deities who dwell in or have control over the sea, and while several of them may have more authority than her, only the very foolish would attempt to use that to influence her.  All the divinities of the sea are known to Pasithea, and she is known by all of them.  And somehow -somehow- she has managed to stay of the good side of all of them.

Eratolovely, has become the unofficial leader of the various artists among her sisters, as well as the patron of lovers on and around the sea and, strangely, vomiting.

If that seems an odd combination then it perhaps speaks well to her diverse personality and varied interests.  She can call together her sisters Glauce and Kumo to put on a show as rosy fingered dawn is reflected on the winedark sea while bringing together lovers on the beach and making and entire ship seasick.  It's just the way she is.

Rosy-armed Eunikegood victory, a goddess for those who understand that not all victories are good, and also happen to be engaged in naval combat.  For the longest time she oversaw disputes between fish, but it wasn't long after the invention of ships that her domain expanded to include battles between ships.

She can bless one side with a good victory, or she can deny it, provided a more powerful god is not involved.  If she is extremely displeased she'll deny a good victory to either side.

Graceful Melitehoney, oversees, of course, all things related to honey on the seas.  Whether transported as a good, or mixed with wine as a drink, or included in a libation.  Or, for that matter, when slathered on a wound to keep the Nosi away and so ward off grim Moros and the Kyres.

As with many of her sisters, she takes her duties metaphorically as well, and tries to bring out the sweetness of the sea when she sees fit.

Eulimenesafe-harbor, crafted the first natural harbors, and oversees the creation of artificial ones, unless she considers the mortals creating them to be overreaching.

Great cities have sprung up due to her creations, and any sailor lost at sea prays for her to lead her to the nearest of her domains.

Agaueillustrious, watches over all mortals and deeds which are illustrious, noble, or both.  She does her part to protect those who are deserving and assist those causes which are worthy.

Dotogiver, some think that Doto is redundant, that her older sister Eudora makes her role pointless.  Others say that without Doto none would oversee where Eudora's good gifts went.

Both miss a larger point: Doto doesn't just give out that which is good.

Protofirst; took it upon herself to oversee all beginnings on the sea.  The first ship she followed from when the Nereids first came upon it until it completed the first voyage, then the first round trip.  She saw the first of each new type of fish, She was there when the first bird flew across the sea.

Wherever there is something new on the sea, Proto daughter of Doris will be there.

Everything new, good or bad.  She was witness to the first betrayal at sea as well

Pherusacarrying off, speeds ships along their appointed ways, even if those are not their intended ways.  She can bring glory or ruin, and she meets out each as she sees fit and is within her power.

Dynamenepowerful, the seas by this time were full of powers, but there was none to unite and oversee them, unless you count Pasithea as having that job.  With her birth Dynamene gave the powers of the sea a name, a form, a voice, and a united purpose.

Stronger gods might be able to push her around or bend her to their whims at times, but stronger gods only take an interest at times.  Dynamene is always there.

Nesaeainsular; and her younger sister Neso oversaw all that was specific to the many islands.  Their duties were never specifically divided and they usually worked hand in hand, but Nesaea more often dealt with those things with were from the islands while Neso more often dealt with the things that the sea gave to the islands.

Actaeaof the shore.  The surf and the tidepools, the breaking waves and sea foam. The gulls that grab molusks from the shallows only to drop them upon the rocks, those who fish not with boats but by wading out into the sea, the rocks that stop Kymo in a mighty crash, all these things are of Actaea.

Protomedeafirst ruler.  This song is, perhaps, sung in the wrong language, because I could have said first arts, first council, first plans, or first schemes and been just as true to the meaning of her name.  Protomedea is about sticking to the original.  The original captain, the original idea, the original suggestion.  Protomedea oversees plan A, and if it were in her power there would never be need for a plan B.

She's a traditionalist.

Dorisbountiful, named after her mother, and works with her older sisters Doto and Eudora in overseeing and lotting out the bounties of the sea.  Of fish, and shrimp and crab and seaweed, Doris daughter of Doris knows the bounties of the sea.

Panopeaall seeing, and all that is seen, and all who are seeing.  Panopea sees all that happens on the seas, and counts all who would see or be seen on the seas as within her domain.

It might seem a small thing, but every journey weary sailor who has just sighted land knows that seeing on the sea is important indeed.

Beautiful Galatiamilk-white, was and is the foam of the sea.  Before her only the birth of Aphrodite had produced sea foam, and then only for a short time.  Now she's everywhere.

Lovely Hippotheoswift horses, the connection between horses and the sea has gone back to a time before the gods we know, before there was such a think as horse.  When horses were just an idea loosely understood in the backs of the minds of gods of the sea, as dimly understood as something one feels in the dark but never sees by light of day, and as fleeting as that which can only be seen out of the corner of one's eye.

Hippotheo, obviously, watches over swift horses, but she is also involved with waves as swift as horses.

Rosy armed Hipponoehorse sense, is responsible for giving horses their acute senses and wide field of vision.  Much greater than that which Prometheus gave to humans.

Hipponoe is almost impossible to sneak up on, and can hear the approach of an unfriendly god or mortal from any direction.

She is an ideal guard.

Kymodokewave receiver, and Kymatolegewave-stiller, can, with their beautiful ankled older sister Amphitrite still seas swollen by storms or ravaged by winds.  Of course, that isn't their only power.

Kymodoke is one of the artists of the sea, crafting the beauty of the breaking waves as the are received by the shore.  Kymatolege can, without her two sisters, calm seas that are not quite so ravaged, or make swollen seas somewhat less swollen.  It may seem a small gift, but a times it can make all the difference to those on those seas.

