6 Greek Goddesses Who Put 'Cruel and Unusual' Before Punishment - Dangerously Genocidal


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Friday, 21 April 2017

6 Greek Goddesses Who Put 'Cruel and Unusual' Before Punishment

As the saying goes, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’, and this was particularly true for several Goddesses from classical Greek mythology. With reasons ranging from accidental peek shows to philandering husbands, goddesses with white-hot tempers wanted to get their own back, and they often took things just a little too far. Here are:

6 Greek Goddesses Who Put 'Cruel and Unusual' Before Punishment

1. Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, Desire and… Bestiality?

Nothing could make the goddess of love blow her top quite like someone who didn’t love her as much as she loved herself.

The Lemnian women, not being respectful enough, ended up with a body odor that could rival skunk spray (which is saying a lot, since bathing was optional), chasing their husbands straight into the arms of their slave girls. Sexually frustrated and jealous, the smelly ladies killed off all the men on their island – which didn’t exactly solve their problem. Meanwhile, the daughters of Propoetus, the Propoetides, got to experience the opposite extreme, turning into Cyprus’ first prostitutes. Unfortunately, it also made them unattractive enough to make a man take a vow of celibacy.

The Golden Short-End-Of-The-Stick Trophy goes to the titan queen Pasiphae, who refused to shower gifts on the vain goddess. In revenge, Aphrodite made Pasiphae fall in love with a bull. A real, honest to gods, horned, four-legged bull. After pining away for years and sacrificing many competing cows in jealousy, she decided to hide in a wooden cow herself - and thus snagged her bull.

2. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Really Short Tempers

Unfortunately, being the goddess of wisdom does not equate to being level-headed. Athena was so well known for her temper that her full name, Pallas-Athena, alludes to the death of her friend Pallas, whom Athena accidentally killed during an argument.

Now, everyone knows about Medusa, the snake-haired gorgon. It’s easy to forget, though, that Medusa was once a beautiful and innocent girl. For the crime of going to Athena’s temple for help, and being raped by Poseidon while she was there, Athena turned her into a hideous monster. To rub salt on the wound, Athena sent Perseus to kill the pregnant monster.

With Arachne, Athena got up close and personal. The girl challenged Athena to a weaving contest – and won. Having woven all the crimes of the gods didn’t exactly help her situation. In jealous fury the goddess tore her work apart, and beat her until the Arachne tried to hang herself. Athena turned Arachne into a spider instead, but not to save her. Deciding that the girl had to suffer for eternity for daring to best a goddess, she made sure that Arachne and all her descendants would be cursed to hang and weave forever.

3. Hera, Goddess of Marriage and Attempted Infanticide

Hera had a notoriously difficult time keeping her husband, Zeus, from sleeping around. Since she couldn't exactly punish the king of the gods, she took her revenge on his lovers and children instead.

When she found out that Zeus had gotten the princess Semele pregnant, she tricked the girl into asking Zeus to come to her in his true form. Zeus, having promised Semele anything she wanted, did exactly that. He appeared to her in all his thundering glory, lightning chariot and all, and threw a lightning bolt at Semele. Obviously, she didn’t survive. The six month old Dionysus did, and Zeus sowed the baby into his thigh, carrying it to term himself.

Naturally, Hera wasn’t about to just let things lie. Semele’s sister and her husband were tasked with raising the baby (who they also disguised as a girl). After a warning from Zeus, Hermes took Dionysus away before Hera could find him. Since she couldn't find Dionysus, Hera punished Ino and Athamas instead; Athamas was forced to hunt down and beat his screaming son to death, while Ino cooked her baby and jumped off a cliff holding his corpse.

And Dionysus? He survived his formative years by living as a goat.

4. Artemis, Goddess of Hunting and 40-Year-Old Virgins

Above all, Artemis valued her eternal virginity, which she’d won from Zeus himself - and trying to get frisky with her was a sure fire way to get yourself cursed.

Two of her unfortunate victims, however, were quite innocent. A boy named Siproites was unfortunate enough to stumble across Artemis while she was bathing. Artemis acted on impulse and immediately turned the boy into a girl. Interestingly enough, this emasculating punishment was considered lenient. Another man, a hunter named Akraion, also found Artemis by accident while, you guessed it, she was taking a bath. You’d think she’d have found a more secluded spot after the first time. Still, having been seen naked – again – a furious Artemis turned Akraion into a stag and sent his own dogs to hunt him down. So much for man’s best friend.

5. Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture and Do-What-I-Say-Or-Else

When it comes to lists of goddesses prone to temper tantrums, Demeter rarely makes the cut; unfortunately for General Pyrrhus of Argos, death by thrown roof tile is not the stuff of Homerian epics.

Demeter, however, can boast that she got one over Zeus himself.

With the help of Zeus, Hades kidnapped (and according to some myths, raped) Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, and tricked her into staying with him in the Underworld. Demeter was furious and left Olympus to enact her revenge, turning the whole of Earth infertile. Her plan? To hold the entire human race hostage via famine until the gods brought her daughter back. Zeus sent the gods to plead with her on behalf of humans, but Demeter refused to budge. Zeus gave in, eventually, but only because it would be no fun being a god if there were no humans left to worship him.

6. Pasiphae, Titan Goddess of Witchcraft and Inventor of the STD

Although Pasiphae is most widely known as the mother of the Minotaur, as mentioned above, she can also be credited for coming up with an ingenious (and cruel) solution to her husband’s philandering.

Using witchcraft, Pashiphae turned her husband’s ejaculate into poisonous creatures, killing the women he took as lovers. Only Pasiphae, being an immortal, was immune. Eventually Minos, her husband, found a lover who made him a potion so that they could have ‘safe sex’. Whether that makes it count as a forerunner to modern condoms is still up for debate.

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