Home Page

Encyclopedia Index

Encyclopedia: Red Figure Vase-Rural Dionysia

Red Figure Vase

Red Figure Vase

A style of vase painting invented in Attica circa 530 BCE.

This style of vase painting left the decorative figures the color of the clay while the background was painted black; common in Greece, southern Italy and on the island of Sicily.

Respect

The goddess, Aidos.

In his poem Works and Days, Hesiod warns his brother Perses that in the fifth generation of mortal men [the Age of Iron] Aidos and Nemesis [Divine Retribution] will leave the earth and there will be no defense against evil; she is also referred to as Shame and Modesty.

Works and Days, line 200

Returns

The Returns; one of the fragmentary remains of the Epic Cycle which described the return of the Greek heroes after the destruction of the city of Troy.

We have none of the actual poems from The Returns which are attributed to Agias of Troezen but instead we have a very brief description of the original five books; we can assume from the existing fragments that the Temple of Athene (Athena) at Troy was either destroyed or defiled because Athene caused a quarrel between the leader of the Greek army, Agamemnon, and his brother Menelaos (Menelaus); Agamemnon stayed at Troy to appease Athene but Menelaos and his wife Helen sailed for home but lost all but five of their ships before they were finally stranded in Egypt.

Another interesting statement from The Returns concerns Jason's wife Medeia (Medea) and his father Aeson; Medeia is said to have bewitched Aeson and turned him into a young boy.

One confusing statement from The Returns concerns Herakles (Heracles); he was said to have been attacking the city of Themiskyra (Themiskcra); this is confusing because Herakles was supposed to have died before the siege of Troy which would be ten years before The Returns took place.

The Returns also informs us that Odysseus's son Telemachos (Telemachus) married the Nymph Kirke (Circe) and Kirke's son Telegonos (Telegonus) married Odysseus's wife Penelope.

The surviving six fragments of The Returns might be summarized as follows:

Fragment 1 - Athene causes an argument between Agamemnon and Menelaos; Agamemnon stays at Troy to appease Athene; Diomedes and Nestor get safely home; Menelaos reaches Egypt; Kalchas (Calchas), Leontes and Polypoetes go by land to Kolophon (Colophon) and bury the seer Teiresias; the ghost of Achilles tries to warn Agamemnon of his impending murder; Lesser Aias is killed at the rocks of the Kapherides (Capherides); Neoptolemus (Neoptolemos) meets Odysseus at Maronea and buries Phoinix (Phoenix); Agamemnon is murdered by Klytemnestra (Clytemnestra) and Aegisthus (Aigisthos); Orestes and Pylades avenge the murder of Agamemnon; Menelaos returns to Sparta;

Fragment 2 - Medeia uses herbs and her cunning skills to turn Aeson into a young boy;

Fragment 3 - Herakles and Theseus were unsuccessfully laying siege to Themiskyra until Antiope betrayed the city because of her love for Theseus;

Fragment 4 - Telemachos married the Dread Goddess Kirke and their son Telegonos married Penelope;

Fragment 5 - A single line: Gifts beguile the minds and deeds of men;

Fragment 6 - Tantalos (Tantalus) lived with the Immortals but was so indulgent that Zeus placed him under a stone which prevented him from reaching the pleasant food and drink nearby.

For the complete translations of The Epic Cycle, including The Returns, I recommend the Loeb Classical Library volume 57; you can sometimes find this book at the public library or you can order it from the Book Shop on this website.

Rhadamanthys

Rhadamanthys

One of the sons of Europa and Zeus; his brothers were: Minos and Sarpedon.

Rhadamanthys was rewarded after his death for the justice he exemplified during his life by being made one of the judges of the dead in the Underworld where he served with his brother Minos and his half-brother Aiakos (Aeacus).

Rhadamanthys is credited with some sayings which exemplified his moral character; only one of these sayings survives and might be rendered as:

If a man sows evil, he will reap more than he has sown;

If other men treat the evil doer as he has done, true justice will be served.

The Great Works, fragment 1

Catalogues of Women and Eoiae, fragment 19

Rhegium

An ancient Greek city in southern Italy; located on the tip of the Italian peninsula on the Strait of Messina; now modern Reggio di Calabria.

