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B entries
Bacchus (BAK-us). Roman name of Dionysus (dye-oh-NYE-sus). The god of wine, the son of Zeus and Semele, and the rescuer of Ariadne after she had been abandoned by Theseus. Dionysus also rescued his mother from the Underworld, after Zeus showed her his true nature as storm god and consumed her in lightning. It was Dionysus who granted Midas the power to turn whatever he touched into gold, then was kind enough to take the power back when it proved inconvenient.
Bellerophon (buh-LAIR-uh-fon). Grandson of Sisyphus, tamer of the flying horse Pegasus and heroic vanquisher of the Chimaera, a monster so fantastic that it has entered our language in the adjective chimerical, describing the improbable product of a wild imagination. At Mythweb, see the illustrated myth of Bellerophon.
Bellerophon was a citizen of Corinth who was exiled owing to a murder which he had committed. In some versions of the myth, the man that the hero murdered was a tyrant named Bellero. Up until this deed, Bellerophon had a different name, but from then on he was "Bellero-phontes," or "Bellero-killer."
Black Sea. The shore of this inland sea north of the Asian portion of modern Turkey was just far enough from Greece that it was thought of as a land of strange and mysterious wonders. Thus it was the mythological land of the Amazons, prodigious huntresses who shunned men except when it was time to produce offspring for their tribe. It was to Colchis on the Black Sea coast that Jason and the Argonauts journeyed in quest of the Golden Fleece.
Bronze Age. The period between the Stone Age and the Iron Age when humankind made implements of an alloy of copper and tin. In Greece during this era kingdoms produced glorious arts and crafts, typified by the golden masks found on the site of ancient Mycenae. This was the temporal setting and backdrop for the stories of Greek mythology. It was followed by a violent era of lower material culture when, some speculate, Dorian invaders from the north with iron weapons laid waste the Bronze Age kingdoms.
bull-leaping. Acrobatic feats performed over the horns and back of a bull. From abundant archaeological evidence it is clear that some sport or ceremony involving acrobats and bulls was practiced in ancient Crete. And from the myth of Theseus, one might conclude that the acrobats were captives or sacrificial victims, whose athleticism and timing might have spelled the difference between gory death and popular adulation by the Knossos throngs.
Historians have long speculated on the scant likelihood of anyone grabbing the horns of a charging bull and vaulting up onto or over its back, even with the aid of a "catcher" standing by to steady the leap to the ground. It has been pointed out that bulls tend to make a sideways sweeping gesture with their horns, the force and speed of which impales anyone within reach.
But the long-horned Cretan bull of ancient times may have been a more sluggish creature, bred perhaps for the usefulness of this trait in ritual. Or the bulls may have been drugged for the sport. Still, it is not hard to see how a successful bull-leaper would have been treated like a celebrity in the halls of Knossos.
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B entries
Bacchus (BAK-us). Roman name of Dionysus (dye-oh-NYE-sus). The god of wine, the son of Zeus and Semele, and the rescuer of Ariadne after she had been abandoned by Theseus. Dionysus also rescued his mother from the Underworld, after Zeus showed her his true nature as storm god and consumed her in lightning. It was Dionysus who granted Midas the power to turn whatever he touched into gold, then was kind enough to take the power back when it proved inconvenient.
Bellerophon (buh-LAIR-uh-fon). Grandson of Sisyphus, tamer of the flying horse Pegasus and heroic vanquisher of the Chimaera, a monster so fantastic that it has entered our language in the adjective chimerical, describing the improbable product of a wild imagination. At Mythweb, see the illustrated myth of Bellerophon.
Bellerophon was a citizen of Corinth who was exiled owing to a murder which he had committed. In some versions of the myth, the man that the hero murdered was a tyrant named Bellero. Up until this deed, Bellerophon had a different name, but from then on he was "Bellero-phontes," or "Bellero-killer."
A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L     M     N     O     P     Q     R     S     T     U     V     W     X     Y     Z