Mythological tales have been delighting audiences for millennium upon millennium. As one of the earliest art forms, mythology is basically a set of sacred narratives crafted by ancient people of every conceivable culture in an exaggerated effort to explain the nature of the world and human existence in general. So they developed stories and legends around the earth, sea and sky, around all-powerful gods and goddesses, around mortals and immortals. Around the seasons and the forces of nature. Myths were also used to inspire courage and heroism in battle. They were used as tales of morality describing the trials and tribulations of universal human themes. They brought an extraordinary sensibility to the things we take for granted today. Beautiful, imaginative and embellished, mythological legends have colored the world we live in (even today) and have influenced scores of poets, painters, composers and artists.
In the Western World, when we think of mythology, we first pay homage to the Greeks who exerted a tremendous amount of influence on Western culture. It was from the Greeks that the Romans borrowed heavily for their own set of narratives all of which closely mimic the stories of ancient Greece. First there were the Titans. Chaos birthed the Night (Nyx), the Underworld (Erebus) and the Earth (Gaia). They were replaced by the next generation of gods and goddesses – the Olympians (Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, etc.). In Roman mythology, there were equivalents: Zeus was called Jupiter, for instance, and Hera became Juno to the Romans. Athena came to be known as Minerva in the Roman Republic and the god of war Ares was called Mars. Aside from the principal gods and goddesses, there was often co-mingling and reproduction among mortals. There were also Furies, Fates and Muses. The Trojan War was put to pen by Homer in his classical epics The Iliad and The Odyssey (Roman citizen Virgil wrote The Aeneid and Ovid wrote almost a complete guide to Greek/Roman mythology in his Metamorphoses). All of these works provide us with wonderfully imaginative and exaggerated stories leaving us begging for more.
Outside of the Greeks and Romans, we can also thank the Norse (Germanic) and Celtic people for independently filling our heads with tales of heroism, chivalry and folklore. Nordic mythology gives us supernatural stories of giants, elves and dwarves. The Celtic people of Ireland, Scotland and Wales also provide us with a rich history of gods, goddesses, warriors and lovers. Besides the people of Greece, Rome, Scandinavia and the British Isles, we cannot discount the mythologies of other cultures such as ancient Babylonians and Egyptians, the Arabs and the Hindus; the Chinese or the Native cultures of North and South America. Whenever we come across a name that has mythological significance anywhere, we add it to our list. But mainly, American naming practices find names in Western culture.
Naming your child after a mythological character, or even understanding a name's importance within the context of mythology, adds more vitality, interest and depth to that name. Here are some names that embody these legends and myths. Click on the name to read more about his/her association with mythology.