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T entries
Taenarum (TEE-nuh-rum). Peninsula in southern Greece where there was a cave through which access to the Underworld was possible. This was the portal chosen by Theseus and his companion Peirithous on their ill-fated attempt to abduct Hades' queen Persephone from the kingdom of the dead.
Tantalus (TAN-tuh-lus). The word "tantalize" comes from the plight of the mythological Tantalus, who so offended the gods that he was condemned in the afterlife to an eternity of hunger and thirst. He was made to stand in a pool in Tartarus, the Underworld zone of punishment. Each time he reached down for the water that beckoned to his parched lips, it drained away. Overhanging the pool were boughs laden with luscious fruit. But each time Tantalus stretched to pluck this juicy sustenance, the boughs receded from his grasp. For his crime, which may have entailed stealing ambrosia from the gods, this great sinner was tantalized indeed.
Tartarus (TAR-tuh-rus). The Underworld zone of eternal torment, where the greatest sinners were punished for their transgressions. The worst of these offenders were deemed to be those who had sinned against the gods themselves. The greatest crime of all was to abuse the gods' hospitality. All the more so since to be on familiar terms with the great deities was a particular favor, reserved for the elect.
Thus the hero Bellerophon was guilty of the greatest presumption when, in his later years, he dared to ride the winged horse Pegasus to the very gates of Olympus. Apparently he imagined that his heroic conquest of the Chimaera qualified him automatically for admission to the company of the gods. Zeus repaid this arrogance by sending a horsefly to sting Pegasus. The flying horse reared and Bellerophon was flung from its back, falling so far and landing so hard that he was crippled for life. He spent the remainder of his days a miserable, wandering outcast.
Tantalus, on the other hand, was invited to share not just Zeus's table but the great god's secrets. But Tantalus dared to tell these secrets to his fellow mortals. Or, some say, he stole Zeus's ambrosia. (Nectar and ambrosia were the special treats of the gods. Nectar was fermented honey, or mead. Ambrosia may have been a concoction of honey, water, fruit, cheese, olive oil and barley.) For either or both of his transgressions, Tantalus was consigned to Tartarus - as far beneath Hades as Hades is beneath the sky.
The fifty daughters of Danaus murdered their husbands on their wedding night, driving daggers into their hearts and chopping off their heads. In fairness, they had not sought the marriages and were acting on their father's homicidal instructions. All the same, they were condemned in the afterlife to a perpetual labor of carrying water from the river Styx in jars - jars that leaked like sieves.
For throwing his father-in-law into a fiery pit, Ixion had to be purified by Zeus. Then he ungratefully tried to seduce the great god's wife. Hera warned her husband what was afoot, and Zeus fashioned a cloud into Hera's likeness. Ixion made a pass at the cloud and was caught in the act. In punishment, he spends eternity in the lowest level of the Underworld, chained to a fiery wheel.
Thebes (theebz). Greek city, ruled in myth by Oedipus. Thebes was founded by Cadmus, who had consulted the Delphic Oracle while searching for his missing sister. The Oracle told Cadmus to abandon his search and follow the nearest cow instead. Wherever the cow lay down, he was to found a new city. There was another famous Thebes in Egypt.
Thera (THEE-ruh). Volcanic Aegean island which erupted disastrously during the time of the Minoan civilization of Crete. Once the volcano had been purged of its molten core, the hollow cone collapsed. The sea rushed in, rebounded when it hit bottom and then recoiled in a tidal wave that impacted the coastal settlements of Crete. This may account for the legend of Atlantis sinking beneath the sea.
Theseus (THEE-see-us or THEES-yoos). Greek hero, especially national hero of Athens; slayer of the Minotaur. At Mythweb, see the illustrated myth of Theseus.

Thesprotia (thes-PROH-shuh). Region in western Greece, including the valley of the Acheron, where there was an entrance to Hades. This may have been the portal that Orpheus used when he attempted to regain his dead wife Eurydice from the Underworld.
Thessalian (thuh-SAY-lee-un). Of or pertaining to Thessaly, a region of northeastern Greece famous for its horses. Thessalian Mount Olympus was the mythological home of the gods. Theseus's friend Peirithous was a Thessalian king.
Thetis (THEE-tis or THEH-tis). Best known of the Nereids, the fifty daughters of the Old Man of the Sea; mother of Achilles, the Greek champion in the Trojan War. When Theseus was challenged by King Minos to prove himself a true son of the sea-god Poseidon, he dove into the waves to retrieve the king's signet ring. He found the ring and an underwater palace as well, where Thetis (or her sister Amphitrite) presented him with a crown.