Kymowave.  The only constant is change.  Even when the sea's surface appears to remain the same a closer examination will reveal that no two moments are alike, no two waves are alike.  Kymo may leave the waves that break on shore to her older sister Kymodoke, but those in open water are her tapestry and she keeps it always in motion, always changing, at no two moments alike.

Kymo understands change, and also the stability that can be found in it.  On calm seas, like those overseen by Galene, there is at once an overall ongoing sense of sameness, yet on closer examination a constant stream of change.  Two things may seem alike, but they never truly are, and Kymo has accepted this into her deepest being and made it a part of what she is.

Whatever the seas' mood, whether calm or raging, she crafts her self, her waves, upon it.

Eionebeach strand, is the moist part of the beach, closest to the water, where a footstep can push the water out of the sand, and a small hole will fill with water.  She gets stepped on a lot.

Well crowned Halimedebrine queen, can be heard whispering counsel from the waves of Kymo if one is only listening quietly and with a clear mind.

Laughter-loving Glauconomemasterer of the grey; counts as hers those who would spend a lifetime mastering the ways of the deep until they understand the moods of the sea as well as their own.

Pontoporeiasea-traverser, counts amoung her clients all those who cross the seas, be they human, fish, or whale.  Leaving shorter voyages to her younger sisters she feels a special kinship with those who would go from one side of a sea to the other.

Leagore is the assembler, and so she oversees the assemblies, of men, of fishes, it doesn't much matter to her.  As long as the assembly is conducted properly then that's all she cares about.

Euagore, formal praise/good assembly, oversees schools of fish, pods of whales, armadas of ships, and assemblies of people, like her older sister, but unlike her sister her specialty is in the ones that go well or serve good purposes.  She also oversees formal praise.

Laomedeiastone queen, leader of people, given a pun for a name, Laomedeia's domain is all things at sea that make their homes on land.  Peoples, animals, birds, and anything else amphibious, she is to oversee all of them.  And so she does.

Poulynoe, much thinking, able to think in flowing patterns equal to the complexity of the sea itself she is the companion of any with a mind like her own, or any who strives to have one.

Autonoethinking itself, she isn't all thought, she specializes in thought on thought.  Logic, epistemology, thinking implying the requite precondition of being, that sort of thing.

Lysianassadeliverer of homes, she cannot save all dwelling places, but where possible she does, and it's generally a good idea to pour a libation to her when some of Typhon's winds are heading in.

Euarne who was of lovely stature and flawless shape was known, oversees good sheep good denials because... Muses?  A little help on this one?  Because why not.  Sometimes you just feel like overseeing good sheep and good denials.  It happens.[1]

Psamathe, with an elegant body, has a wide and strange domain.  She principally overseas the sands of the seashore and crumbling knowledge, such as that swept away by the waves, but she also oversees learning that is shallow, the sort that will fade like footprints on the shore given the waves of time, and that which is polished, like a stone left amid the sands of the shore for centuries until it's rough edges are smoothed away.

Wondrous Menippehorse strength, giver of strength to waves and horses, and one of the stronger Nereids.

Nesoto/for the island, worked hand in hand overseeing the many islands with her older sister Nesaea, specializing in those things that the sea gave to the islands.

Eupompegood guide, giver of fair winds, and always able to bring people where they need to go, even if it isn't where they expected to go.

Themisto was the keeper of customs and rights as well as one of the two oracles of the Nereids.

Pronoeforethought, was a master planner and the second oracle of the Nereids, with her sister Themisto she watched over mortal the oracles of the sea and steered her sisters toward better futures.

Finally unerring Nemertes, who was like her father, heart and soul.

Fifty daughters were born to blameless Nereus and fair haired Doris, all excel in skills to perfection.  But there are fifty one Nereids [3].  Chaos, still at work in the world, added one to their number.  Some say that only Nereus and Doris know for sure which one, others say that even they cannot tell.  All that is known is that there is one more than there should be.  It is not remarked upon, and any speculation between the sisters as to which one isn't really one of them is considered extremely ill mannered.

Indeed one of the few ways to provoke the entire family into violently forcing one to leave is to bring up the subject and refuse to drop it.


[Footnotes largely recycled.]

[1] It's her name.  The Eu is "good" arne is harder to figure out, could come from the root for lamb, could come from the root for denial.  Could be a play on words indicating that she's the embodiment of good lambs who deny things well.

[2] Again, the name.  I've got the options of psa+mathe = crumbling/rubbed/lightly-touched + learning, p+ sama +the = away from/on/childless + sign/wonder + run/wonder at, and saying it looks like psymathai, which would appear to be a very rare word for sandy seashore, or it looks like psamathos which is sand of the seashore.

In all likelihood it has to do with sand and seashore because we are talking about the descendant of one of the embodiments of the sea on her father's side and another of the embodiments of the sea on her mother's side.  However crumbling knowledge being like a sandcastle being swept away is just... there's metaphorical possibilities there.

The middle possibility is really reaching, I think, because the only way I can see to get a plain "p" as a prefix would be if the word being prefixed started with a vowel, which would not result in the psi that the name begins in since s is not a vowel.  So "childless sign you wonder at" or "wonder you run away from" or the various other possibilities from that are just right out.

[3] Seriously, count them.  If you get fifty two then you probably counted Amphitrite twice, an easy mistake to make.  Some solve the problem by saying that Kymatolege (appearing in the same section as Amphitrite's second mention) is the same as Kymo, I guess Kymo would be a nickname but then one wonders how she laid claim to it when she has two older sisters who could claim the same (and make better arguments for why it makes sense for them) plus why there's no indication that this Kymo is the same as the Kymatolege just mentioned.  Besides, I like the idea of, there are precisely 50 daughters, there are 51 in the group, no one knows where the other one came from or which one it is.

