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The 10 Most Known Greek Myths in the World

The 10 Most Known Greek Myths in the World


This reading will take you into the most famous stories of Greek mythology . The myths and stories of the ancient Greeks are among the best known in the world. Here we show you the 10 most famous and great Greek myths.

Although people from all countries, times and stages of civilization have developed myths that explain the existence and functioning of natural phenomena, relate the actions of gods or heroes, or try to justify social or political institutions, the myths of the Greeks have remained unmatched in the Western world as sources of imaginative and attractive ideas. Since ancient times, artists and also poets have been inspired by Greek mythology and discovered the contemporary significance and relevance in the themes of classical mythology.

Greek myths are stories about their gods, heroes, and rituals from the ancient Greeks. The myths contained a considerable element of fiction and were recognized by the most critical Greeks, such as the philosopher Plato in the 5th-4th centuries BCE. In general, however, in the popular piety of the Greeks, myths were viewed as true stories.

These myths have had a great influence on the arts and literature of Western civilization, which was largely inherited from Greek culture. Here are the 10 most famous and well-known myths of Greek mythology in the world today.


1. Heracles (Hercules) and the twelve labors


The greatest of the divine heroes in Greek mythology , Heracles , known in the West by the Roman name Hercules , was the son of the god Zeus and the mortal Alceme. There are many stories about the strength and heroism of Heracles, but the best known focuses on the twelve works that he was forced to perform . Crazed by the goddess Hera , Heracles killed his own children, and to expire his crimes he had to perform ten tasks or jobs set by his arch nemesis Eurystheus, who eventually raised the number to twelve.

1. Kill the Nemean Lion : With his bare hands, Heracles kills the lion that was attacking the city of Nemea, using the skin as a cloak to demonstrate his victory.
2. Kill the Hydra of Lerna : A fire-breathing monster with the body of a lion and nine serpent heads, the Hydra was considered unbeatable. Heracles along with Iolaus, was able to kill him, but it was not easy. Every time he cut off a head, two more grew in its place. Eventually Heracles and Iolaus cut off all the heads and sealed the wounds with fire, preventing the Hydra from regenerating.
3. Capture the cerinea doe: Instead of killing the deer, Heracles had to capture it alive and present it to Eurystheus.
4. Capture the Wild Boar Erymanth: A wild and powerful boar was on the loose and had to be captured and brought to Mycenae, with Heracles successfully capturing the beast.
5. Clean the Augean stables in a single day : King Augias had a stable of divine cattle whose feces were poisonous and bulky. By diverting the Alpheus and Peneus rivers, Heracles was able to clean the stables.
6. Kill the Stymphalian Birds: Sacred to Ares , the Stymphalian birds had bronze beaks and were incredibly violent, invading Arcadia. As the birds had migrated to a swamp, Heracles had to get creative, using a rattle given to him by Hephaestus to scare the birds out of the air, shooting them with his bow and arrow.
7. Capture the Cretan Bull: A wild bull was wreaking havoc on the island of Crete and Heracles was tasked with capturing the beast. With his bare hands, he fought the bull to the ground, successfully capturing it and sending it back to dry land.
8. Stealing the Mares of Diomedes: King Diomedes of Thrace had trained his horses to eat human flesh and Heracles was tasked with bringing these mares back. Heracles made his way to Thrace and stayed awake all night until Diomedes fell asleep before cutting the bronze manger to which the horses were tied. Heracles chased the mares to the end of the peninsula before digging a ditch around them, creating an island. Eventually Diomedes appeared and Heracles killed him, stroked the mares and calmed them so that he could sew their mouths up and bring them back to Eurystheus.
9. Stealing the Belt of Hippolyta , Queen of the Amazons: Heracles was then tasked with retrieving the belt of the Queen of the Amazons, a fearsome group of warrior women. Hippolyta was impressed with the exploits of Heracles and was willing to give him the belt. However, Hera, who despised Heracles, had appeared before the Amazons, saying that someone wanted to steal the queen. The Amazons confronted Heracles, who then believed that this was all a plot by Hippolyta to kill him. Heracles killed the Amazons, including Hippolyta, and took the belt.
10. Steal the cattle of the monster Geryon: Heracles traveled west to steal the cattle of the giant Geryon. The giant attacked Heracles, but he was no match for his archery skills, one of his arrows piercing Geryon's forehead. Heracles obtained the cattle and despite Hera's greatest interference, he was able to bring the cattle to Eurystheus.
11. Pick the apples of the Hesperides:Eurystheus claimed that killing the Hydra (because Iolaus helped him) and cleaning Auge's stables (because the rivers did the work) did not count and gave Heracles two more chores. Heracles was tasked with stealing apples from the evening nymphs, the Hesperides. After finding the garden of the Hesperides, Heracles found the god Atlas holding the heavens. Since Heracles could not reach the apples by himself, he asked Atlas to grab them while holding the heavens. Atlas agreed and got the apples, however, then decided that he didn't want to hold the heavens again. Heracles tricked Atlas into giving him the apples, saying that he would stay to hold the heavens, but first he needed Atlas to hold the heavens while adjusting the cloak.
12. Capture Cerberus and Bring Him Out of Hell: For the final job, Heracles was tasked with bringing back the three-headed dog, Cerberus, who guarded the gates of the underworld. Heracles asked Hades if he could bring Cerberus with him and the god agreed that Heracles could subdue the beast only with his bare hands. Heracles was successful and hung Cerberus on his back, before returning from the underworld and presenting the beast to Eurystheus.

