+ Cycladia | Mykonos in Mythology

Mykons and Mykonos

It is believed that the island was named after its first ruler Mykons, a local hero, who was considered to be the son or grandson of the god Apollo. There are various references to Mykonos in the Greek mythology.

Mykonos was supposedly where the battle between omnipotent Zeus and the fearful Titans took place. Also it is mentioned as the place where Hercules slew the Giants. The Giants were invincible while they stayed in the protected area of Mount Olympus. Hercules managed to lure them out of there and kill them on Mykonos.

Actually, it is said that the large rocks which are scattered around the island are actually the same petrified corpses of the Giants.

Delos, birthplace of Apollo

Delos in ancient Greek language is the opposite of “adelos” (invisible) and means clear, brought to light, obvious, apparent, manifest.

Greek mythology tells the legend of how the island of Delos appeared suddenly amidst the waves of the sea when Leto was looking for a safe place to give birth to her twins Apollo and Artemis. Leto was the daughter for Titans Koios and Phoebe, grandaughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). She was the titan goddess of the “unseen”, the hidden, but ironically enough she was so beautiful in sight that inevitably attracted the attention of Zeus.

Zeus turned into a quail, pursued Leto and made her pregnant with twins.

But, when time came to give birth, Zeus’ wife the goddess Hera became so jealous and angry that ordered for all land to disappear under Leto’s feet, so that she wouldn’t be able to find anywhere “under the sun” to give birth.

Leto first managed to stay on the small island of Rinia long enough to give birth to one of the twins, Artemis the goddess of hunt, wild animals and children, often depicted as a huntress carrying her bow and arrows. According to the story, Leto’s sister Asteria had also been pursued by Zeus but in her effort to escape she had fallen into the sea and become a rock, a floating little island. This is the island of Delos that suddenly appeared in front of Leto’s eyes and to which she crossed with the help of her new born baby Artemis.

There, with the help of goddess Eileithyia -goddess of childbirth and midwifery- Leto gave birth to the handsome Apollo, the god of light, after being in labour for nine days and nine nights leaning on a palm tree by the banks of river Inopos. It is said that, touched by the birth of his son which he witnessed from the top of Mount Kynthos, Zeus asked his brother Poseidon to fasten the little floating island to that exact position, so it would stop moving and thus become visible, apparent , “Delos”

The Cyclades

The Cyclades were named after the word “kyklos”, meaning “circle” in Greek (a derivative is the word “cycle” in English), either because in the minds of the Ancient Greeks the formed an imaginary circle around the sacred island of Delos, birthplace of god Apollo, or because the strong winds in the area used to oblige the ships to turn around themselves and make circles in the water.

Another interesting version according to the Greek mythology is that the Cyclades were named after the nymphs by the same name that god Poseidon transformed into rocks during a rage fit.

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