Approximate East Longitude 15º 64' and North Latitude 38º 13'

Google Map

Rheia (Rhea)

Rheia

One of the Titans; the daughter of Gaia [Earth] and Ouranos [Heavens]; wife of Kronos (Cronos) and mother of the Olympians.

Rheia has a page in the Immortals section of this website … click on her photo to view that page.

Rhesos (Rhesus) 1

A river god; one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos [Ocean].

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, line 340

The Iliad (Lattimore and Loeb), book 12, line 20

The Iliad (Fagles), book 12, line 23

The Iliad (Fitzgerald), book 12, line 22

Rhesos (Rhesus) 2

A Thracian commander who died at the hands of Odysseus and Diomedes; Rhesos was the son of Eioneus of Thrake (Thrace).

Rhesos and his Thracian troops had just arrived at Troy and were not prepared for the level of brutality and cunning the Achaeans (Achaians) were capable of inflicting; Rhesos was from a wealthy family and was attired in golden armor; second only to Achilles, Rhesos had the finest chariot horses on the battlefield.

A Trojan spy named Dolon had been sent to penetrate the Greek camp but was caught by Odysseus and Diomedes before he could complete his mission; Dolon begged for his life and told Odysseus and Diomedes that Rhesos was camped near the edge of the Trojan defenses; Diomedes killed Dolon without mercy.

Odysseus and Diomedes continued on towards the Trojan camp where they easily found the Thracians and devised a plan where Odysseus would steal the magnificent horses of Rhesos and Diomedes would kill as many of the sleeping Thracians as he could; Diomedes killed twelve Thracian soldiers and then pulled their bodies out of the way so that he and Odysseus could lead Rhesos's horses away without stepping in the blood and gore; lastly, Diomedes killed Rhesos and the two heroes fled back to the Greek encampment with the beautiful white horses and the gear they had stripped from Dolon.

The Iliad (Lattimore and Loeb), book 10, lines 435, 474 and 519

The Iliad (Fagles), book 10, lines 503, 547 and 600

The Iliad (Fitzgerald), book 10, lines 480, 525 and 574

Rhesos (Rhesus) 3

A play by Euripides produced circa 455 or 450 BCE; assumed to be his earliest play.

Cast of Characters:

Hector

Aineias (Aeneas)

Dolon

Rhesos

Odysseus

Diomedes

Athene (Athena)

Alexandros [Paris]

This play is not too tragic but still has a certain amount of drama; the story centers around the night Odysseus and Diomedes secretly invaded the Trojan camp and reeked havoc by killing Rhesos and stealing his prized horses; the murder of the Trojan spy Dolon is mentioned but not elaborated upon; I personally considered the murder of Dolon a very important part of The Iliad and I was surprised to see it relegated to a secondary plot line in this play; the play is mostly talk and not much action.

I personally recommend the translations compiled by Richmond Lattimore and David Grene; you can find this and other plays by Euripides in the 882 section of your local library or you can order them from the Book Shop on this website.

Rho

The seventeenth letter of the Greek alphabet; uppercase Ρ, lowercase ρ.

The ancient Greeks did not have lowercase letters in their alphabet; the lowercase letters were not invented until the ninth century CE, i.e. about eleven hundred years ago.

Letters of the Greek alphabet were also used as numerals; the letter rho represented the number 100 and was written as a simple ρ or as rho followed by an acute accent, ρ'.

Rhodeia (Rhodea)

An Okeanid, i.e. one of the three thousand daughters of Okeanos [Ocean] and Tethys.

When Persephone was abducted by Hades [lord of the Dead], Rhodeia was one of Persephone's playmates; the girls were gathering flowers in a meadow and unaware that Hades had laid a trap for Persephone; without being observed, Hades opened a hole in the ground and pulled Persephone down into the earth before she could scream or run away; when Persephone's mother Demeter [goddess of the Harvest] came looking for her daughter, Rhodeia and the other girls had no idea where Persephone had gone.

