For much of the history of ancient Egypt, Amun was honored as the supreme god in the Egyptian pantheon. However, he was originally a local deity in Hermopolis, a city in southern Egypt, with power over the air or wind.
Anansi, the spider, is one of the most popular animal tricksters from West African mythology. Tricksters are mischievous figures who often oppose the will of the gods, resulting in some kind of misfortune for humans.
Anat was one of the chief deities of the Canaanites, a people of Syria and Palestine in the ancient Near East. A goddess of love, fertility, and war, she was the sister and wife of the god Baal*.
According to legend, Androcles was a Roman slave who lived in Africa in the first century A.D. After escaping from his cruel master, Androcles hid in a cave.
Andromache was the wife of Hector, the son of King Priam of Troy and the greatest of the Trojan warriors. In the Iliad, the epic of the Trojan War* by the Greek poet Homer, Andromache is shown as a devoted wife and mother as well as a symbol of the tragic suffering that war causes innocent people.
In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopea of Joppa, a kingdom often called Ethiopia by ancient writers. Cassiopea once boasted that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, a group of sea nymphs.
In many of the world's religions, angels are spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humans. Messengers of God, angels may serve any of a number of purposes.
Since the beginning of human history, people have lived in close contact with animals—usually as hunters and farmers—and have developed myths and legends about them. All kinds of creatures, from fierce leopards to tiny spiders, play important roles in mythology.
In Greek mythology, Antaeus was a giant who lived in Libya and forced anyone who traveled through the country to wrestle with him. He was the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and of Gaia, goddess of the earth.
St. Anthony of Padua was a Franciscan monk and a popular preacher in Italy in the 1200s.
In Greek mythology, Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus, king of Thebes, and Jocasta. A faithful daughter and sister, Antigone was the main character in a tragedy by the Greek playwright Sophocles*.
Anu, the god of the sky in many cultures of the ancient Near East, was the creator god in the Near Eastern pantheon. He was father of the gods as well as of demons and evil spirits.
In the early days of ancient Egypt, Anubis (or Anpu) was the god of the dead. Later, when Osiris took over this role, Anubis became the god who oversaw funerals.
The Greek goddess Aphrodite, one of the 12 Olympian deities, was associated with love, beauty, and fertility. Myths about Aphrodite probably originated in West Asia and reached Greece by way of the island of Cyprus.
The most widely worshiped of the Greek gods, Apollo was the son of Zeus* and the Titan Leto and the twin brother of Artemis (Diana), the goddess of the hunt. Apollo had many roles in Greek mythology, including god of the sun, god of the arts (especially music, poetry, and dance), god of medicine, protector of herdsmen and their flocks, and god of prophecy.
In Greek mythology, Arachne was a peasant girl who became an expert spinner and weaver of cloth. No human could spin or weave as well as Arachne or produce finer cloth.
Arcadia, a mountainous region in central Greece, was represented in Greek and Roman mythology as an earthly paradise. It was the land of Pan, the god of woods, fields, and flocks.
In Greek mythology Ares, the son of Zeus* and Hera*, waged battle as the god of war. The Romans identified him with their own war god, Mars, although the two gods were quite different in character.
In Greek mythology, the Argonauts were a band of heroes who sailed with Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece*. Their journey took them through numerous adventures and required the help of many different gods.
In Greek mythology, Argus was a giant with 100 eyes. Some accounts say the eyes were all in his head; others say they were all over his body.
In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and of his queen, Pasiphae. She fell in love with the Athenian hero Theseus when he came to Crete.
In the Bible's book of Isaiah, Ariel is a symbolic name for Jerusalem. By the Middle Ages, it had become the name of one of seven water spirits who were led by the archangel Michael, according to the cabalistic Jewish tradition.
The Ark of the Covenant was the gold-covered wooden box that held the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. Its lid, called the Mercy Seat, had two gold statues of cherubim kneeling in prayer.
In the Christian tradition, Armageddon is where the final battle will take place between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. The battle, in which evil will finally be defeated, will be followed by the Day of Judgment.
The Greek goddess Artemis, one of the 12 deities who lived on the slopes of Mount Olympus*, was the twin sister of Apollo*. Fond of hunting, archery, and wild animals, she was also associated with childbirth, the harvest, and the moon.
King Arthur was a legendary ruler of Britain whose life and deeds became the basis for a collection of tales known as the Arthurian legends. As the leading figure in British mythology, King Arthur is a national hero and a symbol of Britain's heroic heritage.