60 Allusions to Greek Mythology including Symbols

Allusions to Greek Mythology and Symbols

Allusions to Greek Mythology are all over the place in the modern world. Names, brands, logos, symbols and words are very powerful, even more so when they’re associated in some way with the Greek Gods and Goddesses, and Greek Mythology in general.

There are literary thousands of allusions based on Greek myth and legend out there. Here are a number of examples to keep you in awe:

1. Academy

Where Plato taught.

From Greek Academeia ”grove of Akademos”.

Akademos is a legendary Athenian of the Trojan War tales. His name is thought to mean “of a silent district”. His estate, six stadia from Athens, is said to be where Plato had his school.

  • Many institutions of higher learning and culture often use this word in the start of the discipline name, such as the Academy of Fine Arts.

2. Achilles heal

Achilles was shot in the heel by an arrow during the Trojan War. It killed him.

  • An Achilles heal now refers to someone who has some kind of small but significant weakness.

3. Actaeon

The Goddess Artemis turned the huntsman Actaeon into a stag after he saw the Goddess naked.

  • Five battle ships from the English Royal Navy were named HMS Actaeon from 1757 to 1831.

4. Adonis

A very handsome lover of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.

  • The archetype of a handsome young man. e.g. He’s an Adonis.

5. Aegeus

The king and father of the Greek hero Theseus, who slayed the Minotaur.

  • The Aegean Sea is named in his honour.
  • Aegean Airlines is derived from his name.

6. Aegis

This is the shield of Zeus and Athena. It shows the head of Medusa in the centre.

  • In the modern world, Aegis is a leading insurance service provider.
  • Under the Aegis of: means with the sponsorship, authority or protection of.

7. Aeolus

God of Winds

An Aeolian harp produces musical flute sounds as wind passes over its strings. Here’s an Aeolean harp on the south coast of Ireland. This one has a beautiful sound.

8. Ajax

Warrior associated with the Trojan War.

  • A popular household cleaner.

9. Alexander

Alexander the Great

  • The famed city of Alexandria in Egypt was founded by him.

10. Amazon

Race of warrior women.

  • Amazon is the humungous on-line retailer.
  • The Amazon river in South America.

11. Apollo

One of the 12 Olympians. The God of Light and Arts.

  • Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight to land humans on the moon.
  • The Apollo Theatre is a famous theatre in New York.
  • Comedy acts are performed live at the Apollo in London.

12. Aphrodite

Goddess of Love, Beauty and Sex

  • An Aphrodisiac arouses sexual desire.

13. Ares

The God of War

  • NASA has launch vehicles and rockets named after Ares.
  • An exclusive vehicle design.

14. Athena

Goddess of Wisdom

  • The capital of Greece is named after Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom.

15. Atlas

The Titan who was doomed to support the heavens on his shoulders.

  • An Atlas is a book/collection of maps.
  • Atlassian is a ginormous company that provides software for big banks.
  • The Atlas Mountains in Africa takes its name from the Titan.

16. Calypso

A sea nymph who held the Trojan War hero Odysseus prisoner for seven years on her island. She promised Odysseus immortality if he agreed to to stay with her.

  • Calypso was the boat in which Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) explored the oceans of the world.
  • Calypso is an Afro-Caribbean style of music.

17. Cassandra

The prophetess who turned down Apollo for some reason.

  • Now no one believes a Cassandra. It’s a bit of a risk naming your daughter Cassandra even to this day.

18. Cerberus

The Three-headed dog who guards the entrance to Hades (the Underworld).

  • Cerberus Capital Management is a private investment firm. In 2017, they managed over $30 billion.

19. Delphi

The Sanctuary of Apollo is located in Delphi, thought to be the centre of the world.

  • Delphi Forums encourage discussions, chats and finding answers.
  • Delphi is the name of an International Automotive Group.
  • It’s also a type of programming language.

20. Eros (Cupid)

God of Love

  • Valentines Day symbol.
  • Erotica is able to stimulate sexual feelings.
  • Eros is a fragrance.

21. Europa

Zeus was besotted with the beautiful princess.

  • The continent of Europe is derived from her name.

22. Graces

Three sisters who spread the joy of nature and beauty.

  • Grace has since come to mean elegance and beauty of form, expression or movement.

23. Hercules

The Greek strongman who completed 12 famous labours.

  • Hercules is associated with a top-selling computer Graphics card. Their slogan: Legendary Strength, Quality and Performance.
  • Hercules transport planes are able to carry huge cargo loads.
  • To be given a Herculean task is to be given any impossible or extremely difficult job.

24. Hermes

The Olympian Messenger

  • Hermes staff, the Caduceus, is used as a symbol by medical practitioners.
  • It’s also a brand of soap.
  • The FTD flower delivery company uses Hermes and his winged heels in its logo.
  • Hermes is a luxury goods brand famous for its expensive status symbol handbags.

25. Hero

A young man named Leander swam across the Hellespont every night to spend time with his lover Hero, a female priestess of Aphrodite. 

Is it just me, or does it truly sound weird that Hero is a female name?

  • GoPro HERO Camcorders record adventurous pursuits.
  • Any brave person who risks their life to help someone else can be called a hero.

26. Hydra

The multi-headed sea serpent killed by Hercules.

  • A Greek island relatively close to Athens is called Hydra.
  • Name of the Internet chess club.

27. Marathon

A messenger ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of victory in 490 Alpha (BC).

  • The modern marathon is a foot race of 26 miles (42.195 kilometres).

28. Mars

Roman name for the God of War.

  • Martial relates to fighting or war.
  • Mars bars are tasty chocolate bars.
  • The planet Mars is named after the God of War.

29. Medusa

The snake haired Gorgon whose gaze turned people into stone.

  • Versace uses a Gorgon (Medusa) as its logo.
  • The Medusa Cement Company sells cement products worldwide.

30. Mentor

Advisor to Telemachus, son of Odysseus.

  • Someone who acts as a wise trusted advisor, guide or senior supporter.

31. Mercury

Mercury is the Roman name given to Hermes.

  • Mercury Marine is a manufacturer of outboard motors for boats.
  • Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.
  • Ford vehicle model. The black car with orange/yellow flames in the movie Grease was a custom Mercury. Here’s another mean looking Mercury. There are actually a wide range of Mercury vehicles and many of them look totally different.
Allusions to Greek Mythology Mercury Model Vehicle
Source: Yao Lee – Flickr

32. Midas

The king who could turn everything he touched into gold.

  • Having the Midas Touch is the ability to achieve wealth or success from one’s actions.
  • Midas is a chain of automotive service centres.

33. Milky Way

Hercules spilt some milk when he was breast feeding up in the stars.

  • The Milky Way is the galaxy in which the earth is located.
  • Milky Way is a chocolate bar especially for kids.

34. Morpheus

God of Sleep and Dreams

  • Morphine is a drug extracted from opium, used in medicine.

35. Muses

The 9 sister Goddesses who each specialised in an art or science.

  • A museum is a home of the Muses.
  • Music is an art in protection of the Muses.
  • Nine Muses are an all girl group from South Korea.

36. Nectar

The drink of the Gods.

  • Any delicious drink.

37. Narcissus

A youth who fell in love with his own reflection.

  • Narcissism is a warning not to love yourself too much.

38. Nike

Greek Goddess of Victory

  • Nike is the number 1 sports clothing company in the world, often associated with winners.

39. Nymphs

Attractive Goddesses who like to hang out near water and natural environments.

  • Beautiful young women.
  • Nymphs is a sexy Swedish TV series fantasy with beautiful nymphs.
  • Nymphomania refers to high female sexual desire.

40. Oceanus

Son of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth)

  • Obviously where the ocean got its name.

41. Odyssey

The 10 year long adventurous journey the hero Odysseus experienced when returning home to Ithaca.

