Cacus [ka'kus] or Kakos, "bad"
He was a minor fire deity who stole some of the cattle of Geryon
that Heracles was taking to Mycenae. When Heracles heard one of
the stolen animals lowing in Cacus' cave, he broke into the cave
and strangled Cacus (Virgil, Aeneid
8.252-367; Livy 1.7.4-7).
Cadmus [kad'mus] or Kadmos, "east"
The brother of Europa, he built the city of Cadmeia (Thebes), where
he saw a cow lie down. He married Harmonia and became the father
of Ino, Semele, AutonoŽ, Agave, and (according to some accounts)
Polydorus (Apollodorus 3.4.1-2; Ovid, Metamorphoses
178). Later he became the leader of the
Encheleans and the Illyrians. He and Harmonia were turned into snakes
and went to Elysium (Apollodorus 3.5.4; Ovid, Metamorphoses
4.563-603; Hyginus, Fabulae
Caeneus [see'ne-us] or Kaineus, "new"
Originally a woman named Caenis, Poseidon raped her and then offered
her whatever she desired. She asked to become a man and she changed
her name to Caeneus. When Caeneus demanded to be worshiped as a
god, Zeus caused him to be buried under a pile of logs-he flew away
as a bird with yellow wings (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica
1.57-64; Apollodorus, Epitome
1.22; Ovid, Metamorphoses
Calchas [kal'kas] or Kalchas, "searcher"
He was a wise and accurate prophet of the Greeks at the Trojan War.
After the war he went to Colophon, where he lost to Mopsus in a
contest of prophetic ability and died (Apollodorus, Epitome
6.2-4). Family Tree 27
Callisto [kal-lis'toh] or Kallisto , "most beautiful"
She was a follower of Artemis. Zeus forced his affection on her.
Some accounts say he turned her into a bear to avoid detection by
Hera, but Hera convinced Artemis to shoot the bear (Apollodorus
3.8.2). Other accounts say Hera herself turned Callisto into a bear
(Pausanias 8.3.6-7; Hyginus, Fabulae
177). Ovid says Artemis
expelled Callisto from the ranks of her followers when she discovered
that Callisto was pregnant (Metamorphoses
son, Arcas, was hunting one day and happened upon his mother, who
was in the form of a bear, without realizing who she was-Zeus transformed
both of them into constellations to avert the matricide (Ovid, Metamorphoses
2.496-507; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica
Calydonian [kal-i-doh'ni-an] boar hunt
This was the hunt for a wild boar sent by Artemis to ravage Calydon.
Meleager led the expedition, which included the greatest heroes
of the age. Atalanta first wounded the boar and Meleager killed
it. Meleager awarded the boar's skin to Atalanta, which enraged
his uncles. Meleager killed them in the argument that ensued (Homer,
9.533-599; Apollodorus 1.8.2-3; Ovid, Metamorphoses
8.268-546; Hyginus, Fabulae
Calypso [ka-lip'soh] or Kalypso, "concealer"
The daughter of Thetis and Atlas (some sources say Nereus or Oceanus),
she lived on the island of Ogygia where she detained Odysseus for
seven years, promising him immortality if he would stay with her.
After Zeus sent Hermes to tell Calypso she had to let Odysseus go,
Odysseus built a raft and set sail (Homer, Odyssey
Family Tree 24
Cassandra [kas-sand'ra] or Kassandra, "trapper of men."
Daughter of King Priam of Troy, she received the ability to prophesy
from Apollo when she promised to sleep with him, but he fated her
never to be believed when she went back on her promise (Apollodorus
3.12.5). She predicted that Paris' trip to Sparta to get Helen would
be disastrous for Troy and that the wooden horse built by the Greeks
contained armed soldiers (Aeschylus, Agamemnon
5.17). Agamemnon took her as his concubine
after the war, and she predicted that both of them would be killed
in Mycenae (Aeschylus, Agamemnon
; Apollodorus, Epitome
6.23). Family Tree 42
Castor [kas'tor] or Kastor.
