Monday, 3 December 2012

#TwitterFiction Festival: 100 Greek Myths in 100 Tweets (The Full Story 61-80)

Part 4 of my myth tweet epic...The Death of Heracles to Odysseus's call-up to the Trojan War

Wife duped by covetous centaur! Doubting Deianeira destroys hubby Heracles! Dead hero rises to Olympus! Hera in fuming fury 
Heracles' second wife, Deianeira is tricked by the evil dying centaur, Nessus, into taking a vial of his 'magic blood', which he says will show her if her husband is ever unfaithful. When Deianeira thinks she has cause to doubt Heracles' fidelity, she dips his robe into the blood, which is deadly poisonous, although she doesn't know this. Heracles dies in agony, but is taken up to Olympus by Zeus, to live there with the gods.  Hera throws a tantrum, but Zeus is immovable on the subject.

Snake Giants attack Gods! Chaos on Olympus! Shrewd scheme from hero Heracles saves doomed deities! Even hateful Hera happy
The reason Zeus needs Heracles on Olympus is that a prophecy has been made, saying that he will save the gods from disaster.  This proves true, when Heracles puts together a plan to defeat the terrible Snake Giants, who are attacking the deities (and winning). In the end, even Hera has to admit that he had done a good job, and gave him her daughter, Hebe, for a wife.  Heracles ended up as Gatekeeper to Olympus.

Sexist row over athlete Atalanta! Gutsy huntress WILL run with men, declares loyal lover Meleager! Teen's spear proves point 
Meleager arranges for a team of heroes to come and hunt the Calydonian Boar with him, but one of the hunters, Ancaeus, refuses to hunt with Atalanta, because she is female.  Meleager, who likes the young huntress, stands up for her and tells Ancaeus to go home if he doesn't like the decision.  Atalanta proves her point by drawing first blood from the boar with her arrow, and the boar eventually dies by Meleager's spear.

'Outrun me or die!' Bride in deadly dare! Melanion addles Atalanta with smart-alec apple drop! Speedy sprint scoops spouse 
Atalanta makes her father promise that any man who wishes to marry her must either beat her in a running race or die.  Melanion, who has fallen in love with her, doesn't want to die like the other princes who have lost her challenge, so he prays to Aphrodite. Aphrodite gives him three golden apples, telling him to drop one every time Atalanta tries to pass him in the race. Atalanta is successfully distracted, and Melanion wins both the race and the girl.

Princesses vs Muses! 'We simply sound sweeter' warble regal 9! Muses not amused! Shrill squawks from new royal magpie girls 
The nine daughters of King Pierus challenged the Muses to a song contest, saying that their voices were sweeter.  As soon as they began to sing, the Muses turned them into nine squawking magpies.

Death-defying Admetus does deal with tipsy Fates!  Alcestis thwarts Tartarus king in swap sacrifice! Hades 'not happy'
The Fates could not be bribed, but in the case of Admetus, they got drunk and promised Apollo that his friend should never die as long as he could find someone to got to Tartarus for him when the time came. Alcestis, Admetus's faithful wife, offered to go in his stead, and, although Hades was not happy about it, he was so impressed with her devotion that he sent her back to be with her husband on earth.

First Ever Murder! Ixion takes rap for fiery pit slaying! Killer pays price on flaming sky wheel! 'Justice served!' say gods
Ixion, the world's first murderer, slew his own father-in-law by deliberately tipping him into a pit full of fire, where he died. Zeus ordered Hermes to punish Ixion by tying him to a fiery wheel and rolling him around the sky.

Orpheus in romantic rescue! Makes epic error, looks back at Eurydice! Lovers torn apart in Tartarus tragedy! Heartbreaker Hermes 'uncaring' 
Orpheus, the world's best musician, was determined to rescue his dead lover, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Hades agreed to let her go on condition that Orpheus didn't once look back on the journey to see that she was following him.  He failed, and Eurydice was dragged back to Hades' realm by Hermes, who ignored both lovers' pitiful cries.

Helpful healer Asclepius courts wrath of Zeus! Banned Gorgon blood aids rogue resurrection bid! Death by lightning forecast 
Asclepius, taught to be a great healer by the centaur Chiron, starts to raise people from the dead with the help of a jar of Gorgon's blood. This makes Hades and the Fates angry, and Asclepius has to promise Zeus that he won't use it again. But Asclepius can't resist the pleas of a man whose son has just died, and resurrects him. Zeus then kills the healer with a lightning bolt.

Wedding woe of Peleus & Thetis! Goddess friction flares over Apple of Discord! Athene/Hera/Aphrodite in calamitous catfight
Eris, goddess of Discord has not been invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, so decides to cause trouble. She rolls a golden apple marked 'To the Fairest' towards Hera, Aphrodite and Athene, who then quarrel as to which of them it is meant for.

