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Why Study Mythology?
First, what is mythology?
 Before our modern science, physics, astronomy, etc., ancient Greeks and
Romans did not understand their world. As such, they devised a system to
understand it.
 Mythology results from their attempt to make sense of their world and
understand where they came from and how they got there.
 Myths are used to explain to early cultures why things were the way they
were. (Why is the sky blue? Why do seasons exist?)
 Myths teach a moral code.
 Mythology is the collection of allegorical narratives. (Allegory = the
expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truth or
generalizations about human existence.)
 There are myths from most ancient civilizations but we’ll focus on the Greek
and Roman myths more than others because they’re the most commonly
Then why do we study mythology?
If mythology comes from the ancient era, before 1200 B.C.E., why do we
study it today in the 21st century?
because we still use mythology today in most every day actions
because you’ve all used mythology recently (even when copying down
today’s date)
because you cannot complete high school and enter the “real world” without
understanding some mythology
mythology will be a part of your lives forever
you need to understand mythology to make sense of your own world now
so many modern conveniences, entertainment, products, etc. utilize myths
What are some modern uses of mythology?
 Cars:
Mercury - Roman messenger God (Greek = Hermes)
Saturn – father of Jupiter (Zeus) (Greek = Cronus)
Buick Electra – daughter of Agamemnon, King of Troy
 Flowers:
Hyacinth – Prince Hyacinthus (friend of Apollo, killed by javelin)
Iris – Greek goddess of rainbows
Narcissus – beautiful youth who drowned
 Products:
Mars bars – Roman god of war (Greek = Ares)
Minerva watches – Roman goddess of wisdom (Greek = Athena)
Trident gum – fishing fork held by Neptune (Roman god of Sens)
(Greek = Poseidon)
Ajax cleaners – Greek warrior in Trojan War
Nike shoes – Greek goddess of victory
 Sports Teams:
Toronto Argonauts – named for followers of Jason seeking the golden
Sudbury Spartans – named for the citizens of the Greek city state of
California Trojans – named for warriors of Troy
 Planets:
Mercury – Roman messenger god (Greek = Hermes)
Mars – Roman god of war (Greek = Ares)
Venus – Roman goddess of love and beauty (Greek = Aphrodite)
Jupiter – Roman head god (Greek = Zeus)
Saturn – father of Zeus (Greek = Cronus)
Uranus – grandfather of Zeus
Pluto – Roman god of underworld (brother = Jupiter) (Greek = Hades)
Neptune - Roman god of Seas (brother of Jupiter) (Greek = Poseidon)
 Days of the Week:
Sunday – Sun’s day (Apollo, god of Sun)
Monday – Moon’s day
Tuesday – Mars’ day
Wednesday – Wodin’s day (Viking head god)
Thursday – Thor’s day (son of Odin)
Friday – Frigg’s day (Wife of Odin) or Venus’s day (Roman goddess
of love / beauty)
Saturday – Saturn’s day (father of Jupiter)
 Months:
January – two headed monster / creature Janus (Roman god of
openings and closings)
March – Mars – Greek god of war
June – Juns, Wife of Jupiter (Greek = Hera, wife of Zeus)
 Geography:
Athens, Greece – Athena (Greek goddess of wisdom) (Roman =
Paris, France – Paris, lover whose actions started the Trojan War
Ionian Sea – mortal maiden who caught Zeus’ eyes; Zeus changed
Ionia into a cow when Hera became suspicious
 Medicine:
aphrodisiac – love potion (Aphrodite, goddess of love / beauty)
morphine – Morpheus (Greek god of sleep)
Achilles heel – Achilles (greatest Greek warrior in Trojan War; only
one vulnerable place on his body (heel)
Oedipus complex – psychiatric disorder characterized by abnormal
attraction to parent (based on Oedipus who killed his father and
married his mother)