The Greek Mythic Genealogy Project

I am currently looking for volunteers to assist with this project. Please read on for more information.

This page provides a link by which you can download a GEDCOM-compliant genealogical file describing many of the main characters in the Greek mythic cycles. Click here to skip the rest of the introductory material and download the file. Read on if you want more information about the project and the (quite large) limitations from which it currently suffers.

Greek myth contains a large amount of genealogical information. Various characters are related to each other in ways that are difficult for the non-specialist to keep track of, if for no other reason than that there are such a large number of gods, heroes, and other characters who appear in the various myths, epics, lyrics, legends, comedies, and other material. The Greek Mythic Genealogy Project is a fragmentary attempt to keep track of some of these relationships.

I realize as well as you do – maybe better – that the importance of genealogy in classical mythology should not be over-emphasized. There are issues substantially more important than family relationships in most or all of the mythic cycles involved.

I also realize that genealogical information presented in myths often encodes something other than disinterested and objective family history – that to claim that Perseus is the son of Zeus is to legitimate a specific family's claim to the Mycenaean throne, for instance. This is not information that the database format naturally supports, unfortunately, and no effort has been made to include it.

Still, family relationships do play an important role in many stories in the mythic corpus, and sorting out the family relationships often provides a useful insight into various aspects of the stories involved. Having this information in the format of a genealogical database allows you to take advantage of the features of genealogical software, like relationship calculators.

The information in this database is not:

Again: Don't overestimate what you can get out of this database (you've been warned!), but feel free to use it as a handy first-approximation reference.

I'd love to re-do this project from scratch, beginning at the beginning, documenting sources properly, and breaking down the database by source. Ideally, there would be a single database for Hesiod's Theogony, a single database for the Iliad, a single database for the Odyssey, a single database for the Argonautica, and so forth; and ideally, each source would be properly attributed within the database. If you're interested in tackling any part of this project, please contact me and let me know.

Download the current database (version 1.0, dated 2 January 2008). It's zipped, so you'll need to unzip it first.

Download Personal Ancestral File, a free GEDCOM-compliant genealogy application for Windows from the LDS church.

Know of a useful, robust, free genealogical application for Linux, Mac OS X, or another operating system? Let me know and I'll list it here. Personally, I'm particularly interested in finding a Linux application.

This page copyright © 2006–2016 by Patrick Mooney. This HTML file was last updated on 9 February 2016.