1000 Mythological Characters Briefly Described

Page: 19

“The light coquettes as Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.”

Sylvester (Sylves′ter). The name of Mars when he was invoked to protect cultivated land from the ravages of war.

Syrinx. The name of the nymph who, to escape from the importunities of Pan, was by Diana changed into reeds, out of which he made his celebrated pipes, and named them “The Syrinx.”

Venus, standing

See page 142

Venus de Milo

Uranus (Ura′nus), literally, heaven. Son and husband of Gaea, the Earth, and father of Chronos (Time) and the Titans. The Greek name of Coelus; his descendants are sometimes called Uranides.

Urgus (Ur′gus). A name of Pluto, signifying the Impeller.

Ursa Major (Ur′sa Ma′jor), see Calisto.

Ursa Minor (Ur′sa Mi′nor), see Arcas.

Usurers, see Jani.

Utgard Loki (Ut′gard Lo′ki). In Scandinavian mythology the king of the giants.

Valhalla (Valhal′la). The Scandinavian temple of immortality, inhabited by the souls of heroes slain in battle.

Vali (Va′li). The Scandinavian god of archery.

Valleys, see Vallonia.

Vallonia (Vallo′nia). The goddess of valleys.

Varuna (Varu′na). The Hindoo Neptune—generally represented as a white man riding on a sea-horse, carrying a club in one hand and a rope or noose to bind offenders in the other.

Vedius (Ve′dius). The same as Vejovis.

Vejovis (Vejo′vis). “Little Jupiter”—a name given to Jupiter when he appeared without his thunder.

Vejupiter (Veju′piter), see Vejovis.

[142] Vengeance, see Nemesis.

Venus (Ve′nus). The goddess of beauty, and mother of love. She is said to have sprung from the foam of the sea, and was immediately carried to the abode of the gods on Olympus, where they were all charmed with her extreme beauty. Vulcan married her, but she permitted the attentions of others of the gods, and notably of Mars, their offspring being Hermione, Cupid, and Anteros. After this she left Olympus and fell in love with Adonis, a beautiful youth, who was killed when hunting a wild boar. Venus indirectly caused the Trojan War, for, when the goddess of discord had thrown among the goddesses the golden apple inscribed “To the fairest,” Paris adjudged the apple to Venus, and she inspired him with love for Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. Paris carried off Helen to Troy, and the Greeks pursued and besieged the city (see Helen, Paris, and Troy). Venus is mentioned by the classic poets under the names of Aphrodite, Cypria, Urania, Astarte, Paphia, Cythera, and the laughter-loving goddess. Her favorite residence was at Cyprus. Incense alone was usually offered on her altars, but if there was a victim it was a white goat. Her attendants were Cupids and the Graces.

Verticordia (Verti′cor′dia). A Roman name of Venus, signifying the power of love to change the [143] hard-hearted. The corresponding Greek name was Epistrophia.

Vertumnus (Vertum′nus) (“the Turner,” “Changer”). God of spring, or, as some mythologists say, of the seasons; the husband of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and orchards.

Vesta (Ves′ta), daughter of Saturn and Cybele, was the goddess of the hearth and its fire. She had under her special care and protection a famous statue of Minerva, before which the Vestal Virgins kept a fire or lamp constantly burning.

Vestal Virgins (Ves′tal Vir′gins) were the priestesses of Vesta, whose chief duty was to see that the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta was not extinguished. They were always selected from the best families, and were under a solemn vow of chastity, and compelled to live perfectly pure lives.

Vialis (Via′lis). A name of Mercury, because he presided over the making of roads.

Victory (Vic′tory). A goddess, the daughter of Styx and Acheron, generally represented as flying in the air holding out a wreath of laurel. Her Greek name is Nike (Nicē). See Nicephorus.

Vidor. A Scandinavian god, who could walk on the water and in the air. The god of silence (corresponding with the classic Harpocrates).

Virtue. A goddess worshiped by most of the ancients under various names. The way to [144] the temple of honor was through the temple of virtue.

Virtuous Women, see Juno.

Vishnu (Vish′nu). The Preserver, the principal Hindoo goddess.

Volupia (Volu′pia), see Angeronia.

Vulcan (Vul′can), the god of fire, was the son of Jupiter and Juno. He offended Jupiter, and was by him thrown out of heaven; he was nine days falling, and at last dropped into Lemnos with such violence that he broke his leg, and was lame forever after. Vulcan was married to Venus. He is supposed to have formed Pandora out of clay. His servants were the Cyclopes. He was the patron deity of blacksmiths, and as the smelter or softener of metal bears also the name of Mulciber.

