Our Myths

Oedipus was born in Thebes. Thebes is an ancient city, approx. 100km NW of Athens, that played an important role in Greek myths and was a major rival of ancient Athens.

 

Many tragedies were written about Thebes, including works from Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. The most popular of the Theban plays are Antigone and Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles ...

OEDIPUS

MYTH TWO

As the 10-year Trojan War had ended, King Odysseus was finally ready to return home, to his kingdom and beloved family.

 

‘The Odyssey’, Homer’s second epic poem, is the ten years long and adventurous journey home for Odysseus and his crew...

ODYSSEUS

The myth of Psyche and Eros is a beautiful love story of the ‘heart’ in search of its ‘soul’.


Eros, son of Aphrodite, was considered the most handsome of the immortal gods. To add to his great looks, he was the personification of intense love and desire. In comparison, Psyche was an extremely beautiful maiden who personified the human soul.​..

PSYCHE & EROS

It all began when Androgens, the son of King Minos of Crete, was killed in error when participating in the Panathenaic Games in Athens. 


King Minos was infuriated and as retaliation, attacked Athens. Winning the battle, he demanded Athens to send fourteen young people, seven boys and seven girls, to Crete to feed the Minotaur...

ARIADNE & DIONYSUS

This is a tale of a beautiful young maiden torn between the love for her mother and her husband.


Persephone, daughter of Zeus and goddess Demeter, was playing in the fields when Hades, God of the underworld fell in love with her and kidnapped her.


Her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest and fertility...

HADES & PERSEPHONE

The Greek Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses includes over 300 different deities, with the 12 main ones who resided on Mount Olympus known as the Olympian Gods. Temples and cities were built in their honour all over ancient Greece, many of which survive today.
 
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OTHER
MYTHS​

Oedipus

Oedipus was born in Thebes. Thebes is an ancient city, approximately 100km northwest of Athens, that played an important role in Greek myths and was a major rival of ancient Athens.

 

Many literary tragedies were set in Thebes, including works from Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. The most popular of the Theban plays are Antigone and Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles. These plays are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written. They touch upon many complex issues.

Sophocles, through the powerful dialogue and agonies and triumphs of his characters in Oedipus the King, demonstrates, that no matter how hard you try, you cannot outrun destiny.

The story begins with the childless King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes yearning for a child. According to the Delphic Oracle however, the unborn child of the royal couple of Thebes, would one day manage to kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus was doomed before birth.

When in due course Jocasta delivered a healthy boy, the king snatched him from the nurse’s arms, pierced his feet with a nail, bound his feet together, and ordered a servant to kill the infant. The servant, unable to kill the newborn, left it on Mount Kithairon, where the infant was picked up by a shepherd and taken to the childless King and Queen of Corinth. This couple named the infant Oedipus, which means “swollen foot.” Oedipus grew up happily with the king and queen in Corinth, unaware that he had been adopted.

When Oedipus was a young man, in search of the truth of his origins, he too visited the Oracle of Delphi. There he heard the dreadful prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. To protect the people he believed to be his parents, Oedipus went into exile, desperately trying to avoid his fate.

Leaving Corinth forever, Oedipus headed to Thebes. But at the crossroad, he encountered an old nobleman in a chariot who ordered him out of the way. Oedipus, who was on foot and alone, snapped at the old man and informed him that he only acknowledged orders from the gods and his own parents, meaning the Corinthian royal couple. When the old man struck him on the head, the infuriated Oedipus killed him and his entourage. Little did Oedipus know, that he had killed his own true father.

 

Oedipus then proceeded to Thebes where the Sphinx awaited him at the city gate. Half-woman, half-lion and with wings of a bird, she had been devouring any traveler who could not give the correct answer to her riddle:

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three legs in the evening?” Oedipus correctly answered: “Man.”

The Sphinx, insulted and beaten in her own game, resorted to suicide. The grateful city offered Oedipus the hand of the widowed Queen Jocasta and the throne. Unaware that he had just married his mother, the couple had four children, Antigone, Ismene, Polyneices, and Eteocles. They lived happily for many years ... until a plague struck the city.