2. Prometheus and the theft of fire


Prometheus was one of the original Titans who was overthrown by Zeus and the other Olympians , yet he was one of the few who survived being banished to Tartarus.

Prometheus constantly came into conflict with Zeus and after Zeus withdrew the use of fire by mortals, Prometheus stole the fire and gave it back to humanity. As punishment for his transgressions, he was chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains for all eternity. Every day an eagle (the symbol of Zeus) would fly to the rock and eat Prometheus' liver. Because he was immortal, his liver would regenerate, only for the cycle to repeat itself the next day. Finally, Heracles released Prometheus from his prison.

3. Narcissus and Echo


Narcissus was known everywhere for his incredible beauty and one day, in the forest,the mountain nymph Echo saw him and fell in love with him. As he followed him, Narcissus felt someone following him and called the Echo, yelling over and over “who's there? Finally, the Echo manifested itself and tried to hug Narcissus, so that he would reject her and fire her, leaving her heart broken.

This enraged Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance , who then led Narcissus to a pond deep in the forest, where he beheld his reflection of himself as a young man. She didn't realize it was her own reflection, and instead, fell in love with him, unable to get out.

4. Sisyphus


Sisyphus was the king of Ephra , and he was known for his huge ego and cunning. He defied the gods on many occasions, cheating death with deceptions. This enraged Zeus, who forced Sisyphus to roll a huge rock over a hill. Just as the rock reached the top of the hill, it would roll to the bottom again, relegating Sisyphus to an eternity of endless frustrations. This punishment was devised by Zeus for Sisyphus because of his arrogance against the gods for thinking that he, a mortal, could be smarter and more cunning than the gods.

5. Perseus and Medusa


There are many great myths about the legendary hero Perseus , but the most famous would have to be the murder of Medusa.

King Polydectes of Serifos wished to marry Danae, the mother of Perseus, something that Perseus did not approve of. This caused a rift between the two men, so Polydectes conspired to cast Perseus out of favor. At a sumptuous dinner, Polydectes asked each guest to bring a horse as a gift, and when Perseus had no gifts to give, he asked Polydectes to name his gift. In an attempt to end Perseus for good, he asked him to bring him the head of Medusa, whose gaze turned people to stone.

After receiving a polished shield, Medusa's head backpack, an infallible sword, and Hade's helmet of darkness (giving invisibility), Perseus set out to kill Medusa. Using his polished shield to see Medusa's reflection as he approached, he was able to cut off her head and put it in the backpack.

6. Orpheus and Eurydice


Orpheus de lira was known as a great musician, and it was said that he could make trees bend to hear his music. Eventually, he fell in love with and married Eurydice , but on their wedding day she was bitten by a snake and died.

Orpheus was so sad that he only played mourning music, and it was so sad that he even touched the gods, who felt sorry for having lost his wife. Finally, Hermes arrived to convince Orpheus to travel to the underworld and to convince Hades and Persephone to allow Eurydice to return to the world of the living.