Zeus gave the Okeanids, Apollon and the Rivers the special obligation of having the young in their keeping but it would seem that Zeus prevented Rhodeia from protecting Persephone because he endorsed the abduction of the young girl by his brother, Hades.

Theogony, line 351

Hymn to Demeter, line 419

Rhodes 1

A Greek island in the southeastern Aegean Sea off the coast of modern Turkey; the largest of the Dodekanese (Dodecanese) Islands with an area of 542 square miles (1,404 square kilometers); the primary city on the island is also named Rhodes.

The island of Rhodes was an important island before recorded history began to document its rulers and inhabitants; the geographic location of Rhodes made it an ideal stopover for sea traffic between Asia Minor and all points west.

Rhodes was first populated by a race of sea creatures known as the Telchines; the Telchines were very mysterious and described in a variety of ways but generally thought of as dog-headed sea creatures; the Telchines were children of Thalassa [an aspect of the Sea] and thus possessed many different talents that were appreciated by Immortals and mortals alike; the Telchines crafted the sickle of Zeus and the trident of Poseidon [lord of the Sea]; the Telchines were said to be wizards who could summon clouds, rain, hail and snow at their will; their magic was compared to that of the Magi of Persia; they were also said to have the ability to change their shapes and not inclined to teach their arts to others.

The Telchines were living on Rhodes when the children of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea) were quite young and were still on the island when Poseidon and Zeus had reached maturity; Rheia gave the infant Poseidon to the Telchines and a daughter of Okeanos [Ocean] named Kapheira (Capheira) to be nurtured; it seems appropriate that Poseidon would be nurtured by sea-beings because he eventually became lord of the Sea.

Zeus and Poseidon took consorts on Rhodes; the sons of Zeus were honored and enjoyed long lives but the sons of Poseidon were doomed by their own insolent behavior.

Zeus and a Nymph named Himal had three sons: Spartaeus, Kronios (Cronius), and Kytos (Cytus); Poseidon was attracted to a sister of the Telchines named Halia; she and Poseidon had six male children and one daughter named Rhodos.

The sons of Poseidon and Halia were arrogant men who came to an evil end when they offended Aphrodite [goddess of Love]; Aphrodite drove the young men mad and they assaulted their mother; when Poseidon learned of their horrendous behavior, he buried them on Rhodes where they became known as the "Eastern Demons"; Halia was so shamed by her son's wanton actions, she threw herself in the sea; afterwards, she became known as Leukothea (Leucothea) and was given Immortal honors by the islanders.

Soon after those events, the Telchines perceived that the island was going to suffer a cataclysmic flood and fled, never to return; at that time, the island was populated by Nymphs of various types and people who were "sprung from the earth"; many of the inhabitants perished in the flood but the survivors retreated to the highlands with Zeus's sons as their semi-divine leaders.

The island was devastated by the flood but Helios [Sun] dried the land and made it habitable again; Helios took Rhodos as his consort and named the island after her; Rhodos and Helios were the parents of eight children, seven sons and one daughter; the daughter died while still a maiden but the sons, despite infighting and fratricide, went on to become the island's rulers.

Helios told his sons that the first mortals to offer a sacrifice to the goddess Athene (Athena) would win her undying protection; the customary way to make sacrifices to the Immortals was to burn the sacrificial animal but Helios's sons were in such a hurry to gain the goddesses' favor, they neglected to burn the sacrifice; realizing that their method was uncouth but their intentions were noble, Athene accepted their sacrifice; it thereafter became the custom on Rhodes to offer unburned sacrifices to the Immortals.

The sons of Helios and Rhodos surpassed all other men in their knowledge of astrology and seamanship; they also introduced the division of the day into hours; the Egyptians learned art and science from the sons of Helios and Rhodos and not visa versa as is commonly believed; the reason the sons of Helios and Rhodos are not credited with their pioneering achievements is because another devastating flood, which might be properly called a Deluge, killed a majority of the human race and destroyed all historical records on Rhodes; the only knowledge of the past which was preserved was in the form of myths and legends.

