ranked an ‘asura’ while Indra, unquestionably less refined,

ranked an ‘asura’ while Indra, unquestionably less refined, is a ‘deva’. Surya, the sun, is called ‘the asura-chaplain of the Devas’. In the later Artharva Veda the word ‘asura’ is applied only to demons, and henceforth that is the generally received meaning. In Iran on the contrary the same term is used to mean the divinity, Ahura. Henceforth the Devas and the Asuras are often seen at war with one another. According to the Satapatha Brahmana, Prajapati is their common ancestor. But the Devas rejected falsehood and chose the truth, while the Asuras rejected truth and chose falsehood. As they spoke only truth, the gods appeared to be weak; but in the end they became strong and attained prosperity. The Asuras at first by their lies won riches, but in the end found destruction. Another legend says that the Asuras when making sacrifice put the offerings in their own mouths, whereas the gods offer them to one another. In spite of their rivalry with the Asuras, the Devas were glad to accept the help of their enemies for the churning of the sea, and at this task the demons showed quite as much skill and energy as the gods. (See page 379.) Generally speaking, it is clear that the popular deities, only slightly Aryan and usually not Aryan at all, were described by the Aryans as demoniacal. Some of them have remained demons until our own times. Others were incorporated sooner or later into the Brahmanic pantheon, almost always retaining certain peculiarities which show their origin. For instance, the terrible forms of the cult of Siva in his aspect as destroyer, the fact that the demons are among his sectaries, and that he is sometimes called ‘lord of demons’ (Bhutapati) seem to point to a non-Aryan origin of his deity. The legend of his marriage with the daughter of Daksha is further confirmation of this hypothesis. Daksha, one of the Prajapatis or lords of creation, out of vanity became violently hostile to Siva. Daksha’s daughter, Sati, a real incarnation of feminine devotion and piety, had secretly given her heart to the cult of the condemned god. When the time came for her betrothal her father ordered a Svayamara (the ceremony where a king’s daughter chose her husband from the assembled suitors) and purposely omitted to invite Siva. When Sati came forward, holding in her hand the garland of flowers which she was to cast round the neck of her chosen husband, she uttered a supreme invocation to the god she loved. ‘If it is true that I am called Sati,’ she exclaimed, throwing her flowers in the air. ‘O Siva, take my garland!’ And immediately Siva appeared, with her garland on his shoulders. Yet later on this union was considered a misalliance. When Daksha went to war with his son- in-law, he called him ‘the god with the monkey’s eyes who married my daughter with her gazelle’s eyes’. ‘It was against my will’, he says further, ‘that I gave my daughter to this sullied personage, the abolisher of rites and destroyer of boundaries…He frequents horrible cemeteries, accompanied by crowds of spirits and ghosts, looking like a madman, naked, with dishevelled hair, wearing a garland of skulls and human bones…a lunatic beloved by lunatics, lord of the demons whose nature is wholly obscure. Alas! at the urging of Brahma I gave my virtuous daughter to this lord of furies, this evil heart.’ Often the demons have only a passing life. Sometimes created by the gods for some particular circumstance — for instance, to conquer the Asuras themselves – these evil beings afterwards disappear for ever as mysteriously as they were born. Again, the gods and goddesses sometimes assume terrible shapes to fight with the demons. For instance, we shall see in the legend of Hiranyakasipu how Vishnu devours his victim in the form of a cruel monster with a lion’s head. But the most typical example of these metamporphoses is certainly that of Siva’s wife. Under the name of Parvati she is presented as a very beautiful young woman, seated beside her divine husband, discoursing with him sometimes of love and sometimes of lofty metaphysics.