The fact that Thetis' name is seriously close to a word meaning adopted (thetos, e, on if I transliterated right) will be mentioned (see, I just did) but not expanded on in any meaningful way.


[Rewriting Greek Myth Index]

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are you not liking Greek Mythology?

I know, I know, it's not what I usually do, though it sort of is except at the moment it's rewriting good works instead of bad, specifically the Theogony, fleshed out where possible with, you know, everything else.

Though not fleshed out (at least not much) in the case of The Line of Pontos because I really wanted to get something posted and I needed sleep (three hours passed my preferred bed time) so I basically just stuck to the Theogony by Hesiod as my guide and that can be boring so I can understand not giving a damn about that.

The line of Nyx seemed relatively popular as these things go.  And was more or less what I'm aiming for with these genealogies (Theogony as frame, filled out by other stories that give understanding of family lines, synthesis with stories that have nothing to do with that but are related (see how Pandora entered it.))  And my plan is to at some point to a revised Line of Pontos that does the same.

Some more scenes from the line of Nyx, was two things that were, basically, all me.  Homer doesn't describe the confrontation between Zeus and Nyx, Vergil doesn't have Eris and Hermea looking on and commenting as Venus(Aphrodite) talks with Juno(Hera).  That's wholly original work on my part not nearly as popular as The line of Nyx, no comments whatsoever.

The line of Pontos less popular still, and it had monsters and a beheading and Hercules going around killing people, and Pegasus, and Pegasus' original rider (who wasn't Perseus, that idea came later) and stuff.  Boring stuff, but stuff.  Plus footnotes.

Next up is Okeanos and Tethys, which would be done already if I stuck to just the Theogony, but it would also be boring as hell.  (This is them in the Theogony: They had sons [list of names] and daughters [list of names] there are actually 3000 of each but it's difficult for a mortal to recite them all, those who live near the rest know their names.)  This one simply has to be fleshed out.

But I'm trying to get through these things because it is bearing useful fruit for me, specifically it's getting preliminary drafts for when I try to combine the genealogies into a history, second it's getting me a list of references that cross stories so I can try to work out some kind of timeline.

Some are exactly what you'd expect X married/had unmarried sex with Y and produced Z, which definitively places Z after both X and Y and means X and Y must be contemporaneous.  The second part isn't as useful as it would be in other situations because a lot of the Xes and Ys are immortal, but it does count for something.

Others aren't.  For example, in a story about the gods you wouldn't expect to be able to develop a chronology of mortals, but since Bellerophon was the Pegasus rider his deeds had to come after Perseus the Pegasus creator (done via the decapitation of Medusa).  Or, for the driving example in The line of Nyx, some of the things that came out of Pandora's Jar were clearly children of Eris so:
1) The opening of the jar post-dates Eris
2) Someone had to put those things in the jar
3) Given the mother wants to save her child motif running through Greek myth (See: Gaia, Rhea, Demeter, Nyx, Aphrodite, probably others), and the fact that it's pretty well established in real life, it can give a motivation to some of the characters in the story.
But also:
4) Pandora was in response to Prometheus stealing fire, and given exactly who he stole it for, that allows us to place the story within one of the ages of man listed in Works and Days (also by Hesiod.)
5) Everyone involved in the story had to exist at the time of the story, that tells us when certain people must have been born before.


So I'm going to be doing this anyway, and I don't want the blog to be left blank while I am, thus I'm posting the genealogies and such, but if no one is interested in them I don't need to.


And I do promise I'll try to get back to normal stuff when it's done.  Actually, I'm going to see if I can maybe do a .hack post and a Deus Ex post later today.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Line of Pontos

[This part from the already written]

In the beginning there was Chaos. Neither something nor nothing but an indescribable swirling mass of possibility and probability. There were no rules or laws, no restrictions, no borders. There was nothing, and yet at the same time there was everything, for Chaos did not merely lack form but contained all forms.

And it was from this mass of possibility and contradiction that sprang forth Gaia, the earth, fully formed. For there were not yet rules or restrictions to stop gods, or planets, or god-planets, from coming into existence on their own. The Fates had not yet been born. Before that day there was only Chaos, then, in an instant, there were Chaos and Gaia. Gaia, the firm foundation on which all would be built.

She was not a thing of possibility or probability, but a being of is. She was, and so was the first being that could be truly be said to fully be. She was solid and slow to change. Not a swirling mass of probability, but a solid foundation of stone.

Following her other gods burst forth into being, uncreated, for there were still no rules.

Misty Tartaros took his place beneath Gaia, and golden winged Eros, who would be love but knew not yet, took flight above her.

Erebos, the darkness that resides in misty Tartaros, and black winged Nyx, night herself, were next to spring forth. It was in these two that Eros found his purpose, creating the universe's first love. Erebos and Nyx mated, and soon something entirely new came into being.

[First family]

Gaia, having learned that it was possible to give birth, but having no love to mate with, bore on her own starry Ouranos, the sky, to encompass her.

[The Ourea, mountains, and Nesoi, islands, are born to Gaia]

Finally Gaia birthed Pontos, the then barren ocean, to fill her depressions and level out her surface. It was then that the first Nesoi separated from the Ourea.

All these she gave birth to without ever knowing love, but golden winged Eros, had not forgotten her. As he flew between Gaia and newly created Ouranos he saw fit to draw them together in love.

[Creation via mating becomes the way things are done, the Titans rise and Chronos overthrows Ouranos via castration.  Nyx has children which may or may not have had another parent.]

