Famous Stories About Men and Women From Greek Mythology

Pivotal Myths and Legends

The major stories in Greek mythology focus on specific families ("houses") and heroes. Here are some of the clusters of Greek myths and legends, including the Trojan War and the tragedy-inspiring House of Atreus, as well as the major heroes, and the most famous hunt. You'll also find popular stories from Greek mythology like Pandora's Box and the Minotaur's labyrinth. 

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Trojan War

Wooden Horse of Troy
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The Trojan War provides the background for much of both Greek and Roman literature. When Paris handed Aphrodite the prize, the apple of discord, he started the series of events that led to the destruction of his homeland Troy, which, in turn, led to the flight of Aeneas and the founding of Rome

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The Odyssey

Odysseus and his companions at the Charybdis
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Sometimes called Ulysses, Odysseus was the most famous hero of the Trojan War who made it home. Granted, the war took 10 years and his return trip another 10, but unlike most of the Greeks, he made it back safely, and to a family that was, oddly, still waiting for him. His story makes up the second of the two works attributed to Homer, "The Odyssey," which contains more fanciful encounters with mythological characters than "The Iliad."

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statue Perseus with the Head of Medusa on Piazza
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Perseus was one of the major heroes, founder of Mycenae, and the ancestor of the Persians. His wife Andromeda is better known as a constellation, but first Perseus had to rescue her from a monster (and a fiance).

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The House of Thebes

January, 2018 - Luxor, Egypt. The Karnak temple in Luxor Egypt
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Cadmus set out to find his abducted sister (Europa, who was carried off on a white bull), but wound up founding the important city of Thebes. Among other adventures, Cadmus slew a dragon that had eaten his men. Oedipus, of Freudian fame, was king of Thebes only a few generations later.

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Calydonian Boar Hunt

Sarcophagus Depicting the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Proconnesian marble. Musei Capitolini, Rome.
Sarcophagus Depicting the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Proconnesian marble. Musei Capitolini, Rome. Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.

A group of heroic hunters, including the female Atalanta, chase after a boar sent by the irate goddess Artemis to ravage the Calydonian countryside. This is the most famous of the Greek hunts in art and literature

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House of Atreus

Ancient Greek Ruins - Mycenae
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The House of Atreus was cursed. Among its unlucky members and ancestors were Pelops, whose shoulder was eaten by Demeter; Menelaus, whose wife was taken by Paris; Agamemnon, who was murdered by his own wife after he murdered their daughter; and Orestes, who was hounded by the Furies.

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The Quest for the Golden Fleece

Yellow knitted woolen background with a pattern of soft, fleecy cloth. Texture of gold textile closeup.
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These are the adventures of the heroes known as Argonauts, who are led by Jason to capture the Golden Fleece. The story tells of the recovery with the help of Medea, and how they didn't live happily ever after.

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Backside of Theseus and Minotaur at Archibald Memorial Fountain, Sydney
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Theseus was the Athenian hero who volunteered to be one of the victims in the labyrinth of the Minotaur. Before he became king of Athens, he rivaled Hercules in adventures.

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Hercules (Heracles)

Hercules Fountain of Salzburg Residenz, Austria
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Hercules had lots of adventures and a couple of marriages. Among the heroic myths about him, it's told that Hercules went to the Underworld and traveled with the Argonauts on their voyage to collect the Golden Fleece. He also completed 12 labors as atonement for his crimes

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Golden Prometheus statue
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Prometheus was the brother-in-law of Pandora, the first Athenian woman, who unleashed the world's ills,and the parent of the Greek Noah.

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Gill, N.S. "Famous Stories About Men and Women From Greek Mythology." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/famous-stories-from-greek-mythology-119919. Gill, N.S. (2020, August 29). Famous Stories About Men and Women From Greek Mythology. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-stories-from-greek-mythology-119919 Gill, N.S. "Famous Stories About Men and Women From Greek Mythology." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-stories-from-greek-mythology-119919 (accessed January 27, 2021).

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