After a semblance of civilization was restored on Rhodes, Dannus and his daughters arrived on the island; they had escaped from Egypt and were seeking sanctuary on Greek territory; if they had remained in Egypt, Dannus's daughters would have been forced to marry their cousins; after being welcomed by the Rhodians, Dannus established a Temple of Athene and dedicated a statue of the goddess inside; three of the young women died on Rhodes before Dannus sailed on to Argos.

The next notable visitor to Rhodes was Kadmos (Cadmus), the son of Agenor; Kadmos was searching for his sister Europa who had been seduced by Zeus when he assumed the guise of a bull and then fled Phoenicia with the young woman; Zeus took Europa to Crete and Kadmos was in pursuit; after nearly being killed by a tempest at sea, Kadmos landed on Rhodes; thankful for his survival, Kadmos founded a Temple of Poseidon and left several of his Phoenician sailors to oversee the temple; the Phoenicians formed a hereditary line of priests and introduced the Phoenician alphabet to the Rhodians.

Subsequent to the time when Kadmos was on Rhodes, the island was plagued by huge serpents; many Rhodians were killed by the serpents before men were dispatched to the sacred island of Delos to inquire of Apollon as to how they might rid themselves of the deadly infestation; Apollon commanded them to seek out a man named Phorbas and invite him and his followers to Rhodes; they found Phorbas with a considerable number of men in Thessaly; as the oracle had foreseen, Phorbas was seeking a land in which he might make his home; he was summoned to Rhodes and given a potion of land; Phorbas killed the serpents and made Rhodes his home; during his lifetime, Phorbas was well respected and after his death, he was accorded the honors of a hero.

A rather sad but unavoidable event occurred on Rhodes after the serpents had been killed; Althaemenes, the son of King Katreos (Catreus) of Crete, was told by an oracle that he was fated to kill his father; in a vain attempt to defy the oracle, Althaemenes took a considerable number of followers and relocated on Rhodes; he built a Temple of Zeus on Mount Atabyrus where Zeus was called Zeus Atabyrius in honor of the mountain; King Katreos had no other sons so he went to Rhodes to find Althaemenes and induce him to return to Crete; when Katreos came ashore by night, a fight with the islanders ensued; Althaemenes rushed into the fray and unwittingly killed his father in the confusion; unable to bear his grief, Althaemenes retreated into the wilds and shunned all contact with the islanders; he finally took his own life and, at the command of an oracle, the Rhodians accorded him heroes' honors.

Prior to the Trojan War [circa 1250 BCE)], the island of Rhodes was home to a son of Herakles (Heracles) named Tlepolemos (Tlepolemus); Tlepolemos left Argos in a self-imposed exile and took refuge on Rhodes because of the inadvertent murder of his elderly grand-uncle Likymnios (Licymnius); the Rhodians welcomed Tlepolemos and he became an honored member of their community; when the call to arms was issued for the siege of Troy, Tlepolemos mustered men from the cities of Lindus (Lindos), Ialysos (Ialysus) and Kameiros (Cameirus); the three divisions sailed in nine ships with approximately 1053 men.

Since Helios was the progenitor and protector of the Rhodians, he was honored with a monumental statue that came to be known as the Colossus of Rhodes; the statue was so magnificent and unique, it was hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Chares of Lindus designed and supervised the construction of the 110 foot (33.5 meter) bronze statue; it was erected in 290 BCE and toppled by an earthquake sixty-six years later in 224 BCE.

As to how the statue might have looked is only speculation but it is assumed that Helios stood to one side of the entrance to the harbor of the city of Rhodes; it was probably a full figure likeness of Helios but we can only guess what type of pose he assumed; the statue was mounted on a stone base with an iron frame that supported the bronze casing of the body; the hollow statue was filled with stones to add weight and provide stability.

Approximate East Longitude 27º 57' 9'' and North Latitude 36º 1' 53''

Google Map

Rhodes 2

The capital city of the island of Rhodes; located on the northeastern tip of the island.

Rhodes was the site of the 100+ foot statue of Helios [Sun]; commonly known as the Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the statue, which was erected in 290 BCE, stood in the harbor until it was toppled in an earthquake sixty six years later in 224 BCE.

