February 16, 2009

01-220: The Olympians - Part III: Two More, and a Recap

In order to bring you as many of my old lessons as possible, I have begun posting them as drafts. These drafts may be in need of editing and/or formatting, and, when finished, should include a photo, an introductory note, a "Get Ready" question, a "Read more" link, and, especially, vocabulary practice exercises. Any of those missing from this lesson will be added later... I promise!

The Olympians

Let's finish up with our list of the Twelve Olympians from Greek mythology, which we started in Lesson #01-218 (the first generation) and Lesson #01-219 (five of the seven members of the second generation). Here are the final two, plus a round up the rest of the planets, and a quick peek at the days of the week.

The last of the Olympians were twins:

  • Apollo (Apollo): The Sun God, as well as the god of healing, music, and poetry. His mother was Leto, whose parents were the Titans Koios and Phoibe. Apollo is sometimes called "Phoebus (shining) Apollo," reflecting his grandmother's main trait. He is one of the most popular of the Olympians, with many, many famous stories.
  • Artemis (Diana): Goddess of the hunt and the moon. As Diana the huntress she is often seen with a bow and hunting dogs. Like her brother, she features in many stories, and why not? The sun and the moon are certainly the most notable things in the sky.

So in our look at the Titans and the Olympians, we have met the sun (Apollo) and the moon (Artemis) as well as most of the planets. Counting out from the sun, they are:

  1. Mercury: Greek Hermes, the Olympian messenger of the gods (second generation)
  2. Venus: Greek Aphrodite, the Olympian goddess of love (second generation)
  3. Earth: the Titan Gaia (as in "geology" and "geography"). The Romans called her "Terra," as in "terrestrial" (of the earth) and "terrace" (originally earthen platforms, like the rice terraces in Yunnan). Why do we call our planet "Earth"? The Anglo-Saxons called her Eorthe. (a Titan, not an Olympian)
  4. Mars: Greek Ares, the Olympian god of war (second generation)
  5. Jupiter: Greek Zeus, the Olympian king of the gods (first generation)
  6. Saturn: the Titan Kronos, who conquered his father and was in turn conquered by his children (a Titan, not an Olympian)
  7. Uranus: the Titan Ouranos, father of Kronos and, as the sky, husband of Gaia (Earth) (a Titan, not an Olympian)
  8. Neptune: Greek Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea (first generation)
  9. (formerly) Pluto: Greek hades, Olympian Lord of the Underworld, but often left out of lists of "the Twelve Olympians" (first generation)

Since in mentioning Earth I touched on the Anglo-Saxons, let's take a quick look at the days of the week, as a sort of bonus:

  • Sunday: the sun (Greek and Roman Apollo)
  • Monday: the mo(o)n (Greek Artemis, Roman Diana)
  • Tuesday: Anglo-Saxon Tiwes = Norse war god Tyr (Greek Ares, Roman Mars)
  • Wednesday: Anglo-Saxon Wednes = Norse messenger (and father) god Odin or Wodin (Greek Hermes, Roman Mercury)
  • Thursday: Anglo-Saxon Thunor = Norse thunder god Thor (Greek Zeus, Roman Jupiter, given power over thunder in his war with the Titans)
  • Friday: Anglo-Saxon Frige = Norse love goddess Frigg or Freyje (Greek Aphrodite, Roman Venus)
  • Saturday: Saturn (the Titan Kronos)

Interestingly, in many Indian languages the names for the days also follow the Hindu counterparts of these gods and goddesses, as do most of the languages of Europe.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Olympians

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for February 16, 2009

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