Who I see as their parents (since that differs so lovely in
Graeco-Roman mythology): Kronos/Rhea, no debates there, but I headcanon that Erebus/Nyx essentially adopt him after he moves to the underworld
OTP(s): Persephone. There is literally no other ship than that for me. Hadephone is my truest godly OTP
brOTP: Anubis, actually. I think those two hang out a lot. Though I also headcanon that him and Hel spend a lot of time in the godly dog-park with Zerberus and Garm respectively, so they’re kinda chummy too
What they’d be doing in a modern AU: Lawyer. He totally is a successful lawyer who dominates the court room, but as soon as he comes home, he is such a soft husband, who brings his wife flowers and bakes for her and supports her in every decision
Random headcanon: Hades gets along best with Poseidon and Hestia, among his siblings. He also started his own council in the underworld and befriended essentially all of Erebus/Nyx’ kids down there
*shyly whispers* do u think u could do another Greek Mythology story~
“Your tapestries are so
fine,” the merchant says in wonder, “that you must be blessed by the goddess
Arachne tosses her
head, braided hair falling over her shoulder like an obsidian waterfall,
“What’s Athena got to do with it? My hands wove these, not hers.”
The merchant blanches
and looks to the sky, as if expecting Zeus himself to smite them for blasphemy.
Personally, she thinks the king of the gods has better thing to do with his
time. “Ah,” he says weakly, “I suppose.”
He pays her for her
wares and she leaves, almost immediately bumping into a hunched old woman with
grey eyes. “Do you not owe Athena thanks for your talent?” she croaks, gnarled
hands curled over a cane.
Arachne is not stupid,
but she is foolish. They will tell tales of it. She looks into those grey eyes
and declares, “Athena should thank me,
since my talents earn her so much praise.”
She pushes past her and
keeps walking, ignoring the goddess in humans skin as she disappears into the
They will tell tales of
her hubris. They will all be true.
The next day she bumps
into the same old woman at the market. Everything goes downhill from there.
“Know your place,
mortal,” Athena says, grey eyes narrowed. There is a crowd around them, and
Arachne could save herself, could walk away unscathed, and all she has to do is
say her weaving is inferior to that of a goddess.
She will not lie.
“I do,” she says
coolly, “and in this matter, it is above you.”
She is not honest as a
virtue, but as a vice.
Athena challengers her
to a weaving contest. She accepts.
Gods are not so hard to
find, if you know where to look.
“It’s a volcano,” the
baker repeats, looking down at her coins, as if he feels guilty for taking
money from someone who’s clearly not all there.
She grabs her bag of
sweet breads and adds it to her pack before swinging it over her shoulders,
“Yes, I know. Half a day’s walk, you said?”
“A volcano,” he insists, as if she did not hear him perfectly well the
first dozen times.
“Thank you for your
help,” she says. He’s shaking his head at her, but she knows what she’s doing.
She walks. She grows
hungry, but does not touch the bread she paid for, and walks some more. The
sun’s begun to set by the time she makes it to the base of the volcano. It’s
tall, impossibly large, and for a moment the promise of defeat threatens to
But Arachne does not
believe in defeat, in loss. They will tell tales of her hubris. Those tales
will be true.
She ties a scarf around
her braids then hikes her skirt up and ties the material so it falls only to
her thighs. She fits work roughened hands into the divots of cooled magma and
begins her slow ascent.
The muscles in her legs
and arms shake, and her hunger pains are almost as distracting. Her once white
dress is dirt smeared and torn and sweat makes her itch as it covers her body
and drips down her back.
“What are you doing?”
Arachne turns her head
and bites back a scream, looking into one giant eye. The cyclops holds easily
to the volcano’s edges, even though her hands are torn and bleeding. She
swallows and says, “I heard you like honeyed bread. Is it true?”
The creature tilts his
head to the side, baring his long fanged teeth at her. She thinks he might be
smiling. “You’ve been climbing for hours. What do you want?”
“Is it true?” she
repeats, refusing to flinch.
“Yes,” he says, looking
at her the same way the baker had, “it’s true.”
“There’s some sweet
bread in my pack, baked this morning,” she says, “it should still be soft.”
His hands are big
enough and strong enough that it could probably squeeze her head like a grape. Instead
he gently undoes her pack and reaches inside. The honey buns look comically
small in his large hands, and he swallows half of them in one bite. He licks
his fingers clean when he’s done, and his smile is just as terrifying the
second time around. “I am Brontes. Why are you climbing my master’s volcano?”
“I’m the weaver
Arachne,” she takes a deep breath, “I need your master’s help.”
They tell tales of
They are not true.
He’s got a broad,
angular face and short brown hair. His eyes are like amber set into his face,
and his arms are huge, and he’s rippling muscle from the waist up. He has legs
only to his knees. From there down his legs are bronze gears and golden wire,
replacements for the legs destroyed when Hera threw him from Mount Olympus.
“Had your look, girl?”
he asks, voice rough like he’s always a moment away from breaking into a
“Yes,” she says, and
doesn’t turn away, keeps looking.
His lips quirk up at
the corners, so it was the right move. The heat is even more oppressive inside
the volcano, and all around him cyclopses work, forging oddly shaped metal that
she can’t hope to understand. “You’ve gone to an awful lot of trouble to find me,
girl. What do you want?”
She slides her pack off
her shoulders and holds it out to the god, “I have a gift for your wife. I have
woven her a cloak.”
He raises an eyebrow
and doesn’t reach for the bag, “You believe something made with mortal hands
could be worthy of the goddess of beauty?”
They will tell tales of
They will all be true.
With a gust of wind the
oppressive heat of the volcano is swept away, leaving her chilled. In its place
stands a woman – more than a woman. Aphrodite has skin like the copper of her
husband’s machines and hair dark and thick and long. Her eyes are deepest,
richest brown, piercing in their intelligence. People don’t tell tales of
Aphrodite’s cleverness. That is because people are stupid.
