Adrasteia

Adrasteia

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In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends 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. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Adrasteia (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Ἀδράστεια (Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

: Ἀδρήστεια), "inescapable"; also spelled Adrastia, Adrastea, Adrestea, Adastreia) was a nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 who was charged by Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

 with nurturing the infant Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, in secret in the Dictaean cave, to protect him from his father Cronus
Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...

 (Krónos).

Zeus


Adrasteia and her sister Ida, the nymph of Mount Ida
Mount Ida
In Greek mythology, two sacred mountains are called Mount Ida, the "Mountain of the Goddess": Mount Ida in Crete; and Mount Ida in the ancient Troad region of western Anatolia which was also known as the Phrygian Ida in classical antiquity and is the mountain that is mentioned in the Iliad of...

, who also cared for the infant Zeus, were perhaps the daughters of Melisseus
Melisseus
In Greek mythology, Melisseus , the father of the nymphs Adrasteia and Ide who nursed the infant Zeus on Crete, was the eldest and leader of the nine Kuretes of Crete...

. The sisters fed the infant milk from the goat Amaltheia. The Korybantes
Korybantes
The Corybantes were the armed and crested dancers who worshipped the Phrygian goddess Cybele with drumming and dancing. They are also called the Kurbantes in Phrygia, and Corybants in an older English transcription. The Kuretes were the nine dancers who venerate Rhea, the Cretan counterpart of...

, also known as the Curetes, whom the scholiast on Callimachus calls her brothers, also watched over the child; they kept Cronus from hearing him cry by beating their swords on their shields, drowning out the sound.

On the mainland of Greece, the spring called Adrasteia was at the site of the Temple of Nemean Zeus
Nemea
Nemea is an ancient site near the head of the valley of the River Elissos in the northeastern part of the Peloponnese, in Greece. Formerly part of the territory of Cleonae in Argolis, it is today part of the prefecture of Corinthia...

, a late Classic temple of c 330 BCE, but built on an archaic platform in a very ancient sanctuary near the cave of the Nemean Lion
Nemean Lion
The Nemean lion was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles. It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack...

.

Sphaira


Apollonius Rhodius relates that she gave to the infant Zeus a beautiful globe (sphaira) to play with, and on some Cretan coins Zeus is represented sitting upon a globe. The ball, which Aphrodite promises to Eros, is described as if it were the Cosmos: "its zones are golden, and two circular joinscurve around each of them; the seams are concealed, as a twisting dark blue pattern plays over them. If you throw it up with your hands, it sends a flaming furrow through the sky like a star."

Rhesus


The tragedy Rhesus
Rhesus (play)
Rhesus is an Athenian tragedy that belongs to the transmitted plays of Euripides. There has been debate about its authorship. It was understood to be by Euripides in the Hellenistic, Imperial, and Byzantine periods. In the 17th century, however, the play's authenticity was challenged, first by...

, no longer attributed to Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, makes Adrasteia the daughter of Zeus, rather than his nurse.

Cirrha


At Cirrha, the port that served Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

, Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 noted "a temple of Apollo, Artemis and Leto, with very large images of Attic workmanship. Adrasteia has been set up by the Cirrhaeans in the same place, but she is not so large as the other images."

Epithet for other goddesses


Adrasteia was also an epithet of Nemesis
Nemesis (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nemesis , also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris . The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess: the goddess of revenge...

, a primordial Great Goddess of the archaic period. The epithet is derived by some writers from Adrastus
Adrastus
Adrastus or Adrestus , traditionally translated as "nonparticipant" or "uncooperative", was a legendary king of Argos during the war of the Seven Against Thebes.-Mythological tradition:...

, who is said to have built the first sanctuary of Nemesis on the river Asopus
Asopus
Asopus or Asôpos is the name of four different rivers in Greece and one in Turkey. In Greek mythology, it was the name of the gods of those rivers.-The rivers in Greece:...

, and by others from the Greek verb (didraskein), according to which it would signify the goddess whom none can escape.

Adrasteia was also an epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

 applied to Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

 herself, to Cybele
Cybele
Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

, and to Ananke
Ananke (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Ananke, also spelled Anangke, Anance, or Anagke , was the personification of destiny, necessity and fate, depicted as holding a spindle. She marks the beginning of the cosmos, along with Chronos...

. As with Adrasteia, these four were especially associated with the dispensation of rewards and punishments.

Lucian of Samosata refers to Adrasteia/Nemesis in his Dialogue of the sea-gods, 9, where Poseidon remarks to a Nereid that Adrasteia is a great deal stronger than Nephele
Nephele
In Greek mythology, Nephele was a cloud nymph who figured prominently in the story of Phrixus and Helle.Greek myth also has it that Nephele is the cloud whom Zeus created in the image of Hera to trick Ixion to test his integrity after displaying his lust for Hera during a feast as a guest of Zeus...

, who was unable to prevent the fall of her daughter Helle
Helle (mythology)
Helle was a character in Greek mythology who figured prominently in the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Phrixus, son of Athamas and Nephele, along with his twin sister, Helle, were hated by their stepmother, Ino. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the town's crop...

 from the ram of the Golden Fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

.