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Galace AP Lit Mythology Allusions
Terms in this set (55)
The warrior Achilles was made invulnerable as a baby by being dipped into the River Styx. Only his heel—the place he was held by when being dipped—was left unprotected, which led to his downfall when it was struck by an arrow. An Achilles heel refers to a person's vulnerability or fatal flaw.
Adonis was a mortal man that was sought after by the gods for his attractiveness. After his birth, Adonis was sheltered by the goddess of love Aphrodite, and entrusted the beautiful youth with the mistress of the underworld Persephone. Persephone refused to give up Adonis and a custody battle ensued, resulting in Adonis splitting each year with the two goddess. This affection of Adonis earned him the title god of beauty
According to Greek mythology, Aeolus was a mortal who lived on the floating island of Aeolia. He was a friend of the gods, and Zeus gave him control of the winds. He was later regarded as the god of the winds. He has given his name to the Aeolian harp that produces sounds when the wind passes through it. Aeolian music is thus music produced by the effect of the wind.
Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, twin brother of Artemis. He was the god of music, and he is often depicted playing a golden lyre. He was also known as the Archer, far shooting with a silver bow; the god of healing, giving the science of medicine to man; the god of light; and the god of truth. One of Apollo's most important daily tasks was to harness his four-horse chariot, in order to move the Sun across the sky.
According to the Greek legend, Argus had 100 eyes. The Greek queen Juno had him spy on her wayward husband, Zeus. Argus-eyed refers to jealous watchfulness.
Athena is the Goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. In Harry Potter, Minerva McGonagall. She is a teacher who has bravery and is very brave. Minerva is the Roman Goddess identified with Athena.
Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn. The Greeks called her Eos. She was the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia and the sister of Helios (the sun god) and Selene (the moon goddess). Every morning, Aurora arose from the sea and rode in her horse-drawn chariot across the sky ahead of the sun, carrying a pitcher from which she sprinkled dew upon the earth.
Bacchus is the son of Zeus and Semele who died of fright after being tricked by Hera. Zeus took their unborn baby and stitched him onto his leg, later giving birth to him. Bacchus is the god of grape harvest and wine; he spreads the joy of wine to the people as he travels. Examples: An example of an allusion to Dionysus (Bacchus) would be a festival called Bacchanalia that was celebrated by Romans. The festival alludes to Dionysus and his festivals and drunken one night love fests.
Centaur, Greek Kentauros, in Greek mythology, a race of creatures, part horse and part man, dwelling in the mountains of Thessaly and Arcadia. In later Greek times they were often represented drawing the chariot of the wine god Dionysus or bound and ridden by Eros, the god of love, in allusion to their drunken and amorous habits. Their general character was that of wild, lawless, and inhospitable beings, the slaves of their animal passions.
In Greek mythology, the Chimera is a monstrous creature that was composed of several different animals. The chimera is only one of several famous mythological hybrids. As with all mythical creatures, there is the question of its origin. In some traditions, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and sister of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. However, the chimera does not appear to have an existence in physical reality, save for the individual animals from which it is composed.
Was the Roman god of love, who was also called Eros by the Greeks. He was usually depicted as a young winged boy with a bow and arrow.
EROS was the mischievous god of love, a minion and constant companion of the goddess Aphrodite.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the Furies were female spirits of justice and vengeance. They were also called the Erinyes (angry ones). Known especially for pursuing people who had murdered family members, the Furies punished their victims by driving them mad. When not punishing wrongdoers on earth, they lived in the underworld and tortured the damned.
Any of the three sisters Stheno, Euryale, and the mortal Medusa who had snakes for hair and eyes that if looked into turned the beholder into stone.
After Halcyon and her husband Ceyx were turned into birds (see story under "changes: birds" on other page of study guide), they wanted so badly to have children but Zeus had ordered that Halcyon only lay her eggs during the winter. But her nest was near the shore, close to where she had found Ceyx's body, and the stormy waves keep washing away her eggs. So Halcyon begged Zeus for just a few days to lay her eggs in good weather and, encouraged by the other gods, Zeus granted her 14 days of good and calm weather in the middle of winter and so they were able to keep her eggs safe for 14 days every winter. Halcyon days: calm and peaceful, untroubled by any care (think Hakuna Matata)
In Greek myth, the Harpies (meaning "snatchers") were female monsters who caused mischief, tormented wrongdoers, and carried souls to the underworld. They were known for their hideous appearance and smell.