“Let’s see it then,”
she says, reaching inside the pack and pulling the cloak from its depths.
It unrolls beautifully.
It’s made from the finest silks, and it shimmers in the light from the forges.
The hem of the cloak is sea foam, speaking of Aphrodite’s beginning, and up
along the cloak is intricate patterns it tells of her life, of her marriage and
her worshippers and escapades, all with the detail of the most experienced
artist and the reverence of her most devoted followers.
Her lips part in
surprise and she slides it on, twirling like a child. “Gorgeous,” Hephaestus
says, though Arachne knows he does not speak of the cloak. She doesn’t take
The goddess smiles and
Arachne’s heart pounds in her chest. She does her best to ignore it – Aphrodite
is the goddess of love, after all. It is only expected. “Very well,” the
goddess says, “you have my attention.”
Aphrodite’s attention is a heavy thing. “I have offended Athena,” she says,
“She has challenged me to a weaving contest.”
Their faces somber.
Hephaestus rubs the edge of a sleeve between his fingers and says, “Athena will
lose such a contest, if judged fairly. She does not take loss well.”
“I know,” she says,
“you are friendly with Hades, are you not?”
There are no tales of
their friendship. But she’s staking her life on its existence, because why
wouldn’t it exist – both of them even tempered, both shunned by Olympus, both
Gods hate being made to
feel lesser. It is why they say Persephone was kidnapped, why they say
Aphrodite cheats with Ares. It is why Athena will crush her when Arachne wins
the weaving contest.
“Clever girl,” Hephaestus
Aphrodite stares at her
reflection in a convenient piece of polished silver. Arachne assumes Hephaestus
left if lying there for that express purpose. “Very well!” the goddess says,
not looking at her, “when Athena sends you to the underworld, we will entrench
upon our uncle for your release.” She turns on her heel and points a finger at
her. Arachne blushes for no reason she can think of. “In return, you will weave
me a gown, one equal to my own beauty.”
A gown as exquisite as
the goddess of beauty. An impossible task.
They will tell tales of
They will all be true.
The contest goes as
expected. Athena’s tapestry is lovely, but Arachne’s is lovelier.
The goddess’s face goes
red in rage, and her grey eyes narrow. Arachne stands tall, ready to accept the
death blow coming for her.
The blow comes.
Death does not.
She is an insect. Even if she can make it back to Hephaestus’s
volcano, even if they can help her, they will not know it is her. She has no
hope left, no course of action, she should just give up. But –
She doesn’t believe in
defeat, in loss.
It was a terribly long
journey on foot, that first time. It is even longer this time, although now she
has eight legs instead of two. She makes it to the volcano, and creeps in
between crevices, until she finds out a hollowed room, one with a sliver of
sunlight and plenty of bugs to keep her fed.
Athena’s cruel joke of
allowing her to weave will be her downfall. Her silk comes out a golden yellow
color – it will look exquisite against Aphrodite’s copper skin.
It takes seven years
for her to complete it. She hasn’t left this room in the volcano in all that
time, and as soon as it’s done she scurries out back toward the village. She’s
a large insect, but not that large.
She arrives just as the
sun begins to rise, and leaves before the first rays have even touched the
earth, her prize tied to her back with her own silk.
Arachne doesn’t return
to her room. Instead she goes to the more popular parts of the volcano, hurries
and runs around terrifying stomping feet until she finds who she’s looking for
and scurries up his leg and onto his shoulder.
“Huh,” Brontes looks
onto his shoulder and blinks. “What on earth are you?”
She cautiously skitters
down his arm, waiting. He bends closer and lightly touches her back. “Is – is that
a piece of a honey bun?”
She looks up at him,
waiting. It’s her only chance, if he doesn’t remember, if he doesn’t understand
His face slowly fills with
a cautious kind of wonder. “Arachne?” She
jumps in place, being unable to nod, and Brontes cautiously cradles her in his
massive hands, “We must find the Master immediately!”
She jumps down, landing
in front of him and running forward. “Wait!” he calls, and she makes sure he’s running
after her before skittering back to her corner of the cave. It’s almost too
small for him to enter but he squeezes inside and breathes, “Oh.” He stares for
several moments, and Arachne climbs her web and waits. Brontes shakes himself
out of his reverie and uses his powerful wings to bellow, “MISTRESS APHRODITE!”
There’s that same
breeze and she’s in the crevice with them, “What was so important, Brontes,
that you had to yell?”
Arachne sees the exact
moment that the goddess sees the gown, golden yellow and glimmering, made
entirely of spider silk. “Beautiful,” she says, reaching out a hand to brush
down the bodice. Her head then snaps up, “Brontes, where’s Arachne?”
She warms at that, that
Aphrodite knew it was her weaving even though she hasn’t been seen in seven
They’ve told tales of
They are all true.
Brontes points at the
web, and Aphrodite steps over and holds out her hands. Arachne crawls onto the
goddess’s palms. “Athena is more powerful than I am, I cannot undo her work,”
she says, “but I know someone who can.”
Then they are in front
of a river. A handsome young man stands there waiting with a boat. “Goddess
Aphrodite,” he says, “we weren’t expecting you.”
returns, “I need to see Persephone.”
The man’s face stays
cool, and for a moment Arachne fears they will be refused and she will be stuck
in this form forever. Then he smiles and says, “My lady is of course available
for her favored niece.” He holds out a hand to help her onto the boat, “Please
come with me.”
Arachne weaves a dress
for Hades’s wife as a thank you, and returns to her volcano.
“I can take you
somewhere else,” Aphrodite says, “you don’t have to hide here.”
Arachne pauses at her
loom. She has lived in this volcano for seven years. It’s her home. “Would you
like me to leave?” she asks instead.
Aphrodite scoffs, “Of
course not! How could I dress myself without you here?” She’s wearing the
spider silk dress Arachne spun for her, and she’s working on another for the
goddess now. Aphrodite runs a gentle finger down Arachne’s cheek and for a
moment she forgets to breathe. “You are the finest weaver to ever exist.”