Pontos too, some say, was frightened from the natural way and brought forth a child on his own, but only one, before he returned to what is natural. Whether Nereus, watery/fishy, was the child of Pontos alone or Pontos and Gaia is long forgotten. So long has it been that Nereus is known as “The old man.” Truthful Nereus was incapable of telling lies, but still was gentle in his honesty and never forgetful of what is right and proper.

Regardless of Nereus' parentage Pontos soon obeyed natural law, and Gaia soon had a new mate. Together they brought forth Thaumas, wonder of the sea, proud Phorkys, Keto, sea monster, and Eurybie, the wide ranging force.

[From here on out it's new, and probably boring.  Seriously, Nereus has 50 daughters of which there are 51 listed.  Boring.]

Nereus and a beautiful haired daughter Okeanos named Doris, had fifty daughters collectively named the Nereids.  The names of the Nereids are Ploto, swimmer; Eukrante, successful voyage; Sao, rescue; Amphitrite, the surrounding third; Eudora, good gifts; Thetis; Galene, calm of the sea; Glauce, gleaming; Kymothoe, wave-swift; Speio, seacave; Thoe, swift; charming Halie, brine; Pasithea, all-divine; Erato, lovely; rosy-armed Eunike, good victory; graceful Melite, honey; Eulimene, safe-harbor; Agaue, illustrious; Doto, giver; Proto, first; Pherusa, carrying off; Dynamene, powerful; Nesaea, insular; Actaea, of the shore; Protomedea, first ruler; Doris, bountiful, named after her mother; Panopea, all seeing; beautiful Galatia, milk-white; lovely Hippotheo, swift horses [0]; rosy armed Hipponoe, horse sense; Kymodoke, wave receiver, who with Kymatolege, wave-stiller, and their beautiful ankled older sister Amphitrite could still seas swollen by storms or ravaged by winds; Kymo, wave; Eione, beach strand; well crowned Halimede, brine queen; laughter-loving Glauconome, masterer of the grey; Pontoporeia, sea-traverser; Leagore, assembler (of people); Euagore, praise; Laomedeia, stone queen; Poulynoe, much thinking; Autonoe, thinking itself; Lysianassa, deliverer of homes; Euarne, good lamb/good denial [1], who was of lovely stature and flawless shape; Psamathe, crumbling knowledge/sandy seashore [2], with an elegant body; wondrous Menippe, horse strength, Neso, of/for the island; Eupompe, good journey; Themisto, right/custom/oracular stuff [3]; Pronoe, forethought; Nemertes, infallible, who possesses a heart and soul like her undying father.

Fifty daughters were born to blameless Nereus and fair haired Doris, all excel in skills to perfection.  But there are fifty one Nereids [4].  Chaos, still at work in the world, added one to their number.  Some say that only Nereus and Doris know for sure which one, others say that even they cannot tell.  All that is known is that there is one more than there should be.  It is not remarked upon, and any speculation between the sisters as to which one isn't really one of them is considered extremely ill mannered.

Indeed one of the few ways to provoke the entire family into violently forcing one to leave is to bring up the subject and refuse to drop it.

Many, including some gods, are entirely unaware of the discrepancy, considering fifty too high a number to count to for the sake of verifying what they think they already know, that there are fifty Nereids.

Nereus' younger brother Thaumas married Elektra, another of the daughters of deepflowing Okeanos, who bore first swift Iris, who would one day be the messenger of the Olympian gods.  Then Elektra bore the lovely-haired Harpyiae, snatchers/whirlwinds/hurricanes, Aello and Okypete, who with their swift wings outrun birds of prey and the winds themselves, for they fly with the speed of time.

Phorkys and Keto got together and their first children were the beautifulcheeked Graiai.  Two sisters, grey from the moment of their birth they are called the Graiai by both deathless gods and the mortals who walk the earth.  In the beginning there were but two, and though aged from birth they were not the monsters these generations think of [5] but rather two sisters with grace and fashion.  Beautifully robed Pemphredo, she who shows the way, and saffron robed Enyo, warlike.

After them Keto bore the Gorgones, who lived beyond splendid Okeanos, near the border of Nyx where her daughters the Hesperides could be clearly heard.  Terrifying to behold from the beginning [6], even pictures of their forms could frighten mortal and god alike.  Their names were Sthenno, Euruale, and Medousa who received a sorry fate.  Where her sisters were immortal and ageless, she was not.

But some have said that she was gifted with the ability to take on a more pleasing form, certainly there must be some reason that The Dark Haired One (Poseidon) chose her to lie with in a soft meadow amidst the flowers of spring [7].

Before her lack of agelessness could end her mortal life, Medusa was beheaded by Perseus, and from her corpse sprang forth two wonders.  Great Khrysaor, golden blade, named for the sword of gold which he held, and Pegasos, of the spring, the famous winged horse, so named because he was born near the springs of Okeanos.  Pegasos flew from the bloody body of his mother, and from the earth itself, to join the immortals on Olympos, where he brings Zeus thunder and lightning.

Khrysaor inherited his mother's ability to take on multiple forms, which is why he was sometimes a giant, and sometimes a just a large winged boar, and took as his wife Kallirhoe daughter of renowned Okeanos.  Together they became parents to the three bodied giant Geryones.  Geryones, of course, was killed by Herakles for his cattle.  This was part of the Herakles' tenth labor and why he couldn't steal the cattle without killing their owner has never been adequately explained.

Herakles also killed Orthos, Geryones' loyal two headed serpent tailed dog, and Eurytion, widely honored, Geryones' cowherd by trade, though he was a son of Ares and a grandson of Nyx.

This ended the line of the Gorgons.  (Unless Pegasus had children.)

