Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Own Quiznet Quizzes: Greek Mythology

Originally posted on Quiznet in July 2002
Later appeared in the Fundamentals column of the Sunday edition of Asian Age.

1. He was the son of Telamon, one of the Greek heroes at Troy. When Achilles was killed, it was he who risked his life to rescue the body. But when the Greeks were deciding who should be awarded the arms of Achilles and it came down to Odysseus and him, they voted for Odysseus. Identify him.
Answer: Ajax
Ajax planned to attack the Greek army (and Odysseus in particular), but Athena drove him mad so that he killed cattle, thinking that he was killing the Greek leaders. When he came to his senses and realised what he had done and killed himself.

2. There are two versions of her family background. According to Hesiod's 'Theogony', she was one of the most ancient deities; born from the foam surrounding Ouranos' castrated genitals when they fell into the sea. In Homer's 'Iliad' she is depicted as the daughter of the minor goddess Dione. Who is she?
Answer: Aphrodite

3. She was so proud of her skill in weaving that she challenged Athena herself to a contest. The goddess came to her in disguise and competed with her. Angered at the mortal woman's skill she destroyed her work, whereupon she hanged herself. Who?
Answer: Arachne
On her death, the goddess turned her into a spider ('Arachne' in Greek), a creature that spins and hangs eternally.

4. Son of Priam and Hekabe he was also known as Alexandros. It was his arrow that killed Achilles. He himself is killed just before the end of the war by Philoktetes, with the help of Herakles bow. Who is he?
Answer: Paris

5. Son of Tantalos, who served him up to the gods, he escaped being eaten and was put back together, minus a shoulder, which was replaced by an ivory one. He later won the hand of Hippodameia by beating her father, Oinomaos, King of Pisa, in a chariot race. He won by bribing Oinomaos’ charioteer, Myrtilos. Who?
Answer: Pelops
He gave his name to the Peloponnese.

6. Identify: Son of Laertes and Antikleia and husband of Penelope he ruled over Ithaka, a craggy island off the west coast of Greece.
Answer: Odysseus
Some of his epithets are Polytropos, Polymetis, Polytlemon and Polymechanos.

7. Tantalus lived in Asia Minor at a time when gods and men mixed freely and even ate together. Tantalus abused this privilege and served up his son, Pelops, to the gods. They immediately realised what he had done, except one, who was so upset about Persephone that she inadvertently ate a shoulder. Who was she?
Answer: Demeter
Tantalus was punished in the 'Underworld' by being kept eternally just out of reach of food and drink (hence 'To Tantalise').

8. In Hesiod's genealogical classification system, she is the child of Echidna and Typhoeus. She is best known as the riddle-loving monster that terrorised Thebes until Oedipus came along and answered her question correctly. Who is she?
Answer: The Sphinx

9. Apollo was passionately fond of this youth who accompanied him in his sports, carried the nets when he went fishing and led the dogs when he went to hunt. One day they played a game of quoits together, and Apollo, heaved the discus. He watched it as it flew, and ran forward to seize it, when the quoit bounded from the earth and struck him in the forehead and he thus died. How did Apollo immortalize him?
Answer: The person was Hyacinthus. Apollo changed him into a flower.

10. They were monsters with the body of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle, and back covered with feathers. They found gold in the mountains and built their nests of it, for which reason their nests were very tempting to the hunters. Name them.
Answer: Griffins


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