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The Pelopids. Although the race of Pelopids took

flanks of a huge wooden horse which the Trojans themselves dragged into the city. Troy was taken and set on fire. Old Priam was slain and the rest of his family immolated or carried away as slaves. Menelaus regained his wife and was reconciled with her. To be sure it was said that the real Helen had always remained in Egypt where her husband later found her, and that Paris had brought only the phantom of Helen back with him to Troy. However, it seems obvious that this account was invented simply to save the self-esteem of the unfortunate Menelaus. The end of Helen was variously reported. After her husband’s death she was admitted among the stars with the Dioscuri. Or else she was united to Achilles in the Islands of the Blessed. Or, again, she was driven from Sparta and sought refuge in Rhodes where she was hanged from a tree on the orders of the queen, Polyxo. She was venerated on this island of Rhodes under the epithet Dendritis. Clytemnestra. The second daughter of Tyndareus, Clytemnestra, was first married to Tantalus, and subsequently to Agamemnon. She could never forgive Agamemnon for having sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia to the gods, and on his return from Troy she slew him in his bath, with the complicity of her lover Aegisthus. The two murderers were put to death by Orestes, the son of Clytemnestra. OEDIPUS AND THE HEROES OF BOEOTIA Cadmus. The principal heroes of Thebes belonged to the family of the Labdacids whose founder was Cadmus. He was the son of Agenor and Telephassa. Phoenix and Cilix were his brothers and Europa his sister. When Europa was carried off by Zeus, the three brothers set out to find her. Cilix and Phoenix soon tired of the search and settled down in the countries which were to be known as Cilicia and Phoenicia. Cadmus was more persistent and consulted the oracle of Delphi who advised him to abandon his search and when he came across a cow to let her guide him, and where she stopped, there to build a city. In Phocis Cadmus found the fateful animal and followed her into Boeotia where she stopped. There he founded the city of Thebes and constructed the Cadmean Acropolis. He then decided to sacrifice the cow to Athene. In preparation for this ceremony he sent servants to fetch water from the Spring of Ares; but at the spring they encountered a dragon which devoured them. When Cadmus heard this he attacked the monster and killed it. Athene had helped him and she now advised him to draw the teeth of the dragon and sow them in a nearby furrow. The teeth at once began to sprout and from them sprang forth warriors, the Sparti (from the Greek ‘to sow’), who immediately began to fight among themselves and kill each other. Only five survived and they became the ancestors of the Thebans. Meanwhile in order to expiate the murder of the dragon who was a son of Ares, Cadmus had to spend a few years serving as a slave. After this Athene recompensed him by awarding him the crown of Thebes, while Zeus granted him the hand of the shining Virgin Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, or perhaps, of Zeus and Electra. The couple lived happily together. Their children were Semele, mother of Dionysus; Ino. mother of Melicertes; Autonoe, mother of Actaeon; Agave, mother of Pentheus; and Polydorus, father of Labdacus who was the ancestor of the Labdacids. Towards the end of thefr lives Cadmus and Harmonia went to reign over Illyria, then were changed into dragons and transported to the Islands of the Blessed. In Greece Cadmus was considered to be a divine legislator and the.promoter of Boeotian civilisation: to him were ascribed the discovery of casting metal and the invention or importation of the alphabet. Amphion and Zethus. Amphion and Zethus were twins, and the legends concerning them belong to the earliest days of Theban royalty. They were sons of Zeus and Antiope. Persecuted by her father, Antiope sought refuge with Epopeus at Sicyon. Epopeus married
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The Pelopids. Although the race of Pelopids took

Leda. Leda had been brought to bed with two eggs from one of which issued Pollux and Helen, regarded as the children of Zeus, and from the other Castor and Clytemnestra, who were reputed to be the children of Tyndareus. In spite of their different paternity Castor and Pollux were both qualified as Dioscuri, which meant young sons of Zeus. They always lived on terms of close friendship. The semi-divine character of the Dioscuri has been explained by A. H. Krappe as the superstition which surrounds the birth of twins among most primitive peoples. The phenomenon, being not common, was interpreted either as ill-omened – hence the persecutions often inflicted on twins and their mother- or as fortunate. In either event the anomaly was justified by assuming that one at least of the children was of divine origin; this was the case with Hercules and Iphicles, and also with Castor and Pollux. Among the exploits of the Dioscuri may be mentioned their expedition against Athens to rescue their sister Helen from Theseus who had abducted her. They also joined Jason on the Argonauts’ expedition, and Zeus showed his benevolence towards them during a storm which assailed the ship Argo in the sea of Colchis. While Orpheus called upon the gods, two flames descended from the sky and hovered over the heads of the Dioscuri. It was the origin of Saint Elmo’s Fire which still today announces to sailors the end of a storm. Afterwards Castor and Pollux carried off the two daughters of Leudippus and married them. This was the occasion of their quarrel with the Aphareids, Idas and Lynceus, who were also paying court to the young women. This rivalry must have been unfortunate for the Dioscuri although no one knows exactly how it turned out. According to Pindar the Dioscuri went on an expedition with the Aphareids and cheated them out of their share of the booty. Ac- cording to other authors the four young men had a dispute over the division of a herd of oxen. Idas quartered an ox and ruled that half the spoil should go to the man who ate his share first, the other half going to the man who finished second. So saying he swallowed