She looks up at the
goddess, “Then as the god of crafts and goddess of beautiful things, where else
would I belong besides with you and Hephaestus?”
To declare your company
equal to that of gods is the height of arrogance and blasphemy.
They tell tales of her
“An excellent point,”
Aphrodite murmurs, and tucks a stray braid behind Arachne’s ear.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus should not be remember simply as “Achilles’ bitch”.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus was a little shit. He had the power, the looks and the skills, and he knew it. Not only he excelled at battle; he did it while taunting his enemies all the fucking time cause he was going to win and he knew it.
Friendly reminder that he was the one guy who got to call out on Achilles, something no one else dared to do. In fact, men went to ask him to call out on Achilles because everyone was scared of him. Except for Patroclus.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus had advanced medical knowledge, something extremly rare at the time. He healed many of his friends and comrades during battle. Hadn’t it been for him, many great warriors would have died.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus was loyal to a fault. He was always by Achilles’ side in battle. He never disobeyed Achilles orders. The one time he did, was the time he died.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus was kind and had a soft heart. He cried because while Achilles’ Rage lasted, he wouldn’t let any of his men enter battle, Patroclus included. And while Achilles’ troops were hiding in their ships, the rest of the Greek army got crushed. Patroclus felt so powerless and helpless because he couldn’t do nothing as he saw his comrades dying.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus had a character crisis. He had to decide whether obeying his Lord’s commands and abandoning his friends in battle, or going against his Lord’s wishes and engaging fight.
Friendly reminder that he refused to stay behind like a coward. He chose to enter battle, but since he was a honourable man he told Achilles about it. Friendly reminder that he managed to sway Achilles’ Rage. Friendly reminder that he managed to convince Achilles to let their troops rejoin the war, thus returning the victory to the Greeks.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus was flawed. He committed hubris. He got so battle drunk and was so excited by the prospect of finally ending the war, that he disobeyed Achilles’ direct command not to fight near the walls of Troy, and chased the Troyans back to the limits of the city. To the place Achilles had specifically told him not to go because it would be too dangerous. Friendly reminder that this one flaw is his downfall.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus doesn’t go down without giving one hell of a fight. Friendly reminder that Patroclus was so strong that Apollo (the God that protected Troy and Hector [Troy’s heir to the throne]) had to face him and repel him four times.Four times. A god. If that ain’t badass, then I don’t know what could be. In the fourth time, Apollo got inside Patroclus’ head and made him dizzy. Patroclus fell and Apollo removed him from his armour- Achilles’ armour. Patroclus ended up unprotected, vulnerable and dizzy in the middle of the battle field; so a random dude saw the opportunity and stabbed his back with a spear. But was that enough to make him go down? Oh heck no. The pain snapped him out of the dizziness. Patroclus realized he was in a very troublesome situation so he decided to fall back… but at that moment Hector engaged him in battle. And Patroclus wouldn’t retire from a direct combat, oh heck he wouldn’t. Even though he knew this was probably the way he would die, he fought with his all.
Friendly reminder that lacking his armor, tired from battle, with a spear wound on his back and only Achilles’ sword left as weapon, Patroclus faced Hector, Troy’s greatest warrior and didn’t fear.
Friendly reminder that when Hector sheathed his spear in Patroclos’ stomach, Patroclus thought about the love of his life.
Friendly reminder that with his last breath Patroclus smiled at Hector and told him “You are a dead man. This will be your downfall”. Friendly reminder that until his last moment, he was a little shit.
Friendly reminder that Patroclus is a flawed, well-rounded, badass character and that he deserves so much more than his current position as “Achilles’s love interest”.
Alright guys, let’s talk fae (the Celtic version).
There’s a terribly common misconception of what fae/fairy (and pixies) really means. On screen and sometimes even in books fairies are mistakenly shown to be those little winged creatures described as mischievous if not evil. That’s false. Those are actually pixies. The actual Fae (faerie, later fairy) are the mysterious nature spirits possessing magical powers, who look human-like but can also temporarily take up various smaller sizes upon choice.
But where do the Fae start? From the myths and folklore of the ancient Celts. The gods and goddesses of the Celts were many in number, and many unknown, but they were regarded with reverence, as having power and purpose, with various functions in the natural world. These gods were the Tuatha de Dannan, the people of Danu.
But with the arrival of Christianity, this changed, like most Celtic (and other non-Celtic) concepts. They were altered in meaning. Gods and deities of the old pagan ways were demoted to “fairy folk”, to heroes and remorseful warriors that change their faith, to lessen their power. Their pedestal of godhood and aura of mystery was strategically erased. They became enchanters, sorcerers, which obviously had evil connotations in Christian perception. In Daemonologie, King James associated fairies with demonic entities. Eventually even this imagery of the magical enchanters was further demoted to what is now most commonly known as that of the pixies: in other words, something small, harmless, powerless, a troublesome spirit that nobody cares to bother with anymore.
So in this sense, fae/faerie/faery refers to the ancient idea of what they stood for, the original one (gods, Tuatha de Dannan, powerful magical spirits); whereas fairy is the more modern one mistaken for pixies (small, harmless, mischievous).
Will we get to see a proper picture of your speculative mermaids??
Here you go, anon! I’m still hammering our their designs; as you can see, they’ve changed a bit even since my last illustration….. Essentially they’re big chunky temnospondyls that stalk kelp forests and rocky shores. They use their flat front teeth scrape off starfish and chitons for an easy meal. They also lounge about piles of rotting kelp, prodding for carrion or lying in wait for an unfortunate seagull. When they do hunt, they are ambush predators. Their strange, sensitive faces can display a variety of colors based on mood.
What's your take on the world ending for the Greek Gods? Or when they cease to be relevant to mankind, and what happens to them? Would Athena, Aphrodite and Artemis take the streets and march for Pride? Would Demeter be the manager at a zoo?
