Mythology in modern society



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MYTHOLOGY IN MODERN SOCIETY

       

Mythology is everywhere! Daily you run across instances of words, city names, companies, literary allusions - and even planets and constellations - that take their name or borrow their theme from myths. Because of your many requests, I've provided a couple of thousand excellent examples to help you get started in your research. Remember, you're surrounded by mythology in today's society, whether you realize it or not! 

Mythological Influence on Modern...

Companies & Groups

Planets & Constellations




  Words & Expressions

Literary & Pop Culture

American Cities Named From Mythology

COMPANIES & GROUPS



Mythology is everywhere! There are hundreds of companies, groups and corporations that take their name, logo or theme from ancient mythology. I've provided a variety of examples to help you in starting your research. Some are well-known international companies, others are of a more local nature.

Aegis - Zeus and Athena's protective shield; modern group of insurance companies (The Aegis Group).

Ajax - Greek warrior in the Trojan War, who "cleaned up" in battle; popular household cleanser.

Amazon - Race of warrior women; amazon.com - huge on-line bookstore.

Ares - Greek god of war; popular car model.

Argus - Giant watchman with a hundred eyes; Argus Security is a modern security company, specializing in commercial business protection.

Atlas - Was doomed to support the heavens on his shoulders; a modern moving company (Atlas Van Lines); also, Atlas Travel is a popular name for travel agencies all over the globe.

Aurora - Roman name for Eos, goddess of the Dawn; luxury car model.

Charon - Boatman who ferries the souls of the dead to the Underworld; www.charon.com, a company "offering solutions for a connected world."

Delphi - Sanctuary to Apollo and home to his famous Oracles; Delphi Forums (www.delphi.com) is an on-line meeting place to promote discussions and to find answers. Delphi is also the name of an international Automotive Group.

Hercules - Roman name for Heracles, the greatest Greek hero; the company called Hercules - http://www.hercules.com - makes a top-selling video graphics card (their slogan is Legendary Strength, Quality and Performance);
there is also the Hercules transport plane, used by the United States Air Force to carry large volumes of war material and food;
Hercules Incorporated - http://www.herc.com - is a maker of chemicals and allied products.

Hermes - Olympian Herald and Messenger god; popular brand of soap. Also, the FTD flower delivery company incorporates Hermes and his winged heels in their logo.

Hyperion - Titan whose name means "he who goes before the sun"; a company (www.hyperion.com) that specializes in "business analysis software." Also the name of a book publishing company.

Hydra - Sea serpent with nine heads, killed by Hercules; It's the chosen name (www.hydra.com) of the Internet Chess Club.

Juno - Roman name for Hera, wife of Zeus; Juno is a popular web-hosting company (www.juno.com), specializing in free web pages and custom e-mail.

Mars - Roman name for Ares, god of War; name of popular candy bar.

Medusa - Terrible monster whose glance would petrify you, killed by the hero Perseus; Medusa Cement Company sells cement products worldwide.

Mercury - Roman name for Hermes, the Messenger god; name of car model produced by the Ford Motor Company; also, an entertainment records label, Mercury Records.

Midas - King with the golden touch, who transformed all he touched to gold; a famous muffler and brake chain of service stations.

Minerva - Roman name for Athena, who gifted the olive tree to humans; Minerva Oil Company is an international exporter of fine food products.

Nike - Winged goddess of Victory, who can run and fly at great speeds; a famous company that sells...well...if you haven't heard of the company Nike, welcome to our planet...:)

Odyssey - The 10-year sea voyage endured by the Trojan War hero, Odysseus, as he sought to return home to Ithica; Odyssey Travel is a well-known travel agency; Odyssey Cruise Lines is a cruise company; Odyssey Records is a record company; there's even an Odyssey Golf Club company...you get the drift, Odyssey is a very popular modern mythological rip-off...

Olympus - Home of the Olympian gods; name of popular camera and photographic technology company. Also, Olympic Airlines is another variation of the name. (Note: Thanasi's Olympus Greek Restaurant is owned by the Myth Man...)