Once again, the oracle of Delphi reminded the people of Thebes of Oedipus’ prophecy and the reason for the plague. At the same time, Teresias, the shepherd who had found Oedipus, who was now a blind old man, came forward and revealed Oedipus’ true identify.

 

In horror, Jocasta hangs herself, while Oedipus pierces his eyes blind with one of Jocasta’s dress pins.

 

Odysseus

In Greek mythology, Odysseus was a legendary hero, King of Ithaca and the main protagonist of Homer's epic poem the ‘Odyssey’. The events of this tale are widely believed to have occurred during the late Bronze Age around 11th century BCE, along the Mediterranean coast.

 

Odysseus went to Troy to restore honour to Greece by retrieving and returning Queen Helen of Sparta to her homeland, after she had eloped with Paris, a Persian Prince.

 

The Odyssey describes the ten-year long return journey, for Odysseus and his crew, from Troy to his home island of Ithaca. The journey is both adventurous and challenging. Odysseus experiences extraordinary physical and emotional trials, brought on by the   supreme and powerful gods.

 

What makes Odysseus a hero, is not just his superhuman physical strength, but also his mental agility and cunningness. He has an extraordinary ability to make calculated decisions and manoeuvres, getting him out of trouble and back to safety. The Odyssey is not only a gripping adventure about Odysseus’ physical return to Ithaca, but also a story of his journey of self-discovery through life’s trials and tribulations.

  

And so, the Odyssey begins…. 


After the ten-year war in Troy ended, Odysseus and his men begin their journey back to Ithaca. Their twelve ships set sail in tranquil waters, as they had a decade earlier.

 

1. As Odysseus and his crew travelled, they needed supplies and respite from life at sea. They made an unwelcomed stop at Cicones, where they raided the town and ransacked the villagers’ homes. In response, whilst asleep, the villagers attacked Odysseus’ men, killing many.

 

2. After returning to sea, Odysseus caught the unfavourable attentions of the gods. Zeus, the King of Gods, released a wild storm. Odysseus and his men took refuge on the land of the lethargic Lotus-Eaters. The euphoria from the narcotic lotus was so blissful that Odysseus’ men forget their desire to return home. Odysseus dragged his men, one by one, back on-board their ships and their journey continued.

 

3. Not long after, they came across a cave belonging to Polyphemus the Cyclops. They made themselves at home and helped themselves to Polyphemus’ food. Seeing this infuriated Polyphemus. In retaliation, the Cyclops smashed the heads of two men and devoured others.

 

Escaping the cave alive required Odysseus’ cunningness and swiftness. Odysseus managed to make Polyphemus drunk and then blinded him by plunging a burning stake into his eye. Odysseus then escaped with his six men by clinging to the bellies of sheep let out to pasture. As he made his escape, Odysseus announced to Polyphemus that it is he who blinded the Cyclops.

 

The Cyclops told his father, Poseidon. Poseidon punished Odysseus for blinding his beloved son by sending him and his men multiple storms, forcing them off course.

 

4. Aeolus, the master of the winds, gave Odysseus a leather bag containing all the winds except for the West Wind, ensuring his safe and quick return home. The sailors foolishly opened the bag expecting to find gold and silver.

 

5. With angry storms from Poseidon and no winds for support, they found themselves further away from home. They landed on the island of the bloodthirsty, man-eating giants, the Laestrygonians. Witnessing the giants, Odysseus and his men fled for their ships, but the Laestrygonians pelted the ships with boulders and sank all but Odysseus’ ship.

 

6. With only one ship remaining, Odysseus sailed to the island of Aeaea, home to the powerful Circe, who turned half of his men into swine. Odysseus, who was protected by the herb moly (a gift from Hermes), pleaded with Circe to restore his men back to their human form. Circe fell in love with Odysseus. He agreed to become her lover, only if she transformed his men back to humans. Odysseus stayed with Circe for one year before resuming his journey.

