Week of April 11, 2021

It’s All Greek to Me, pt. III


Referring to a person as “promethean,” often a pioneering thinker or inventor, invokes the Greek titan Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind as a gift. In some versions of the myth, he gave mankind all arts and sciences also.


An “Oedipus complex” refers to having an unnatural affection for one’s mother, because in the tragic myth of Oedipus the King, the protagonist unknowingly marries his own mother.


Your phobia, or innate fear, is named for Phobos, god of fear. Phobos kept scary company with his war god father, often portrayed with his brother Deimos (god of Terror) sister Enyo (war goddess) and Eris (goddess of discord).


Your shoes might be named for the Greek winged goddess of victory, whose name was Nike.


Overburdened people complaining that they must carry the weight of the world on their shoulders are invoking Atlas. He was the titan condemned to do just that for warring with the gods. This is also why that book of maps is called an atlas.


Are you hpynotized by your hypnotist and feeling sleepy? Your state is named for Hypnos, the god of sleep. His parents were gods of night and darkness and his twin brother the god of death, so this guy was for real. At least twice he even put Zeus to sleep…


…and if Zeus dreamed, he might have had Morpheus, son of Hypnos and god of dreams, to thank. Morpheus formed and shaped the dreams, which is why “morph” is a term for shape or form. This god is also the namesake for morphine, a sedative, as well as Laurence Fishburne’s badass character in The Matrix films.