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IT’S ALL

GREEK TO ME! The modern way to learn about mythical gods BY AMY SIMMONDS

a press

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IT’S ALL

GREEK TO ME! The modern way to learn about mythical gods BY AMY SIMMONDS

a press

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For anyone who sucks at history


contents Amphitrite

3

Harmonia

16

Aphrodite*

4

Hephaestus*

17

Apollo*

5

Hera*

18

Ares*

6

Hermes*

19

Artemis*

7

Hypnos

20

Asculapius

8

Paeon

21

Athena*

9

Pan

22

Demeter*

10

Persephone

23

Dionysus*

11

Phobos

24

Eileithyia

12

Poseidon*

25

Eris

13

Thanatos

26

Eros

14

Zeus*

27

Hades

15

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*Classical Olympians

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amphitrite (am-fi-trahy-tee) As Poseidon’s wife, Amphitrite was a goddess of the sea. Her offspring included seals and dolphins — don’t ask. She and Poseidon had a merman son named Triton. She later fell off the charts and just became a symbol of the sea. TODAY The girl who’s always got a tan, no matter what the weather. Her hair is as white as looking into direct sunlight. She is always seen around other beach gods, preferably sand volleyball players over out-of-touch surfers.

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aphrodite (af-ruh-dahy-tee) Aphrodite was the goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality. She rose from the sea after Uranus’ genitals were thrown into it —true story. Her dad, Zeus, pawned her off on strong Hephaestus to avoid war between other gods out of sheer jealousy. TODAY Hide your husband (or wife) from this one. She will flirt with anyone she can to practice her social charm, blaming alcohol for loosening her lips (or bra clasp).

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apollo (uh-pol-oh) Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto. He represented one of the most important Olympian deities. His sculptures showed him as a beardless, athletic young man. He was the god of many things, including light, sun, truth, prophecy, music, poetry, the arts, and iTunes. TODAY The guy you have to yell at three times because he can’t hear you when you tell him he’s stepping on your bag.

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ares (air-eez) Mayday, Mayday! Ares was the god of war. His parents were Zeus and Hera, and he existed as one of the Twelve Olympians. He represents war’s physical or violent aspect, which was balanced by Athena, who represented intelligence and strategy. TODAY The guy who went to the military straight out of high school; the professional American. He believes everyone would be better off under the U.S. Government, even if it requires force.

7


artemis (ahr-tuh-mis) Artemis was referred to as “Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals.” In classical mythology, she was a daughter of Zeus, and Apollo’s twin sister. She was the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, and wilderness. Her clothes were definitely 100 percent organic. TODAY The girl who will walk three floors up between classes to recycle all the bottles thrown away in her classroom.

8


asculapius (es-kyuh-ley-pee-uhs) According to ancient Greek religion, Asculapius was the god of poppin’ pills. He represented the healing aspect of the medical profession. His daughters’ names translated to “hygiene,” “medicine,” “healing,” “healthy glow,” and “universal remedy.” Maybe he could’ve done some decent work for Proctor and Gamble. TODAY That charming character in a dark alleyway, or even that doctor that will write you a script for about anything.

9


athena (uh-thee-nuh) Athena was the brainy goddess, governing over civilization, warfare strategy, crafts, justice and skill. (Don’t play her in Scrabble.) The citizens of Athens were nice enough to build her a nice little structure called the Parthenon. TODAY The girl who perpetually has a lightbulb above her head. She lacks social charm, but she’ll explain quantum physics to you in three minutes flat. And you’ll understand about 10 words of it.

10


demeter (dih-mee-ter) Demeter was the god of the harvest, king of the grains. He also was the watchdog for the season’s and the Earth’s fertility (Viagra, anyone?). Like his modern counterpart, Demeter presided over sacred laws, including the sanctity of marriage. TODAY The sweetest guy you’ll ever meet if you think the same way he does. Otherwise you’re going to hell. Repent, young sinner!

11


dionysus (dahy-uh-nahy-suhs) Dionysus was the god of all things you’re not supposed to enjoy, including ritual madness, ecstacy, and winemaking. He was the guy you called if you wanted a good, old-fashioned orgy. TODAY The first guy you invite to a party (or the last, depending on how valuable your things are). Everyone will have a good time if he’s around, either by interacting with him or just watching him fall through the glass coffee table.

12


eileithyia (ehl-ih-thee-uh) This goddess with a mouthful of a name was the goddess of childbirth and midwifery, the divine helper of women in labor. Eileithyia was the first one you called if your baby daddy was off with some other Greek chick. TODAY Tune into MTV’s “Teen Mom” or “Sixteen and Pregnant” to see this modern goddess. Perpetually forgetting means of contraception, she will never stop telling you how difficult it is to be filmed and paid for being a mother.

13


eris (er-is) Eris was the god of running late. She was likely pissed off at Harmonia all the time for being such a goody-goody. TODAY The girl who always shows up either 20 minutes after your meeting started or without any of the paperwork you needed. She loses everything, and is clumsy as hell. Do NOT let her babysit if you want to see your children again.

14


eros (er-os) Eros was the god of sexual love and beauty. If he had a record player back then, he would have been stocked with Marvin Gaye and Al Green. Some say he was the son of Aphrodite and Ares, the gods of love and war. (All’s fair, right?) TODAY The guy who can steal your girlfriend (or boyfriend) in a matter of minutes. The look in his eyes and his cheeky grin could melt the pants off of anybody. Do not leave him with either one of your parents. It gets messy.

