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Subject: Anybody know their Greek Mythology? rss

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David Norman
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Hi All,

Does anybody out there know their Greek Mythology? I'm trying to check that the information we've got from the designer is correct, and we've got the background information for this game right! Unfortunately, nobody in JKLM is a Greek Mythology expert...

The game is set on the voyage home following the attack on Troy - as made famous by the use of the wooden horse. The text we currently have is:

"With the unspeakable events of Troy behind them, the Greek Captains steer their ships for home. But Zeus, son of Cronos, will not let these acts go unanswered and marshals the storm clouds as they have never been marshalled before, and nor will they be again. As a salmon fights its way upstream to spawn, so you must battle the storm and placate the gods, for your wife and children must share your dishonour and are at as much risk at home as they would be by your side."

But is that accurate? Have we got the right gods, and the right sailors?

And what needs adding to the description to explain how Athene comes into it? And should that be Athene or Athena - or shouldn't she be involved at all?

Any help appreciated. Any help with URL references to back it up would be appreciated more!

Thanks,

David.
 
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Ken
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This doesn't strike me as following the Greek myth at all.

The Greeks did tick off any number of gods either on their way to Troy or while they were there. But the only one that incurred the wrath of a god that caused him trouble getting home was Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman terms). His men had slaughtered bulls sacred to Poseidon, and Poseidon chose to strike on their return trip home, resulting in the stories recounted in the epic poem the Odyssey.

Certainly other Greek kings suffered as a result of the choices they made to make it to Troy. Agamemnon was murdered by his wife as "payment" for sacrificing his daughter to allow the fleet to sail when they set out, as I recall. Aeschylus retold that tale in a triad of plays.

But what's in the text above really only applies to Odysseus and his family.
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David Norman
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perfalbion wrote:
This doesn't strike me as following the Greek myth at all.

The Greeks did tick off any number of gods either on their way to Troy or while they were there. But the only one that incurred the wrath of a god that caused him trouble getting home was Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman terms). His men had slaughtered bulls sacred to Poseidon, and Poseidon chose to strike on their return trip home, resulting in the stories recounted in the epic poem the Odyssey.

Certainly other Greek kings suffered as a result of the choices they made to make it to Troy. Agamemnon was murdered by his wife as "payment" for sacrificing his daughter to allow the fleet to sail when they set out, as I recall. Aeschylus retold that tale in a triad of plays.

But what's in the text above really only applies to Odysseus and his family.


Thanks Ken.

So should the game be called "Odysseus" rather than "Athene" then?

Anyone else want to add to this? Provide some references? Suggest some replacement text?

Thanks,

David.
 
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Ken
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It's definitely more Odysseus than Athene (or Athena). She might be an appropriate goddess to use in the theme since she helps Odysseus repeatedly throughout his quest to get home, if I'm remembering my Odyssey correctly (been a long, long time since I've read it). But the name might be a bit disconnected unless the game is centered on securing her help and intervention to get home.

For reference, it's really Homer's Odyssey. The Cliff Notes ought to get you a good synopsis that you can use for events or key points to refer to in the actual text.
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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...much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures...
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... a picked body of Toads, known as the Die-hards, or the Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before them, yelling for vengeance.
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Hoo boy - this is complicated. Some gods supported one side, some the other. Some were mad at the returning heroes for reasons that had little to do with the actual war (Agamemnon came from a cursed family, for example, and his own actions to his family didn't help). Some picked on people whose side they had supported in the war (Poseidon was mad at Odysseus for killing his cattle, though he had supported the Greeks during the war, for example).

Hmmm - I have an abbreviated Iliad at home. Let me check there. I'll get back to you.
 
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Ugur Dönmez
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Ah yes, this brings back memories of high school

As far as I recall, Ken is correct. It was indeed Odysseus who spent several years trying to get home due to the wrath of Poseidon (or Neptunus/Neptune in Roman). A memorable encounter was of course the cyclops, who kept them in his cave until they blinded him and escaped hanging from the bellies of his sheep.

As for Athena, I have no example in my mind, but I also seem to recall she helped Odysseus get home (which would make sense, as Athena supported the Greeks in the war).
 
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David Norman
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Thanks everyone for their help so far.

If it helps, in the game, each player is the captain of one of the ships, trying to sail it home. As the game progresses, the storms and currents increase, gaining a greater and greater influence on the players movement.

There is a flash video overview available on the JKLM Games website - there is a link to it at http://www.jklmgames.co.uk/gamessin.php?game=403.

David.
 
