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Ganymedes. 7031: Statua di Ganimede con l'aquila. Replica d'età antonina da originale greco della seconda metà del IV sec. a.C. National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

"For in this way have the gods spun the thread for wretched mortals, that they should live in pain; and themselves are sorrowless." (Achilles to King Priam 1. Homer, Iliad 24.525).

There was no race of immortals before Eros caused all things to mingle. Several levels or kinds of immortality might be perceived. Turning into a star is one way of attaining immortality. Another way of escaping death is to transform into another being (see METAMORPHOSES). Those inhabiting the Elysian Fields, the White Island or the Islands of the Blest might be considered immortals. Existence as a shadow in the Underworld, or being punished in it can be considered as a form of death. Hermes leads the souls of the dead to Hades where they flit about as shadows (except those punished; see below). However it is said that the mind of Tiresias was unchanged. To him even in death Persephone has granted reason, that he alone should have understanding. (For the names of those who have been seen in Hades and never returned, see AENEAS IN HADES and ODYSSEUS IN HADES.)

Among those (human) mortals who are said to have become (or were near to becoming) immortals are the following: 

Thetis attempted to make him immortal but was prevented by Peleus. He is said to have married Iphigenia or Helen after death and lives with one of them in the White Isle. Or else he married Medea and lives with her in the Islands of the Blest. However it is also said that Odysseus met him as a complaining shadow in Hades.


Aegipan 1
Attained immortality through becoming a star. Aegipan 1 is the son of Pan & Aex, the nurse of Zeus who had a beautiful body but a most horrible face. Aegipan 1 was nourished with Zeus and recovered, together with Hermes, Zeus' sinews which Typhon had severed.

Was caused to die by King Pelias 1 of Iolcus, but he is also said to have been restored to youth by Medea, and after that there is no account of his death.

Ajax 1
Was seen after his death by Leonymus in the White Isle.


Ajax 2
Was seen after his death by Leonymus in the White Isle.

Died instead of her husband but returned from the dead.


King Amphiaraus of Argos vanished in the course of the war of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES and became immortal.

Andromeda, wife of Perseus 1, became immortal as she was put among the stars.


Antilochus, Leader of the Pylians against Troy, who as a child was suckled by a bitch, was according to some, killed by Memnon at Troy, but others say that Hector 1 killed him during the Trojan War. Leonymus says that he saw Antilochus' soul in the White Isle.

Arcas 1
Arcas 1, after wom Arcadia was named, is son of Zeus & Callisto. He became immortal through becoming a star.

Ariadne, daughter of King Minos 2 of Crete, was made immortal but it is also told that she died.


Aristaeus was taught by the MUSES the arts of healing and of prophecy. Grieved by the death of his son Actaeon, he migrated to Sardinia. He competed with his honey against the wine of Dionysus 2 but Zeus gave the first prize to the wine. Aristaeus was never seen again and received immortal honours.

Asclepius is immortal but he is also said to have been killed by Zeus.


Bolina, after whom a city in Achaea was called, fled from Apollo who was in love with her. She threw herself into the sea, but Apollo made her immortal.

Was sent to the Elysian Fields or else he dwells in the Islands of the Blest. Cadmus is the founder of Thebes and Europa's brother.

Became immortal through turning into a star, but she is also said to have been killed by Artemis.


Capaneus is one of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES. Zeus smote him with a thunderbolt when he was climbing the walls of Thebes, but he was raised from the dead by Asclepius.

Cassiopea 2
Mother of Andromeda, Perseus 1's wife. She is immortal as she is among the constellations.

Cepheus 1
He is among the constellations, which is one way to immortality. Cepheus 1 was king of Ethiopia and father of Andromeda, Perseus 1's wife.

Ceteus 1
Immortal through becoming a star. Ceteus 1 is son of impious Lycaon 2, and some say he was Callisto's father.

Circe is to be considered as an immortal, as she could bestow immortality on others. Besides she was the daughter of Helius (see also Odysseus).


Clitus 3
Clitus 3 should be immortal, as Eos (Dawn), who snatched him on account of his beauty, took him to live with the gods.

Immortal through becoming a star. Crotus was a hunter and a companion of the MUSES. He is son of Pan & Eupheme 1, one of Zeus' nurses.

Nurse of Zeus, immortal through becoming a star.

Demophon 2
Demeter tried to make him immortal by putting him into the fire, but he died consumed by the flames.

Deucalion 1
The man who survived the Flood. He is probably immortal as he was put among the stars.

They shared immortality with each other. Originally only Polydeuces was immortal.


Erichthonius 2
King of Athens. Immortal through becoming a star.

Erigone 2
Erigone 2 hanged herself when she discovered that her father Icarius 2 was dead. Immortal through becoming a star.

Had three lives and had to be killed thrice. He was killed by Evander 2, the wise Arcadian [see Romulus].

Was taken to live among the gods and he also became a star.


