Classical Mythology

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The mythology of ancient Greece and Rome is the Older Than Feudalism source of many tropes, as well as well-known gods, heroes and monsters. An important element of Ancient Greece, The Roman Republic and The Roman Empire.

Classical mythology is sometimes referred to as Greek Mythology by people who don't think the Romans contributed much, and those who prefer not to lump Greek and Roman myths together.

For the record: the main alteration of the Romans was to rename all the characters, and produce the Aeneid, a piece of imperial propaganda which chronicles the Romans' claim to a Trojan pedigree and fabricate prophecies of the rise of the Caesars (this is not to deny the Aeneid's widely recognized literary merits, just to say that it was also an Anvilicious piece of imperial propaganda).

However, contrary to common belief, Roman mythology isn't completely identical; according to Rome's own legends became closer to Greek mythology around the end of the monarchy and the foundation of The Republic. Before that, Roman mythology was probably (though records are sparse) more similar to that of their closer neighbors - the Etruscans. Take, for instance, the emphasis on complicated divination methods that were alien to the Greeks or the fact that some of their gods, such as Mars or Saturn, are largely different from their Greek counterparts. The Roman religion (the actual practice of worshiping the gods in question) was also extremely different from the Greek one, dealing more with human representatives of the remote gods rather than stories of the gods themselves.

Essentially, think of the Roman version as a Continuity Reboot if that helps. It's not really, but it's a close enough analogy.

The Aeneid was a sequel to and imitation of the Greek Iliad, which is attributed to Homer. The Odyssey was the original (surviving) sequel to the Iliad, written in Greek and supposedly by the same guy who wrote the Iliad, though we really don't know (especially since Homer was a blind, illiterate poet who relied solely on oral recitations). Both were part of the Trojan Cycle, which included six other lost epics.

The central figures of Greek mythology were the Twelve Olympians: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, and Hestia. Hades lived in the Underworld and thus was not an Olympian; Hestia was sometimes not counted because she gave up her seat to Dionysus.

In Homer's portrayal, they were basically super-powered humans without the super- that comes standard with powers these days. Zeus, for example, was a philandering rapist, responsible for a large share of the god-human hybrids running around. Many of these became great heroes, the most famous of which was Hercules/Heracles/Herakles. Though you'd think Zeus's wife and sister Hera would be a sympathetic character, she spends most of her time taking out her frustrations on said heroes, probably because Zeus, said to be more powerful than all the other gods and goddesses combined, was beyond her ability to take any meaningful revenge on. Other gods engaged in similar behavior. Hades, while not as evil as his Theme Park Version, got his wife by kidnapping his niece Persephone (with Zeus's approval and assistance). This prompted the girl's mother, Demeter, to create summer in retaliation. Greece and Italy are considerably warmer than other parts of Europe, and their summers are much hotter, so as the myth moved north, it became the explanation for winter instead. And Ares... Well, he defines Jerkass.

The Titans were a previous generation of gods overthrown by Zeus, though in The Theme Park Version they tend to be treated as another class of beings entirely. There were also minor gods such as the Muses, Graces, and countless nymphs, plus various monsters which you can today read about in the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual.

Also there are the oft forgotten, primordial gods that preceded the Titans, Gaia being the most well known of them (though often mistaken for a titan).

While the Romans generally tried to identify their deities with the Greek ones, there were a few Roman/Italic ones for which no exact Greek equivalent could be found, e.g. Flora and Bellona. The former was a nymph-like goddess of flowers and spring (most similar to Chloris), and the latter was a goddess of war variously identified as Mars' wife or sister (most similar to Enyo).

It should be noted that Greek and Roman religious ideas were not monolithic. In later years, people began worshiping all kinds of newfangled eastern gods. Plato wanted to outlaw Homer's epics because he thought their gods were bad role-models. Considering their lack of Comes Great Responsibility, he may have had a point. Philosophers exercised various degrees of skepticism towards the old myths, to the point that the Epicureans were accused of atheism (though some scholars say that atheism in those days meant a lack of worship for the gods and not a lack of belief). Some historians, notably Euhemerus, tried to reinterpret the gods as having originally been great kings. The Epicurean writer Lucian of Samosata was already deconstructing popular religious stories in the second century AD. Belief in classical mythology gradually waned between the second and fifth centuries, largely due to the spread of the then-new religion Christianity. In fact the Romans' dislike of Christians stemmed from the fact that Christians refused to accept any god but their own, which the Romans considered arrogant.

In addition to all this, the Greeks (and, later, the Romans) had a habit of identifying and referring to other people's gods by the names of their own deities. So a Germanic tribe might be said to said to worship Mercury if their principal god was similar enough to the guy; it helped that many of the peoples they came in contact with (the Celts and Germans in particular) were Indo-European and thus their mythologies shared a common origin. There was also strong regional variation in worship of individual gods, both in emphasizing individual gods and particular attributes of the various gods.

Characters from this period are universally recognizable to viewers thanks to a dress code heavy in drape-and-cinch unpatterned linens, plus, they've all made the uncanny decision to speak with a British Accent.

For further details, see the character sheet.