Tiresias (tye-REE-see-us). Blind seer from Thebes, whose advice was sought by Odysseus in Hades. The hero, trying to make his way home after the Trojan War, had been told by the enchantress Circe that he would never return safely without consulting Teiresias. Odysseus journeyed to the far western edge of the earth and crossed the great river that flows around it. Entering Hades, he dug a pit and filled it with sacrificial blood to summon the ghosts of the dead. Teiresias was among them, and he gave the needed advice.
Tiryns (TIR-inz). Ancient Greek city. Some said the huge stones of its walls could only have been put in place by Heracles, whose myth is associated with the city. Heracles would have been king of Tiryns had not Hera delayed his birth. So his cousin Eurystheus received the crown in the hero's stead, in accordance with a promise made by Zeus.
Titans (TYE-tunz). Sons of the goddess Earth, who ruled the cosmos before the Olympians. Cronus, king of the Titans, was deposed by his son Zeus. The Giants, also sons of Earth, stormed Mount Olympus in revenge. But they were repulsed by the Olympian gods with the help of the hero Heracles.
Troezen (TREE-zun). Greek city ruled by Theseus's grandfather. Theseus was born in Troezen, and when he came of age his mother took him to a forest clearing outside the city walls and challenged him to lift a boulder. Beneath it he found the sword and sandals of his father, King Aegeus of Athens, who had left them there for his son to find if he should prove himself worthy.
Trojan (TROH-jan). Of or pertaining to Troy, a kingdom on the western coast of what is now Turkey. Thus Hector was a Trojan prince, slain in battle by the Greek hero Achilles. The Trojan War was a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greek allies of Menelaus.
Trojan War (TROH-jan). Nine-year conflict between Greeks and Trojans over Helen, wife of the Greek Menelaus, who was taken to Troy from her home in Sparta by the Trojan Paris.
Troy (troy). In myth, a city on the coast of what is now Turkey, besieged by the Greek allies of Menelaus in the Trojan War. The Trojan prince Paris had carried off Menelaus's wife, who had been bewitched by the Goddess of Love to the extent that she was not altogether unwilling. A real city on the probable site was destroyed during the Heroic Age.
Tyre (TYE-ur). Ancient city in what is now Lebanon. In myth, Europa was a princess of Tyre. One day she was gathering wildflowers in a seaside meadow when she came upon a beautiful white bull. This bull was uncommonly gentle and did not inspire fear. Decking its horns with flowers, Europa was at length emboldened to climb upon its back. Whereupon the bull - actually the god Zeus in disguise - took off at a trot and dove into the sea. Europa was carried off to the island of Crete, where she became the mother of King Minos.
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T entries
Taenarum (TEE-nuh-rum). Peninsula in southern Greece where there was a cave through which access to the Underworld was possible. This was the portal chosen by Theseus and his companion Peirithous on their ill-fated attempt to abduct Hades' queen Persephone from the kingdom of the dead.
Tantalus (TAN-tuh-lus). The word "tantalize" comes from the plight of the mythological Tantalus, who so offended the gods that he was condemned in the afterlife to an eternity of hunger and thirst. He was made to stand in a pool in Tartarus, the Underworld zone of punishment. Each time he reached down for the water that beckoned to his parched lips, it drained away. Overhanging the pool were boughs laden with luscious fruit. But each time Tantalus stretched to pluck this juicy sustenance, the boughs receded from his grasp. For his crime, which may have entailed stealing ambrosia from the gods, this great sinner was tantalized indeed.
Tartarus (TAR-tuh-rus). The Underworld zone of eternal torment, where the greatest sinners were punished for their transgressions. The worst of these offenders were deemed to be those who had sinned against the gods themselves. The greatest crime of all was to abuse the gods' hospitality. All the more so since to be on familiar terms with the great deities was a particular favor, reserved for the elect.
Thus the hero Bellerophon was guilty of the greatest presumption when, in his later years, he dared to ride the winged horse Pegasus to the very gates of Olympus. Apparently he imagined that his heroic conquest of the Chimaera qualified him automatically for admission to the company of the gods. Zeus repaid this arrogance by sending a horsefly to sting Pegasus. The flying horse reared and Bellerophon was flung from its back, falling so far and landing so hard that he was crippled for life. He spent the remainder of his days a miserable, wandering outcast.
Tantalus, on the other hand, was invited to share not just Zeus's table but the great god's secrets. But Tantalus dared to tell these secrets to his fellow mortals. Or, some say, he stole Zeus's ambrosia. (Nectar and ambrosia were the special treats of the gods. Nectar was fermented honey, or mead. Ambrosia may have been a concoction of honey, water, fruit, cheese, olive oil and barley.) For either or both of his transgressions, Tantalus was consigned to Tartarus - as far beneath Hades as Hades is beneath the sky.
The fifty daughters of Danaus murdered their husbands on their wedding night, driving daggers into their hearts and chopping off their heads. In fairness, they had not sought the marriages and were acting on their father's homicidal instructions. All the same, they were condemned in the afterlife to a perpetual labor of carrying water from the river Styx in jars - jars that leaked like sieves.
