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19 Cards in this Set

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Arrival of Cadmus

BOOK 3-Theban Cycle
Cadmus was sent out by his father, king of Sidon, to find his sister, Europa. Their father was so distraught over his daughter's kidnapping that he threatened Cadmus with exile if he didn't find her. Cadmus, knowing that he could never trace where Jove had taken the girl, went to the oracle of Apollo and asked where he should make his new home. The god told him that he would meet a cow that had never borne the weight of a yoke or plough, and if Cadmus followed that cow to where she laid down, that's where he should found a new city. Cadmus did as Apollo told him, and everything went according to the prophecy. When Cadmus and his henchmen reached the spot upon which he planned to found a new city, he sent his men into the woods to find water for a sacrifice to Jove.

In the woods, a giant snake guarding the stream killed his men. After they had not come back for a while, Cadmus went to look for them. He found their slain bodies and the great serpent, and after a great struggle, Cadmus killed the snake. He stood staring at the snake when Athene descended and told him not to stare at the snake and warned that one day he would be a snake as well. She told him to take the serpent's teeth and sow them in the ground. He followed her instructions and where he had sown the teeth, full-grown, armed men rose from the ground. Frightened, he raised his weapons, but one of them spoke out against civil strife. With that, the men began to slaughter each other and at the end, all were killed but five who formed a peace pact at Athene's order. These five men became the heads of the five aristocratic families of Thebes, and that's how Thebes was founded.
Actaeon

BOOK 3-Theban Cycle
Thebes grew into a strong city and Cadmus had wed Harmonia, daughter of Mars and Venus. Life was good until an unfortunate accident caused the death of Actaeon, Cadmus' grandson. One day the young Actaeon was out in the woods hunting when he got lost. He wandered through the woods and stumbled upon Diana's bathing pool and accidentally saw her naked form. Furious at his invasion, Diana turned him into a deer. His own hounds ripped him apart, and only his death satisfied Diana's fury.
Semele (birth of Bacchus)

BOOK 3-Theban Cycle
Cadmus' family was not finished with their grief yet because his daughter, Semele was Jove's lover and had conceived his child. Juno was jealous and decided to punish the proud girl by tricking her. Juno disguised herself as Semele's nurse. She convinced the girl that the only way to know if it was Jove himself who came to her and was the father of her child was to ask him to appear to her in all his glory as a god, the way that he appeared to Juno when they were making love. Semele agreed with the plan and then asked Jove for an unnamed favor to prove his love. He vowed on the river Styx to give her anything she wanted, and when she made her request, he could do nothing but fulfill it despite its fateful consequences. So Jove called upon the thunder and lightning that were in his command and came to Semele in all his divine power, but her mortal frame was destroyed by his powerful divinity and she died. Jove took the partly formed child from her womb and sewed it into his thigh until it came to term. That is how Bacchus was born. Jove gave the baby to Semele's sister to be raised, and she gave him to the nymphs of Nysa after she had nursed him during his infancy.
Tiresias

BOOK 3-Theban Cycle
Juno and Jove were playfully arguing about whether love was better for men or women. Jove believed that it had to be better for women, and Juno disagreed, so they called on Tiresias. The old man was the expert on the subject because he'd been born a man, but when he'd one day hit mating snakes with a stick, he was transformed into a woman. Years later he came across the snakes again and hit them so that he would be transformed back into a man. Tiresias sided with Jove in the argument, and Juno wrathfully blinded him. To make up for Juno's cruelty, and since he couldn't break her spell, Jove gave him the gift of prophecy.
Narcissus and Echo

BOOK 3-Theban Cycle
The first to seek Tiresias' guidance was a water nymph enquiring about her son's future. Tiresias told her that her son, Narcissus, would live a long and happy life as long as he did not know himself. When Narcissus was 16, he was out in the woods and a nymph, Echo, saw him. She fell in love with him, but she could not call out to him because Juno had reduced her powers of speech to only repetition because the nymph used to stall her with conversation while Jove and the other nymphs escaped from her. So when Narcissus called out to his friends, Echo answered him with the last words that he cried. The played the game back and forth, and he was intrigued, so she ran out of the cover of the woods and wrapped her arms around him, but he pushed her away. He rejected her, and she was so crushed, that she returned to the woods and pined away until all that was left of her was her voice.

