My love for Greek Mythology knows no bounds. In fact, in my first year of college I unwittingly signed up for a graduate course in Greek History. Naturally, instead of learning all about Antigone’s cave fortress like I expected, I was forced to memorize the mind-numbing dates of the Pelopponesian War and read The Histories by Herodotus in its entirety. I managed a B+, never signed up for another history class again, and can now enjoy the full soap opera drama of the Greek royals in peace.
My favorite ladies in Olympia:
Ah, the Katniss Everdeen of the Greek goddesses. Twin sister of Apollo and my personal favorite; Artemis the Huntress carried a bow and arrow, protected young girls, killed Adonis for boasting that he was a better hunter than her, and exhibited general bad-assness throughout the kingdom.
A combination of every Sharon Stone character ever portrayed, Aphrodite reigned supreme as the queen of lust. Well, technically speaking, the Goddess of love and pleasure. She was born from male genitals thrown into the sea foam and she owned it. Although Helen of Troy was the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’, Aphrodite was so beautiful that she landed Adonis; the God who we as a species judge all male attractiveness by. She also had a little row with her son, Eros, and the Snow White of Olympia, Psyche…
A mere mortal whose beauty was so great, Aphrodite was shaking in her golden sandals. The story goes that Aphrodite’s jealousy got the best of her and she ordered Eros (Cupid) to make Psyche fall in love with the most hideous creature in the land. Eros, stunned by Psyche’s gods-given beauty while she slept, scratched his own skin with her arrow by accident and fell helplessly and eternally in love with her. After some conniving tactics, a couple of months with no love in the world, and Psyche’s stint in the underworld, Aphrodite gave in and allowed Eros and Psyche to live in peace. Psyche is now the deification of the human soul.
This story is just so heartbreakingly lovely. Although only a minor nature deity compared to the prowling Artemis, Daphne unwittingly became the target of a testosterone-fueled competition between Cupid and Apollo. Cupid, egged on by Apollo’s doubt in the power of his arrows, proved his strength when he pricked Apollo and then shot the arrow at poor Daphne. Pleading with the gods to save her as Apollo stalked her at lightening speed through the forest, Daphne’s God-father did the only thing he could and turned her into a Laurel tree.
Any favored goddesses that I left out?
“Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet entranced,
After her wandering labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride;
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.”
- John Milton