A son of Leda and Tyndareus and "twin" of Polydeuces, he and Polydeuces
were known as the Dioscuri (sons of Zeus). After he was killed in
a quarrel with his cousins he lived with Polydeuces, one day in
the Underworld and the next on Olympus (Pindar, Nemean Odes
10.60-91; Theocritus, 22.137ff.; Euripides, Helen
Apollodorus 3.10.7, 3.11.2, Epitome
1.23; Hyginus, Fabulae
77, 80; Plutarch, Theseus
32, 34; Diodorus Siculus 4.63.1-5;
8.301-302, 373-375, Fasti
Family Tree 32
Catreus [ka'tre-us] or Katreus.
The son of Minos and PasiphaŽ, he ruled a portion of Crete and was
fated to be killed by one of his children. His son, Althaemenes,
went to Rhodes and his daughters were sold abroad. As an old man
he desired to leave his kingdom to his son, but when he sailed to
Rhodes to get him, Althaemenes mistook him for an invader and killed
him (Apollodorus 3.1.2, 3.2.1-2, Epitome
Cecrops [see'kropz] or Kekrops, "tail with a face."
He was born from the earth without parents and was a snake from
the waist down. He became the first king of Attica, built temples
to Athena, married Agraulos and became the father of Aglauros, Herse,
and Pandrosos (Apollodorus 3.14.1-2; Pausanias 1.2.6, 8.2.2-3, Hyginus,
centaurs [sen'tawrs] or Kentauroi, "bull-goaders."
A race of creatures with the head of a man and the legs and body
of a horse, they were descendants of Centaurus, a son of Ixion,
and the mares with whom he mated on the slopes of Mount Pelion.
Chiron was the most famous of the centaurs. At the wedding of Pirithous,
the centaurs tried to rape the bride and other Lapith women, causing
a huge fight in which the centaurs were routed (Pindar, Pythian
Odes 2.21-48; Apollodorus, Epitome
1.21; Diodorus Siculus
4.69.1-70.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses
12.210-535; Hyginus, Fabulae
33). Family Tree 33
Cephalus [se'fa-lus] or Kephalos, "head."
This son of Hermes and Herse, and grandson of Cecrops, had an affair
with Eos (Hesiod, Theogony
986-987; Apollodorus 1.9.4; Ovid,
7.700-713; Hyginus, Fabulae
married Procris, though, and tested her faithfulness by trying to
seduce her in disguise. When he caught her beginning to yield, she
joined the followers of Artemis, where she was given a hound named
Laelaps, which was destined to catch its quarry in every hunt, and
a javelin that was destined to hit its mark on every throw. The
hound was later employed by Amphitryon in Thebes to chase a fox
that was destined to outrun any pursuer. Zeus turned both of them
to stone. When Cephalus and Procris were reunited, Procris thought
Cephalus was having an affair, so she followed him when he went
hunting; he heard her in the foliage and thought she was his prey,
so he threw the javelin that always hit its mark-Procris was killed
7.670-862; Hyginus, Fabulae
Family Tree 28
Cerberus [ser'ber-us] or Kerberos, "monster of the pit"(?).
One of the offspring of Echidna and Typhon, he is the dog that guards
the entrance to the Underworld to keep the living from entering
and the dead from leaving. Some accounts say Cerberus has fifty
heads (Hesiod, Theogony
310-312), while others say he has
three heads and a mane of snakes (Apollodorus 2.5.12). The twelfth
labor of Heracles was to drag Cerberus from Hades and bring him
to Eurystheus (Homer, Iliad
22-25, 1276-1280; Apollodorus 2.5.12;
Diodorus Siculus 4.25.1, 4.26.1; Ovid, Metamorphoses
Cercopes [ser-koh'peez] or Kerkopes, "tailed men."
These twin sons of Oceanus and Theia were great tricksters. Their
mother had warned them to beware of the "great Black Bottom." Heracles
caught them attempting to steal his arrows, so he tied the two upside
down at opposite ends of a pole, lifted the pole to his shoulders,
and began to bear them away, but the Cercopes laughed uncontrollably.
When Heracles learned that they were laughing because his bottom
was black from years of exposure to the sun, he was amused and released
them (Diodorus Siculus 4.31.7). Zeus turned the Cercopes into monkeys
Cercyon [ser'si-on] or Kerkyon, "tail."
He was a wrestler at Eleusis who compelled all visitors to wrestle
to the death with him. Theseus accepted the challenge and killed
Cercyon by smashing him to the ground (Apollodorus, Epitome
1.3; Diodorus Siculus 4.59.5; Plutarch, Theseus
1.39.3; Hyginus, Fabulae
Ceres [see'reez] (Demeter), "one who produces."