15


hades (hey-deez) Hades along his brothers Zeus and Poseidon once kicked the Titans’ asses and claimed the cosmos. No biggie. This guy was the king of the underworld. Don’t mix him up with ol’ Death. He’s later. TODAY Guyliner. Chains. Crosses. Anything that could make you uncomfortable is his first choice in garments and accessories. He never talks, but you know he’s just a little teddy bear inside.

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harmonia (hahr-moh-nee-uh) Harmonia was the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, or Aphrodite in Hephaestus, depending on who you ask —Grecians weren’t very monogamous back then. She was the personification of order and civic duty, the perfect hall monitor. TODAY The girl who has her life planned out in 15-minute intervals on her BlackBerry. She never has a hair out of place and is annoyingly perfect. Do not invite her to a party unless you can trick her into drinking.

17


hephaestus (hi-fes-tuhs) Hephaestus was lucky enough to have Zeus and Hera for parents. What made him unlucky was that he was born lame. He served as the blacksmith of the gods, and was worshipped in the field of manufacturing. TODAY The really handsome guy you went to high school with that never really got anywhere, but is a real man’s man. He’s perpetually dirty and tired after a long day’s work, but he’ll always sit to have a beer with you.

18


hera (her-uh) Hera was born with a veil and garter as the goddess of women and marriage. She really liked cows and peacocks as one produced milk —a natural source of livelihood — and the other easily attracted mates. TODAY The woman hellbent on being a homemaker. She’ll do anything for her man, including making four-course meals and folding his underwear. But you better put a ring on it if you want to keep her around.

19


hermes (hur-meez) Hermes was not only the great messaging god, but also the patron of big business. You’d often see him trotting around with his snazzy winged sandals or hat. TODAY The girl who updates her status nearly every 15 minutes, using the Internet as a means of keeping a personal narrative. Don’t offer to meet with her in person. She’s much easier to talk to using either Facebook Chat or an instant messenger.

20


hypnos (hip-nos) Hmm— what? Oh, I was out for a second. Hypnos was the god of sleep. Scarily enough, his twin was Death and his mom was Night. He lived where the “sun don’t shine.” (Not what you’re thinking, it was a palace...) Outside of his dark cave-palace were some hypnotic poppies and other mysterious plants. TODAY Uhh... let’s just say to not leave your drink alone around this guy.

21


paeon (pee-uhn) Is there a doctor in the house? Paeon would be the guy for the job. He saved crazy war-hungry Ares with some medicine that provided “instant relief.” (Can I have some?) He also helped Hades after Heracles beat him in an arrow fight. TODAY Ever watch “Scrubs”?

22


pan (pan) The not-so-excitingly named god Pan was the god of shepherds, wild, and hunting. His name actually meant “to pasture.” Maybe he just liked eating grass. Either way, he was basically half goat. So maybe. TODAY This guy is a nutjob. He’ll eat anything or do anything on a dare. However ambitious in these feats, he can never keep a steady job since he lives by the seat of his pants — if he actually put some on today.

23


persephone (per-sef-uh-nee) Daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone was queen of the underworld. How, you ask? Hades stole the girl from her mama and turned her into an underworld goddess, though with her Demeter roots she was also considered the personification of spring and vegetation. She could’ve very well had some schizophrenic tendencies. TODAY She’s the girl carving something in the corner with a Bowie knife. Oh wait, that’s definitely her arm. Don’t get close.

24


phobos (foh-bos) Poor Phobos was the god of fear. His mom was Aphrodite, but he’d often join his dad, Ares, in battle. We think that created this little scaredycat. TODAY This guy takes everything Mama said to heart. He will not jaywalk, go into dark alleys, or go outside with his hair wet. You could try having fun with him at a party, but he’d likely end up drunk, crying in the corner.

25


poseidon (poh-sahyd-n) Dude! So Zeus and Hades had this sweet brother named Poseidon, god of the sea. He was the protector of many Hellenic cities, but Athena won the contest to get Athens. Maybe they weren’t big water people then. TODAY I’d totally guess this guy’s on the beach somewhere. He hasn’t had his feet on a sidewalk in days. He lives for the surf and while he isn’t very bright, he’s very passionate.

26


thanatos (than-uh-tohs) Dun dun dun... Even though Thanatos wasn’t popular in Greek mythology, he was mighty in being the personification of what happens when you go 60 MPH into a brick wall. I call him Death. TODAY Uh... I’d be nice to this guy. He’s creepy, and you’re not too sure if he’s death or not, but he sure looks it. I wouldn’t take the chance.

27


zeus (zoos) Zeus was the big daddy of them all, father of gods and men. He ruled Mount Olympus and was the god of sky and thunder. TODAY This guy’s on a power trip. He’s likely the security guard at the mall, the jerk cop who pulled you over for not yielding correctly, or he’s running for president in 2012. Don’t do this guy any favors. You don’t want him getting any more power than he has already.

28


index First Generation

10, 15, 18, 25, 27

Second Generation

4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 17, 19, 23

Third Generation

13, 22


It makes so much more sense this way! I feel like I learned much more than from some textbook. HERATIO THANADOS

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It's All Greek to Me! | The modern way to learn about mythical gods