Time passes. The world changes. Temples fall. People now
speak their names as if they are fairytales.
The gods are dead.
Apollo’s chariot lies broken and forgotten in the ruins of a
city no one knows the name of anymore. He watches the sun crawl across the sky
of its own volition, without him to push it forward.
“Do you miss it?” Artemis asks him, appearing by his side. They stand at the top of a sparkling glass
building, almost the same as ever. She walks among the mortals more than he
does, she always has, and She’s dressed like one of them. Tight clothes and half
her head shaved, sparkling gems curling up the delicate shell of her ear. She
looks like one of the teenagers that fill his concert stadiums.
He thinks of the way his chariot threatened to escape his
grasp every morning, the oppressive heat of the sun beating down on him, the
burns and the undercurrent of fear that one day he would lose his grip on the
reins and plunge the world into darkness.
Apollo leans his head on his sister’s shoulder. The sun
rises slower without him, but it rises just the same. “No. Not really.”
Hephaestus’s workshop has evolved with the times – from a
volcano base to a modern lab, but always a workshop bursting with creation. The
cyclopes are still his best assistants.
Aphrodite steps over discarded parts and expertly walks
around frantic cyclopes carrying bubbling concoctions. Her dark hair is swept
up in a bun and she wears chunky glasses and a blood red pantsuit that almost
hides the fact she’s the most beautiful woman to walk the earth. “I have a
client, try not to blow up the house. Again.”
“Yes dear,” he says, but doesn’t looks away from his
soldering. She hadn’t expected him too. His prosthetics are off and on the
floor besides him, and he’s seated on a too-tall chair to compensate for the
loss of height.
She reaches out and carefully touches the corner of his eye.
Crow’s feet have started to work their way onto his face. They’re getting old. “It’s
the couple that’s fighting because he wants kids and she doesn’t want to carry
any kids but doesn’t want to say that. It would probably be easier if I just
told them to adopt and threw them out the window.”
“Yes dear,” he repeats, sparks flying. A few land on her,
but she doesn’t burn. Of course.
She moves her hand up and pushes it through his hair and
resists the urge to pull him from his work and abandon her own so they can make
out on his worktable. “I love you.”
Aphrodite turns to leave, but Hephaestus grabs her wrist and
pulls her back. He holds up a single copper lily, the edges of the petals still
glowing with heat it had taken to shape them. He carefully slides the stem into
her hair so it sits at the base of her bun. He grazes her bottom lip with his
thumb as he pulls his hand back to his side. “Yes dear.”
She makes imprudent deals to control an earth that no longer
falls under her domain, and she enacts her revenge against the mortals in
whatever way she can. They have forgotten her, forgotten the earth, and in
their ignorance they seek to destroy it.
She shakes the bedrock and splits it open, but still they do
not learn, and as the temperature of the earth rises so does her temper.
The sea is not hers to command, her power is of earth and of
earth alone, and even now she gave more than could afford to lose to keep her
grasp on it. But these mortals do not learn.
Demeter goes to the sea and makes an inadvisable bargain. She
goes to the crumbling remains of Olympus and makes an even worse one.
Typhoons and hurricanes whip across the land. If they seek
to destroy her, she will simply destroy them first.
Hera sits on a pure white couch in an elegant mansion,
smiling for the journalist seated across from her.
“What do you think is the most influential decision you ever
made?” he asks, “If you could pinpoint the success of your business to one
moment, what would it be?”
She tilts her head as the light of the camera flashes. “Why,
divorcing my husband, of course.”
“Would that be your advice to young women hoping to be as successful
as you?” he asks, “To not get married?”
Hera thinks of thousands of years by Zeus’s side, and how
little it got her. She thinks of Hestia’s men, and Artemis’s women, of Hephaestus’s
love for Aphrodite, of the way Hades softened the sharpest of Persephone’s edges.
She says, “Do not get married to someone who makes you less
than you are. If you are not a better person for being together than apart,
then do not be together. It’s as simple as that.”
Simple, but not easy.
Leaving Zeus was the hardest thing she’s ever done.
Persephone isn’t forced to spend half the year on the mortal
earth anymore. She goes when she pleases, which isn’t often.
Sometimes she’ll sit by Artemis’s side while she brings a
new life into the world and holds the warm, wriggly child first. She visits
hospitals and makes the flowers bloom out of season, and spends long hours
sitting under the sun and feeling it’s warmth touch her face.
Hades left his realm rarely before, and even more rarely
now. More people are being born than ever, meaning more people are dying than
ever. Their realm is massive, comprising of all the dead of several millennia.
Hades and Hecate spend their days as always – desperately trying to expand the
realm so that they don’t all have to live on top of each other.
“Have you heard?” she asks one day, seated on his desk and
leaning across it so he can’t work on the latest draft for another level of
their realm. “The gods are dead.”
He gives up on attempting to tug it out from underneath her.
“Are they? That’s odd, none of them are here.”
Persephone doesn’t bother to hide her smile. They haven’t
figured it out yet. Maybe they never will. But when death comes for them, as
death does for all, it will be to Hades and Persephone’s door they are brought.
Hades himself will usher Gaia and Amphitrite into the underworld, when the time
That time is not today.
“Darling, I really do need to work on this,” he
ineffectually tugs on the map again.
She pushes him back into the chair, climbing on top of him
and pressing their foreheads together. “No, you don’t.”
“No, I don’t,” he agrees, and obligingly moves his head so
Persephone can nibble at his neck. He manages a whole thirty seconds before
going, “I mean, I really do, Hecate said if I didn’t have a plan by the time
she leaves for the mortal realm tomorrow, I’ll either have to wait until she
gets back or do it by myself, and I’d really prefer to do neither–”
Persephone kisses him to shut him up, twisting and pushing
them through the realm so they land on their bed. “I’ll help you finish it
later. Focus on me now.”
Hades doesn’t answer, but he does flip them so he’s above
her and reaches below her skirt, so she’ll take that as agreement.