Glaucus 4
Son of King Minos 2 of Crete. He drowned in honey but he was raised from the dead by Asclepius or the seer Polyidus 1, son of Coeranus 1, son of Abas 3, son of the seer King Melampus 1 of Argos, son of Amythaon 1, who lived in Pylos, son of Cretheus 1, the founder of Iolcus, son of Aeolus 1, the Thessalian, son of Hellen 1, the eponym of the Hellenes, son of Deucalion 1, the man who survived the Flood.

Harmonia 1
The wife of Cadmus, who received as wedding presents the fatal Robe & Necklace. She was sent to the Elysian Fields after her death.

Said to be born immortal. She was taken to heaven by Apollo. Or else she went with Menelaus to the Elysian Fields. She is also said to have wedded Achilles in the White Isle after death. Nevertheless it is also told that she died.

Heracles 1
Attained immortality at the moment of death. He descended once to Hades and came up again.


Romulus' wife. She went up with a star to heaven and became immortal.

Hippolytus 4
Son of Theseus and an Amazon, either Antiope 4 or Hippolyte 3. He was raised from the dead by Asclepius [see also Romulus].


Icarius 2
Immortal through becoming a star. Icarius 2 was killed by some shepherds who imagined they were bewitched after having drunk the wine of Icarius 2, which Dionysus 2 had given him.

Ino is the mortal woman who plotted against the children of her husband's first wife, attempting to arrange their death. These, however, could escape to Colchis borne through the sky by the Ram with the Golden Fleece [see ARGONAUTS]. Ino cast herself into the sea, but became a goddess called Leucothea.


This is Agamemnon's daughter, who sometimes is said to have been sacrificed at Aulis [see Trojan War]. She married Achilles after death in the White Isle.


Immortals, because they judge the souls of those who descend to Hades. They are Minos 2, Aeacus and Rhadamanthys. Rhadamanthys is also said to dwell in the Elysian Fields [see Underworld].

Juturna became a goddess of lakes and rivers in return for the maidenhood Zeus had ravished. Juturna was the daughter of King Daunus of Apulia (Italy) & Venilia.

Lycurgus 1
King of the Edonians (Thrace) or else the Arabians, who was the first to expel Dionysus 2. He used, when he met wandering wayfarers, to have them bound and dragged to his house, and then sacrificed to Ares. They were cut to pieces, and he took their extremities to decorate his gates. Some say he was killed by the Edonians. Others say that he, driven mad by Dionysus 2, killed himself. But still others say that the MAENADS almost killed him but he was saved by Hera (who always opposed Dionysus 2) and made immortal.

Lycurgus 4
Son of Pronax, son of King Talaus of Argos. He was raised from the dead by Asclepius.

Lycus 2
Was sent by his father Poseidon to dwell in the Islands of the Blest. His mother was the Pleiad Celaeno 2.

Was married to Achilles after death and they live in the Islands of the Blest.


Originally a mortal child, but when he died he became a deity and was called Palaemon 3. Ino, his mother [see above in this list], threw him into a boiling cauldron. Then, carrying it with the dead child, she cast herself into the sea, and while she became the sea-deity Leucothea, he became a new god, Palaemon 3.

Son of Tithonus 1 & Eos (Dawn). King Memnon of the Ethiopians came with a great force to Troy to fight against the Achaean invaders. After being killed by Achilles, he was made immortal by Zeus at his mother's request. His body is buried in the neighborhood of Paltus in Syria.

Went after death to the Elysian Fields with Helen.


Immortal through becoming a star [his story at Pelopides].


Nisus 1
His immortality depended on a purple hair in his head; when the hair was pulled out he died [see Megara].

Was offered immortality by Calypso 3, but he refused. Odysseus is among those who descended to Hades and returned [see also Map of the Underworld].


Orsilochus 6
This is the man from Argos invented the four-horse chariot. Immortal through becoming a star (constellation Charioteer = Auriga).

Immortal through becoming a star (constellation Virgin = Virgo). Parthenos died very young. She hurled herself down from a rock in fear of her father's severity as a swine destroyed the wine she was watching, a drink which had only recently been discovered. Daughter of Staphylus 1 & Chrysothemis 2.

Wife of King Minos 2 of Crete. She was immortal probably just for being the daughter of Helius.

Patroclus 1

This good friend of Achilles came after death to the White Island, as Leonymus said.

Achilles' father. He dwells in the Islands of the Blest.

Pelops 1
Was cut into pieces by his father and served as a meal, but the gods restored him to life [see also Pelopides].

Odysseus' wife. She was made immortal by the witch Circe and sent to the Islands of the Blest together with Telegonus 3, but she is also reported to have died.

Perseus 1
Became immortal when he turned into a star (constellation Perseus). Otherwise he is said to have being killed by Megapenthes 2.


Daughter of Tyndareus & Leda. She was made immortal by Artemis.


Was immortal but his immortality depended on a golden hair in his head. So when the hair was pulled out he died. Pterelaus was King of Taphos at the time when Amphitryon, the step-father of Heracles 1, ravaged the islands of the Taphians. He was betrayed by his daughter Comaetho 1, who pulled out the golden hair from his head.