During this time Keto and Phorkys had had more children of their own.  First she bore a monster entirely unlike either mortal or god.  In a hollowed cave, unseen by light of day or dark of night, she bore Ekhidna, viper, a beast against whom nothing could be done.  Half of her was a nymph, bright eyed and fair cheeked.  The other half was a giant serpent, quickly eating raw flesh in the depths of sacred Gaia.

The gods gave to her a glorious home in a place called Arimi.  A wonderous cave under a hollow rock.  They gave it to her in hopes that Ekhidna, forever immortal and ageless, would stay there, far from both themselves and mortals.

It is said that in that lair she lay with Typhonos.  Her first child was Orthos, who would go on become Geryones' companion.  Her next was a monster nigh impossible to overcome which many fear to speak of and none dare describe in detail, Kerebos, the hound of Hades who has a voice of brass and, like his mother, devours raw flesh.  Multiheaded [8] reckless and mighty.

Her third was was the baneful minded Hydra of Lerna who white-armed Hera brought up, preparing it for its eventual battle against Herakles, for Hera's wrath towards Zeus' then mortal son was insatiable.  But, with the help of Iolaus, the will of Athene, and merciless bronze, the son of Zeus and Amphitryon was able to kill the creature.

She bore Chimera.  A creature that breathed fire ceaselessly from at least one of her three heads, lion, goat, and dragon.  She was large, strong and swift.  The front of her body was that of a lion, her middle goat, and her hindparts dragon.

Pegasos and Bellerophon killed Chimera, but not before she continued her line.[9]

She and Orthos joined to produce the Sphinx, scourge of the Kadmeans who would finally meet her ends when Oedipus met her challenge.  She also bore the Nemian Lion, whom Hera took in like the Hydra before him.  Hera, glorious wife of Zeus, raised it to settle in the Nemian hills and there bring calamity to man.  It brought a reign of terror upon the people of Tretos and Apesas.  But, in the end, Herakles killed it.  Then wore its skin wherever he went.

Thus ended the line of Ekhidna.

Keto and Phorkys had one last child, still united by the bonds of the elder Eros, this child was a great serpent.  The dragon tasked with helping the Hesperides guard the apples made of gold.  Some say he had a hundred heads and could speak in many voices.  He never slept and guarded with the determination of one who places their duty above all else.  A duty given to him by Hera.

Herakles killed him too, but for his duty he was place amoung the stars, and is known as Draco to this day.  A tribute to his race, to all dragons.  An example for them to aspire to.

But they say his name was Ladon, strong flow.

These were the children of Keto and Phorkys, and with them the line of Pontos ends.  (At least for now, I haven't added in much of the non-Hesiod stuff yet and, well, it's fracking late so I'm just going to post this as is.)


[0] I didn't feel like renumbering my footnotes.  Poseidon made horses right?  Can we then assume, for the sake of argument, that all of the horse people came after Poseidon?  Or should we instead assume that there was an idea of horse out there, but Poseidon was the one to finally give it form.  This would explain how Chronos was able to transform into a horse during the act of sex (so his wife couldn't catch him) thus creating the Centaurs/Kentaurs.  There's no way that could have happened post-Poseidon.

As for why Apollo and Artemis didn't come out half swan, no idea.

If Poseidon were inside of Chronos during the transformation then perhaps that is what planted the idea in his mind (but just an idea because how clear of an image can you get of what a horse is if you're in its belly?) and it was just waiting for the opportunity to come out.

[1] Not kidding, the Eu is "good" arne is harder to figure out, could come from the root for lamb, could come from the root for denial.  Could be a play on words indicating that she's the embodiment of good lambs who deny things well.

[2] Ok, I've got the options of psa+mathe = crumbling/rubbed/lightly-touched + learning, p+ sama +the = away from/on/childless + sign/wonder + run/wonder at, and saying it looks like psymathai, which would appear to be a very rare word for sandy seashore, or it looks like psamathos which is sand of the seashore.

In all likelihood it has to do with sand and seashore because we are talking about the descendant of one of the embodiments of the sea on her father's side and another of the embodiments of the sea on her mother's side.  However crumbling knowledge being like a sandcastle being swept away is just... there's metaphorical possibilities there.

The middle possibility is really reaching, I think, because the only way I can see to get a plain "p" as a prefix would be if the word being prefixed started with a vowel, which would not result in the psi that the name begins in since s is not a vowel.  So "childless sign you wonder at" or "wonder you run away from" or the various other possibilities from that are just right out.

[3] I have a headache, don't start.

[4] Seriously, count them.  If you get fifty two then you probably counted Amphitrite twice, an easy mistake to make.  Some solve the problem by saying that Kymatolege (appearing in the same section as Amphitrite's second mention) is the same as Kymo, I guess Kymo would be a nickname but then one wonders how she laid claim to it when she has two older sisters who could claim the same (and make better arguments for why it makes sense for them) plus why there's no indication that this Kymo is the same as the Kymatolege just mentioned.  Besides, I like the idea of, there are precisely 50 daughters, there are 51 in the group, no one knows where the other one came from or which one it is.

The fact that Thetis' name is seriously close to a word meaning adopted (thetos, e, on if I transliterated right) will be mentioned (see, I just did) but not expanded on in any meaningful way.

[5] Remember that I'm using Hesiod as my primary source with other stuff to fill in?  Well there's not a word about one eye and one tooth between three sisters who Perseus has to deal with.  In fact they and Perseus are never mentioned in the same passage, instead it goes them, their younger sisters the gorgons, Medusa has sex with Poseidon, Perseus chops her head off, moving on.  The only way I see to reconcile this with the idea of three sisters who have the weird curse of having a single eye and tooth to share is to have a second group with the same name, I'm thinking one of them had children perhaps, or that Keto and Phorkys had a second set of daughters who took the same name as the first.

