The Influence of Ancient Greek Mythology on Modern Society
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Ancient Greek society fell over 2000 years ago but despite this, its mythology still continues to influence our western society. References to Greek mythology can be found all through time and in our western culture. The influence of Greek mythology can be found in our science, arts and literature and our language. When Ancient Greece fell to the Roman Empire, Rome adapted its mythologies which still influence us today as they have through history. That is not to say that Greek mythology wasn’t influenced itself – Greek mythology has links with the bible and the early Mycenaean’s. It has also been recognised as one of the earliest forms of paganism. References to Greek mythology can be found all through time and in our Western culture. The influence of Greek mythology can be found in our science, arts and literature and our language, When Ancient Greece fell to the Roman Empire, Rome adapted its mythologies which still influence us today as they have through history. That is not to say that the Greek mythology Wasn’t influenced itself – Greek mythology has strong links with the bible and the late Mycenaean’s. Greek mythology has influenced our western culture in the past and is still continuing today.
Greek mythology has influenced our science quite heavily from the very start – including the naming of the planets. The first five planets (not including Earth): Mercury, Mars, Venus and Saturn were all named by the Romans after adaptations of what were originally Greek gods. Mercury is the roman equivalent of Hermes the messenger of gods and was named for the speed with which the planet moves around the sun. Mars, known for its red colour was named for the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Ares, the god of war. There is a similar pattern for Venus, Saturn and Jupiter who have all been named after the Roman equivalent of the Greek gods Aphrodite, Kronos and Zeus. The last three planets, discovered with the invention of telescopes were named in a similar matter to match the antiquity of the first five planets starting with Uranus and then following with Neptune and Pluto.
They were named for ******, Poseidon and Hades the king of the underworld. Asides from the planets, many of the moons orbiting the planets, especially Jupiter (Zeus) have been named according to Greek mythology. Pluto’s moon Charon was named after the boat keeper of the underworld, continuing the link between ancient Greek mythology and western society. The influence of Greek mythology does not stop here, it continues into the stars and galaxies – many of which are named after characters in Greek mythology and this is how Greek mythology has continually influenced western society over time. However, Greek mythologies role in western society is not limited to our science, as it has also played a huge part in developing the English language and phrases that we use. There are two ways in which Greek mythology has affected the English language and that is in words that reference Greek mythology and through phrases that represent the actions of characters in Greek mythology.
Words such as an aphrodisiac – something that arouses or intensifies sexual desire, stems from the Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Also linked with Aphrodite is Venereal disease (another word for STI). This stems from the Roman term Venus which is the equivalent Aphrodite. Also, the drug morphine – its name comes from the Greek god of sleep, Morpheus. Its words such as these that create the link between Greek mythology and western society. These are clear examples of how Greek mythology has influenced our language. More influential than these, are entire phrases and sayings that are derived from Greek myths and are used as a likeness to the struggles that heroes from Greek mythology went through. One of the best examples of this is Heracles. Heracles is the best known hero in Greek mythology and was originally inspired by Samson the Israelite from the Bible. When ancient Greece was conquered by Rome, Heracles became Hercules and from this we get the phrase “A herculean task”.
This phrase references the huge tasks the Hercules, a Greek hero had to complete with the use of his enormous strength. It is however slightly out dated and is now used as a slight exaggeration. As well as the phrase “A herculean task”, many still use the term an “Achilles heel”. The phrase is used to describe someone’s biggest weakness and references the demi god Achilles who died after he was hit with a poision arrow in his heel. Through this we can see the real amount of influence that greek mythology has had on western society. Aside from its influence on science and the English language, the most obvious impact of greek mythology on western society has been in its arts and literature. Since Ancient Greece, books and films depicting Greek mythology and appropriating it have been widely popular. Even in todays western society art and literature based on Greek mythology or appropriating its ideas are highly successful. More recently this can specifically apply to our film industry.
Movies such as the Clash of the titans (____), which was then followed by the sequel wrath of the titans attract Hollywood stars such as sam Worthington and produce gross _________ million dollars. This entire film series is based entirely on stories from Greek mythology. Its not just entire films either, Greek mythology references appear in films all the time and can even be found in the first Harry potter film, Harry potter and the Philosophers Stone. “Fluffy” the three headed dog who guards the philosophers stone is in fact an appropriation of Cerberus, the three headed dog who guards the underworld. However it’s not only movies appropriating Greek mythology. Books such as the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan have appropriated Greek mythology and have now sold over _________ books. Arts and literature are such an integral part of western society and Greek mythology can be found within this no matter which century. Greek mythology has influenced western society since its creation. References to Greek mythology can be found in our science, our language and our arts and literature. It’s not just today’s modern western society, it’s the entirety of western society through time. Western society has been unbelievably influenced by thr mythology of a country that was conquered over 200 years ago.