Works with pages on the wiki that describe parts of Classical Mythology include:



Classical Mythology is the Trope Namer for:

Greek Mythology has been very influential in literature, art, and many other things so it's named a lot of Tropes. See the list here.

Tropes used in Classical Mythology include:


  • Achilles' Heel: Trope Namer that is surprisingly not The Iliad. That is the story of his rage, but it doesn't cover many of the famous parts of the Trojan War, including his death and the creation of the Trojan Horse (those are narrated in lost epics of the Trojan Cycle). In fact, the Achilles Heel myth is not even referenced in the text, and Achilles is more known for his skill, strength, speed, and ferocity than for being nigh-invulnerable.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Trope Namer again, though not the only example.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Odysseus disguised as a tramp.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Deucalion and Pyrrha.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Odysseus (or Ulysses) was considered a slimy villain by the Romans, who thought of themselves as the descendants of the Trojans, and their portrayals of him tended to reflect this.
    • Although e. g. the Julian family was proud to claim descent from Ulysses through Aeneas' wife Lavinian (who was descended from Odysseus' grandsons Latinus and Italus).
  • Aerith and Bob: For modern readers, anyway. Amongst names like Hercules, Theseus and the like, it's strange to come across the still common name "Jason".
    • Although, it's actually "Iason".
  • An Aesop: Trope namer and Ur Example(s).
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Trope Maker in the version of the myth where lesbian Amazon queen Hippolyta falls in love with Hercules.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: After marrying the homely smith-god Hephaestus, Aphrodite had an affair with Ares, the god of war, behind his back.
    • Some versions of the story say that she chose Hephaestus as a husband precisely because he wouldn't mind if she had an affair or two. Or twelve.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The myths are so filled with perversion that it might be harder to find one where no man does anything perverse.
    • In one classic tale, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite are having a competition to see who was the fairest. They choose some yokel shepherd prince, a fellow named Paris, to judge. Each offers bribes: Athena wisdom and martial prowess, Hera success and fame, and Aphrodite a chance to get laid with the hottest woman alive. Paris thinks with his smaller brain and goes for the girl. Turns out she was already married and didn't much care for him, but what's the worst that could happen? Incidentally, some versions of the story have him already married to a nymph named Oenone.
    • There are a number of tales in which Zeus seduces or forces himself on pretty girls while taking seemingly random shapes.
      • Ganymedes was an example of when he did that to a guy, he then made Gadymedes his cupbearer, kicking out Hebe, his daughter by Hera. Ganymede was Trojan, giving Hera yet another reason to hate Troy. Then again she tends to hate everything.
    • There are very few subversions in any of the myths. Perseus is one, as are Hector and Protesilaus. Eros and Psyche avert the trope—which in this pantheon is arguably miraculous—as they do not cheat on one another after they are married and remain happily so... forever, ostensibly.
      • And Bellerophon who had an entire city's women strip off and throw themselves at him (he was threatening to use his father Poseidon's power to destroy the city). He panicked and fled.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The other gods ostracized, mocked and pitied Hephaestus because he was ugly, despite him being the creator of all their Iconic Items.
    • Some myths state his own mother (Hera) threw him out of Olympus after his birth when she saw that he was deformed... Fortunately there were some nice nymphs that raised him (and he gets his revenge on her later on when he returns to Olympus).
    • Sometimes Hades as well.
  • All-Star Cast: About half the point of the story of the Argo, Hunt of the Calydonian Boar, and the Battle of the Lapiths were to gather a ridiculous number of well-known heroes together in one place.
  • Alternate Mythology Equivalent: Indra and Zeus are very similar characters. Both are Jerkass chief god of the pantheons, wielding Bolt of Divine Retribution and has pretty amusing sexual life. This is due to their common origin in the Indo-European warrior tribes that expanded out from the plains region north of the Black Sea.
    • Also Apollo and Freyr, Hades and Tuoni and etc.
    • The weekdays Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are named after the Norse/Germanic gods Tiw, Wodan, Thor, and Freya. In the Romance languages, their names are different: For example, in Italian, they're called Martedi (Mars), Mercoledi (Mercury), Giovedi (Jove/Jupiter), and Venerdi (Venus). The implication is that Mars is equivalent to Tiw, Mercury to Wodan, Jupiter to Thor, and Venus to Freya. (Incidentally, it also means that the names of the days of the week are named after the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn—the seven planets of traditional Western astrology.)
  • Amazon Admirer: One of Heracles's twelve labors was to deliver Hippolyta's belt to the king that he served. Hippolyta was more than fine with that because she truly liked him. She handed over the belt, no argument or negotiation required. Alas, Hera intervened and staged a fight when she framed Heracles for kidnapping Hippolyta. In some versions of the myth, Heracles killed Hippolyta in the skirmish before she could defuse the situation. During others, he handed her to Theseus for safekeeping, but she married Theseus of her own volition.
  • And I Must Scream: Those unfortunate enough to gaze upon the face of Medusa.
    • Which is where we get the word petrified