She was an Italian grain goddess -- the equivalent of Demeter. In
493 B.C., a temple was dedicated to her on the Aventine Hill in
Ceto [see'toh], "whale."
A daughter of Pontus and Gaia, she was a sea monster, and mother
of the Gorgons and the Graeae by Phorcys (Hesiod, Theogony
237-336). Family Tree 1 Family
Chaos [kay'os], "gaping."
This refers to an enormous mass with no limits or order from which
the universe originated. From Chaos emerged Ge, Tartarus, Eros,
Erebus and Night (Hesiod, Theogony
Charon [ka'ron], "bright-eyed."
He was the ferryman who takes the souls of the dead across the River
Styx on a barge. It was customary in antiquity to bury a persons
with a coin between their teeth to pay Charon for passage across
the river (Aristophanes, Frogs
138-140, 180-269; Euripides,
252-259; Virgil, Aeneid
living people managed to gain passage from Charon--Orpheus accomplished
it by charming Charon with his singing, Heracles intimidated him,
and Aeneas bribed him with the Golden Bough (Virgil, Aeneid
Charybdis [ka-rib'dis], "one who sucks down."
This is the name of a whirlpool in the narrow strait between Italy
and Sicily, that sucked ships down to the bottom of the ocean. Opposite
Charybdis lay the monster Scylla. Sailors who tried to avoid Scylla
were destroyed by Charybdis, and those who tried to stay away from
Charybdis were attacked by Scylla (Homer, Odyssey
12.234-244; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica
Chimaera [keye-mee'ra or ki-mee'ra] or Chimaira, "she-goat."
A child of Echidna and Typhon, she was a lion in her forepart and
a goat in the middle, with a serpent's tail. Bellerophon, at the
behest of Iobates, killed the Chimaera by swooping down on it atop
Pegasus and throwing spears at the monster (Homer, Iliad
6.178-183; Hesiod, Theogony
319-325; Apollodorus 2.3.1-2;
, Fabulae 57, Poetica Astronomica
Chimaereus [ki-mee're-us] or Chimaireus.
He was a son of Prometheus and Celaeno and was buried at Troy. Menelaus
made a sacrifice on his tomb to end a plague at Sparta because Apollo
had said the plague would pass when a sacrifice was performed on
the tomb of a son of Prometheus. Family
Chiron [keye'ron], "hand."
As the most noble and learned of the centaurs, he was the teacher
of Achilles, Actaeon, Aeneas, Peleus, Heracles, Asclepius, and Jason.
He was skilled in medicine, music, archery, and the use of plants
and herbs. When he was accidentally wounded by one of Heracles'
poisoned arrows, Chiron exchanged his immortality for the mortality
of Prometheus so he could find relief from his pain in death (Apollodorus
2.5.4; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica
Chrysaor [kreye-say'or], "golden sword."
The son of Poseidon and Medusa, he sprang, fully grown and brandishing
a golden sword, from Medusa when Perseus cut off her head. He married
CallirhoŽ, an Oceanid, and became the father of Geryon and Echidna
278-288, 979-983; Apollodorus 2.4.2). Family
ChryseÔs [kreye-see'is], "gold."
The daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo, she was awarded to
Agamemnon after the Greeks had captured her while they were making
raids on the small towns around Troy. When Agamemnon refused to
return her to her father, Apollo sent a plague to the Greek army.
Agamemnon gave the girl back, but demanded that Achilles give him
his girl, BriseÔs. Achilles did so, but then refused to fight in
the war (Homer, Iliad
1.8-474; Hyginus, Fabulae
Cicones [si-koh'neez] or Kikones
These were a people who lived in the Thracian city of Ismarus. Odysseus
attacked them on his way home from Troy, but the Cicones regrouped
and attacked Odysseus' men while they were feasting and enjoying
the spoils of the conquest. Six men from each of Odysseus' ships
were lost in the counterattack (Homer, Odyssey
Cinyras [sin'i-ras] or Kinyras, "wailing."
The grandson of Pygmalion and Galatea, his daughter, Myrrha, fell
in love with him. Myrrha's nurse arranged for the girl to sleep
with her father without her identity becoming known; later, when
Cinyras did learn that it was his own daughter with whom he'd been
sleeping, he pursued her in anger. She was transformed into a myrrh
tree, which drips her tears. From the tree was born her son, Adonis.
