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5 Greek myths that have influenced our daily lives

Greek mythology is full of amazing stories that fascinate people until today! What many people don’t know is that some of these stories have left their impact on our everyday life! Let’s see some of them!

Article by Giorgos, the creator of Thessaloniki Free Walks

  1. Galaxy. There was the tradition that if a son of Zeus wanted to become glorious, had to be breastfed by Hera, his official wife. When Hercules was born, Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger of the Gods, to secretly take the baby Hercules to the breast of Hera, while she was sleeping. So baby Hercules started drinking the milk until, as he was naughty, he bitted the nipple of Hera, with the result to wake up. When Hera saw the baby in her breast, she pushed it away and the milk was spread all around the sky. That’s why in many languages they call our galaxy, the Milky Way! Actually the word ‘galaxy’ comes from the greek words ‘gala’ that means milk and ‘ekso’ that means outside. So galaxy means milk outside. Nobody could imagine that breastfeeding and astronomy could be connected but here it is!
  2. Peter Pan. Pan was a greek god of Nature, half goat - half man! He liked to have parties all the time, no coincidence his best friend was Dionysus, to play the flute and dance. So yes, the character of Peter Pan was influenced by this Greek God (of course not the sexual thirst part of him) hence the surname Pan. Pan also helped the gods in their war against the Giants by screaming very loud and causing them ‘panic’! Yes you guessed right, the word ´panic´ comes from the god Pan! Not Peter Pan, just Pan!
  3. Museum. Museums are all around the world but how did the name come up? From the 9 muses who were daughters of Zeus and protectors of the arts, like the art of epic or erotic poetry, history, dancing, tragedy, comedy, astronomy, music and pantomime. Their mother was ‘Mnimosini’ which means memory. So the arts help us maintain the memory of the past, exactly what a museum does today! They were living in Pieria mountains close to Mt Olympus and my hometown, Thessaloniki! Museum in the past was considered a temple dedicated to the Muses where they developed the arts and the sciences and where there used to take place philosophical discussions. With the years it took the form we know today! So visit a museum and maybe you will meet your muse that will inspire you!
  4. Hermaphrodite. In our times hermaphrodite is considered a person that has two sexes. But how was this word created? Hermaphrodite was a young beautiful man and he took this name because as you probably guessed, his parents were Hermes and Aphrodite, hence Hermaphrodite! One day he was washing himself in a spring when a nymph (type of a fairy) saw him and fell in love with him so much that begged the gods to unite their bodies and never be separated again. The gods fulfilled her wish and that’s how Hermaphrodite became a person with two sexes! Voilá!
  5. The symbol of pharmacies and hospitals! Asklipios was a god and the son of Apollo. He was the best doctor on earth! So good that he could bring a dead person to life! He was walking all around Greece with a stick (rod) surrounded by a snake(!!) healing people everywhere. For many of his medicines, he was using the poison of the snake! That’s why today in many pharmacies and hospitals we see the symbol of a snake around a stick! Actually in ancient Greece, the hospitals of the time were called ´Asklipeiio´.

Trust me, there are many, many myths, not only of the Greek mythology, that are all around us! So make a quest and discover them! Trust me, you will be fascinated!!

Photo from freeimages.com - photographer emre nacigil

Thank you for reading our article. For more travel tips from our local guides around the world, check the blog section of our website! Have you read our article about 5 stereotypes about Greeks and Greece, which are not true. We release unique travel recommendations every week. If you like this article or have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below!

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