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The Influence of Greek Mythology on The Modern World

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Kayla Buchanan

on 1 May 2015

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Transcript of The Influence of Greek Mythology on The Modern World

Greek mythology is often looked as something that is fake. It is seen as trivial information, but what you don’t know is that greek mythology is in our everyday life. Businesses named after the gods and even English words made from them. They are everywhere even if you may not notice it. The Greek gods may not have many direct impacts on our culture but they are there, hidden in our society and only by knowing how to look for these small, subtle references and knowing Greek Mythology can you recognize them.

So many names come from the Greek gods.
Such as volcano which originates from the Roman god Vulcan who was god of the forge. Atlas the book of maps comes from the greek Titan who carried the heavens on his shoulders. Cereal comes from the goddess of agriculture, Ceres because cereal is made from wheat. Medicines come from them too. Morpheus, the god of sleep, influences the name Morphine, a powerful drug used to relieve pain.

Names That come from Greek Mythology
Greek names are also used to name celestial beings and rockets.

The Pegasus appears much on stamps especially for air travel. It is often used to name important projects such as the Nike Missile project, Nike being the god of victory. Even the medical field is symbolized by a snake entwined staff which is a symbol for the god of medicine, Asclepius. Even some elements’ names come from Greek mythology. Such as Titanium, named after the Titans because of its difficulty to extract from its ore and because in Greek Mythology the Titans were locked far underground.

The government uses a lot of Greek mythology to represent them.

The Influence of Greek Mythology on The Modern World
By: Kayla Buchanan
There are many companies names and sayings we can credit to Greek Mythology.
The first example is Ajax cleaning, a popular cleaning brand. Ajax was actually a famous greek warrior in the Trojan war. Another good example is Dionysus Wine and Spirits company, Dionysus the god of wine is a very appropriate name for this company. There are many others such as Medusa headphones and even the Tennessee Titans football team. A very popular sports brand Nike is based off of the goddess of victory, Nike. Pandora Jewelry is named after Pandora, the first woman mentioned in greek mythology. Trojan is popular name for computer viruses. “To harp” comes from a greek creature called a harpy. Achilles was a greek warrior who only had one vulnerable spot which is why a saying for having a vulnerable spot is having an Achilles' heel. Also having the Midas touch refers to having a golden touch referring to King Midas. In exchange for treating Dionysus, the god of wine, with good hospitality Dionysus gave him a gift, being able to have everything he touched turn to gold. The gift however quickly backfired as you can see the problems in this gift. Another familiar saying is calling someone our "nemesis" which is a minor god. Phobia is another word and/or phrase we all use to describe our fears. Phobia actually comes from Phobos who was the son of the greek god of war, Ares.

How Greek Mythology is symbolized

Greek mythology is used in a lot of literature even if we don’t recognize it. In an obvious spin on greek mythology,
Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Riordan wrote this series to get his ADHD son into reading. Percy also has ADHD but it is explained in the book by his Olympian blood. Riordan does what Greek mythology does for the greeks, explain something that they could not explain at that time.
Greek Mythology is also used in Harry Potter. Harry Potter is much like Achilles. They are both made invincible by their mother’s blessing. Achilles is plunged into the river Styx, while Harry is saved by his mother’s sacrifice. Achilles was also known to be one of the bravest of the Greek warriors. Harry is also very brave in the face of danger. Harry also almost always runs into trouble much like the greek demigod Hercules. Another character referencing Greek Mythology is Minerva Mcgonagall which is a direct reference to Athena. Minerva was the Roman Name for Athena. Athena is known to be the bringer of knowledge and the wisest of the gods. After all she did come from inside of Zeus’ head. Mcgonagall is also like that. She is one of the strictest teachers but she is just and fair. She brings knowledge to the students of Hogwarts. Athena was known to be the fiercest in punishments much like Professor Mcgonagall and her punishments. Fluffy is another character from Harry Potter that is symbolized by greek mythology. He guarded the trapdoor much like Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the underworld. Fluffy also had three heads and was put to sleep by Harry, Hermione, and Ron by playing music. This is referencing when Orpheus put Cerberus to sleep by playing music to get into the underworld for a loved one.

The constellation Scorpius is used to symbolize the scorpion that attacked Hercules. Even the space missions sent to the moon named Apollo, the greek god. This was named after Apollo because he was one of the most skilled archers and had an innate ability to hit his target. Also because he was the god of light and knowledge. He was said to help in the rising of the sun with his sister Artemis who rose the moon. Greek mythology has also been used to name ships such as the Calypso because Calypso was a sea nymph.

Greek Mythology Symbolism In
The Lion King
When Simba goes to the elephant graveyard he is actually stepping into the realm of Hades. Hades being represented by Scar. The three Hyenas, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed represent Cerebus again. There are three hyenas to represent Cerberus’ three heads. They guard the graveyard for Scar just like Cerberus guards the underworld for Hades.

The architectural and worldly advances
The Greek gods have also given us many architectural advances. The greeks built many temples and holy places that were constructed to honor the gods. They have influenced us today and many of their methods are still used. They have also given us the Olympics which as many of us know come from the ancient greeks. The olympics were used to honor Zeus and are a place where athletes show their best skills. The olympics are still used today to symbolize unity in the world despite all of our wars and arguments.
Greek Mythology in medicine and psychology
Greek Mythology is also used in psychology and medicine. Such as a well known complex known as the Oedipal Complex. It is a complex where a man is very close to his mother but has hatred towards his father. This comes from Oedipus because he was destined at birth to kill his father and marry his own mother. The townspeople heard of this and so they sent him away as an infant in the hopes of protecting their king which was Oedipus's father. He did come back eventually and because it was his fate he killed his father. The parallel to that is the Electra complex. It came about in much the same way. Electra was an Argive princess whose mother divorced her father and remarried. She hated her mother for that and her step dad. Her mother and her husband then went on to kill her birth father. Electra then became so angry she plotted revenge against her mother and stepfather and eventually got it. The Electra complex is where a girl has an intense love for her father and a deep hate for her mother.
In conclusion, Greek Mythology is everywhere we go whether we recognize it or not. Hopefully now you know how to look for it and recognize it. You may learn a lot about the world because of it and may even recognize the similarities. The world may have so much more technology now than when the ancient greeks were on the earth but one thing still remains, Greek Mythology.
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Thanks for reading!
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