Greek Mythology has always been a source of great fascination to me. The Ancient Greeks had an uncanny way of explaining the random, capricious nature of life through their deities. The gods were wild and erratic. They could hand you a check for a million dollars one minute and throw you in a pit with a thousand rattlesnakes the next. Imagine the entire Old Testament was The Book of Job and you have a decent sense of how things worked for The Greeks.
The gods seemed to be a great way to explain anything and everything. At times, it can seem as if there were more gods then Greeks. Often, scholars spend their time focusing on the better-known gods like Zeus, Poseidon or Athena. However, there are many fascinating stories of gods that were widely worshiped in their day, but have disappeared into the great dustbin of history. Here are some great examples:
Arteriosclorities-The God of Deep Fried Foods
Beyond contributing democracy and many other key philosophical insights to our world, The Greeks are also the first society to deep-fry their foods. From yak to Snickers bars (a delicacy first created by Aristotle), the Greeks would throw nearly anything into a bubbling cauldron of oil. It is no wonder that the Greeks are believed to be the progenitors of Western medicine. Most Greeks weighed upwards of 300 pounds and were barely able to run. This fact tends to throw their achievements during the Olympic games into a whole different light.
Supposedly, Arteriosclorities was one of Zeus’ many sons from an affair with Eris, the goddess of strife and discord. In order to hide this affair from his wife Hera after the child was born, Zeus placed Arteriosclorities into the stomach of Dionysus while he was sleeping off a wild night of overeating and general debauchery. Dionysus awoke with a terrible feeling of discomfort and collapsed. Zeus, not meaning to have harmed Dionysus, sent Indigestius, the Greek god of stomach acid and ulcers, into his stomach to destroy Arteriosclorities. The two had a great battle, which was won by Indigestius. Dionysus finally awoke with terrible stomach pains that could only be allayed by eating massive amounts of antacids.
McKuenius-The God of Bad Poetry and Greeting Cards
The Greeks are known for creating some of the most poignant and moving poetry in human history. But, for every Homer, there were 1,000 less talented hacks trying to write their own Iliad. Many of these no talent writers ended up working for the Hallmark Corporation, which was founded in 654 B.C., with the mission of sending sappy, dull poetry to people on important days of their lives. Their patron saint is the god McKuenius.
McKuenius was known for writing terribly boring, pointless poetry and asking Hermes to deliver it. Hermes, the busy messenger god, was forced to deliver idiotic compositions like “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, You are a Goddess and Athena is too” to Aphrodite or “Poseidon likes water, Demeter is his sister, She gave birth to his daughter,” to the god of the sea. After growing tired of having to read this drivel, Hermes begged Zeus to punish McKuenius in order to make him stop writing. First, Zeus sentenced him to one hundred years of writing dirty limericks on bathroom stalls. However, Zeus quickly discovered that he was enjoying his job. Zeus realized he was a lost cause and sent him to pits of Tartarus and made him write a detailed description of Sisyphus rolling a rock up the hill for eternity. He is still there today, happily describing suffering and misery in a pithy, gleeful, and highly moronic way.
Aggasius-The God Of Male Pattern Baldness
The gods seemed to all have some sort of fatal flaw. Be it rage, greed, avarice or just plain old insanity, they all seemed to have something locked into their character that made them both all-powerful and amazingly vulnerable. One of the earliest examples of this is Aggasius, the god of male pattern baldness. Aggusius was one of the original Titan gods who were overthrown by Zeus and The Olympian gods at 4:22 PM on February 12th 3212 B.C. Aggasius was capable of creating tornadoes, causing earthquakes and smiting entire nations with a wave of his staff. However, he was unable to grow hair on the top of his head. The tragic irony of Agassius was that he could grow massive amounts on his back, his ears and even on his shoulders like Sonny Corleone in the first Godfather film. He tried several potions created by Greek pharmaceutical manufacturers, a terribly made hairpiece created from the beard of Hyperion, and even tried to rubbing pomegranate seeds on his head three times a day, nothing seemed to work. In spite of his great power, the other gods laughed at “The Bald One” whenever his back was turned. Eventually, he grew tired of the mockery, quit being a god and moved to a suburb of Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he still lives today working as a successful middle manager at a meat packing company.
#1 by John Erickson on September 4, 2011 - 1:48 PM
Great bits of history – I actually had never heard of Aggasius before. (And am fairly sure I still haven’t.)
So when do you do the next edition, presenting the most ancient of divine beings, the great Porcelain Gods known as Wog, Rolf, and Urp (a demigod, but we keep him with the rest so he don’t get jealous!)?
(And something REALLY frightening? My spell-checker only kicked out Urp. I know Wog is a Brit/Aussie insult, but what the heck is a Rolf?)
#2 by Keith Spillett on September 4, 2011 - 1:52 PM
Internet speak, I believe. It means severely amused or something like that. Either that or it is a vomiting noise.
#3 by John Erickson on September 4, 2011 - 2:01 PM
Ah – I forgot about “Rolling On Floor, Laughing”. Shows ya how much of that stuff I DON’T use! And both your points are correct, that’s how the Porcelain Gods were named. (During a hangover session following a long night of a little D&D and a LOT of alcohol….)
#4 by Jim Wheeler on September 4, 2011 - 2:07 PM
This post reminds me of another little known Greek god, Teaparticus, the inspiration of errant, single minded political zealots. Teaparticus is known to lie dormant for decades at a time, but is apparently immortal and returns at random intervals. His symbol is entwined Lemmings rampant on a background of cliffs.
#5 by Keith Spillett on September 4, 2011 - 2:16 PM
“Entwined lemmings rampant on a background of cliffs” BANG! I love it.
#6 by John Erickson on September 4, 2011 - 2:36 PM
Shouldn’t there be a female grizzly bear holding a shotgun on that crest?
#7 by westwood on September 6, 2011 - 12:39 PM
Ha, this is great!
#8 by Keith Spillett on September 6, 2011 - 4:49 PM
Why thank you!