Hestia sits around a bonfire, watching a group of teenagers
get drunk and dance around the flames. They’ll never be younger than right now,
never feel as much love for each other as they do right now.
She is besides an old man who warms his hands from the fire
coming from an abandoned trash can.
She lies on a bed as a girl lights two dozen candles around it
as a surprise for when her lover gets home.
She watches a young man make dinner for his boyfriend for
the first time and burn the chicken on both sides. They eat it together anyway.
She sits on the kitchen counter when a sister takes out a
pie from the oven, made special for her little brother’s birthday.
She is there when a father ticks the thermostat up high in
freezing dawn of morning so it will be warm by the time his wife and children awaken.
Most people don’t have hearths anymore. But there is warmth,
and love, and for Hestia that is enough.
As their names fade from existence, as his name is called
less and less on the battlefields of mortal men, the more Ares sleeps.
He falls asleep in too tall trees and on park benches. He
sleeps in seedy motel rooms and naps in every one of Athena’s libraries. He
sleeps curled up on a chair in Aphrodite’s office, and on the floors of a lot
of veteran resource centers. As fast as he can tell, that’s the most they help
Still, his favorite place to sleep is the underworld.
He goes knocking on Orpheus’s door, who is always willing to
play for him. “Hades is here,” Eurydice says, “Would you like to me to go get
He shakes his head, “Persephone is home. I wouldn’t want to
Eurydice and Orpheus share the same look of faint disapproval,
but neither of the say anything, for which he is grateful.
He lies in the soft grass of the garden Persephone made, and
lets Orpheus’s playing lull him to sleep.
Later, he’s woken by strong arms picking him up and holding
him against a familiar chest. He doesn’t even have to open his eyes to know who’s
holding him. “I can go,” he yawns, his actions at odds with his words as he
pulls himself even closer the warmth coming off the king of the underworld.
“No,” Hades says. “Stay.”
Ares lets out a content sigh as Hades presses his lips to
his forehead, and he’s not great about touch, about people laying their hands
on him and getting in his space. But Hades has always felt safe, felt like
Alright, so. Get ready for weirdness, because Egyptian mythology has a lot of that.
One of the most prominent and foundational myths of ancient Egypt is how the god Osiris was killed and dismembered by his brother Set (in some accounts, after an affair with Set’s sister-wife, Nepthys, who then gave birth to Anubis), put back together by his sister-wife Isis, then made the god of the afterlife. When she was piecing her husband back together, she found all but one of the fourteen chunks of him that had been scattered across Egypt by an enraged Set. That chunk would be his penis. But never fear, for Isis is the goddess of fertility, so she made her husband a new one out of wood (thus explaining why embalmers would make false ones for the actual dead). So completed, she rode him and became impregnated with a son, Horus (the Falcon, not to be confused with Horus the Elder, the Hawk, who was these four’s presumably-long-suffering brother). Osiris then went off to be ruler of the dead somewhere in the vicinity of the stars we call Orion, leaving the question of who was to rule the land of the living - his elder brother and semi-justified murderer Set, or his legitimate yet posthumous son Horus?
This brings us to The Contendings of Horus and Set, which is ostensibly an epic battle of order vs chaos, but mostly involves a lot of letter-writing and whinging back and forth between the gods because some liked Horus (who was the last king’s son and generally a guy who liked order and not usually killer [except that one time when Isis got too involved and actually wounded Set herself which Horus was not about for some reason and so decapitated her] ) and some liked Set (who was powerful and experienced and had good relations with foreign powers [being that he was the god in charge of them] and had proven himself to be a great protector to Ra against Actual Evil God Apophis and his night demons and whatnot). There were a lot of pointless squabbles between the two involving weird god things like who could hippopotamus better or build ships out of stone (spoiler alert: Set actually built his ship from the top of a goddamn mountain and managed to make it float long enough to get halfway down the river, Horus just made his from pine when no one was looking and just plastered the thing to look like stone. Who was the better dude in that one? You decide.). One time Horus got his eye ripped out and Set lost his testicles - an incident which involved what is probably the oldest recorded pick-up line in history: “How lovely your backside is. How broad your thighs.“ Smooth, uncle Set. Smooth.
Anyway, after eighty years of this the supreme god version of Ra got tired of their shenanigans and told them to lay off for at least one night, for all of their sakes. Set looks at Horus and goes, “Yeah let’s do this thing. Party, my house, tonight.” Horus looks at Set and thinks, “Seems legit.”
So they go party at Set’s house. Just them and the servants and lots of honey and beer and the single bed made up all nice just for them. Halfway through the night, Set rolls over and puts his dick between Horus’ thighs. (Er, depending on the time period you’re reading the myth from, this act is either consensual or not. It mostly depends on how vilified Set is by whichever cult’s in power at the time. In any case, Horus is awake and unrestrained for this.) Horus catches the semen in his hands, and when he gets home in the morning shows his mother. Who promptly freaks out, cuts his hands off to toss into the Nile, fashions him new hands of clay, and then jacks her son off into a pot.
I could not make this up.
This is where The Lettuce Thing comes in. The lettuce species that the ancient Egyptians had was a long, hard stalk that secreted a white, milky substance when cracked and squeezed. So you can see where they would get the idea that it was a phallic aphrodisiac. Well, it so happens that when Isis went to Set’s house, she found out from his gardener that Set loved eating lettuce every day. You know where this is going. Now, I’d like to point out that she didn’t just randomly overhear this and got a wicked idea. No. No, she went and asked outright what Set’s favourite food was, because she was gonna give Set a taste of his own (or well, her son’s) medicine no matter what.
Fast forward to the next court session, and Set - being the asshole that we know and love - decides to announce to the room at large that he should get the throne, because he totally tops. Well, being that ancient Egypt was a highly patriarchal society it - like most ancient cultures - looked down on the receivers in male-male relationships. But while everyone’s boo-hissing at Horus, he just calmly requests a Magical Pregnancy Test for both his and Set’s semen. They do it, and Set’s shows up somewhere in the river (wherever Horus’ old hands are), which perplexes Set and somehow doesn’t phase anyone else. Then they test Set, and lo and behold Horus’ seed reacts from within him!