“Men call him Mulciber; and how he fell
From heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove,
Sheer o’er the crystal battlements.”

Vulcanalia (Vulcān-al′ia) were Roman festivals in honor of Vulcan, at which the victims (certain fish and animals) were thrown into the fire and burned to death.

War, see Bellona, Chemos, Mars.

Water, see Canopus.

Water-Nymphs, see Doris.

Wax Tablets, see Calliope.

[145] Wealth, see Cuvera.

Weaving, see Ergatis.

Weeding, see Runcina.

Weights and Measures, see Mercury.

Well, see Truth.

West Wind, see Favonius.

Winds, see Aurora, Auster, Boreas, Zephyr.

Wine, see Bacchus, Suradevi.

Wisdom, see Pollear, Minerva.

Woden (Wo′den), the Anglo-Saxon form of the Scandinavian god Odin; Wednesday is called after him.

Women’s Safeguard, see Sospita.

Woodpecker, see Picus.

Woods, see Dryads.

World, see Chaos.

Xanthus (Xan′thus), the name of the wonderful horse of Achilles.

Yama (Ya′ma). The Hindoo devil, generally represented as a terrible monster of a green color, with flaming eyes.

Ygdrasil (Yg′dra′sil). The famous ash-tree of Scandinavian mythology, under which the gods held daily council.

Ymir (Y′mir). The Scandinavian god, corresponding to Chaos of the classics.

Youth (perpetual), see Tithonus.

[146] Zephyr (Zeph′yr) or Zephyrus (Zeph′yrus). The west wind and god of flowers, a son of Astraeus and Aurora (Eos). See Favonius.

“Wanton Zephyr, come away.
. . . . .
The sun, and Mira’s charming eyes,
At thy return more charming grow.
With double glory they appear,
To warm and grace the infant year.”
John Hughes, 1700.

Zetes (Ze′tes), with his brother Calais, drove the Harpies from Thrace.

Zethus (Ze′thus), twin brother of Amphion. He was the son of Antiope and Zeus. See Amphion.

Zeus (Zūs). The Greek name of Jupiter, the greatest god in Grecian mythology. He was the god of the sky and its phenomena, and as such was worshiped on the highest mountains, on which he was enthroned. From Zeus come all changes in the sky or the winds; he is the gatherer of the clouds which dispense fertilizing rain; and is also the thunderer and hurler of lightning.


Entertainments for Every Occasion. Ideas, games, charades, tricks, plans—for keeping those present entertained, on whatever occasion, whether a party, a festival, a bazaar, an entertainment, or merely “our own folks” or an “entre nous.”

The Humorous Speaker. The choicest, most recent humor that lends itself to recitation. Easily the best collection that has been made. The selections are chosen because they are good literature, and because they are good recitations. Unhackneyed material—most of it from recently copyrighted books, for which special permission has been secured. A hundred and twenty five selections, about 500 pages.

Commencement Parts. “Efforts” for all occasions. Models for every possible occasion in high-school and college career, every one of the “efforts” being what some fellow has stood on his feet and actually delivered on a similar occasion—not what the compiler would say if he should happen to be called on for an ivy song or a response to a toast, or what not; but what the fellow himself, when his turn came, did say! Invaluable, indispensable to those preparing any kind of “effort.” Unique.

Contains models of the salutatory, the valedictory, orations, class poems, class songs, class mottoes, class will, ivy poem and song, Dux’s speech; essays and addresses for flag day, the seasons, national and other holidays; after-dinner speeches and responses to toasts. Also models for occasional addresses—social, educational, political, religious. Also models for superintendents’ and principals’ addresses to graduating class, debating team, educational conference; on dedication of school building, public building, library; for holidays, festival days, and scores of social and other occasions. Also themes for essays, and lists of subjects for orations, essays, toasts.

College Men’s 3-Minute Declamations. Material with vitality in it for prize speaking. 14th edit.

College Maids’ 3-Minute Readings. Up-to-date recitations from living men and women. On the plan of the popular College Men’s 3-Minute Declamations, and on the same high plane. Twelfth edition.

Pieces for Prize Speaking Contests. Volume I. Over one hundred pieces that have actually taken prizes in prize speaking contests. Successful.

Pieces for Prize Speaking Contests. Vol. II.

Pieces for Every Occasion. “Special days.”