Mythology

The Planets’ Relationship with Greek Mythology

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102116017If you’re ever looking for a dose of Greek mythology, simply go outside at night and look up. Remember, the Greek gods and goddesses lived high up in the sky on Mount Olympus. These gods and human heroes that were deemed worthy could be found in the patterns of the stars in the form of constellations. Constellations based on Greek mythology include:

Pegasus

Pegasus can be found in the northern sky and is named after the winged horse Pegasus that was born from the blood of the monstrous Medusa.

Centaurus

Centaurus is one of the largest constellations and was named for the half-horse half-man, Centaur. It’s a bright constellation in the southern sky.

Orion

Orion, named for Orion the Hunter, is a prominent constellation that is visible throughout the world. It’s located on the celestial equator. It’s easy to find because of his bright belt of three stars. Orion died after being stung by a scorpion, but he is safe in the sky since Orion sets in the west as Scorpio rises in the east.

Argo Navis

Argo Navis, or Argo, was a large constellation in the southern sky named for the ship that Jason and the Argonauts sailed to Colchis, to steal the Golden Fleece. It has been divided into three constellations: Carina (keel or hull of the ship), Puppis (stern), and Vela (sails).

The Planets

While it’s not obvious, the planets are also named after Greek gods and goddesses. This is because the Romans, who worshipped the same gods but gave most of them Roman names, named the planets:

Mercury

Named after Hermes. Hermes was the fast messenger god and Mercury is the fastest moving planet.

Venus

Named after Aphrodite. Aphrodite was a beautiful goddess and Venus is the brightest planet in the sky.

Mars

Named after Ares. Ares was a hot-tempered god and Mars is a fiery, red planet.

Jupiter

Named after Zeus. Zeus was the most powerful god and Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system.

Saturn

Named after Cronus. Cronus was Zeus’ father, always in a power struggle with Zeus. Saturn is the second largest planet.

Uranus

This name did not change. Uranus was Cronus’s father. Uranus the planet has the same coloring of the sky and Uranus was the sky god.

Neptune

Named after Poseidon. Neptune is bright blue and resembles the ocean waves where Poseidon ruled.

Pluto

Named after Hades.  It may no longer be a planet, but Pluto is the farthest object in the solar system just as Hades, the god of the Underworld, was far removed from everyone else.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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