2b. Strange But True Ancient Greece

Aegis - Zeus and Athena's protective shield; modern group of insurance companies (The Aegis Group).
Ajax - Greek warrior in the Trojan War, who "cleaned up" in battle; popular household cleanser.

Amazon - Race of warrior women; amazon.com - huge on-line bookstore and you can buy just about anything else.

Apollo - God of music and the sun; Apollo Theater is a famous music hall in New York city. Apollo could also fortell the future. Also the name of the United States space programs for the moon flights.

Ares - Greek god of war; popular car model.

Argus - Giant watchman with a hundred eyes; Argus Security is a modern security company, specializing in commercial business protection.

Atlas - Was doomed to support the heavens on his shoulders; a modern moving company (Atlas Van Lines); also, Atlas Travel is a popular name for travel agencies all over the globe. The name of a book of maps.

Aurora - Roman name for Eos, goddess of the Dawn; luxury car model.

Charon - Boatman who ferries the souls of the dead to the Underworld; www.charon.com, a company "offering solutions for a connected world."

Delphi - Sanctuary to Apollo and home to his famous Oracles; Delphi Forums (www.delphi.com) is an on-line meeting place to promote discussions and to find answers. Delphi is also the name of an international Automotive Group.

Hercules - Roman name for Heracles, the greatest Greek hero; the company called Hercules - http://www.hercules.com - makes a top-selling video graphics card (their slogan is Legendary Strength, Quality and Performance); there is also the Hercules transport plane, used by the United States Air Force to carry large volumes of war material and food; Hercules Incorporated - http://www.herc.com - is a maker of chemicals and allied products.

Hermes - Olympian Herald and Messenger god; popular brand of soap. Also, the FTD flower delivery company incorporates Hermes and his winged heels in their logo.

Hyperion - Titan whose name means "he who goes before the sun"; a company (www.hyperion.com) that specializes in "business analysis software." Also the name of a book publishing company.

Hydra - Sea serpent with nine heads, killed by Hercules; It's the chosen name (www.hydra.com) of the Internet Chess Club.

Juno - Roman name for Hera, wife of Zeus; Juno is a popular web-hosting company (www.juno.com), specializing in free web pages and custom e-mail.

Mars - Roman name for Ares, god of War; name of popular candy bar.

Medusa - Terrible monster whose glance would petrify (turn you to stone) you, killed by the hero Perseus; Medusa Cement Company sells cement products worldwide. There used to be a beauty shop across from Franklin Park Mall called Medusas.

Mercury - Roman name for Hermes, the Messenger god; name of car model produced by the Ford Motor Company; also, an entertainment records label, Mercury Records.

Midas - King with the golden touch, who transformed all he touched to gold; a famous muffler and brake chain of service stations.

Minerva - Roman name for Athena, who gifted the olive tree to humans; Minerva Oil Company is an international exporter of fine food products.

Nike - Winged goddess of Victory, who can run and fly at great speeds; a famous company that sells...well...if you haven't heard of the company Nike, welcome to our planet...:)

Odyssey - The 10-year sea voyage endured by the Trojan War hero, Odysseus, as he sought to return home to Ithica; Odyssey Travel is a well-known travel agency; Odyssey Cruise Lines is a cruise company; Odyssey Records is a record company; there's even an Odyssey Golf Club company, Honda Odyssey...you get the drift, Odyssey is a very popular modern mythological rip-off...

Olympus - Home of the Olympian gods; name of popular camera and photographic technology company. Also, Olympic Airlines is another variation of the name. (Note: Thanasi's Olympus Greek Restaurant is owned by the Myth Man...) Also the name of one of the best camera companies out there.

Orion - A giant hunter slain by Artemis in Greek mythology; a motion picture production company, Orion Pictures.

Pandora - The first woman in Greek mythology, whose name means "all-gifted". She also let all the troubles of the world out of a box; Pandora's Gift Boutique sells quality gift merchandise.

Parthenon - The temple of Athena, built on the Acropolis of Athens; perhaps the most-used name for any Greek restaurant in any city of the world! It's ridiculous...I bet there's a Parthenon Restaurant in your town! :)

Pegasus - Winged horse that was born from Medusa's head when she was killed; Pegasus Expedite Company is a national delivery/courier service; Pegasus Satellite Systems is a provider of satellite entertainment services. The winged horse motif is used by dozens of companies. Check out my Pegasus Homework Help page for more on that. There is also a world history site called Pegasus.

Phoenix - A mythical and one-of-a-kind bird that burns on a funeral pyre after a life of hundreds of years, only to be re-born from the ashes; also the name of a national photographic technology company. Also the name of a city in Arizona, and an online university.