There are five names attested to the Graiai which fits perfectly with a group of three and a group of two.

The only question is where to fit in the group of three.  Put them as the children of one of the Graiai and they can get the name Gaiai through inheritance.  Put them as children of Keto and Phorkys and you get to keep the idea that they're sisters to the Gorgons and daughters of those two.

[6] I base this on vase painting.

[7] I know, I know, temple of Athena.  The thing is, Hesiod is my primary tool here, not Ovid.  Maybe it was a sacred meadow.

[8] Sorry Hesiod, but here we must part ways.  Cerberus has three heads.  Three.  Not fifty.  Fifty is way to many heads for a dog.

[9] Blame sloppy writing here, it's unclear if the she who is doing this child bearing is Ekhidna or Chimera.


[Rewriting Greek Myth Index]

I've got a sort of research project for you. (And a poem, and four versions of a song)

I made this post over at Slacktivist:
Random thought, I wouldn't do it because I'm not an instigator, agitator, or organizer (I'm boring) but "Joe Hill" (the Alfred Hayes poem[1] set to music, not the ballad) might be a good funerary thing.  And it's not like you don't have options for singers.   Paul Robeson[2], Joan Baez[3], Pete Seeger[4], and so on.
I can't remember who said that they started singing it because they were working in Australia and they noticed someone coming to every show and asked if that person had a request, and the person did but the singer didn't know it that well and offered to sing something similar and the person explained that he'd been working on the Sydney Opera House during construction when an American came by so he could give the first performance (Opera House wasn't nearly finished, so presumably no one else had done a performance there yet) and sang to the workers and the American sang that song and he, the requester, had been waiting [however many] years for an American to come to Australia and sing that song again so it really did have to be that song.
I did, however, find the first time the requester heard it, at the performance done for the workers at the opera house[5].  As you might expect, Paul Robeson was the performer.

The reason for discussion of funerary songs is the main post and ongoing in the comments.  Still Alive[6], for example, got a mention as what someone wants played at their funeral.

Now, research project is simple, who was it that got their start singing Joe Hill at the request of an Australian who had been waiting years for an encore to Paul Robeson's Sydney Opera House construction site performance?  Who was it, when did they tell the story, cite sources where possible.

Nevermind. After never being able to find it I tried again. Got nothing. Fiddled around, got this post, fiddled some more, found it:

Singer's name was John McCutcheon, transcript to the best of my abilities:

I was doin' a tour in Australia.  And I finished up with three nights in this wonderful old place in Melbourne, and all three nights sat the same guy.  He was this older guy about 65, maybe 53.  He was unmistakable because it was the end of summer there and it was hot, this place didn't have any air conditioning, and he had a pair of these short shorts on and this sleeveless t-shirt with tattoos all up and down his arm and this bad haircut, and he had big plug of chewin' tobacco shoved in the side of his cheek.  And he was absolutely the most enthusiastic audience member I've had the pleasure of playing for.

Well the third night a bunch of my musical friends from all over Australia came in to Melbourne and they were goin' to have a big party for me.  And so during the intermission I used that as a ploy to not sequester myself back in the dressing room but come out and hang out at the edge of the stage.  The real reason of course was that I wanted to meet this guy, and he didn't disappoint me.

He walked right up to me and he said, "John, I hope you don't think I'm being forward or nothing, but I sure would like to hear a song.  Make a request."

I said, "Buddy, you have earned the right.  I'll sing anything you want, as long as I know it."  And he asked for this next song.  And I said, "Well, gosh, I know that song but I've never preformed it.  There is a difference.  How about if I sing something that's very much like it?  That'll be better."

And he said, "No."

He said, "It's gotta be that other song, and I'll tell you why."  He said, "I'm an electrician by trade, and the biggest job I ever did in my whole life was I helped build the Sydney Opera House."

Now even those of you who have never been to Australia have seen at least photographs of the Sydney Opera House.  It's the architectural pride and joy of the continent.  It swoops out into Sydney harbor.  It's a magnificent white gull-like building.

And he said, "You know there were hundreds of us working on that thing and it took us years to build.  Well we were about half way into building it when one day this big black limousine shows up on the construction site and out steps a gigantic black man.  Wearing a tuxedo.  Not the kinda thing we were used to seeing.

"And he started introducing himself around, turns out he was an American opera singer.  Real friendly guy, just a regular guy.  And he been doing a concert tour of Australia and he was all done.  He was ready to go home, just like you are John, and he heard about the Sydney Opera House and he decided he wanted to be the very first person to ever give a concert on the site of the Sydney Opera House

"And he called us all down, an' of course we all came. Hundreds of us.  Plumbers, masons, carpenters, electricians like me, sitting around on scaffolding and sand bags and all around on the ground.

"And this guy, this guy sang for like two hours.  And it was fantastic.  His voice filled the harbor.  And he sang this as his last song, and we all knew it.  And you know without even being invited we started to join in and sing.  And guys that I'd, guys that I'd grown up with, I'd worked with all my life were singing away like they were in church with big tears rolling down their cheeks.

"And it was just one of the greatest days of my life.  And I have been waiting for 20 years for another American to come over here and sing that song.  And no, I'm sorry, another song won't do."

Well I was mighty grateful to that fella for coaxing this song back for me.

The fella who stepped out of that limousine and into that guy's memory so long ago was Paul Robeson.  And I read recently that that Australian tour was one of his final international concert tours.  So I guess you could say that guy got to see the last concerts on one of the last tours.

And this has always been one of my favorite Robeson songs.

