If ever he sees one of the figures of Hecate Socrates feared the evil eye. Alexander the Great used fortunetellers used haruspicy searching for omens in the entrails of animals to predict the future. The Athenian leader Pericles once lost two armies because two medicine men told him he should not move his army until "thrice nine" days after lunar eclipse.
Plutarch once wrote that superstitious "word and gestures, sorcery and magic, running backwards and forward" drove reasonable men to atheism. Greeks believed in the magic spells of the sorceress Medea. Chance was a Greek goddess. Pliny said "We are much at the mercy of Chance that Chance is our god. The custom is believed to have been practiced since B.
Knocking on wood is said to date back to ancient Greece. Triskaidekaphobia , the fear of the number 13, is named after the first man to be recorded of having a fear of that number, Triskaideskaphodes. According to ancient numerology 12 was the perfect number where everything was in balance. There were 12 months, 12 hours in the day, 12 signs on the zodiac, 12 gods at Olympus, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas, and 12 gods at Olympus.
The number "13" upset the balance of the number "12" and therefor was viewed as unlucky and evil. Friday the 13th became an especially unlucky day because Jesus was crucified on a Friday and some say Eve gave Adam the apple on a Friday. In a year-old Eton school boy named S. Baxter proved that the "13th of the month is more likely to be a Friday than any other day. Greeks believed that any person who intentionally or accidently ate the meat from a human mixed with blood or flesh of a sacrificed animal would turn into a werewolf.
The werewolf cult of Zeus Lykaios was strong in Peloponnesian Arcadia. Curse inscription The ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Jews, Christians, Gauls and Britons all dispensed curse tablets used placate "unquiet" graves, cast love spells and call up the spirits of the Underworld to make trouble. Curse objects were used to call ghosts from the Underworld to bring suffering on one's enemies. They were often buried with the dead who were believed to have the power to pass them on to a party that could carry them out. Curses buried with people who died young were thought to be able to reach their destination quicker.
Curses became such an annoyance in Athens they were outlawed.
Even so they were secretly buried on the dead. It is not clear what kinds of punishments there were if one was caught putting a curse on someone. Curse inscription Archaeologists have found ancient Greek "voodoo dolls" called kolossoi , consisting of a small doll lying in a lead coffin. One such doll had its arms pulled back and a man's name inscribed on its leg. The man appeared to have been involved with a public trial with eight other men, whose names were inscribed on the coffin lid.
Kolossoi figures have been found buried in a cemetery, but not inside graves, perhaps to draw the attention of Hades, god of the Underworld. In Antinopolis, Egypt, a small effigy of woman, dated to the A. She is pierced with 13 pins: The effigy was wrapped in an inscribed table and sealed in a pit. The doll surprisingly was commissioned by a man who wanted a the victim, a woman, to make live to him.
The text of the tablet read: Prevent her from eating and drinking until she comes to me. Sarapammon, whom Area bore, and do not allow her to have experience with another man, except me alone. Drag here by her hair, by her guts, until she does not stand aloof from me. A magical handbook that has been found, dated to around the same time, has an image of a nearly identical effigy with instructions on where to place it and what to recite when doing so.
The idea it seems was to cause the woman anguish so she would have feelings of affection for the man who pieced the doll. Many ancient Greek curse tablets made of lead have been found. By far the most have come from Athens, where they have been found buried in cemeteries, inside sanctuaries and wells and outside theaters. They were purchased by shopowners, potters and tavern owners against rivals. Most were aimed at legal opponents. Some were directed at politicians. Many were accompanied by figures: Many curses were put on bracelets buried with the dead.
Early curse tablets were filled with spelling and grammar mistakes which has led archaeologists and historians to surmise they were probably inscribed by amateurs, but there are hints of professional sorcerers making spells as early as B. A spell from Attica in the 4th century B. Of all of these I bind the soul, the work, the hands, tying and mind: I will tattoo you with the white-tusked boar. On dealing with the testimonies of three butchers in a court of law one tablet read: I bind the wife of Pyrrhias, her tongue and soul.
I also bind Kerkion, the butcher, and Dikimos the butcher, their tongues, their souls and the speeches they are practicing. I bind Kineas, bind his tongue, his soul and the speech he is practicing with Theagenes. I bind his tongue, his soul and the evidence he gives for Theagenes.
All of these i. If they lay any counterclaim before the arbitrator or the court let them seem to be of no account, either in word or deed. A curse that focuses on erotic love found on a potsherd perhaps heated in a ritual read: Lay Allous low with fever, with unceasing sickness, lack of appetite, senselessness. The text of one Greek curse found rolled up in the mouth of a red-haired mummy found in Eshmunen in Ptolemaic Egypt read: Goad the tortured soul, the heart of Karosa One tablet addressed to a ghost goes: Mother, brothers, sisters, until she comes to me Burn her limbs, live, female body, until she comes to me, and not disobeying me.