    • Also, Prometheus was chained to a rock where a bird would come every day to eat his liver, Sisyphus was forced to roll a boulder up a mountain forever, every time he reached the top, the boulder would roll back down the mountain.
    • And of course, Atlas having to hold up the heavens forever as well as Tantalus being stuck in that place where the fruit branches would go up and the water would recede whenever he wanted to eat or drink, and so on.
      • Which is where we get the word "tantalizing".
  • Angel Unaware: Zeus and Hermes did this in the legend of Baucis and Philemon.
  • Answering Echo: The story of Echo and Narcissus is the Trope Maker.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Nyx (personification of night), her husband and little brother Erebus, and every. Single. One. Of. Her. Children. And grandchildren, too.
  • The Archer: Even when bow and arrows were seen as "unmanly" weapons, many heroes and gods were master archers: Apollo, Heracles, Paris, Philoctetes, Odysseus. And there is Artemis, a goddess. Not to mention Eros.
  • Artifact of Doom: Several.
  • Attempted Rape: When Poseidon's son Alirrothios tried to rape Ares's daughter Alkippe, Ares went Papa Wolf and killed him. Poseidon tried to prosecute him, but he was acquited.
    • Also Hephaestus, to his half-sister Athena.
    • There's also Atalanta, who, after making a vow of chastity to Artemis, had to kill two centaurs, Rhaecus and Hylaeus, who tried to rape her (some accounts say Meleager killed them). In fact, Centaurs are a common victim (or criminal?) of this trope. They go around trying to rape just about anything with a vagina. The whole Centauromachy happened because the centaur Eurytion tried to rape a woman in a wedding and that woman happened to be the bride. One centaur with amazingly big balls called Nessus tried to rape Deianeira, Heracles' wife. Heracles killed him.
  • At the Crossroads: The Ur-example and Trope Maker is probably the goddess Hecate who was goddess of the crossroads as well as her prominent realms of the dead, ghosts, magic, night and moonlight (if you didn't live in a region big on Artemis or Selene). Like other deities of paths such as Hermes or the Roman Janus, her offerings would be placed at the crossroads so she would control the evil spirits that walked along them. The Romans had a comparable deity Trivia (though one a bit Darker and Edgier) so this aspect continued strongest. This rite survived for quite a while into the Christianisation of Europe which leads to religious figures specifically demonising the practice which leads to the strong Deal with the Devil associations throughout Western Civilisation.
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Atalanta, who's distracted from a footrace by sparkly golden apples.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: While Zeus himself does a lot of morally ambiguous things to mortals, if anyone besides him tries to make a move on Hera (or Leto), he reacts instantly and violently.
  • Back from the Dead: Bacchus, Alcestis, and Orpheus, just to name a few.
    • Though in Orpheus's case, he came back from Hades, and hadn't really died.
    • Persephone does this every year, but doesn't count since she's a goddess.
  • Badass Bookworm: Athena, goddess of arts and crafts (or possibly technology, depending on your translation), philosophy, and strategy.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Medusa, Scylla, Arachne, Io and the major theme of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Many of these transformations are afflicted by the gods.
    • Not to mention the sailors who landed on Circe's Island...
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Midas.
  • Bed Trick: Herakles's conception by Zeus.
  • Berserk Button: The Greek Gods tended to take a very dim view of mortals proclaiming themselves to better than them in some way. If you're a character in a Greek myth, don't say that you're more beautiful than Aphrodite, a greater warrior than Ares, a better hunter than Artemis, wiser than Athena, richer than Hades, a better smith than Hephaestus, a mightier king than Zeus or anything else along those lines. They'll chew you up and spit you out.
    • Pretty much the only thing that will make Hades attack a mortal is trying to cheat death, for the most part.
      • Also if they try to abduct his wife Persephone. Just ask Theseus and Pirithous.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Atalanta only agreed to marry whoever could outrun her in a footrace.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Zeus was known for hurling thunderbolts at people who annoyed him.
  • Blind Seer: Tiresias.
  • Big Badass Bird of Prey: Aethon, a giant eagle among the offspring of Typhon, sent to punish Prometheus. Also the Stymphalian birds (when not portrayed as corvids or cranes), and the harpies and sirens, gryphons and the peryton all had traits from them.
  • Bi the Way: Nearly everyone has had sex with at least one member of the same sex, and yet are married. In the case of goddesses and important human females, this was more implied, while in with males it was more obvious.
  • Bishonen: Ganymede (which is why Zeus went after him).
    • Apollo counts, too.
    • Eros, every version of him is described as 'the fairest of the deathless gods'.
  • Blasphemous Boast: the gods are quick to take offense and retaliate when they catch anybody doing this.
    • Ulysses would have saved himself several years of hardships had he not bragged to Poseidon to the point of refusing him a sacrifice, or mocking his son Poliphemus after blinding him. As a man of proverbial wit, you'd expect him to know better than anger the god of seas, especially if you and home sweet home are hundreds miles of sea apart.
    • Queen Niobe brags in public that she has more children than "poor" Leto (the mother of Apollo and Artemis!). The two promptly take it upon themselves to avenge their mother by killing each and every one of the queen's children and she turns to stone from grief.
    • A certain Arachne claims she's a better weaver than Athena? Let's just say there's a reason we call spiders 'arachnids' today...
