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Melinoe

Melinoe is the goddess of spirits. She is the daughter of Persephone and Hades or Zeus. In order to make Persephone give birth to Melinoe. She was born at the mouth of the river Cocytus, the river of wailing and misery. She is described as the goddess of ghosts. 

PersonalityEdit

Melinoe is described as lonely and sad because everyone fears her. Everyone other than her twin sister who is completely different than her. Her right half of her body is pale white representing her mother, whilst her left half is pitch black and hardened like mummy skin representing her father. Melinoe often wears a gold dress and shawl. Her eyes are like empty black voids.

AbilitiesEdit

Melinoe can create illusions for people who regrets someone's death.

Greek nameEdit

Melinoe's official Greek name is Μηλινοη.

Alternate Interpretations Edit

Melinoe is depicted in numerous different ways in modern society. The most common interpretation of Melinoe is that she is the daughter of Zeus and Persephone. However many believe that she, along with Hades, Zagreus and numerous other gods, was a vicim of syncretism.

There were many gods and goddesses that were similar to others and these were combined to make singular gods. For instance, nearly all the chief sky gods of the Greek city states become Zeus before the rise of the polis.

Zeus, Zeus Pater (Jupiter) and Deus all mean the same thing, then it can be inferred that Zeus is a title, much like Caesar or king. Most of Zeus’ epithets are related to the city in which he was worshiped. In the Hymn to Melinoe, Kronian means ‘son of Kronos’, which was a title also widely applied to Hades. In several places like Locri, Eleusis, Corinth and Ephyra, Plouton (Hades) and Persephone were the chief deities, the ones responsible for the fertility of the earth, for the cycle of life and death. As a Father-Mother god pairing much like Zeus and Hera, they had children to rule over other aspects of their dominion. But during the rise of the polis and the writing down of oral myth, Zeus became the chief dominant god in a fractious region united by a single pantheon ruled over by a single sky god. Chief deities of the sea became Poseidon in much the same way, and Hades was relegated from rulership over the earth with his wife to rulership over only the dead. To make the pantheon make sense and include all gods, there couldn’t be two chief deities of the living world. Those writing down the myths also surmised that Hades, as the ruler of the dead, was infertile and could not have produced children like Melinoe and Zagreus. Hades, in his aspect of Zeus Katachthonios, the king beneath the earth, lost his role as father to his children because of syncretism. Zagreus and especially Melinoe remained, and their paternity was quickly attributed to the most common source of paternity in Greek myth: Zeus Olympios.

However it is possible to read between the lines in the Orphic hymns. For example, in Zagreus’ conception, the father appears as a snake, a creature who is deeply chthonic in its mythic origins. In this way, the father is written into this myth in code, not outright, as Hades. A few lines are added to reference back to Zeus, but the deeper symbolism points to Hades. In the conception of Melinoe above, Persephone bears her by the shores of the Cocytus, but strangely at the same time in the bed of Zeus Kronion, which here translates to the king son of Kronos, which could also be Hades. The line describing how Zeus took Hades’ form to conceive Melinoe on Persephone is about as clear an indication as we can have that the original source of the myth was ret-conned to have Zeus be the father. 

Melinoe was important enough to enough people as the daughter of Hades and Persephone that the myth had to be written this way in order to say to the people that “we know you worshipped her this way, as the daughter of Hades and Persephone, but here is what actually happened. This is what everyone should believe now, but if you want to keep believing that Hades was her father, here is how you can go right on ahead and do that”.

If it is not meant to be interpreted this way, then why bother going to all the trouble of saying that Zeus had to take Hades’ form to conceive the child? Wouldn’t Melinoe’s birth have been just as equally valid if Zeus had simply done what he did with almost every other one of his bedmates and ravished Persephone unwillingly?

The answer is clearly no, and the fact that the text exists to so elaborately explain Melinoe’s conception is the signifier that her original myth was different.

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