 

7. Odysseus visited the Underworld to seek knowledge, on how to return to Ithaca, from the blind prophet Tiresias. The first soul he met was Elpenor, one of his men who died breaking his neck, after a drunken fall from a rooftop. He begged Odysseus to return to Circe's island and give his body a proper burial.

 

The second spirit Odysseus met, was his own mother, who died of grief and longing for him. Odysseus was unaware of his mother's death and was bereft. Even though he could see her spirit, he grieved the loss of his mother. She told him news of his wife’s suitors and that he must return home.

 

Achilles was the third spirit he saw. Odysseus congratulated him for being the highest rank in the underworld, to which Achilles responded, “I'd rather serve as another man's labourer, as a poor peasant without land, and be alive on Earth, than be lord of all the lifeless dead.”

 

8. They approached the island of the bird-like creatures, the Sirens. As instructed by Circe, Odysseus escaped the alluring sounds of the Sirens by plugging his men's ears with beeswax and binding himself to the mast of the ship. This enabled Odysseus to hear the sweetness of their songs, without being lured and destroyed by them.

 

9. After escaping the Sirens, they entered a narrow strait with Scylla the six-headed monster on one side and the whirlpool Charybdis on the other. Odysseus was forced to sacrifice six men for the survival of the others.

 

10. Odysseus and his men landed on the island of Thrinacia, the home of the sun god, Helios. Ignoring all prophecies, that they are not to harm or eat any of the sun god’s prized cattle, they slaughtered the sacred cattle. This sacrilege act was punished by a shipwreck in which all but Odysseus were drowned.

 

11. Odysseus was then washed ashore on Calypso’s island of Ogygia. Calypso promised him an eternal life if he remained with her on the island. Detained and unable to return home to Ithaca, Odysseus sought assistance from the gods. All the gods, excepting Poseidon, gathered on Mt Olympus. With Athena’s persuasive arguments, Zeus agreed to send his son Hermes immediately to Ogygia, in order to liberate the King of Ithaca from Calypso. After seven long years as her lover, Odysseus is finally released.

 

12. Alone, tired and shipwrecked, Odysseus found himself on Phaeacia (Corfu). The Phaeacians provided Odysseus with a boat so he can finally sail back home to Ithaca.

 

13. After 20 years away, Odysseus landed on the shores of Ithaca. Waiting for him was goddess Athena. Athena disguised Odysseus as an old beggar so he could safely enter his palace.

 

14. Finally alone with Penelope, Odysseus the beggar, offered convincing evidence that he knew her husband. Penelope remained suspicious of his identity. Eurycleia, an aged and loyal servant who nursed both Odysseus and Telemachus when they were babies, was assigned the duty of bathing the guest’s feet. Only reluctantly did he allow Eurycleia to wash his feet. As she put them in a basin of water, she noticed a scar on one of his feet. She immediately recognized him as Odysseus.

 

15. Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, requested the suitors participate in an archery competition using Odysseus’ bow. The man, who was able to string her husband’s bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe shafts, would win her hand in marriage. Odysseus was the only one skilled enough to string the bow and perform the task. The beggar succeeded in the challenge.

 

16. Penelope realised the beggar was Odysseus. Before she could accept him as her husband, she put him through one more test. She asked him to move their marital bed, knowing it was not possible. He objected knowing the bed couldn’t be moved because one leg was a living olive tree. Odysseus’ identity was now convincingly revealed to Penelope and his son Telemachus.

 

17. Odysseus finally sought revenge on Penelope’s suitors because they had wasted a lot of his wealth, while living in his palace during his absence.

 

Psyche & Eros

The myth of Psyche and Eros is a beautiful love story of the ‘heart’ in search of its ‘soul’.


Eros, son of Aphrodite, was considered the most handsome of the immortal gods. To add to his great looks, he was the personification of intense love and desire. In comparison, Psyche was an extremely beautiful maiden who personified the human soul.