      • This myth is referenced in Cryptonomicon, where the teller of the tale points out that Athena plays fair during the challenge and actually admits Arachne is as good as she thinks she is. It's not Arachne's blasphemy, but rather her hubris, that results in her being cursed.
      • Another version has Athena get angry when Arachne matches her, and blowing her off so rudely that Arachne tried hanging herself. That's when Athena came to her senses and saved her by turning her into a spider.
    • The reason Perseus had to save Andromeda from the sea monster was because her mother, Cassiopeia, claimed Andromeda was more beautiful than Aphrodite. Aphrodite got pissy and asked Poseidon to lay waste to the kingdom; then she told Cassiopeia her wrath could be forestayed if she let Andromeda get eaten.
    • In one version of the story, Medusa got turned into a monster after having an affair with Hepaestus, and then claiming that she was more beautiful than his wife Aphrodite, goddess of beauty.
    • Aphrodite had to deal with this a lot, apparently, since suitors were saying that Psyche (who ended up being the one to catch flack for their boasting) was more beautiful than her.
  • Born as an Adult: Athena, who is perhaps one of the most classic examples of this trope.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Sisyphus managed to cheat death by chaining up Thanatos. However, doing so messed up the whole cycle of life and death. So eventually the impulsive Ares frees Thanatos (because a war without death would be boring), and Sisyphus was dragged to underworld. He then gets back again by telling Hades that he has to punish his wife because she didn't bury him properly (he told her to do so, the cheater) and lived on like some insurance cheater for some decades until finally dying once and for all. His punishment? Sisyphus must roll a boulder up a steep hill... But it will always roll back down again whenever he's almost at the top, forcing him to perform this pointless task forever.
  • Broken Aesop: Considering how many of the gods and goddesses are Karma Houdinis in their stories, there aren't really any good lessons taught by them, aside from "Don't piss us off." Not to mention that they were frequently pissed by people just being born as beautiful as they are or more.
    • The Greek gods pretty much epitomized the idea of "do as we say, not as we do" even before Values Dissonance gets added in.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Like most mythologies, Classical Myth also has lots of pairings between family members, as the various generations of gods are siblings and children of the previous one. Starting with Gaea and Uranus (mother and son), to their children Kronos (Saturn) and Rhea, to their children who are the current generation of gods. Notable sibling pairs among them are e.g. Zeus (Jupiter/Jove) and Hera (Juno), Demeter (Ceres) with both Zeus and Poseidon (Neptune), etc.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Artemis and Apollo, naturally.
  • The Call Twinks You: Perseus.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Uranus cruelly imprisoned his children - including the Titans - until one Titan, Kronos, attacked and castrated him. Kronos then proved to be just as bad a ruler, swallowing his own children whole, until his son Zeus successfully overthrew him. Zeus proved to be as bad as his father and grandfather, but avoided their fate.
  • Casanova: Zeus's appetite for pretty mortal girls (and occasionally boys, according to a few authors) is quite storied. And with Hera breathing down his neck, he got very creative with disguises for his conquests. He once did the deed as an ant.
  • Canon Welding: The Roman Pantheon was originally distinct from the Greek one, but as Rome came under the influence of Greek culture, the Roman gods were equated with the Greek ones and by and by adopted all their attributes. The Aeneid finally extended the lineage of Rome's foundational hero, Romulus, to the Trojan Aeneas, and thus connected Roman legend to the Greek myths about the Trojan War.
  • The Cassandra: Cassandra.
  • Cassandra Truth: Trope Namer.
  • Cardboard Prison: Arguably, Hades.
  • Chained to a Rock: Andromeda and Hesione.
  • Chaos Entity:
    • Chaos is the first thing that existed, and the Titans such as Gaia, Tartarus, and Eros were born from it.
    • Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife but wasn't known to have a temple in ancient Greece; thus, often, she acts more like a personification. She is famous for initiating the Trojan War using the Apple of Discord inscribed with the phrase “To the Fairest One” for the goddesses to argue over. Paris, the prince of Troy, was chosen by Zeus to choose Helen, the wife of Menelaus of Sparta, and doomed his city, which led to its destruction.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Hera is a Jealous Wife, but rightfully so, because her job as goddess of family and marriage runs in direct opposition to her husband's very promiscuous ways. She even torments the poor girls Zeus rapes.
    • Persephone turned the nymph Minthe into the mint plant as revenge for trying to sleep with her husband.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Ring of Polycrates.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Hephaestus captured Ares and Aphrodite in the act with a trapped bed, and put them on display in "Lovers' embrace" so the rest of the Olympians can laugh at them (Which they do). Ares is pretty thoroughly shamed, but Aphrodite turns out to... enjoy... being on display and continues her business with the increasingly mortified Ares.
  • Conjoined Twins: Depending who you ask, Geryon is a group of conjoined triplets.
  • Continuity Snarl: Even if you stick to just the Roman or just the Greek myths, don't expect consistency.
  • Contrasting Sequel Character: The current gods, mainly Zues and the gang, got different personalities, got human appearing appearances, and even have powers that are in stark contrast to their predecessors, the titans, who were just giants or appears as typical monsters.


