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AegisZeus' shield of power, often borrowed by Athena; Athena's shield, often seen worn as a breastplate, adorned with the head of Medusa;
autochthonyquite a mouthful, huh? it means birth from the earth; it is the spontaneous creation of a person or a group of people from the soil.
caduceusthe wand of Hermes, shown with two snakes wrapped around it;
chthonichaving to do with the earth and fertility; having to do with the underworld and death;
Eleusinian MysteriesI could just say, "that's why it's called a mystery" and leave it there, but I won't. The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most widespread of the mystery religions and they were biggest in Eleusis (that's a place in Greece). They were very focused on Demeter and Persephone.
flaying the flayed doga euphemism found in Aristophanes' Lysistrata referring to masturbation by women, maybe with a dildo. Read more about this and other such euphemisms in The Maculate Muse, by Jeffrey Henderson.
Hellenicof, or relating to, Greece and the Greeks. Hellenic myth tends to be Classical Myth.
herma herm was a boundary stone or pillar, often with the head of Hermes, Dionysus or Heracles on top and his protruding somewhere lower - male genitalia was believed to be an affective protection from evil;
Land Of ShadowsThe Land of Shadows was an otherworld kingdom in Celtic mythology. It was a place where the magical immortal creatures lived.
misogynyhatred of women; broken up into roots, this is simply "miso" or hatred and "gynaeca" or woman;
mystery religionsreligious cults devoted to Demeter, Dionysus, or Orpheus; they used rituals, feasts and dances to acieve spiritual fulfillment.
Oedipus Complex In psychoanalysis, a subconcious sexual desire in a child, especially a male child, for the parent of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by hostility to the parent of the same sex. If unresolved naturally, this complex may result in neurosis and an inability to form normal sexual relationships in adulthood.
~The American Heritage Dictionary~
This comes from the story of Oedipus.
Olympus The mountain where a bunch of the real big Classical gods lived, like Zeus and Hera and Athena and lots of other major gods (but not Poseidon or Hades) lived. There is an actual Mt. Olympus, and a place called Olympus, but this is a more mythical Olympus.
oracle2 things: 1. a priest or priestess who receives divine knowledge (usually about the future); 2. and cryptic and ambiguous message (prophesy) received by a medium (see definition 1).
orgiasticA frenetic type of worship, especially of gods like Dionysus, Cybele, and maybe Artemis. It often included frenzied singing, dancing, drinking, sexual activity, and (almost always) sacrifices.
parthenogenesisthe conception and creation of offspring with only one parent. For instance, in some version's of Hephaestus' birth, Hera was the parthenogenic mother of Hephaestus; comes from the greek roots: "parthenos" or virgin and "genesis" or birth;
patriarchyessentially a family system, culture, society, etc. where father figures rule. Zeus, the Father, rules the gods. Ancient Greece was a patriarchal society and women were often relatively powerless because of this.
pre-Hellenicbefore the Hellenes came. Often in reference to cult mythology that was specialized and specific, but which was changed or destroyed with the coming of the Greeks. See Hellenic, above.
sparagmosi warn you before you read this that it is kind of gross. Okay, it is the ritual dismemberment of a live animal - it's one of the rites of Dionysus.
steatopygousto have a really big butt, and often breasts and hips too. directly translated as "fat butt." Usually referring to Aphrodite or other fertility goddesses.
Tartarusthe lowest region of the Underworld - essentially the womb of Gaia. Is personified as male in some myths.
UnderworldThe Underworld is where people go when they die. There is a tradition of putting gold coins on dead people to pay the ferryman to cross the river. It's sometimes called Hades - intended to refer to the place OF Hades - and people sometimes forget that he's the god, not the place. Persephone rules with Hades.
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Last Updated May 9, 2008