In the earliest accounts, the Harpies were not monstrous—they were simply spirits who represented windy or stormy weather, and they were depicted as beautiful young women with wings. Over time, however, they developed into terrifying beasts. They had long, fair hair and the faces and upper bodies of women, but the wings, tails, legs, and claws of birds of prey, with sharp talons made of metal. They were always ravenously hungry, and would steal food or even eat their victims before carrying away their souls. The Harpies were repulsive to look at, and they spread filth everywhere they went. They stank so much that whatever they touched gave off a terrible smell.
Hector, in Greek legend, the eldest son of the Trojan king Priam and his queen Hecuba. He was the husband of Andromache and the chief warrior of the Trojan army. In Homer's Iliad he is represented as an ideal warrior and the mainstay of Troy. His character is drawn in most favourable colours as a good son, a loving husband and father, and a trusty friend.
Helen (of Troy)
A beautiful Greek woman, daughter of Zeus and Leda, who was kidnapped by Paris of Troy. The Trojan War began when the Greeks tried to get her back.
was a hero in Greek mythology who was renowned for his strength and courage. He is best known for completing his 12 labors, which included killing or capturing legendary creatures, gaining various items, and diverting a river to clean out the stables of Augeas. This feat is one very hard to perform, especially one requiring great strength.
In Greek mythology, the Hydra was a giant water snake with many (9) heads that lived in a swamp near Lerna in the land of Argos. The number of heads is variously reported from as few as 5 to more than 100. immortal able to live forever. The second of the 12 labors of Hercules* was to kill the Hydra.
In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She is also known as one of the goddesses of the sea and the sky. Iris links the gods to humanity. She travels with the speed of wind from one end of the world to the other, and into the depths of the sea and the underworld.
Jupiter, also Jove, is the god of sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice. Being Jovial is to be endowed with or characterized by a hearty, joyous humor or a spirit of good-fellowship
Juno (Latin: Iūnō [ˈjuːnoː]) is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent was Hera. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina ("Queen") and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome. Junoesque pertains to beauty and sex.
In Greek mythology, Lethe was one of the five rivers of the underworld of Hades. Also known as the Ameles potamos (river of unmindfulness), the Lethe flowed around the cave of Hypnos and through the Underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. Lethe was also the name of the Greek spirit of forgetfulness and oblivion, with whom the river was often identified.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.
Medea, in Greek mythology, an enchantress who helped Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to obtain the Golden Fleece from her father, King Aeëtes of Colchis. She was of divine descent and had the gift of prophecy. She married Jason and used her magic powers and advice to help him.
Hermes was the Greek god of commerce, son of Zeus and Maia. Quick acting and cunning, he was able to move swiftly between the world of man and the world of gods, acting as a messenger of the gods and the link between mortals and the Olympians.
Morpheus is a god of dreams who appears in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Morpheus has the ability to mimic any human form and to appear in dreams. His true semblance is that of a winged daemon, an imagery shared with many of his siblings.
The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts. They were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the personification of memory), and they were also considered water nymphs. There were nine Muses, protecting a different art and being symbolised with a different item; Calliope (epic poetry - writing tablet), Clio (history - scroll), Euterpe (lyric poetry - aulos, a Greek flute), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry - comic mask), Melpomene (tragedy - tragic mask), Terpsichore (dance - lyre), Erato (love poetry - cithara, a Greek type of lyre), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry - veil), and Urania (astronomy - globe and compass). Their gifts of song, dance, and joy helped the gods and mankind to forget their troubles and inspired musicians and writers to reach ever greater artistic and intellectual heights.
Narcissus (/nɑːrˈsɪsəs/; Greek: Νάρκισσος, Nárkissos) was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. He was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance and/or public perception.
Nemesis was the goddess of divine retribution and revenge, who would show her wrath to any human being that would commit hubris, i.e. arrogance before the gods. She was considered a remorseless goddess.