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Ken
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sos1 wrote:
Hoo boy - this is complicated. Some gods supported one side, some the other. Some were mad at the returning heroes for reasons that had little to do with the actual war (Agamemnon came from a cursed family, for example, and his own actions to his family didn't help). Some picked on people whose side they had supported in the war (Poseidon was mad at Odysseus for killing his cattle, though he had supported the Greeks during the war, for example).


You're looking for way too much logic from the Greek gods.

Most did support the Greeks (Aphrodite and Apollo being notable exceptions). But they still got snippy over things we'd consider stupid today and even the Greeks considered capricious around the time of Socrates and Plato.

But the only one that they flung any real problems at getting home was Odysseus. The rest they let return, then did horrid things to them in their own homes.

Quote:
Hmmm - I have an abbreviated Iliad at home. Let me check there. I'll get back to you.


The Iliad will get you who did what to whom during the war, but will end just before the Greeks depart. The Odyssey is the Homeric epic that's on point here, based on the theme.
 
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Ken
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DavidNorman99 wrote:
If it helps, in the game, each player is the captain of one of the ships, trying to sail it home. As the game progresses, the storms and currents increase, gaining a greater and greater influence on the players movement.


If you're looking to use more than one Greek hero/captain/king, you might examine them trying to leave for Troy out of the Iliad. The gods prevented them from sailing with ill winds and they had to find a way to placate them (leading to Agamemnon's unfortunate choice). That would involve more individual Greeks like Menelaus, Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon, etc. The competition would be to either find a way to break through the storms or bring them to an end.

But if you're looking for the return trip, then it's a single Greek hero in the mix. Odysseus and his poor, poor crew (none of whom survive to see home, if I recall rightly - he's the only one that gets there).
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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...much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures...
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... a picked body of Toads, known as the Die-hards, or the Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before them, yelling for vengeance.
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perfalbion wrote:
Quote:
Hmmm - I have an abbreviated Iliad at home. Let me check there. I'll get back to you.

The Iliad will get you who did what to whom during the war, but will end just before the Greeks depart. The Odyssey is the Homeric epic that's on point here, based on the theme.

Oh I know that - I just read the Fagles translation of the Odyssey last year. (Menelaus had a little trouble getting home, too, according to Homer.) It's just that the book I call my "abbreviated Iliad" actually includes notes about what happened to whom after the war, and uses other sources aside from Homer - Hesiod, for example. I suppose it's an annotated abbreviated Iliad ...
 
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Ken
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Ahhhh. Got it.

I'd forgotten Menelaus' troubles returning, but then it's been decades since I read either. Wikipedia reminded me - he needed to capture Proteus to find out what he needed to do to appease the gods and get home.

He actually might be the appropriate subject for what this game sounds like - his whole fleet went with him to Crete and Egypt. Odysseus ended up with a single ship.
 
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David Norman
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perfalbion wrote:
DavidNorman99 wrote:
If it helps, in the game, each player is the captain of one of the ships, trying to sail it home. As the game progresses, the storms and currents increase, gaining a greater and greater influence on the players movement.


If you're looking to use more than one Greek hero/captain/king, you might examine them trying to leave for Troy out of the Iliad. The gods prevented them from sailing with ill winds and they had to find a way to placate them (leading to Agamemnon's unfortunate choice). That would involve more individual Greeks like Menelaus, Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon, etc. The competition would be to either find a way to break through the storms or bring them to an end.

But if you're looking for the return trip, then it's a single Greek hero in the mix. Odysseus and his poor, poor crew (none of whom survive to see home, if I recall rightly - he's the only one that gets there).


Either trip would be suitable. The key points are:

- They start somewhere.
- They are trying to get somewhere.
- They have to navigate through storms/currents that are getting worse and worse to get there.

So given that, please suggest what the game should be called, and what the opening paragraph of the overview should say.

Thanks,

David.
 
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David Brain
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Well the main problem here is that the theme has been somewhat pasted on (gee, what a surprise!)

What was needed was some sort of journey that was being affected by the capriciousness of fate rather than the control of the travellers - so Odysseus' journey home seemed like quite a decent match, albeit one that is only really relevant to one character.
Then again, everyone was going home - and although we know most of them got there, it's fun to speculate that some of them had just as much trouble as him, and some may not have got there at all.

Athene certainly has connotations with the sea (either as daughter of Poseidon or of Triton); she is being used here I believe as a sort of representative avatar of the players in their role of interfering with the various journeys home, and none of the other sea-related Gods really have any sort of role in the Trojan War story as told in the Iliad.