For throwing his father-in-law into a fiery pit, Ixion had to be purified by Zeus. Then he ungratefully tried to seduce the great god's wife. Hera warned her husband what was afoot, and Zeus fashioned a cloud into Hera's likeness. Ixion made a pass at the cloud and was caught in the act. In punishment, he spends eternity in the lowest level of the Underworld, chained to a fiery wheel.
Thebes (theebz). Greek city, ruled in myth by Oedipus. Thebes was founded by Cadmus, who had consulted the Delphic Oracle while searching for his missing sister. The Oracle told Cadmus to abandon his search and follow the nearest cow instead. Wherever the cow lay down, he was to found a new city. There was another famous Thebes in Egypt.
Thera (THEE-ruh). Volcanic Aegean island which erupted disastrously during the time of the Minoan civilization of Crete. Once the volcano had been purged of its molten core, the hollow cone collapsed. The sea rushed in, rebounded when it hit bottom and then recoiled in a tidal wave that impacted the coastal settlements of Crete. This may account for the legend of Atlantis sinking beneath the sea.
Theseus (THEE-see-us or THEES-yoos). Greek hero, especially national hero of Athens; slayer of the Minotaur. At Mythweb, see the illustrated myth of Theseus.

Thesprotia (thes-PROH-shuh). Region in western Greece, including the valley of the Acheron, where there was an entrance to Hades. This may have been the portal that Orpheus used when he attempted to regain his dead wife Eurydice from the Underworld.
Thessalian (thuh-SAY-lee-un). Of or pertaining to Thessaly, a region of northeastern Greece famous for its horses. Thessalian Mount Olympus was the mythological home of the gods. Theseus's friend Peirithous was a Thessalian king.
Thetis (THEE-tis or THEH-tis). Best known of the Nereids, the fifty daughters of the Old Man of the Sea; mother of Achilles, the Greek champion in the Trojan War. When Theseus was challenged by King Minos to prove himself a true son of the sea-god Poseidon, he dove into the waves to retrieve the king's signet ring. He found the ring and an underwater palace as well, where Thetis (or her sister Amphitrite) presented him with a crown.
Tiresias (tye-REE-see-us). Blind seer from Thebes, whose advice was sought by Odysseus in Hades. The hero, trying to make his way home after the Trojan War, had been told by the enchantress Circe that he would never return safely without consulting Teiresias. Odysseus journeyed to the far western edge of the earth and crossed the great river that flows around it. Entering Hades, he dug a pit and filled it with sacrificial blood to summon the ghosts of the dead. Teiresias was among them, and he gave the needed advice.
Tiryns (TIR-inz). Ancient Greek city. Some said the huge stones of its walls could only have been put in place by Heracles, whose myth is associated with the city. Heracles would have been king of Tiryns had not Hera delayed his birth. So his cousin Eurystheus received the crown in the hero's stead, in accordance with a promise made by Zeus.
Titans (TYE-tunz). Sons of the goddess Earth, who ruled the cosmos before the Olympians. Cronus, king of the Titans, was deposed by his son Zeus. The Giants, also sons of Earth, stormed Mount Olympus in revenge. But they were repulsed by the Olympian gods with the help of the hero Heracles.
Troezen (TREE-zun). Greek city ruled by Theseus's grandfather. Theseus was born in Troezen, and when he came of age his mother took him to a forest clearing outside the city walls and challenged him to lift a boulder. Beneath it he found the sword and sandals of his father, King Aegeus of Athens, who had left them there for his son to find if he should prove himself worthy.
Trojan (TROH-jan). Of or pertaining to Troy, a kingdom on the western coast of what is now Turkey. Thus Hector was a Trojan prince, slain in battle by the Greek hero Achilles. The Trojan War was a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greek allies of Menelaus.
Trojan War (TROH-jan). Nine-year conflict between Greeks and Trojans over Helen, wife of the Greek Menelaus, who was taken to Troy from her home in Sparta by the Trojan Paris.
Troy (troy). In myth, a city on the coast of what is now Turkey, besieged by the Greek allies of Menelaus in the Trojan War. The Trojan prince Paris had carried off Menelaus's wife, who had been bewitched by the Goddess of Love to the extent that she was not altogether unwilling. A real city on the probable site was destroyed during the Heroic Age.
Tyre (TYE-ur). Ancient city in what is now Lebanon. In myth, Europa was a princess of Tyre. One day she was gathering wildflowers in a seaside meadow when she came upon a beautiful white bull. This bull was uncommonly gentle and did not inspire fear. Decking its horns with flowers, Europa was at length emboldened to climb upon its back. Whereupon the bull - actually the god Zeus in disguise - took off at a trot and dove into the sea. Europa was carried off to the island of Crete, where she became the mother of King Minos.
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