Myths On Your Lips

Shouldering A Great Burden

Atlas Courtsey: Wikipedia License:GNU Free Documentation License
Atlas Courtsey: Wikipedia License:GNU Free Documentation License

You Lie Without Knowing

Most of us are not habitual liars. But do you know that however truthful you may be, you lie almost everyday without even realizing it. This is because the language we use is replete with words which are not based on the truth.

Sounds surprising?

Then consider these lies in our daily life.

All schools make use of atlases to teach the facts of geography. But the atlas itself is closely related with the god Atlas who is said to have carried the earth and heavens on his shoulders.


Flowers Everywhere

Flora, the flower goddess
Flora, the flower goddess

Quick Courier

Gods relied on Mercury to deliver messages at the speed of wind.
Gods relied on Mercury to deliver messages at the speed of wind.

Myths Galore

Geography, like other exact sciences, deals only with the established facts. But many of these facts are taught through myths.

For example, the oceans have come from Oceanus, the god of water.

And when the geography teacher talks about the flora and fauna of a country, he may or may not realize that the words he uses come from Flora, the goddess of flowers and Faunus, the Italian diet of agriculture and shepherds.

But geography is not the only science that uses mythological figures.


Gods and Nymphs

Mercury, the messenger of Jupiter, patronized travelers, shepherds and robbers. Equipped with a winged cap and feet, he could fly from one place to another at the speed of the wind.

Now Mercury lives with us in our thermometers and labs in the form of an element which is as quick as him. You can also see him in the sky as a planet and in mercurial people who are somewhat erratic, volatile or a little unstable.

Unfortunate Echo

Echo was a sportive nymph. She deceived Zeus's wife, Hera, who was so enraged that she took away Echo's power of speech, except when spoken to.

If this was not unfortunate enough, later Echo fell in love with another mythical figure Narcissus. But Narcissus had no time for anybody except his own beautiful form. He spurned Echo. The rejection so disappointed Echo that she pined away until only her answering voice remained. When spoken to at the mouth of caves and the sides of cliffs, she still faithfully echoes back the sounds she hears.

Ain't I Handsome?

There was no psychiatrist around to tell Narcissus that too much  self-love wasn't good for his health.
There was no psychiatrist around to tell Narcissus that too much self-love wasn't good for his health.

Echo Avenged

Narcissus didn't go unscathed for disdaining Echo and others.

Enraged by the injustice Narcissus had done to so many nymphs, Venus cast such a spell upon him that he became enamored of his own reflection in the waters of a fountain.

In the end, he too pined away like Echo and was turned into a flower which now adorns our gardens.

And the psychiatrists also have found a use for Narcissus. Anybody suffering from too much self-love is said be narcissistic.

No curator worth his salt would allow any piece that is not authentic in his museum. But the very museum he looks after is the temple those nine mythical sisters called Muses.

Chimera, a fantastic monster - lion in front, goat in the middle and dragon behind - may or may not have existed but it is still chased by persons who suffer from having fanciful mental illusions.

And then take the giant Python. It was a very venomous serpent dwelling in the caves of Mount Parnassus. Though Apollo slew it long ago, zoologists have resurrected the mythical serpent by giving its name to a genus of large serpents of the boa family.


Fatal Attraction

Can you blame a sailor if he couldn't resist the charms of such a singing beauty?
Can you blame a sailor if he couldn't resist the charms of such a singing beauty?

Music hath charms...

But the music of the mythological sirens proved fatal to many a sailor in old times.

Bewitched by the sirens' songs, sailors jumped into the seas to reach them and lost their lives.

But now the sailors have got smart. They have tamed the sirens.

Today instead of killing the sailors, sirens serve them as ship's fog-horns. The same sirens at the factory regulate work-shifts. And who hasn't heard the police sirens?

And there are live sirens also around. You can find them as cell-like, amphibian creatures with only one pair of feet in the swamps of North America.

Tantalus - Betrayal Cost Him Dearly

Tantalus was a little naughty. He revealed the secrets of gods and as a result got a rather severe punishment. He was cursed with a raging thirst and made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches.

Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded before he could get any.

Nobody knows what happened to the poor fellow but his agony is perpetuated in the verb "tantalize" in our language.

Myths Go On

We may recognize them or not but the myths continue to live with us and do their work. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, keeps on meting out retributive justice. Mentor, the tutor of the son of Odysseus goes on teaching. And Hygieia , the health-goddess conscientiously protects our health by "hygiene".


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Lgali profile image

Lgali 6 years ago

very interesting hub thaks

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