Approximate East Longitude 28º 13' 28'' and North Latitude 36º 26' 32''

Google Map

Rhodios (Rhodius)

A river god; one of the many sons of Tethys and Okeanos [Ocean].

Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Theogony, line 341

Rhodopis (Rhodope)

The famous Greek courtesan who was very rich and famous; she is our only historical link to the "story teller," Aesop.

Rhodopis was the most famous courtesan in Greece and spent one tenth of her wealth on iron ox-spits which she presented as a tribute at the Oracle of Apollon at Delphi.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 2.134

Rhodos

The daughter of Poseidon [lord of the Sea] and Halia; the island of Rhodes was named after Rhodos when she became the consort of Helios [Sun].

The island of Rhodes was first inhabited by a race of sea creatures known as the Telchines; Rhodos's mother Halia was said to be the sister of the Telchines which is odd in that she was not included as one of the Telchines but simply as their sister; the Telchines were children of Thalassa [an aspect of the Sea] and usually thought of as dog-headed sea creatures possessing artistic abilities and supernatural powers; they gave Zeus his sickle and Poseidon his trident; they could also control the weather; it is unclear whether Halia shared the artistic and supernatural abilities of her brothers or their physical appearance; likewise, we do not have a physical description of Rhodos.

Rhodos was the only daughter of Poseidon and Halia but they had seven arrogant and insolent sons who came to an evil end when they offended Aphrodite [goddess of Love] and she drove the young men mad; in their deranged state of mind, they assaulted their mother; when Poseidon learned of their horrendous behavior, he buried them on Rhodes and they became known as the "Eastern Demons"; Halia was so shamed by her son's wanton actions, she threw herself in the sea and was afterwards given the name of Leukothea (Leucothea).

Even though the Telchines were the first inhabitants of the island, others soon joined their numbers; the island gave birth to Nymphs of various types and a race of people who were "sprung from the earth itself"; Zeus visited the island and took a Nymph named Himalia as his consort; their sons were named Spartaeus, Kronios (Cronius), and Kytos (Cytus).

The Telchines perceived that the island was going to suffer a cataclysmic flood and fled, never to return; many of the inhabitants perished in the flood but the survivors retreated to the highlands with Zeus's sons as their leaders.

The island was devastated by the flood but Helios dried the land and made it habitable again; Helios took Rhodos as his consort and named the island after her; Rhodos and Helios were the parents of eight children, their names were Ochimus, Kerkaphos (Cercaphus), Makar (Macar), Aktis (Actis), Tenages, Triopas, and Kandalos (Candalus), and there was one daughter, Elektryone (Electryone), who died while still a maiden but was given honors like those accorded to the heroes.

Helios told his sons that the first mortals to offer a sacrifice to the goddess Athene (Athena) would win her undying protection; the customary way to make sacrifices to the Immortals was to burn the sacrificial animal but Helios's sons were in such a hurry to gain the goddesses' favor, they neglected to burn the sacrifice; realizing that their method was uncouth but their intentions were noble, Athene accepted their sacrifice; it thereafter became the custom on Rhodes to offer unburned sacrifices to the Immortals.

The sons of Rhodos and Helios surpassed all other men in knowledge, especially in astrology; they introduced many new practices in seamanship and established the division of the day into hours; the Egyptians learned art and science from the sons of Rhodos and Helios even though most historical accounts say or imply that the Greeks learned the sciences from the Egyptians; Rhodos's son Aktis sailed to Egypt and founded the city of Heliopolis, naming it after his father; Aktis taught the Egyptians about the stars and the laws of astrology.

In most historical accounts, the Egyptians are credited with teaching the arts and sciences to the Greeks but the opposite is true; the reason the Greeks and the sons of Rhodos and Helios in particular are not credited with their pioneering achievements is because another devastating flood, which might be properly called a Deluge, devastated most of the world; the death toll was enormous and almost all traces of civilization were lost, especially on the Greek mainland and the Greek islands; the only remnants of history to survive were in the form of myths and legends.

Besides giving her name to the island of Rhodes, Rhodos produced sons who were the most skilled and knowledgeable men on earth prior to the Deluge, which might be dated circa 11,000 BCE.