In very old versions of the myth, this is where the god Thoth is born from Set’s forehead. In others, it’s Thoth performing the test and so the semen emerges in the form of golden disc, which Thoth promptly takes and puts on his own head as a crown. *shrug* Egyptian mythology is a weird case where a jillion different cults formed, then came together, then fought/reformed/vilified/reconciled/destroyed/assimilated one another over millennia, so the origins and motives are a bit wonky. Thoth is one of those deities that had been worshiped before writing was even a thing [although writing became his Thing], and so has many conflicting origin stories - mostly he just seems to appear at some point due to the power of his own voice. I like to think that, since he is also a master of Time, that Thoth may have actually created Himself in that instance, but his presence got spread out through time - back far enough into the beginning that he could trick the moon into giving up five extra non-month days each year, so that Nut could birth his parent-grandparents without repercussion.
But I’m getting ahead (behind?) myself. The point is, now all the gods think their Powerful Guy Set is a big fat bottom, which ~a king shouldn’t be~ and Set is all butthurt about his trick backfiring on him. He sulks off to the river, where he issues the stone boat challenge mentioned earlier but then his boat sinks and he rips up part of Horus’ and realizes that it’s just disguised wood, and it looks like the shenanigans will continue until someone gets the bright idea to just fucking write to the dead king about what his wishes were (apparently it’s Thoth who suggests this, which is why I buy the myth that this is when he was born, since why did no one else - even Isis who resurrected the guy - think of that? Finally, a god of Sense!). Osiris sends them a letter back to the effect of “What the fuck do you think my wishes are. If my son isn’t instated, my next gift basket will be an army of zombies, I swear to myself.”
The council is convinced.
Set’s put in chains and brought before them by a gloating Isis, but he cedes with as much grace as he has left. In most versions of the myth, he’s set free and reinstated as Ra’s bodyguard to thunder away happily in the desert, and in a few later ones (basically after Lower Egypt takes over Upper Egypt) he’s punished somehow, like being taken to the north and bound there by his other wife (in something rather similar to Loki’s fate with Sigyn). In some, he and Horus reconcile and even bless pharaohs together, tying their lotus and reed together around the living king as a symbol of unity and strength between Upper and Lower Egypt.
And that, dear Anon-chan, is The Ancient Egyptian Lettuce Thing.
Are you ever planning to make a comic about a angsty situation where Apollo's eyes or helios eyes glow cause they so sangry (sad-angry)? I remember seeing something about it. You don't have to if u don't want to/weren't planning to, I just wanted to kno. Also your art gives me LIFE, and I absolutely love your style and your Greek mythology stuff. It's just, "OMG I'M FLAILING *WHEEZING NOISES*" Kind of art.
if u anger Helios, he’d kick you in the head and then proceed to forget all about your puny existence, but if you piss off Apollo, OHHHHH BOI GOOD LUCK……
Ok, controversial question warning. Aren't the Norse mostly violent? The historical records, the sacrifices and the die in battle or go to Hel thing makes me uncomfortable with the Scandinavian pantheon. Even more than other equally old or older mythologies. Old Testament included. Thanks!!!
Ok, so, I was really going to just say no and let it go but I’m honestly so frustrated because you straight up think the Norse(and do you mean the Norse people or the Norse pantheon - you should really be more specific so I can answer more thoroughly) more violent than Christians and I would just like to casually remind you of the Crusades. Where a bunch of Christians just went an waged war on Muslims in the name of God and trying to eradicate them from the Earth. Like no one is more violent than Christian history. Ughhh. Anyways, I’m not going to deny Scandinavian history, yeah? Vikings definitely raided, killed, and raped, so have most militaries throughout history. It’s very unfair to the Norse deities and people to act like all they were was violent barbarians.
Let’s begin with saying we don’t know everything about our gods and their history because there’s not that many resources on their stories or lore. Sure, our gods are a bit violent but that’s because they have to be - they’re warriors, they’re not immortal by nature, they bleed and breath just like you and I and they have to fight for that. As far as I’m concerned most deities are immortal and don’t have to fight to live. But really not all Norse gods are violent? Freyr(sweet precious bee dad) absolutely forbids weapons, armor, and violence in Alfheim because he chooses to promote peace and equality.
Also, the Norse aren’t the first or only religion that includes sacrifices? Did you not have a history course in school? Manyyy ancient religions in civilizations practiced human sacrifice - Celts, Incas, and the Egyptians are the three that I remember the most from college.
Furthermore, there’s more than Helheim and Valhalla when you die. Sure, Hollywood may make it seem like those were the only two options but you could be with Freyr in Alfheim, or go to Fólkvangr with Freyja. The Norse knew this, there were priests of Freyr who would work in his temples in hopes of going to Alfheim, it just so happens many of them wanted to go to Valhalla because it was d o p e. Endless beer, battles, and food? Sign me the fuck up.
To continue, can we please address that there was more to vikings than just violence? They were master blacksmiths and were forging incredible armor and weapons with iron/steel while many other countries were still using bronze? And can we talk about them being significant mercantile traders with parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northern India, Kashmir, North and Eastern Africa. They were farmers, BOAT BUILDERS, and bomb hunters. the superiority of Viking ship-building skills enabled them to trade in much farther lands and carry way more goods and they were probably the most successful traders of their time?
I don’t know man, I had more to say but you’ve been kind of rude about this whole thing so this is it. Good luck.
I rly love ur medusa, they r rly cute and I would love to see more of them!!
OMG, i’ve planned sooo much with their stories?? Just…all of three of these kids have shitty as hell lives and they learn to be happy again through each other’s support…and im sO EMOTIONAL FOR THESE KIDS SNKVFKKVDJ
Medusa who lived on the run for almost a century finally gets a warm, safe home to call her own;
Perseus who grew up in an ivory tower with only the occasional assassins as company slowly learns trust and unconditional love;
and Andromeda who was forced to single-handedly shoulder her country’s safety now has a girlfriendsomeone fighting by her side….