The Egyptians refined the Babylonian system of astrology and the Greeks shaped it into its modern form. The Ancient Greeks were skeptical about astrology. They wondered, for example, why twins born under the same astrological conditions had different fortunes, and why animals weren't ruled by the same cosmic powers as humans. Astrology as we know it originated in Babylon. It developed out of the belief that since the Gods in the heavens ruled man's fate, the stars could reveal fortunes and the notion that the motions of the stars and planets control the fate of people on earth.
In ancient times astrology and astronomy were the same thing. The Babylonians were the first people to apply myths to constellations and astrology and describe the 12 signs of the zodiac. The Greeks and Romans borrowed some of their myths from the Babylonians and invented their own. The word astrology and astronomy are derived from the Greek word for "star.
The names and shapes of many the constellations are believed to date to Sumerian times because the animals and figures chosen held a prominent place in their lives. It is thought that if the constellations originated with the the Egyptians were would ibises, jackals, crocodiles and hipposanimals in their environmentrather than goats and bulls. To the Assyrians the constellation Capricorn was munaxa the goat fish. The Greeks added names of heroes to the constellations.
The Romans took these and gave them the Latin names we use today. Ptolemy listed 48 constellations.
The word zodiac comes from a Greek word meaning, "The circle of animals". The animals representing the signs were placed among the stars usually for great acts of heroism. Aries - The Ram March April Aries people are creative, adaptive, and insightful. They can also be strong-willed and spontaneous sometimes to a fault. Aries people can be driven and are very ambitious often making them over-achievers in anything they set their mind to tackle. Aries are fire signs, and so too is their personality. Aries signs have excellent sense of humor, and they get along with almost everyone at the party and they DO know how to party.
Aries can be impatient, but we love them anyway because they are devoted friends, lovers and family membersthey are loyal to then end and will fight for their causes usually supporting the underdog. See symbolic meanings of the Ram here. The origin of Aries stems from the tale of the Golden Ram. In a plot to trap the centaur Ixion, Hera created a woman looking nearly identical to herself out of a cloud and named her Nephele.
She then forced King Athamus to marry this woman. This relationship didn't work out at all as Athamus became bored with Nephele fairly quickly and left her. Athamus almost immediately after this, married Ino. This of course angered Nephele, so she asked Hera for vengeance.
Hera had no problem in doing this as she was already angry at Athamus and Ino already as a cause of them taking care of Dionysus for Zeus. Hera then proceeded to poison their minds and make them crazy. Athamus attempted to sacrifice his son by Nephele, Phrixius. This plot was thwarted when Heracles sent a Golden Ram to save him. When the ram brought Phrixius to his destination, he sacrificed the Golden Ram to Zeus and in turn, Zeus placed the mighty ram among the stars for his heroic deed. Taurus zodiac signs and meanings, like the animal that represents them, is all about strength, stamina and will.
The Taurus is very understanding and when we need someone to unburden ourselves to, we often share our deepest fears with the Taurians of the zodiac. The sign of Taurus stems from the Tale of Europa and the Bull. This is a tale of one of Zeus' many affairs.
Zeus was extremely attracted to Europa and yearned for her affection. Zeus then appeared before Europa in the form of a magnificent white bull.
Europa couldn't resist petting the bull, so she walked over to it and did just that. She then climbed upon the bull's back at which point the bull carried Europa across the sea to Crete where he then took the form of an eagle and, for a lack of better terms, raped her. In rememberance of this affair, Zeus placed the image of the bull amongst the stars. Gemini - The Twins May 21 - June Flexibility, balance and adaptability are the keywords for the Gemini. They are quick to grasp the meaning of a situation and act on it, often with positive effects. They tend to have a duality to their nature, and can sometimes be tough to predict how they will react.
They can turn from hot to cold and may be prone to noticeable mood swings. However, they are generous signs with tendencies of being affectionate, and imaginative. They also inspire others easily as they seem to naturally motivate themselvestheir charisma and accomplishments are infectious. Geminians are very supportive, and are especially good at promotions, sales, and driving hard bargains.
Castor and Pollux were half-brothers. The twins grew inseperable as time went on. One day, Castor was killed in a battle. Pollux was so grief stricken that he took his own life to join his brother at death. In honor of the brothers' great love, Zeus placed them among the stars. Cancer - The Crab June July Cancerians love home-life, family and domestic settings. They are traditionalists, and enjoy operating on a fundamental level.
They love history, and are fascinated with the beginnings of things heraldry, ancestry, etc. The moon is their ruler, so they can be a bit of a contradiction and sometimes moody. Cancerians make loyal, sympathetic friends.
However Cancerians need alone time, and when they retreat, let them do so on their terms. The sign of Cancer stems from one of the 12 Trials of Heracles. These were the mortal children of king Tyndareus , the legitimate husband of Leda. Despite the fact that one brother was divine and the other mortal, the twins Castor and Pollux grew to be inseparable.
They did everything together and they loved each other dearly. Because they were so close, they were called by one name; the Dioscuri. As they were growing, they both loved all kinds of sport. Pollux was particularly good at boxing, while Castor was renowned for his skill and daring on horseback.
