From Gaia to Medusa: The Greek Mythology Quiz

By: Ed Grabianowski

From Gaia to Medusa: The Greek Mythology Quiz
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The Greek myths are thousands of years old, yet they have incredible influence over Western thought and literature. Take a shot at going 30 for 30 on this quiz if you're familiar with these fantastic stories.
What did Prometheus steal from Mount Olympus and give to humankind?
Hera
ambrosia
fire
Prometheus, a Titan, stole fire and gave it to humanity as part of his constant struggles against Zeus. As punishment, he was chained to a rock, where an eagle ate his liver every day (being an immortal, he never died and grew a new liver).

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Who was the first human woman created by the gods?
Atalanta
Pandora
Pandora was created as a sort of punishment for humanity. At the instructions of Zeus, she was made with an array of gifts with which to seduce men.
Andromeda

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When Jason assembled his crew of Argonauts to go on a quest, what were they seeking?
the Golden Fleece
Pelias, king of Iolcus, tasked Jason with retrieving the Golden Fleece. Pelias knew Jason would take his throne because Jason was only wearing one sandal.
the head of Medusa
the scepter of Zeus

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Who did Jason choose to join him on his quest?
prisoners and slaves with nothing to lose
the greatest heroes of his era
The Argonauts were basically the Greek mythology Avengers/Justice League — every great Greek hero of the era, including Heracles, joined the quest.
his brothers and sons

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Medea, who was Jason's wife at the time of the Golden Fleece quest, is the niece of what goddess?
Circe
In some versions of the story, Jason and Medea stop and visit Circe toward the end of the quest.
Hestia
Nike

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What is the Titanomachy?
the war between the Titans and their children, the Olympians
The Titanomachy is the war that pitted Zeus and the Olympians against Cronus and the Titans. The Olympians won.
the infernal machine deep within Tartarus that created the Titans
the demiplane where the Titans resided until they were cast into Tartarus

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Who is the god of the sea?
Apollo
Proteus
Poseidon
Poseidon is the god of the sea, and he is Zeus' brother.

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How is Jocasta related to Oedipus?
She is his daughter and his wife.
She is his sister and his mother.
She is his mother and his wife.
Adoptive parents raised Oedipus to avoid a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He later killed a man who turned out to be his dad, then became king of Thebes and married Jocasta, who he later realized was his biological mother. Hence she was his mother and his wife.

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Where did the 12 primary Greek gods dwell?
on Mount Olympus
The 12 foremost gods were called Olympians, after their home atop Mount Olympus (specifically on top of the highest peak, Mytikas, since Olympus has over 50 peaks).
in Asgard
on Mount Othrys

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What is the name of the primordial goddess that represents Earth?
Gaia
Gaia was born of Chaos. In some traditions, Chaos, Gaia, Eros and Tartarus were the four original primordials.
Hecate
Hera

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Who are the parents of the first generation of Titans?
Cronus and Phoebe
Zeus and Hera
Gaia and Uranus
Gaia and Uranus are the parents of the 12 Titans and creatures such as the Hekatonkheires and the Cyclopes.

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Who abducted Persephone?
Hades
Hades abducted Persephone and took her to the Underworld, where she is forced to spend part of every year.
Heracles
Achilles

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Why was Achilles, who was otherwise invulnerable to harm, vulnerable to injury of his heel?
His sister placed a curse on him so he would forever have to worry about getting shot in the heel.
He was invulnerable because his mother dipped him in the River Styx, but she had to hold him by the heel, so that part didn't get dipped.
His mother, Thetis, did not know that you have to toss your sons in a basket of Styx water to ensure an even coating of invulnerability. The same advice holds true for making chicken wings.
He turned and fled the battle at Troy, and his cowardice broke the spell that gave him his invulnerability. Because he was running away, his heel became his only weakness.

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What is the most notable physical trait of the Hekatonkheires?
Their arms are where their legs should be, and vice versa.
They have ears on their foreheads.
They have 100 hands.
The Hekatonkheires are three giants with 100 hands each. They helped the Olympians battle the Titans because Uranus had thrown them into Tartarus in disgust.

