Greek Myth Nerd.

A while ago, I was sitting at the Fringe marking book reports and Simon started talking about Gods of War. While I do not play video games (poor hand-eye coordination and the attention span of a three-year-old), I had heard of this one, which is pretty remarkable.

Will and Craig and Dalton picked up on it and they started trying to name all the gods in the game, but they were getting their Greek and Roman gods mixed up. “Who’s Jupiter?” asked Will. “Zeus”, I said, not looking up.
“Yeah, and then there’s Mercury. That’s um. The sea guy.”
“Sea guy is Poseidon, Neptune to the Romans. Mercury’s Hermes. Mercury. Quicksliver. Hermes was quick.”
Will laughed. “We have an expert!”

They kept talking and trying to match all the Greek and Roman names. I held back and did not write up a handy comparison chart, but I did keep correcting them. I’m a Greek Myth Nerd, and I embrace it.

So imagine my delight when my Doc Marten Mary Janes came in the mail for me (Thanks, Overstock.com!) and I noticed that the style is called ‘Athena’. Perfect.

Athena has always been my favourite. From the time I was seven, she has been a role model of mine. Kind of a supernatural Godmother.

One thing that I admire is that she is kind, the kindest of the big goddesses. Except for that incident with Arachne. Really, that business annoyed me. Sure, the girl was vain and full of herself, but lots of people are. Let her think she’s better than you, I used to think. You know the truth. But other than turning a girl into a spider, Athena isn’t really mean. She helps Odysseus, she gives the gift of the olive tree, she teaches skills to help improve life. She’s thinking about how to help.

In contrast, Hera’s always turning other women into animals in retribution for banging Zeus, and flying into jealous rages. What does she expect? He’ll turn himself into a bull or swan for a little mortal booty. Zeus can’t keep it in his pants. For someone who’s a general women-and-home goddess, she sure brings the hate to other women.

Aphrodite is needlessly cruel as well. She’s married to Hephaestus, who loves her and makes her fabulous jewelry, but she’s discontent because he has bum legs and so she is always sloping off with Ares, who is handsome, but a stupid, cowardly bully. That’s not love, Goddess of Love. That’s cruel and short-sighted. That always made Aphrodite pretty dumb, in my eyes.

Artemis might be the cruelest. She turns a guy into a stag and his own hounds tear him apart, just because he accidentally catches a glimpse of her bathing. If I turned all the guys who have seen me naked into deer, I would be eating venison steaks every night. Moonlight and wilderness are all very well, but Artemis lacks any real feelings.

Athena’s mine, for sure. She’s in charge of all the best stuff, too: Wisdom, justifiable warfare (with an emphasis on strategy, not gore), arts and crafts, and navigation are the big ones.

Sometimes I wonder if she’s my favourite because of some of the things I love, like knowledge, justice, crafts, and travel. But I always come back to the fact that she’s kind and just. Not a bad role model.

And now I’m walking in her shoes.

4 Comments to “Greek Myth Nerd.”

  1. By elswhere, September 16, 2010 @ 1:46 am

    OK a few days ago I mentioned to the kid that I’d heard on the radio that there’s archaeological evidence that the Romans wore socks with their sandals.

    “Huh,” she said.

    “Are you surprised?” I asked. “Cause that’s so dorky!”

    “The Romans WERE dorks,” she said. “The Greeks rock.”

  2. By Liz, September 16, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    She’s totally right. I can now tell E he dresses ’ in the Roman style’. Awesome!

  3. By Arwen, September 17, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    I must admit never having great fondness for the Greco-Roman myths. They mainly seemed whimsically cruel, like the worst of humanity enshrined in god format, only with less depth of character. ‘Course, I never really understood everyone’s great enjoyment of Yahweh either. I fail “godhead 101”, I suppose.

    But I must admit I liked Hermes’ shoes, and he seemed a trickster poet. Liquid platonic masculine youth. I s’pose if were picking, I’d pick him. Of course, it could just be I never heard the tale where he raped a wolf and then beheaded her, or whatever other bullshit these dudes got up to.

    However, I’m enjoying the Percy Jackson series quite a bit and it gives me an in. So maybe one of these days I’ll be able to have a conversation wit’ you and Rachel and not just smile and nod.

  4. By Liz, September 17, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    Knowing the Greco-Roman tradition is especially fun for word nerds like me. So many of our words come from the gods and the mythology.

    I get you on the cruelty, though I enjoy the kind things, the fortunate things. Like Melampus, who could understand animals talking, Odysseus’s dog. That stuff.

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