When Jason was recruiting the Argonauts to join him in his quest of the Golden Fleece , the Dioscuri eagerly accepted the invitation. During the expedition, they became famous for their ability to calm the rough seas, which once or twice had threatened to capsize the Argo. Poseidon , the god of the seas, had made the twin brothers joint saviors of shipwrecked sailors and granted them the power to send favorable winds whenever they wished.
Even to this day, the sight of the stars of the Dioscuri in the sky is regarded by sailors as an omen of good luck. Unfortunately, following a bitter fight that the twins had with other warriors, Castor was killed and was summoned to the Underworld. Pollux was heartbroken and prayed to almighty Zeus to take his life as well, for he would not bear to live without his brother. When Zeus invited to join him and the rest of the Olympians on Olympus, Pollux declined saying that he would not like to live forever, while his beloved brother was dead.
Zeus was so touched by the twin's love and affection for his brother, that he arranged for them to be together again. They could divide their time between the heavens and the Underworld, spending one day high up in Olympus and the next day beneath the earth, in the realm of Hades. In further recognition of their brotherly love, he set their images among the stars as the constellation of Gemini, so that they would never be again separated.
They stand out as two equally bright stars in a constellation of weaker stars. As the story goes , in the midst of Hercules' struggle, Hera , who was the hero's worst enemy, ordered a giant crab to go and help the Hydra by digging its claws into Hercules' foot. Hera, being grateful for its support and in recognition of its attempt to help her, honored the crab by placing its image among the stars, as the constellation of Cancer. According to the myth, Hercules finally managed to kill the beast by strangling it to death.
Then, he skinned the lion and took its pelt to wear it. He was then quite protected from his enemies, as the skin could not be penetrated from any known weapon of the time whether made of iron, bronze or stone. After its death, the famous lion was put on the sky by Zeus, to become the constellation of Leo. Click here to learn all about the myth of Persephone.
Day and night are equal when the sun passes through the constellation of Libra. The scales are a symbol of balance and equity. More specifically, the scales were considered to be the symbol of Dike , meaning Justice, who was a minor goddess of the Underworld. The fact that the ancient greeks gave Libra a prominent place in the sky, signifies that they considered justice, equity and balance in general, to be the moral cornerstones of an ideal way of living. Orion was said to be the tallest and the most handsome man of the then known world. He was often seen hunting in the woods and hills of ancient Greece with his pack of dogs.
His constellation shows him striding across the heavens flourishing a gleaming sword on his bejeweled belt. Many of the stories concerning the constellations of Orion and Scorpio reflect the annual rising and setting of their constellations, which appear to pursue each other across the sky. One story tells how Gaia had sent the scorpion to sting Orion, in order to punish him for being too boastful, claiming that he was so mighty that he could easily rid the whole earth of all beasts and creatures.
As soon as the scorpion was released from the breast of Gaia, it immediately stung Orion and its deadly venom sent him straight to his death. The scorpion was set up on the sky by Gaia to mark her victory, while goddess Artemis , who had loved Orion, placed his image on the sky as well, forming his own constellation. Because Orion had cared so much for his hunting dog, Artemis also put up a star for his dog: This is Sirius , the brightest star in the heavens.
One day, when Orion was out in the woods, he caught sight of seven beautiful sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Orion loved them all at first sight and began to chase after them. The sisters, however, were terrified and cried out to Zeus to save them. Zeus heard their pleas and helped them by turning them first into doves, so they could fly away from Orion, and then into the seven stars which are now called Pleiades.
According to myth, Orion was stung by the scorpion as a punishment for chasing the seven sisters. Zeus decided that the constellations of Orion and the Pleiades were arranged in the heavens, so that it seemed that Orion was in constant pursuit of the seven sisters, without ever becoming successful, just as the Scorpio seems always to be chasing Orion, without ever touching him.
Pisces (♓ ) is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans ° to According to one Greek myth, Pisces represents the fish, sometimes represented by koi fish, into which Aphrodite (also considered. Pisces is the 12th sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Feb. 20 and March Pisces is the fishes. In Greek Mythology, these two fis.
He is named after Cheiron , the most famous and king of the centaurs. He was semi-divine, as he was the son of god Poseidon. He was taught by god Apollo and goddess Artemis , and from them he learned both wisdom and spirituality.
He dwelt in a cave high up in the rocky, snowy sides of Mount Pelion. He was the oldest and wisest of all the centaurs and very strong. In fact, he was so famous, that many kings had trusted their sons to teach them. Among the most famous of his students were Hercules , and Jason, who later became the leader of the argonauts. As the myth goes, Cheiron was destined to suffer a gruesome death: When Hercules was returning home to Tiryns after killing the Erymanthian Boar , he had a violent encounter with some drunken centaurs, which he managed to drive away near the place where Cheiron lived. By accident, however, one of the poisonous arrows that Hercules used to defend himself from his attackers, went astray and hit his old teacher.