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κ - Κ

Kappa; the tenth letter of the Greek alphabet; uppercase Κ, lowercase κ.

The ancient Greeks did not have lowercase letters in their alphabet; the lowercase letters were not invented until the ninth century CE, i.e. about eleven hundred years ago.

Letters of the Greek alphabet were also used as numerals; the letter kappa represented the number 20 and was written as a simple κ or as kappa followed by an acute accent, κ'.

Kabiri (Cabiri)

A group of gods, probably of eastern origin, who were worshiped on the islands of Lemnos and Samothrake (Samothrace); because of their skill with metals, they were reputed to be the sons of Hephaistos (Hephaestus).

Kadmeian Fox (Teumesian Fox)

A savage fox that ravaged Thebes and was hunted by Amphitryon and Kephalos (Cephalus).

The land around the city of Thebes was called Kadmeia (Cadmeia) after the founder of the city, Kadmos (Cadmus); Amphitryon and Alkmene (Alcmene), the stepfather and mother of Herakles (Heracles), went to Thebes to seek help in avenging the deaths of Alkmene's brothers at the hands of the Teleboans; King Kreon (Creon) of Thebes said that he would send his army against the Teleboans if Amphitryon would kill a savage fox which had been killing children and terrorizing the county around Thebes; the fox is now commonly referred to as the Kadmeian (Cadmeian) Fox but ancient writers used the name Teumesian Fox; despite Amphitryon's best efforts, he could not kill the fox and the brutal murders of the Theban children continued.

The Thebans decided to appease the fox by setting out one of their children each month so that the wild beast could have its blood feast and hopefully be satisfied with only the one child instead of randomly killing many; Amphitryon could not understand why no one had been able to kill the fox and disappointed that he had lost a powerful ally in his war against the Teleboans; to resolve these problems, Amphitryon enlisted the help of a banished Athenian man named Kephalos.

Kephalos had a fabled dog named Lailaps (Storm) that could catch anything he pursued; the dog had once belonged to King Minos of the island of Crete and was eventually given to an Athenian woman named Prokris (Procris) by the goddess Artemis; Prokris gave the dog to her husband Kephalos but he accidently killed Prokris while hunting and was an exile living in Thebes when Amphitryon sought his help to kill the murderous fox; Amphitryon promised Kephalos a portion of the plunder from the Teleboans if he would put his unstoppable dog on the trail of the savage fox; when the dog was in hot pursuit of the fox, Zeus intervened and turned the dog and the fox into stone near a hill called Teumessus and thus the name Teumesian Fox.

King Kreon of Thebes was satisfied that Amphitryon had fulfilled the obligation of ridding Kadmeia of the fox and true to his word, joined Amphitryon in his war against the Teleboans.

Apollodorus of Athens, Library, book 2, chapters 57-59

The Epigoni, fragment 2

Kadmea (Cadmea)

The acropolis of the city of Thebes in Boeotia; the Kadmea was built by and named after Prince Kadmos (Cadmus) after a series of divinely inspired events led him to Boeotia.

After Zeus kidnapped Europa, the daughter of King Agenor of Tyre, Phoenicia, the king of sent his son Kadmos to bring Europa back with the admonition not to return to Tyre without his sister.

After an exhaustive and fruitless search for Europa, Kadmos consulted the Oracle at Delphi; the Pythia (priestess of Apollon) told Kadmos that the search for his sister was in vain and that he should cease looking and establish a city in Greece; the Pythia told Kadmos to follow a cow from Delphi and build his city on the spot where the cow laid down to rest; Kadmos did as he was instructed and the cow led him the place which would become the city of Thebes; he built an acropolis called the Kadmea as the first structure of the new city.

Kadmeians (Cadmeians)

The people of Prince Kadmos (Cadmus); the name Kadmeian does not refer to a specific geographical location but rather to people who were either living in an area controlled by Kadmos or to the people who were left as settlers by Kadmos as he traveled in search of his sister, Europa.

When Kadmos traveled from Phoenicia in search of Europa, he made many stops before he reached Greece; the settlers Kadmos left at places like Rhodes, Kallista (Callista) and Euboea called themselves Kadmeians; with the guidance of the Pythia (priestess of Apollon) at Delphi and assistance from the goddess Athene (Athena), Kadmos built the first structure on the site which was to became the city of Thebes in Boeotia; realizing that Kadmos clearly had the blessings and protection of the Immortals, the inhabitants of the area began to refer to themselves as Kadmeians.

Kadmos (Cadmus)

Kadmos

Prince Kadmos was the son of King Agenor of Tyre and the brother of the maiden Europa.

The life of Kadmos is linked directly to the disappearance of his sister Europa when she became the consort of Zeus; although he was a Phoenician, Kadmos's search for Europa had a significant effect on the development of Greek culture.

When Zeus saw Europa he was captivated by her beauty and innocence; he devised a clever plan where he would assume the guise of a bull and entice Europa to ride on his back; Europa could not resist the enchanted bull and climbed on his back; Zeus jumped into the sea and swam from Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the island of Crete.

King Agenor of sent Kadmos to bring Europa back; he told his son not to return to Tyre without Europa; the number of men and ships Kadmos assembled to accompany him on his quest for Europa is not given but it must have been a sizable force; not knowing where to look, Kadmos began a systematic search of the islands west of Tyre in the Mediterranean Sea; a tempest forced Kadmos's ships ashore on Rhodes; Kadmos knew that he had been saved by the grace of the god of the Sea so he established a sacred precinct with a Temple of Poseidon; he left a group of his Phoenician men on Rhodes to become the priests of the temple; they intermingled with the local inhabitants, the Ialysians, and became fellow-citizens; Kadmos made stops on the islands of Kalliste (Calliste) and Euboea where he again left settlers; after eight generations a man named Theras, as a direct descendant of one of the settlers Kadmos left on Kalliste, left Lakedaemonia (Lacedaemonia) and established a new colony on Kalliste and renamed the island after himself, Thera.

Of the many places Kadmos searched, there are numerous reports that he spent a good deal of time in Egypt; some ancient writers even suggest that Kadmos established his home in Thebes, Egypt; even though Kadmos lived in the Prehistoric Period of Greece (perhaps 1500 BCE), there can be little doubt that he was the founder of Thebes, Greece, and instrumental in the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet to Greece; Kadmos had the distinction of introducing the Phoenician alphabet to the Greeks; Kadmos's alphabet only had sixteen letters but the phonetic nature of the letters allowed its users to adapt them to any language; Kadmos was the son of a king and therefore presumed to be highly educated; he was not just an adventurer, he was literally a man of letters.

After an exhaustive and fruitless search for Europa, Kadmos consulted the Oracle at Delphi; the Pythia (priestess of Apollon) told Kadmos that the search for his sister was in vain and that he should cease looking and establish a city in Greece; the Pythia told Kadmos to follow a cow from Delphi and build his city on the spot where the cow laid down to rest; Kadmos did as he was instructed and the cow led him the place which would become the city of Thebes; he built an acropolis called the Kadmea (Cadmea) as the first structure of the new city.

There was a spring near the site of where Kadmos was to build his city but the spring was guarded by a dragon; the goddess Athene (Athena) told Kadmos to kill the dragon and plant the teeth in the ground; the teeth miraculously produced a group of fully armed warriors; Kadmos tossed a stone in the midst of the warriors and they began to fight until only five warriors were left; these warriors were called the Sparti, i.e. Sown-Men, and they became the founders of the noble families of Thebes; their names were Chthonius, Hyperenor, Pelorus, Udaeus and Echion.

Kadmos married a remarkable woman named Harmonia; she was the daughter of Ares, god of War, and Aphrodite, goddess of Love; the marriage of Kadmos and Harmonia was the first time the Immortals provided a wedding-feast for a mortal; the wedding was the occasion for the meeting of the goddess Demeter and Iasion who in turn taught men to plant and harvest Demeter's grains; the goddess Elektra (Electra) used the occasion of the wedding to teach the people of Kadmos's new city the Rites of the Great Mother of the Gods; Athene gave Harmonia a necklace that was to become the object of much controversy; the most memorable event of the wedding was when Apollon played the lyre and the Muses sang; over a thousand years after the wedding the people of Thebes could still point out the very spot where the Muses stood when they sang for Kadmos and Harmonia.

Kadmos and Harmonia had five children, Autonoe, Ino, Agaue, Polydoros (Polydorus) and Thyone; Ino and Thyone became immortal and assumed new names; Ino became Leukothea (Leucothea) and Thyone became Semele.

Before Kadmos's city was named Thebes, Kadmos and his people were forced to flee north to Illyria; Amphion and Zethos (Zethus) then became masters of the site and built the walls of the lower city around the Kadmea (the acropolis that Kadmos erected); the city was named after Zethos's Nymph wife Thebe and thereafter became Thebes of the Seven Gates; the people of the newly established city of Thebes continued to call themselves Kadmeians (Cadmeians); other groups of settlers in Greece who were descended from the Phoenicians who accompanied Kadmos also called themselves Kadmeians.

His name is may also be rendered as Kadmus or Cadmos.

Text References

Kaeneus (Caeneus)

The father of the Argonaut, Koronus (Coronus); Kaeneus died valiantly while fighting the Centaurs; he was separated from the other fighters and was killed alone by an overwhelming force of Centaurs.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 57-64

Kaikias (Caicias)

The Winds

The Northeast Wind.

The Winds have a page in the Immortals section of this site … click on the above image to view that page.

Kaikos (Caicus)

A river god; one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos (Ocean); the Kaikos river is located in Asia Minor and flows into the Candarli Gulf which is south and east of the island of Lesbos and is now known as the Bakir.

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, line 343

The Histories by Herodotus, book 6.28; book 7.42

Kalais (Calais)

The winged son of Boreas (North Wind) and Oreithyia (Orithyia).

Kalais and his twin brother Zetes were a wonder to see with their dark wings, bright with golden scales vibrating from their temples and feet; both had long blue-black curling hair that streamed in the wind when they flew.

The two brothers are best remembered for their role in the adventures of Jason and the Argonauts; the voyage of the Argo with its company of heroes was one of the greatest adventures of the ancient world; in their Quest for the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts encountered the blind prophet, Phineus.

Phineus had married the daughter of Boreas (North Wind), Kleopatra (Cleopatra), and after her death he married a cruel and vengeful woman; Phineus's new wife hated Kleopatra's sons and induced Phineus to blind the boys; Boreas was infuriated by the harsh treatment of his grandsons and demanded justice; as punishment for such a horrendous act, Zeus offered him blindness or death; Phineus chose blindness; Helios (the Sun) was offended that Phineus would choose darkness rather than death so he sent the two winged-women known as the Harpies to torment Phineus by stealing his food; the Harpies did not steal all of Phineus's food, they would always leave reeking morsels so that he could sustain himself and thus his torment could continue.

In order to reach the land of Kolchis (Colchis) and secure the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts had to sail through the Floating Islands which would clash together whenever any living thing passed between them; Phineus told the sailors that he would only help them if they would rid him of the curse of the Harpies; Kalais and Zetes set a trap for the Harpies but the flying women were very swift and the winged brothers could only get close enough to claw at them with their fingertips; Iris, the messenger of the Immortals, rushed into the fray and chided the brothers for trying to harm the Harpies; Iris explained that the Harpies were there to punish Phineus with the consent of Zeus and that the brothers would incur the wrath of the father of the Immortals if they interfered with his judgment; Iris swore a sacred oath on the river Styx that if Zetes and Kalais would stop their pursuit of the Harpies, Phineus would no longer be tormented; thus Phineus was freed from his curse and the Argonauts learned how to find the land where the Golden Fleece was kept.

Of the many heroes who joined the Argonauts, Herakles (Heracles) was the most famous; he began the Quest but turned aside to search for his companion Hylas before the Argo reached Kolchis; the Argonauts argued as to whether they should wait for Herakles or proceed without him; Zetes and Kalais convinced them to leave Herakles; for this rebuke, Zetes and Kalais were both killed by Herakles after the Quest for the Golden Fleece was completed; Herakles gave them a suitable funeral and erected two columns to mark their graves … one of the columns would actually sway when Boreas breathed on it.

The Histories, book 7.189

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 211-223 and 240+

Kalchas (Calchas)

The seer who was with the Greeks at the siege Troy; he was the son of Thestor and was given the gift of divination by Apollon.

When the Argive fleet was about to sail for Troy from Aulis, Boreas (North Wind) would not let the ships leave the harbor; Kalchas said that unless Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphianassa to the goddess Artemis, the fleet would not be allowed to leave Aulis; Iphianassa was summoned from Mycenae under the pretext that she would marry Achilles; when the girl was about to be sacrificially killed, Artemis substituted a stag in her place and removed her to Tauris where she would remain until Agamemnon's son Orestes and his companion Pylades rescued her.

Kalchas also prophesied that the war with Troy would last for ten years; while the Greeks were still at Aulis, a truly remarkable thing happened during the course of an elaborate sacrifice; a snake appeared from under the altar; the snake was a thing of horror with its back mottled with blood; it was clear to all present that the snake was sent by Zeus; the snake slithered to the top of a nearby tree where a mother sparrow lorded over a nest of eight chicks; the snake ate each of the chicks despite their pitiful screaming; finally the snake grabbed the mother snake by the wing and ate her too; in order to prove to the men watching the spectacle that the entire vision was of divine origin, the snake turned to stone; Kalchas correctly reasoned that each of the nine birds symbolized a year of fighting at Troy and that the Trojans would finally be defeated in the tenth year of the war.

Kalchas survived the Trojan War and after Troy was conquered, journeyed by land with several companions to Kolophon (Colophon) to bury the Theban seer, Teiresias; Kalchas and Teiresias had been the two most renowned seers in ancient Greece but Teiresias's grandson Mopsos (Mopsus) gained a reputation which equaled that of his grandfather and Kalchas.

When Kalchas met Mopsos he decided to test the young man's wisdom by asking him a question; Kalchas pointed out a fig tree and asked how many figs such a small tree might produce; Mopsos did not hesitate to answer that the tree had ten thousand figs which would be one bushel and one fig left over; the figs were counted and Mopsos was correct even to the detail that the last fig would not fit in the bushel basket; Kalchas was so annoyed at the accuracy of Mopsos's answer that he was shrouded by death and died.

Text References

Kalliades (Calliades)

The archon of the city of Athens when the invading Persian army, led by King Xerxes, burned and looted the city circa 480 BCE; the Persians captured an empty city because the citizens and government officials had fled.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 8.51

Kallikolone

A site near ancient Troy; the name literally means Fair-Hill.

Kallikrates (Callicrates)

A mid-fifth century BCE Greek architect who, together with Iktinus (Ictinus), designed the Parthenon for the city of Athens.

Kallimachus (Callimachus)

A Greek poet, grammarian and critic (circa 310-240 BCE); he is thought to have been a teacher in Alexandria, Egypt, where he taught Apollonius of Rhodes.

Kallinos (Callinus)

A lyric poet presumed to have lived circa 650 BCE; the only thing known about him with any certainty is that he was from Ephesus on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor; he is therefore called Kallinos of Ephesus (Callinus of Ephesus).

The term Lyric Poetry is quite literal and designates poetry written to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre; the lyric poets flourished from roughly 700 BCE until 400 BCE.

Only a few fragments of one of Kallinos's poems is extant; the poem is a call to arms and bravery to the men of Ephesus against an unnamed foe; he states elegantly that men who are willing to die defending their family and fellow citizens are respected by all and the equal of the demigods.

Kallinos is considered to have been an elegiac poet, i.e. one who wrote sad, sorrowful poems with the first line a dactylic hexameter and the second line a pentameter.

There are several excellent collections of lyric poetry that I can personally recommend; if you want to read a sampling of this poetic style, I suggest 7 Greeks by Guy Davenport or Greek Lyric, an Anthology in Translation by Andrew M. Miller; however, the most complete collection is undoubtedly the three volume collection from the Loeb Classical Library, Greek Lyric, Greek Lyric II and Greek Lyric III; you can sometimes find these books at your local library or you can purchase any of these books from the Book Shop on this site; look in the Poetry section.

Kalliope (Calliope)

Kalliope

One of the nine Muses; she is the Muse of epic poetry; her name means Beautiful-Voiced; she is considered the primary sister of the Muses; the mother of the master musician, Orpheus; the prefix Kalli literally means Beautiful.

For more information on Kalliope and her sisters, I suggest that you consult the Muses page in the Immortals section of this site.

Kalliphon (Calliphon)

A painter from the island of Samos credited with some of the works at the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

Kallippus (Callippus)

A Greek astronomer; fl. forth century BCE; also spelled Kalippus or Calippus.

Kallirhoe (Callirhoe) 1

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys; she was the wife of Chrysaor and the mother of three-headed Geryon (Geryones) and the snake-bodied Nymph, Echidna.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Her name is sometimes rendered as Kallirrhoe or Callirrhoe.

Theogony, lines 287, 351 and 979

Kallirhoe (Callirhoe) 2

A fountain in the city of Athens from which water was taken as part of wedding day ceremonies; the name literally means "with nine springs"; sometimes spelled Kallirron or Callirron.

Kallistatos (Callistatus) 1

The man who is credited with the 24 letter Greek alphabet; a native of the island of Samos.

Kallistratos (Callistratus) 2

(fl. forth century BCE) An Athenian orator and statesman who organized the Second Athenian Confederacy.

Kalliste (Calliste)

The original name of the island Thera; located in the southern Aegean Sea in the Kyklades (Cyclades) group; the island has an area of 30 square miles (78 square kilometers).

The island was magically created from a clod of earth which was presented to one of the Argonauts, Euphemos, by the half-fish, half-man Triton.

Triton guided the Argonauts out of the desert wastes of Libya and gave Euphemos a clod of earth as a gift; Euphemos had a divinely inspired dream about the clod of earth and threw it into the sea; an island arose and a descendant of Euphemos, Theras, migrated to the island and named it after himself; when the island first arose from the sea it was called Kalliste; the island is now called Santorini.

Google Map

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 4, lines 1755-1764

Kallisthenes (Callisthenes)

Kallisthenes of Olynthus; a Greek philosopher, circa 360-327 BCE; the son of a niece of Aristotle, Hero.

Kallisthenes was a nephew and student of Aristotle and, because of those relationships, became the official biographer of Alexander the Great; Kallisthenes accompanied Alexander on his military campaigns into Asia but, because of his non-military bearing, was generally disliked and distrusted by Alexander's Macedonian companions; Kallisthenes was a man of words and philosophy with the unfortunate habit of speaking in hypothetical and idealistic terms; he once told Alexander that without the history he (Kallisthenes) was writing, Alexander, despite his claim to divine parentage, would be utterly forgotten; when asked who was held in the highest regard by the Athenians, Kallisthenes said it was Harmodius and Aristogeition because they had killed the tyrant Hipparchus; when was asked which Greek city would dare give sanctuary to men guilty of tyrannicide, Kallisthenes replied that the Athenians had once fought for the children of Herakles (Heracles) against Eurystheus and, having stood against the absolute master of Greece at that time, the Athenians would again give sanctuary to a tyrant killer.

While accompanying Alexander, Kallisthenes sincerely felt that many of the Persians customs which Alexander had adopted were unbecoming to a Greek leader and degrading to his followers; on the matter of prostration in the presence of the king, Kallisthenes refused to bow and show obeisance to Alexander; one of Alexander's advisors, Anaxarchus, expressed the belief that, after his death, Alexander would receive the honors of a god; he further reasoned that it was reasonable to demonstrate that honor while Alexander was still alive and able to appreciate their devotion; Alexander agreed with that sentiment and started requiring his men to bow to him on formal occasions; Kallisthenes refused to act in such a non-Greek manner, he cited several good reasons and pointed out the fact that even Herakles was not honored as a god while he was alive; Kallisthenes reminded Alexander that the act of prostration had been instituted by one of the most reviled Persian kings, Cambyses, and that Cambyses, and all of his successors had been defeated by free men; Kallisthenes then asked Alexander if he intended to make all the Greeks bow to him when he returned home or if that insult was reserved for the Persians and Macedonians; his arguments only served to add to the distrust that the Macedonians already held for Kallisthenes.

Because of his eloquence and austerity, Kallisthenes became a mentor for many of the younger Macedonians; one of the youths asked him in what way he could become famous and Kallisthenes said that, if that was his desire, he should kill a famous man; this young man, Hermolaus, was insulted by Alexander on a hunting expedition and decided to kill Alexander in revenge; Hermolaus induced other young men to join in the plot but, before they could act, their scheme was discovered; all the young men confessed under torture and were stoned to death; none of the young men implicated Kallisthenes but Alexander and the Macedonian generals suspected Kallisthenes had an unhealthy influence on the conspirators and eventually found sufficient reason to arrest him; there are several explanations as to how Kallisthenes was put to death and all of them come from men who were with Alexander but they all differ as to the details; some say that Kallisthenes was bound in chains for seven months and died of such harsh treatment; others say that Kallisthenes was hanged.

The biography of Alexander that Kallisthenes wrote is lost to us and the exploits of Alexander that do exist were written hundreds of years after Alexander's death but were presumably taken from the writings of the various companions of Alexander and, although they are sometimes contradictory, generally agree on the major aspects of Alexander's campaigns in Asia, Egypt and India; in the third century CE, a body of work appeared called Pseudo-Kallisthenes; these stories are probably more fiction and wishful thinking than actual things that Kallisthenes wrote.

Diodorus Siculus, book 17, III.111

Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, book iv.10-12, 14 and 22; book vii.27

Plutarch's Lives, Alexander, LII-LV

Kallisto (Callisto)

A Nymph who was an attendant of Artemis and became the consort of Zeus.

Kallisto was the daughter of Lykaon (Lycaon) and lived in Arcadia; she would occupy herself with the wild beasts of the mountains with the goddess Artemis; she was seduced by Zeus and became pregnant; when Artemis saw Kallisto bathing, she was enraged to see that her companion was pregnant and changed Kallisto into a bear; her child was born and she named him Arkas (Arcas); mother and son were eventually captured by some goatherds and returned to her father, Lykaon; Kallisto violated the law by going into the precinct of Zeus and was hunted down by Arkas and other Arcadians; Zeus saw her plight and placed her in the heavens as the constellation the Great Bear.

The fate of Arkas was more unpleasant than that of his mother; we are initially told that Arkas participated in the hunt for his mother in the precinct of Zeus but then we are told that after Kallisto and Arkas returned to her father's home, Lykaon pretended not to know of his daughter's fate (being transformed into a bear by Artemis) and, while he was entertaining Zeus at his home, Lykaon chopped up Arkas while he was still a baby and served the infant to Zeus as a meal; Zeus placed Arkas in the heavens as the star Arcturus in the constellation of Bootes and he was thereafter known as the Bear Warden and protector of his mother.

Her name literally means Most-Beautiful.

The Astronomy, fragment 3

Kalpe (Calpe) 1

Kalpe

The ancient Greek name for the Rock of Gibraltar, i.e. the stone peninsula on the south-central coast of Spain; 1,396 feet (426 meters) in height; located at the western extreme of the Mediterranean Sea where it connects with the Atlantic Ocean.

Gibraltar and Jebel Musa were called the Pillars of Herakles (Heracles) by the ancients; Gibraltar was known as Kalpe and Jebel Musa was known as Abyla.

Approximate West Longitude 5º 21' and North Latitude 36º 08'

Google Map

Kalpe 2

The trotting horse race in the Olympic Games.

The kalpe began at the 71st Olympiad in 496 BCE as a race for mares but foals were included in the competition at the 131st Olympiad in 256 BCE; Pataikos of Dymai was the victor of the first kalpe in 496 BCE.

Kalpis

A hydra (water jar) having a rounded shoulder and a small back handle.

Kalydon (Calydon)

A city in western Greece in Aitolia (Aetolia) north of the coast of the Gulf of Patrae (Patrai) where it meets the Gulf of Corinth.

Kalydon was most noted as the domain of King Oineus (Oeneus); Oineus and his wife Althaia (Althea) were the parents of three well known figures in Greek history: Deianeira (Deianira), Tydeus, and Meleagros (Meleager).

Deianeira was the last mortal wife of Herakles (Heracles) and responsible for his tragic death.

Tydeus was the father of the Achaean (Achaian) hero Diomedes and one of the commanders of the armies known as Seven Against Thebes; Tydeus died in the unsuccessful attempt to capture Thebes.

Meleagros had the distinction of participating in two of the three most prestigious events in ancient Greek history: the Quest for Golden Fleece and the Kalydonian Hunt (Calydonian Hunt); Meleagros died before the Trojan War, i.e. before circa 1250 BCE.

The primary Immortal antagonist of Kalydon was Artemis (goddess of the Hunt); when King Oineus neglected to offer the first-fruits of the harvest to the goddess, she punished the city with an attack by the Kouretes (Curetes) and then the ravaging of the countryside by a fierce boar which was commonly called the Kalydonian Boar; Meleagros was instrumental in defeating the Kouretes and also killing the boar; whether it was part of Artemis's wrath is unclear but Meleagros died soon after the Kalydonian Boar Hunt.

When the Trojan War began, the Kalydonians and the other Aitolians (Aetolians) were commanded by Thoas, the son of Andraimon; the Aitolians arrived at Troy with forty ships which would have been approximately 800 men.

Google Map

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, line 190

Catalogues of Women and Eoiae, fragment 98

Iliad (Lattimore), book 2, line 640; book 9, lines 530, 531 and 577; book 13, line 218; book 14, line 116

Iliad (Loeb), book 2, line 640; book 9, lines 530, 531 and 577; book 13, line 217; book 14, line 116

Iliad (Fagles), book 2, line 734; book 9, lines 647 and 705; book 13, line 258; book 14, line 142

Iliad (Fitzgerald), book 2, line 759; book 9, lines 645, 647 and 704; book 13, line 246; book 14, line 133

Kalydonian Boar (Calydonian Boar)

Kalydonian Boar

The savage boar sent by Artemis to punish the king of Kalydon (Calydon), Oineus, because he neglected to make a proper sacrifice to her; the boar was finally killed by the king's son, Meleagros (Meleager), in what came to be known as the Kalydonian Hunt.

Kalydonian Hunt (Calydonian Hunt)

Kalydonian Hunt

The quest for the Golden Fleece, the Trojan War and the Kalydonian Hunt are three of the most notable gatherings of heroes in the ancient world.

A savage boar had been released into the countryside around the city of Kalydon (Calydon) by the goddess Artemis in order to punish King Oineus for his failure to make a proper sacrifice to her.

The boar was in no way ordinary; it was so fierce that no single person could master it; a hunting party of the most noble and bravest fighters in all of Greece was assembled to hunt the boar; included in the hunting party was the beautiful virgin huntress, Atalanta; she was the first to wound the boar but the beast was finally killed by Meleagros (Meleager).

Meleagros awarded the boar-skin to Atalanta as a tribute to her bravery; his mother's brother (or brothers) tried to take the prize away from Atalanta but Meleagros killed his uncle(s) for the insult to his authority; the murder of his uncle(s) would eventually be the undoing of Meleagros; he died before the siege of Troy when his venomous mother called upon the lords of darkness to avenge her brother's death at the hands of her arrogant son.

Participants in the Kalydonian Hunt included: Meleagros, Atalanta, Akastos (Acastos), Telamon, Iphiklos (Iphiclos) and Peleus.

Kalyke (Calyce)

The daughter of Aeolus (Aiolos); by Zeus, she was the mother of Aethlios (Aethlius); her siblings were: Alkyone (Alcyone), Athamas, Kanake (Canace), Makareos (Macareus), Salmoneus, and Sisyphus.

Kalypso (Calypso) 1

The sea Nymph who detained Odysseus on the island of Ogygia.

Kalypso has a page in the Immortals section of this site … click on her name to view that page.

Kalypso (Calypso) 2

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, line 359

Kambyses (Cambyses)

The second king of the Persian Empire; the son of Cyrus the Great and Kassandane (Cassandane); he ruled the Persian Empire from 529-522 BCE (seven years and five months).

According to the historian Herodotus, Kambyses was so harsh and arrogant that the Persians called him The Master, whereas Cyrus was known as The Father and Kambyses's successor, Darius, was known as The Huckster; he ruled the empire with callous contempt for his subjects and his family.

While Kambyses was occupied with the subjugation of Egypt, he had a dream that implied that his brother, Smerdis, was going to usurp the throne of Persia in his absence; he sent an assassin back to Persia and had Smerdis secretly murdered (this covert act would nearly cause the downfall of the Persian Empire).

While Kambyses was in Africa, he conducted unsuccessful military campaigns against the city of Carthage, the city of Ammon, and the nation of Ethiopia; the mercenary sailors that Kambyses hired refused to engage the Carthaginians for fear of jeopardizing their trade cartel in the Mediterranean Sea; the fifty thousand soldiers he sent to burn the oracle of Zeus in Ammon disappeared in the desert and the army he led against Ethiopia nearly starved to death before they were forced to abandon their march; the frustration of these failed campaigns combined with Kambyses's cruel nature caused him to commit every type of blasphemy against the Egyptian gods and their temples.

Contrary to Persian tradition, Kambyses married two of his sisters and murdered one of them; Kambyses's madness progressed as he stayed in Egypt and when he finally decided to return to Persia he was hated and feared by the Egyptians, the Persians and his closest advisors; Kambyses had inherited the captured Lydian king, Kroesus (Croesus), from his father and, while in Egypt, Kroesus was forced to flee for his life because he dared to contradict Kambyses and offer criticism for the mad deeds that Kambyses inflicted on all those around him.

The oracle at Buto had told Kambyses that he would die in the city of Agbatana and Kambyses believed that he would die of old age in the Persian city by that name but while he was traveling through Syria, he stopped at the Syrian city of Agbatana and died of a wound from his own sword; before he died Kambyses received news from his capital city, Susa, that his brother, Smerdis, had assumed the throne; Kambyses knew that his brother was dead and he correctly surmised that an imposter was on his throne; he called the highest ranking Persians of his army to his death-bed and told them that he had ordered the murder of his brother and that he could not possibly be on the throne of the Persian empire; he told them that a false-Smerdis had assumed the throne and must be deposed at all costs; the Persians, who were accustomed to Kambyses's madness, simply refused to believe him and accepted the false-Smerdis as their new king; after a life of manipulation and indulgence, Kambyses died without heirs, respect or honor.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 3.1-39 and 3.61-66

Kanake (Canace)

A daughter of Aeolus (Aiolos) who committed suicide at her father's command because of her incestuous relationship with her brother, Makareos (Macareus).

Her other siblings were: Sisyphus, Alkyone (Alcyone), Athamas, Salmoneus and Kalyke (Calyce).

Kanethos (Canethus)

The son of Abas and the father of the Argonaut, Kanthos (Canthus); from the island of Euboea.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

His name may also be rendered as Kanethus or Canethos.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 77-85

Kantharos 1

Kantharos

A deep bowl connected to a flat base by a slender stem with two handles that rise above the brim and then curve downward to join the body.

Kantharos 2

A harbor near the city of Athens on the Saronic Gulf.

Kantharos (Cantharus) is part of the port facilities of Athens; the port of Piraeus actually consisted of three separate docking areas with two larger areas flanking a smaller center dock; on the west was the Kantharos or Augreat harbor; the small round harbor of Zea was in the center and Munychia was on the east; the harbors were administered from a small settlement located on the high ground of the Munychia promontory.

Munychia was fortified by the Athenian tyrant Hippias (527-510 BCE) but the entire port area, including Kantharos, was not protected by walls until circa 493 BCE when Themistocles began making defensive preparations for the Persian invasion of 490 BCE; there was also an unprotected anchorage used by the Athenians called Phaleron but the docking facilities of Piraeus were considered to be more important so Phaleron was left unfortified.

After losing the war with Sparta (circa 404 BCE), the Long Walls were torn down by the Spartan general, Lysander; it wasn't until 393 BCE that new walls were built to protect Piraeus; the new walls followed a slightly different overland route to the sea than the original walls but the purpose was essentially the same, i.e. to allow protected access to Piraeus from nearby Athens; the three separate docking facilities could accommodate nearly 100 ships each; the two larger docks (Kantharos and Munychia) were used as commercial docks and the smaller docking area of Zea was used as a military facility.

Kanthos (Canthus)

One of the Argonauts; the son of Kanethos (Canethus) from the island of Euboea.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

After the Argonauts had successfully obtained the Golden Fleece and were headed home, they were stranded in Libya; when they began a desperate search for water, Kanthos encountered a flock of sheep that belonged to the grandson of Apollon, Kaphauros (Caphauros); as Kanthos was leading the sheep away, Kaphauros challenged and killed him; the other Argonauts avenged their comrade's death by killing Kaphauros.

His name may also be rendered as Kanthus or Canthos.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 77-85 and 1485-1501

Kapaneus (Capaneus)

A commander in the army known as the Seven Against Thebes; the father of Sthenelos (Sthenelus).

Polyneikes (Polyneices) and his brother Eteokles (Eteocles) were in a deadly dispute as to who should be the king of Thebes after the self-imposed exile of their father, Oedipus; Eteokles tricked Polyneikes into thinking that the two of them could take turns sitting on the throne but once on the throne, Eteokles refused to honor his agreement and banished Polyneikes from Thebes; Polyneikes went to Argos and formed an army known as the Seven Against Thebes to attack the seven gates of Thebes and reclaim the throne; Kapaneus was one of the commanders of the Seven.

The Seven Against Thebes lost the battle and with the exception of Adrastus (Adrestos), all of the commanders were killed including Polyneikes and Kapaneus; Kapaneus was not killed by the Thebans, he was killed by Zeus for his blasphemy against the Immortals.

Ten years after the failure of the Seven Against Thebes, the sons of the seven commanders attacked Thebes again; they were called the Epigoni, i.e. After-Born (the children of the Seven), and were led by Adrastus; Kapaneus's son Sthenelos was one of the Epigoni and they successfully captured Thebes.

In the play Oedipus at Kolonus (Colonus) by Sophocles, Kapaneus was so hostile towards the King Eteokles of Thebes, he wanted to reduce the city to a pile of ashes.

Battle of Frogs and Mice, line 282

Contest of Homer and Hesiod, section 325, line 10

Kaphauros (Caphauros)

The grandson of Apollon and Akakallis (Acacallis) and the brother of Nasamon; he slew the Argonaut, Kanthos (Canthos), for trying to steal his sheep; when the other Argonauts found out about the death of their comrade, they killed Kaphauros.

His name may also be rendered as Kaphaurus or Caphaurus.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 4, lines 1485-1501

Kappa

The tenth letter of the Greek alphabet; uppercase Κ, lowercase κ.

The ancient Greeks did not have lowercase letters in their alphabet; the lowercase letters were not invented until the ninth century CE, i.e. about eleven hundred years ago.

Letters of the Greek alphabet were also used as numerals; the letter kappa represented the number 20 and was written as a simple κ or as kappa followed by an acute accent, κ'.

Karchedonians (Carchedonians)

The Greek name for the Carthaginians, i.e. the residents of the city of Carthage in northern Africa.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 3.17

Karia (Caria)

Karia

A Greek settlement located on the coast of the Aegean Sea in southern Asia Minor; located north of Lykia (Lycia) and south of Lydia; the entire area is generally referred to as Ionia; the principal city of Karia was Miletos (Miletus).

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Karneades (Carneades)

A Greek philosopher circa 214?-129? BCE; he taught at the Academy in Athens and is considered to be typical of the teachings of what is called the New Academy; he taught that our perceptions are our only reference to Truth but that the nature of individual perceptions make Certainty a matter of perspective.

Karneia

A nine day festival held at Sparta in honor of Apollon during the month Metageitnion which would be the modern equivalent of the last half of August and the first half of September.

Karpathos (Carpathus)

A Greek island mid-way between the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

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Karpophorus (Carpophorus)

An epithet for Demeter and her daughter, Persephone; the word literally means Fruit-Bearer or Fruit-Tribute.

Karyae (Caryae)

An ancient city on the Peloponnesian Peninsula on the slopes of Mount Parnonas; now known as Karyes in the prefecture of North Lakonia.

Karyae was well known for its sacred precincts of Artemis and the Nymphs; Artemis was worshiped as Karyatis and as part of the ceremonial rituals, young virgins, called Karyatides, would dance in honor of the goddess; this tradition inspired the construction of columns in the shape of young women and appropriately called Karyatids (Caryatids); the most famous Karyatids were used on the portico of the Erechtheium on the Acropolis of Athens.

Approximate East Longitude 22º 30' and North Latitude 37º 17'

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Karyatids (Caryatids)

Karyatids

Columns shaped to look like women draped in flowing dresses.

The most famous Karyatids are the ones which were placed in the southern portico of the Erechtheum on the Acropolis in Athens; the Karyatids are representative of Artemis as the Maiden of Karyae (Caryae), i.e. a city in Lakonia (Laconia), modern Karyes.

Karyatis (Caryatis)

A name for Artemis derived from the city in Lakonia, Karyae (Caryae), modern Karyes, which had a famous precinct dedicated to Artemis and the Nymphs; the name means Maiden of Karyae and was the theme for the female-shaped columns called the Karyatids (Caryatids) found in temples throughout Greece.

Kassander (Cassander)

(circa 354-279 BCE) The king of Macedon from 301-297 BCE; the son of Antipater.

Kassandra (Cassandra)

Kassandra

The daughter Priam and Hekabe (Hecabe); as a member of the royal household of Troy she was witness to the fall of her father's city and the tragic enslavement and/or murder of the population.

In The Iliad, Kassandra is portrayed as the devoted daughter of the king and queen but in later tragedies, such as Agamemnon by Aeschylus, she was given a darker, more tragic countenance; she was said to have been loved by Apollon but rejected him; as a punishment, Apollon gave her the gift of prophecy with the condition that no one believe her predictions; when she tried to warn her father that Troy was going to be overrun by the Greeks, she was ignored.

After Troy was reduced to ashes and her parents were dead, Agamemnon took her to his home as a concubine; she tried to warm him of his impending murder but, because of the curse of Apollon, she was disbelieved and finally killed as a witch.

The above image shows Kassandra clutching the statue of Athene (Athena) after the Argives had breached the walls of Troy.

Kassiopeia (Cassiopeia)

The wife of Kepheus (Cepheus) and mother of Andromeda; she and Kepheus ruled Ethiopia.

Kassiopeia boasted that her lovely daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than the immortal Nereids; the Nereids were insulted by such immodest boasting and prevailed on Poseidon (lord of the Sea) to send one of his ketos, i.e. sea monsters, to lay waste to Ethiopia; when Kassiopeia and Kepheus consulted an oracle they were told that if Andromeda was sacrificed to the Immortals the devastation could be averted; with no other alternatives, Kassiopeia and Kepheus prepared to sacrifice Andromeda and save their land from certain destruction; at this opportune time, Perseus was returning from his battle with the Gorgons and had the severed head of Medusa in his kibisis; he confronted the ketos and, with the magical powers instilled in the head of Medusa, turned the beast to stone and saved Andromeda.

Kassiterides (Cassiterides)

The Kassiterides were the famous but mysterious Tin Islands which the historian Herodotus mentioned in his Histories; Kassiterides literally means Tin-Producing; assumed to be Cornwall in the British Isles; tin was vital to the making of bronze and, other than the islands in the Indian Ocean, the British Isles were the closest source.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 3.315

Kastor (Castor)

Kastor

A son of Zeus and the twin brother of Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux); the two brothers are know as the Dioskuri (Dioscuri).

Kastor and Polydeukes were the sons of a mortal woman named Leda; Leda was the wife of King Tyndareus of Sparta but she came to the notice of Zeus because of her beauty and nobility; Zeus came to Leda disguised as a swan and seduced her; after Kastor and Polydeukes were born, Zeus also fathered Helen with Leda; it seems apparent that King Tyndareus knew that some of Leda's children were not his but he raised them as if they were his own; Kastor, Polydeukes and Helen had two half-sisters named Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra) and Timandra who were the children of Leda and Tyndareus.

The ages of Leda's children are not known with certainty but it is assumed that Kastor and Polydeukes were the oldest, followed by Klytemnestra, Helen and then Timandra.

Kastor and Polydeukes had several adventures which distinguished them as fearless fighters and honorable young men.

Kastor and Polydeukes joined the crew of the Argo and went on the Quest for the Golden Fleece; when Jason was organizing a crew of young heroes to sail with him to the distant land of Kolchis (Colchis) to retrieve the Golden Fleece, Kastor and Polydeukes were allowed to become members of the distinguished group who became known as the Argonauts, i.e. Argo Seamen.

While sailing with the Argonauts, Polydeukes had a deadly encounter with King Amykos (Amycus) of the Bebrykians (Bebrycians); when the Argo landed on the shores of King Amykos's domain, the arrogant king demanded that one of Argonauts box with him; Polydeukes was offended by the king's insulting behavior and eagerly stepped forward to fight; as they faced one another, King Amykos had the countenance of a creature of the dark earth whereas Polydeukes looked like a star in the heavens; the two contestants strapped leather hides on their fists and began to fight; the fight was fierce and Polydeukes took a few hard blows but he finally caught Amykos off balance and hit him in the side of the head so hard that he cracked the bones in Amykos's skull; when Amykos fell lifeless to the ground, the Bebrykians attacked the Argonauts but the young heroes killed the bravest of the Bebrykians and drove away the rest.

Helen, Kastor and Polydeukes were all semi-divine children of Zeus; that fact made Kastor and Polydeukes brave and handsome but it also made Helen the most beautiful and desirable female in the ancient world; when Helen was quite young, she was dancing at the Temple of Artemis in Sparta where she caught the attention of two otherwise respectable men, Theseus and Peirithoos (Peirithous); the two men became enchanted with Helen and kidnapped her; they drew lots to see who would be allowed to marry her; Theseus won the draw but that did not alter the fact that Helen was too young to marry; Kastor and Polydeukes began an exhaustive search of Attica where they encountered King Aphidnus; Kastor was wounded in the right thigh by Aphidnus but the search for Theseus and Helen continued until Kastor and Polydeukes sacked Athens; Helen was finally found and returned to Sparta.

We cannot be sure how old Kastor and Polydeukes were when they became immortal but we do know that they were no longer mortal at the time of the Trojan War, i.e. 1250 BCE; the young men were caught stealing the cattle of Idas and Lynkeos (Lynceus); Kastor was killed by Idas and then Polydeukes killed Idas and Lynkeos; as a reward for being his sons, Zeus gave Kastor and Polydeukes immortality every-other day, i.e. one would dwell in the Underworld while the other lived on the face of the earth; eventually, the two brothers were placed in the heavens as the constellation Gemini, The Twins.

Text References

Kekeides (Ceceides)

A comic poet before circa 450 BCE.

Kekrops (Cecrops)

Kekrops

A snake-like being who was the second king of Athens and Attica; Aktaeus (Actaeus) was the first king of what is now Attica but at that time was called Aktaea; when Aktaeus died, his son-in-law Kekrops became king.

Kekrops had four children; a son named Erysichthon and three daughters named Herse, Agauros and Pandrosos; Erysichthon died before Kekrops so when Kekrops died, kingship fell to a man named Kranaos (Cranaus) who was the most powerful man in Athens; among the daughters of Kranaos was a woman named Atthis; Athens was of course named after the goddess Athene (Athena) but Attica was named after Atthis.

Gaia (Earth) and Hephaistos (Hephaestus) had a son named Erichthonius; Gaia gave the infant Erichthonius to the goddess Athene (Athena) for protection; Athene put Erichthonius in a chest and gave it to the three daughters of King Kekrops to guard, with the admonition that they never open the chest; even after being warned by the goddess, the young women could not resist opening the chest; when they beheld the snake-like appearance of Erichthonius, they went mad and threw themselves from the rocky plateau of the Acropolis of Athens.

The daughters of King Kekrops should have been accustomed to the reptilian form of their father so the fact that they went mad after seeing Erichthonius would indicate that Erichthonius was not only reptilian, he must have been truly frightening; the time in which Kekrops and Erichthonius lived is not known but since we are dealing with the original founding of Athens, it is not hard to imagine that the Athens of Kekrops and Erichthonius was well before any historical mention of the city; according to Plato, the original Athens was founded during the age of Atlantis which would have been approximately 11000 years ago; the first iteration of Athens was destroyed after their successful war against the Atlantians and then re-founded with the continued benevolence of Athene.

Keladeinos

An epithet for Artemis as the goddess of the hunt; specifically, the noise of the hunt.

Kelaeno (Celaeno)

One of the seven daughters of Atlas known as the Pleiades.

The hunter Orion relentlessly pursued the girls until they were changed into pigeons by Zeus and eventually put into the night sky as the constellation, the Pleiades; to see the Pleiades from the northern hemisphere, the sisters are located above and to the right of the constellation of Orion in the zodiacal house of Taurus.

Kelaeno's sisters are: Alkyone (Alcyone), Asterope, Elektra (Electra), Maia, Merope and Taygete.

Kelebe

An ovoid krater having handles that drop almost vertically to the shoulder from the horizontal extensions on the rim.

Keleos (Celeos)

The king of the city of Eleusis who unwittingly took the goddess, Demeter, into his home to be a nurse for his son, Demophoon.

Keleos and his wife, Metaneira, did not recognize Demeter because she was disguised as an old woman; when Metaneira caught Demeter placing Demophoon into the fireplace to make him immortal, Demeter revealed her true identity and promised to make Eleusis the site of her most sacred temple.

Hymn to Demeter, line 184

Kelmis (Celmis)

One of the Idaean (Idaian) Daktyls who dwelt on Mount Ida on the island of Crete.

The Daktyls were born in a cave on Mount Dikte on the island of Crete; their mother was the Nymph Anchiale from the Cretan town of Oiaxos (now Axos); the Daktyls were famous for their skills as metal workers and magicians.

Hesiod states that the Idaian Daktyls taught the smelting and tempering of iron on Crete; the only three Daktyls mentioned by name are Kelmis, Damnameneus and Delas (or perhaps his name was Scythes); Kelmis and Damnameneus discovered iron on the island of Cyprus and are said to be the first Daktyls; Delas is credited with the discovery of bronze smelting.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, line 1129

Diodorus Siculus, book 3.74.4

The Idaean Daktyls

Kentauroi (Centaurs)

The children of Kentauros; an intelligent race of beings having the head, trunk and arms of a man but with the body of a horse.

Centaur and Eros

A centaur being ridden by the primal god of Love, Eros.

For many generations before the Trojan War, the Centaurs were a recognized part of the Greek culture; Centaurs were not a common sight in most cities but all Greek citizens knew of their existence and honored the contributions the Centaurs made to the education and protection of many of the Greek heroes and demigods; illustrious figures such as Herakles (Heracles), Jason, Achilles and Apollon's sons Aristaios (Aristaeus) and Asklepios (Asclepius) were all nurtured and educated by the most noble of the Centaurs, Cheiron (Chiron).

King Ixion of Thessaly was guilty of a despicable crime that initiated a series of events that eventually resulted in the creation of the Centaurs; Ixion arranged to have his father-in-law fall into a pit of burning coals so that he would not have to pay the dowry for his wife, Dia; Zeus was magnanimous and forgave Ixion for his crime but the arrogant king was not humbled or repentant; without regard for the consequences, Ixion tried to seduce Zeus's sister/wife, Hera; Zeus created a counterfeit Hera in the form of a cloud and allowed Ixion to mate with the cloud-woman, who was named Nephele; she had a son named Kentauros who became the progenitor of the Centaurs when he mated with the Magnesian mares; Magnesia was located near Mount Pelion and the Centaurs made their homes in the woodlands surrounding the mountain.

The benevolent assistance of Cheiron seems typical of the relations between the Centaurs and the Greeks but there were several violent encounters between Herakles and the Centaurs; the Centaurs were always the instigators of the conflict and justly, always the losers in every situation.

Herakles and Pholos - During the trials of his Fourth Labor, Herakles was the guest of a Centaur named Pholos (Pholus); as a gesture of friendship, Pholos opened a jar of wine that had been left by Dionysos four generations previous, with the instructions that the jar was to be opened when Herakles arrived as a guest; the smell of the aged wine attracted the neighboring Centaurs and sent them into a frenzy; the violence of the Centaurs and the suddenness of their attack made Pholos hide but Herakles refused to cower; a terrible fight ensued; some of the Centaurs ripped up pine trees to use as weapons, others threw boulders or brandished firebrands and axes; the Centaurs were aided by Nephele, who sent down a heavy rain to make Herakles slip and fall thus giving the four-legged Centaurs an advantage; Herakles also had an advantage that the Centaurs did not suspect; during his Second Labor Herakles killed the multi-headed Hydra and dipped his arrows in the Hydra's poisonous blood; using the poisoned arrows, Herakles killed a good number of the Centaurs and forced the rest to flee; those killed in the fight included: Daphnis, Argeius, Amphion, Hippotion, Oreius, Isoples, Melanchaetes, Thereus, Doupon, and Phrixus; sadly, Cheiron was also killed in the confusion; when Pholos was burying the dead Centaurs, he was pricked by one of the poisoned arrows and died; Herakles arranged an elaborate funeral for Pholos and the mountain where he was buried became known as Mount Pholoe to honor him; a Centaur named Homadus escaped the wrath of Herakles only to face the hero in a deadly encounter in Arkadia (Arcadia).

Herakles and Homadus - Because of the trickery of Hera, Herakles was forced to perform Twelve Labors for his cousin Eurystheus; Herakles said that Eurystheus was a hard master and resented the fact that he was bound to such an inferior man; when the Centaur Homadus tried to force his affections on Eurystheus's daughter Alkyone (Alcyone), Herakles came to her defense and killed Homadus without hesitation; Herakles was praised for his actions by the people of Greece because they knew that he had no love for Eurystheus but defended the helpless Alkyone in spite of his hostilities towards her father.

Herakles and Nessos - Herakles led a trying and tragic life so it does not seem strange that his end came with suffering and pain; while traveling with his wife Deianeira and young son Hyllos, they came to the river Evenus where they met the Centaur, Nessos; Nessos offered to carry Deianeira across the river on his back while Herakles waded across with Hyllos; Nessos quickly transported Deianeira across the river and, with unbridled depravity, tried to forcibly seduce her; Herakles fell on the Centaur with savage fury and moments later Nessos lay bleeding to death on the riverbank; before he died, Nessos managed to commit one last act of malice when he secretly told Deianeira that his blood was a powerful love potion; he said that if she were to put the magic blood on Herakles it would bind him to her forever; Deianeira collected some of Nessos's blood and put it on Herakles's cloak; the result was disastrous; the blood was poison to Herakles and burned him like acid; Deianeira was horrified but she unable to help Herakles; she killed herself in desperation; Herakles was saved from death by either the goddess Athene (Athena) or Nike (Victory).

The Centaurs and the Greeks lived more-or-less peacefully with one another until shortly after the Quest for the Golden Fleece; when the Argonauts sailed on their Quest, Cheiron attended their departure holding the infant Achilles in his arms; after that, relations between the Centaurs and the Greeks began to deteriorate until the Centaurs and the Greeks waged war on one another.

King Peirithoos (Peirithous) of the Lapithae (Lapiths) was at the center of the dispute with the Centaurs but whether he was a victim or an instigator is not clear; one source suggests that the hostilities began over a land dispute between Peirithoos and the Centaurs; Peirithoos was the son of Dia, the wife of Ixion, but it was generally believed that Zeus, not Ixion, was Peirithoos's father; the Centaurs saw it differently and claimed that Peirithoos and Kentauros were both sons of Ixion and that since Peirithoos and Kentauros were brothers, they were both entitled to an equal share of Thessaly after Ixion died; since the Centaurs were the sons of Kentauros, they demanded their share of their father's kingdom but Peirithoos would not yield to what he considered to be baseless demands.

The most accepted explanation for the cause of the war between the Centaurs and the Greeks had to do with the disruption of a wedding feast by the Centaurs; the wedding was for Peirithoos and Hippodamia (Hippodameia) and the Centaurs were invited guests; the Centaurs became intoxicated and began to harass the Lapithae women and tried to kidnap Hippodamia; Peirithoos, Theseus and the Lapithae men began to fight with the Centaurs and a bitter war ensued; the Lapithae eventually drove the Centaurs from the area of Mount Pelion; after the war, the Centaurs moved southward to the Peloponnesian Peninsula where they faded into obscurity and are assumed to now be extinct.

Centauromachy

Artwork depicting the war with the Centaurs (Centauromachy) was a popular theme and prominent on the walls of many ancient building such as the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Apollon at Bassae.

Text References

Keos (Ceos)

One of the islands of the Kyklades (Cyclades) group located near the coast of Attica with an area of 60 square miles (155 square kilometers); now known as Kea or Kea Kithnos.

Approximate East Longitude 24º 33' and North Latitude 37º 62'

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Kephallenia (Cephallenia)

Largest of the Ionian Islands located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece; with an area of 287 square miles (743 square kilometers); now known as Kefallinia or Kefalonia.

Approximate East Longitude 20º 30' and North Latitude 38º 20'

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Kephalos (Cephalus)

Eos abducting Kephalos

Kephalos was the son of Deion (Deioneus) and became a divine spirit through a series of tragic events caused by his affiliation with the goddess Eos (Dawn).

Kephalos married Prokris (Procris) who was the daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens; the happy marriage of Kephalos and Prokris was soon disrupted by Eos who desired the companionship of Kephalos and abducted him; Eos and Kephalos had a splendid son named Phaethon.

Understandably, Prokris became jealous of Kephalos's affair with Eos so, to ease Prokris's anger, the goddess, Artemis, gave her a dog which had once belonged to King Minos of the island of Crete; the dog was named Lailaps (Storm) and could catch anything it pursued; also, Artemis gave Prokris a spear that would strike any prey at which it was thrown; Prokris gave the hound and spear to Kephalos as an act of reconciliation but she was still unsure of Eos's intentions; acting on her suspicions, Prokris secretly followed Kephalos when he went hunting; when Kephalos heard a noise in the bushes he hurled the spear at what he thought was an animal but hit Prokris, killing her.

Kephalos was forced to flee Athens and went to the city of Thebes where he was absolved of his blood guilt and allowed to became a citizen; when Herakles's (Heracles's) stepfather, Amphitryon, was given the task of hunting down a deadly fox which had been terrorizing the people of Thebes, he enlisted the help of Kephalos and his trusty hound; just as the unstoppable dog was about to catch the fox, Zeus intervened and turned the hound and fox into stone near a hill called Teumessus and thus the fox was thereafter named the Teumesian Fox.

Eos and Kephalos had a son named Phaethon; when Phaethon was a young boy he was very beautiful and full of childish thoughts; Aphrodite (goddess of Love) became attracted to Phaethon and seized him; she made Phaethon the keeper of her shrine by night, a divine spirit; it is not clear where the shrine was located and by making him a divine spirit, we are not sure if Phaethon became immortal or just retained the divine spirit of his mother, Eos.

His name may be rendered as Kephalos, Cephalos, Kephalus and Cephalus

Theogony, line 986

The Epigoni, fragment 2

Kepheus (Cepheus) 1

One of the sons of Aleus; brother of Amphidamas and Auge; one of the Argonauts.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

His name may also be rendered as Kepheos or Cepheos.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 161-171

Kepheus (Cepheus) 2

The Ethiopian king; the husband of Kassiopeia (Cassiopeia) and father of Andromeda.

His homeland was nearly destroyed when his wife, Kassiopeia, offended the Nereids by saying that her daughter was more lovely than the Nereids; the Nereids were insulted by such immodest boasting and prevailed on Poseidon (lord of the Sea) to send one of his ketos, i.e. sea monsters, to lay waste to Ethiopia; when Kassiopeia and Kepheus consulted an oracle they were told that if Andromeda was sacrificed to the Immortals the devastation could be averted; with no other alternatives, Kassiopeia and Kepheus prepared to sacrifice Andromeda and save their land from certain destruction; at this opportune time, Perseus was returning from his battle with the Gorgons and had the severed head of Medusa in his kibisis; he confronted the ketos and, with the magical powers instilled in the head of Medusa, turned the beast to stone and saved Andromeda.

Kephisos (Cephisus)

The god of the river Kephisos and the father of Narkissos (Narcissus) and Eteoklos (Eteoclus).

When Narkissos rejected the love of the beautiful Nymph Echo, either Aphrodite (goddess of Love) or Nemesis (Divine Retribution) punished Narkissos for his arrogance by causing him to become obsessed with his own image; he spent his life gazing at his reflection and finally wasted away.

Eteoklos is credited with introducing the worship of the Graces by offering sacrifices to them.

Kera (Cera)

One of the many children of Nix (Night); her name means Fate, i.e. inevitable death; she is referred to as Black Fate which gives her dominion a more negative connotation, as in Doom.

In the poem, Shield of Herakles (Heracles), she is described as almost ghoulish in nature, i.e. she is dragging dead and wounded men across the battlefield and her clothing is stained with blood.

Her name may also be rendered as Ker or Cer.

Iliad (Lattimore), (Death the destructive) book 18, line 535

Iliad (Loeb), (destructive Fate) book 18, line 535

Iliad (Fagles), (violent Death) book 18, line 623

Iliad (Fitzgerald), (ghastley Fate) book 18, line 616

Theogony, line 212

Shield of Herakles, line 156

Kerameikos (Cerameicus)

Kerameikos

The Kerameikos, i.e. the Potter's Quarter, was one of the largest districts of ancient Athens; the Kerameikos was once the center for the Athenian pottery industry; the famous Attic Vases were made there but it is now a cemetery; the earliest tombs date from the Bronze Age of the Sub-Mycenaean Period, i.e. 1100-1000 BCE; the cemetery was used continuously until the sixth century CE.

The Kerameikos was named after Keramos (Ceramus) who was a son of Dionysos (Bacchus, god of Wine) and Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete.

Modern excavation of the cemetery began in 1863 CE and has continued to this day; the exposed ground of the Kerameikos that we see today is essentially at the same level as it was in ancient times.

Images of Kerameikos

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Keras (The Fates)

The Keras; the Daughters of Necessity; born of Zeus and Themis.

The Fates have a page in the Immortals section of this site … click on the above link to view that page.

Kerberos (Cerberus)

Kerberos

An offspring of the monster Echidna and the snake-bodied Typhaon; he was the ferocious watchdog of the Underworld and was said to have fifty heads, a dragon tail and snakes writhing from his body; the artistic and written descriptions of Kerberos differ as to the number of heads but the common theme is constant in that he was a beast of untamed savagery who only obeyed the voice of Hades (lord of the Dead) or his bride, Persephone.

Kerberos stands at the gates of the House of Hades and fawns on the dead as they enter but will savagely eat anyone trying to pass back through the gates and return to the land of the living.

To complete his Twelfth Labor, Herakles (Heracles) was required to descend into the Underworld and bring Kerberos to the surface; Herakles descended into the Underworld and confronted his uncle, Hades; either through consideration for Herakles or intimidation by Zeus's wrath, Hades agreed to let Herakles temporarily take Kerberos into the sunlight on the condition that no weapons be used to subdue the beastly hound; when Herakles presented Kerberos to his cousin and taskmaster, Eurystheus, he hid in a giant urn in the ground.

His name may also be rendered as Kerberus or Cerberos.

Theogony, lines 311 and 769

Keres (Ceres)

A child of Nyx (Night); the personification of Misery.

Kerigo (Cerigo)

One of the Ionian Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea south of the Peloponnesian Peninsula with an area of 108 square miles (280 square kilometers); site of an ancient Temple of Aphrodite (goddess of Love).

Kerkeis (Cerceis)

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, line 355

Kerkopes (Cercopes)

Kerkopes

The Kerkopes were two Monkey-Men named Passalus and Akmon (Acmon); the story of their exploits only survives as depictions in artwork and casual references by Classical writers; the name Kerkopes is actually an obscene reference to the way the two brothers looked because their faces had the appearance of male genitalia.

Passalus and Akmon were the sons of Theia and Okeanos (Ocean) but their divine heritage did not save them from a truly bad reputation; one ancient quotation reads, 'Liars and cheats, skilled in deeds irremediable, accomplished knaves; far over the world they roamed deceiving men as they wandered continually'; they eventually went too far with their knavery and were turned to stone for trying to deceive Zeus.

Herakles's encounter with the Kerkopes was a popular artistic theme beginning in the early sixth century BCE and continuing well into the fourth century; the story was popular from mainland Greece to the island of Sicily.

As Herakles was sleeping under a tree, Passalus and Akmon stole his bow; Herakles caught the barbaric looking brothers and tied them upside-down to a pole which he carried over his shoulder; the two mischievous characters were not only unrepentant but highly amused by their plight and, as they dangled behind Herakles, they began making disparaging comments about Herakles's hairy posterior; Herakles, who was so accustomed to sorrow and brutality, couldn't resist the infectious good humor of the Kerkopes and set them free.

Several Classical and Hellenistic writers thought that Homer had written a poem about the Kerkopes as one of his "fun" poems but most writers of that time rejected the idea.

Kerkyon (Cercyon)

Kerkyon the Arkadian (Arcadian); the wrestler who was beaten to death by Theseus; Kerkyon's daughter Alope became the consort of Poseidon (lord of the Sea).

Kerkyon was unable to protect his daughter Alope from the unwanted advances of Poseidon; the union of Alope and Poseidon gave her a son named Hippothoos; after the birth of Hippothoos, Kerkyon put Alope to death.

Theseus wrestling with Kerkyon

Theseus wrestling with Kerkyon

Kerkyon then gained a bad reputation by forcing passersby to wrestle with him; he was a very strong man and defeated everyone he challenged until he encountered Theseus.

Theseus was the son of King Aegeus of Athens and Aethra of Troezen; Theseus was destined to become an Athenian king but before he could claim his heritage, he had to travel from his mother's home in Troezen to Athens; on his way to Athens, Theseus had to face a variety of dangers and villains; at the city of Eleusis, Theseus was forced to wrestle with Kerkyon; no one had ever survived a wrestling match with Kerkyon because of his imposing physical strength but Theseus overpowered him using "technique" rather then brute strength; once he had subdued Kerkyon, he proceeded to beat the helpless man to death.

Lives by Plutarch, Theseus, 11.1 and 29.1

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 1 (Attica) 5.2

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 1 (Attica) 39.3

Catalogue of Women, (Loeb Classical Library vol. 503, Hesiod II), fragment 243

Kerkyra (Cercyra) 1

The northernmost of the Ionian Islands located south of where the narrowest part of the Adriatic Sea joins the Ionian Sea to the south; the ancient name of the island was Kerkyra but it is now known as Korfu (Corfu); 593 square miles (1,536 square kilometers) in size.

Kerkyra

According to the historian Thucydides (circa 460-400 BCE) Kerkyra was in fact the island of the Phaiakians (Phaeacians) which was Odysseus's last landfall before he reached his home island of Ithaka (Ithaca) circa 1230 BCE.

In the early eighth century BCE traders from the Euboean cities of Chalkis (Chalcis) and Eretria settled Kerkyra and built the city of Drepane with two harbors to support their commercial ventures; Kerkyra's strategic location between Greece and Italy provided a convenient stopover for Greek ships sailing to Italy and the island of Sicily; circa 733 BCE colonists from Corinth moved to Kerkyra and the island began to prosper; as time went by, the islanders began to gradually sever their ties to Corinth; this disrespectful behavior was ignored until 435 BCE when Kerkyra had a conflict with its colony of Epidamnus; Epidamnus was an island further north on the coast of Greece; tyrants began to abuse the people of Epidamnus and Kerkyra refused to help resolve the (according to the Epidamnians) deplorable situation; Epidamnus appealed to the Corinth for help citing their Corinthian origins; the Corinthians organized a fleet which was met and defeated by the Kerkyrians; when it became evident that Corinth was getting ready to mount another military assault to rescue Epidamnus, the Kerkyrians went to Athens seeking an alliance; Kerkyra, Corinth and Athens were the only real maritime powers in Greece which meant that an alliance between any of the two would be an genuine threat to all Greek island and costal cities.

At this point in Greek history, the Athenians and Spartans were maintaining an uneasy truce; both cities had been involved in military conflicts with their colonies and other Greek nations since their allied defeat of the Persians in 480 BCE; both cities were experienced and well equipped for war; a Thirty Year Truce was all that kept the two cities from open conflict; the friction between Kerkyra and Corinth provided the spark that ignited the long and bloody Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).

Athens took the side of Kerkyra and Sparta supported Corinth; twenty-seven years of warfare followed; Sparta won the war and Kerkyra, as an ally of Athens, suffered; to show their subservience to Sparta, the Athenian representatives on Kerkyra were murdered but that did not stop the Spartans from imposing their hegemony on the island; Kerkyra remained a restless asset of Sparta until 375 BCE when Kerkyra again sought an alliance with Athens.

A series of Greek rulers dominated Kerkyra until 229 BCE when Kerkyra became the property of the Roman Empire.

The island is now called Korfu but the principal city of the island is still known as Kerkyra.

The name may also be rendered as Korkira, Korkyra, Corcira and Corcyra.

Approximate East Longitude 19º 45' and North Latitude 39º 40'

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Kerkyra (Cercyra) 2

The daughter of the spring Asopos (Asopus) who was carried off by Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and relocated on an island which was then named after her; her island is located in the Ionian Sea near the coast of modern Herzegovina; the dense forests of the island made it appear black and thus earned the name Black Kerkyra.

The name may also be rendered as Korkira or Corcira.

Kernos

A large clay dish used in the worship of Kybele (Cybele), the Mother of Gods, in her temple at Athens.

The temple, the Metroum, was built circa 430 BCE in an attempt to appease Kybele and free Athens from the plague which was decimating the population; the philosopher, Diogenes of Sinope is said to have slept in the Kernos as a demonstration of his commitment to the ideals of austerity and poverty.

Keryneian Hind (Ceryneian Hind)

This magical beast was the subject of one of the Labors of Herakles (Heracles).

The hind, i.e. female deer, was portrayed with golden horns which is indicative of a male deer; it was sacred to Artemis and was named after a Peloponnesian river; Herakles spent a year searching for the elusive deer before he was able to capture it.

While returning the hind to his cousin, Eurystheus, Herakles encountered Apollon and Artemis; they demanded the return of the sacred creature but Herakles successfully argued the justice of his quest and was allowed to complete his Labor.

Keto (Ceto)

The daughter of Gaia (Earth) and Pontos (the Sea).

Keto was the consort of her brother, Phorkys (Phorcys), and the mother of the Graiae (the Gray Sisters), the Gorgons, the six-headed monster, Skylla (Scylla) and the serpent, Ladon, who guards the Golden Apples of the Hesperides; she is the sister of Thaumas and Eurybia.

Theogony, lines 238, 270 and 333

Keyx (Ceyx) 1

The son of the Eophorus (the Morning Star) and the husband of Alkyone (Alcyone); they were both transformed into birds that bore their names; Alkyone was changed into a kingfisher and Keyx was changed into some sort of sea bird.

Keyx (Ceyx) 2

A king of Trachis mentioned in the poem, Shield of Herakles (Heracles) on line 354.

Kibisis

The bag that Perseus used to hold the head of the Gorgon, Medusa, after he had killed her.

Kikynna (Cicynna)

A deme in Attica which was one of several which were created after 510 BCE.

Killa (Cilla)

A sister of Priam who, with her infant son, was slain by Priam because it had been prophesied that a mother and child of the royal house would cause the destruction of the city of Troy.

Kimon (Cimon)

(507-449 BCE) An Athenian military leader, naval commander and statesman; the son of Miltiades the Younger.

Kimon came to prominence after the ouster of Themistokles (Themistocles) and in 479 BCE he was elected strategos which gave him almost unlimited powers in regard to Athenian military policy; he was less confrontational (some would say sympathetic) with Sparta and more focused on the subjugation of the islands and colonies of the Aegean Sea.

Kimon was finally forced to leave Athens in 461 BCE after a policy dispute with Pericles; he was ostracized for ten years but in 457 BCE he tried to rejoin his "tribe" in the battle-lines when the Spartans invaded the district of Tanagra; this might have been proof-positive that he had no confusion as to his loyalties but the followers of Pericles drove him from the ranks and would not let him fight for his city.

Pericles was instrumental in getting Kimon's citizenship restored but some say that this was done with the condition that Kimon not become involved in politics and spend his time on foreign military campaigns; regardless, Kimon served his city in peace and war and was finally killed in battle on the island of Cyprus.

Kinyras (Cinyras)

The king of the island of Cyprus and founder of the cult of Aphrodite on that island.

Kinyras was the father of Adonis by the unnatural union with his daughter, Zmyrna (perhaps her name was Myrrha); Zmyrna had dishonored Aphrodite and the goddess had her revenge by causing Kinyras to seduce his daughter; when Kinyras realized the enormity of his debauchery, he thought he could hide his crime by killing Zmyrna but the Immortals intervened and turned the disgraced girl into a myrrh tree.

Kirke (Circe)

Kirke

The Dread Goddess; the daughter of Helios (the Sun) who lived on the island of Aiaia (Aeaea), where Odysseus was stranded on his journey home from the city of Troy.

Kirke has a page in the Immortals section of this site … click on her photo to view that page.

Kirra (Cirra)

The port city of Delphi; Kirra was approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Delphi and therefore the most convenient port for transporting people and goods to the site of Apollon's Oracle.

Kirra

Kirra is a small port city in Phokis (Phocis) located where the Pleistus River enters the Corinthian Gulf.

The name is also rendered as Kirrha and Cirrha.

Google Map

Kithaeron (Cithaeron)

Mount Kithaeron is a mountain in northern Attica; 4,622 feet (1,409 meters) in height.

The name may also be rendered as Kithairon or Cithairon.

Google Map

Kithara (Cithara)

Kithara

An ancient Greek musical instrument with seven strings and a triangular wooden sounding board; played by Apollon and professional musicians; similar to the lyre.

Klazomenae (Clazomenae)

A Greek city in Lydia in Asia Minor on the southern coast of what is now known as the Gulf of Lzmir.

Kleander (Cleander)

Kleander was a Phigalian by race from Arkadia (Arcadia); he was a prophet and the instigator of a slave rebellion in the city of Tiryns circa 490 BCE.

The Oracle at Delphi instructed the Spartans to conquer Argos so they sent King Kleomenes (Cleomenes) with a sizable army to fulfill the oracles' command; King Kleomenes had a reputation for being a violent and unstable man so it was unfortunate that the Spartans sent him to Argos; when the Argives marched out to defend their city, Kleomenes killed a good portion of the defenders but many escaped to a sacred grove for sanctuary; Kleomenes cleverly told the men in the sacred grove that their ransoms had been paid and that they were free to go; as the men emerged, he had them killed; after forty or fifty men were killed, the others saw what was happening and refused to come out; Kleomenes had his Helots set the grove ablaze; there were no survivors.

With the men of Argos dead, the slaves took control of the city; after a generation, the sons of the Argives who had been killed by Kleomenes regained control of the city; the slaves relocated to the city of Tiryns and lived in harmony with the native inhabitants for a brief period; Kleander became the prophet for the displaced slaves and persuaded them to rise up and attack their masters; the conflict went on "for a long time" before the Argives were able to quell the revolt and regain control of their territory.

The damage done by King Kleomenes to the Argives was so devastating that they insisted that Kleomenes's subsequent mental deterioration and suicide were appropriate punishments for his war-crimes and the blasphemous desecration of a sacred grove.

Histories by Herodotus, book 6.83

Klearchus (Clearchus)

A Spartan general during the Peloponnesian War; died 401 BCE.

Kleeia (Cleeia)

One of the five daughters of Atlas who was placed in the heavens as a star and, with her sisters, formed the asterism, Hyades, in the constellation Taurus (the Bull); her sisters are: Phaesyle, Koronis (Coronis), Phaeo and Eudora.

The Astronomy, chapter 2

Kleio (Cleio)

One of the nine Muses; Kleio is the Muse who inspires epic poetry and history; her name means, To Celebrate.

Her name may also be rendered as Klio or Clio.

For more information on Kleio and her sisters, I suggest that you consult the Muses page in the Immortals section of this site.

Theogony, line 77

Kleisthenes (Cleisthenes)

An Athenian statesman; circa 515-495 BCE; after the ouster of the tyrant, Hippias, Kleisthenes led the popular movement for the establishment of a democratic state instead of a tyranny or oligarchy; he is most noted for redistributing the lands of Attica into ten "tribal" divisions; each section was called a deme.

His name may also be rendered as Klisthenes (Clisthenes).

Kleite (Cleite)

The daughter of King Merops of Perkote (Percote) and the wife of King Kyzikos (Cyzicus), ruler of the Doliones who dwelt on a peninsula attached to the Phrygian mainland and jutting into the Propontis (Sea of Marmara); Kleite hanged herself when Kyzikos was mistakenly killed by Jason and the Argonauts.

When the Argonauts chanced to encounter the Doliones, Kyzikos had just celebrated his marriage but left the bridal chamber to greet the illustrious crew of the Argo; after the formalities of hospitality had been observed, the Argonauts continued on their quest for the Golden Fleece and Kyzikos returned to his bride, Kleite.

After taking their leave of King Kyzikos, the Argonauts lost their way in the night and contrary winds blew them back to the peninsula; when the Doliones saw the Argo approaching in the night, they mistakenly assumed that they were being invaded by their enemies and attacked the Argonauts in the darkness; Jason killed Kyzikos in the heat of battle without realizing who he was fighting.

When the light of day revealed the horrible mistakes both sides had made, the Argonauts and the Doliones mourned the needless death of Kyzikos; Kleite could not endure the loss of her beloved husband and hanged herself; the Nymphs of the grove cried such tears that a fountain formed and was named after Kleite.

Her name may also be rendered as Klite or Clite.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 1012-1076

Kleito (Cleito)

The only daughter of Evenor and Leukippe (Leucippe) who dwelt on the central mountain of the island of Atlantis.

Kleito was a mortal woman and the wife of Poseidon (lord of the Sea); she and Poseidon had five pairs of twin boys who became the rulers of Atlantis; the twins were named: Atlas and Eumelus (or Gadeirus), Ampheres, and Evaemon, Mneseus, and Autochthon, Elasippus, and Mestor, and Azaes and Diaprepes; the descendants of Kleito were the rulers of Atlantis and the surrounding seas for many generations.

Plato, Kritias (Critias)

Kleobule (Cleobule)

The mother of Phoinix (Phoenix) and wife of Amyntor.

When Amyntor was being unfaithful to Kleobule, she begged Phoinix to seduce the mistress and turn her affections away from Amyntor; when Amyntor detected the plot, he cursed Phoinix and drove him from the city of Kalydon (Calydon).

Kleobulus (Cleobulus)

A Greek sage and lyric poet; fl. 560 BCE; a native and tyrant of the city Lindus on the island of Rhodes; he was sometimes included as one of the Seven Sages by some historians which is an indication of his reputation throughout the ancient civilized world.

The Seven Sages were a group of wise men who exemplified the characteristics and ideals of the ancient Greek rulers, lawgivers and advisors during the time period of 620-550 BCE.

Kleombrotos I (Cleombrotos I)

The twenty-first Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled from 380-371 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of King Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of King Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Beginning with Leonidas I (the sixteenth Agiadai king who ruled from 490-480 BCE) the names and dates for the Spartan kings became a part of the historical record and are generally accepted as factual; prior to Leonidas I the dates for the Spartan kings are extrapolated back from historical times to approximate the time periods in which each king ruled.

Kleomedes (Cleomedes) 1

One of the Thirty Tyrants elected to rule the city of Athens after the end of the Peloponnesian War (404 BCE).

Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men to lead the new post-war government; these men became known as the Thirty Tyrants; the short lived government they comprised was an oligarchy; an oligarchy is a system of government allowing a few select people or families to rule a city or region based on the assumption that their bloodline or intellect gave them a superior predisposition and right to rule.

The tyrants immediately began to prosecute Athenians who had been Spartan informers and collaborators during the long, hard war; the punishment of the guilty seemed appropriate to the common citizens and aristocrats alike but it soon became clear that the executions and banishments were going beyond the bounds of necessity or prudence; open hostilities soon developed between members of the Thirty and their authority and rule came to an end after one year.

Hellenica, book 2.3

Kleomedes (Cleomedes) 2

The hero of the island of Astypalaea (Astypalea).

At the seventy-first Olympiad (492 BCE) Kleomedes won the boxing match, his opponent Ikkos (Iccus) was killed; the traditional records of the Olympic victors list Kleomedes as the boxing champion but the traveler/historian Pausanias states that the umpires convicted Kleomedes of foul play and deprived him of his prize.

Racked by grief, Kleomedes became a madman by the time he returned to Astypalaea; he attacked a school and pulled down the pillar that supported the roof on top of sixty children; the enraged citizens began pelting Kleomedes with stones until he retreated into a sanctuary of Athene (Athena); he hid in a chest that was inside the sanctuary and pulled down the lid; try as they might, the people chasing Kleomedes could not pry open the lid of the chest; they finally broke open the boards of the chest but Kleomedes was not inside; there was no way he could have escaped from the chest without being see so the people of Astypalaea sent an envoy to the Oracle at Delphi; the Pythia responded, "Last of heroes is Kleomedes of Astypalaea; Honor him with sacrifices as being no longer a mortal."

From that time onward, Kleomendes was honored as a hero on the island of Astypalaea.

Astypalaea

The island of Astypalaea

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Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 6 (Elis 2) 9.6-8

Kleomenes I (Cleomenes I)

The fifteenth Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled circa 520-490 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of King Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of King Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Kleomenes was the son of King Anaxandrides but after Anaxandrides died Kleomenes did not gain the Agiadai throne by merit but rather because he was the first-born son of Anaxandrides's first wife; after Anaxandrides had been married long enough for him to have children but had none, the Spartan Ephors advised him to get a new wife who could have children; Anaxandrides at first rejected the idea but eventually took a second wife and she became pregnant; when she was ready to give birth, the first wife announced that she was pregnant; there was considerable doubt about the first wife being pregnant, even her relatives doubted her honesty; when the time came for the first wife to deliver her baby, the Ephors attended the birth to make sure there was no deception; Kleomenes was thus born.

The second wife of Anaxandrides had several children; Dorieos was her first born and he was at least a year older then Kleomenes but the Ephors decided that even though Kleomenes was not the first born son of Anaxandrides, he was the first-born son to Anaxandrides's first wife and therefore their choice to succeed Anaxandrides to the throne; Dorieos felt that he was in many ways superior to Kleomenes and deserved to be king but the Spartan Ephors held to the traditional line of inheritance and made Kleomenes king when Anaxandrides died.

Kleomenes was co-king with Demaratos (Demaratus), the fifteenth Eurypontidai king of Sparta; both men were self-serving in their own ways but Kleomenes was decidedly more brutal and mentally instable; even so, Demaratos was the one who was eventually forced to resign his kingship while Kleomenes remained king until the day he died buy his own hand.

Circa 515 BCE Kleomenes had an interesting encounter with the former despot of the island of Samos, Maiandrios; on that occasion Kleomenes acted with dignity and in strict accordance with the Spartan ideal; Maiandrios fled Samos because the Persians were taking over the island; he sailed to Sparta and tried to befriend Kleomenes by inviting him to dinner; as the servants were clearing the table, Kleomenes complimented Maiandrios on his impressive collection of silver and gold cups; Maiandrios casually and repeatedly offered Kleomenes as many cups as he wished to have; Kleomenes refused the gifts and assumed that Maiandrios would tempt other perhaps weaker-willed Spartans with similar gifts; Kleomenes alerted the Spartan elders as to Maiandrios's questionable behavior and they expelled him from their city.

Another encounter Kleomenes had with a non-Spartan demonstrated the nature not only of Kleomenes but of the Spartan temperament in general; Aristagoras, despot of Miletos, ventured to Sparta and tried to convince King Kleomenes to invade the Persian Empire; Aristagoras told Kleomenes that the Ionian colonists of Asia Minor were being enslaved by the Persians and that it was the duty of the strongest city in Greece (Sparta) to come to the colonists' rescue; furthermore, the Persians were weak militarily and very rich; Aristagoras said that the Spartans could easily defeat the Persians and control their entire empire; Aristagoras had what the Spartans called "a tablet of bronze" on which was depicted a map of the entire world; Aristagoras made a very intriguing presentation but Kleomenes asked him to come back in a few days so they would discuss the matter again.

When Aristagoras met with Kleomenes again, the king asked how long it would take to march from the sea to the Persian capitol; Aristagoras correctly replied that it was a three-month journey; Kleomenes immediately ended the conversation by saying that the Spartans would never march three months from the sea; to demonstrate his earnestness, Kleomenes told Aristagoras to be out of Sparta before the sun went down.

In 508 BCE an Athenian named Isagoras called upon Kleomenes to come to Athens and expel Kleisthenes (Cleisthenes) and some other Athenians who were becoming despots; Kleomenes marched a small army to Athens, defeated the Thessalian cavalry and proceeded to the city wall; before Kleomenes and allied Athenians could enter the city, Kleisthenes managed to secretly escape; Isagoras designated seven hundred Athenian families "accursed" because they were accused of murder; Kleomenes promptly ejected the "accursed" famlies from the city; Kleomenes dissolved the Athenian Senate and replaced its members with three hundred men who were the partisans of Isagoras.

Kleomenes ascended the acropolis with the intention of praying at in the temple of Athene (Athena) but a priestess bared the entrance; she told Kleomenes that it was not permitted for Dorians to enter the temple; Kleomenes said that he was an Achaean, not a Dorian; he paid no heed to the priestess and tried to enter the temple but was forced out; while this was going on, the citizens of Athens had a change of heart; they recalled Kleisthenes and the so-called "accursed' families; the citizens were convinced that Kleomenes and the Spartans were not their friends so they sent an envoy to Persia hoping to make an alliance; the Athenians who were allied with Kleomenes were executed and Kleomenes was trapped on the acropolis where he was held hostage and then finally released.

Kleomenes felt badly used by the Athenians and began plotting his revenge; he assembled a large army from various cities on the Peloponnesian Peninsula but was careful not to reveal the reason he was gathering an army; Kleomenes first objective was to capture the city of Eleusis and then proceed on to Athens; he used allies to distract the Athenians by attacking on the northern and eastern borders of Attica but the Athenians correctly saw that the threat they needed to take most seriously was from the Spartans; during the siege of Eleusis, the Corinthians decided not to fight and left the field; when King Demaratos, Kleomenes's co-king, saw what the Corinthians had done, he took the troops he commanded and returned to Sparta; the attack on Athenes was called off and Kleomenes too returned to Sparta; from that point on, Kleomenes and Demaratos did not cooperate on any venture.

Prior to 490 BCE when the Persians under King Darius (Dareios) were sending representatives to the Greek cities and islands in order to intimidate them into surrendering without a fight, the people of the island of Aegina offered the obligatory "earth and water" to show that they would willingly submit to the Great King; the Athenians were afraid that the Persians would use Aegina as a staging area to attack Athens and the Peloponnese; the Athenians succeeded in alarming the Spartans and induced them to send King Kleomenes to Aegina to punish them for allying themselves with the Persians; Demaratos used Kleomenes's absence from Sparta to make accusations against him; when Kleomenes returned to Sparta he was intent on ousting Demaratos and replacing him with a more compliant member of Demaratos's family named Leotychides; to do this Kleomenes revived an old controversy.

Demaratos was supposedly the son of King Ariston who had been one of the most revered kings in Spartan history; when Demaratos was born, there was some confusion as to whether Ariston was actually his father; Ariston was in a meeting with the Spartan Ephors when a servant brought the news that he was the father of a son; Ariston counted the months since his marriage and said aloud, "The child would not be mine"; Ariston quickly repented what he had said and named his new son Demaratos which means "prayed for by the people"; little attention was given to Ariston's outburst until years later when Kleomenes wanted to get rid of Demaratos.

Kleomenes prompted Leotychides to bring formal charges against Demaratos; the Ephors who had heard Ariston say that Demaratos was not his son were called to witness; this was such a serious matter that the Spartans decided to consult the Oracle at Delphi; Kleomenes was prepared for such a contingency; he used his influence (perhaps a bribe) to get the "prophecy" he desired from the oracle; a powerful citizen of Delphi named Kobon (Cobon) persuaded a Pythia named Perialla to say that Demaratos did not have the proper hereditary bloodline to be a king of Sparta; Demaratos was forced to resign.

Kleomenes became fearful about what the Spartans would do to him when they realized the extent of his role in the sacrilege of the Oracle at Delphi; he fled to Arkadia (Arcadia) and began organizing a following that would obey him without question; he called the Arkadian leaders together at the town of Nonakris (Nonacris) where the river Styx emerges from the Underworld; he made the Arkadians swear allegiance to him on the sacred waters of Styx; his plan was to attack Sparta; when the Spartans heard about Kleomenes's schemes, they became fearful and called him back to Sparta; they restored his kingly authority.

Kleomenes consulted the Oracle at Delphi and was advised to conquer Argos; he assembled an army and marched towards Argos; when he reached the Erasinos (Erasinus) River he made sacrifice for permission to cross; the omens were not good so he quite sensibly did not cross the river and admired the river for not betraying the people of Argos; determined to fulfill the wishes of the oracle, he went to the sea and sacrificed a bull; the omens were good so he sailed to Argos; using his heralds to scout the Argive defenses, Kleomenes attacked them while they were eating their morning meal; many Argives were killed, some escaped into a sacred grove and a few deserted to the Spartans; Kleomenes used the deserters to get the names of the men taking refuge in the sacred grove and calling them by name lured them out saying that a ransom had been paid and they were free to go; as the men would emerge from the thick woods of the sanctuary, Kleomenes had them killed; forty or fifty were killed in this way before the men inside the sanctuary realized what was happening; after that, none would come out.

Kleomenes set the sacred grove afire and killed all those inside; he asked one of the deserters to which god the grove was sacred; he was told that it was sacred to Argos; Kleomenes then realized how the Oracle of Apollon at Delphi had deceived him; when the oracle told him to conquer "Argos" Kleomenes assumed that the oracle was referring to the city of Argos but now it was clear that by burning the sacred grove of the Immortal Argos Kleomenes had in fact "conquered" Argos without attacking the city.

After the incident at the grove of Argos, Kleomenes proceeded to a temple of Hera to sacrifice; when the temple priest told him that strangers were not allowed to sacrifice at that temple, Kleomenes had his Helots forcibly remove the priest from the temple and scourge him; he offered a sacrifice to Hera and returned to Sparta.

The city of Argos was so devastated by the death of so many adult males that the slaves took control of the city; it was a generation before the sons of the Argives who had been killed by Kleomenes regained control of the city; the slaves relocated to the city of Tiryns and lived in harmony with the native inhabitants for a brief period; a prophet named Kleander (Cleander) incited a slave revolt which took many years to reconcile; the Argives insisted that Kleomenes's deteriorating mental condition and suicide were appropriate punishments for his war-crimes and the blasphemous desecration of a sacred grove.

Other explanations were given the explain Kleomenes's decline into mental illness; most of the Greeks believed that Kleomenes suffered an ignominious end because he unscrupulously used the Oracle at Delphi to discredit King Demaratos; the Athenians thought that Kleomenes was driven insane because he had invaded Eleusis and laid waste the sacred enclosure of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone; the Spartans had a less divine explanation for Kleomenes's mental breakdown; according to the Spartans, Kleomenes had become a drinker of unmixed wine after his association with the Scythians; prior to the Persian invasion of Greece in 490 BCE, the Scythians sent envoys to Sparta to ask for assistance; Kleomenes spent more time with the Scythians than was appropriate for a man of his status; Kleomenes learned the practice of drinking wine unmixed with water from the Scythians and his mind deteriorated as a direct result of this behavior; when the Spartans wished to drink stronger wine they would say, "Fill up in Scythian fashion."

Even in his youth, Kleomenes had been somewhat mentally unstable; before he was named king, his step-brother Dorieos felt assured that Kleomenes would never be appointed king because of his obvious emotional problems; his brutality combined with his sacrilegious behavior seemed to escalate as he grew older; he began striking fellow Spartans with his staff when he encountered them in the streets; his kinsmen eventually had him placed in restraints and stationed a Helot to guard over him; Kleomenes demanded a knife from the Helot; he threatened the bewildered servant until he gave the deranged king the knife; Kleomenes began cutting himself; he started with his legs and worked his way upwards until he opened his own stomach; he died from the self-inflicted wounds.

Kleomenes did not have a son to follow him to the Agiadai throne of Sparta; his older step-brother Dorieos was dead so the kingship fell to Kleomenes's step-brother Leonidas; Kleomenes's daughter Gorgo married Leonidas before he became famous as the commander of the Three Hundred Spartans who died at Thermophile in 390 BCE fighting the invading Persians led by King Xerxes.

Text References

Kleomenes II (Cleomenes II)

The twenty-third Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled from 370-309 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of King Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of King Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Beginning with Leonidas I (the sixteenth Agiadai king who ruled from 490-480 BCE) the names and dates for the Spartan kings became a part of the historical record and are generally accepted as factual; prior to Leonidas I the dates for the Spartan kings are extrapolated back from historical times to approximate the time periods in which each king ruled.

Kleomenes III (Cleomenes III)

The twenty-eighth Agiadai king of the city of Sparta who ruled from 236-222 BCE.

Sparta traditionally had two kings who ruled jointly; one king was required to be a descendant of King Agis I and the other was required to be a descendant of King Eurypon (respectively known as the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai).

Kleomenes was the son of Leonidas, the son of Kleonymos (Cleonymus); he was an ambitious and ruthless man who began his kingship with the murder of the Eurypontidai king, Eurydamidas; with the cooperation of the Spartan Ephors he succeeded in replacing Eurydamidas with his young brother Epikleidas (Epicleidas).

Kleomenes's rule might be described as a concerted effort to destroy Sparta and the other cities of the Peloponnesian Peninsula; he destroyed the power of the senate, and appointed a powerless Council of Fathers; he then turned his aggression against the Achaeans hoping to easily defeat them and make them his allies; he engaged the Achaeans at Dyme and defeated them; the Achaean commander Aratus enlisted the help of the Macedonian general Antigonus; Antigonus needed no provocation to fight against Kleomenes because he (Kleomenes) had violated a peace treaty by razing the Peloponnesian city of Megalopolis.

In 222 BCE Antigonus crossed into the Peloponnesus and, with the Achaeans and the survivors from Megalopolis, defeated Kleomenes at Sellasia; the people of Sellasia were sold into slavery; Antigonus went on to capture Sparta where he restored their constitution; Kleomenes fled to Egypt and was held in the highest honor by the post-Alexandrian ruler, Ptolemy; Kleomenes was convicted of inciting a revolt and cast into prison; he was either killed by Ptolemy or took his own life.

The rule of Kleomenes III was so distasteful and distructive to the Spartans that they amended their ancient constitution and abolished kingship.

Histories by Herodotus, book 5.41-42; 5.48-49; 5.50-51; 5.54; 5.64

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 1 (Attica) 6.3

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 2 (Corinth) 9.1-3

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 4 (Messenia) 29.7; 29.9-10

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 7 (Achaea) 7.3-4

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 8 (Arkadia) 8.11; 27.11; 27.15-16; 28.7; 30.7 and 49.4-6

Kleon (Cleon)

An Athenian general and political opponent of Pericles; he died in 422 BCE; he was the subject of scorn and ridicule by orators and playwrights because of his humble origins and dogmatic stance on social issues.

Kleopatra (Cleopatra) 1

The forth wife of Philip II of Macedon; this marriage complicated the direct ascension of Philip's son, Alexander (the Great) to the throne; Philip's third wife, Olympias (Myrtale), is assumed to have either killed, or arranged to have killed, Kleopatra, her son and father, soon after Philip's assassination in 336 BCE.

Kleopatra (Cleopatra) 2

The daughter of Boreas (North Wind); the first wife of the blind seer, Phineus.

Kleopatra and Phineus had two sons and after Kleopatra's death, Phineus married a cruel and vengeful woman; Phineus's new wife hated Kleopatra's sons and induced Phineus to blind the boys; Boreas was infuriated by the harsh treatment of Kleopatra's children and demanded justice; as punishment for such a horrendous act, Zeus offered Phineus blindness or death … Phineus chose blindness; Helios (the Sun) was offended that Phineus would choose darkness rather than death so he sent the two winged-women known as the Harpies to torment Phineus by stealing his food; the Harpies did not steal all of Phineus's food, they would always leave reeking morsels so that he could sustain himself and thus his torment could continue.

Phineus's curse was finally lifted by two twin sons of Boreas, Zetes and Kalais (Calais); these two young men were the sons of Boreas and Oreithyia (Orithyia); Zetes and Kalais set a trap for the Harpies but the flying women were very swift and the winged brothers could only get close enough to claw at them with their fingertips; Iris, the messenger of the Immortals, rushed into the fray and chided the brothers for trying to harm the Harpies; Iris explained that the Harpies were there to punish Phineus with the consent of Zeus and that the brothers would incur the wrath of the father of the Immortals if they interfered with his judgment; Iris swore a sacred oath on the river Styx that if Zetes and Kalais would stop their pursuit of the Harpies, Phineus would no longer be tormented; thus Phineus was freed from his curse and the Argonauts learned how to find the land where the Golden Fleece was kept.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 2, lines 178-208

Kleopatra (Cleopatra) 3

The wife of Meleagros (Meleager) and the daughter of Marpessa and Idas; as a young girl, she had been kidnapped by Apollon and her mother's plaintive crying earned Kleopatra the by-name Alkyone, i.e. Sea-Bird.

Kleopatra (Cleopatra) 4

The daughter of Philip II of Macedon and his third wife, Olympias (Myrtale); Kleopatra was the sister of Alexander the Great; the dates of Kleopatra's birth and death are not known but we can assume that she was younger than Alexander because he was born approximately one year after Philip and Olympias were married in 357 BCE; Kleopatra eventually married Olympias's brother, Alexander of Epirus.

Klotho (Clotho)

One of the Fates; she and her sisters are the daughters of Zeus and Themis.

The three sisters determine the life and death of all mortal beings; Klotho spins the thread of life; her sisters are: Lachesis and Atropos; Lachesis determines the length of the thread; Atropos cuts the thread when the proper time has come for death; the three sisters are also called the Moirai to denote their descent from the original goddess of Fate, Moira.

Theogony, lines 218 and 905

Shield of Herakles, line 257

Klymene (Clymene) 1

The daughter of King Minyas; the wife of Phylakos (Phylacos) and the mother of Alkimede (Alcimede) and thus the grandmother of Jason.

Klymene was also the mother of Iphiklos (Iphiclus); it was said that Iphiklos could race the winds; he could run across crops in the field and not damage the plants.

Catalogues of Women, fragment 84

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, line 233

Klymene (Clymene) 2

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys; the wife of Iapetos and the mother of Atlas, Prometheus and Epimetheus and Menoitios.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, lines 351 and 507

Klymenos (Clymenus)

The father of the wife of the aged Greek hero Nestor, Eurydike (Eurydice).

Odyssey (Lattimore and Loeb), book 3, line 452

Odyssey (Fagles), book 3, line 508

Odyssey (Fitzgerald), book 3, line 491

Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra)

The wife of Agamemnon; she and Timandra were the daughters of Tyndareus and Leda; she was the half-sister of Helen and the twins, Kastor (Castor) and Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux); her children were: Elektra (Electra), Orestes, Iphianassa (Iphigenia) and Chrysothemis.

Klytemnestra was falsely portrayed as the murderess of her husband seven hundred years after her death and the label has become indelibly attached to her name; in The Iliad, Agamemnon was said to have been killed by Aegisthus (Aigisthos) when he returned from the siege of the city of Troy; in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, the story is retold with Klytemnestra as the villain and Aegisthus as simply an accomplice; Klytemnestra had many reasons to despise Agamemnon and wish him dead but her role as murderess was thrust upon her by a playwright for dramatic effect and not based on the earliest accounts.

Before Agamemnon sailed away to Troy, he gathered his army at Aulis but after offending the goddess, Artemis, the ships could not leave the harbor; the seer, Kalchas (Calchas), said that unless Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter, Iphianassa, to Artemis, the fleet would not be allowed to leave the island harbor; Agamemnon summoned Iphianassa on the pretext that she was to marry Achilles and prepared her as a human sacrifice; when the time for the sacrifice came, Artemis took Iphianassa from the altar and substituted a deer in her stead.

The attempted sacrifice of Iphianassa and Agamemnon's ten year absence from home led Klytemnestra into the arms of Agamemnon's cousin, Aegisthus; when Agamemnon finally returned home he was murdered by Aegisthus; Klytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus were in turn murdered by her son Orestes; the murder of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra are the subject of three plays by Aeschylus known as Oresteia; the plays are compelling in their drama and tell a very complicated story which tries to differentiate the subtle distinction between "vengeance" and "justice."

Her name may also be rendered as Klytaemnestra or Clytaemnestra.

If you wish to read Oresteia, I personally recommend Aeschylus I translated by Richmond Lattimore (ISBN 0226307786); you can find Oresteia at your local library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this site.

Returns, fragment 1

Klytia (Clytia)

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, line 352

Klytios (Clytius) 1

A brother of the last king of Troy, Priam; his name may also be rendered as Klytius or Clytius.

Iliad (Lattimore), book 3, line 147; book 15, lines 420 and 427; book 20, line 238

Iliad, (Loeb) book 3, line 147; book 15, lines 419 and 427; book 20, line 238

Iliad, (Fagles) book 3, line 176; book 15, line 490; book 20, line 275

Iliad, (Fitzgerald) book 3, line 174; book 15, line 485; book 20, line 270

Klytios (Clytius) 2

He and his brother, Iphitos, were the sons of Eurytos (Eurytus); both brothers became Argonauts.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

His name may also be rendered as Klytius or Clytios.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 86-89

Klytios (Clytius) 3

One of the Giants; his name may also be rendered as Klytius or Clytios.

Klytoneos (Clytoneus)

The father of the Argonaut, Nauplios, and the son of Naubolos.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 133-138

Knidos (Cnidus)

Lion of Knidos

The Lion of Knidos on display at the British Museum.

An ancient city in southwestern Asia Minor, in Karia (Caria); the city lies on the coast of the narrow peninsula which juts onto the Aegean Sea southeast of the island of Kos (Cos); the ruins of ancient Knidos are 23.6 miles (38 kilometers) south of modern Datca, Turkey.

There was a splendid Temple of Aphrodite at Knidos; the geographer Strabo described Knidos as a city that was built for the most beautiful of goddesses on the most beautiful of peninsulas.

The Athenians defeated the Spartans in a naval battle near Knidos in 394 BCE.

The seven ton Lion of Knidos pictured above was discovered in 1858 CE on a cliff overlooking the approach to Knidos harbor; the lion was carved from marble from Mount Pentelikon near Athens and sat atop the pyramidal roof of a tomb.

The name may also be rendered as Knidus or Cnidos.

Google Map

Knights

A comic play by the Athenian poet, Aristophanes, produced in 424 BCE at the Lenaea festival where it won first prize; this was the first play which Aristophanes produced under his own name and is nothing but an attack and belittlement of the presumed Athenian warmonger, Kleon (Cleon).

Cast of Characters:

Nikias (Nicias)

Demonsthenes

Agorakritos (Agoracritos)

Paphlagon

Demos

This play was produced during the early years of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE) and Aristophanes clearly laid the blame for the continuing hostilities on greedy and egotistical politicians such as Kleon; as to Kleon's true character, we can only speculate but Aristophanes seems to have truly despised the man.

The play is based on the attempt of two disgruntled slaves to take the power away from an undeserving lout and give the reins of the government of the city of Athens to an even lower and more rapacious lout; the two slaves debate one another and are both under the assumption that the more corrupt and dishonest they appear to the public the more they will be loved.

The Knights are the chorus of the play and represent the noble and courageous horsemen who actually have to fight the war the politicians are perpetuating.

One very comic moment of the play is when the existence of the gods is called into question and one of the slaves declares that they surely exist because they obviously hate him.

Aristophanes's plays are sometimes difficult to appreciate because he was a very contemporary poet, i.e. he was writing for the Athenian audience of his day; he would use puns, parody regional accents and speak directly to the audience in ways that force modern translators to seek out the contextual meaning rather than the literal meaning of the poet's words; for that reason, I suggest that if you find a translation that is difficult to enjoy, please don't blame Aristophanes, simply look for a translation that you can enjoy.

When trying to find a readable translator, I suggest Patric Dickinson; you may find his books at your local library in the 882 section but his books are out of print and sometimes difficult to find; I also recommend the Penguin Classics book Lysistrata & Other Plays: The Acharnians, the Clouds, Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Alan H. Sommerstein (Translator), ISBN: 0140448144; you can also find this book at your local library or you can purchase it from the Book Shop on this site.

Knossos (Cnossus)

Knossos

A city in the north-central area of the island of Crete; the capital of the ancient Minoan civilization.

The Minoan civilization was named after King Minos by the archeologist Arthur Evans; Minos was the son of Zeus and Europa; Knossos was Minos's capital.

King Minos united the barbarian population of Crete and constructed a massive palace at Knossos; Minos exported the fine metalwork, pottery and fabrics of Crete to ports in Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt; the fame of Minos and the Cretans became legendary; as a son of Zeus and a powerful king, the name Minos became synonymous with autocracy and power throughout the ancient world.

After Minos offended Poseidon (lord of the Sea), his wife, Pasiphae, had a child which was half-bull and half-man; the creature was called Minos's Bull, i.e. the Minotaur; Minos wanted to punish the Athenians for the murder of his son, Androgeus, so he had the master craftsman, Daedalus (Daidalos), built an intricate labyrinth in which Athenian youths could be trapped and then killed by the Minotaur; the Athenian hero, Theseus, outwitted Minos and killed the Minotaur but the image of the labyrinth continued to be a potent symbol for Knossos from approximately 1400 BCE until the present day.

When Apollon was seeking men to build and administrate his Temple at Delphi, he encountered merchants from Knossos and took control of their ship; he assumed the guise of a dolphin and steered their ship to shore and then led the men to Delphi where they did his bidding and his oracle was established.

When Agamemnon mustered his army for the siege of the city of Troy (circa 1250 BCE), Idomeneus commanded the troops from Knossos and Gortyn (Gortyna); Idomeneus sailed from Crete with eighty ships, which would be approximately 1600 men.

When Polykrates (Polycrates), tyrant of the island of Samos (532-515 BCE), was laying plans to make his island a formidable sea power, he was following in the footsteps of King Minos of Knossos who was the first Greek to rightfully claim the title of Master of the Seas.

Knossos is the best known city of the ancient Cretan civilization; the period called the Middle Minoan period (1900-1700 BCE) is also called the Proto-Palatial Period because the first palaces at Knossos and Phaistos were established; during this period, there seemed to be extensive trading with foreign cultures such as Egypt.

Knossos thrived until the Final Palatial Period (1450-1380 BCE); the havoc caused by the eruption of the island Thera (now called Santorini) circa 1600 BCE did not completely destroy Knossos and, after extensive repairs, it became the administrative capital of Crete; all that changed circa 1380 BCE when Knossos was finally destroyed and never reoccupied; small communities continued to sustain remnants of the Minoan Greeks but the driving force of their culture had moved to Mycenae on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

The name may also be rendered as Cnossos or Knossus.

Approximate East Longitude 35º 17' 53'' and North Latitude 25º 09' 47''

Google Map

Iliad (Lattimore and Loeb), book 2, line 646; book 18, line 591

Iliad (Fagles), book 2, line 741; book 18, line 691

Iliad (Fitzgerald), book 2, line 766; book 18, line 679

Odyssey (Lattimore and Loeb), book 19, line 178

Odyssey (Fagles), book 19, line 202

Odyssey (Fitzgerald), book 19, line 209

The Histories by Herodotus, book 3.122

Hymn to Pythian Apollon, lines 393 and 475

Koes of Mytilene (Coes of Mytilene)

Koes of Mytilene; when the Persian king, Darius, called Koes to him, he offered Koes anything that he might wish in repayment for the good council Koes had provided in the past; Koes asked to be made the tyrant of the city of Mytilene; Darius granted his wish.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 5.11

Koine

Literally meaning Common but generally used to indicate the dialect of the Greek language which replaced the previous regional versions of the language.

Koios (Coios)

One of the Titans; the son of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); the husband of the Titan, Phoibe (Phoebe), and father of Leto and Asteria.

His name may also be rendered as Koeus or Coeus.

Theogony, lines 134 and 404

Kokytos (Cocytus)

The River of Tears; one of the five rivers of the Underworld.

The other rivers of the Underworld are: the Styx (Oath River), the Acheron (River of Woe), the Pyriphlegethon (River of Fire), and the Lethe (River of Oblivion).

Kolainis (Colainis)

An epithet for the goddess Artemis.

Kolias (Colias)

A hill in Attica noted for the temple of Aphrodite (goddess of Love) which is located there.

Kolchis (Colchis)

Kolchis

An ancient country that borders on the eastern edge of the Euxine (Black Sea) and south of the Caucasus Mountains; best known as the land of the Golden Fleece and the realm of King Aietes (Aeetes).

The historian Herodotus asserts that the people of Kolchis were descended from the Egyptians because of their physical appearance and the fact that when the Egyptian king, Sesostris (Rameses II), marched into Europe in the fourteenth century BCE, part of his army was either stationed in Kolchis or deserted the army and founded their own nation.

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The Histories by Herodotus, book 2.102-106

Kolonna (Colonna)

A cape in east-central Greece, southeast of Athens at the tip of the peninsula of Attica jutting into the western Aegean Sea; also called Cape Sunium.

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Kolonus (Colonus)

A deme of Attica about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) northwest of Athens; the name literally means Hill.

Kolophon (Colophon)

An ancient Greek city in Ionia, Asia Minor which was essentially depopulated by circa 286 BCE.

Kolophonian (Colophonian)

A name referring to the Greek poet, Antimachus; he was a Greek poet (fl. 410 BCE) from the Greek city of Kolophon (Colophon) in Ionia, Asia Minor; his poems were epic in nature and modeled after the Homeric style; commonly called The Kolophonian.

Kolossae (Colossae)

An ancient city in southwestern Phrygia, in Asia Minor.

Kolossos (Colossus)

Any statue that is larger than life size; the most famous Kolossos in the ancient world was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Kolossos of Rhodes, which stood 100-115 feet (30.5-35 meters) in height.

Kome

A village without walls; a small country town.

Kommos (Commos)

An affectation of dramatic actors in Attica where an actor and the chorus would alternate in wild lamentations.

Komopolis

A small town; larger than a kome (a small country town) but not large enough to be called a polis (a City-State with geographical boundaries such as rivers or mountains).

Komos

A local festival, i.e. celebrations held in towns or villages with processions and songs.

Kopais (Copais)

Lake Kopais

Lake Kopais; a relatively large lake on the Greek mainland in northern central Boeotia just north of the city of Thebes; now known as Limni Yliki.

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Koppa (Qoppa)

Koppa

A letter in some forms of the early Greek alphabet.

The Q-shaped koppa (uppercase Ϙ, lowercase ϙ) was used in ancient texts but a new z-shape koppa, uppercase Ϟ and lowercase ϟ, has been used in offical Greek documents since 1821 CE to represent the number 90.

The koppa was replaced by the kappa (Κ or κ) in the alphabet but was retained to represent the numeral 90 which meant that it occurred between π (pi), 80, and ρ (rho), 100.

Kore (Core) 1

A name for Persephone in Attica as the personification of Virginity; literally, The Daughter, i.e. the daughter of Demeter.

Kore (Core) 2

Kore

A sculptured representation of a young woman; especially sculptures produced prior to the fifth century BCE; also rendered as Kora or Cora.

Kore (Core) 3

Kore was a human girl; the daughter of eccentric King Aidoneus and Queen Persephone of the Molossians circa 1270 BCE.

Kore is a pseudonym for the goddess Persephone, wife of Hades, lord of the Dead.

King Aidoneus was named after Hades and his wife Queen Persephone was named after the wife of Hades; they named their daughter Kore; the family dog was named after the hound of Hades, Kerberos (Cerberus).

Kore's family became inadvertently involved in the scandalous exploits of King Theseus of Athens and King Peirithoos (Peirithous) of the Lapithae when the two disreputable kings tried to kidnap young Kore.

Theseus and Peirithoos became friends and companions when they fought together against the Centaurs; their behavior became progressively wanton until they succeeded in kidnapping Helen of Sparta, who ten years later became known as Helen of Troy; after abducting Helen, Theseus and Peirithoos drew lots to see who would get to marry her; the winner promised to help the loser find a wife; Theseus won Helen and when it became time for Peirithoos to chose a wife, he decided that he wanted Kore; the desperados left Helen in the care of Theseus's mother Aethra and went to Epirus to kidnap the unsuspecting Kore.

When King Aidoneus realized what Theseus and Peirithoos were trying to do, he fought back by setting Kerberos loose on them; the hound killed Peirithoos; Theseus was taken prisoner and slated for an eventual execution.

Shortly thereafter, Herakles Heracles was a guest of Aidoneus and Persephone; the king told Herakles of his encounter with Theseus and Peirithoos; Herakles thought it best to not to complain about the cruel death of Peirithoos so he focused his attention on freeing Theseus; he asked Aidoneus to release Theseus as a favor to him; the king finally agreed.

Korfu (Corfu)

The northernmost of the Ionian Islands located south of where the narrowest part of the Adriatic Sea joins the Ionian Sea to the south; the ancient name of the island was Kerkyra but it is now known as Korfu (Corfu); 593 square miles (1,536 square kilometers) in size.

Kerkyra

According to the historian Thucydides (circa 460-400 BCE) Kerkyra was in fact the island of the Phaiakians (Phaeacians) which was Odysseus's last landfall before he reached his home island of Ithaka (Ithaca) circa 1230 BCE.

In the early eighth century BCE traders from the Euboean cities of Chalkis (Chalcis) and Eretria settled Kerkyra and built the city of Drepane with two harbors to support their commercial ventures; Kerkyra's strategic location between Greece and Italy provided a convenient stopover for Greek ships sailing to Italy and the island of Sicily; circa 733 BCE colonists from Corinth moved to Kerkyra and the island began to prosper; as time went by, the islanders began to gradually sever their ties to Corinth; this disrespectful behavior was ignored until 435 BCE when Kerkyra had a conflict with its colony of Epidamnus; Epidamnus was an island further north on the coast of Greece; tyrants began to abuse the people of Epidamnus and Kerkyra refused to help resolve the (according to the Epidamnians) deplorable situation; Epidamnus appealed to the Corinth for help citing their Corinthian origins; the Corinthians organized a fleet which was met and defeated by the Kerkyrians; when it became evident that Corinth was getting ready to mount another military assault to rescue Epidamnus, the Kerkyrians went to Athens seeking an alliance; Kerkyra, Corinth and Athens were the only real maritime powers in Greece which meant that an alliance between any of the two would be an genuine threat to all Greek island and costal cities.

At this point in Greek history, the Athenians and Spartans were maintaining an uneasy truce; both cities had been involved in military conflicts with their colonies and other Greek nations since their allied defeat of the Persians in 480 BCE; both cities were experienced and well equipped for war; a Thirty Year Truce was all that kept the two cities from open conflict; the friction between Kerkyra and Corinth provided the spark that ignited the long and bloody Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).

Athens took the side of Kerkyra and Sparta supported Corinth; twenty-seven years of warfare followed; Sparta won the war and Kerkyra, as an ally of Athens, suffered; to show their subservience to Sparta, the Athenian representatives on Kerkyra were murdered but that did not stop the Spartans from imposing their hegemony on the island; Kerkyra remained a restless asset of Sparta until 375 BCE when Kerkyra again sought an alliance with Athens.

A series of Greek rulers dominated Kerkyra until 229 BCE when Kerkyra became the property of the Roman Empire.

The island is now called Korfu but the principal city of the island is still known as Kerkyra.

Approximate East Longitude 19º 45' and North Latitude 39º 40'

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Korinna (Corinna)

A lyric poet from Tanagra in Boeotia; either from 500 BCE or as late as 200 BCE.

The term Lyric Poetry is quite literal and designates poetry written to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre; the lyric poets flourished from roughly 700 BCE until 400 BCE.

Korinna is one of the few women to gain acclaim as a lyric poet; she wrote in a simple style of the legends of her native Boeotia; she was said to have been a contemporary of Pindar but this could only be so if circa 500 BCE is the correct date for her life; she is credited with the proverbial saying, Sow by the handful and not the whole sack, which of course meant that moderation is better than extravagance.

There are several excellent collections of lyric poetry that I can personally recommend; if you want to read a sampling of this poetic style, I suggest 7 Greeks by Guy Davenport or Greek Lyric, an Anthology in Translation by Andrew M. Miller; however, the most complete collection is undoubtedly the three volume collection from the Loeb Classical Library, Greek Lyric, Greek Lyric II and Greek Lyric III; you can sometimes find these books at your local library or you can purchase any of these books from the Book Shop on this site; look in the Poetry section.

Koronis (Coronis) 1

One of the five daughters of Atlas who was placed in the heavens as a star and, with her sisters, formed the asterism, Hyades, in the constellation Taurus (the Bull); her sisters are: Phaesyle, Kleeia (Cleeia), Phaeo and Eudora.

The Astronomy, chapter 2

Koronis (Coronis) 2

The mother of the famous healer, Asklepios (Asclepius).

Koronis was the daughter of Phlegyas and the consort of Apollon; after she became pregnant with Apollon's son, Koronis was unfaithful to Apollon and had relations with another man; Apollon killed her for her transgression but saved the unborn child, named him Asklepios and gave him to the Centaur Cheiron (Chiron) for an education; one of the most important skills Asklepios learned from Cheiron was the art of healing.

Koronus (Coronus)

One of the Argonauts; the son of Caeneus from Gyrton.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

His name may also be rendered as Koronos or Coronos.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 57-64

Kortali

Musical rattles normally consisting of tuned lengths of bone or hardwood suspended at one end from a hand-held frame.

Korybantes (Corybantes)

The traditional name for the priests of the Mother of the Gods, Kybele (Cybele).

Kybele was worshiped as a goddess at the command of Apollon; she was a goddess of Asia Minor but associated by the Greeks with the goddess Rheia (Rhea), wife of Kronos (Cronos) and mother of the Olympians.

While sailing in the northern Aegean Sea, Queen Myrina of the Libyan Amazons was caught in a storm; she offered up prayers to Kybele as the Mother of the Gods and was carried safely to an uninhabited island; Myrina had a prophetic dream and named the island Samothrake (Samothrace) which means Sacred Island; Kybele was pleased with the island and settled it with a group of people which included her own sons who were called Korybantes after their father, whose name is not stated but might have been Korybanos (Corybanus); Kybele established her rites and mysteries on Samothrake and decreed that her sacred area would become a sanctuary; the name Korybantes became the traditional name for the priests of Kybele and they dressed in full armor at her rituals.

Diodorus Siculus, book 3.55.9

Korykian Cave (Corycian Cave)

A sacred cave on Mount Parnassos (Parnassus).

Long before Apollon built his temple at Delphi, the Goat-God Pan and his Nymphs occupied a cave on southern slopes of Mount Parnassos; the cave is located approximately 6.8 miles (10.9 kilometers) from Delphi but still quite a distance from the cloud shrouded summit of Parnassos; the cave was eventually named after the Nymph consort of Apollon, Korykia (Corycia); the Nymphs of the cave became known as the Korykian Nymphs; they were the daughters of Pleistos and were present when Apollon fought with the she-dragon for possession of Delphi.

When the traveler/historian Pausanias visited the Korykian Cave circa 160 CE he described the cave thus, "But the Korykian Cave exceeds in size those I have mentioned, and it is possible to make one's way through the greater part of it even without lights. The roof stands at a sufficient height from the floor, and water, rising in part from springs but still more dripping from the roof, has made clearly visible the marks of drops on the floor throughout the cave. The dwellers around Parnassos believe it to be sacred to the Korykian Nymphs, and especially to Pan. From the Korykian Cave it is difficult even for an active walker to reach the heights of Parnassos."

Argonautika by Apollonius Rhodius, book 2. 710

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 10 (Phokis, Ozolian, Lokri) 6.1-4; 32.2 and 32.7

Korykos (Corycos)

The name of the Korykian Cave on Mount Parnassos (Parnassus).

Long before Apollon built his temple at Delphi, the Goat-God Pan and his Nymphs occupied a cave on southern slopes of Mount Parnassos; the cave is located approximately 6.8 miles (10.9 kilometers) from Delphi but still quite a distance from the cloud shrouded summit of Parnassos; the cave was eventually named after the Nymph consort of Apollon, Korykia (Corycia); the Nymphs of the cave became known as the Korykian Nymphs; they were the daughters of Pleistos and were present when Apollon fought with the she-dragon for possession of Delphi.

When the traveler/historian Pausanias visited the Korykian Cave circa 160 CE he described the cave thus, "But the Korykian Cave exceeds in size those I have mentioned, and it is possible to make one's way through the greater part of it even without lights. The roof stands at a sufficient height from the floor, and water, rising in part from springs but still more dripping from the roof, has made clearly visible the marks of drops on the floor throughout the cave. The dwellers around Parnassos believe it to be sacred to the Korykian Nymphs, and especially to Pan. From the Korykian Cave it is difficult even for an active walker to reach the heights of Parnassos."

Argonautika by Apollonius Rhodius, book 2. 710

Description of Greece by Pausanias, book 10 (Phokis, Ozolian, Lokri) 6.1-4; 32.2 and 32.7

Koryphaios (Coryphaeus)

A term encountered in Greek plays which simply means Leader of the Chorus; not to be confused with the proper name of one of the play's characters.

Kos (Cos)

An island close to the southwestern coast of Asia Minor where the Aegean Sea joins the Mediterranean Sea; northwest of the island of Rhodes and southwest of the city of Halicarnassus; the second largest of the Dodecanese Group of islands with an area of approximately 111 square miles (288 square kilometers); located at the entrance to the Gulf of Kos.

Approximate East Longitude 27º 10' and North Latitude 36º 50'

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Kothon (Cothon)

A drinking vessel; a cup or mug used in Lakonia (Laconia).

Kothornos (Cothornos)

Boots worn by tragic actors to make their roles apparent to the audience.

Kothornos had high heels and, like socks, could be worn on either foot; the Athenian tyrant, Theramenes, was nicknamed Kothornos because his detractors claimed that he would accommodate any political point of view to gain popularity; Kothornos are known today as Buskins.

Hellenica, book 2, chapter 3, line 31

Kottos (Cottos)

Kottos and his brothers, Briareos and Gyes are the sons of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); all three have fifty heads and fifty arms sprouting from their massive shoulders.

The brothers were trapped in Gaia's womb by Ouranos until the Titan, Kronos (Cronos), wounded his father, Ouranos, and they were allowed to be free, but their freedom was not to last; Kronos had helped his mother, Gaia, free the monstrous brothers but he feared their strength and beauty and so he too imprisoned them under the earth where they remained until the war between the Titans and the Olympians began.

Zeus brought the three brothers back into the light and gave them nectar and ambrosia to renew their vitality; with their newly acquired freedom and strength, Briareos, Kottos and Gyes joined the Olympians in the war against the Titans; after ten years of war, Zeus let loose all his fury and the earth and heavens trembled under his thunderbolts; at that moment, Briareos, Kottos and Gyes bombarded the Titans with three-hundred boulders that buried the Titans and ended the war.

His name may also be rendered as Kottus or Cottus.

Theogony, lines 149, 615, 712 and 817

Kouretes (Curetes)

The Kouretes are a group of divinities who entered the affairs of Greece at the dawn of time when they helped Rheia (Rhea) hide the infant Zeus from his father Kronos (Cronos); at that time the Kouretes were rulers of the island of Crete which was named after the daughter of a Kouretite king; the Kouretes are usually depicted in ancient artwork with wings and wearing Assyrian-style apparel.

Kronos was afraid that one of his children would usurp his power so he promptly swallowed each child as it was born; when Rheia gave birth to her sixth child, she substituted a stone in place of the baby and Kronos, in his haste, swallowed the stone thinking it was the child; Rheia took the infant (Zeus) to Crete and placed it under the protection of the Kouretes.

Kouretes and Zeus

Above: Zeus flanked by winged Kouretes.

The Kouretes gave Zeus to the Nymphs of Mount Ida; the Nymphs cared for the baby while the Kouretes provided protection; when Zeus cried or made other childlike noises, the Kouretes would drown out the commotion by dancing, chanting and clashing their weapons on their shields; their objective was to keep Kronos from hearing Zeus; they succeeded very well.

The Kouretes are credited with improvising the use of swords, helmets and the war-dance; in historical times (circa 1470 BCE) the Kouretes were called upon by the goddess Artemis, goddess of the Hunt; King Oineus of Kalydon (Calydon) neglected Artemis by not offering her the first-fruits of the harvest; Artemis vented her rage on King Oineus, his son Meleagros and all the people of Kalydon by sending the Kouretes to attack them; when that did not achieve the desired response, Artemis sent a fierce boar to ravage the countryside; the encounter with the boar became known as the Kalydonian Hunt.

The ultimate fate of the Kouretes is unknown but the area around Mount Ida on Crete would be the most logical place to begin a search.

Kraniades (Craniades)

Nymphs of springs; Kraniades are only immortal as long as the spring they inhabit remains vital.

Krater

Krater

A bowl used to mix wine and water, with a wide mouth and body and two vertical handles projecting from the juncture of the neck and body; the word, Krater, could also be used to denote any cup-shaped depression or basin of any size and made of any material.

Kratos (Cratos)

The personification of Force or Might; a child of the Titan, Pallas, and the Okeanid, Styx.

Theogony, line 385

Kreon (Creon) 1

The brother of Iokaste (Jocasta) and eventually the ruler of the city of Thebes; the tragic life of Kreon is tied to the ill fate which marked the life of Oedipus and his children.

While Oedipus was the king of Thebes, Kreon was content to simply be a member of the royal household; he did not envy the throne because, as the brother of the queen, he had money, respect and power without having the responsibilities or burdens that came with the throne; when a blight afflicted the countryside around Thebes, Oedipus sent Kreon to the Oracle at Delphi to ask what the citizens of Thebes might do to regain their prosperity; when Kreon returned to Thebes he informed Oedipus that the prosperity of the country would not be restored until the murderer of King Laius was driven from the city.

After a painful investigation, Oedipus was made to realize that he, as a pawn of the Immortals, had murdered his father, King Laius, and married his mother, Iokaste; this meant that the children of Oedipus were also his brothers and sisters; when they realized their role in this horrible tragedy, Iokaste hanged herself and Oedipus blinded himself and left the city in disgrace.

Oedipus's eldest son, Eteokles (Eteocles) assumed the throne and Oedipus's youngest son, Polyneikes (Polyneices) was exiled to Argos; Polyneikes organized an army to retake Thebes but Kreon could see that the inevitable outcome would be a disaster for Thebes regardless of who won the war; in an attempt to consolidate popular support, he went to the exiled Oedipus and begged him to return to the borders of Thebes and help defuse the impending doom that threatened the city; when Oedipus refused to help, Kreon kidnapped Oedipus's daughters, Ismene and Antigone; the legendary king of Athens, Theseus, intervened and saved the girls and gave Oedipus sanctuary.

Kreon could do nothing but return to Thebes and await the inevitable war between the sons of Oedipus; Polyneikes and his army attacked Thebes but the attack failed and both Polyneikes and Eteokles were killed on each other's spear; with the two sons of Oedipus dead, Kreon became the ruler of Thebes; his first decree was that Eteokles would be buried as a hero for defending the city and that Polyneikes would be left to the dogs and vultures for his disgraceful attack on the city; Antigone defied Kreon and buried Polyneikes; she was punished by being entombed alive in a cave; the blind prophet, Teiresias, warned Kreon that his actions were an affront to the Immortals and that if he did not give Polyneikes a decent burial and forgive Antigone, he and his family would suffer dire consequences.

Kreon relented and buried Polyneikes but before he could free Antigone from the cave, she hanged herself; Kreon's son, Haemon, was the first to open the cave where Antigone was entombed and when he saw her dead body he flew into a rage and tried, but failed, to kill his father; Haemon then stabbed himself with his sword and died clinging to the body of Antigone; when Kreon returned to his palace carrying Haemon's dead body, he was informed that his wife, Eurydike (Eurydice) had also killed herself.

The tragedy, Antigone, by Sophocles tells the entire tragic story; in the poem, Shield of Herakles (Heracles) by Hesiod, Kreon's wife is said to be Enioche; since Hesiod predates Sophocles we should assume that Enioche was, in fact, the name of King Kreon's wife.

I personally recommend the Penguin Classics version of The Theban Plays translated by E. F. Watling (ISBN 0140440038); the book includes the three plays dealing with Oedipus and his family: King Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone; I also recommend the Richmond Lattimore translation of Hesiod (ISBN 0472439030 clothbound or ISBN 0472081616 paper bound); you can find these books at your local library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this site.

Shield of Herakles, line 83

Kreon (Creon) 2

The king of Corinth who gave sanctuary to Jason and Medeia (Medea) after they fled Kolchis (Colchis) with the Golden Fleece.

Jason deserted Medeia in favor of Kreon's daughter, Glauke (Glauce); Medeia was a sorceress and well skilled in the art of potions and poisons; to avenge herself on Jason, Medeia gave Glauke a poisoned cloak and thereby murdered her.

Kresphontes (Cresphontes)

A son of Herakles (Heracles); he became king of Messenia and was murdered by another son of Herakles, Polyphontes; his wife and son, Merope and Aepytus, took their revenge by killing Polyphontes.

Kreusa (Creusa) 1

The wife of the Trojan hero, Aineias (Aeneas), and mother of Iulus.

Kreusa (Creusa) 2

The mother of Ion with Apollon as the father.

After Ion was born, Kreusa put the infant in a cave to abandon him; he was saved by Hermes and delivered to the temple of Apollon at Delphi where he remained until Kreusa and her husband, Xuthus, found him through the intervention of the temple priestesses.

Kreusa and Xuthus were childless and the oracle told them to adopt the first child they encountered after leaving the temple; when they met Ion, Kreusa thought that he was the illegitimate son of Xuthus by another woman and she plotted to kill Ion but the priestess of Apollon showed her the swaddling clothing in which the infant was wrapped when he had been presented at the temple; Kreusa accepted the fact that Ion was her abandoned child and she and Xuthus took the child to the city of Athens where, according to the goddess Athene (Athena), a prophecy had been fulfilled and that Ion would become the founder of the Ionian race.

Kretheus (Cretheus)

The son of Aeolus (Aiolos) and father of Aeson; he and his wife, Tyro, were the grandparents of Jason.

Kretikon (Cretikon)

A short, loose garment worn at sacred ceremonies; also spelled Kreticon.

Kribanos

A clay vessel used for the baking of bread; the shape (wide at the bottom and more narrow at the top) allowed hot coals to placed around it for even heating of the contents.

Krios (Crius)

One of the Titans, i.e. one of the children of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens); as the consort of another Titan, Eurybia, he was the father of Pallas.

Theogony, lines 134, 376 and 404

Krisa (Crisa)

A city west of the city of Delphi in the district of Phokis (Phocis).

Approximate East Longitude 22º 50' and North Latitude 38º 46'

Kritias (Critias)

One of the Thirty Tyrants elected to rule the city of Athens after the end of the Peloponnesian War (404 BCE).

Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men to lead the new post-war government; these men became known as the Thirty Tyrants; the short lived government they comprised was an oligarchy; an oligarchy is a system of government allowing a few select people or families to rule a city or region based on the assumption that their bloodline or intellect gave them a superior predisposition and right to rule.

The tyrants immediately began to prosecute Athenians who had been Spartan informers and collaborators during the long, hard war; the punishment of the guilty seemed appropriate to the common citizens and aristocrats alike but it soon became clear that the executions and banishments were going beyond the bounds of necessity or prudence; open hostilities soon developed between members of the Thirty and their authority and rule came to an end after one year.

Kritias and Theramenes became the two most dominant tyrants and they clashed openly over matters of public policy; Kritias clearly had the support of the other tyrants and Theramenes stood alone in his call for restraint in the punishment of citizens and aristocrats who were accused of collaborating with the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War; the conflict between Theramenes and the other tyrants was a deciding issue in the collapse of the oligarchy.

Hellenica, book 2.3

Kroesus (Croesus)

The king of Lydia from 560-546 BCE, i.e. fourteen years; he was the son of Alyattes and the father of Atys.

Kroesus was a barbarian, i.e. a Persian, but his kingdom controlled many areas which were occupied by Greek colonists along the Ionian coast of Asia Minor; the reign and fall of Kroesus was well documented in the Histories by Herodotus; his capital city of Sardis was situated well inside Asia Minor and the land west of Sardis was already strongly held Greek territory protected by alliances with Athens, Sparta and other militarily strong Greek cities.

Kroesus was a respected and feared leader whose reputation allowed him to influence friends and enemies alike; when the tyrant of the Chersonese fell victim to his own aggression, Kroesus stepped in to save him from certain death; the tyrant of the Chersonese, Miltiades, was attacked and captured by the Lampsakenes; Kroesus sent a message to the Lampsakenes saying that he would destroy them "even like a pine tree," i.e. once a pine tree is cut down it will no longer put out shoots and therefore utterly die; the Lampsakenes took the message to heart and released Miltiades.

Kroesus wanted to believe in Oracles but he needed proof that they could be trusted; after giving the matter some thought, he hit upon a plan where he could test the veracity of several of the Oracles without seeming sacrilegious.

Kroesus sent messengers to several oracular sites with a specific question to be asked on a specific day and time; his question was essentially, "What am I doing right now?"; Kroesus sent messengers to Abae, Dodona and Delphi as well as other Greek and foreign oracular sites; they were to ask the question, write down the response and then return to Lydia.

Kroesus read the various answers and the response from Delphi was the only correct one; at the exact time the question was asked of the three Oracles, Kroesus had been cooking a tortoise and lamb in a covered bronze pot; the Pythia at Delphi described the event with uncanny accuracy; after that, Kroesus trusted the Oracle at Delphi completely.

Kroesus turned his aggressive attention towards the east and the Persian Empire; when he consulted the Oracle at Delphi he was told that a great empire would fall if he attacked the Persians; although his army was smaller than the Persian forces, Kroesus crossed into Persian territory and engaged the army of the Persian king, Cyrus; the initial battle was indecisive and Kroesus retreated back to Sardis assuming that Cyrus would also retreat and wait for Spring to renew the war; he disbanded the mercenary aspect of his army and asked his allies in Sparta, Egypt and Babylonia to join him five months hence and resume the war; Cyrus did not wait for the Spring but instead marched to Sardis and defeated the diminished Lydian army.

Kroesus was taken prisoner and was due to be executed when a strange event saved his life; as he was being burned at the stake, Kroesus remembered the words of the sage, Solon; Solon had once told Kroesus that no man can be judged as happy until after his death because sadness and misfortune can befall any man up until that final moment; Kroesus uttered the words of Solon and when Cyrus overheard him, he was intrigued and ordered his men to put out the fire that was about to consume Kroesus; the soldiers batted at the flames but they would not be stilled; when Kroesus realized that Cyrus was trying to save him but the fire could not be extinguished, he prayed aloud to Apollon to save him; out of a clear sky, rain clouds appeared and a sudden downpour doused the flames.

Cyrus was duly impressed by the intervention of Apollon and bade Kroesus to sit with him and say whatever he wished; Kroesus looked at his besieged city and asked Cyrus what the Persian army was doing; Cyrus said simply that they were plundering his (Kroesus's) city; Kroesus said that the city was no longer his and the army was plundering the property that rightly belonged to the Persian king; he then suggested that Cyrus should place guards at each city gate and confiscate a tenth of the plunder on the pretext that the confiscated property was a tribute to Zeus; this would make Cyrus appear pious and deprive his army of acquiring too much wealth.

Cyrus was pleased with Kroesus's advice and told him that he could have anything he wished; instead of asking for his freedom or his kingdom, Kroesus said that he wanted send an envoy to Delphi to demand an answer as to why Apollon had given him such an ambiguous prophecy; an envoy was dispatched and when confronted, the Pythia said that Kroesus was not ill-used by Apollon but that the loss of his throne had been the culmination of a family curse that began five generations before when his ancestor Gyges had killed King Kandaules (Candaules) and assumed the throne of Lydia; Kroesus accepted his fate and resigned himself to be the slave of the Persian king until he died.

After the death of Cyrus, Kroesus was forced into service as the advisor of Cyrus's son, Kambyses (Cambyses); Kambyses was a tyrant of the worst sort; Kroesus tried to serve him well but when none of the Persians would stand up to Kambyses, Kroesus told him that he was acting unwisely; Kambyses ordered that Kroesus be killed but the Persians knew that Kambyses would probably change his mind and so allowed Kroesus to escape.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 1.6, 1.26-28, 1.34-56, 1.76-92, 1.155-156; book 3.14 and 3.36; book 8.35

Krokotos (Crocotus)

A saffron colored robe worn by Dionysos (a.k.a. Bacchus, god of Wine) and his followers.

Kronikos

The ancient Greek name of the planet we call Saturn.

Kronos (Cronos)

Kronos

One of the Titans, i.e. one of the children of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (the Heavens).

Kronos has a page in the Immortals section of this site … click on his photo to view that page.

Krossos

Krossos

A pitcher or jar used as a water urn.

Krotalon

Musical rattles normally consisting of tuned lengths of bone or hardwood suspended at one end from a hand-held frame and used by dancers in the worship of Dionysos (a.k.a. Bacchus, god of Wine) and Kybele (Cybele); the rattles were used by Herakles (Heracles or Hercules) to frighten away the Stymphalian Birds during his Sixth Labor.

The word may also be spelled Krotalas, Krotali or Crotali.

Kroton (Croton)

A Greek city in southern Italy that was established circa 700 BCE by settlers from Achaea; the city had the advantage of being at the mouth of the Aesarus River where a jutting peninsula formed two protected harbors; the Sanctuary of Hera Lakinia (Lacania) was located on a promontory (modern Cape Colonna) seven miles (11 kilometers) southwest of Kroton and is assumed to date from the seventy century BCE.

Kroton

Modern Crotone with Cape Colonna to the southwest … Colonna was the site of the Sanctuary of Hera Lakinia.

Kroton is perhaps best known because one of its citizens was a champion athlete and another was a famous philosopher.

At the 60th Olympiad in 540 BCE, a boy named Milo won the Wrestling competition; eight years later at the 62nd Olympiad, Milo again won the Wrestling competition; he went on to win four additional consecutive Olympic Wrestling competitions making him the most successful Olympic athlete to ever live; he also won six competitions at the Pythian Games at Delphi; he was without doubt the best known athlete in Greece.

Although the philosopher Pythagoras was born on the island of Samos, he moved to Kroton and established a school that taught self discipline, mathematics, philosophy and theology; circa 530 BCE Pythagoras was given special honors by the citizens of Kroton that nearly elevated him to the status of a deity; his followers were conspicuous throughout Greece and Italy because of the respect and notoriety they engendered for their commitment to their beliefs.

The overlapping lives of Milo and Pythagoras became crucial to the survival of Kroton as a free city; shortly after Pythagoras settled at Kroton, the city came under attack by neighboring Greek-founded cities; with the civil administration of Pythagoras and the military prowess of Milo, Kroton was able to repel the invaders and remain a free city; once stability was restored, Kroton became a democracy.

Circa 390 BCE the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse took control of southern Italy and became the undisputed authority in Kroton; after Dionysius died, Kroton and the other Greek cities of Italy and Sicily were ruled by a variety of invaders until Kroton became a Roman colony in 194 BCE.

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Kteatos (Cteatus)

He and Eurytos (Eurytus) are believed to be the sons of Aktor (Actor) and Molione.

Ktimene (Ctimene)

A town in the district of Dolopia in Thessaly.

Ktimenos (Ctimenos)

The father of the Argonaut, Eurydamas, from the district of Dolopia.

The Argonauts were a company of the greatest heroes and adventurers in ancient Greece; the Argonauts were assembled by Jason to assist him in retrieving the Golden Fleece from the land of Kolchis (Colchis); their name was derived from their ship, the Argo (Argo + nautes = Argo-seamen); the Quest for the Golden Fleece can be assumed to have occurred circa 1285 BCE.

His name may also be rendered as Ktimenus or Ctimenus.

Kyamos

Literally meaning Bean, but representative of choosing by lottery, i.e. colored beans would be placed in a jar or helmet and then be drawn to choose elected officials (as in the city of Athens) or contestants in battle.

Kyanaegis

A name for Athene (Athena) literally meaning, She of the Dark-Aegis.

Kyaneai (Cyaneai)

The Dark-Rocks; two rocky islands near the entrance to the Euxine (Black Sea); they were once moving islands that would clash together and crush passing ships but after the Argonauts successfully negotiated the so called Clashing Rocks they became stationary islands; sometimes referred to as the Kyanean (Cyanean) Rocks.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 2, lines 341-359 and 593-610

Kyathos

A cup used to dip water or wine from a krater, i.e. a bowl.

Kyaxares (Cyaxares)

The son of Phraortes and the third king of the Medes; he ruled from 625-585 BCE.

Kyaxares's father, Phraortes, and his grandfather, Deiokes (Deioces), had expanded the influence of the Medes with military might but both were new to the theory and practice of military strategy; Kyaxares had a broader vision as to the role and potential of the military; he organized the troops into separate units based on the type of weapons they used; this was an innovative concept and proved to be effective but not as decisive as Kyaxares had hoped.

Kyaxares had expanded the empire of the Medes into Asia and confronted the Assyrians outside the city of Ninus (Nineveh) when he was simply overwhelmed by the unexpected invasion of the Scythians (Scythians); the Scythians proved to be fierce fighters but poor administrators of the territory they conquered; Kyaxares was forced to retreat from the Scythians and relinquished his rule for twenty-eight years; Kyaxares and the Medes eventually gained the advantage and drove the Scythians back into the northern lands from which they had emerged; Kyaxares finally subdued all of western Asia except for the city of Babylon; he ruled for forty years and was succeeded by his son, Astyages.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 1.103-107

Kybele (Cybele)

Kybele

The daughter of Dindyme and King Meion of Phrygia; Kybele became immortal because of her healing abilities and her devotion when caring for children.

King Meion ruled Phrygia and Lydia in ancient times but after he became the father of a baby girl, he and Dindyme were unwilling to raise the child; Meion left the infant on Mount Kybelos (Cybelus) to die from exposure; leopards and other ferocious beasts nursed the child until several shepherd women saw the strange occurrence and took the child into their keeping; they named her Kybele after the mountain on which she was found.

As Kybele grew older, she was unequaled in beauty, virtue and intelligence; she was the first person to devise the multi-reed musical pipes as well as introducing the use of cymbals and the kettledrum at athletic games and for accompanying dancers; when she became well known for healing animals and children, people began calling her Mother of the Mountain; one of her constant companions became the satyr Marsyas because he too was a gifted musician.

When she became a woman, she loved a young man named Attis who, by virtue of his association with Kybele, became known as Attis-Papas (Attis the Father); she became pregnant but before her pregnancy became obvious, her parents, King Meion and Dindyme, recognized her and took her into their palace; when Meion realized that Kybele was pregnant, her went into a rage and killed Attis and Kybele's nurses; their bodies were disgracefully left unburied.

After the murder of Attis, Kybele went into a frenzy and rushed out into the countryside crying aloud and beating on a kettledrum; with her wild hair and the cacophony she was causing, she was a strange sight to behold; her old friend Marsyas followed her in her wanderings until they came to Nysa where they encountered Dionysos (god of Wine) and Apollon; Marsyas became entangled in a dispute with the god Apollon and was flayed alive; Marsyas and Apollon competed in a contest of musical skills and Marsyas became irate when Apollon won; Apollon killed Marsyas because he was argumentative and not for his lack of musical skill.

Apollon became attracted to Kybele and joined her in her wanderings as far as the northern lands of the Hyperboreans; at that time, a pestilence descended on the land and people of Phrygia; when the Phrygians inquired of Apollon how to end their misery, he told them to give Attis a proper burial and to honor Kybele as a goddess; a burial for Attis was impossible because his body had disappeared but an effigy was made to resemble Attis so that he could be mourned; altars were erected for Kybele and her worship spread over much of Asia Minor; King Midas of Phrygia was one of her more notable worshipers; some of her temples and altars were magnificent; they were often adorned with statues of lions and panthers to commemorate the way she had been attended by wild beasts as an infant on Mount Kybelos.

While sailing in the northern Aegean Sea, Queen Myrina of the Libyan Amazons was caught in a storm; she offered up prayers to Kybele as the Mother of the Gods and was carried safely to an uninhabited island; Myrina had a prophetic dream and named the island Samothrake (Samothrace) which means Sacred Island; Kybele was pleased with the island and settled it with a group of people which included her own sons who were called Korybantes (Corybantes) after their father, whose name is not stated but might have been Korybanos (Corybanus); Kybele established her rites and mysteries on Samothrake and decreed that her sacred area would become a sanctuary; the name Korybantes became the traditional name for the priests of Kybele and they dressed in full armor at her rituals.

Since Kybele was a goddess of Asia Minor, she was sometimes identified by the Greeks with the goddess Rheia (Rhea), wife of Kronos (Cronos) and mother of the Olympians; there are several references to Rheia in The Argonautika which, by their context, are undoubtedly referring to Kybele.

Jason is told by Mopsos (Mopsus) that he must climb to Dindymon's shrine to ask the Mother of the Gods to stop the storm which has lasted for twelve days; Mopsos was taught the augury of birds by Apollon and from the signs he received, he instructed the Argonauts to prepare a suitable tribute for Kybele; the shipbuilder Argos carved an elegant image of the goddess; the Argonauts made a gravel altar which they decorated with garlands of oak leaves; the Argonauts put on their armor and danced a war dance around the altar; after the animal sacrifices were made, several miraculous signs assured the Argonauts that their prayers had been answered; the storm abated, fruit dropped from the trees, flowers bloomed, wild animals came from their lairs wagging their tails and a spring burst forth on the parched rock which was thereafter known as Jason's spring.

A shrine was established in the city of Athens during the plague of 430 BCE in hopes that the Kybele, as the Earth-Goddess, would be appeased and end the suffering of the Athenians; the Athenians had killed a priest of Kybele and thought that they were being punished for their impious actions; she was also called the Great Idaean Mother which was a reference to either her association with Mount Ida or to Kybele as the Great Kind Mother.

The worship of Kybele continued well into historical times; although never formally sanctioned, processions and the worship of Kybele was allowed in Rome as early as 204 BCE.

Diodorus Siculus, book 3.58 and 3.59

Homeric Hymn to the Mother of the Gods

Kybernesia

A festival held in Athens in honor of the helmsman who steered Theseus home after he had killed the Minotaur; Kyber means To Steer.

Kybos

Six sided dice used in games of chance.

The transliteration of Greek words into English is somewhat dicey in itself; in this case, the word Kybos was loosely rendered into Latin as Cubos and thus we get the English word Cube, i.e. a six sided figure; the initial letter, Kappa (K), was turned into a C and since the lowercase Upsilon (the second letter, rendered as a Y in Kybos) looks like a modern u (but is pronounced as a long E) the pronunciation and appearance of the word have changed dramatically.

Kydippe (Cydippe)

The young woman who was tricked into marriage by a crafty young man named Akontius (Acontius).

Akontius gave Kydippe an apple with an inscription saying, I swear by Artemis that I will marry no one but Akontius; as Kydippe read the message aloud it became a sacred oath; when her parents tried to marry her to other young men she became ill; finally, to fulfill her oath, she had to marry Akontius.

Kydoimos (Cydoimos)

A Spirit; the personification of Confusion or Uproar.

Shield of Herakles, line 156

Kydonia (Cydonia)

The ancient name for the modern city of Chania, Crete.

Kydonia and the surrounding areas were occupied since as early as 3000 BCE but it was not until the time of the Minoans that Kydonia became an established settlement; the role of Kydonia during the Minoan period (circa 1200 BCE) is not known with certainty but its strategic location makes it easy to believe that it was a viable port for all sorts of commerce; the proximity of Crete to Egypt and the Greek islands as well as the Greek mainland made it an excellent stop-over point for trading throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

The name Kydonia was used by Homer in The Odyssey to describe an area in western Crete but not specifically for the city which eventually bore that name; when Menelaos (Menelaus) encountered rough weather, his fleet was divided into two parts; Menelaos, with five of his ships, was blown south to Egypt while the remainder of his fleet was forced ashore in the land of the Kydonians but from the description of the high cliffs and surging waves, it seems unlikely that the ships landed in the settlement which later became known as Kydonia.

Also in The Odyssey, we are told that when Odysseus was the guest of the Phaiakians (Phaeacians) he pretended to be from Crete and mentioned the Kydonians as a distinct division of the inhabitants of the island.

Herodotus mentions Kydonia in The Histories in several specific ways; Polykrates (Polycrates) was the tyrant of the island of Samos from 532-515 BCE; during Polykrates's oppressive reign, a group of discontents called upon the Spartans for assistance; the Spartans were unable to defeat Polykrates so the people who had called upon the Spartans were forced to flee Samos; they relocated to Crete and settled at Kydonia; also, as a direct result of the Spartan campaign against Polykrates, the men of Hermion were forced to leave their island home of Hydra (Hydrea); they went to Kydonia but their initial intent was not to settle in the country but rather to drive the Zakynthians from the island of Crete; they remained at Kydonia for five prosperous years and built temples and the House of the Dictya, i.e. a temple to the mysterious Daktyls (Dactyls) who dwelt on Mount Ida, which is located southeast of Kydonia in the central part of the island; in the sixth year of their occupation of Kydonia, the men of Hermion were attacked and enslaved by the other Cretans in league with troops from the island of Aegina (Aigina); this attack was revenge for an old grudge against the Samians for invading Aegina.

Circa 346 BCE, a man named Phalaekos (Phalaecus) led a siege on the city of Kydonia; siege engines were constructed but when they were brought against the city, lightening ignited the structures and they were consumed by divine fire; this story comes from Diodorus Siculus who was generally a very matter-of-fact narrator so for him to use the term 'divine fire' implies an extraordinary fire which was remembered as supernatural by those who recounted the story to Diodorus.

The ancient name of Kydonia was used as early as 750 BCE and endured until the Venetians Italicized the name to be Canea; when the Greeks regained control of the island of Crete in 1896 CE, the name of the city became Chania.

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Odyssey (Lattimore and Loeb), book 3, line 292; book 19, line 176

Odyssey (Fagles), book 3, line 330; book 19, line 200

Odyssey (Fitzgerald), book 3, line 315; book 19, line 207

The Histories, book 3.44 and 3.59

Diodorus Siculus, 16.63.3

Kyklades (Cyclades)

A group of Greek islands in the southern Aegean Sea spread out over approximately 2,650 square miles (6,864 square kilometers).

The name literally means Circular or Round and is used for this island group because they encircle the sacred island of Delos, i.e. the birthplace of Apollon and Artemis.

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Kyklopes (Cyclopes)

The wheel-eyed sons of Gaia (Earth) who forged the thunder and lightning for Zeus; with one large eye, they are named: Arges (Vivid One), Brontes (Thunderer) and Steropes (Lightener).

Theogony, lines 139-146

Kyknos (Cycnus)

Kyknos and Herakles

Kyknos was the son of Ares (god of War); he married Themistinoe, daughter of King Keyx (Ceyx) of Trachis; in divine retribution for offending the god Apollon, Kyknos was killed in combat against Herakles (Heracles); the story of their confrontation is told in the poem Shield of Herakles; the name Kyknos literally means Swan and is associated with the Swan-Song, i.e. death-song.

Kyknos had been in the habit of stealing sacrificial animals that were being taken to the shrine of Apollon at Delphi; for that reason, Herakles had been inflamed by Apollon against Kyknos; Herakles and Kyknos met in a grove sacred to Apollon and were destined to fight to the death; Herakles was accompanied by his cousin Iolaos (Iolaus) who drove his chariot pulled by the horse Arion; Kyknos was in the grove with his father Ares; Kyknos wanted to kill Herakles and Iolaos and take their armor.

Herakles had been given an incomparable shield by the immortal artificer, Hephaistos (Hephaestus); the technical intricacy and supernatural countenance of the shield gave Herakles the advantage in the mortal combat but Kyknos was determined to kill the son of Zeus and take his splendid armor; before the two heroes came to blows, the goddess Athene (Athena) appeared beside Herakles's chariot and informed him that he was destined to kill Kyknos and take his armor and horses; to be certain that Herakles and Iolaos understood, Athene shook her aegis and the earth trembled.

Herakles called to Kyknos and asked him to turn aside and avoid the fight; he reminded Kyknos of the time he had bested Ares in single combat but Kyknos would not be dissuaded from the fight; Zeus thundered and rained drops of blood as a signal to Herakles that the contest should begin; the two heroes shouted so loudly that their war-cries echoed through the neighboring hills.

The two men dismounted from their chariots and Kyknos was the first to strike; he stabbed at Herakles but the divinely crafted shield turned the blow away; Herakles stabbed upwards with his spear and caught Kyknos under the chin with a mighty blow; Kyknos died before he hit the ground; he collapsed like a fallen tree and his bronze armor clashed about him.

As soon as Kyknos fell dead, Ares rushed at Herakles with murderous intent but Herakles stood his ground; Athene raised her aegis and confronted Ares; she told him that it was not ordained that he should kill Herakles or take his armor as a prize; she warned Ares not to withstand her; Ares did not heed Athene's warning and hurled his spear at Herakles; Athene reached out and turned the force of the spear aside; Ares pulled his sword and resumed the attack; Herakles stabbed Ares in the thigh with his spear and knocked the god to the ground; Ares's sons, Phobos and Deimos, rushed to their father's aid; they placed him in their chariot and rushed him to Mount Olympos (Olympus); as was customary, Herakles and Iolaos stripped the armor from Kyknos's dead body.

Kyknos was given a proper burial by King Keyx in Trachis with many people attending the ceremonies; Apollon would not put aside his anger towards Kyknos and asked the river Anauros (Anaurus) to obliterate Kyknos's grave and memorial so that no trace of the impious man would remain on the earth; Kyknos died ingloriously and would have been utterly forgotten if not for the poem, Shield of Herakles.

If you wish to read the Shield of Herakles, I recommend Hesiod by Richmond Lattimore (ISBN 0427439030 clothbound and 0472081616 paper bound); you can find this book at you local library or you can purchase it from the Book Shop on this site.

The above image shows the fight between Herakles and Kyknos; from left to right: Athene, Herakles, Kyknos and Ares.

Shield of Herakles, lines 57, 65, 329, 331, 337, 346, 350, 368, 413, 468, 472 and 479

Kylikes

Kylikes

A wide drinking cup with a shallow body, two horizontal handles and a high stem manufactured in Corinth from 570 to 540 BCE; the size and shape of the cup remained relatively constant but several distinct painting styles developed; the Lip cups (560-530 BCE) had their decorations around the lip of the cup and the Band cups (555-520 BCE) had a distinct decorative band between the two handles.

Kylix

Kylix

A drinking cup similar in many ways to the Kylikes (see previous entry) but distinguished by the eyes painted on the sides of the cup.

Kyllene (Cyllene)

Mount Kyllene is in Arkadia (Arcadia), a short distance due west of the city of Corinth; Hermes is reputed to have been born there.

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Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Kymatolege (Cymatolege)

One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus; her name means Wave-Stiller.

Other than a passing reference to her name, the only Nereid to receive any individual attention in the ancient literature was Thetis; as the mother of Achilles and one of the few goddesses to refuse the amorous intentions of Zeus, Thetis was unique; when the Immortals needed the Nereids, they called upon Thetis to rally her sisters for whatever task was needed.