Psyche, the youngest of three sisters, was so beautiful that no man considered himself worthy enough to approach her. Even Aphrodite, goddess of beauty became jealous of her. Subsequently, she requested her son Eros to use his arrows and make Psyche fall in love with a dreadful winged creature.

 

But when Eros took one look at Psyche, he was pierced with his own arrow falling deeply in love with her.


Meanwhile, Psyche’s father sought guidance from Apollo to understand what he needed to do to find love and a husband for his daughter. He was advised of the terrible prophecy that she was to marry a dreadful winged creature.


In total despair and with tears in her eyes, she set out for the mountains waiting for this creature to appear. Instead, Zephyr, the wind god, had picked her up and took her to a glorious palace.


Everything was beautifully laid out for her to enjoy, until nightfall where her husband would visit. As night drew, a soft, calming voice approached her welcoming her to their new home. Without seeing his face, she was certain it was the caring husband she so longed for and not the dreadful
the creature she feared.


But after a visit from her sisters, doubts set in that her husband was not a beautiful man but the dreadful monster as Apollo had advised. Why else would he only appear at night when she couldn’t see him?


And so, this is an intense story of the soul’s search for love. “Love cannot live without trust,” Eros said to Psyche when the trust was breached. 


And so, after Psyche’s experiences of heartbreak and rejection, she decided to make every effort to win back her love. With sheer determination and the assistance of the gods, love returned! Psyche and Eros were once again reunited eternally. ​

 

Ariadne & Dionysus 

It all began when Androgens, the son of King Minos of Crete,

was killed in error when participating in the Panathenaic Games in Athens. 


King Minos was infuriated and as retaliation, attacked Athens. Winning the battle, he demanded Athens to send fourteen young people, seven boys and seven girls, to Crete to feed the Minotaur. The Minotaur was kept in the Labyrinth.


The following year, Theseus, son of the king of Athens Aegeus, volunteered to go and kill the monster. When he arrived in Crete, Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, fell in love with him and offered him a sword and a ball of thread in his quest to slay the Minotaur and escape the labyrinth.


Theseus managed to kill Minotaur and free himself and the other people that Athens was obliged to send to Crete due to the death of King Minos son.


Finally, both Crete and Athens were freed.


Now victorious Theseus was ready to return home. Joining him, Ariadne ran away from home and jumped on his ship. On the way to Athens, Theseus stopped at Naxos. As he was sleeping, Dionysus god of wine and pleasure, visited Theseus demanding that he leave the island immediately without Ariadne. It appeared that Dionysus had fallen in love with Ariadne and wanted to make her his wife.

 

They fell in love and married. Dionysus gifted Ariadne with a crown to honour their wedding. On a clear night, the constellation Corona Borealis, Ariadne’s crown, can be seen and admired for eternity.

 

Hades & Persephone

This is a tale of a beautiful young maiden torn between the love for her mother and her husband.


Persephone, daughter of Zeus and goddess Demeter, was playing in the fields when Hades, God of the underworld fell in love with her and kidnapped her.


Her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest and fertility, searched for her everywhere. Distraught and heartbroken, went into mourning for her loss. As a result of her sorrow, the earth was neglected and there was no harvest or new growth.  Zeus, the ruler of all gods, would not allow the earth to die and so ordered Hades, to return Persephone to her mother. 


Hades loved Persephone so much couldn’t bear to lose her and so he offered her a pomegranate to eat. The pomegranate was considered the food of the dead and eating it would mean you longed to live in the underworld. Persephone ate six seeds and from that time on, she spent six months of the year in the underworld and six months on earth. 


During the six months, in the underworld, while Persephone is with her husband Hades, her mother Demeter mourns and no longer gives fertility to the earth. This was an ancient Greek explanation for the seasons.

 

Others

The Greek Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses includes over 300 different deities, with the 12 main ones who resided on Mount Olympus known as the Olympian Gods. Temples and cities were built in their honour all over ancient Greece, many of which survive today.
 
Create a private tour for you and a group of friends/colleagues with its very own customised journey. Season begins from start of June to end of September.