Hades : No. We’re not together. We’re not a couple. We’re definitely not a couple. Thanatos : Well… you seem pretty insulted by that. What? I’m not good enough for you? Hades : We’re not gonna have this conversation again.
Are there any symbols used specifically for Loki with historical proof?
Velkomin(n), vinur minn, (Welcome, my friend,)
Archaeological records are not exactly my forte, but it does not seem that there are any symbols that were explicitly used for Loki (at least out of those that have turned up in the archaeological record, that is). By that I mean that there are a few possible depictions of Loki (especially of his binding story), but it does not seem that there was a symbol worn in honor of Loki quite like there was for Thor with Mjölnir. Furthermore, most of the examples that I have located, and that I am going to share with you momentarily, have room for debate in regards to their intended subject matter. Even so, many of these depictions of Loki come fairly late in the Viking Age, after Loki’s image had begun to intertwine with that of the Christian devil.(1)
THE GOSFORTH CROSS:
THIS EXAMPLE YIELDS the most secure depiction of Loki, at least out of the examples that I was able to locate. Yet, even so, this depiction is on a Christian cross. Although containing a substantial amount mythological scenery, they “appear to have been deliberately chosen because they can be presented in accordance with Christian teaching also.”(2) This may be troublesome for people looking for a symbol to ‘revive’ in Loki’s name. Furthermore, even though depicting an older tale, it is generally considered to be a negative tale from a pro-Loki perspective.
Here is the image of a bound Loki on this cross (I have rotated the image):
Here is the tale from the Prose Edda that this portion of the cross presents:
“Now Loki was captured without quarter and taken to a certain cave. Then they took three stone slabs and set them on the edge and knocked a hole in each slab. Then Loki’s sons Vali and Nari or Narfi were fetched. The Æsir turned Vali into the form of a wolf and he tore his brother Narfi to pieces. Then the Æsir took his guts and bound Loki with them across the three stones — one under his shoulders, one under his loins, the third under the backs of his knees — and these bounds turned to iron. Then Skadi got a poisonous snake and fixed it up over him so that the poison would drip from the snake into his face. But his wife Sigyn stands next to him holding a basin under the drops of poison. And when the basin is full she goes and pours away the poison, but in the meantime the poison drips into his face. Then he jerks away so hard that the whole earth shakes. That is what you call an earthquake. There he will lie in bonds until Ragnarok.”(3)
In the image above, all of these details can be seen depicted in a carved from. Loki is shown bound in three places, a snake is above his head, and his loving wife stands beside him holding a basin. The Gosforth Cross is considered to be among the “oldest remaining monuments from the Norse colonies in north-western England,” and is roughly dated to approximately 930–950 (although this dating may now be an outdated claim).(4) A.B. Cook has interpreted this scene, in a fairly middle-grounded approach, as being a parallel between Christian and ‘pagan’ tales, whereby Loki being bound is equated to Satan being bound.(5) This is not to say that Loki is a naturally demonic figure, but rather to explain Loki’s presence on a Christian cross. Regardless of purpose, this image does indeed come from a pre-Christian tale about Loki, and thus is a fairly secure representation of Loki in a historical, visual context.
THE KIRKBY STEPHEN STONE:
THIS EXAMPLE holds room for debate. Some scholars align it with the imagery expressed in the Gosforth Stone, that the bounded figure presented here, likely the Devil, simultaneously invokes a sort of ‘pagan’ imagery that associates it with Loki. Yet, more recent studies have suggested otherwise. John Mckinnell, for example, agrees with Bailey that this “iconography has nothing in common
with that on the Gosforth cross nor with such pictures of the bound Satan
as those in the manuscript of Junius 11.”(6) Given the inherit insecurity of this example, then, it is most definitely not as secure of a depiction of Loki as scholars had previously thought it to be. Furthermore, it is more likely that this is not Loki, then, but rather a more straightforward depiction of Satan. Still, it is worth including, for it serves as a good example for just how troublesome deciphering these images can truly be.
THE SNAPTUN STONE:
PERHAPS MORE SATISFYING is the Snaptun stone, which was found in Denmark, unlike the previous examples which were found in England. This stone, dating to around 1000 CE (still near the end of the Viking Age), features a face that has a pair of lips with four perpendicular lines etched through it. It is this physical trait that has linked the image to Loki, for Loki’s lips were stitched in a tale recounted in the Prose Edda:
“But when Brook tried to catch him (Loki), he was far out of reach. Loki had some shoes with which he could run across the sky and sea. Then the dwarf (Brokk) told Thor to catch him, and he did so. Then the dwarf was going to cut off Loki’s head, but Loki said that the head was his but not the neck. Then the dwarf got a thong and a knife and tried to pierce holes in Loki’s lips and was going to stitch up his mouth, but the knife would not cut. Then he said it would be better if his brother Awl was there, and as soon as he spoke his name the awl was there, and it pierced his lips. He stitched the lips together, and tore the edges off. The throng that Loki’s mouth was stitched up with is called Vartari.”(7)
And here is an image of the stone itself:
This stone has been identified as a hearth stone, and thus would have had a function associated with fire within the household.(8) Interestingly enough, if this stone was indeed used for the purpose of maintaining a hearth’s fire, its very function would reflect the story from which the reference to Loki may derive. Brokk, after all, was a dwarf and smith — a dealer in fire. This is my own conjecture, but it is worth pondering, nonetheless.
LESS SECURE POSSIBILITIES:
THERE ARE A FEW OTHER OBJECTS worth mentioning here, although they are most definitely not concrete examples of symbols used for Loki by any means. Many people will see what they want to see, so we must take delicate care in interpreting them. The following objects are often reproduced as pendants. Some people already associate these images with Loki, although there is no proof of this being the case. Interpret these as you will, but keep in mind the insecurity that is inherently bound to these images.