242) reports that Cinyras took his own life
(Pindar, Pythian Odes
2.15-17; Apollodorus 3.14.3; Ovid,
10.298-518; Hyginus, Fabulae
Circe [sir'see] or Kirke, "hawk."
A sorceress-the daughter of Helios and the sister of AeŽtes-she
lived on the island of Aeaea. She purified Jason and Medea of the
murder of Medea's brother, Apsyrtus (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica
4.559-591, 4.659-752; Apollodorus 1.9.24). Odysseus spent an entire
year with Circe on his way back to Ithaca after the Trojan War.
She directed him to go to the Underworld for a consultation with
Tiresias. Telegonus was the son of Circe and Odysseus; when Telegonus
grew up, he killed his father accidentally (Homer, Odyssey
10.133-574). Family Tree 12
Clotho [kloh'thoh] or Klotho, "she who spins."
A daughter of Zeus and Themis, she was one of the Fates who were
also called Moirae or Parcae. Usually depicted as an old woman,
she spun out the thread of one's life (Hesiod, Theogony
901-906; Hesiod, Shield of Heracles
1.3.1). Family Tree 5
Clymene [kleye'me-nee] or Klymene, "glorious might."
She was a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. According to Hesiod, she
married Iapetus and became the mother of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus,
and Epimetheus (Hesiod, Theogony
507-511). Ovid makes her
the wife of Helius and the mother of PhaŽthon (Ovid, Metamorphoses
1.750-2.366). Family Tree 4
Clytemnestra [kleye-tem-nes'tra] or Klytaimnestra, "praiseworthy
She was the daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, wife of Agamemnon, and
mother of Iphigenia, Orestes, Electra, and Chrysothemis (Apollodorus,
2.16). When Agamemnon was fighting at Troy, Clytemnestra
became the lover of Aegisthus; the two of them killed Agamemnon
when he returned home (Aeschylus, Agamemnon
; Euripides, Iphigenia
; Apollodorus, Epitome
3.21-22, 4.23; Hyginus,
117). Orestes later avenged the murder of his father
by killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus (Pindar, Pythian Odes
11.17-37; Aeschylus, Choephori
; Sophocles, Electra
; Apollodorus, Epitome
Tree 15 Family Tree 32
Coeus [see'us] or Koios, "one who perceives."
This son of Uranus and Gaia-one of the Titans-married his sister
Phoebe and became the father of Asteria and Leto, the mother of
Apollo (Hesiod, Theogony
134, 409-410; Apollodorus 1.1.3).
Family Tree 3 Family
Coronis [co-roh'nis] or Koronis, "crow."
She was a young woman from Thessaly whom Apollo loved. The raven
saw her in the arms of another young man and reported the incident
to Apollo, who shot Coronis through the breast with an arrow. As
Coronis lay dying, she told Apollo she was pregnant with their child.
Apollo tried to save her, but it was too late; however, he was able
to save the infant, whom he named Asclepius. He gave the boy to
Chiron and cursed the raven with the black color that it has today
(Pindar, Pythian Odes
3.8-46; Apollodorus 3.10.3; Pausanias
2.26.6; Ovid, Metamorphoses
2.533-632; Hyginus, Fabulae
202, Poetica Astronomica
Creon [kree'on] or Kreon (1), "ruler."
He was the king of Corinth when Jason and Medea arrived there as
exiles from Iolcus. When Jason arranged to marry Creon's daughter,
Glauce, Medea sent a crown and a robe to Glauce, after smearing
them with an ointment that would burn into Glauce's flesh. When
Glauce put them on, she fell to the ground in unbearable agony.
Creon tried to embrace her as she lay dying and he too was burned
to death by Medea's trap (Euripides, Medea
; Apollodorus 1.9.28;
7.391-403; Hyginus, Fabulae
Creon [kree'on] or Kreon (2), "ruler."