  • Dark Is Not Evil: Usually it is, but Hades and a few other death related entities appear as being neutral if not downright helpful towards humans.
  • Death by Sex: Most of the immortals' human consorts... if they were lucky.
  • Death Takes a Holiday: Sisyphus and Thanatos.
  • Depending on the Writer: Lots of characters, lots of writers, lots of variation.
  • Did Not Do the Research: A character, Paris, who (if he had) might have realized that his current squeeze, Helen of Sparta, was actually protected by an oath amongst many leading Greek heroes, all of whom had competed for her hand in marriage but feared that, if they won, the others would gang up on him. Finally Odysseus said, "Let's all swear that, whoever she chooses, we'll all defend that man against interlopers if necessary." They did. This is how her husband Menelaos managed to convince a not-really-unified collection of city-states to go to war against Troy.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the myth of Admetus and Alcestis, Hercules tackles Death... and wins.
    • In the Iliad, with the help of Athena the mortal hero Diomedes wounds both Aphrodite and Ares and drives them off the battlefield. But Aphrodite got her revenge, making Diomedes' wife fall in love with another men, which led to him being driven into exile.
  • Different for Girls: Achilles in a disguise.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Maybe they all want to make an example of those foolish mortals?
    • This list of the 8 Overkill Punishments Dished Out By Greek Gods goes to show that if the gods are not acting towards hubristic humans the way a human king would act towards a disrespectful subject, they are laying elaborate traps that make escape from punishment impossible.
  • Divine Date: Zeus was notorious for doing this behind Hera's back, though a fair number of other gods were willing to give it a try.
  • Divine Parentage: lots and lots of examples. Many were children of Zeus, like Perseus, Heracles and Helen. Aeneas was a son of Aphrodite.
  • Does Not Like Men: Artemis. While Athena and Hestia were also virgin goddesses, at least they weren't hostile towards the idea of even meeting a man. Ask poor Achteon, who was transformed into a deer, then eaten by his own hunting dogs for accidentally peeping on her...
  • Don't Look Back: The Orpheus story.
  • Double Standard: See Calypso's rant at the beginning of the Odyssey about how gods get to sleep around, but goddesses don't. Note that bad things can happen to consorts of either.
    • The Double Standard was reversed in those days from what we're used to: All Women Are Lustful.
    • On the other hand, in Homeric Hymns, we are told that while Hestia, Athena, and Artemis are immune to Aphrodite's power, Aphrodite had mated every god with mortal women, and every other goddess with mortal men. The hymn then recounts how Zeus saw to it that she got mated to a mortal man, to avoid too much trouble in Olympus.
  • Double Standard Rape (Divine on Mortal): The poster boy for this trope (that's putting it mildly). See Karma Houdini.
  • Downer Ending: Many myths have this kind of ending, although there are some that have a somewhat happy ending.
    • Even the great heroes like Perseus, Theseus, Hercules, Jason and Bellerophon always meet unfortunate ends.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Iliad and The Aeneid.
  • Driven to Suicide: When Oedipus answers the riddle correctly, the sphinx is so upset that she kills herself.
    • Also Narcissus, who was cursed to fall in love with his own reflection by Aphrodite as punishment for cruelly rejecting all the girls (and guys) who fancied him. Realising he could never love anyone else so much, he either stabbed himself or threw himself into a river.
    • This trope is hardly uncommon, especially in Greek tragedy: going back to Oedipus, Jocasta did not take the news of the revelation well. Then later we have Antigone, Haemon, Eurydice... and that's just the Oedipus trilogy.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: Endymion and Selene, except that it's Endymion (the dude) who is asleep.
  • Due to the Dead: Good guys bury the dead properly. Always. Insofar as you fail, you are not a good guy until you straighten out your act.
    • Or you die because you actually DID it (or because of laws that want to prevent that)... ask Antigone...
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chaos, according to Ovid, is "rather a crude and indigested mass, a lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed, of jarring seeds and justly Chaos named." And also Typhon.
    • Really, every single one of the protogenoi, specially Ouranos and Nix, fall into this, when not manifesting themselves as pretty people.
    • The Hekatonkheires. Embodiments of natural disasters like Tsunamis, Earthquakes & Volcanic Eruptions, born with fifty heads and one hundred arms, and big enough that mountains are literally throwing rocks to them.
  • Emotionless Couple: Hades and Persephone. Persephone was once a Genki Girl but adopted this trope since she become queen of underworld.
  • Enthralling Siren: Between two and five of them, and they lured sailors to their death on the rocks.
  • Eye Scream: Oedipus, and HOW.
  • The Fatalist
  • Father Neptune: Or should we say Poseidon.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: Every single one of the gods flee to Egypt when Typhon storms Olympus, leaving Zeus and Athena alone to defeat him.
  • Femme Fatale: Aphrodite - perhaps the original model. She was a huge Jerkass when crossed, but not completely evil.
  • Flanderization: At least, the way that we remember the myths nowadays is probably way Flanderized from the way that the ancient Greeks would have recalled the gods. Zeus, remember, was the god of law, hospitality, and civilization in general to them, not just Mr. Casanova.
    • Also, nymphs were basically just elves, despite the fact that most people today think of them as benevolent versions of Horny Devils.
  • Food Chains: Persephone (Roman: Proserpine), whose ill-timed snack in the Underworld dooms her to stay there.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Pandora and the box she was told never to open. The Greek Gods, who were huge bastards at the best of times, gave her the box, told her not to open it, then gave her a huge amount of curiosity, so that eventually she WOULD open the box. And this was to punish mankind for accepting Prometheus' gift of fire. She opened it, and the world has been suffering for it ever since, though surprisingly, there wasn't a large line of angry Greeks ready to kill her. Since they were the first evils, maybe the typical reaction was: "Hmm. I wonder what this i--OHMYGODAAAAAHHH!"
    • Some variations include that Hope was the one good thing to come out of the box, although in some versions she had to open the box a second time for it to come out. In another, "Foreboding" (the foretelling of one's ills, such that mankind would always dread the future) was the one demon that Pandora was able to keep in the box.
      • Other variations imply that Hope was the worst evil to come out, as it stops people from giving up when they really should.
    • Depending on which version you read, Pandora herself was created by the gods and given to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Before he was imprisoned by the gods for giving fire to mortals, Prometheus warned his brother never to accept any gifts from the gods. However, Epimetheus became so enchanted with Pandora that he accepted her (and the box she was carrying) without worrying about his brother's warning.
      • Prometheus means "forethought" and Epimethus means "afterthought". Which explains why Epithemus is so dumb.
  • In the Tale of Eros/Cupid and Psyche, jealous Aphrodite/Venus sends Cupid to use his arrows to cause Psyche (whose beauty is praised above Venus, naturally) to fall in love with the most hideous thing in the world. Cupid bungles the assignment and pricks himself with love's arrow, falling in love with Psyche instantly. Psyche finds herself living the good life with a god, but on the condition that she never see her new husband. Naturally, this works out no better than any of the other examples on this page.
    • Not to mention how, when Venus ordered her to bring her a portion of Persephone's beauty, Psyche was warned not to eat anything in the underworld except for bread and also not to open the box Persephone gave her. She obeys the first order but disobeys the second, and would have likely slept forever had Cupid not intervened.
    • A very similar fate befalls Semele, one of Zeus's lovers.
  • Another example is the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus was a famed singer whose fiancee, Eurydice, was bitten on the heel by a poisonous snake and killed, while she was fleeing centaurs who were trying to rape her on her wedding day. Grieving for his lost wife, Orpheus travelled to the underworld and sang to Hades and Persephone, begging them to release Eurydice and allow her to live the rest of her life. They were so moved by his song that they relented, saying that Eurydice's spirit would follow him out of the underworld and she would be restored to life once they reached the surface. The one caveat to this agreement was that Orpheus was never to look back when he was leaving the underworld. Orpheus climbed back out the way he came but, as he reached the surface, suddenly began wondering if Eurydice was really following him... and guess what happened next. Unable to quench his doubt, he turned to check if Eurydice was behind him. She was just a few steps from leaving the Underworld and returning to life but, since he had broken his pledge, her spirit sank back into the underworld and, despite much more begging on Orpheus's behalf, Hades and Persephone wouldn't give him a second chance.
  • Friendly Playful Dolphin: Boys riding dolphins were a common mottif in Roman and Greek art and literature and in latter art inspired by Classical themes. In some of the stories, the boys are in fact gods or demigods. Palaimon and Cupid are common choices. However, there were also stories of mortal boys that befriended dolphins and rode them. Pliny the Younger's letter include such a tale of a boy in the North African town of Hippo. According to the tale, while swimming, the boy was befriended by a dolphin that allowed him to ride it.
  • Fun Personified: Dionysus. As god of both wine and entertainment, it's to be expected.