Mum's ankle blunder seals baby Achilles' fate! Mortal heel 'will trip him up' predicts prophet. Tearful Thetis flees to sea 
Nereid Thetis is determined to make her latest son, Achilles, immortal.  She hangs him over a sacred fire, holding onto one ankle. Although she succeeds in making the baby mostly immortal, Peleus snatches the child away from her before she can finish. The ankle she was holding (his 'Achilles heel') is therefore not immortal and will prove to be the death of him in the end. Thetis is so angry with Peleus that she leaves him and goes back to the sea.

Hero ship sets out on epic voyage! Argo endures persistent perils! Captain Jason joyful as craft sails safely into Colchis 
Jason gathers together a crew of heroes to sail his ship, Argo, to Colchis to steal the Golden Fleece.  On the way there, the Argonauts have many adventures, meeting Harpies, clashing rocks and much more.

Jason overcomes army of obstacles! Hero swoops on stolen sheep swag! Medea's magic aids evening escape! Golden Fleece 'gone' 
Jason is set a series of impossible tasks by the King of Colchis, including sowing a field with dragon's teeth - which sprout up as an army of stone soldiers.  With the help of Medea, the king's witch-daughter, he completes the tasks, evades the stone soldiers, and steals the magical Golden Fleece, sailing the Argo out of Colchis on the evening tide.

Tug-of-love boy is Aphrodite's Adonis! Persephone snubbed as handsome hunk 'prefers Olympus'!  Boar gore ends gigolo's life 
Aphrodite hides baby Adonis in a chest and takes him down to the Underworld, giving it to Persephone to keep safe.  When Persephone hears a cry from the chest, she takes out Adonis and brings him up as her own child.  Some years later, Aphrodite visits, falls in love with Adonis, and takes him with her to Olympus, which he much prefers to Hades' gloomy realm.  Persephone is deeply hurt by his rejection, after all her care, and sends a white boar to gore Adonis to death when he is out hunting.

Cowherd woos nymph in raunchy romance! 'Paris is my prince!' gushes infatuated Oenone! Gods interrupt pastoral paradise 
Oenone falls in love with a disguised Prince Paris of Troy, and he with her.  But the gods intervene in their romance, knowing that Paris has another destiny.

Paris in challenging choice! Goddesses make decision 'difficult'! 'Have Helen' coos artful Aphrodite in unbeatable offer 
The golden apple has caused discord between the goddesses, and Aphrodite, Athene and Hera want a decision made as to which of them is the fairest (see above).  They choose Paris, and each promises a great gift if he chooses them.  Aphrodite promises that he can have the great beauty Helen of Sparta for his own - and Paris picks the goddess of love as the fairest of them all, with dire consequences.

'It's Menelaus for me' says star-eyed Helen! Greek Kings swear to shield Spartan sweetie forever! 'Witnessed!' thunders Zeus 
Helen of Sparta chooses King Menelaus as her husband, and he makes all the kings of Greece swear to protect and defend her from all foes.  The gods witness the promise - but the kings themselves hope they'll never have to keep it.

Eros arrows pierce Helen with passion for prince! Paris swipes Spartan Queen! Mortified Menelaus leads launch of 1000 ships 
Aphrodite keeps her promise to Paris and sends her son Eros to pierce Helen of Sparta with his arrows of love, and make her fall for the prince instead of her husband.  Paris steals the smitten queen away to Troy, and Menelaus calls up all the kings to go to war to reclaim her from the Trojans, launching a fleet of 1000 ships.

Iphigenia sacrifices self as sin scapegoat! Winds whirl ships out of Aulis! 'Trojans beware!' trumpets aggressive Agamemnon 
Menelaus was all ready to sail out with his great fleet from the harbour at Aulis, but the winds were against them because Agamemnon had offended the goddess Artemis. The only way for Agamemnon to change this was to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia.  The princess offered herself on the sacrificial altar, and the winds immediately blew in a favourable direction. The ten year Trojan War had begun!

Mad or mendacious? Odysseus ploughs sand in risky ruse to avoid call-up! Menelaus bests clever King with sneaky son strategy 
Odysseus did not want to keep his vow to King Menelaus, so he pretended to be mad by ploughing a beachful of sand when the call-up came. Menelaus snatched his baby son, Telemachus, from the arms of his mother and laid him down in front of the plough, at which point Odysseus gave in and said he would come to Troy.

Click HERE for Part 1: Myths 1-20 Creation to the Minotaur
Click HERE for Part 2: Myths 21-40 Endymion to Echo and Narcissus
Click HERE for Part 3: Myths 41-60 Artemis to Autolycus
Click HERE for Part 5: Myths 81-100 Philoctetes to Odysseus's Return to Ithaca (the whole Iliad and Odyssey)

Anyone who is interested in finding out more can do so in my book,

which was written for children, but also seems to be the 'ready reference' book of choice for many university Classics students.  It's available HERE

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