Poseidon - God of the Sea and brother of Zeus; Poseidon Travel is a common travel agency name; Poseidon Seafood is a national brand of seafood products. Neptune, the Roman version, is often also used by companies, as in Neptune Fresh Lobster Co.

Saturn - Roman name for Cronus, father of Zeus; also the name of the Saturn Automobile Corporation.

Titans - Race of gods preceding the Olympians; Titan Tool & Die Company manufactures tools for industry. The Titans were killed by their own children. How ironic to name a boat "Titanic".

Trident - The three-pronged spear of Poseidon, god of the seas; Trident Gum is a popular gum. (Note: 'Tria' is Greek for 'three' and 'donti' means 'tooth'; hence, Trident translates literally as 'three-teeth', or 'triple-toothed'. Trident Gum, if one is to believe the advertising, helps to clean your teeth, thus the allusion.)

Spartan - Greek warrior state, devoted to discipline and the martial arts; Spartan Corporation is a financial advisory company; also, Spartan Tool & Die is a national manufacturer and supplier to the auto industry; Spartan Nutritional Products is a maker and distributor of health supplements, and also groceries called Spartan Stores. Mascot of sports teams.

Trojan - Inhabitants of the mighty city that was destroyed by the Greeks during the Trojan War, after a siege of ten years; name of virus that can slip into your computer and hide and cause great harm (Trojan horse) and international manufacturer of condoms and birth control products.

Venus - Roman for Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love; Venus is the name of a famous beauty product company; Venus International is a popular beauty talent agency; Venus Tan Lines is a swimsuit manufacturer; Venus Razor is a popular women's shaving accessory; Venus Beauty Salon is found in most any city or town...

Vulcan - Roman name for Hephaestus, god of the smiths and the forge; Vulcan Industries is an international manufacturer of steel products. A vulcanologist studies volcanoes.


Greek Name


Roman Name


Aphrodite, the golden goddess of Love; born of the blood of Ouranos (the Heavens) and the foam of the sea. (Aphrodite, Venus)



Apollon, the son of Zeus and Leto; the brother of Artemis. (Apollo, Apollon, Phoibos Apollon, the Striker from Afar)



Ares, the god of War; the son of Zeus and Hera. (Ares, Aries, Mars, God of War)



Artemis, Diana (Artemis, Diana)


Athene (Athena)

Athene, the goddess of Wisdom; the daughter of Zeus and Metis; the virgin goddess of intellect and invention. (Athene, Athena, Pallas Athene, Tritogeneia, Glaukopis, Minerva)



Demeter, the goddess of the Harvest; the daughter of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea). (Demeter, Ceres)



Dione, the Mother Goddess of Mount Olympos (Olympus). (Dione)



Eos, the Dawn; mother of the Winds. (Dawn, Eos, Erigeneia)



Enyo, one of the Graiai (the Gray Sisters); the daughters of Keto (Ceto) and Phorkys (Phorcys). (Enyo, Bellona, Gray Sisters, Graiai)



Erida, the wearisome goddess of Hate. (Erida, Hate)



Erinys, the Mist-Walking and the Kindly One; punisher of the unfaithful. (Erinyes, Erinys, Furiae, Furies, Tisiphone, Megaera, Alecto, Alekto)



Eris, the goddess of Discord and Strife. (Eris, Discordia, Discord)



Eros, the primal god of Love; using arrows of gold and lead, he would wound the hearts of mortals and Immortals alike. (Eros, Cupid)



Eurynome, one of the many daughters of Ocean; the mother of the Graces. (Eurynome)



The Fates, the Daughters of Necessity; born of Zeus and Themis. (Fates, Morae, Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, Klotho, Lakhesis, Moiras, Keras, Moirai, Moira)



Gorgons, the daughters of Phorkys and Keto (Ceto); with snakes about their heads and wrists, Medusa, Sthenno and Euryale were so hideous, the shock of seeing them would turn anyone to stone. (Gorgon, Medusa, Sthenno, Euryale)



Graces, the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome; the attendants of Aphrodite (goddess of Love) and the incarnations of Grace and Charm. (The Graces, Graces, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, Thalia, The Charities, Charities)



Hades, Lord of the Underworld; the son of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea). (Hades, Underworld, Pluto)



Hebe, the goddess of Youth; the daughter of Zeus and Hera; the wife of Herakles (Heracles). (Hebe, Youth)



Helios, the Sun; the son of Hyperion and Eryphaesa; he sees everything his light touches. (Helios, Sun God, the Sun)