Narcissus was scornful of all that loved him, and one day a rejected lover wished that the boy would know the sting of unattainable love. Not long after that, Narcissus saw his own reflection in a pool of water and fell helplessly in love with it. But each time he reached out to hold it or kiss it, it slipped away from him. He pined away for this evasive love until he realized that it was his reflection. Distraught at the impossibility of ever reaching the object that he loved so dearly, the boy died. When the nymphs came to bury his body, they found only the flower that now bears his name, the narcissus.
Pentheus and Bacchus

BOOK 3-Theban Cycle
Pentheus was a skeptical man who doubted Tiresias' prophecies, so when the blind man foretold that Pentheus would disrespect the power of Bacchus as a god and be ripped apart by the hands of his own mother and sisters for his faithlessness, Pentheus didn't believe him.

The skeptical man was angry at the way the citizens of Thebes rushed around in drunken frenzies in their worship of Bacchus. He set out to prove that Bacchus was not a real god, so he sent his men out to capture the imposter. When they returned, they had only a follower of the cult, and before Pentheus sentenced him to death, he asked him who he was and where he was from.

The man was Acoetes, a helmsman aboard the ship that tried to kidnap Bacchus. Acoetes was the only man among the crew who believed that Bacchus was a god and refused to take part in the kidnapping. When Bacchus turned the rest of the crew to dolphins, he spared Acoetes. The man then became Bacchus' follower.

Pentheus didn't believe the story, and so he sent the man to prison to be punished. While the instruments of torture were being prepared, Acoetes' cell was magically opened and his chains unlocked. Furious, Pentheus set out into the woods himself to find and capture the false god. When he stepped into a clearing, members of the Bacchus cult, including his own mother and sisters attacked him. Bacchus had infected them with madness that made Pentheus appear a boar to them, and though the man called out for help, he received no mercy at the hands of the worshippers.
Trojan War

Book 12
Priam, Aesacus' father and king of Troy, mourned his son's death. Paris was the only absentee from the funeral because he had not yet returned with Helen, his stolen wife. The Greeks were on their way to Troy at that time, but a storm stalled their progress. Calchas saw a snake eat nine birds and interpreted the omen as a sign that the war would last for nine years and the Greeks would be victorious. The snake turned to stone. Calchas suggested that they sacrifice a virgin to ease Diana's wrath because Agamemnon had angered the goddess. Diana saved the girl and replaced her with a deer. The storm abated and the Greeks were on their way to Troy. Rumour warned the Trojans that the enemy approached. The Trojans tried to prevent the Greeks from landing on their shore and with that, a bloody war began.
Achilles and Cycnus

Book 12
During the battle Achilles killed many Trojans, but when he came to Cycnus, he just couldn't kill the guy. As it turns out, Cycnus was the son of Neptune, and the sea-god was protecting him. When Achilles tried to kill the man with his bare hands, Cycnus was transformed to a swan. Both armies took a few days to rest and during the break Nestor told the Greeks about Caeneus.
Caenis

Book 12
Caenis was a beautiful girl who would marry no one. Neptune raped her and then offered to grant her one wish. She answered: "'This wrong you've done me needs an enormous wish -- / Put pain like that beyond my power. Grant me / To cease to be a woman -- everything / That gift will be to me.'" Book 12 -- Caenis, line 201-4 Neptune granted the wish and then she became Caeneus. He also made her invulnerable to spears and arrows.
Lapiths and Centaurs

Book 12
Nestor also told the Greek soldiers about the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodame. The Centaurs, half-men, half-horse, were invited to the wedding, but in their drunkenness, they kidnapped the bride and the other Lapith women. A bloody battle ensued, and many of the Centaurs ganged up on Caeneus and buried him under a forest of felled trees. When the Lapiths saw Caeneus leave the pile as a brown bird, they were inspired to fight and destroy the Centaurs who didn't run away in fear.
Nestor and Hercules

Book 12
As Nestor told the story, Hercules' son reminded the old man that he'd left Hercules' role in defeating the Centaurs out of the story. Nestor explained that he didn't mention Hercules because it brings up the painful memory of how Hercules killed his eleven brothers including Periclymenus. Periclymenus transformed himself into an eagle and clawed Hercules face and Hercules shot him with an arrow that killed him.

After that story, the Greeks went to bed.
Death of Achilles

Book 12
Ten years had passed since the Trojan War began and Neptune mourned his dead son, Hector, killed by Achilles. The sea-god asked Apollo to help get rid of Achilles, and so Apollo directed Paris' arrow to Achilles. When Achilles died, he didn't go to the Underworld. Instead, he went to Elysium because he was such a great hero.

