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The World of Thálassa


Cosmos Map


World Map


Hades Map

Earth is a plane in the shape of a shield surrounded by the Ocean River. Heavens are a solid vault which encapsulate the Earth, beneath which Hades extends, the realm of the souls of the dead.

Under Hades is the prison Tartarus a pit deep and dark, made fast by strong gates of brass and iron.

The sun is an archer god, carried in a fiery chariot up and down the steep path of the heavens. The regions to the extreme east and west, which are bathed in the nearby splendors of dawn and dusk, are lands of delight and plenty. The east is the favorite country of the Ethiopians, a land that even Zeus himself loves to visit, so much so that he is often found absent from Olympus when sought by supplicants.

The Olympians

There are twelve members of the celestial council, six gods and as many goddesses.

The male deities are:

  • Zeus, the father of gods and men;
  • Poseidon, ruler of the sea;
  • Apollo, or Phoebus, the god of light, of music, and of prophecy;
  • Ares, the god of war;
  • Hephaestus, the deformed god of fire, and the forger of the thunderbolts of Zeus;
  • Hermes, the winged herald of the celestials, the god of invention and commerce, himself a thief and patron of thieves.

The female deities are:

  • Hera, the proud and jealous queen of Zeus;
  • Athena, or Pallas (who was born all grown-up from the forehead of Zeus), the goddess of wisdom and the patroness of the domestic arts;
  • Artemis, the goddess of hunting;
  • Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, born of the sea-foam;
  • Hestia, the goddess of the hearth;
  • Demeter, the earth-mother, the goddess of grains and harvests.

These great deities possess all the human virtues, and often their weaknesses. They yield to attacks of anger and jealousy. They surpass mortals more in power than in bodily size. They can make themselves visible or invisible to human eyes. Their food is ambrosia and nectar; their movements are as swift as light. They can suffer pain, but death can never come to them, for they are immortal. Their abode is Mount Olympus and the aerial regions above the earth.

Lesser Deities

Besides the great gods and goddesses that constituted the Olympian council, there is an almost infinite number of other gods, celestial characters and monsters neither human nor divine.

  • Hades (Pluto) rules over the lower realms;
  • Dionysus (Bacchus) is the god of wine;
  • the goddess Nemesis is the punisher of crime, and particularly the queller of the proud and arrogant;
  • Aeolus is the ruler of the winds, which he confined in a cave secured by mighty gates;
  • There are nine Muses, inspirers of art and song;
  • The Nymphs are beautiful maidens, who peopled the woods, the fields, the rivers, the lakes, and the ocean;
  • Three Fates allott life and death;
  • Three Furies (Eumenides or Erinnyes) avenge crime, especially murder and unnatural crimes;
  • The Gorgons are three sisters, with hair entwined with serpents. A single gaze upon them chills the beholder to stone.

Besides these there are Scylla and Charybdis, sea-monsters that make perilous the passage of the Sicilian Straits, the Centaurs, the Cyclops, Cerberus, the watch-dog of Hades, and a thousand others.

The Heroic Age

Thálassa is set in the Heroic Age, according to Hesiod the penultimate of the Five Ages, in which the Homeric poems take place.

The Argonauts sail the seas guided by Jason in search of the Golden Fleece. Among them Heracles, son of Zeus, who may or may not have already faced the Twelve Labors.

Theseus confronts the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete to snatch the young Athenians sent in tribute by a cruel fate imposed by Minos, king of Crete and mythical legislator.

Agamemnon gathers the Achaean princes to right the wrong suffered by Paris when he kidnapped Helen, wife of Menelaus.

Odysseus faces the long journey home hated by Poseidon, confronting various dangers, seductive but capricious goddesses and even a trip to the underworld.

All of these events may be contemporaneous with your adventures or cared for in the near past. It is up to you to decide how they fit into the sequence of events. Or get inspired by them for your own sessions.

source: “A General History for Colleges and High Schools” by P. V. N. Myers