Hephaistos (Hephaestus)

Hephaistos, the god of the Smith; the son of Hera and artificer of the Olympians. (Hephaistos, Hephaestus, Vulcan)



Hera, the daughter of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea); the wife to Zeus; the most beautiful of the Immortals. (Hera, Juno)


Herakles (Heracles)

Herakles, the ultimate hero; the son of Zeus and Alkmene (Alcmene). (Herakles, Hercules, The Twelve Labors)



Hermes, the wing shod messenger of the Olympians; the son of Zeus and Maia. (Hermes, Mercury, Argeiphontes)



Hestia, the virgin goddess of the Hearth and humble domestic joy. (Hestia, Vesta)



Hyperion, the Titan; father of Helios (the Sun), Eos (the Dawn) and Selene (the Moon). (Hyperion)



Hypnos, the god of Sleep; a child of Nix (Night) and the brother of Thanatos (Death). (Hypnos, Somnus)



Io, the Heifer-Maiden who rejected the love of Zeus. (Io, Heifer-Maiden)



Iris, the Wind-Footed messenger of the Immortals. (Iris)


Kalypso (Calypso)

Kalypso, the queenly Nymph and lover of Odysseus. (Calypso, Kalypso, Nymph, Nymphs)


Kheiron (Chiron)

Kheiron, the most righteous of the Centaurs; the powerful master of many arts and sciences. (Cheiron, Kheiron, Centaurs, Centaur, Eurytion)


Kirke (Circe)

Kirke, the Dread Goddess; the daughter of Helios and the mistress of potions and spells. (Circe, Kirke)


Kronos (Cronos)

Kronos, the Titan; father of the Olympians. (Kronos, Cronos, Cronus, Saturn)



Leto, the consort of Zeus and mother of Apollon and Artemis. (Leto)



The Muses attend the festivals on Olympos and entertain and inspire the other gods with their wit and charm. (Muses, Mousai)



The Nereids, the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris. (The Nereids, Nereids, Thetis, Agaue, Aktaia, Amphinome, Amphithoe, Apseudes, Dexamene, Doris, Doto, Dynamene, Galateia, Glauke, Halia, Iaira, Ianassa, Ianeira, Kallianassa, Kallianeira, Klymene, Kumodoke, Kumothoe, Limnoreia, Maira, Melite, Nemertes, Nesaie, Oreithyia, Pherousa, Panope, Proto, Speio, Thaleia, Thoe)



Odysseus, the hero of the Trojan War and the long suffering traveler in The Odyssey. (Odysseus, Ulysses)


Orai, The Hours

Orai, the three sisters, Eunomia (Harmony), Dyke (Justice) and Eirene (Peace) assist the Olympians by organizing the Seasons and adding balance to Nature. (Hours, The Hours, Eunomia, Dyke, Eiren, Horae, The Horae, Orai)



Pan, the Goat-God; he prances through the fertile countryside in the company of Nymphs playing his seven-reed pipe in wild abandon. (Pan, Faunus, Goat God)



Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus; the wife of Hades and queen of the Underworld. (Persephone, Proserpina)



Poseidon, the lord the Sea; son of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea). (Poseidon, Neptune)



Prometheus, the rebel god; in defiance of Zeus, he gave fire and other comforts to the mortals on the earth. (Prometheus)


Rheia (Rhea)

Rheia, the wife of devious Kronos (Cronos) and mother to the Olympians. (Rheia, Rhea)



Rivers; the children of Okeanos (Ocean); Immortals who have chosen rivers as their earthly bodies. (Rivers, Acheloios, Akheloios, Aiseopos, Alpheios, Asopos, Axios, Boagrios, Grenikos, Gyge, Hermos, Hyllos, Hypereia, Karesos, Kephisos, Lykia, Maiandros, Messeis, Minyeios, Ocean, Okeanos, Parthenios, Peneios, Rhesos, Rhodios, Sangarious, Satnioeis, Simoei, Skamandros, Spercheios, Styx, Titaressos, Xanthos)



Skylla, the man-eating she-beast with six heads. (Skylla, Charybdis, Kharybdis)



Styx, the eldest daughter of Okeanos (Ocean) and Tethys; any Immortal who pours the waters of Styx and swears an oath, is solemnly bound to tell only the truth. (Styx)



Thanatos, the god of Death; a child of Nix (Night) and the brother of Hypnos (Sleep). (Thanatos, Death)



Thetis, one of the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris; the wife of Peleus and the mother of Akhilleus (Achilles). (Thetis)



The Winds are Immortals who have chosen the air as their earthly bodies. (Winds, Eos, Boreas, Eurus, Notus, Zephyros, North Wind, East Wind, South Wind, West Wind, Kaikias, Caicias, Apeliotes, Lips, Skiron, Sciron)



Zeus, the Olympian; the son of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea); lord of the Sky. (Zeus, Jupiter)


      Lesser Gods-These are the gods that do the bidding of the Great Immortals. 