Orion - A giant hunter slain by Artemis in Greek mythology; a motion picture production company, Orion Pictures.

Pandora - The first woman in Greek mythology, whose name means "all-gifted"; Pandora's Gift Boutique sells quality gift merchandise.

Parthenon - The temple of Athena, built on the Acropolis of Athens; perhaps the most-used name for any Greek restaurant in any city of the world! It's ridiculous...I bet there's a Parthenon Restaurant in your town! :)

Pegasus - Winged horse that was born from Medusa's head when she was killed; Pegasus Expedite Company is a national delivery/courier service; Pegasus Satellite Systems is a provider of satellite entertainment services. The winged horse motif is used by dozens of companies. Check out my Pegasus Homework Help page for more on that.

Phoenix - A mythical and one-of-a-kind bird that burns on a funeral pyre after a life of hundreds of years, only to be re-born from the ashes; also the name of a national photographic technology company.

Poseidon - God of the Sea and brother of Zeus; Poseidon Travel is a common travel agency name; Poseidon Seafood is a national brand of seafood products. Neptune, the Roman version, is often also used by companies, as in Neptune Fresh Lobster Co.

Saturn - Roman name for Cronus, father of Zeus; also the name of the Saturn Automobile Corporation.

Titans - Race of gods preceding the Olympians; Titan Tool & Die Company manufactures tools for industry.

Spartan - Greek warrior state, devoted to discipline and the martial arts; Spartan Corporation is a financial advisory company; also, Spartan Tool & Die is a national manufacturer and supplier to the auto industry; Spartan Nutritional Products is a maker and distributor of health supplements.

Trojan - Inhabitants of the mighty city that was destroyed by the Greeks during the Trojan War, after a siege of ten years; international manufacturer of condoms and birth control products.

Venus - Roman for Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love; Venus is the name of a famous beauty product company; Venus International is a popular beauty talent agency; Venus Tan Lines is a swimsuit manufacturer; Venus Beauty Salon is found in most any city or town...

Vulcan - Roman name for Hephaestus, god of the smiths and the forge; Vulcan Industries is an international manufacturer of steel products.


MOVIES, LITERATURE & POP CULTURE

Television and Movies

Clash of the Titans: A movie describing the adventures of Perseus as he crosses paths with Medusa, Pegasus, the Kracken, and an array of Greek gods and goddesses

Xanadu: The Nine Muses of Greek mythology are alluded to in this movie about a struggling young artist.

Hercules and Xena: These two popular television shows bring a different myth to life every week, sometimes relying on classics, and other times creating new tales.

Wonder Woman: A favorite in the 70s, this television show spotlighted the heroism of the Amazon goddess Diana in the mortal world while illustrating her amazing super-powers.

Star Trek: This incredibly successful science fiction TV drama took a ship full of adventurers through harrowing adventures weekly, all the while cleverly inserting into the story lines ancient mythological allusions.

Literature

The Incarnations of Immortality Series, Piers Anthony.

A brilliant anthology of Fantasy books personifying the Immortal Powers of Death, Time, War, Fate, Mother Nature, God, and Satan.



The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle.

Tells a tale of the last living unicorn and her quest to keep hope alive in the world.



Mother Love, Rita Dove.

A collection of poems telling in various ways the myth of Persephone and Demeter.



The Heralds of Valdemar Series, Mercedes Lackey.

A wide array of books portraying various mythological creatures, such as gryphons and salamanders.



A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams.

This play contains several allusions to mythology, such as the poor neighborhood in which the story unfolds ironically being called Elysian Fields.



Pygmalion, G.B. Shaw.

This play tells the story of a misogynistic sculptor who creates his perfect woman and prays to Aphrodite for the statue to be brought to life. The musical My Fair Lady is loosely based on this play.



