Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

home | greek | lexicon | ambrosia

Ambrosia - Food of the Greek Gods

Ambrosia was the food of the gods and goddesses in Greek mythology. It was often accompanied by the drink nectar in celebrations, and indeed, ambrosia and nectar both appear in myth and literature as divine confections that were guaranteed to satisfy the hunger and/or thirst of any immortal resident of Mt. Olympus.

While scholars are not entirely certain what the ancient Greeks thought the composition of ambrosia (or its liquid counterpart, for that matter) actually was, it is believed that these mythical items had some connection to a sweet treat enjoyed by mortals throughout the ages - honey. Honey was highly regarded by the people of ancient Greece, so this suggestion makes sense.

Ambrosia made more than just a delightful meal, however. There are several episodes in Greek myth in which ambrosia is used by the gods and goddesses as a sort of balm, to confer grace or even immortality (in the case of mortals) onto the recipient. One such incident that demonstrates how ambrosia was used to beautify involves Aphrodite, the enchanting goddess of love. In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, the goddess prepares herself for some serious seduction with the assistance of eau de ambrosia:

"...there the Graces bathed her and anointed her
with ambrosian oil such as is rubbed on deathless gods,
divinely sweet, and made fragrant for her sake."

And while this may have been an example of gilding the lily (Aphrodite already being irresistible), ambrosia played a more serious part in other myths. In one poignant and memorable scene from Homer's Iliad, the sea-nymph Thetis uses ambrosia and nectar to preserve the body of the dead warrior Patroclus. In the same epic, Zeus calls upon Apollo to anoint another fallen hero - this time, Sarpedon - with ambrosia.

To see more definitions of words, visit the Mythography lexicon of Greek terms.

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

Bulfinch's Mythology

Bulfinch's Mythology

The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.

Mythography Forums

Mythography Forums

Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!