This son of Menoeceus and brother of Jocasta and uncle of Oedipus
became king of Thebes when Oedipus' sons, Eteocles and Polynices,
were killed in the attack of the Seven against Thebes. He decreed
that anyone who buried Polynices would be put to death. When Antigone
performed burial rites for Polynices, he sealed her in a cave where
she would starve to death. His son, Haemon, who was betrothed to
Antigone, killed himself; his wife, Eurydice, then committed suicide
also (Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes
; Sophocles, Oedipus
; Euripides, Phoenician Women
Apollodorus 3.5.8-9, 3.7.1; Hyginus, Fabulae
Cretheus [kree'the-us] or Kretheus, "ruler."
He was the brother of Athamas and king of Iolcus; he was also the
father of Aeson, who was the father of Jason. When Cretheus died,
his stepson Pelias, son of Poseidon, and Tyro, the wife of Cretheus,
seized the throne, usurping it from Aeson (Apollodorus 1.9.8, 1.9.11;
11.235-237, 11.258-259). Family
Creusa [kre-ou'sa] or Kreousa.
This daughter of Priam and Hecuba, wife of Aeneas, and mother of
Iulus (Ascanius) became lost while following her husband out of
the burning city of Troy and was killed by the Greeks (Apollodorus
3.12.5; Pausanias 10.26.1; Virgil, Aeneid
2.736-795). Family Tree 42
Crius [kreye'us] or Krios, "ram"(?).
This son of Uranus and Gaia and one of the Titans married his sister
Eurybia and became the father of Astraeus, Pallas, and Perses (Hesiod,
134, 375-377; Apollodorus 1.1.3). Family
Tree 3 Family Tree 18
Cronus [kro'nus] or Kronos (Saturn), "crow," "rocky," or "accomplisher"(?).
This son of Uranus and Gaia was the youngest of the Titans (Hesiod,
137-138). He dethroned his father by castrating
him. He was ruler of the world during the Golden Age. He married
his sister Rhea and together they produced Hestia, Hades, Poseidon,
Demeter, Hera, and Zeus. Cronus swallowed his children as they were
born, but Rhea gave him a rock bundled in baby blankets instead
of Zeus, who was taken to Crete, where he grew up. Zeus later came
back and dethroned Cronus in the Titanomachy (Hesiod, Theogony
453-506; Apollodorus 1.1.3-2.1; Pausanias 8.8.2; Diodorus Siculus
5.70.1-71.1). Family Tree 2
Family Tree 3
Cupid [kyou'pid] (Eros [er'os]), "yearning."
He was the Roman equivalent of Eros, often depicted as a winged
Cyclopes [seye-klo'peez] or Kyklopes, "round-eyes."
These three children of Uranus and Gaia each had only one eye in
the center of his forehead (Hesiod, Theogony
were confined within Gaia by Uranus but were released when Cronus
castrated Uranus (Apollodorus 1.1.2-4). The Cyclopes served Zeus
by providing him with thunderbolts, which they forged with their
own hands (Hesiod, Theogony
501-506; Apollodorus 1.2.1; Virgil,
8.439-453). They were slain by Apollo, who was angry
because Zeus had used one of their thunderbolts to kill Asclepius,
Apollo's son (Euripides, Alcestis
3-6; Apollodorus 3.10.4;
Diodorus Siculus 4.71.2-3; Hyginus, Fabulae
Cycnus [sik'nus] or Kyknos, "swan."
This son of Poseidon-king of Colonae, near Troy-fought on the side
of the Trojans in the Trojan War, but Achilles killed him in the
first battle. He was turned into a swan by his father, and flew
away (Ovid, Metamorphoses
Cyrene [seye-ree'nee] or Kyrene, "lady of the rein."
She was a nymph whom Apollo saw wrestling a lion; he whisked her
away to a place in Libya that was later named for her. Cyrene bore
a son to Apollo named Aristaeus, who married AutonoŽ and became
the father of Actaeon (Pindar, Pythian Odes
2.500-527; Diodorus Siculus 4.81-82;
Cyzicus [siz'i-kus] or Kyzikos, "exalted."
He was a king of the Doliones who lived in a small village on the
coast of the Euxine Sea just inside the Hellespont. Jason and the
Argonauts stopped there on their way to get the Golden Fleece. They
killed Cyzicus unwittingly when a storm at sea blew them back to
land and a battle ensued, with neither side realizing whom it was
fighting. When daylight showed that a tragic mistake had been made,
Jason and the Argonauts helped to mourn and bury Cyzicus (Apollonius
1.946-1077; Apollodorus 1.9.18; Hyginus,
16; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica