Classical gods names.

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Until the mid 20th century the Greek-Roman gods were usually referenced by their Roman names (planet names). More recently (Mighty Aphrodite, Poseidon Adventure) Greek names became more common. How and why the shift?
     
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Curious question
    I have not the answer.
    and, I was unaware of the change

    Something interesting to ponder
    aside from the movie references, what else have you?
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure why specific films referenced Greek rather than Roman names, but possibly simply because they sounded better on the tongue. "Mighty Venus" doesn't sound quite as good, nor "The Neptune Adventure", which may have been confusing if people thought it a sci-fi film since it references a planet.

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    It may be precisely because the Roman names have been used previously that, in seeking to be slightly different, people moved more to the Greek. They do tend to sound classier, more snobbish in some regards, although that trend probably began with the romantics like Byron, and continued with Wilde.

    It's also possible that it is to do with some pretty influential books focussing on the Greek deities written in the early to mid 20th century: Edith Hamilton's "Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes" (1942) and D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths (1967), a rather popular one among children, and Robert Graves' "The Greek Myths" (1955).

    FYI - the Classical pantheon was also originally two distinct pantheons, not just a renaming of the Greek gods into Roman names. E.g. Mars and Ares, while they both cover war, also cover different things from each other. And while Mars was a signifcant Roman god, Ares was somewhat less significant in the Greek pantheon. But over time they came to be merged until they pretty much came to be the same pantheon, just different names.
     
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  7. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Minor footnote: Apollo - same name for Greeks and Romans.
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Apollo was one of the few that were, if not the only one that was, appropriated wholly from the Greeks. He had no Roman "equivalent" at the time, so the Romans adopted him wholesale, including his name.
    Bear in mind that Greece was a much older civilisation (not as Greece per se but as the various city states, such as Sparta, Athens, Troy etc) than the Roman, and it is quite possible that Italy was initially colonised by people from some of those states. The Trojan war, for example, was c.1200 BC while Rome was founded, so the tradition goes, by Romulus and Remus in 753BC.
    So it's also likely that the Roman pantheon were at least initially based on that of the Greeks, with some slippage over time as to what the deities covered.
     
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  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    IF I'm not mistaken:
    The first we hear of Apollo was during the Trojan war when(as a dirty shepherd?) he rained down arrows of plague on the invading Achaeans who had desecrated his temple and made off with his priest's daughter.

    Whatever he did---?--- He seems to have impressed the collected Hellene tribes who cleaned him up a bit and adopted him as their own---complete with a seat(chair) at Olympus---?
    (though---?--- as bright apollo---"Phoebus Apollo"---he seems to have helped the greeks navigate to Ilion/Troy?)
    So
    Trojan---> Greek---> Roman
    (he does seem to travel well)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  10. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting side note: A translation of the Iliad by Samuel Butler uses Roman equivalents. Odysseus to Ulysses, Zeus to Jove.
     
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Well, the earliest writing he appears in may have been about the Trojan war, but the Iliad (the source of what we know about the Trojan war) was written some 400 years after, at a time when the worship of Apollo was starting to gain traction. So it may just be that he was retrofitted into the pre-existing details to satisfy those that worshipped him.

    Also, he was a deity, so technically the earliest we hear of him in terms of the period written about (rather than written in) would be from when he was born, as Zeus' son.

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    There's a whole mythology of what he got up to prior to the Trojan war, even if the Trojan war was the earliest writing we have about him (I honestly have no idea if it is, though).
     
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