That introductory paragraph still seems to me like a fine summary of the context in which the players find themselves at the start of the game, whilst also evoking the slightly over-blown prose of the original text.
 
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Spyros Gkiouzepas
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perfalbion wrote:
This doesn't strike me as following the Greek myth at all.

The Greeks did tick off any number of gods either on their way to Troy or while they were there. But the only one that incurred the wrath of a god that caused him trouble getting home was Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman terms). His men had slaughtered bulls sacred to Poseidon, and Poseidon chose to strike on their return trip home, resulting in the stories recounted in the epic poem the Odyssey.

Certainly other Greek kings suffered as a result of the choices they made to make it to Troy. Agamemnon was murdered by his wife as "payment" for sacrificing his daughter to allow the fleet to sail when they set out, as I recall. Aeschylus retold that tale in a triad of plays.

But what's in the text above really only applies to Odysseus and his family.



NOPE NO NIET

Sorry but you are wrong here.
After the destruction of Troy the Gods were angry and decided to punish the Greeks. Returning home Agamemnon is killed byhis wife and her lover by gruoesome death. Aias goes to Egypt (according to Aishylos) only to find Helen there. She is aged and never steprd foot on Troy. This is one of my favorite tragedies... Odyseus travels around the world for 10 years before he returns home. All who insulted the gods by their actions during the destruction of Troy payed for it one way or an other. But as far as I know Odyseys was the only one to pay the price in the form of difficult and long sea travel.
 
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Ken
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Scurra wrote:
Athene certainly has connotations with the sea (either as daughter of Poseidon or of Triton);


Athena isn't the daughter of Poseidon - she's the daughter of Zeus and Metis. In one of the more bizarre birth stories of the gods, Zeus ate her mother and ends up carrying Athena within his body, ends up with a terrible headache, either bashes himself in the head with a sword/axe or asks someone else to, and she springs from the wound fully grown and in her arms and armor.

Quote:
and none of the other sea-related Gods really have any sort of role in the Trojan War story as told in the Iliad.


Again, it's been a long time, but I don't believe that this is true. Just about all of the Olympian gods end up helping one side or the other.

Quote:
That introductory paragraph still seems to me like a fine summary of the context in which the players find themselves at the start of the game, whilst also evoking the slightly over-blown prose of the original text.


I agree, but if someone does read/know their Greek mythology it wouldn't hurt for the game to pick a Greek king/hero that actually encountered the problem.
 
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Ken
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Greeek geek wrote:
Sorry but you are wrong here.


I'm happy to be corrected.

Quote:
After the destruction of Troy the Gods were angry and decided to punish the Greeks.


I don't believe I said they weren't, just that only one sprang to my mind as fitting the storyline proposed for the game.

Quote:
All who insulted the gods by their actions during the destruction of Troy payed for it one way or an other. But as far as I know Odyseys was the only one to pay the price in the form of difficult and long sea travel.


Which is, I believe, what I'd said. I had forgotten Menelaus' difficulties on his way home. But for being wrong, I said much the same thing you did...
 
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Ken
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DavidNorman99 wrote:
So given that, please suggest what the game should be called, and what the opening paragraph of the overview should say.


For your theme, I'd stick with Odysseus since he had the most trouble getting home of all the Greek kings. If you'd like to stick with the name, then re-write the paragraph to feature securing Athena's aid and guidance to make your way through the storm and home. She certainly was working for Odysseus (soft spot for the schemer, she had). You'd also want the paragraph to feature Poseidon far more prominently since it was he rather than all the gods that made trouble for Odysseus.

"With the unspeakable events of Troy behind them, Odysseus gathers his men and sails his ships for home. But Poseidno will not let their act of blasphemy go unanswered and marshals the storm clouds as they have never been marshaled before, nor will they be again. As a salmon fights its way upstream to spawn, so you must battle the storm and placate the gods, for your wife and children must share your dishonour and are at as much risk at home as they would be by your side. Can you secure Athena's assistance to overcome the wroth of the god of storms?"

Players can then either be Odysseus or one of his captains trying to get home. To "keep the name," the mechanics should provide the players some way to earn Athena's help by visiting her shrines, praying, sacrificing to her, etc.
 
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Spyros Gkiouzepas
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perfalbion wrote:


Which is, I believe, what I'd said. I had forgotten Menelaus' difficulties on his way home. But for being wrong, I said much the same thing you did...


Yes, sorry about jumping on you. But greek mythology is repeatably punished and violated for many many reasons (not all of them are innocent) and for the Greeks it is a touchy subject.

