Greece is inextricably linked to mythology. Many islands are known to the general public from a myth. Examples are the Minotaur related to Crete, and the Argonauts linked to Santorini. But there are lesser-known myths and legends from Greek mythology linked to Greek islands. In this article, you will learn elaborate Greek mythology stories related to lesser-known islesof Greece. Do you know where Milos got its name from, οr about Dionysus’ relationship with Naxos?
According to the myth, when Ares discovered Aphrodite had fallen in love and was having an affair with Adonis, he killed him while hunting a giant boar. Adonis’ sage friend, Milos, unable to bear the loss of his friend, committed suicide. So did his wife, Pelia. The couple’s child, Milos, was raised by the goddess Aphrodite. The goddess sent him to Delos. He is considered the first settler of Milos, from where the island seems to have taken its name.
Based on the myth, Zeus, the father of the gods, grew up on one of the Naxos‘ highest peaks. In fact, on the top of the mountain, or the “Nose of Za,” there is still the inscription” ‘Mount Zeus Milosiou,” meaning the hill of Zeus. Zeus arrived on the island as an infant to save himself from his father’s wrath, Cronus.
Apart from the island’s connection with Zeus, Naxos is the birthplace of the god Dionysus. Dionysus was born from the thigh of Zeus. Dionysus was raised by the nymphs Filia, Cleidi, and Koroni in the cave of Koronos. Dionysus grew up on the island and mated with Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete, who helped Theseus kill the Minotaur. It is said that thanks to this mating and the existence of Dionysus on the island in general, Naxos has fertile land and is rich in vines.
Serifos, the island of the Western Cyclades, is linked to one of the most famous myths of Greek mythology. It is none other than the myth of Perseus. The tale begins before Perseus, when the king of Argos, Acrisius, asked Pythia if she would have a male offspring. The oracle she received from the oracle was ominous; His grandson, son of Danae, would put him to death. But Zeus has already succeeded in charming Danae, resulting in the birth of his son, Perseus. The king takes action and decides to lock Danae and her son in a box and throw them into the sea to escape the danger. The package arrives at Serifos, where Danae and Perseus live the rest of their lives.
Over the years, Danae marries the island’s king, Polydextus, but he is not friendly towards Perseus. She decides to send him on a harrowing mission to ensure that Perseus never returns alive. The task was to find and kill Medusa. She was a beautiful mermaid who, after being cursed by the goddess Athena, turned into a monster with snakes for hair. The characteristic of Medusa is her stare, which stones any mortal who looks at her. Perseus, with the help of the goddess Athena, manages to kill Medusa and take her head back to Serifos.
Back on the island, King Polydektis does not believe that Perseus managed to kill Medusa and demands proof. Perseus shows him the mermaid’s decapitated head, and both Polydektis and his followers are petrified. Because of this, the island has taken on the rocky appearance it has today. The symbols of Perseus and Medusa are depicted on ancient coins from the 6th century BC.
The island of the Dodecanese is also called the island of the Sun. This name comes from Greek mythology. When Zeus decided to divide the land among the gods of Olympus, the god Helios was absent and therefore did not get a share of the distribution. In light of Zeus becoming aware of the absence of Helios, he wanted to redo the division to include him. But the Sun refused and said that his land would be the one that would rise from the sea when the Sun rose the following day. The island that came to the surface was that of Rhodes.
The second myth related to the island of Rhodes associates with the nymph Rhodes and Helios or the Sun. The nymph Rhodes was the wife of the Sun, and together, they had seven children, the 7 Iliads. One of their children was Kerkafos, who had three children: Kamiros, Ialyssos, and Lindos. The three children divided the island into three parts and named the three largest cities on the island after themselves.
Greek mythology is associated with many Greek places, adding a touch to ancient Greece’s glamour to the areas. Besides, although we know that mythology is not a source of history and is not about actual events, it is fascinating for both visitors and locals to associate the places with the elements of mythology. When visiting Greece, even the lesser-known islands of Greece, there is always a linkage to a myth deriving from ancient Greece. Did you know that the islands mentioned above were related to these heroes? Tell us in the comments below!
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