GREECE

GREEK MYTHS

1.The Contest of Poseidon and Athena

There once came a time in Ancient Greece when the first king of Athens, Cecrops, who was half person and half snake, had to find a patron deity for the city state of Athens. 

The two Olympian gods who were particularly interested in the patronage were Poseidon, the god of the Seas and Athena, the goddess of Wisdom and Skill. They presented themselves in front of Cecrops and Cecrops asked from them to offer a gift truly valuable for Athens.

Poseidon came first: he struck the earth powerfully and created a well with his trident. Immediately, streaming water shot forth, but the water turned out to be salty and not very useful for the population.

Next, it was the turn of goddess Athena. Athena stepped forward, struck her spear into the ground and then she kneeled and planted an olive branch in it. This way she created an olive tree, as a symbolization of peace and prosperity on earth.

Cecrops was very impressed by Athena’s gift. So he chose Athena to lay claim of the city of Athens and the city was named after her. God Poseidon, however, was not pleased with the decision of Cecrops and cursed the city of Athens to never have enough water from then on. After that, it is said that a major problem of water shortage started in Athens, which continues until nowadays.

2.The Lion and the Mouse

Once upon a time, deeply in the forest, there was a big strong lion. He was the king of the jungle. The lion liked sleeping under the trees and his snoring was really loud.  All the animals were afraid and while he was sleeping, they were singing:

The king is asleep! Don’t wake him up!

His temper is bad! He will get MAAAAAAD!!!!!

One day, a tiny mouse climbed up on his head and started scratching him. The lion woke up.

Who’s there?????

…he shouted.

He grabbed the mouse and he was about to eat it, when the little mouse said :

Please mighty king, Spare me!  Maybe one day, I will help you, I’ll save you.

Hmmmm, you are too small to save me , but I will let you go if you sing and dance for me!!!!

…the lion answered. The mouse started singing:

Tra lallalallalalal tralallal la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!

It was so bad that the lion laughed!

OK, OK, that’s enough! You can go.

The mouse ran happily back in the forest. Days later the lion was walking proud in the forest.  Suddenly, he got caught in a hunter’s trap. The other animals were looking at him but they couldn’t do anything. Then, the tiny mouse appeared.

I ‘ll keep my promise and I‘ll save you mighty king…

he  said and he started chewing the net. He made a small hole, but lion was too big to come out. He  kept chewing and chewing and finally he made a biiig hole and the lion broke free!

All the animals were very happy and the little mouse said:

You see mighty king, even the weak and small may be of help to those much mightier than them.

The lion answered:

You are right!!!! For this reason, I’ll make you king of the jungle for one day.

The whole day, all the animals in the jungle were singing and dancing ……………………………

………………………..and they lived happily ever after.

3. The Minotaur and the Labyrinth of Crete

The Minotaur was the son of Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete.

Queen Pasiphae slept with a bull sent by Zeus, and gave birth to Minotaur, a creature half man – half bull. King Minos was embarrassed, but did not want to kill the Minotaur, so he hid the monster in the Labyrinth constructed by Daedalus at the Minoan Palace of Knossos.

According to the myth, Minos was imprisoning his enemies in the Labyrinth so that the Minotaur could eat them. The labyrinth was such a complicated construction that no one could ever find the way out alive.Son of Minos, Androgeus, went to Athens to participate to the Panathenaic Games, but he was killed during the Marathon by the bull that impregnated his mother Pasiphae. Minos was infuriated, and demanded Aegeus the king of Athens to send seven men and women every year to the Minotaur to advert the plague caused by the death of Androgeus.The third year, Theseus, son of Aegeus decided to be one of the seven young men that would go to Crete, in order to kill the Minotaur and end the human sacrifices to the monster. King Aegeus tried to make him change his mind but Theseus was determined to slay the Minotaur.Theseus promised his father that he would put up white sails coming back from Crete, allowing him to know in advance that he was coming back alive. The boat would return with the black sails if Theseus was killed.

Theseus announced to King Minos that he was going to kill the Monster, but Minos knew that even if he did manage to kill the Minotaur, Theseus would never be able to exit the Labyrinth.Theseus met Princess Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, who fell madly in love with him and decided to help Theseus. She gave him a thread and told him to unravel it as he would penetrate deeper and deeper into the Labyrinth, so that he knows the way out when he kills the monster.Theseus followed her suggestion and entered the labyrinth with the thread. Theseus managed to kill the Minotaur and save the Athenians, and with Ariadne’s thread he managed to retrace his way out.Theseus took Princess Ariadne with him and left Crete sailing happily back to Athens.Theseus’ boat stopped at Naxos and the Athenians had a long celebration dedicated to Theseus and Ariadne. After long hours of feasting and drinking, Ariadne fell asleep on the shore and didn’t enter the boat that sailed to Athens. Theseus figured out that Ariadne was not with them when it was too late and he was so upset that he forgot the promise made to his father and did not change the sails.King Aegeus was waiting at Cape Sounion to see the sails of the boat. He saw the black sails from afar and presumed his son was dead. He dropped himself to the waters, committing suicide and since then, this sea is called the Aegean Sea.