Was taken by his father (Ares) to heaven, but he is also said to have been murdered.


Was raised from Hades by her son Dionysus 2 and made immortal by Zeus.

Telegonus 3
Was sent by his mother Circe to the Isles of the Blest together with Penelope.

Was killed but he attained immortality through becoming a star.


Tithonus 1
Became immortal when his wife Eos (Dawn) asked Zeus immortality for him. But she forgot to ask for youth and he grew old. Finally he could not move his limbs but he was unable to die.


Triopas 2
Attained immortality through becoming a star (Serpent-Holder = Ophiuchus). He tore down the temple of Demeter, and she sent a serpent to plague him. By her will he was put among the stars, but this immortality implies punishment, because the serpent still hunts him the sky.


King of Sparta. Was raised from the dead by Asclepius.

Some were in direct contact with the world of the dead and having descended to Hades, they managed to come up again. Among these are found: 

Descended to the Underworld and there he saw persons who had not yet been born [see also Map of the Underworld].

Heracles 1
Descended to the Underworld in order to fetch Cerberus 1, the hound of Hades.

Descended to Hades and there was told by Tiresias the outcome of his wanderings [see also Map of the Underworld].

Went down to Hades to bring back his dead wife, Eurydice 5. He returned but failed to bring her to life again, though he had received a fair chance.



Descended to Hades for the sake of Persephone. According to some he still sits in the Chair of Oblivion in Hades, but some say that he was rescued by Heracles 1.

Was killed at Troy and his wife mourned him so much that the gods, pitying her, allowed Protesilaus to come back to her for a few hours.

Descended to Hades to help Pirithous who wooed Persephone. He sat in the Chair of Oblivion, but was finally rescued by Heracles 1.

Among those who are eternally punished in the Underworld for different reasons and tormented in different ways (see the individual entries) are 


For attacking heaven [see Zeus].

Amphion 1
For having made a mock of Leto and her children.


Ascalaphus 2
Because he bore witness against Persephone, but later Heracles 1 released him.

For killing their husbands.

For attempting to rape Hera [see also CENTAURS].


For betraying a secret.

Tantalus 1
For betraying the mysteries of the gods.


Thamyris 1
For boasting against the MUSES, but some say he became a star. Thamyris 1 was a Thracian who loved Hyacinthus 1. He was the first man to become enamoured of males. He excelled in minstrelsy and engaged in a musical contest with the MUSES. Having lost, they took his eyes and minstrelsy.

When they were defeated by the OLYMPIANS, Zeus shut them up in Tartarus, though later they were released.

For attempting to rape Leto. Tityus is son of Zeus & Elare, or son of Gaia. Vultures eat his heart or his liver in Hades, or else a serpent eats his liver.

Mortality and immortality in other (non-human) cases: 

Alcyoneus 1
One of the GIANTS. He was immortal within the limits of Pallene.


Balius 1
Immortal horse [see BESTIARY].

Calypso 3
Is called a nymph and a goddess. She was probably immortal as she could offer immortality to others.

The Centaur. He was immortal but he renounced immortality in favor of Prometheus 1. Nevertheless he is among the stars.


Was believed to be immortal, but she was slain by Argus 1.

Among them both Euryale 1 and Stheno were immortals, whereas Medusa 1 was slain by Perseus 1.

Hydra Lernaean
The Hydra was mortal but one of its heads was immortal. This head was buried by Heracles 1 between Lerna and Elaeus.


Ladon 4
Guardian snake with one hundred heads who kept the golden apples of the HESPERIDES. Was immortal but it is also said to have been killed by Heracles 1. Ladon 4 was the offspring of Typhon & Echidna, or of Phorcus & Ceto 1.

The NYMPHS, though living many years, are nevertheless bound to die.

Was made immortal by Zeus.


Pholus 1
The Centaur Pholus 1 is immortal through being among the stars (constellation Centaur = Centaurus).

Prometheus 1
This Titan, received Chiron's immortality.

Ram 1
The Ram with the Golden Fleece was sacrificed but attained immortality through becoming a star (constellation Ram = Aries).


Serpent 17
This serpent died but was later restored to life by its female partner with the help of a lifegiving herb.

Typhon never died but he lies under Mount Etna [for his attack against heaven see Zeus].

Xanthus 1
Immortal horse [see BESTIARY].

Zagreus (the first Dionysus) proves that even gods may die. He was killed by the TITANS [see Dionysus 2].

The first generations after the creation are to be considered as immortals. Some important exceptions are: 


Killed by Bellerophon.

Killed by Apollo.


Killed by Argus 1.

Killed by the OLYMPIANS and Heracles 1.

Medusa 1
Killed by Perseus 1.


Killed by Heracles 1. Orthus was a two-headed hound. He was the watch-dog of the cattle of Geryon.

Destroyed herself.

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