[Version of lyrics in footnote.[7]]


[1]"I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night"
by Alfred Hayes

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you're ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

In Salt Lake, Joe, says I to him
Him standing by my bed
They framed you on a murder charge
Says Joe, But I ain't dead
Says Joe, But I ain't dead

The copper bosses killed you, Joe
They shot you, Joe, says I
Takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe, I didn't die
Says Joe, I didn't die

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize
Went on to organize

Joe Hill ain't dead, he says to me
Joe Hill ain't never died
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side
Joe Hill is at their side

From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organize
Says he, You'll find Joe Hill
Says he, You'll find Joe Hill

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you're ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

(At least I think that's the original poem.)












For myself I always prefer the ASL video of the song:

Credit goes to Will Wildman to pointing me to it.


I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you're ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

The copper bosses, they killed you, Joe
They shot you, Joe, says I
It takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe, I didn't die
Says Joe, I didn't die

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Says Joe, What they could never kill
Went on to organize
Went on to organize

From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers fight to win their rights
It's there you'll find Joe Hill
It's there you'll find Joe Hill

[Sing it with me]

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you're ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ok, you know what?

I'm not having the best day, I command you, as your something and overlord, to cheer me up.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Some more scenes from the line of Nyx

When Hera has Hypnos cause Zeus to fall asleep in the Iliad Hypnos is reluctant, he says he'd do it to anyone else, but as for Zeus he remembers the last time (Hera had him put Zeus to sleep so she could mess with Herakles) and then talks about how he'd have been cast down never to be seen again, but (Homer translated by Lombardo):
I ran to her, and he [Zeus] relented, reluctant
To do anything to offend swift Night [Nyx].
Nyx is Hypnos's mom, by the way.  So, that deserves to be expanded on, I already did a quick and dirty version as part of a post at the Slacktiverse, because it's nice spot for expansion, but the quick and dirty version was low on Zeus talking.  He needs to lose the encounter, but shutting up right away is not a good thing for Zeus to do so scene one is the less quick, less dirty version of that.


Hypnos flew as fast as he could, through the day, passed the sunset, into the place where his mother Nyx walked, at the center of her self.  "You have to help me," he said to her quickly.

"What's wrong, honey?"

"Zeus is after me."


"I put him to sleep as favor-" Zeus arrived.  Hypnos hid behind his mother before continuing, "For Hera."

"Nyx," Zeus said politely.

"Zeus," Nyx responded.

Hypnos hid behind Nyx in silent fear.

"The boy has wronged me," Zeus said, "Hand him over."

There was silence.

"Hand him over," Zeus said more loudly, his emotions reaching the surface.

Nyx responded with one word, “No.”

Zeus, enraged, shouted, “Have you forgotten who you’re talking to?  I am Zeus, Aegis-Holder.”

Nyx, “I’ve not forgotten.  The answer is still no.”

Zeus shouted, “You’re in my domain, you have-”

“No,” Nyx said sharply.  Then she calmly explained, “You are in my domain.  I may take this form,” she gestured to her body,” for the ease of conversation and interaction, but make no mistake, Nyx isn’t just my name.  It is who I am.  It is what I am.  And right now” the next words reverberated on all sides of Zeus, “I’m all around you.”

Zeus had no response and Nyx returned to her ordinary mode of speech, “To get to my domain you had to pass through evening, the domain of seven of my daughters.  Before that you started in the domain of my eldest daughter, Hemera.  The only time you’re not in the domain of myself or one of my daughters is during the dawn, Eos and I have been friends since before you were born, and lest we forget you did overthrow her parents.

"Do you really want to go to war with me?  There is nowhere you can plot that I won’t know about it.

“Setting that aside, whose sides do you think the various gods will fall on?”  She paused.  ”Consider your own siblings.  Hera can’t go to war against someone for obeying her commands, no one would ever listen to her again.

"Your wife-sister will not be on your side.  Hades lives in misty Tartaros.  Tartaros, like me, came into being before birth, and owes you no more allegiance than I do, or Gaia for that matter.  My husband Erebos fills Tartaros, whenever Hades is at home he is surrounded on all sides by my husband. I’ve never heard them quarrel.  Kharon is my son.  My grandson Menoitios tends Hades' cattle.  My family is much closer to your brother than you are, whose side do you think he’ll take?

“Poseidon makes his home in the depths.  Pontos is of your grandfather’s generation, he owes you no allegiance, Okeanos is of your father’s generation, he might have taken your side in the war against your father, but he’s had plenty of time to reconsider betraying his siblings, and Thalassa is my granddaughter.  What makes you think Poseidon can command any of them to go to war with me?  Besides the sea, his greatest weapon is a trident forged by my great grandchildren, whom, as I recall, you cast into the depths never to see the light of day again.

“As for your sisters, the seasons still turn which means Demeter still, annually, remembers that she has good reason for hating you, and Hestia… Well Hestia as goddess of the hearth may hold the fate of all mankind in her hands, but if don’t think I’d watch the world burn to save my child then your interactions with Demeter have taught you nothing.”

“Now wait just a-”

“As for the other Olympians, Apollo and Artemis, I suppose, but I think I hold some sway with their mother Leto and don't think I won't use it."

"Aphrodite," Zeus almost shouted.

"Yes, you gained a powerful ally when you adopted her, she always wanted parents.  But I think you sometimes forget that she's older than you are.  She's known the Elder Eros since her creation, even named her firstborn after him.  I don't recall her having any children named Zeus.  The Elder Eros and I have known each other for a long, long time."

"She'd never-"

"Fight against you.  I agree.  But, with the proper persuasion, she might be convinced to sit this one out."