After his death, Ajax and Ulysses fought for the hero's armor.
Ajax and Ulysses

Book 13
Ajax and Ulysses presented their claims to Achilles' armor to the Greek soldiers and generals. Ajax made the mistake of appealing to the soldiers, who had no say in the decision. He was an inexperienced orator, and although his bravery on the battlefield was an attribute, Ulysses was a better speaker. He addressed the generals, among whom he ranked, and he was awarded the armor. Ajax killed himself in defiance to prove that only he could subdue himself. The hyacinth grew to honor his loss.
Sack of Troy

Book 13
The oracle said that Troy would fall only when the statue of Athene had been removed and when Hydra's arrows rained down on the city. Ulysses retrieved the statues and went back to the island where he'd left Philoctetes, the keeper of the arrows. Once these things were done, Troy fell and the men were all killed. The Greeks burned the city, and captured the women to take back to Greece as slaves. Hecuba, wife of Priam and mother of Hector and Paris, was among the slaves.
Hecuba, Polyxena, and Polydorus

Book 13
Priam had sent his youngest son, Polydorus, to live in Thrace with Polymestor. When Polymestor learned of Troy's fall, he killed Polydorus and kept the gold that Priam had given the boy. He threw the body into the ocean.

Agamemnon and the Greeks stopped in Thrace during a storm and Achilles' ghost appeared to them and demanded that Polyxena, Priam's daughter, be sacrificed in his honor. The girl went to her death bravely, and Hecuba mourned her daughter.

"'He who destroyed your many brothers, / He destroyed you, Achilles, doom of Troy / And my bereaver. But when Paris' arrows / And Phoebus' felled him, now for sure, I said, / We need not fear Achilles: now again / I had to fear him: in the sepulchre / His ashes raged against our race; entombed, / We felt him as our foe. For him I bore / My children! Mighty Ilium lies low. / In tragedy our nation's ruin reached / Its end; but end it has. For me alone / Troy lives; my woes stream on.'" Book 13 -- Hecuba, Polyxena, and Polydorus, line 501-10

Achilles had killed all of her children except Polydorus. His life was her salvation until she found his body on the shore. Plotting her revenge against Polymestor, she tricked him into meeting her under the guise of giving him more gold for Polydorus. When the king of Thrace met with her, she clawed his eyes out. The Thracians attacked her for injuring their king, and she was transformed into a dog.
Memnon

Book 13
While many pitied Hecuba, a lesser-known goddess, Aurora, mourned her son, Memnon. He'd been killed by Hercules, and she asked Jove that Memnon be remembered in some immortal way. So Jove took the smoke from his funeral pyre and created a flock of birds that divided and battled each other until they fell into the ashes from which they'd been born. Each year the birds fight in memory of Memnon and his mother's tears of mourning are dewdrops.
Aeneas

Book 13-Little "Aeneid"
Aeneas and a few other Trojan men escaped the city and set sail for a new land where they hoped to build a new Troy. They stopped at Delos and King Anius welcomed them. He told them how his son had gone to found Andros and his daughters had been given a gift that allowed them to turn all they touched to corn, wine, or palm oil. Agamemnon had kidnapped them and they escaped to their brother's island. But when Agamemnon threatened Anius' son with war, he turned his sisters over to the Greek. The girls asked Bacchus for help, and he made them doves.

The next day Aeneas went to Apollo's oracle and was told to "seek / Their ancient mother and ancestral shores." Book 13 -- The Pilgrimage of Aeneas, line 376-77 So Aeneas and his men set out for Italy and their next stop was a land near Scylla, a man-eating monster, and Charybdis, a whirlpool.

Scylla had once been a beautiful girl pursued by many suitors before she was transformed to a monster. She'd been friends with the sea-nymph, Galatea. Galatea had told Scylla all about her problems with Polyphemus, the Cyclops.
Acis, Galatea, and Polyphemus

Book 13-Little "Aeneid"
Galatea loved Acis, the son of a river, and Polyphemus loved Galatea. One day Polyphemus was singing of his love for Galatea and her indifference to him. He sang "'Why prefer you Acis' arms to mine? / Acis may please himself and please, alas, / You, Galatea. Give me but the chance, / He'll find my strength no smaller than my size. / I'll gouge his living guts, I'll rend his limbs / And strew them in the fields and in the sea.'" Book 13 -- Acis and Galatea, line 863-8 When he'd finished his song, he caught his love with Acis. She fled to the sea, and the Cyclops crushed Acis with a huge rock. Galatea changed her dead love to a river god.

After she told Scylla the story, Galatea and the sea-nymphs swam away.
Scylla and Glaucus

Book 13-Little "Aeneid"
Scylla walked along the beach and Glaucus came out of the water. He had been a fisherman, but he'd been transformed to a merman and made a sea-god. He was in love with Scylla, but she scorned his advances, so he went to Circe for help.