Greek and Roman Allusions

For AP Literature Exam
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titans
Greek deities who ruled the world before Zeus; gigantic powerful looming beasts that roamed in the background of many Greek myths
Hyperion
titan and son of Uranus and Gia; his name means "he who goes before the sun"
Cronus/Saturn
youngest of the 12 Titans, father of Zeus/Jupiter, who swallowed his children in an attempt to keep from being overthrown, but he was eventually overthrown
King Creon
the new King of Thebes after King Oedipus died, he is the uncle of Antigone, he is strong, told Jason to leave Medea and marry his daughter
Teresias
son of Everes and the nymph Chariclo; blind prophet and most famous soothsayer of ancient Greece, Blind prophet who Odysseus goes to find in the land of the dead. He tells Odysseus how to get home and that he must appease Poseidon once he gets there.
Trojan Horse
a large hollow wooden figure of a horse (filled with Greek soldiers) left by the Greeks outside Troy during the Trojan War
Ajax
a mythical Greek hero; a warrior who fought against Troy in the Iliad, Defeated by Odysseus in a contest for Achillies armor
Achilles
a mythical Greek hero of the Iliad; a foremost Greek warrior at the siege of Troy; when he was a baby his mother tried to make him immortal by bathing him in a magical river but the heel by which she held him remained vulnerable
Hector
a mythical Trojan who was killed by Achilles during the Trojan War; son of King Priam of Troy
Paris
Son of Priam, king of Troy. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta. This caused the Trojan War; sent out of Troy because it was foretold he would cause Troy's downfall
Helen of Troy
the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda who was abducted by Paris; he Greek army sailed to Troy to get her back which resulted in the Trojan War
Menelaus
King of Sparta, brother of Agamemnon, and husband of Helen, he helped lead the Greeks in the Trojan War. He offers Telemachus assistance in his quest to find Odysseus when Telemachus visits him in Book 4.
cyclops
one of a race of giants having a single eye in the middle of their forehead
King Priam
King of Troy during the Trojan War; father of Hector and Paris
Hecuba
2nd wife of King Priam and Queen of Troy; had many children with Priam including Hector, Paris, and Polydorus
Pyrrhus
king of Epirus; defeated the Romans in two battles in spite of staggering losses (319-272 BC); , "Pyrrhic victory"; defeated the Romans twice but with the casualties outweighed the advantages
Agamemnon
the king who lead the Greeks against Troy in the Trojan War; killed a deer in a grave that was sacred to Artemis; sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia to appease Artemis
Clytemnestra
Faithless wife of Agamemnon. Half-sister of Helen, became the lover of Aegisthus and together they plotted her husband's death. She had no respect and did not close his eyes or mouth in death. Was ultimately killed by her son Orestes when he avenged his father.
Orestes
son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra who eventually avenged his father's murder by killing Aegisthus
Mount Olympus
the higest mountain in Greece, where the ancient Greeks believed many of their gods and godesses lived
Poseidon/Neptune
the god of the sea and earthquakes in ancient mythology; brother of Zeus and Hades and Hera
Hades/Pluto
the god of the underworld in ancient mythology; other of Zeus and husband of Persephone
Hera/Juno
(Earth Mother) queen of the Olympian gods in ancient Greek mythology; sister and wife of Zeus remembered for her jealously of the many mortal women Zeus fell in love with
Cupid/Eros
- god of love
- Son of Venus (Aphrodite)
- Fell in love with Psyche
- Got mad at her for not trusting him
- Fell in love eventually
- Shoots people with his arrow to make them fall in love
- Shot Madea with an arrow to make her fall in love with Jason in the Quest of the Golden Fleece
Artemis/Diana
the virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon; daughter of Leto and twin sister of Apollo
Apollo/Phoebus
Greek god of light; god of prophesy and poetry and music and healing; son of Zeus and Leto; twin brother of Artemis
Ares/Mars
Greek god of war; son of Zeus and Hera
Hermes/Mercury
messenger and herald of the gods; god of commerce and cunning and invention and theft
Aphrodite/Venus
goddess of love and beauty and daughter of Zeus in ancient mythology
Athena/Pallas
goddess of wisdom and useful arts and prudent warfare; guardian of Athens; identified with Roman Minerva; city of Athens founded in her honor
Demeter/Ceres
goddess of fertility and protector of marriage in ancient mythology; went searching for Persephone when Hades kidnapped her
Dionysus/Bacchus
god of wine and fertility and drama; 2 sides: productive and destructive
Hephaestus/Vulcan
the lame god of fire and metal-working in ancient mythology; made all weapons for gods of Olympus
Naiads
Water nymphs who lived in brooks, springs and fountains; daughters of Poseidon or various Ocean ids
Hestia/Vesta
the goddess of the hearth and its fire in ancient mythology;received at 1st offering at every sacrifice in every household
Nemesis
the goddess of divine retribution and vengeance, especially against those who succumb to hubris
The River Styx
The river forming the boundary between the earth and the underworld
Charon
the ferryman who brought the souls of the dead across the river Styx or the river Acheron to Hades; one of the 4 rivers that converge in the underworld
The Three Fates
Three minor, but powerful goddesses of destiny who decided how long a mortal's life would be; could be commanded by Zeus
The Furies
(Roman mythology) Goddesses or spirits who inflicted curses and punished crimes, primarily those within families. They paid particular attention to avenging crimes by children against their mothers.
