Myths and Legends: Reading: Literature - Mythology - Introductory

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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Full list of words from this list:

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

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