Library of History, Diodorus Siculus, book 5.55.4; 5.56.3; 5.61.1

Rhoekos (Rhoecos)

A Greek sculptor and architect; fl. sixth century BCE; he was from the island of Samos and the son of Philes; he is credited as the builder of the Temple of Hera [the Heraion] on Samos.

When the Temple of Hera was destroyed by the Persians during the reign of Cyrus the Great [559-529 BCE], Rhoikos was commissioned to re-construct the temple; his improvements and enlargements were soon destroyed by the Persians and his son Theodoros rebuilt the temple circa 520 BCE.

His name may also be rendered as Rhoekus or Rhoecus.

The Histories by Herodotus, book 3.60

Rhyton

Rhyton

A ritual sprinkling vessel; the rhyton pictured above is from Mycenae circa 1250 BCE

Rivers

Rivers in The Iliad

The Rivers are the sons of Okeanos [Ocean] and Tethys; Zeus gave the Rivers, Apollon and the Okeanids the special obligation of having the young in their keeping.

Rivers listed in The Iliad have a page in the Immortals section of this website … to view that page simply click on the above photo.

There are also twenty-five Rivers mentioned in Theogony which is a 1022 line poem by Hesiod from circa 750 BCE; Theogony deals with the origins and exploits of the Immortals and includes the names of the following Rivers.

 

The Rivers in Theogony

Acheloios (Achelous) - line 340

Aisepos (Aesepus) - line 342

Alpheios (Alpheus) - line 338

Ardeskos (Ardescus) - line 345

Eridanos (Eridanus) - line 338

Euenos (Euenus) - line 345

Grenikos (Granicus) - line 342

Haliakmon (Haliacmon) - line 341

Heptaporos (Heptaporus) - line 341

Hermos (Hermus) - line 343

Ister (Istros) - line 339

Kaikos (Caicus) - line 343

Ladon - line 344

Maiandros (Meander) - line 339

Nessos (Nessus) - line 341

Neilos (Nilus) - line 338

Parthenios (Parthenius) - line 344

Peneios (Peneus) - line 343

Phasis - line 340

Rhesos (Rhesus) - line 340

Rhodios (Rhodius) - line 341

Sangarios (Sangarius) - line 344

Skamandros (Scamander) - line 345

Simoeis (Simois) - line 342

Strymon - line 339

Rock of Gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar

One of the two mountains which were called the Pillars of Herakles (Heracles); located at the western extreme of the Mediterranean Sea where it connects with the Atlantic Ocean.

The two promontories, Jebel Musa and Gibraltar, were fabled to have been raised by Herakles; Gibraltar was known as Kalpe (Calpe) and Jebel Musa was known as Abyla.

Approximate West Longitude 5º 21' and North Latitude 36º 08'

Google Map

Romans

The people of Rome; inhabitants of the city in east-central Italy which founded the empire which replaced the Greeks as the dominant power in the known civilized world.

The mythology of Rome is closely linked to that of the Greeks but differs in many fundamental ways; the Roman deities were very similar to the Greek Immortals and included some of the same names and genealogies but the interpretations of the meanings and subtleties of the Greek religion were filtered through the more "modern" and more aggressive minds of the Romans and thus became a separate and distinctly different culture.

Rome

The city in east-central Italy on the left bank of the Tiber River.

The traditional founding date for Rome has been established as 753 BCE, which is only twenty years after the first Olympic Games in Greece; beginning with the legendary orphan Romulus, Rome was ruled by a series of kings until the Roman Republic was established in 509 BCE; in The Aeneid by Virgil, the founding of Rome was accomplished by the ancestors of the Trojan hero, Aineias (Aeneas).

Google Map

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

An inscribed stone found at el-Rashid [Rosetta], Egypt in 1799 CE by soldiers in Napoleon's army; a portion of the inscription on the Rosetta Stone was in Greek which enabled the decipherment of the long dead Egyptian language.

The Rosetta Stone is approximately 45 inches (114 centimeters) long, 28 inches (72 centimeters) wide and 11 inches (28 centimeters) thick; the stone is a pinkish-gray color with a subtle pink streak running through it; the stone weighs approximately 1,700 pounds (760 kilograms).