The Graces are Greek goddesses of grace and the charms of beauty. They are the daughters of Eurynome and Zeus.  The Graces attended to Aphrodite constantly, and when they danced to Apollo's lyre, all the gods enjoyed it thoroughly.  The  Graces were young, charming, beautiful, modest, and perfectionists of grace.  Their names were Algae (splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth), and Thalia (good cheer).  



 Helios was the sun.  He could see anything his light touched.  One day he observed Ares and Aphrodite making love.  Helios saw them doing this and he told Hephaestus, Aphrodite’s' husband, He then set a trap and embarrassed them in front of all the immortals.  
 Iris  She is the goddess of the rainbow.  She is the messenger of gods to the immortals but mostly used by Hera. She is portrayed as a winged goddess, and she has a herald and a water pitcher.  
  Muses  They are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne.  They sing music and their song brings joy to everyone who hears it. They also bring special gifts to humans from the gods that we call “talent”.  There are nine of them, and each have their own specialty: Clio (History), Urania (Astronomy), Melpomene ( Tragedy), Thalia (Comedy), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Errata (Love Poetry), Polyhymnia (Songs to the Gods), Euterpe (Lyric Poetry).    
 Nemesis  She is the goddess of divine justice and vengeance. She is angered by human sin and of the arrogance causing it.  
 Persephone  She is the wife of Hades.  She is the beloved daughter of Demeter and Zeus.  She is where they got the story explaining the seasons.  Instead of wooing Persephone he captured her and took her to Hades.  Zeus negotiated with Hades and Demeter. It was agreed upon that she would spend 6 months on earth and 6 months in Hades.  Spring welcomes the coming of Demeter's daughter back to earth.  
  Anteros  In Greek myths, Anteros meaning "return" or "opposite-love" is sometimes the brother of Eros, the god of love. Eros suffered from loneliness until Aphrodite gave him Anteros as a playmate. Anteros is also the god who punishes those who dislike love or do not return the love from others.  


 Dike is the Greek goddess of justice for humanity. Themis, her mother, was the goddess of divine justice. Dike was born human and placed on earth to keep justice. When Zeus, her father, saw that it was impossible to keep justice on earth, he brought her up to Olympus to sit on the opposite side of her mother, next to him. Among the gods and goddesses she was the best of all the virgins. She watched down on the humans from Mt. Olympus.  
  Erinnyes  The Erinnyes are also known as the Furies. They punish crime. They pursue wrong doers relentlessly until death. They often drive them to suicide. They are particularly concerned with matricide. There are three Erinnyes: Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto. The Erinnyes came from Uranus's blood when he was castrated.  
 Eris  Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife. She is Ares' constant companion. Eris is sinister, mean, and unpopular. Her greatest joy is to cause trouble. Eris has a golden apple that is bright and shiny and everybody wants to have it. When she throws it among friends, their friendship is brought to a rapid end. When she throws it among enemies, war breaks out. This is why the apple is called the Apple of Discord. Eris once threw the apple between Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena during the wedding of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. The apple said "to the fairest". The goddesses Hera and Athena sided with the Greeks and Aphrodite with the Trojans. This act brought about the Trojan War.  


Eros, whose Roman name is Cupid, is the God of Love. He is the most handsome of the gods. He can break the will of the wisest god or the strongest mortal when scratched by one of his arrows. His arrows are made of gold and lead. He would wound the hearts of mortals and Olympians alike. The golden arrows caused love and the lead arrows caused distaste. The Trojan War began when Helen was smitten by Eros’ arrow.

The Fates have the subtle power of deciding a man's destiny. They assign a man either to good or evil. They also choose how long a man lives. There are three Fates. Clotho, the spinner, spins the thread of life. Lachesis, the measurer, chooses the place in life one will have and measures off how long it will be. Atropos cuts the thread of life.  It is not clear how far their power extends. It may be possible that they determine the fate of the gods as well.

Note about “Tempting the Fates” or what the Ancients called Hubris. This was considered dangerous. When the Titanic ship advertised that they had the Unsinkable ship, this was an act of hubris and these people were tempting the fates.  