  • Gag Penis: Priapus.
  • Generation Xerox: The Titan Uranus was afraid of being overthrown by his children so he imprisoned them until one of them, Cronos escaped and castrated him. Cronos was afraid of being overthrown by his children, so he ate them until he was defeated by one of them, Zeus, who tricked him into vomiting up the others. Zeus heard of a prophesy that he would be overthrown by one of his children, so he turned the mother into a fly and ate her. The child, the goddess Athene, developed in Zeus's body and was born through his head. Since Athene was a virgin goddess, the cycle finally ended at this point.
  • Gender Bender: Tiresias again.
    • Also the myth of Iphis and Ianthe.
    • Also Caeneus nee Caenis, who was raped by Neptune, who then turns her into a Nigh Invulnerable man when she wishes that no one would ever do it again.
  • Genius Bruiser: Athena, being the Greek goddess of both warfare and wisdom. Minerva is her Roman equivalent.
    • Also Theseus and Odysseus.
    • Heracles is mostly recalled as a Hot-Blooded Leeroy Jenkins, but whenever he did allow himself to think things a little more, he would be a master of the Indy Ploy.
    • Hephaestus bested Ares using his skills as a smith, considerable wit and formidable strength. Not bad for a guy often considered a joke by the other Gods.
  • Girl in a Box: Danae.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Even period art depicts the Chimera as having a mane, even though it was female.
  • God Is Evil: Zeus, the king of the gods, appears often as a rapist and a Manipulative Bastard in some myths, despist his modern usually benevolent portrayal. His father Chronus/Kronos and his grandfather Uranus weren't any better... if not worse. See also Jerkass Gods.
  • The Great Flood: Deucalion and Phyrra again, as well as two other stories.
  • Guile Hero: Odysseus was a great archer, but his brains were his most powerful weapon.
    • Don't forget Daedalus the man who built the Labyrinth and made artificial wings to escape from a desert island.
  • Happily Married: Baucis and Philemon. Also Hades and Persephone.
    • As previously mentioned, Eros and Psyche, surprisingly.
  • Happy Ending: Though often overshadowed by Bittersweet Endings or Downer Endings, especially considering Greek Tragedy, there are actually several stories with happy endings in Greek and Roman mythology, including the story of Baucis and Philemon and that of Admetus and Alcestis, among others.
  • Has Two Mommies: According to a Roman myth, Juno (Greek name: Hera) became pregnant with Mars (Ares) after being touched by a herb grown by the goddess Flora. She did this to get her own back at Jupiter (Zeus) for giving birth to Minerva (Athena).
  • Hereditary Curse: Tantalus prepared his own son Pelops as food for the gods. Not only was he himself punished for this gruesome act (but this is another story...) but also a curse was laid upon the next four generations of his house. How did this curse manifest itself? Let's just say that the House of Atreus (named after Tantalus' grandkid) took being a Dysfunctional Family.
  • He's Back: Odysseus (finally).
  • High-Class Call Girl: Aphrodite. She could be interpreted as a Companion at a Standard Royal Court.
  • Horned Humanoid: Minotaurs and Satyrs.
  • Hot-Blooded: Heracles, at his best. 'Nuff said. When at his WORST, tho...
  • Hydra Problem: Trope Namer.
  • Hubris: This was the biggest sin possible in Classical Mythology, as it implied disrespect toward the Gods.
  • I Ate What?: O hai Tantalus! Listen, it was really nice of you to invite us gods over for dinner, especially after we threw you off Olympus for stealing our ambrosia. But no harm, no foul! Mmmm... this sure is tasty... how did you get the meat so soft and... wait a second... where's your son?!
  • Idiot Ball: Probably not the only case, but the biggest: Rhea fooled her husband Kronos from devouring little baby Zeus by giving him a stone in diapers.
  • I Gave My Word: When they swear by the Styx, even the gods have to come through.
  • I Have Many Names: The Romans' practice of labeling foreign gods as versions of their own added to this effect. Roman religious ceremonies involved the priest listing all of the names for a given god - which could be quite extensive.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: The Prometheus myth. Secret of fire given to the mortals against the gods' will. Older Than They Think? Yup.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Most immortals, particularly the Olympian deities, though there are some notable exceptions. Hephaestus (known to the Romans as Vulcan), for example, was one of the few gods noted for his bad looks.
  • In Soviet Russia, Trope Mocks You: In a strange sort of Fridge Brilliance / Hilarious in Hindsight example, the Amazons. In the myths, they were just about the only civilization at the time where women oppressed men instead of the other way around. And according to Herodotus, they inhabited parts of what is now Ukraine and Russia.
  • Instrument of Murder: During a music lesson from the lyrist Linus, Hercules once took some criticism the wrong way, and bashed Linus' head in with his own lyre.
  • It Was a Gift


