In Greek mythology, Acastus was a king who sailed with the Argonauts, a group of adventurers seeking a famous treasure called the Golden Fleece. Jason, his fellow Argonaut, brought a witch named Medea to Acastus's kingdom of Iolcus.
Achilles' Heel. Like many mythological heroes, Achilles was part human and part supernatural being.
Adad was the god of weather in the Babylonian and Assyrian cultures of Mesopotamia * in the ancient Near East. Other cultures in the region called the god Ishkur, Rimmon, Addu, Hadad, or Baal-Hadad.
The mythologies of many cultures include stories of a first couple, a man and woman who were the parents of the entire human race. In the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious traditions, these first parents were Adam and Eve.
In Greek mythology, Adonis was an extremely handsome youth who died and was reborn. Like many other mythological figures who are resurrected, Adonis became associated with the annual cycle of the seasons in which vegetation dies in the fall and grows again in the spring.
In Norse * mythology, Aegir, also known as Hlér or Gymir, was the god of the sea, the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon* and the Roman god Neptune*. Aegir and his wife, Ran, caused death at sea.
The hero Aeneas appears in both Greek and Roman mythology. He was a defender of Troy, the city in Asia Minor* that the Greeks destroyed in the Trojan War*.
In about 30 B.C., the Roman poet Virgil began composing the Aeneid, an epic about the legendary hero Aeneas and the founding and destiny of Rome. Woven from strands of myth, history, and imperial pride, the Aeneid summed up everything the Romans valued most about their society.
Ancient Greek mythology included two characters named Aeolus. One of them was king of the region known as Thessaly in northern Greece.
A vast and geographically varied continent, Africa is home to a great many cultures and to a thousand or more languages. Although no single set of myths and legends unites this diverse population, different culture groups and regions share some common elements.
Cultures the world over recognize that every life will end in death. However, many claim that some invisible but vital part of the human being—the spirit or soul—continues to exist after death.
Agamemnon's Background. Agamemnon was one of two sons of Atreus, the king of Mycenae.
One of the most popular saints in the Catholic tradition, Agnes is the patron saint of virgins and engaged couples. According to early Christian writings, she was a beautiful young Roman girl who lived in the A.D.
Ahriman was the god of evil and darkness in Persian mythology and in Zoroastrianism, a religion that attracted a large following in Persia around 600 B.C. Often called Druj ("the Lie"), Ahriman was the force behind anger, greed, envy, and other negative and harmful emotions.
Ahura Mazda, whose name means "wise lord," was the most important god in ancient Persian mythology. When the religion known as Zoroastrianism became widespread in Persia around 600 B.C., Ahura Mazda became its supreme deity.
In African mythology, Aiwel was the founder of a hereditary priesthood known as the spear masters among the Dinka people of the Sudan. He was the son of a human mother and a water spirit.
Ajax (also known as Aias) was one of the greatest of the Greek heroes who fought in the Trojan War*. He was the son of Telamon, the king of Salamis and a friend of Hercules*.
Ala is a goddess of the Ibo, African people of eastern Nigeria. The daughter of the great god Chuku, she is the mother goddess of the earth, ruler of the underworld, guardian of the harvest, and goddess of fertility for both people and animals.
Aladdin was the lazy, irresponsible son of a poor tailor. A sorcerer tricked him into entering a treasure-filled cave to seize a magical lamp and gave him a ring that would protect against evil.
In Greek mythology, Alcestis was the beautiful daughter of Pelias, the king of Iolcus in Thessaly. Pelias promised his daughter in marriage to any man who came to get her in a chariot pulled by a lion and a boar.
King Alfred the Great is an example of a historical figure who, with the passage of time, became a figure of legend. From A.D.
Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and of fertility, is one of the most important figures in Japanese mythology and in the religion known as Shinto. According to legend, she is the first ancestor of the imperial family of Japan.
In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of fierce female warriors, descendants of Ares, the god of war. The Amazons were usually pictured fighting on horseback with bows and arrows, spears, and axes and carrying a crescent-shaped shield.
Humans who ate ambrosia grew faster, stronger, and more beautiful, all qualities that were considered divine. Eating ambrosia also made humans immortal.
Amma is the supreme god in the mythology of the Dogon people of Mali in West Africa. Amma created a "cosmic egg," which was the source of the universe.
In Greek mythology, the hero Amphitryon was the son of King Alcaeus of Tiryns and the grandson of Perseus*. Alcaeus's brother Electryon, the king of Mycenae, asked Amphitryon to take over his kingdom when he went to battle the Taphians, who had killed his eight sons.