Through his music, Orpheus was able to seduce Hades and Persephone so that Eurydice would return to him. However, they gave him a stipulation: that Orpheus would have to walk in front of Eurydice as he exited the underworld, and he could not turn and look back until they were back in the world of the living. Sadly, Orpheus couldn't get over his anxiety and turned to face Eurydice just as he cleared the door to the underworld, causing Eurydice to instantly vanish.

7. Theseus fighting the Minotaur


Theseus was a legendary hero and one of the founders of Athens, and one of the most famous stories of his heroism was his murder of the Minotaur and his escape from the labyrinth.

The wife of King Minos of Crete , Pasiphae, had an illegitimate son with a bull, half man half bull, half minotaur. Instead of killing the monster, King Minos put it in a labyrinth and imprisoned his enemies there, where they could not escape and where they would become food for the Minotaur. The Athenians were forced to send seven men each year as a sacrifice to the minotaur, something that greatly distressed Theseus.

Finally, against his father's wishes, Theseus went to Crete to kill the Minotaur and end the cycle of violence. There he met the daughter of King Minos, Ariadne , who fell in love with him and decided to help him. She gave him a long thread and told him to unravel it in the maze so that he would find his way out after killing the minotaur. Theseus was able to kill the Minotaur and escape the labyrinth, returning to Athens with Ariadne.

8. Icarus falling from the sky


Daedalus , who had built the labyrinth, was imprisoned in a tower in Crete with his son Icarus by King Minos so that he would not divulge the true nature of the Minotaur. Finally, Daedalus devised a brilliant plan to escape the tower, collecting feathers, using wax to glue the feathers together and create wings. Finally, he made two sets of wings, one for himself and one for Icarus. Daedalus warned his son not to fly near the sun, otherwise the wax would melt from the heat and the wings would fall apart.

Icarus did not listen to his father because he was too consumed by the wonder of being able to fly, so he flew too close to the sun, causing his wings to break and causing Icarus to fall into the sea.

9. Oedipus condemning his children after going blind


One of the most tragic Greek tales , Oedipus is a tragic hero who ended up fulfilling the oracle's prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother.

Oedipus was the son of King Laius of Thebes and Jocasta, and the oracle prophesied that he would kill Laius. Hearing this, Laius bound Oedipus's ankles and had his servant let him die on top of a nearby mountain. His servant did not do as he was told, but gave the baby to a shepherd, and he was eventually adopted by King Polybus of Corinth.

Once Oedipus became a man, he heard that he was a bastard and not the biological son of Polybus. To confirm this, Oedipus went to the oracle at Delphi , who told him that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother. Fearing this, he decided not to return to Corinth, but to stop at Thebes. Before reaching Thebes, he came into conflict with Laius, killing him when he tried to run him over with his chariot.

Finally, Oedipus arrived and Thebes and answered the riddle of the Sphinx. Jocasta's brother Creon had promised the kingdom of Thebes to anyone who could solve the riddle, so Oedipus became the ruler of Thebes and married Jocasta.

Eventually, a plague falls on Thebes, and after consulting with the oracle, Oedipus realizes that justice must be brought to the murderer of Laius. After angrily arguing with the blind prophet Tiresias, Oedipus realizes that it was he who killed Laius and that he was not Polybus's biological son. Jocasta had discovered this fact and hanged himself in disgust for his actions, and Oedipus, realizing what he had done and seeing Jocasta's corpse, gouged out his eyes and was exiled.

10. Trojan Horse


The epic fight between the kingdom of Troy and the Greek alliance contains many fascinating stories, however the most famous is probably the story of the Trojan Horse.

After 10 years of war, the Greek army grew tired of the conflict and came up with the idea of ​​finally breaking through the walls of Troy. The cunning Odysseus suggested that the Greek army use subterfuge to break through the walls. In the span of three days, the Greek army built a giant wooden horse , burned its tents, and sailed out of sight, leaving Sinon behind to tell the Trojans that the Greeks had returned home.

The Greeks had engraved an inscription on the horse, saying that it was an offering to Athena , and Sinon is able to convince the Trojans that the offering was in good faith. Despite reservations from some Trojans that the horse was a trap, they take it into town and begin to celebrate. In the middle of the night, Odysseus and the other Greeks hiding on the horse went out into the city, lighting the beacons on top of the walls to signal the Greek fleet to return. Thanks to this trick, the Greek army was finally able to break through the walls of Troy and win the war.

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