The Rosetta Stone is divided into three distinct sections with the same decree inscribed in "sacred writing, document writing, and Greek writing" i.e. Egyptian hieroglyphs, demonic [informal hieroglyphs], and Greek; the text on the stone was a decree by various classes of priests proclaiming the godliness, courage and generosity of King Ptolemy V, the son of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe; the Rosetta Stone is assumed to have been inscribed circa 196 BCE and to have been one of many such stones; a complete translation of the text can be seen at the British Museum website.

By the forth century of this era, the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs had been lost; a language that dated from as early as 3100 BCE had been replaced, first by Greek and then by Latin; after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, his general Ptolemy took control of Egypt; at that time, Greek became the state language and the original Egyptian language was reserved for the priests; by the time the Rosetta Stone was inscribed [196 BCE], hieroglyphs were well on their way to obscurity; of the descendants of Ptolemy, the only one to speak Egyptian and write in hieroglyphs was the infamous Kleopatra (Cleopatra).

The British took control of Egypt in 1801 after the Treaty of Alexandria was signed with the French and the Rosetta Stone became British property; in 1802 the stone was transported to the British Museum where it immediately became one of the museum's most popular exhibits; with little regard to preserving the stone, notches were carved into the back so it could sit firmly on a stand; also, inscriptions in English were carved on each side of the stone; "Captured in Egypt by the British Army" was carved on the left side and "Presented by King George III" was carved on the right side; the stone was placed on display where it could be touched by the public and periodically covered with ink and paint so that copies of the inscription could be made; today, the thoroughly cleaned and well protected Rosetta Stone is still one of the most popular exhibits at the British Museum; a replica of the Rosetta Stone is on display in the Reading Room of the British Museum and can be examined closely and photographed because it is not incased in glass.

The importance of the Rosetta Stone was demonstrated by Jean-François Champollion [1790-1832] when he successfully worked from the Greek to transliterate the hieroglyphs; a language that had been dead for 1400 years was suddenly accessible; the artifacts and monuments of ancient Egypt became the focus of intense study because of Champollion's brilliant work; although Champollion was not the first scholar to recognize the relationship between the Greek and hieroglyphic inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone, Champollion was the first to do a thorough comparative analysis of the two languages and thus crack the code.

Rovers

The Rovers, the Planktae (Planctae) or the Wandering Rocks; as the name implies, the Rovers were two moving islands which were notorious for their indiscriminate destruction of anyone or anything which dared to pass between them; the towering stone islands would clash together and then retreat to wait for their next victim; the Rovers were so notorious that they killed doves carrying ambrosia to Zeus when they tried to fly between them.

One generation before the Trojan War, Jason assembled a group of legendary heroes to sail with him on his Quest for the Golden Fleece; after sailing to Kolchis (Colchis) at the eastern edge of the Euxine [Black Sea] and successfully retrieving the Golden Fleece, Jason made his escape with Princess Medeia (Medea) who was the daughter of King Aietes (Aeetes); the loss of the Fleece was bad enough but for King Aietes to also lose his daughter was more than he was willing to tolerate; he sent his son Apsyrtos (Apsyrtus) to bring Medeia back.

When Jason and Medeia were finally trapped by Apsyrtos, they arranged a deadly ambush in which Apsyrtos was murdered in a rather dastardly way; the blood-guilt they incurred needed to be absolved if Jason ever intended to return his home of Iolkos (Iolcus).

The goddess Hera had protected Jason on several occasions and her assistance was again needed if Jason and Medeia were going to make a safe journey to the island of Medeia's aunt Kirke (Circe) to be absolved of their blood-guilt; Jason's course took him in the vicinity of three deadly sea-hazards, the Rovers, the six-headed Skylla (Scylla) and the whirlpool Charybdis; using the Nereid Thetis as an intermediary, Hera arranged for the other Nereids to help guide Jason's ship through the surging seas of the Rovers.