The first of these is often called the Gripping Beast Pendant, and there are several variations of these. The one shown below is in the Borre-style, and it dates to roughly the tenth century. It was made in Scandinavia, but found in England. Some people have associated this with Loki’s binding story, which we have recounted above. It is possible that this is an abstract representation of that story, but there are no direct indicators (such as Sigyn and her basin) to make this interpretation more secure. The safest interpretation is that this pendant represents a tangled beast, and not necessarily Loki, especially since intertwining animal motifs are quite common in Scandinavian art.
Here is the description of this object from the British Museum:
“Cast silver open-work pendant with a a Borre-style design of a gripping beast inside a frame further decorated with four protruding animal heads. Suspension loop with central ridge and double median groove. The back of the pendant is undecorated. Small areas of gilding and niello are in evidence on the surface of the pendant.”(9)
Other examples are equally insecure and even have multiple interpretations associated with them. There is a ‘mask’ from Gnezdovo that dates to roughly the tenth century, but some say it could be Odin. It bares similar resemblance to the Snaptun Stone, but there are no stitched lips, which was the only solid ‘evidence’ for it to be Loki in the first place. There is also a winged figure that was found at Uppåkra (Sweden) from the same century, but some believe it may be depicting Völund the Smith,(10) although others have suggested that it could be Loki borrowing Freyja’s falcon ‘dress’, which has been told in the Prose Edda (and in the Poetic Edda, of course):
“Being filled with terror, he (Loki) said he would go in search of Idunn in Giantland if Freyja would lend him a falcon shape of hers. And when he got the falcon shape he flew north to Giantland and arrive one day at giant Thjassi’s; he was out at sea in a boat, but Idunn was at home alone. Loki turned her into a nut and held her in his claws and flew as fast as he could. When Thjassi got home and found Idunn was not there he got his eagle shape and flew after Loki and caused a storm-wind by his flying. And when the Æsir saw the falcon flying with the nut and where the eagle was flying, they went out under Asgard and brought there loads of wood-shavings, and when the falcon flew in over the fortification, it let itself drop down by the wall of the fortification. Then the Æsir set fire to the wood-shavings and the eagle was unable to stop when it missed the falcon. Then the eagle’s feathers caught fire and his flight was ended. The the Æsir were close by and killed the giant Thjassi within the As-gates, and this killing is greatly renowned.”(11)
Depending on how well-known this story was, it is possible that this object could have been made to reference it. Yet, no matter the likelihood, there is always room for doubt. Although I personally am not as familiar with his story, it still seems more likely, and more agreed upon, that this is Völund the Smith, and not Loki. Here is an image of this object, nonetheless:
ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION seems to be a bit of a challenge, especially when there are not always definite physical indicators to work from. It does not help, of course, that I am not a socialist in archaeology by any means. I am far more familiar with literature. Besides, Loki’s physical appearance can vary tremendously; he is, after all, a shapeshifter. He could appear in numerous forms without us necessarily being able to recognize the subtle hints right away (even then, who decides that we are correct in our assumptions anyway?).
To answer your original question, then, there are very few historical representations of Loki with absolute proof; there is always some sort of doubt. Many of these images can, however, be used to build upon. History only provides us with what survives, but, in working with those fragments, new efforts can be made within reason. Meaning is distributed by society (and even the individual), and meanings can change over time. Being historically responsible, though, means making sure that we know the original intention behind a work of art. It would be irresponsible, historically speaking, to project a new interpretation upon an image that was never meant to have such meaning. In short, it is quite difficult work to be confident in our effort to find historical representations of Loki.
I hope my answer has been helpful, although it is definitely not my strongest. There is definitely plenty of room for more academic work in learning more about historical representations of Loki, but such an area is just not my personal destination. If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to send them my way. I would be more than happy to continue discussing this topic with you, if you’d like.
Með vinsemd og virðingu, (With friendliness and respect,) Fjörn
ENDNOTES: 1. H.R. Ellis Davison, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (repr., 1964; London: Penguin Books, 1990), 176-77. 2. Ibid., 179. Fig.1. A part of the Gosforth Cross showing, among other things a figure with a horn above a bound figure, usually interpreted to be Loki and Sigyn from Norse mythology. Reproduction by Julius Magnus Petersen, published in 1913. Wikimedia Commons. (Edited – Image has been rotated). 3. Snorri Sturluson, Edda, translated by Anthony Faulkes (repr., 1987; London: Everyman, 1995), 52. (Free version available via the Viking Society for Northern Research). 4. Knut Berg, “The Gosforth Cross,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 21, No. ½ (Jan. - Jun., 1958), 28. 5. Ibid., 29. 6. John Mckinnell, “Norse Mythology and Northumbria: A Response,” Scandinavian Studies Vol. 59, No. 3, Anglo-Scandínavían England (SUMMER 1987), 331. Fig.2. Captioned as “The Bound Devil. Kirkby Stephen.” Plate before page 217. The stone features a depiction of a bound, horned figure, sometimes theorized as the Norse deity Loki. Wikimedia Commons. 7. Snorri, Edda, Faulkes trans., 97. Fig.3. The Snaptun stone, possibly depicting Loki. Housed at the Moesgård Museum near Århus, Denmark. Wikimedia Commons. (Edited – Image turned black and white for clarity). 8. Hans Jørgen Madsen, “The god Loki from Snaptun,” in Oldtidens Ansigt: Faces of the Past (Jysk arkæologisk selskab, 1990), 180. Fig.4.Borre-Style Silver Pendant, British Museum Online Collection. 9. Description provided by the British Museum Online Collection. 10. Michaela Helmbrecht, “A Winged Figure From Uppåkra,” Fornvännen; 2012 (107):3, 171. 11. Snorri, Edda, Faulkes trans., 60. Fig.5.Pendant from Uppåkra, likely Völund the Smith.