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The hero Bellerophon rode the winged horse Pegasus to defeat what monster?
Medusa
the Chimera
Bellerophon rode Pegasus at the Chimera, lodging a chunk of lead in the monster's throat. Its fiery breath melted the lead and the Chimera suffocated.
the Harpies

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One of the 12 labors of Heracles was to obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, queen of …
the Amazons
Heracles' journey to obtain the girdle was going well until Hera's treachery led to a battle in which Heracles killed Hippolyta. The incident led to a battle between the Amazons and Athens.
Athens
the Titans

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One of Heracles' less glamorous labors was to clean the poop of 1,000 immortal cattle from the Augean stables in a single day. How did he manage it?
He gave the cattle a look so stern and intimidating that they stopped pooping and cleaned the stables themselves.
He traveled to Hades and procured 1,000 immortal dung beetles, which were able to clear the poop from the stables.
He changed the courses of two rivers so that they washed the poop out of the stables.
Heracles used rivers to do the job. Eurystheus, who made Heracles do all these labors as penance for murdering his own children (after Hera drove him made, but still), decided Heracles had kind of cheated on the task and it didn’t count. This is why the original 10 labors became 12. Eurystheus also didn't count killing the Hydra because a buddy helped Heracles do it.

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Different versions of Greek mythology have varying origins for Porphyrion and the other Giants, but the weirdest is that they sprang up when what happened?
when 100 mortal heroes melded their bodies together with magical clay
when Uranus' blood spilled onto Earth after Cronus castrated him and tossed his genitals away
The Giants were born from the blood of Uranus' discarded genitals.
when Gaia learned of Uranus' treachery and cried tears that washed away the land, leaving behind only the hardest rock, which formed the bodies of the Giants

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Where was Athena born?
at the boundary between Hades and Earth
in Athens
from Zeus' forehead
Some versions of the story suggest Athena was conceived entirely by Zeus' thoughts and burst from his head; in others, Zeus impregnated Metis and then ate her, with Athena somehow gestating in his head. In either case she was born armed and armored.

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Which of these things did Zeus NOT transform himself into to seduce or rape a mortal woman?
a swan
a dolphin
Zeus never had sex with a mortal while in dolphin form — that would be silly.
a rain of gold

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What monster did Theseus kill?
the Minotaur
He killed the Minotaur, with help from Ariadne.
the Sphynx
the Phoenix

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Why did Theseus' father, Aegeus, kill himself when Theseus returned home?
Theseus didn’t put up the proper signal (white sails) to indicate he was alive, so Aegeus killed himself in grief, thinking his son had died.
Theseus left black sails on his ship, indicating he had died. Aegeus' death made Theseus king of Athens.
Aegeus had heard a prophecy that the slayer of the Minotaur would eventually kill him as well, and he wanted to prevent the prophecy from coming true to spite the gods.
He knew the killing of the Minotaur would anger Zeus, so he killed himself to appease Zeus.

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In her most common depiction as goddess of the hunt, Artemis is shown carrying what?
a hammer and sickle
a bow and arrow
Artemis is often depicted with a bow and arrow.
the corpse of a wild boar

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Which Olympian is the messenger of the gods?
Athena
Hermes
Hermes' speed makes him the ideal messenger of godly messages.
Tethys

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Why was the Trojan War fought?
because Menelaus wanted to get his wife, Helen, back from Troy
Different versions disagree on whether Helen was in Troy willingly (or if she was even there at all), but she was the reason for the whole war.
because Ares urged Menelaus to fight a great war in his honor
because Troy was providing safety and protection to the monster Geryon, which had earlier attacked Sparta

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Which two warriors fought a day-long duel at Troy, which was ultimately called off as a draw?
Heracles and Bellerophon
Ajax and Hector
Ajax was chosen at random to battle Hector.
Achilles and Odysseus

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How long did it take Odysseus to get back to Ithaca after fighting in the Trojan War?
10 years
It took him 10 years, a journey known as the "Odyssey." It probably would have gone more quickly if he hadn't done things like hang out on Circe's island for an entire year.
20 years
100 years

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What is Odysseus' wife's name?
Penelope
When Odysseus returns home to Penelope, there's this whole thing with suitors and his son and a contest with axe handles and a disguise. It's like the world's worst episode of "Undercover Boss."
Circe
Daphne

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Who was cursed with the ability to warn of future events but never be believed and was usually considered insane?
Cassandra
To warn of future peril yet not have your warnings heeded is sometimes called the Cassandra complex.
Athena
Cassiopeia

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Snake-haired Medusa is the most well-known of the Gorgons, but she had two sisters, Stheno and …
Alcyoneus
Chrysaor
Euryale
Perseus killed the mortal Medusa. Stheno and Euryale, however, were immortal.

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