Greek Mythology: The Gods and Goddesses
Out of all the mythologies of the world, Greek mythology has had the most influence on Western culture. Literally thousands of artists and writers have used Greek mythology as their muse--bringing the ancient stories to life through sculpture, painting, poetry, and song. Myth-inspired phrases such as Achilles Heel and Oedipus Complex and stand-alone words like labyrinth and mentor proliferate our language. Media other than high art use mythological references too. Businesses and advertising firms use mythology as a selling tool. Arethusa Plumbing references Arethusa (a nymph transformed into a spring), a diamond necklace is titled a Pandora for its irresistibility, and towering billboards bear the name Olympus. All these examples show how culturally ingrained Greek mythology has become. Together with the Bible and Shakespeare, Greek mythology rounds out the "Big Three" of Allusions. Any serious student of literature must have a healthy background in these three areas in order to spot the numerous references authors make to them.