his own quarter and his brother’s quarter and drove off the whole herd. The Dioscuri then led an expedition against the Aphareids and in the course of the battle Pollux killed Lynceus while Castor was mortally wounded by Idas. Pollux wept over the body of his brother; for being himself immortal he could not follow him to the kingdom of Hades. Zeus was touched by this fraternal devotion and authorised Pollux to share with his brother the privilege of immortality: thus the Dioscuri continued to live each on alternate days. Another tradition says that Zeus placed them among the stars, in the constellation Gemini, The Twins. Venerated at first in Achaia, the Dioscuri were afterwards honoured throughout Greece as the tutelary divinities of sailors and as protectors of hospitality. Sometimes they can be seen, dressed in white robes and purple mantles, starred bonnets on their heads, arriving in cities to test what sort of welcome the inhabitants will give to strangers. Helen. Their sister Helen was celebrated for her beauty. When she had scarcely reached the age of ten Theseus carried her off, but the Dioscuri brought her home again. She was besieged by suitors. Her father Tyndareus made each of them swear that he would in case of need come to the aid of the lucky man who became Helen’s husband. He then chose Menelaus. For three years the couple lived happily together. Then Paris, son of the Trojan King Priam, visited the court of Menelaus, fell in love with Helen and carried her off. This was the cause of the Trojan War. All the princes of Greece, faithful to their oaths, took arms under the command of Agamemnon to avenge the outrage done to Menelaus. For ten years the struggle raged before the wallsof Troy. Neither the craft of Odysseus, the bravery of Diomedes, nor the dash of Achilles could conquer the resistance of the Trojans, led by the valiant Hector. Finally the Greek warriors were able to enter the city by hiding in the hollow
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The Pelopids. Although the race of Pelopids took

The Pelopids. Although the race of Pelopids took their name from Pelops, they owed their origin to Pelops’ father, Tantalus. Tantalus was king of Phrygia or of Lydia. He was invited to dine with the gods on Olympus and he stole their nectar and ambrosia. He returned their invitation, and when they sat at his table he served to them, in order to test their divinity, the body of his own son, Pelops. The guests immediately realised this; Demeter alone, more absent-minded or else more hungry than the others, ate flesh from the shoulder. Zeus ordered that ‘the child’s remains should be thrown into a magic cauldron and Clotho restored Pelops to life. Only one of his shoulders was missing and had to be replaced in ivory. For these crimes Tantalus was cast into the infernal regions. He stood waist-deep in the middle of a lake in Tartarus surrounded by trees laden with delicious fruit. Thirst and hunger which he could never satisfy tortured him; for when he reached out his hand the fruit evaded him, when he leaned down to drink the water receded. When he was grown up Pelops left Phrygia and went to Pisa in Elis where he competed for the hand of Hippodameia. Her father, Oenomaus, had promised to give his daughter to the first suitor who vanquished him in a chariot race. Fifteen suitors had already been defeated and killed. Pelops bribed Myrtilus, Oenomaus’ charioteer, to loosen one of his master’s chariot wheels, and thus he won the race and the hand of Hippodameia. Afterwards he killed Myrtilus in order to get rid of an embarrassing accomplice. But the father of Myrtilus was Hermes, and Hermes avenged the death of his son by laying a curse on Pelops and all his house. By Hippodameia Pelops had several children, among them Atreus and Thyestes. By another wife he had a son Chrysippus, whom he particularly loved. At Hippodameia’s instigation Atreus and Thyestes murdered Chrysippus and for this crime were forced to go into exile. They reached Mycenae. At the death of Eurystheus, King of Mycenae, Atreus succeeded to the throne. His brother Thyestes was jealous and seduced the wife of Atreus, Aerope, and in addition stole from him a ram with a golden fleece which had been a present from Hermes. He was driven from Mycenae but left Pleisthenes to avenge him. Now Pleisthenes was Atreus’ son, who had been brought up by Thyestes as his own son. Pleisthenes was on the point of striking down Atreus, but Atreus killed him instead, realising too late that it was his son. To avenge himself Atreus pretended to be reconciled with Thyestes and invited him and his children to return to Mycenae. In the course of a feast he served to Thyestes the bodies of two of his sons. The sun, it was said, hid in order not to cast light on such a crime. Later Atreus was killed by Aegisthus, another son of Thyestes, whom Atreus had brought up with his own children, Agamemnon and Menelaus. The series of these revolting crimes did not stop at this point. Thyestes who had succeeded his brother to the throne of Argos was driven from it by his nephews Agamemnon and Menelaus. On his return from the Trojan War, Agamemnon, in his turn, was murdered by Aegisthus who was living in adultery with Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra. Eight years later Aegisthus and Clytemnestra perished by the hand of Clytemnestra’s son, Orestes, who expiated this matricide by a long period of suffering. Then only were the Furies satisfied and an end put to the atrocities which had stained the family of Atreus with blood. THE DIOSCURI AND THE HEROES OF LACONIA The Dioscuri. The founder of the Laconian dynasties was Lelex who, by his union with a Naiad, had a son Eurotas, whose daughter Sparta married Lacedaemon. Lacedaemon reigned over Sparta and gave his name to that city. The most famous of his descendants were Hippocoon, who was killed by Hercules: Icarius. to whom Dionysus taught the secret of wine- making and who was killed by drunken shepherds; and finally Tyndarcus. husband of Leda and father of Helen, of Clytemnestra, and of the Dioscuri: Castor and Pollux. It was said that Zeus had played a certain part in this paternity since, in the guise of a swan, he had visited
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