In Greek and Roman mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine. He was the son of Apollo * and of the nymph Coronis.
In the ancient Near East, Ashur was originally the main god of the city of Ashur, the capital of Assyria. As Assyria emerged as a great empire, Ashur became the national god of all of Assyria.
In Greek mythology, Astyanax was a prince of Troy * and the son of Hector, the great Trojan military leader. His real name was Scamandrius, but he was called Astyanax, or "lord of the city," in honor of his father.
In Greek mythology, Atalanta was a skilled huntress and swift runner. As an infant, she was abandoned by her father, a king who was disappointed that she was not a boy.
Aten, or Aton, was an ancient Egyptian god who was worshiped during the reign of the pharaoh Akhenaten (1350s to 1330s B.C.). Unlike earlier pharaohs, who had worshiped many gods, Akhenaten claimed that Aten was the one supreme god.
In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom, of warfare, and of crafts. She ranked as Zeus's * favorite child and one of the most powerful of the 12 Olympian gods.
According to the ancient Greeks, Atlantis was an island located in the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Straits of Gibraltar. It was an island paradise that sank into the sea one day.
In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan, a son of the Titan Iapetus and the nymph Clymene. After the Titans lost a war against Zeus *, Atlas was condemned by Zeus to stand forever holding up the heavens.
Attis was a god of vegetation, associated with death and resurrection. He was worshiped in Phrygia, an ancient country of Asia Minor *, and later throughout the Roman empire.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, Atum was a creator god associated with Heliopolis, a city near the Nile River delta that was a center of sun worship. In some accounts, Atum created himself.
Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn. The Greeks called her Eos.
Australia, a vast land dominated by desert and semidesert landscapes, was first inhabited by the Aborigines. The mythology of Australia comes from these people and has been influenced by their very close relationship with the natural environment.
In Celtic * mythology, Avalon was an earthly paradise generally described as a land of plenty where eternal spring, health, and harmony reigned. On this island of apple trees, food-producing plants were so abundant that no one ever needed to farm the land.
The mythology of the Aztec civilization, which dominated central Mexico in the 1400s and early 1500s, described a universe of grandeur and dread. Worlds were created and destroyed in the myths, and splendid gods warred among themselves.
Baal was one of the most widely worshiped gods in ancient Canaan *, where he was associated with fertility and rain. He was the son of El, the supreme god of the Canaanites, and the husband and brother of Anat, the ferocious goddess of war.
The story of the Tower of Babel is told in the first book of the Old Testament of the Bible. After a great flood, some of Noah's descendants decided to build a city on the plains of southern Mesopotamia * with a tall tower reaching up into the heavens.
In Celtic * mythology, Badb was the goddess of war. Often appearing in the form of a raven or crow, she would confuse and frighten armies by flying over the battlefield and shrieking loudly.
In Norse* mythology, Balder (or Baldur) was the son of Odin, king of the gods, and of Odin's wife, Frigg. Balder was the most beautiful of the gods and the one most beloved by Odin.
Banshee is the English spelling of bean-sídhe, the name of a female fairy of Irish and Celtic* folklore. The banshee's nighttime howling warned people that the death of a relative was about to take place.
In European mythology, the basilisk was a small serpent that could kill any living thing with its glance or breath. It was usually shown as a creature with a dragon's body and wings and a serpent's head.
Baucis and Philemon, an old couple from the land of Phrygia*, showed hospitality toward the gods and were rewarded. According to Greek myth, the gods Zeus* and Hermes* assumed human form and visited earth disguised as poor travelers.
In Greek mythology, Bellerophon was a hero and warrior who accidentally killed two men, including his own brother. He sought protection from King Proteus of Tiryns, who allowed him to stay under his roof.
St. Benedict founded the Benedictine order and drew up the rules that became the basis for life in monasteries throughout Europe.
Beowulf is the title of the earliest existing Anglo-Saxon epic. It tells the story of Beowulf, a Norse* hero and warrior who fought and conquered several monsters that terrorized Denmark and Sweden.