What I want to say is that the Greeks offended the Gods by their actions and they all payed for it. Great tregedies and stories follow the destruction of Troy. Ifigenia (the daughter of Agamemnon) is the protagonist in two ancient tragedies. In another Helen is found in Egypt. Agamemnon is murdered and his son kills his murderers, his mother included. Thus begins a life of constant punishment for Orestis (sins of the fathers trouble the childs goes a asying in Greece) And the list goes on and on. Greek gods are characterised by their human atributes (mostly their vices and errs) some thing in present day strikes odd. Who would worship such a god? Revenge is what they really ecxell at!!!

Ken you seem to have great knowledge fof greek mythology. I wasn't trying to be mean or anything. You can surely teach the subject to some of my countrymen!!!
 
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Ken
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Greeek geek wrote:
Ken you seem to have great knowledge fof greek mythology. I wasn't trying to be mean or anything. You can surely teach the subject to some of my countrymen!!!


I didn't take any offense - you'd have been unable to mistake my tone as anything but if I had.

I've always loved Greek mythology and the development of religion in general. It's fascinating to watch the Greek myths change over time as the great Greek philosophers point out how capricious and contradictory the rules for living they provided were, creating some nearly impossible situations for the Greek peoples. And how they developed into cults that lasted well beyond the influence of Greece on the world stage (the cult of Demeter challenged Christianity as a resurrection/eternal life cult for quite some time).

Fascinating stuff and some of the best stories ever told...
 
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Nathaniel Hoam
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David,

You might want to send a note to 'hoamer' here on the Geek. She has a PHD in Greek mythology and has read both sagas in the original greek. I am sure she would be happy to help you.
 
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Joel Weeks
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Take the Mythology out of it and just call it Stormy Seas. Its a great game mechanic, don't distract from it with the gods and goddesses, make it a weather theme, that hasn't been done a lot.
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Ken
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Having had some off-line correspondence about this, removing the mythology from it would actually "break" the idea of the game. It does need the theme to "work."
 
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Eric Jome
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The only one who has significant troubles returning home after the Trojan war is Odysseus.

The real thing to consider about the Iliad is that it is a tragic hero story - very little works out for the betterment of anyone involved on either side.

I think I too would recommend removing the Iliad connection from your "sail home" game, but that doesn't mean you have to remove the mythological connection. Instead, consider that all Greeks were sailors and traders and, being dependent on the sea, held Poseidon in high esteem. Failure to make proper sacrifice made for an impossible journey... that's the real "mythology" angle for your game. A good title my be something like "Poseidon's Favor" - your sailors must have the good favor of the sea god to make it home. Poseidon granted safe sea journeys... or cursed sailors with unfavorable winds, storms, or monsters. The key mythology link for an ancient Greek sea travel game is definitely Poseidon.
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Ian Vincent
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cosine wrote:
The only one who has significant troubles returning home after the Trojan war is Odysseus.


The storm is best rembered for starting Odysseus' journey home but it was not sent for him...

DTee

“Troy is sacked … Lokrian Aias, when he saw Kassandra clinging to the wooden statue of Athena, raped her: for this reason the wooden image gazes up to the sky … As they were about to sail off after ravishing Troy, they were held back by Kalkhas, who told them that Athena was enraged at them because of the impious act of Aias. They were on the verge of slaying Aias when he ran to an altar, so they let him live. After all this they held an assembly, during which Agamemnon insisted they stay and sacrifice to Athena. So Diomedes, Nestor, and Menelaos all left at the same time. The first two had a good voyage, but Menelaos encountered a storm … Agamemnon left after making his sacrifice, and put in at Tenedos. Thetis came to persuade Neoptolemos to wait two days and make sacrifices, and he obeyed her. But the others left and were overtaken by storms in the region of Tenos, for Athena had begged Zeus to send a storm upon the Hellenes. Many ships sank. Athena threw a thunderbolt at the ship of Aias. As the ship fell apart, he scrambled to safety on a rock and declared that he had survived despite Athena’s designs. Then Poseidon struck the rock with his trident, splitting it in two, and Aias fell into the sea and was drowned.“ - Apollodorus, The Library E5.22-6.6

From http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/AthenaMyths3.html
5th Paragraph of the section entitled POSTHOMERICA: SHIPWRECK OF AIAS
Note Aias is spelt Ajax in some texts.
 
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Magister Ludi
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Robert Graves issued a two volume set on the Greek Myths which should still be in print...always handy...you never know when the thorny subject of Greek Mythology might rear it's ugly head..it's suprising how often it happens when watching the Footy, or turning snags on the BBQ.
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