Greek influence on pop culture

Television and Movies
Clash of the Titans (1981) : A movie describing the adventures of Perseus
as he crosses paths with Medusa, Pegasus, the Kracken, and an array of
Greek gods and goddesses
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-1999) and Xena: Warrior
Princess (1995-2001) : These two popular television shows brought a
different myth to life every week, sometimes relying on classics, and other
times creating new tales.
The Matrix (1999) : Characters of this science fiction film visit the Oracle in
hopes of finding wisdom; aptly, in her kitchen hangs a sign that says "Know
thyself," which is also inscribed at the site of the Delphic Oracle in Greek
The Muse (1999) : In this comedy, one of the mythical daughters of Zeus
helps a modern-day screenwriter reignite his career.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) : An offbeat retelling of Homer's The
Odyssey set in the 1930s Deep South
Star Trek (1966-1969) : This incredibly successful science fiction TV drama
took a ship full of adventurers through harrowing adventures weekly, all the
while cleverly inserting into the story lines ancient mythological allusions.
Troy (2004) : An adaptation of Homer's epic The Iliad
Wonder Woman (1976-1979) : A favorite in the 70s, this television show
spotlighted the heroism of the Amazon goddess Diana in the mortal world
while illustrating her amazing super-powers.
X-Men : A series of comic books, cartoons, and films, in which one of the
heroes is Cyclops, a man who can shoot a force beam from his eyes.
Xanadu (1980) : The Nine Muses of Greek mythology are alluded to in this
movie about a struggling young artist.
The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling.
Various mythological creatures are sprinkled throughout the pages of this
vastly popular series, including a hippogriff, a phoenix, and centaurs.
The Heralds of Valdemar Series, Mercedes Lackey
A wide array of books portraying various mythological creatures, such as
gryphons and salamanders.
The Incarnations of Immortality Series, Piers Anthony.
A brilliant anthology of Fantasy books personifying the Immortal Powers
of Death, Time, War, Fate, Mother Nature, God, and Satan.
The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle.
Tells a tale of the last living unicorn and her quest to keep hope alive in
the world
Mother Love, Rita Dove
A collection of poems telling, in various ways, the myth of Persephone
and Demeter
Pygmalion, G.B. Shaw.
This play tells the story of a misogynistic sculptor who creates his perfect
woman and prays to Aphrodite for the statue to be brought to life. The
musical My Fair Lady is loosely based on this play.
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams.
This play contains several allusions to mythology, such as the poor
neighborhood in which the story unfolds ironically being called Elysian
Brand Names & Logos
The Aegis Group trademark
[Gk, the protective shield of Zeus] : an insurance services group
Ajax trademark
[Gk, a hero in the Trojan War who rescued the body of Achilles] : a brand
of cleaner trademark
[Gk, race of warrior women] : an online shopping site
Argus trademark
[Gk, a hundred-eyed guardian] 1 : a brand of camera 2: a security
Atlas Van Lines trademark
[Gk, the god sentenced to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders]
: a moving company
Delphi trademark
[the site of the Oracle of Apollo] : an automotive technology company
FTD trademark
This flower delivery company's logo features Hermes, messenger of the
Hercules trademark
[Gk, a hero of great strength] : a maker of video graphics cards
Hyperion trademark
[fr. L, fr. Gk Hyperion, a Titan, the father of Helios, Selene, and Eos] : a
book publishing company
Janus trademark
[fr. Janus Roman god of beginnings who is represented artistically with
two opposite faces] 1 : a brand name of watch 2 : an investment firm,
whose logo is that of the two-faced Janus himself
Mercury trademark
[L Mercurius Mercury, Roman god of merchandise, trade, and theft] 1 : a
record production label 2 : a make of automobile
Midas trademark
[L, fr. Gk, legend of the Phrygian king Midas who is given the power to
turn everything he touched into gold] a muffler and brake repair shop
Nike trademark
[Gk Nike Goddess of victory] : a brand of athletic shoe
Olympus trademark
[L, fr. Gk Olympos, a mountain in Thessaly that in Greek mythology is
the abode of the gods] : a photographic technology company
Orion Pictures trademark
[L, fr. Gk Orion, a giant hunter slain by Artemis in Greek mythology] : a
motion picture production company, whose logo incorporated the belt of
the constellation Orion
Phoenix trademark
[L, fr. Gk phoinix a mythical bird of great beauty fabled to rise from its
own ashes in the freshness of youth] : a photographic technology
Poseidon Seafood trademark
[Gr, Poseidon is the god of the sea] : a national seafood company
Venus trademark
[L, Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty] : a brand of
women's razor, made by
Song Lyrics
"And I know now how it feels
To be weakened like Achilles
With you always at my heels.
--Indigo Girls, "Ghost"
(Mentions the hero Achilles, who was killed by being cut on the only vulnerable spot on
his body: his heel)
"Now I see your face before me.
I would launch a thousand ships
To bring your heart back to my island."
--Indigo Girls, "Ghost"
(Alluding to Helen of Troy, who is said to have been so beautiful that her abduction was
the cause of the Trojan War, i.e. "the face that launched a thousand ships")
"You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis..."
--The Police, "Wrapped Around Your Finger"
(Refers to the monsters in Greek mythology by which sailors had to pass; the phrase
has come to mean being between two equally perilous alternatives, neither of which can
be passed without encountering the other, i.e. between a rock and a hard place)
"You can roll that stone
To the top of the hill
Drag your ball and chain
Behind you."
--Rush, "Carve Away the Stone"
(Referring to the fate of Sisyphus, a legendary king of Corinth condemned eternally to
repeat the cycle of rolling a heavy rock up a hill in Hades each day only to have it roll
down again as it nears the top)
"If we burn our wings
Flying too close to the sun..."
--Rush, "Bravado"
(Alluding to the fate of Daedalus, the legendary builder of Cretan labyrinth who makes
wings to enable himself and his son Icarus to escape from imprisonment, only to have
the wax of the wings melt as the child flies too close to the sun)
"Oh, I will dine on honey dew
And drink the milk of Paradise."
--Rush, "Xanadu"
(Refers to nectar and ambrosia, the food and drink of the immortal souls in Elysia)
"...I watched him struggle with the sea
I knew that he was drowning
And I brought him into me..."
--Suzanne Vega, "Calypso"
(This song tells the tale of the sea nymph Calypso in The Odyssey who keeps Odysseus
on the island of Ogygia)
"You can hear the siren screaming
Take me to the promised land."
--Yes, "State of Play"
"The x-ray is her siren song
My ship cannot resist her long."
--Rush, "Cygnus X-1"
"Like a siren she calls (to me)."
--U2, "In God's Country"
(Each of these songs describe the song of the sirens, mythological Greek sea nymphs,
part woman and part bird, supposed to lure sailors to their destruction by their
seductive singing)
"He's the king of the ninth world
In each and every lobster cage
A tortured human soul..."
--Sting, "The Soul Cages"
(Alludes to the Ninth Ring of the Underworld, which is eternally reserved for the most
evil and hopeless souls)
"Rise from the ashes-A blaze of everyday glory..."
--Rush, "Everyday Glory"
(Refers to the rebirth of the phoenix, who burns himself on a pyre to rise once more, in
the freshness of youth)