Nemesis was widely used in the Greek tragedies and various other literary works, being the deity that would give what was due to the protagonist. As the gods' retribution could not be avoided, a nemesis is not only an agent of punishment, but any challenge or opponent that a person is unable to defeat.
Neptune was the name that ancient Romans gave to the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, Poseidon. He was the brother of Jupiter (Zeus) and of Pluto (Hades). After the defeat of their father Saturn (Cronos), the three brothers divided the world in three parts to be ruled by one of the three brothers. Jupiter took the sky, Neptune the sea and Pluto the underworld. Neptune had the reputation for having a violent temper. Tempests and earthquakes were a reflection of his furious rage. Not only has Neptune been related to all things involving the water, but he as also become a synonym for the sea or the ocean itself, as in colloquial phrases such as that which refers to "Neptune's mighty roar." More generally, Neptune has become the archetype for the consummate seafarer.
The personification of female sorrow. According to Grecian fable, Niobe was the mother of twelve children, and taunted Latona because she had only two- namely, Apollo and Diana. Latona commanded her children to avenge the insult, and they caused all the sons and daughters of Niobe to die. Niobe was inconsolable, wept herself to death, and was changed into a stone, from which ran water, "Like Niobe, all tears" (Hamlet.)
Odysseus was a Greek hero who ruled the island of Ithaca. He was genius tactician during the Trojan War. In fact it was Odysseus who ingeniously created the plans for the Trojan Horse raid in which the Greeks presented a massive wooden horse to the Trojans as a gift of their surrender, in truth the Trojan Horse was filled with Greek soldiers who raided the city and defeated the Trojans .After defeating the Trojans, Odysseus starts off on his return journey to Ithaca. During the Trojan War however Odysseus severely angered the god Poseidon through his outlandish and cunning tactics. Poseidon sends rough seas that send Odysseus and his men on a long and perilous journey in which Odysseus uses his cunning tactics, and leadership skills time and time again to finally return home and reclaim his kingdom.
Majestic in manner, superior to mundane affairs;
One of the 12 major gods and goddesses inhabiting Mount Olympus that are said to rule over all other gods and people.
a song of joy, a ritual epithet of Apollo the healer;
Paean was the physician of the gods in Greek mythology. He was mentioned in Homer's Iliad, when the god of war, Ares, was wounded by the hero Diomedes; Ares was brought to Mount Olympus, where Paean applied his knowledge and medicine to treat the wound. He also treated Hades in Homer's Odyssey, when Heracles shot an arrow against him. Paean as a god was later put aside, and the word became an epithet for Apollo, initially, and Asclepius, the god of healing, later.
Pandora, according to Greek mythology, was the first woman on earth. Created by Zeus in revenge for Prometheus's stealing of fire, she was given a box that she was told not to open. Either she or her husband Epimetheus—tellings diverge on that point—opened the box, allowing all manner of evils to escape and plague the world. A Pandora's box is anything that, upon investigation, leads to extensive and unexpected troubles.
Mountain that was sacred to arts and literature; any center of poetic or artistic activity; poetry or poets collectively, a common title for a selection of poetry; named after the hero of Mt. Parnassus, the son of Poseidon and a Nymph. He founded the oracle of Python, which was later occupied by Apollo and is sacred to Muses.
Pegasus was a flying horse in Greek mythology, usually depicted as white colored. His father was Poseidon and his mother was the Gorgon Medusa; he was born along with his brother Chrysaor when Medusa was decapitated by Perseus. Pegasus was captured and tamed by the Greek hero Bellerophon and helped him in his fights against the Chimera and the Amazons. Later, Bellerophon continued riding Pegasus on their way to Mount Olympus, but Zeus dismounted him on the way; Pegasus continued on the journey and reached Olympus. A stamp of his hoof caused Hippocrene, the fountain of the Muses, to issue poetic inspiration from Mount Helicon.
Was a mythological bird that was one of a kind. The bird lived for five or six hundred years, after which it would burn itself to death and then rise from its own ashes as a youthful bird ready to live another life span. The phoenix has come to symbolize rebirth or resurrection and "rising from one's own ashes" can describe surmounting great obstacles.
A government by the wealthy; named after Plutus (aka Plutous), son of the goddess of fruitfulness, Demeter, and the Cretan Iasion. He was originally the god of the fields because the ground was the source of all wealth, ores and jewels.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus defied Zeus, stealing fire from the heavens and giving it to the human race. His name has become associated with bold originality and creativity.