Mythology in Our Everyday Lives

Apollo 13- The Odyssey



      On the 11th of April, 1970, Apollo XIII (13) was launched into space. Its destination the moon. This was to be the third time man had walked on the moon. Apollo would make it to the moon but would never land. The crew, Commander James A. Lovell, Jr., command module pilot John L. Swigert, Jr., and lunar module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr. took one of the strangest trips in modern history.  April 13th on live television and maneuvering to get the ship in place for the proposed landing, Swigert threw switches that would turn on the fans of an oxygen tank. The wires shorted, and fire broke out.  At this point, one of the most famous messages was radioed back to earth from space, “Houston, we have a problem.”  
      The command module of Apollo 13 became unusable and the 3 man crew now had to crawl into the lunar module only big enough to hold 2 people. The name of the command module ironically was named Odyssey. Like the hero of the ancient Greek action adventure story, Odysseus, the crew tried new and different approaches to get back home. They turned off all unnecessary electrical devices, including some of the devices that kept their modules comfortably heated. The world watched on their televisions as NASA and the crew both on Apollo and the team on earth looked for ways to get the voyagers home alive. The prize was no longer landing on the moon, but just staying alive and making it back to earth.  Prayers went up from every corner of the earth for the astronauts’ safe return. People watched their televisions non-.

Apollo 13 made one pass around the moon to slingshot the spaceship back to earth. James Lovell said that seeing the moon’s surface that close, and yet not being able to touch it was like Odysseus having himself lashed securely to the mast of his ship so that he could hear the unbelievable sound of the Sirens. Odysseus had his crew put wax in their ears and ordered them not to free him no matter what!  The Sirens promised Odysseus knowledge in their songs. Come closer, they enticed.  Odysseus knew that this was certain death, but he still felt the pull of their call. Lovell said that the surface of the moon had that same appeal…..that the exploration of the moon would bring knowledge. Ironically, on the patch that each astronaut wore on his sleeve were three flying horses, like the Greek mythological flying horse Pegasus, and a motto “Ex luna, scientia (from the Moon, knowledge)”. James Lovell, like the hero Odysseus, also knew that to reach this “knowledge” would mean death.  So he and his crew moved on. They had an estimated 45 hours to make it back to earth with the oxygen they had, and that was still thousands of miles from earth. So what next?

      Like Odysseus, the crew of Apollo 13 was given choices. Some of the choices did not offer 
good odds. The automated steering and computers were primitive and the crew knew that if they were to survive, they had to make decisions and take over the steering of the spacecraft and the Odyssey. Carbon Monoxide, a killer gas, was beginning to build up, and the filters in the lunar module could not handle it for long. To conserve energy, the astronauts turned off non-essential equipment. Condensation and cold became enemies of their return.  The command module, Odyssey, was off limits till they could find a solution for the carbon monoxide and the lunar module, Aquarius, had become their lifeboat.  Few expected the crew to survive except Gene Kranz, the flight director on the ground. He argued that this would be NASA's "finest hour". Bad turned to worse. Seconds meant the difference between life and death. Exhaustion overtook the crew.

    Four hours before landing, the lunar module, and the command module jettisoned the service module and for the first time saw the extensive damage to their ship. They also knew that getting home would be harder than they thought. The heat shield that protected the ship during re-entry was severely damaged.

      About an hour before landing, they powered back up the command module, Odyssey, crawled back in and went through the routine for landing, and prayed. They jettisoned the lunar module, which produced a wobbling of the ship. Through several corrections, the crew was able to bring the ship back to the path that it should be taking. Finally, after a long silence – a blackout period in which communications are cut off from NASA- there was a successful splashdown. Apollo 13 astronauts, in their Odyssey, and on their Odyssey, landed 21°38′ S 165°22′ W, SE of American Samoa and 6.5 km (4 mi) from the recovery ship, USS Iwo Jima

    The astronauts of Apollo 13, could have become victims. They could have let the carbon monoxide overtake them. Like Odysseus, they did not look at the odds. They ignored all the statistics that said they did not have a chance of surviving. They worked with the team on the ground. They used their minds and realized that there was nothing more powerful, more dynamic, more gigantic than their intellect. And as Odysseus came to his own home, and realized the true victory in surviving incredible odds and the wrath of the gods, so the Apollo 13 astronauts came to their American home to reclaim their right to challenge the odds. This in the eyes of the ancient Greek would make them a true hero.  Are there other examples of the Odyssey in our lives? Who 
are your heroes?

If you want to read more of this Odyssey, read Jim Lovell’s book Lost Moon,  or rent Ron 

Howard’s movie Apollo 13 (1995).


By William Ernest Henley (1875)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.