  • James Bondage: Prometheus.
  • Jerkass Gods: None of the Greek pantheon were capital E evil, but they could all be petty, spiteful, vindictive, and a host of other unpleasant adjectives.
    • This is averted by the likes of Hestia (the goddess of the hearth), Helios (the god of the sun), and Selene (the goddess of the moon), who were all actually pretty benign. (Note however that Helios and Selene weren't part of the main pantheon.) Demeter and Hades were slightly different in that Hades never harassed mortals who didn't screw with him first, while Demeter was quite understandably upset by the loss of Persephone. When Persephone comes back for six months of the year in spring and summer, Demeter cheerfully attends to her duties as a fertility goddess.
  • Karma Houdini: Many gods and goddesses have a tendency to screw up the lives of various people and get away with it. One example, when Medusa had sex with Poseidon (or in some versions of the story, got raped by Poseidon) in Athena's temple, Athena punished the mortal Medusa by turning her into a snake-haired monster... Poseidon was never punished for this.
    • Also worth noting is Medea, who was deeply and tragically screwed by Jason, stitched together an over-the-top revenge and left Jason alone. The Gods sided with Medea instead, and Jason was left in a Fate Worse Than Death. Many historians, Dante included, agreed that Jason was the bad guy and also sided with Medea.
      • She's sided with for a few reasons: First, Jason's patron goddess was Hera, goddess of marriage - fairly obvious why Jason betraying Medea after marrying her didn't go over well with Hera. Second and more importantly, Jason had initially been so moved by Medea's devotion to him that he swore an oath to all the Twelve Lords of Olympus that he would stay with her forever. Meaning that when he abandoned her later, this was a direct affront to the entire pantheon, and Medea was considered a tool of divine vengeance instead of a murdering psycho. Essentially, her actions are the result of Jason having his Karma Houdini privileges revoked.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Hydra's heads will regenerate if you destroy them. When Heracles fought the monster, he was assisted by his nephew Iolaus, who seared the heads with a burning torch and prevented them from growing back.
  • Light Is Not Good: Light gods like Apollo and, possibly, Hyperion, are no better than the other gods (Apollo, for instance, is also a god of plague). Also Aethon, the giant eagle that was sent to punish Prometheus, has a name meaning "burning" or "blazing".
    • Both Hesiod and Homer described the god of war Ares with light attributes, such as having golden armour and light.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Easily has more fantastical races than any other mythology.
  • Lotus Eater Machine: Trope Namer from The Odyssey.
  • Love At First Sight: A few examples, usually caused directly by some god or goddess [Usually Eros and/or Aphrodite].
    • Eros, after a quarrel with Apollo, got back at him by shooting him with an arrow that made him fall in love with Daphne at first sight, after he shot Daphne with an arrow that made her (in simplest terms) hate at first sight.
    • Narcissus was considered so beautiful that every woman who looked upon his face fell instantly in love with him, but he would always spurn such people and break their hearts. He was cursed to fall in love with his own reflection after spurning several nymphs this way.
      • And in other versions, falling in love with his own reflection was punishment for spurning probably much older * male* suitors. Values Dissonance? Perhaps.[1] Creepy? Just a tad.
      • No matter who else got rejected by Narcissus, the last person is always Echo in an exceptionally cruel manner. Since she had the misfortune of getting cursed to repeat only what people said to her, it was a big problem when Narcissus needed directions to the nearest city. He had no way of knowing she was cursed, but it doesn't mean he should have called Echo an idiot and gone out of his way to avoid her. Rather understandable that Aphrodite considered this the last straw — especially since Echo was so in love with him that she couldn't bear to cause him harm, even to seek justice for herself.
    • Hades and Persephone. A bit one-sided, but basically he (also) gets shot with Eros' arrow of love. Instant attraction and abduction ensues.
      • Oddly enough, they end up the most stable (and presumably happy) couple in Greek mythology. It probably helped that he lavished gifts and non-sexual attention on her to genuinely win her over — and unlike Zeus, he (practically) never cheats.[2] Just because he's the king of the Underworld doesn't mean he can't respect his wife's feelings.
    • Even Eros was not immune to this. Aphrodite, Eros' mother, because she was jealous of the beautiful Psyche, asked Eros to shoot her with an arrow so that she would fall in love with someone repulsive at first sight, but Eros ended up falling in love at first sight with Psyche. Fortunately for him it was not one-sided.
  • Love Makes You Crazy, Love Makes You Dumb: Helen of Troy,[3] at the very least. Happily married until some upstart prince and the goddess of love come along. In some versions Paris kidnaps her.
  • Lover and Beloved: Goes hand-in-hand with the Ho Yay.


