Cyclopaedia 26: Greco-Roman Mythology

Welcome to Cyclopaedia 26: Greco-Roman MythologyCyclopaedia is a monthly article on the InnRoads Ministries website as part of the Getting Started series. I still remember watching the original Clash of the Titans movie in class as a kid. I think it was the first time we watched a full Hollywood movie in class. I was fascinated by the stop motion animation and the fantastical elements of the movie. Bubo was my favorite. The teacher knew what would happen, at least for me. I became hooked on mythology and went to the public library that weekend to check out every book on mythology I could. Suddenly I was awash with stories of adventure and tragedy, heroes and villains, man vs myth. And it never stopped. Over the years I have enjoyed many movies and books based on mythology, with Hercules: The Legendary Journeys fitting so wonderful with its mythology and campiness. So strap on your sword and sandals, this are about to get mythical.

If you have questions about this article or topics you would like me to consider researching for future Cyclopaedia articles, please leave a comment below.


Overview

Most likely, you studied Classical Mythology, also called Greco-Roman Mythology, in school. You read about the various Greek and Roman gods that inspired storytellers and poets to write some of the great epics and tragedies. These myths began as oral traditions, then were late compiled into Greek and Latin writings.

These myths related the Greek and Roman religions, concerned with the actions of gods, supernatural creatures, and the heroes influenced by the gods. The most famous of these were written by Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The Romans adapted the myths of the Greeks, importing many into their own legends and stories, creating counterparts. Thus, you find Ares mirrored in Mars as the war god, and many gods and demigods with matching legends but different names.

Cinema latched onto these myths as storylines because of their fantastic tales, epic settings, and over-the-top heroes. The films were so popular, a cheaper subgenre emerged called peplum, or more commonly called sword-and-sandal, which were a mix of lower budget Biblical or Mythology based films.

Classical Mythology still fascinates us today, spawning new book series, movies of epic heroes, and games that let us step into the role of mythical heroes and gods. These myths have been part of our modern culture for so long, we associate with them strongly.

Creatures And Monsters of Mythology

Greco-Roman Mythology depicts more than just gods and demi-gods. There is an entire ecosystem of unique creatures and monsters. Many of them exist in similar forms, sometimes with different names, in other mythologies and folklore.

  • Argus
  • Centaur
  • Cerberus
  • Cetus
  • Chimera
  • Colchian Dragon
  • Cyclops
  • Echidna
  • Griffin
  • Harpy
  • Hecatoncheires
  • Lamia
  • Lernaean Hydra
  • Medusa
  • Minotaur
  • Myrmekes Indikoi
  • Pegasus
  • Satyr
  • Scylla
  • Sphinx
  • Triton
  • Typhon

Following are sources of information pertaining to Greco-Roman Mythology to assist prospective game masters, game designers, writers, and storytellers in knowing where to start their research.

 

ARTICLES

Chimeric creatures in Greek mythology and reflections in science
By Bazopoulou-Kyrkanidou, Euterpe
Source: American Journal of Medical Genetics, v100 n1 (15 April 2001): 66-80

Pagan mythology in the Christian Empire
By Liebeschuetz, Wolfgang
Source: International Journal of the Classical Tradition, v2 n2 (199509): 193-208

Relics and Remains in an Ancient Greek World full of Anthropomorphic Gods
By Osborne, Robin
Source: Past and Present, 206, no. S5 (2010): 56-72

 

BOOKS

The Aedeid
By Virgil

American Gods
By Gaiman, Neil

Bulfinch’s Mythology
By Bulfinch, Thomas

The Centaur
By Updike, John

Child’s Introduction to Greek Mythology: The Stories of the Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, Monsters, and Other Mythical Creatures
By Alexander, Heather and Hamilton, Meredith

The Complete World of Greek Mythology
By Buxton, Richard

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
By Parin d’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar

Gods Behaving Badly
By Phillips, Marie

Greek Mythology: Greek Gods – Greek Heroes – Popular Myths – Mythical Creatures (Volume 1)
By Bullock, Herman

Greek Religion
By Burkert, Walter

The Heroes of Olympus
By Riordan, Rick

The Iliad
By Homer

Illium
By Simmons, Dan

The Infinites
By Banville, John

The King Must Die
By Ranault, Mary

The Lost Books of the Odyssey
By Mason, Zachary

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
By Calasso, Roberto

Metamorphoses
By Ovid

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break
By Sherrill, Steven

Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths
By Hatab, Lawrence J.

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
By Hamilton, Edith

The Odyssey
By Homer

Pandora
By Hennessy, Carolyn

The Penelopiad
By Atwood, Margaret

The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology
By Grimal, Pierre

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
By Riordan, Rick

Ransom
By Malouf, David

Roman Mythology: A Captivating Guide to Roman Gods, Goddesses, and Mythological Creatures
By Clayton, Matt

Soldier of the Mist
By Wolfe, Gene

The Song of Achilles
By Miller, Madeline

Theogony
By Hesiod

Till We Have Faces
By Lewis, C.S.

Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles
By Winterson, Jeanette

 

GAMES

Age of Mythology – Video Game
Age of Mythology: The Board Game – Tabletop Game
Agon – RPG
Argonauts – Tabletop Game
Battle for Olympus – Tabletop Game
By Jove – Tabletop Game
Cyclades – Tabletop Game
Deus – Tabletop Game
Elysium – Tabletop Game
God of War – Video Game
GURPS Greece – RPG
GURPS Imperial Rome – RPG
Hellas – Tabletop Game
Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone – RPG
Hera and Zeus – Tabletop Game
High Heavens – Tabletop Game
Immortal – Tabletop Game
Kid Icarus – Video Game
Mythic Battles – Tabletop Game
Mythology – Tabletop Game
Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon – Tabletop Game
Olympus – Tabletop Game
Rise of the Argonauts – Video Game
Risk: Godstorm – Tabletop Game
Santorina – Tabletop Game
Titan Quest – Video Game
Wrath of the Gods – Video Game
Zeus: Master of Olympus – Video Game

 

CINEMA

300
Alexander
American Gods – TV
Clash of the Titans
Cupid – TV
Helen of Troy – TV Miniseries
Hercules
Hercules in New York
Hercules: The Animated Series – TV
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys – TV
Immortals
Jason of the Argonaughts
The Legend of Hercules
Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete
Percy Jackson & The Lighting Thief
The Odyssey – TV Miniseries
The Three Stooges Meet Hercules
Troy
Tiresia
Valentine – TV
Walt Disney Hercules
Wonder Woman
Wrath of the Titans
Xena: The Warrior Princess – TV
Young Hercules – TV

 

LOCATIONS

The Acropolis Museum
http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en/

British Museum
https://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/departments/greece_and_rome.aspx

Naples Archaelogical Museum
https://www.museoarcheologiconapoli.it/en/

National Archaeological Museum
http://www.namuseum.gr/

 

PEOPLE

(Well…Greek/Roman gods actually)

Aphrodite/Venus
Apollo/Apollo
Ares/Mars
Artemis/Diana
Athena/Minerva
Charites/Gratiae
Demeter/Ceres
Erinyes/Furiae
Eris/Discordia
Eros/Cupid
Hades/Pluto
Helios/Sol
Hephaistos/Vulcan
Hera/Juno
Hermes/Mercury
Hestia/Vesta
Horai/Horae
Kronos/Saturn
Moirae/Parcae
Pan/Faunus
Persephone/Proserpina
Poseidon/Neptune
Selene/Luna
Tyche/Fortuna
Zeus/Jupiter

(Greek/Roman Demigods)

Achilles
Aeacus
Aeneas
Amphion
Arcas
Asclepius
Bellerophon
Dardanus
Dionysus/Bacchus
Epaphus
Harmonia
Heracles/Hercules
Helen of Troy
Hippolyta
Iasus
Memnon
Orion
Orpheus
Penthesilea
Perseus
Polydeuces/Pollux
/Romulus and Remus
Theseus
Tityos/Turnus
Zethes
Zethus


I hope you find these resources informative and inspiring for your adventures, storytelling, or game design.

Stay Creative!

T.R. Knight

( If you would like to save this list of resources as a convenient PDF for later reference, you can find that HERE )

 

WHO IS T.R. KNIGHT?
He is a freelance editor, proofreader, and writer in the game industry. He is also a Husband and Caregiver to his wife Angie, Father of Twins Emily and Rachel, Foodie and Hobby Chef, and Director of Academic Technology/Associate CIO at Taylor University. You can learn more about T.R. at his blog http://www.freelanceknight.com.

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