Proteus was a Greek god who had the ability to change his shape. Proteus knew all things—past, present, and future—but disliked divulging what he knew. Those who wished to consult him had first to surprise and bind him during his noonday slumber. Even when caught he would try to escape by assuming all sorts of shapes. But if his captor held him fast, the god at last returned to his proper shape, gave the wished-for answer, and plunged into the sea. Someone or something that easily adapts to changing situations or roles by changing itself is described as protean.
The human soul, self, and mind named after Psyche, a stunningly beautiful girl that people throughout the land worshiped her beauty so deeply that they forgot about the goddess Venus. Venus becomes angry that her temples are falling to ruin, so she plots to ruin Psyche. She instructs her son, Cupid, to pierce the girl with an arrow and make her fall in love with the most vile, hideous man alive. But when Cupid sees Psyche in her radiant glory, he shoots himself with the arrow instead. After undergoing many hardships and separation from Cupid due to Aphrodite's (Venus's) jealousy, she was reunited with Cupid and was made immortal by Jupiter; she personifies the soul joined to the heart of love.
Someone (usually a male) who tries to fashion someone into the person he desires. Famous Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. A sculptor named Pygmalion creates a sculpture of his ideal woman. By Aphrodite's hand, the sculpture, who we know as Galatea, comes to life.
Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, won many battles but overextended himself. After defeating the Romans in 279 B.C. while sustaining very heavy losses, Pyrrhus declared "one more such victory and I am lost." A pyrrhic victory is a victory won at too great a cost.
Saturnalia: a period of unrestrained revelry; named after the ancient Roman festival of Saturn, with general feasting in revelry in honor of the winter solstice.
Saturnine: sluggish, gloomy, morose, inactive in winter months; named after the god Saturn, often associated with the god of the Underworld.
The sibyls were female prophets of Greek and Roman mythology. Their prophecies, which emerged as riddles to be interpreted by priests, were inspired by Apollo or other gods.
This term for a task that is endless and ineffective comes straight out of Greek myth. In Greek legend, Sisyphus was punished in Hades for his misdeeds in life (constant deceitfulness) by being condemned eternally to roll a heavy stone up a hill. As he neared the top, the stone rolled down again, so that his labour was everlasting and futile.
dark and gloomy; Stygian refers to the river Styx. In Greek mythology, the souls of the dead were ferried in this river, which was located in Hades, the underworld. The water is poisonous for human and cattle, and said to break iron, metal and pottery, though it is said a horse's hoof is unharmed by it.
Comes from the plight of the mythological Tantalus, who so offended the gods that he was condemned in the afterlife to an eternity of hunger and thirst. He was made to stand in a pool in Tartarus, the Underworld zone of punishment. Each time he reached down for the water that beckoned to his parched lips, it drained away. Overhanging the pool were boughs laden with luscious fruit. But each time Tantalus stretched to pluck this juicy sustenance, the boughs receded from his grasp.
large, grand, enormous; after Tityus, a giant, the son of Zeus and Elara. His body covers over two acres. Or after the Titans, the offspring of Chronus and Rhea, who went to war against Zeus and the other Olypian gods (and lost).
In Roman mythology, Vulcan was the equivalent for the Greek Hephaestus, the god of crafting, blacksmithing, and volcanoes. He is the son of Jupiter and Juno, and the husband of Venus. He is the only ugly God, so as a result, his mother, Juno, (or Jupiter) threw him out of their house. He then fell for an entire day and night, and landed in water, breaking his legs in the process. He ended up with lame legs.
Zephyr was the Greek god of the west wind, which was considered the gentlest wind, especially if compared to the colder north wind, Boreas. The warm west wind brought the spring season. Even today the name of the god means a warm and light breeze.
Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. He overthrew his father, Cronus, and then drew lots with his brothers Poseidon and Hades, in order to decide who would succeed their father on the throne. Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods, as well as lord of the sky and rain. His weapon was a thunderbolt which he hurled at those who displeased or defied him, especially liars and oath-breakers. He was married to Hera but often tested her patience, as he was infamous for his many affairs.
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