"You've been letting your children influence you too much if you can dream that."

"We'll see."


"I'll give you that one."  Nyx paused, counting quickly on her fingers.  "Though, wasn't his grandfather-"


"Hera's son, not yours."


"Whose mother I seem to remember you incinerating."

“I said I was sorry.”

“Yes, and I know that whenever I’m incinerated all it takes is someone saying they’re sorry and I drop the grudge immediately.”

Zeus smiled, there were only two Olympians left and he had intentionally saved them for last, "You want war?  Athena."

"You can count on her, I suppose... but then again you did eat her mother.  Is she still in you?  If I cut you open will she pop out?"


"Hera's son as much as yours, he'd be forced to choose between mother and father, I wonder which way he would go.  I wonder if even he knows."

There was a short pause, then Nyx said, "But what about the third war god?  Say, for the sake of argument, you did get Athena and Ares.  No one can do strategy like Athena, and Ares excels at the more personal elements, so say she's your general and he's your champion.  Where does that leave you?

"When the battle is joined, god against god, and the clash of weapon and shield drowns out the sound of a commander's voice, when Athena's plans are shattered and left by the wayside and Ares' brute force isn't enough to turn the tide, when confusion and chaos rule the battlefield, that's not Ares' war, certainly not Athena's.  That war belongs to Enyo, and she has been the best of friends with my daughter Eris for... how long, would you say?"

Zeus didn't answer.

"This would be Enyo's war."

“This doesn’t have to be a war,” Zeus said.

“Oh, but what a war it would be, it would overshadow your battle with your father and be remembered for all time.  And remember, the gods of battle, all the gods of battle, are my grandchildren.  But, you’re right, it doesn’t have to be a war."

Nyx spread her black wings threateningly, “We can settle it right here.  You’re younger and weaker, I’ll let you use the lightning bolts your uncles gave you.  For myself I’ll use no weapons at all.”

Zeus stared at Nyx for a long time, he felt the weight of night around him, he looked into her eyes and saw nothing but determination.  Then he turned away.  ”Keep him.  But keep him away from me.”

And thus, Zeus relented.

Hypnos stopped hiding behind his mother.


This is a random thing that popped into my head built around a scene from Vergil's Aeneid:

Hermea materialized next to a seated Eris, who was watching a conversation between Aphrodite and Hera.

"What are you doing?" Hermea asked.

"Who says I'm doing anything?" Eris responded.

"You and two of the most powerful goddesses from Olympus just happen to be in the same place at the same time."

"You're here with me," Eris said, "But you're also all around us," Eris made an all encompassing gesture to indicate that day had not turned to night.  "If someone suddenly expanded or amplified the rest of you-"

"What, like using mirrors to bring daylight into mother's domain?"

"Sure, whatever, you'd notice, right?"

"I would."

"Well these two have caused a serious spike in the me in the area, so I had to come and take a look." Eris reached into her pocket, "Want an apple?"


Eris handed Hermea an apple, then took out another for herself.  They both began to munch as they watched Aphrodite and Hera.

"Is there any chance they'll notice us?" Hermea asked.

"Those two are so deep into planning, plotting and backstabbing that they wouldn't notice a trireme if it fell from the sky and landed between them," Eris said.

"So, what did I miss?" Hermea asked.

"Aphrodite went into severe overkill mode and laid low a city, Hera is a lousy patron," Eris paused for a beat, "But she was snarky."

"Elaborate," Hermea said.

"Aeneas' ships were driven to these shores where they met the Carthaginians who seemed to be well disposed to the Trojans anyway, and would have lent a helping hand regardless and that could have set up an alliance between Carthage and the city Aeneas is supposed to found, but that wasn't enough for Aphrodite," Hermea nodded to this, everyone knew how overprotective Aphrodite could be of her mortal son, "so she sent Eros."

"Elder or younger?"

"Younger, her son and Aeneas' half brother, the elder Eros would never get mixed up in something so stupid."  Eris paused, finding her place.  "She sent Eros to make Dido, queen of Carthage, fall madly in love with Aeneas, and I do mean madly.  She's not exactly sane at the moment, all progress on Carthage has stopped, and basically Hera's dream city was forced to a standstill.

"Enter Hera, patron of Carthage and Dido.  Does she say, 'You're screwing things up, I want you to stop'?  Does she say, 'Dido is under my protection so give her her sanity back'?  Does she say, 'Take your kids and get out'?  No."

"What does she say?"

"Why don't we have the two get married?"

"Dido has lost her sanity due to an overdose of Eros-love..."

"Stabby, stabby stabby," Eris interjected while motioning how one might stab someone with a magical arrow.

"And Hera's solution is to keep that up but add some sex and legal entanglement?"

"Like I said, Hera is a lousy patron."

"It'll never work."

"Of course not," Eris said, "but which part are you referring to?"

"Zeus and three of our sisters, you know the ones," Eris nodded, the Fates, "have been working overtime to create a big plan-"

"How big?"

"More than two thousand years, I think"

"I can mess that up, give me a thousand years."

"The point is, that plan involves Aeneas in Italy, no way he's staying here."

"Which brings us back to, Hera is a lousy patron.  She should have opened with, 'Get Dido out from under your spell.'"

Aphrodite and Hera disappeared.

Hermea asked, "Did they just agree to the whole marriage pact thing?"

"Aphrodite knows it'll never work anyway, Hera has high hopes.  Each one thinks she won."

"Meanwhile, Dido loses."

"I should probably tell Kharon to play nice, because I see no way this is going to work out for her."

"Did I mention they're remodeling the underworld?" Hermea asked.

"No.  Do tell."

[Fade out.]


[Rewriting Greek Myth Index]