Brand Names

Ajax trademark

[Gk, a hero in the Trojan War who rescued the body of Achilles] : a brand of cleaner



Argonaut trademark

[L Argonautes, fr. Gk Argonautes, fr. Argo, ship in which the Argonauts sailed + nautes sailor] : a computer software company



Aurora trademark

[L, dawn or the Roman goddess of dawn] : a make of automobile



Hyperion trademark

[fr. L, fr. Gk Hyperion, a Titan, the father of Helios, Selene, and Eos] : a book publishing company



Janus trademark

[fr. Janus Roman god of beginnings who is represented artistically with two opposite faces] : a brand name of watch



Mars trademark

[fr. Mart-, Mars Roman god of war] : a brand of candy bar



Mercury trademark

[L Mercurius Mercury, Roman god of merchandise, trade, and theft] 1 : a record production label 2 : a make of automobile



Nike trademark

[Gk Nike Goddess of victory] : a brand of athletic shoe



Olympus trademark

[L, fr. Gk Olympos, a mountain in Thessaly that in Greek mythology is the abode of the gods] : a photographic technology company



Orion trademark

[L, fr. Gk Orion, a giant hunter slain by Artemis in Greek mythology] : a motion picture production company



Phoenix trademark

[L, fr. Gk phoinix a mythical bird of great beauty fabled to rise from its own ashes in the freshness of youth] : a photographic technology company



Saturn trademark

[L Saturnus Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and father of Jupiter] : a make of automobile



Song Lyrics

"You consider me the young apprentice


Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis..."
--The Police, "Wrapped Around Your Finger"

(Refers to the monsters in Greek mythology by which sailors had to pass; the phrase has come to mean being between two equally perilous alternatives, neither of which can be passed without encountering the other, i.e. between a rock and a hard place)

"And I know now how it feels
To be weakened like Achilles
With you always at my heels."

(Mentions the hero Achilles, who was killed by being cut on the only vulnerable spot on his body: his heel)

"Now I see your face before me.
I would launch a thousand ships
To bring your heart back to my island."
--Indigo Girls, "Ghost"

(Alluding to Helen of Troy, who is said to have been so beautiful that her abduction was the cause of the Trojan War, i.e. the launch of a thousand ships)

"You can roll that stone
To the top of the hill
Drag your ball and chain
Behind you."
--Rush, "Carve Away the Stone"

(Referring to the fate of Sisyphus, a legendary king of Corinth condemned eternally to repeat the cycle of rolling a heavy rock up a hill in Hades each day only to have it roll down again as it nears the top)

"If we burn our wings
Flying too close to the sun..."
--Rush, "Bravado"

(Alluding to the fate of Daedalus, the legendary builder of Cretan labyrinth who makes wings to enable himself and his son Icarus to escape from imprisonment, only to have the wax of the wings melt as the child flies too close to the sun)

"Oh, I will dine on honey dew
And drink the milk of Paradise."
--Rush, "Xanadu"

(Refers to nectar and ambrosia, the food and drink of the immortal souls in Elysia)

"...I watched him struggle with the sea
I knew that he was drowning
And I brought him into me..."
--Suzanne Vega, "Calypso"

(This song tells the tale of the sea nymph Calypso in The Odyssey who keeps Odysseus on the island of Ogygia)

"You can hear the siren screaming
Take me to the promised land."
--Yes, "State of Play"

"The x-ray is her siren song


My ship cannot resist her long."
--Rush, "Cygnus X-1"

"Like a siren she calls (to me)."


--U2, "In God's Country"

(Each of these songs describe the song of the sirens, mythological Greek sea nymphs, part woman and part bird, supposed to lure sailors to their destruction by their seductive singing)

"He's the king of the ninth world
In each and every lobster cage
A tortured human soul..."
--Sting, "The Soul Cages"

(Alludes to the Ninth Ring of the Underworld, which is eternally reserved for the most evil and hopeless souls)

"Rise from the ashes--
A blaze of everyday glory..."
--Rush, "Everyday Glory"

(Refers to the rebirth of the phoenix, who burns himself on a pyre to rise once more, in the freshness of youth)





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