The Nereids swam to the Argonauts and a truly amazing spectacle took place; on one side of the sea passage was the steep rock of Skylla and on the other side Charybdis spouted and roared … further on, the Rovers boomed beneath the sea surge; as Jason's ship, the Argo, drew near the Rovers, the Nereids surrounded the vessel as Thetis grasped the rudder-blade under the ship; in a way reminiscent of dolphins, the Nereids darted upward and circled around the ship while Thetis guided its course.

When the Argo was about to smash against the Rovers, the Nereids immediately raised the edge of their garments and darted up on the rocky cliffs above the waves and then jumped from one side to the other; as the ship was raised aloft by the waves, the Nereids caught it and toss it to and fro like young girls throwing a ball for sport; the waves rose like towering crags and then plummeted to the depths of the sea … water poured over the Argo in floods; when Hera saw the ship being bounced and swamped by the waves, she was seized by fear and threw her arms around Athene (Athena) for comfort; the frenzy continued until the Argo was clear of the Rovers and the Argonauts could catch the wind and sail on.

After the Trojan War, Odysseus was making his way home and also had to sail near Skylla, Charybdis and the Rovers; the goddess Kirke warned Odysseus not to go near the Rovers because he would not have the protection of Hera or the Nereids to guide him between them; Kirke thought it would be best for Odysseus to sacrifice a few men to Skylla's six ravenous heads rather than lose his ship and crew to the Rovers or Charybdis; Odysseus did as Kirke advised and avoided certain death between the Rovers.

In The Odyssey by Homer, there seems to be several different ways to render the name Planktae; the Loeb Classical Library translation uses Planctae; Richmond Lattimore calls them Rovers and Roving Rocks; Robert Fagles uses Clashing Rocks but that term is usually reserved for the Symplegades or Floating Islands at the narrow passage between the Propontis [Sea of Marmara] and the Euxine [Black Sea]; Robert Fitzgerald seems a bit more versatile by calling them Prowling Rocks, Drifters and Wandering Rocks; in The Argonautika (Argonautica) we find them as Wanderers and Wandering Rocks.

The Odyssey (Lattimore and Loeb), book 12, line 61; book 23, line 327

The Odyssey (Fagles), book 12, lines 68 and 71; book 32, line 370

The Odyssey (Fitzgerald), book 12, lines 73 and 81; book 23, line 365

The Argonautika by Apollonius Rhodius, book 4, lines 860, 924, 932 and 939

Ruin (Ate)

The goddess Ate; one of the daughters of Eris [Discord or Strife]; Ate is an ancient Greek goddess personifying the crimes caused by human recklessness and the divine punishments that surely follow.

In The Iliad, Ate and the Litai [Prayers] are linked together; the Litai are described as old and feeble but Ate is strong and swift; the Litai follow Ate and if called upon, heal the wounds she inflicts but if a person denies the Litai, they go to Zeus [their father] and insist that Ate be summoned to continue the punishment of the unbeliever.

Ate is sometimes defined as the personification of Ruin, Delusion or Folly but her name literally means Blindness.

The Iliad (Lattimore), (Ruin) book 9, lines 504, 505 and 512; (Delusion) book 19, lines 91, 126, 129 and 136

The Iliad (Loeb), book 9, lines 504, 505 and 512; book 19, lines 91, 126, 129 and 136

The Iliad (Fagles), (Ruin) book 9, lines 613 and 622; book 19, lines 106, 148, 151 and 155

The Iliad (Fitzgerald), (Folly) book 9, lines 613 and 621; book 19, lines 100, 145, 147 and (my folly, my delusion) 155

Rural Dionysia [Lesser Dionysia]

The Rural Dionysia was a festival consisting of series of wine feasts, processions and dramatic performances in honor of Dionysos [a.k.a. Bacchus, god of Wine]; the Rural Dionysia was held in the second half of the month of Poseideion which was the sixth month of the Attic year and would approximately correspond to our November/December.

There was also a Spring festival called the City Dionysia [Great Dionysia] which was notable for the performance of dithyrambs [a wild and irregular choral song or chant], tragedies, comedies and satyr plays [ribald dramas with a chorus of satyrs].

Encyclopedia Index
Home Page
Copyrighted Material - All Rights Reserved
Back to Top