Myths and Legends: Reading: Literature - Mythology - Middle School

If learning about the ancient world feels like a herculean task, review these terms related to Greek and Roman mythology. This epic list will take you on an odyssey through the classical world, where you'll encounter gods and goddesses, all-knowing oracles, and legendary creatures like the centaur.
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  1. Achilles
    a mythical Greek hero of the Iliad
  2. Achilles' heel
    a seemingly small but actual mortal weakness
  3. adonis
    a handsome young man
  4. Amazon
    one of a nation of women warriors of Scythia
  5. amazon
    a large, strong, and aggressive woman
  6. Aphrodite
    goddess of love and beauty and daughter of Zeus in ancient mythology; identified with Roman Venus
  7. Apollo
    Greek god of light
  8. Ares
    Greek god of war
  9. argonaut
    someone engaged in a dangerous but potentially rewarding adventure
  10. Artemis
    the virgin goddess of the hunt and the Moon
  11. Athena
    goddess of wisdom and useful arts and prudent warfare
  12. centaur
    a mythical being that is half man and half horse
  13. Cerberus
    the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades
  14. Charybdis
    (Greek mythology) a ship-devouring whirlpool lying on the other side of a narrow strait from Scylla
  15. Chimera
    (Greek mythology) fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head and a goat's body and a serpent's tail; daughter of Typhon
  16. chimera
    a grotesque product of the imagination
  17. Circe
    (Greek mythology) a sorceress who detained Odysseus on her island and turned his men into swine
  18. colossus
    someone or something that is abnormally large and powerful
  19. Cyclops
    (Greek mythology) one of a race of giants having a single eye in the middle of their forehead
  20. Demeter
    (Greek mythology) goddess of fertility and protector of marriage in ancient mythology; counterpart of Roman Ceres
  21. Dionysus
    god of wine and fertility and drama
  22. dryad
    a deity or nymph of the woods
  23. Elysian Fields
    (Greek mythology) the abode of the blessed after death
  24. epic
    a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds
  25. Fury
    (classical mythology) the hideous snake-haired monsters (usually three in number) who pursued unpunished criminals
  26. god
    any supernatural being worshipped as controlling the world
  27. goddess
    a female deity
  28. Golden Fleece
    in Greek mythology, a fleece of gold owned by the king of Colchis and guarded in a sacred grove by a dragon; recovered by Jason and the Argonauts
  29. Gorgon
    (Greek mythology) any of three winged sister monsters and the mortal Medusa who had live snakes for hair; a glance at Medusa turned the beholder to stone
  30. griffin
    mythical creature with an eagle's head and a lion's body
  31. Hades
    the god of the underworld in ancient mythology
  32. halcyon
    a mythical bird said to breed at the winter solstice
  33. harpy
    a malicious woman with a fierce temper
  34. Hephaestus
    the lame god of fire and metalworking in ancient mythology
  35. Hera
    queen of the Olympian gods in ancient Greek mythology
  36. herculean
    displaying superhuman strength or power
  37. Hercules
    a hero noted for his strength
  38. Homer
    ancient Greek epic poet who is believed to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey (circa 850 BC)
  39. Hydra
    monster with nine heads
  40. hydra
    trouble that cannot be overcome by a single effort because of its many aspects or its persistent and pervasive quality
  41. Iliad
    a Greek epic poem describing the siege of Troy
  42. immortal
    not subject to death
  43. labyrinth
    complex system of paths in which it is easy to get lost
  44. lyre
    a harp used by ancient Greeks for accompaniment
  45. manticore
    a monster having the head of man and the body of a lion
  46. Medusa
    a woman transformed into a Gorgon by Athena
  47. metamorphosis
    a complete change of physical form or substance
  48. Minotaur
    (Greek mythology) a mythical monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man; slain by Theseus
  49. mortal
    subject to death
  50. myth
    a traditional story serving to explain a world view
  51. mythology
    the body of stories associated with a culture or institution
  52. narcissism
    an exceptional interest in and admiration for yourself
  53. Nemean lion
    (Greek mythology) an enormous lion strangled by Hercules as the first of his 12 labors
  54. nemesis
    a personal foe or rival that cannot be easily defeated
  55. Nereid
    (Greek mythology) any of the 50 sea nymphs who were daughters of the sea god Nereus
  56. nymph
    a minor nature goddess depicted as a beautiful maiden
  57. Odysseus
    a famous mythical Greek hero
  58. odyssey
    a long wandering and eventful journey
  59. Olympus
    a mountain peak in northeast Greece near the Aegean coast
  60. oracle
    an authoritative person who divines the future
  61. Pegasus
    (Greek mythology) the immortal winged horse that sprang from the blood of the slain Medusa; was tamed by Bellerophon with the help of a bridle given him by Athena; as the flying horse of the Muses it is a symbol of highflying imagination
  62. Perseus
    (Greek mythology) the son of Zeus who slew Medusa (with the help of Athena and Hermes) and rescued Andromeda from a sea monster
  63. phoenix
    a legendary bird that burned to death and emerged reborn
  64. Poseidon
    the god of the sea and earthquakes in ancient mythology
  65. prophecy
    a prediction uttered under divine inspiration
  66. Scylla
    (Greek mythology) a sea nymph transformed into a sea monster who lived on one side of a narrow strait; drowned and devoured sailors who tried to escape Charybdis (a whirlpool) on the other side of the strait
  67. sibyl
    a woman who was regarded as an oracle or prophet
  68. Siren
    a sea nymph (part woman and part bird) supposed to lure sailors to destruction on the rocks where the nymphs lived
  69. Sphinx
    (Greek mythology) a riddling winged monster with a woman's head and breast on a lion's body; daughter of Typhon
  70. sphinx
    a mysterious or enigmatic person
  71. Styx
    a river in Hades across which Charon carried dead souls
  72. supernatural
    not able to be explained by physical laws
  73. Theseus
    (Greek mythology) a hero and king of Athens who was noted for his many great deeds: killed Procrustes and the Minotaur and defeated the Amazons and united Attica
  74. Titan
    (Greek mythology) any of the primordial giant gods who ruled the Earth until overthrown by Zeus; the Titans were offspring of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth)
  75. titan
    a person of exceptional importance and reputation
  76. Trojan War
    a great war fought between Greece and Troy
  77. Troy
    an ancient city in Asia Minor that was the site of the Trojan War
  78. underworld
    (religion) the place of the dead
  79. Zephyr
    (Greek mythology) the Greek god of the west wind
  80. zephyr
    a slight wind
  81. Zeus
    the supreme god of ancient Greek mythology
Created on January 17, 2017 (updated March 29, 2017)

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