Mythman's Major Olympian Gods




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 Artemis took part in the battle against the Giants, a race of huge creatures that tried to invade Mount Olympus and end the reign of Zeus, where she killed the ferocious Giant Gration.

She also destroyed the Aloadae, who were the two Giants called Ephialtes and Otus. These brothers were renowned in the earliest myths of Greece for their extraordinary strength and daring spirit. When they were nine years old, each of their bodies measured nine cubits in breadth and twenty-seven in height.

One cubit measures over a foot long. Twenty-seven cubits high is the size of a tall building! These guys were built like a brick house!

They are further said to have grown every year one cubit in breadth and three in height. They had astounding strength and nothing stood in their way and survived. The two were quite full of themselves.

As further proof of their sneering audacity, it is related that the Giant Ephialtes petitioned for the hand of Hera - who was already married to Zeus! - and Otus demanded the hand of Artemis, knowing full well that she was an avowed virgin goddess. That's some nerve!

At this young age, they threatened the Olympian gods with war, and attempted to pile Mount Ossa upon Mount Olympus, and Mount Pelion upon Ossa in an effort to reach the home of the gods. They also threatened to change land into sea and sea into land.

They would have accomplished their objective had they been allowed to grow up to the age of manhood, but Artemis and Apollo destroyed them before their beards began to appear, so to speak.

The extermination of the Aloadae took place in the island of Naxos. Artemis appeared to them there in the form of a stag, and ran between the two brothers. Apparently, the two weren't all that bright -- Excited by the sight of the majestic deer, Ephialtes and Otus took aim at the animal at the same time, and being across from each other, shot each other dead when the stag veered. Idiots.

The ancient poet called Hyginus relates their death in a similar manner, but names brother Apollo as the god that sends the fatal stag.

As eternal punishment for their arrogance, the Aloadae were sent to the Underworld and tied to a pillar using serpents for binds. Forced to keep their faces turned away from each other, they were perpetually tormented by the shrieks of an owl.

The goddess of the hunt is further said to have angrily killed the monster Bouphagus, severely annoyed by his relentless pursuit of her on Mount Pholoe in Arcadia. No means no!

Another victim of Artemis was a mortal hunter named Actaeon, who had seen her bathing in the nude and was turned by her into a stag, only to be torn to shreds by his own dogs. Here's how it happened:

Actaeon was trained in the art of hunting by the famous centaur Cheiron, and was afterwards torn to pieces by his own fifty hounds on mount Cithaeron. According to most accounts it was because he had watched the virgin goddess Artemis while she bathed in the valley of Gargaphia.

Out hunting one day, Actaeon chanced upon the virgin goddess of the hunt as she bathed in the pool of the valley. Mesmerized by her radiant beauty, he hid behind some bushes and observed Artemis at length, knowing full well that this was forbidden by the gods.

As she emerged from the crystal clear waters, Artemis was startled and livid to discover the hunter gazing upon her nude body. The goddess in punishment instantly transformed Actaeon into a large and powerful stag, endowed with huge antlers.

Terrified, the hunter fled through the woods, completely freaked out at his predicament. Instinctively he headed for the "safety" of his camp. As he approached, his pack of dogs picked up the scent of the hind and reacted the way they were trained: His own hounds, unaware that this prize stag was their master, proceeded to hunt it down and tear it to pieces!

The hunter had become the hunted, and for the first and last time Actaeon knew what all his prey had felt just before he and his fifty hounds felled them. The bitter irony did not escape him.

That was the end of poor Actaeon. Talk about going to the dogs!



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