City of Heroes
Though there may be no doubt that Athens is Greece’s most well known city, with its iconic Parthenon and it’s rich history of culture that went on to inspire the western world for years to come. But when it comes to the myths and legends of Ancient Greece one city stands out amongst the rest, the city of Thebes. Located on the region of Boeotia in central Greece, Thebes is the setting for many tales including the story of Laius, whose tumultuous rule then led to the unfortunate tale of his son Oedipus, a man who unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother. It was also the birthplace of the most celebrated of all heroes, Heracles himself. Here he strangled two snakes as a babe and married his first wife, Megara, daughter to King Creon of Thebes. He had several children with Megara, however was lulled into a fit of rage by Hera and killed them all much to his horror.
Perhaps the most important tale of Thebes however is the story of Cadmus, the Phoenician King and founder of the city. When his sister Europa had been taken to Crete by Zeus, he sought advice from the Oracle of Delphi’s advice, she told him instead he must build follow a cow and build a city wherever it stopped. He later came in to trouble when they found that the water source was guarded by a dragon, many men died fighting it but Cadmus managed to defeat the beast. He then, on Athena’s advice, planted the teeth and from them grew the men that would help him build Thebes. Today you can visit the ruins of the ancient citadel of Thebes named Cadmea as well as the Archaeological Museum of Thebes which houses relics and remains that will tell you all about the region and Ancient Greece.
Home of the Olympian Gods
Towering at 2918m above sea level, its no wonder that the Ancient Greeks saw such importance in the stoic beauty of its largest Mountain, Mount Olympus. This importance is reflected as here we find the home of their most important gods, appropriately named the Olympians. The twelve gods that resided atop this mountain where the ones that presided over the world. Most notably Zeus, the leader of the gods who features in so many of the stories, usually out cheating on his lover Hera (who also lives here) and fathering the many heroes of the legends. His siblings Poseidon, Demeter and Hestia were also residents where as his poor old brother Hades was confined to the underworld. The two children of Zeus and Hera lived here, Hephaestus the god of fire and blacksmiths and Ares the god of war. Aphrodite the goddess of love found her home here along with a few of Zeus’s children out of wedlock, Athena, Artemis, Hermes and Apollo. If you manage to make your way up to the peak and still don’t see any of the gods well take comfort in the fact the you will be greeted by a truly magnificent view that has inspired people for thousands of years.