The Muses
9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne presiding over the various forms of poetry; live on Olympus and entertain the gods with songs but also have favorite spots on Earth
Pegasus
immortal winged horse that sprang from the blood of the slain Medusa; was tamed by Bellerophon with the help of a bridle given him by Athena; as the flying horse of the Muses it is a symbol of high-flying imagination
Atlas
a Titan who was forced by Zeus to bear the sky on his shoulders from which a book of maps gets its name
Hercules/Heracles
a hero noted for his strength; performed 12 immense labors to gain immortality, Demi-God; strongest of all mortals and most gods
Perseus
a hero and demi-god; the son of Zeus who slew Medusa (with the help of Athena and Hermes) and rescued Andromeda from a sea monster
Theseus
The mythical founder-king of Athens. Traveled to Athens through the 6 gateways of Hades., a hero and king of Athens who was noted for his many great deeds: killed Procrustes and the Minotaur and defeated the Amazons and united Attica
Scylla
a sea nymph transformed into a sea monster who lived on one side of a narrow strait, drowned and devoured sailors who tried to escape Charybdis (a whirlpool) on the other side of the strait, six headed monster
Hydra
monster with nine heads; when struck off each head was replaced by two new ones; slain by Hercules
Medusa
a woman transformed into a Gorgon by Athena; she was slain by Perseus; a reflection of the qualities Greek society thought were unappealing in women
Phoenix
a legendary bird that built a nest of fragment herbs, set it afire, and died in it; it was then resurrected; represents eternal life and resurrection
Icarus and Dedalus
a father and so who were imprisoned in a tower on the island of Crete. Daedalus built wings for them to escape; Icarus died because he didn't follow directions and flew too close to the sun and melted the wax and caused the feathers to fall off; Dedalus drowned and an island was named after him.
King Midas
everything he touched turned to gold, overjoyed to see his little girl, hugged her and she, too, turned to gold, The greedy king of Phrygia who Dionysus gave the power to turn everything he touched into gold. This character earned himself a nice set of donkey ears when he let it be known that Pan's music was better than Apollos
Narcissus
a beautiful young man who fell in love with his own reflection; drowned looking at his reflection and was changed into a flower; his myth is meant to warn younger boys about rejecting male companions
Adonis
a handsome youth loved by Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Aphrodite and Persephone both fell in love with him so they traded him between worlds
Pandora
The first mortal woman, sent to Earth as a punishment to man for Prometheus's theft of fire. She brought with her a box containing all human ills, which escaped into the world when she opened the box. Only hope was left at the bottom; represented how Greek men viewed women: necessary and vital, but troublesome
Eurydice
wife of Orpheus; she died when stepping on a snake; he sang a mournful song that made the entire world weep; it was so sad that the gods let her retrieve him from the underworld
Orpheus
a legendary musician, poet, and prophet; had the ability to charm all living and non-living things with his music
Persephone
daughter of Zeus and Demeter; made queen of the underworld by Pluto in ancient mythology; identified with Roman Proserpina
Sisyphus
a king in ancient Greece who offended Zeus and whose punishment was to roll a huge boulder to the top of a steep hill; ach time the boulder neared the top it rolled back down and Sisyphus was forced to start again
Pygmalion
thought his art was enough for him and that he did not need a woman; a king who created a statue of a woman and fell in love with it; Aphrodite brought the sculpture to life as Galatea
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