The Nereids and the Argonauts - After Jason and the Argonauts had taken the Golden Fleece from Kolchis (Colchis), Medeia (Medea), the daughter of King Aietes (Aeetes), helped Jason murder her half-brother Apsyrtos (Apsyrtus) in a rather cowardly way; Zeus swore revenge for such a dastardly act but his sister/wife Hera wanted to protect the Argonauts until Jason and Medeia could be absolved of their crime by the Dread-Goddess Kirke (Circe); Hera called upon Thetis to gather the Nereids so they could quiet the waters of the sea so the Argonauts could safely navigate to Kirke's island; Thetis plunged into the sea and called to her sisters; her call was answered and the Nereids helped save the Argonauts.

The Nereids at the funeral of Patroklos (Patroclus) - In the last year of the Trojan War, Achilles's companion Patroklos was killed; Achilles took Patroklos's death very hard and called out to his mother Thetis for consolation; Thetis and the Nereids rose from the sea and graced the dead body of Patroklos with their divine presence.

The Nereids at the funeral of Achilles - The death of Achilles was one of the most dramatic events of the Trojan War; as the son of Thetis, his death had particular significance to the Nereids; at the funeral of Achilles, Thetis, the Nereids and the Muses all came to pay their respects.

Theogony, line 252

Kyme (Cyme) 1

An ancient Greek coastal city in Lydia in Asia Minor; the largest and most influential of the twelve Ionian cities founded by the Aeolians; the birthplace of the poet Hesiod; named after an Amazon queen, Kyme.

Kyme (Cyme) 2

An Amazon queen; her image survives on ancient coins from as late as 300 BCE; the Aeolian city of Kyme in Asia Minor was named after her.

Kymo (Cymo)

One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus; her name means Wavy.

Other than a passing reference to her name, the only Nereid to receive any individual attention in the ancient literature was Thetis; as the mother of Achilles and one of the few goddesses to refuse the amorous intentions of Zeus, Thetis was unique; when the Immortals needed the Nereids, they called upon Thetis to rally her sisters for whatever task was needed.

The Nereids and the Argonauts - After Jason and the Argonauts had taken the Golden Fleece from Kolchis (Colchis), Medeia (Medea), the daughter of King Aietes (Aeetes), helped Jason murder her half-brother Apsyrtos (Apsyrtus) in a rather cowardly way; Zeus swore revenge for such a dastardly act but his sister/wife Hera wanted to protect the Argonauts until Jason and Medeia could be absolved of their crime by the Dread-Goddess Kirke (Circe); Hera called upon Thetis to gather the Nereids so they could quiet the waters of the sea so the Argonauts could safely navigate to Kirke's island; Thetis plunged into the sea and called to her sisters; her call was answered and the Nereids helped save the Argonauts.

The Nereids at the funeral of Patroklos (Patroclus) - In the last year of the Trojan War, Achilles's companion Patroklos was killed; Achilles took Patroklos's death very hard and called out to his mother Thetis for consolation; Thetis and the Nereids rose from the sea and graced the dead body of Patroklos with their divine presence.

The Nereids at the funeral of Achilles - The death of Achilles was one of the most dramatic events of the Trojan War; as the son of Thetis, his death had particular significance to the Nereids; at the funeral of Achilles, Thetis, the Nereids and the Muses all came to pay their respects.

Theogony, line 255

Kymodoke (Cymodoce)

One of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris collectively known as the Nereids, i.e. the daughters of the Nereus; her name means Wave-Receiver.

Other than a passing reference to her name, the only Nereid to receive any individual attention in the ancient literature was Thetis; as the mother of Achilles and one of the few goddesses to refuse the amorous intentions of Zeus, Thetis was unique; when the Immortals needed the Nereids, they called upon Thetis to rally her sisters for whatever task was needed.

The Nereids and the Argonauts - After Jason and the Argonauts had taken the Golden Fleece from Kolchis (Colchis), Medeia (Medea), the daughter of King Aietes (Aeetes), helped Jason murder her half-brother Apsyrtos (Apsyrtus) in a rather cowardly way; Zeus swore revenge for such a dastardly act but his sister/wife Hera wanted to protect the Argonauts until Jason and Medeia could be absolved of their crime by the Dread-Goddess Kirke (Circe); Hera called upon Thetis to gather the Nereids so they could quiet the waters of the sea so the Argonauts could safely navigate to Kirke's island; Thetis plunged into the sea and called to her sisters; her call was answered and the Nereids helped save the Argonauts.

The Nereids at the funeral of Patroklos (Patroclus) - In the last year of the Trojan War, Achilles's companion Patroklos was killed; Achilles took Patroklos's death very hard and called out to his mother Thetis for consolation; Thetis and the Nereids rose from the sea and graced the dead body of Patroklos with their divine presence.

The Nereids at the funeral of Achilles - The death of Achilles was one of the most dramatic events of the Trojan War; as the son of Thetis, his death had particular significance to the Nereids; at the funeral of Achilles, Thetis, the Nereids and the Muses all came to pay their respects.

Theogony, line 252

Kymopoleia (Cymopoleia)

A daughter of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and the wife of Briareos; her name means Wave-Walker.

Her name may also be rendered as Kymopolea or Cymopolea.

Theogony, line 819

Kynegetikos (Cynegeticos)

The name of a work about hunting by Xenophon (circa 430-355 BCE); usually called On Hunting.

Kyniska (Cynisca)

The first woman to become an Olympic champion; a Spartan by birth.

In 392 BCE she drove her chariot to victory in the Olympic Games; she was honored by having a statue of her victory team included as a primary decoration of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia; her name literally means Female-Dog and may also be rendered as Kynisca.

Kyno (Cyno)

The wife of the cowherd, Mitradates, who raised Cyrus as her son; in Greek her name was Kyno but her Median name was Spako.

Her name played an important part in the legend that made Cyrus such a powerful and charismatic leader because Kyno and Spax mean female dog in Greek and Median respectively.

The story begins with the Median king, Astyages and his daughter, Mandane; Astyages wanted his daughter's infant son murdered and gave the foul task to one of his trusted kinsmen, Harpagus; when Harpagus gave thought to the matter he decided to keep his hands clean and give the dirty deed to someone of lower rank; he ordered a herdsman named Mitradates to take the baby into the wilderness and leave it to the beasts and elements.

Mitradates took the baby back to his home and found that his wife, Kyno, had just given birth but that her baby had been born dead; Kyno persuaded Mitradates to spare the life of the king's grandson and to present their dead baby to Harpagus and declare that the evil deed had been done; Harpagus believed Mitradates's story and gave the matter no more thought.

Mitradates and Kyno raised the child as their own and all went well until the young boy had a dispute with his playmates; a group of boys were playing a game and Mandane's son was chosen to play the role of the king; when one of the boys disobeyed a "royal" command, the "king" ordered that he be beaten; the boy who had been punished took offense at such base treatment because his family was of noble birth and a mere herdsman's son had ordered him beaten; the boy's father took the insulting matter to King Astyages for justice; Astyages called Mitradates and his "son" to stand trial but when Astyages saw the family resemblance of the boy to his daughter, and to himself, he realized that Mandane's son was still alive.

Astyages demanded the truth from Mitradates and he soon understood the entire sequence of events; the young boy was taken from Mitradates and Kyno and given to his natural mother and father, Mandane and Kambyses; the boy was named Cyrus and as he grew to manhood he was the best and brightest of his peers; as an adult, Cyrus united the Persians and led a successful revolt against King Astyages.

In order to add an element of divine intervention to the life of Cyrus, his mother and father told a slightly augmented version of his early life; they claimed that he had been left in the wilderness, as Astyages had ordered, and that he had been nursed by a female dog, i.e. a Kyno, until he was old enough to take revenge on his grandfather, Astyages, and end the rule of the Medes.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 1.110-122

Kynosure (Cynosoyra)

The ancient Greek name for the constellation Ursa Minor, i.e. the Little Bear, which we now call the Little Dipper.

Kynthia (Cynthia)

A name for the goddess, Artemis, because she was born on Mount Kynthus (Cynthus) on the sacred island of Delos.

Kynthios (Cynthios)

A name for Apollon meaning, "born on Kynthus"; he was born on Mount Kynthus (Cynthus) on the sacred island of Delos.

Kynthus (Cynthus)

Mount Kynthus; located on the sacred island of Delos and the birthplace of Artemis and Apollon.

Kypellon (Cypellon)

Kypellon

A goblet-like drinking vessel; a cup or beaker.

Kypria (Cypria)

The Kypria; one of the fragmentary remains of the Epic Cycle which elaborates on the Trojan War and its aftermath; Kypria is another name for the goddess of Love, Aphrodite and the poem revolves around her.

The poem was originally in eleven books but all that remain are twenty two fragments; the author of The Kypria is alternately given as Homer, Stasinus and Hegesias; a brief narrative about the Trojan War is augmented by a series of disjointed facts and sometimes contradictory statements regarding such characters as Helen, Theseus and Nemesis.

The Kypria tells the story (in abbreviated form) of the so-called Judgment of Paris in which the Trojan prince, Alexandros (Paris), is summoned to the wedding of Thetis and Peleus to judge which goddess is most beautiful: Hera, Athene (Athena) or Aphrodite; he chose Aphrodite and won her favor but, at the same time, inflamed the wrath of Athene and Hera.

Aphrodite then suggested that Alexandros build a ship and ordered another of her sons, Aineias (Aeneas), to sail with him; the seers, Helenos and Kassandra (Cassandra) told Alexandros his future but exactly what they told him is lost to us; Alexandros and Aineias sailed to Lakedaemon (Lacedaemon) where they were entertained by Helen and, her husband Menelaos (Menelaus); after Menelaos left for the island of Cyprus, Aphrodite cast a spell on Alexandros and Helen to make them become lovers; they loaded Alexandros's ship with treasure and sailed away; a storm blew the ship off course and they were carried to Sidon, where Alexandros sacked the city before returning to Troy to marry Helen (or, also according to The Kypria, the two sailed to Troy in three days).

Meanwhile, Helen's brothers, Kastor (Castor) and Polydeukes (Polydeuces or Pollux), were caught stealing the cattle of Idas and Lynkeus (Lynceus); Kastor was killed by Idas and then he and his brother, Lynkeus, were killed by Polydeukes; Zeus made Kastor and Polydeukes immortal with the condition that while one of them lived on the surface of the earth, the other would reside in the Underworld.

The goddess, Iris, told Menelaos of Helen's infidelity and he gathered the Greeks to attack Troy; at this point in the remaining fragments of The Kypria, Menelaos consulted Nestor and it becomes obvious that, had The Kypria remained intact, we would have a wealth of information concerning many of the greatest heroes of Greece; as you may recall from The Iliad, Nestor was a storyteller; when he was asked a question or his opinion, he would always digress into a series of tales from his youth and never give a simple or concise answer; if you were in a hurry, I can see how this might be annoying but for someone seeking knowledge, and not just facts, Nestor would have been the perfect mentor; mentioned in The Kypria, but not elaborated upon, are: the story of King Oedipus, the foiled love of Epopeus, the madness of Herakles (Hercules) and the pretense of madness by Odysseus to avoid joining the expedition to Troy.

When the Greeks assembled at Aulis, the seer, Kalchas (Calchas) correctly read the omen of the serpent and the birds and predicted victory after ten years of fighting; when the fleet sailed from Aulis, they mistook Teuthrania for Troy and sacked the city; the fleet was then scattered and finally returned to Aulis.

The commander of the Greeks, Agamemnon, killed a deer while hunting and boasted that his skill as a bowman surpassed the goddess, Artemis; the enraged goddess sent heavy seas and prevented the fleet from sailing; the seer, Kalchas, perceived the nature of their plight and advised Agamemnon to send for his daughter, Iphigenia, so that she could be sacrificed to appease Artemis; Agamemnon sent for Iphigenia under the pretense that she was to marry Achilles; when she was about to be sacrificed, Artemis snatched her from the altar and put a stag in her place; Iphigenia was then made immortal and transported to Tauris.

The winds abated and the fleet left Aulis and proceeded towards Troy; when they stopped at the island of Tenedos, one of the soldiers, Philoktetes (Philoktetes), was bitten by a snake and left on the island of Lemnos; the fleet arrived at Troy and the first Greek soldier killed was Protesilaus (Protesilaos); Achilles killed Poseidon's son, Kyenos (Kyenus), and stole the cattle of Aineias (Aeneas); the Greeks demand the return of Helen but the Trojans refused; the Greeks then laid waste to the surrounding cities, taking slaves and plunder; at this point of The Kypria, the Trojan War narrative abruptly ends and the remaining fragments are very abbreviated, some are only a few sentences.

The historian, Herodotus, mentions The Kypria in relation to the abduction of Helen by Alexandros; Herodotus reasons that the lines in The Kypria which differ from Homer's account of the abduction, in The Iliad, prove that Homer was not the author of The Kypria but he does not state who might have been the true author of this remarkable poem.

For the complete translations of the Epic Cycle I recommend the Loeb Classical Library volume 57, ISBN 0674990633; you can sometimes find this book at the library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this site.

The Kypria, fragments 1-22

The Histories by Herodotus, book 2.117

Kyprian (Cyprian) 1

The Kyprian; an epithet of Aphrodite (goddess of Love); the name is derived from the island of Cyprus where her worship was most fervent.

Kyprian (Cyprian) 2

Noting or pertaining to the island of Cyprus.

Kypselus (Cypselus) 1

A tyrant of the city of Corinth from 655-625 BCE and the father of Periander.

Kypselus was the son of Eetion and Labda; Labda was a daughter of the ruling family of Corinth, the Bacchiadae, and was forced to marry below her social station because she was lame; when Kypselus was born, the Oracle at Delphi predicted that the boy would overthrow the Bacchiadae and establish a new ruling dynasty in Corinth; members of the Bacchiadae plotted to kill Kypselus but Labda hid Kypselus in a chest so that he could live to fulfill the prophecy by ousting the Bacchiadae and becoming the new tyrant of Corinth; the descendants of Kypselus were called Kypselids (Cypselids).

The name Kypselus comes from the Greek word κυψσελαι meaning chests; when the traveler Pausanias (fl. 160 CE) was in Olympia he saw the actual chest in which Kypselus had been hidden; Kypselus dedicated the elaborately carved cedar chest at the Heraeum, i.e. Temple of Hera.

Pausanias, Description of Greece, book 5.17.5

Kypselus (Cypselus) 2

An Athenian statesman and renowned chariot racer; the father of Miltiades; Kypselus was a descendant of Aiakos (Aeacus), Aegina (Aigina), Philaeus and Aias (Ajax).

The Histories by Herodotus, book 6.36

Kyrenaika (Cyrenaica)

An ancient district in north Africa; also called Barka (Barca); it was said to be in eastern Libya but in ancient times, Libya was all of north Africa east of Egypt so the actual location remains unknown.

The name may also be rendered as Kyrenaica.

Kyrene (Cyrene) 1

An ancient Greek city and colony in Kyrenaika (Cyrenaica) in Libya, i.e. northern Africa.

Kyrene (now Shahhat) was founded by colonists from the island of Thera (now Santorini) circa 630 BCE at the command of the Pythia (priestess of Apollon) at Delphi; the first attempt at colonization was made on the island of Platea off the coast of Libya which was followed by a settlement on the mainland at Aziris; after six years at Aziris, the Theraeans moved eight miles inland to Apollon's Spring and established the permanent city of Kyrene.

Thera colonized Kyrene because of a seven year drought on their island; the leader of the colonists was a man named Battus (Battos); there is some dispute as to whether the name Battus was a proper name or simply a generic title because the word Battus meant King in theLibyan language and Stammerer in Greek; the historian, Herodotus, states that the original Battus had a speech impediment and was thus called Battus but the Pythia at Delphi called him Battus because she knew that he would someday be a king in Libya; I personally believe that the name Battus was a proper name because several other kings were also called by that name.

Kyrene was a prosperous city which exported grain, oil and horses to Greece and the Greek islands; they repelled several assaults from Egypt and the native Libyans but the city finally fell under the dominion of the Persian king, Kambyses (Cambyses) in 525 BCE.

The name Kyrene is from the Nymph consort of Apollon who inhabited the spring where the city was located; the descendants of the original Battus ruled Kyrene for eight generations which was in accord with the predictions of the Oracle at Delphi.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 2.32, 96, 161 and 181; book 3.90; book 4.159-165 and 199

The Taking of Oechalia, fragment 2

Kyrene (Cyrene) 2

A young maiden who lived in the district of Elis on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Apollon became infatuated with Kyrene and took her as his lover; he removed her to Libya and turned her into a Nymph so that she could have long life and live as one of the Immortals; she and Apollon had a son which they named Aristaios who was also called Hunter and Shepherd.

Circa 630 BCE, at the command of the Pythia (priestess of Apollon) at Delphi, colonists from the island of Thera (now Santorini) built a city in Libya at a place called Apollon's Spring and named the city after Apollon's lover, Kyrene.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 2, lines 500-527

Kyrnos (Corsica)

The ancient Greek name for the island of Corsica; located off the west coast of Italy directly north of the island of Sardinia and has an area of 3,367 square miles (8,721 square kilometers).

Approximate East Longitude 9º 00' and North Latitude 42º 00'

Google Map

Kythera (Cythera)

An island off the southern coast of Lakonia (Laconia); after Aphrodite (goddess of Love) rose from the blood of Ouranos (the Heavens) and the foam of the sea, she went ashore on Kythera and is thus called Kytherean.

Approximate East Longitude 22º 58' and North Latitude 36º 20'

Google Map

Kytherean (Cytherean)

A name for Aphrodite (goddess of Love) because, after she rose from the blood of Ouranos (the Heavens) and the foam of the sea, the island of Kythera (Cythera) was the first land she encountered.

Kythnos (Cythnos)

One of the islands in the Kyklades (Cyclades) Group located in the southern Aegean Sea directly between the islands of Keos (Ceos) and Seriphos.

Approximate East Longitude 24º 42' and North Latitude 37º 42'

Google Map

Kytissoros (Cytissorus)

One of the four sons of Phrixus and Chalkiope (Chalciope); Kytissoros and his brothers, Argos, Phrontis and Melas, all became Argonauts.

Chalkiope was the daughter of King Aietes of Kolchis (Colchis);Phrixus, and his sister, Helle, were given a flying ram with a Golden Fleece to escape their evil stepmother, Ino, and their father, King Athamas of Orchomenos (Orchomenus); during their escape from Orchomenos, Helle fell from the ram and drowned in the sea but Phrixus managed to reach Kolchis and sacrifice the ram in the Garden of Ares; King Aietes was so impressed with Phrixus and the miraculous golden ram, he allowed him to marry his daughter,Chalkiope, without the wedding gifts which were traditionally expected from a suitor.

Kytissoros and his brothers were raised in Kolchis but after their father died, he and his brothers left to avenge their father's unwarranted treatment by King Athamas; Kytissoros and his brothers did not reach Orchomenos as they had planned; instead, they became stranded on the Island of Ares in the Euxine (Black Sea); they were rescued from the island by the Argonauts; the Argonauts were on their way to Kolchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece and their encounter with Kytissoros and his brothers was more than a chance occurrence; Kytissoros and his brothers joined the crew of the Argo and returned to Kolchis.

Later in life, Kytissoros managed to confront Athamas but he did not avenge the malevolent treatment of his father as he had intended; he came upon Athamas in Achaea (Achaia) in the town of Alus; the Achaeans (Achaians), at the command of an oracle of Zeus, were preparing to sacrifice Athamas; Kytissoros saved Athamas and, by doing so, incurred the resentment of Zeus; from that time forward, the eldest member of Athamas's family was forbidden, on penalty of death, to enter the town hall of Alus.

His name may also be rendered as Kytissorus or Cytissoros.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 2, lines 1140-1156

The Histories by Herodotus, book 7.197

Kyzikos (Cyzicus) 1

The son of Aineios and Ainete; ruler of the Doliones who dwelt on a peninsula attached to the Phrygian mainland and jutting into the Propontis (Sea of Marmara).

When Jason and the Argonauts chanced to encounter the Doliones, Kyzikos had just celebrated his marriage but left the bridal chamber to greet the illustrious crew of the Argo; after the formalities of hospitality had been observed, the Argonauts continued on their quest for the Golden Fleece and Kyzikos returned to his bride, Kleite (Cleite).

After taking their leave of King Kyzikos, the Argonauts lost their way in the night and contrary winds blew them back to the peninsula; when the Doliones saw the Argo approaching in the night, they mistakenly assumed that they were being invaded by their enemies and attacked the Argonauts in the darkness; Jason killed Kyzikos in the heat of battle without realizing who he was fighting.

When the light of day revealed the horrible mistakes both sides had made, the Argonauts and the Doliones mourned the needless death of Kyzikos; Kleite, Kyzikos's new bride, could not endure the loss of her beloved husband and hanged herself; the Nymphs of the grove cried such tears that a fountain formed and was named after Kyzikos's devoted wife, Kleite.

His name may also be rendered as Kyzikus or Cyzicus.

The Argonautika by Apollodorus Rhodius, book 1, lines 936-960 and 1012-1076

Kyzikos (Cyzicus) 2

A peninsula which juts into the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) from the Phrygian mainland and a city on that peninsula.

Although not really an island, the peninsula of Kyzikos is often called Bear Island as well as Bear Mountain; a narrow isthmus connects the peninsula with the mainland and the city of Kyzikos is located on the isthmus.

Kyzikos was controlled by various factions of the Greeks until 387-6 BCE when the Persians took the town as part of the Peace of Antalkidas (Antalcidas).

The name may also be rendered as Kyzikus or Cyzicos; modern Belkis, Turkey.

Approximate East Longitude 27º 90' and North Latitude 40º 41'

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Anabasis, book 7 ii 5

Histories, book 4.100

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