THE GREEKS: A checklist of names, dates, and critical terms from ancient history, literature, and myth
Minoan Civilization: the highly advanced civilization of ancient Crete (3400-1200 BC).
Heroic Age: the era of the Homeric poems and of the rise of early Greek civilization (1200-700 BC).
Classical Period: the era the rise of the polis, of Athenian ascendancy, and of Greek architectural, literary, and artistic triumphs (700-300 BC).

Alcibiades (450-404 BC): controversial Athenian general--a notorious public celebrity and playboy aristocrat.
Aristophanes (457?-385 BC): greatest of the ancient comic dramatists and blistering opponent of the Peloponnesian War.
Aristotle (384-322 BC): encyclopedic philosopher whose authority and enormous influence covered everything from logic and poetry to biology and politics.
Aspatia (5th century BC): scandalous Athenian hetaire and society hostess, later married to Pericles.
Euripides (484-406 BC): Athenian tragic dramatist known for his flair for controversy and his challenging themes.
Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC): protracted military struggle between Sparta and her allies and Athens and hers, with disastrous long-term consequences for Greek political power and culture.
Pericles (495-429 BC): Athenian statesman, political leader during the so-called "Golden Age" of the classical period.
Plato (429-347 BC): greatest of the Greek philosophers--student and chronicler of Socrates and founder of his own philosophical Academy.
Pythagoras (6th century BC): Greek philosopher, mathematician, cult leader, and "equal rights" advocate.
Sappho (620BC-?): lyric poet of ancient Lesbos renowned for her tragicomic images of sexual passion and jealous love.
Socrates (469-399BC): famed Athenian teacher and philosopher.
Xantippe (5th century BC): wife of Socrates, reportedly a notorious shrew.

Achilles: wrathful Greek warrior and hero of Troy, a figure of insolent pride and determination.
Adonis: handsome youth beloved of Aphrodite; hence an icon and byword of masculine beauty.
Agamemnon: leader of the Greeks at Troy; upon his return home was slain by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus.
Alcestis: wife of Admetus who agreed to give up her life for his; hence symbol of wifely self-sacrifice and devotion.
Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Apollo: god of the sun, patron of song and poetry.
Athene: goddess of justice and wisdom, patron goddess of Athens.
Artemis: goddess of the moon and twin sister of Apollo; a virgin goddess associated with nature and hunting, equivalent to the Roman Diana.
Calypso: beautiful nymph who promised to make Odysseus immortal if he would stay with her and become her husband.
Circe: a mythical enchantress; in book 10 of the Odyssey, she turns Odysseus's men into swine.
Clytemnestra: vengeful wife and slayer of Agamemnon.
Demeter: goddess of the grain and harvest; an "earth mother" figure symbolizing female fecundity and life-giving power.
Dionysus: god of wine; his cult was associated with orgiastic religious frenzy and with the origins of tragedy.
Diotima: wise priestess or hetaire (possibly historical, but more likely a literary creation) who instructs Socrates's on the nature of love in the Symposium.
Eros: son of Aphrodite; god of love associated with the Roman Cupid.
Gaia: goddess of the Earth; associated with early fertility/earth-goddess cults.
Helen: most beautiful woman in Greece; her abduction by the Trojan prince Paris was the immediate cause of the Trojan War.
Hera: wife and consort of Zeus; icon of female majesty and shrewishness.
Hercules: son of Zeus; powerful hero and image of male strength (and dull-wittedness).
Hestia: goddess of the hearth; image of female modesty and domesticity.
Medea: mythical sorceress; symbol of female resourcefulness, occult power, vindictiveness, and irrationality.
Medusa: beautiful maiden ravished by the god Poseidon and transformed by Athene into a snake-haired monster.
Odysseus: the bold, resourceful, and adventurous hero of Homer's Odyssey; renowned for his courage and guile.
Pandora: the original woman; according to ancient myth, her curiosity and impulsiveness were responsible for introducing all ills and inconveniences into the world. 
Penelope: wife of Odysseus; icon of female patience, devotion, and virtue.
Silenus: a dwarfish, round-bellied satyr; Greek families often used statuettes in his image as repositories for their valuables.
Tiresias: blind seer and prophet of Greek myth.
Zeus: king of the Olympian deities; image of male dominance, potency, and promiscuity. 

Agape ("charity" or "devotion"): Greek word signifying a particularly selfless and altruistic form of love.
Anagnorisis ("tragic recognition or insight"): according to Aristotle, a moment of fatal insight or understanding in the mind of the tragic hero.
Arete: Greek word for "excellence" or "virtue."
Dialectic: in Plato, a logical process involving continual interrogation, redefinition, and cross-examination of opposing views; theoretically, this process leads to a higher level of understanding and a gradual discovery of truth.
Eros ("desire"): the Greek term for sexual attraction or romantic love.
Hamartia ("tragic error"): in Aristotle's theory of tragedy, a fatal error or simple mistake on the part of the protagonist that leads on to the final catastrophe. 
Hetaire: literally, "a companion"; any of the high-class, socially sophisticated, artistically accomplished prostitutes who provided intellectual and cultural entertaiinment as well as sexual favors to Athenian aristocrats 
Peripateia ("plot reversal"): in Aristotle's formula for tragedy, a pivotal or crucial action on the part of the protagonist that reverses his fortune from good to bad.
Philia ("friendship"): Greek term for a love relationship based on mutual admiration and respect rather than sexual attraction.
Stergo ("natural affection"): Greek word for love based a natural bond; e.g, the love between a brother and sister or a parent and child.
Thesmophoria: a Greek religious festival in honor of the goddess Demeter; it involved secret rituals and was attended only by women.