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Encyclopedia > Demigod

The term "demigod", meaning "half-god," is a modern distinction, often misapplied in Greek mythology. "Demigod" is meant to identify a person whose one parent was a god and whose other parent was human, such as Jesus. The biblical Nephilim, descendants of fallen angels and mortal women, could be considered demigods. Nineteenth-century popularizers of classical mythology like Thomas Bulfinch used the term "demigod" freely, and its definition has passed into popular dictionaries [1]. The term demigod is now freely used to describe non-Greek figures who fit the definition such as Cu Chulain of Celtic myth or Gilgamesh. For the Greek concept, see Hero. The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the Ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... This article is about modern humans. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... The Bible (From Greek βιβλια—biblia, meaning books, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus) is the sacred scripture of Christianity. ... Nephilim are supernatural beings, specifically the offspring of human women and “sons of God” (proposed to be fallen angels), who appear significantly in Genesis 6 and are mentioned also in other biblical texts and in some non-canonical Jewish writings. ... Fallen Angels (1991) (ISBN 0743435826) is a Prometheus Award-winning novel by science fiction authors Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn. ... Thomas Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 - May 27, 1867) was an American writer, born in Newton, Massachusetts to a highly-educated but not rich Bostonian merchant family. ... Young Cúchulainn, 1912 illustration by Stephen Reid. ... Gilgamesh, according to the Sumerian king list, was the fifth king of Uruk (Early Dynastic II, first dynasty of Uruk), the son of Lugalbanda, ruling circa 2650 BC. He is also the central character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which says that his mother was Ninsun, (whom some call Rimat... “Heroine” redirects here. ...


Part of the dual nature of Greek heroes, that gave rise to the "demigod" conception of them, a repeated theme in the story of their birth, is a double paternity: one father is a "king" of some kind, and another is a god. The hero's mother manages to lie with king and god in the same night (mother of Theseus) or to be visited secretly by the god (Danaë, mother of Perseus), and the seed of the two fathers is mixed in her womb (not a modern biological possibility, but one that was firmly established in Antiquity). Thus the heroes have liminal qualities that enable them to have great strength, to cross the threshold between the worlds of the living and the dead yet return safely, and to mediate long after their death between human and divine. (Ruck and Staples 1984, part 3; Kerenyi 1959). Theseus (Greek ) was a legendary king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, with whom Aethra lay in one night. ... Titians Danaë, inspired by Ovids Metamorphoses, represents the girl at the moment of her impregnation by a golden rain. ... Perseus with the head of Medusa, by Antonio Canova, completed 1801 (Vatican Museums) Perseus, Perseos, or Perseas (Greek: Περσεύς, Περσέως, Περσέας), the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits helped establish the hegemony of Zeus and the Twelve... Liminality (from the Latin word lÄ«men, meaning a threshold) is the quality of the second stage of a ritual in the theories of Arnold van Gennep, Victor Turner, and others. ...


Zeus became the father of many heroes as a result of his dalliances, and after death they were accorded honors, especially among those Greeks who claimed to be their descendants and, through them, to have claims on the protection and patronage of a god. The veneration of heroes was part of chthonic rites in the religion of Greece. An exception was Heracles, who was accepted in the passage of time among the Twelve Olympians. Such "demigods" were usually mortal, but were pre-eminent among humans, and some had unusual powers. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia Phidias created the 12-m (40-ft) tall statue of Zeus at Olympia about 435 BC. The statue was perhaps the most famous sculpture in Ancient Greece, imagined here in a 16th century engraving Zeus (in Greek: nominative: Zeús, genitive: Diós), is... For other uses, see Chthon (disambiguation). ... Hercules, a Roman bronze (Louvre Museum) For other uses, see Heracles (disambiguation). ... The twelve gods of Olympus. ...


Structurally, mythic narratives of such heroic figures falls into the genre of Romance, as Northrop Frye defined and described it. Alexander the Great encouraged the mythmakers in his retinue to spread the legend of his "secret" Olympian paternity. His legend survived the end of Antiquity; a cycle of medieval romances developed around his legend. Look up genre in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... As a literary genre, romance or chivalric romance refers to a style of heroic prose and verse narrative current in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. ... Herman Northrop Frye, CC, MA, D.Litt. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1][2] Megas Alexandros; July 20 356 BC – June 10 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, was an Ancient Greek king of Macedon (336–323 BC). ...


In the list of demigods there are figures ranging from deified historic figures, to culture-heroes and city founders, to minor primeval chthonic deities. This illustrates the limitations of "demigod" applied to Greek mythology, and to an extent elsewhere. This is a list of those deemed demigods. ... The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the Ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. ...


Modern Western usage

In modern western usage the word "demigod" often denotes a person who is simply highly honored or revered.


References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Demigod - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (479 words)
A "demigod" is meant to identify a person whose one parent was a god and whose other parent was human, such as the heroes of Greek mythology.
The hero's mother manages to lie with king and god in the same night (mother of Theseus) or to be visited secretly by the god (Danaë, mother of Perseus), and the seed of the two fathers is mixed in her womb (not a modern biological possibility, but one that was firmly established in Antiquity).
"Demigod" is sometimes used to translate the term asura in the context of Buddhism and devas in Hinduism.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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