  • Odyssey Records
  • Odyssey Cruise Lines.
  • Anyone going on a long random journey is on some sort of odyssey.

42. Olympic Games

Ancient Greek games/festivities, held every fourth year in honour of Zeus.

  • The modern take on the Olympic Games returned to Athens in 1894.
  • Olympic Airlines started in 1957.

43. Olympus

Home of the Olympian Gods.

  • A leading photographic camera and technology company.
  • The billion dollar satellite named Olympus was destroyed soon after being launched into space.

44. Omega Ω

The 24th and last letter in the Greek alphabet.

  • Famous quality watch maker and official timer of the modern Olympic Games.
  • The saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” is definitely better suited as something Zeus would say. He’s Greek after all.
  • Omega-3 is a natural unsaturated fatty acid found in fish oil which can reduce blood cholesterol.
  • In the movie ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ the guys from Lambda Lambda Lambda are affiliated with the frat house Omega-Mu.

45. Oracle

The Oracle of Delphi.

  • Giant business database software company.

46. Orion

The giant huntsman.

  • Orion Pictures is a motion picture production company. Films include classics like Robocop (1987), the Bill & Ted films, and Sphinx (1981).

47. Pan

Nature God who enjoyed playing the Pan pipes.

  • Panic and pandemonium were inspired by Pan.

48. Pandora

The first woman whose name means “all-gifted” opened a box (jar) which released all of the problems in the world. Luckily she managed to shut it just in time, before hope could escape.

  • Pandora is a famous jewellery company, well known for its charm bracelets.
  • Pandora radio
  • Pandora’s Box now refers to any source of unforeseen difficulties, similar to opening a can of worms.

49. Paradise

Where most people want to go at the end of their life.

  • Greekgodsparadise.com

50. Paris

The judge in the beauty Goddess contest and the lover of Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world.

  • Paris is the city of love and capital city of France.
  • Paris Hilton

51. Parthenon

The Temple of Athena is located on top of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

  • Name given to many Greek restaurants around the world, so I hear.

52. Pegasus

The flying horse which sprung from Medusa’s head after she was beheaded by Perseus.

  • Readers Digest Logo.
  • Mobilgas has Pegasus as its logo.
  • The Pegasus satellite program was launched in 1965.

53. Prometheus

The Titan who gifted fire to man.

  • The movie Prometheus.
  • Promethium is an artificial radioactive element.
  • Prometheus Entertainment gave us Ancient Aliens.

54. Psyche

The lover of Eros.

  • Psyche now refers to the human mind or soul.

55. Sirens

Sea nymphs whose singing lured sailors to their demise on the rocks.

Odysseus managed to hear their singing after he safely strapped himself to the ship’s mast. His crew blocked their ears with wax so they could sail past.

  • A siren is now a loud wailing sound which is used as a warning or signal.

56. Titans

A race of giant Gods preceding the Olympians.

  • Titanic is the name of the ship that tragically sunk after being hit by an iceberg in 1912.
  • Titanium is a strong white metallic element used to create tough lightweight alloys especially for airplane parts.
  • Titan Tool & Die Company manufactures tools for industry.
  • The Tennessee Titans play in the NFL.
  • Being referred to as a Titan in a specific field means being one of the big players, a giant in your field, such as being a titan of the computer industry.

57. Trojan

Legendary warriors from ancient times.

  • Trojan condoms keep you safe.

58. Trojan Horse

The sneaky Greek strategy that won them the 10 year long war against the Trojans, when Greek soldiers hid inside a hollow wooden horse.

  • A Trojan Horse is even used in modern times as a way of gaining unauthorised access into computer systems.

59. Trident

The three-pronged spear of Poseidon.

  • The official logo of the car company Maserati.
  • Christians turned the trident symbol into the devil’s pitchfork.
  • Trident gum

60. Venus

Roman name given to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.

  • Venus is a major beauty product brand.

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60 Allusions to Greek Mythology and Symbols