  • Mama Bear: Demeter, when Persephone went missing. To the point of making the Earth barren until she was returned!
  • Mister Seahorse: Zeus at least twice, particularly in how Athena came along.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Hera, Hera, Hera... well she is goddess of marriage, so she can't exactly let that go...
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: The names of many of their Roman equivalents are far more known (Hercules being the most famous example).
  • Naked First Impression: Never peep on a goddess. IT WILL NOT END WELL.
    • Referring to the myth where a hunter is out in the woods and comes upon a spring where Artemis is bathing. She catches him gawking, goes all "YOU PEEPING TOM!!!" and turns him into a stag. Then his own hounds tear his throat out.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Achilles.
  • No Eye in Magic: Perseus looked at the Gorgon through a mirror/his shield so he didn't get killed by looking directly at it.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Prometheus.
  • Oh Crap: Several mortals have experienced this when they realize they've just crossed one of the gods, with Lycaon being just one example.
    • Subverted with Acoetes, who repeatedly tried to talk his fellow pirates out of kidnapping Dionysus. Dionysus destroys the rest of the crew (or turns them into dolphins, depending on the myth) and Acoetes has this reaction. Fortunately, Dionysus spares Acoetes for trying to talk the rest of the crew out of kidnapping him.
  • Only Sane Woman: Hestia, who is well aware her family is divinely messed up, and so abdicated her place among the Olympians to Dionysus.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket
  • Orphean Rescue
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Wild, raunchy and crude men with horse bodies, though there were a few exceptions such as Chiron.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The nymphs were essentially Greek version of elves.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The Gigantes, who once waged war against the gods. The Titans may also count, though they were an older set of gods.
    • Greek gods and heroes in general (men and women alike) were often described as being twice or three times the height of an ordinary man. It went along with the whole "human, but MORE" idea.
  • Outsourcing Fate: A recurring theme, with gods asking a human to judge between their disputes.


  • Pegasus
  • Phlebotinum Battery: Antaeus draws his power from the earth.
  • Plant Person: Dryads.
  • Prophecy Twist: Too numerous to list.
  • Proper Lady: What Hera was supposed to be, before she was flanderized into Zeus's Yandere. Zeus's sister, Hestia, is more of a straight example.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Olympus is attacked more than once, and Heracles was known to get into fights with several gods.
    • Gaia, mother of Earth, did it the most; first she plotted to have her husband, Ouranos, overthrown and killed by Cronus because he locked away the Gigantes, Cyclopes and Hecatonchires for their ugliness. Then, when Cronus is stupid enough to lock away the newly-freed giants after they were just freed (not to mention devour his children) she plots for Zeus to kill him. Then, as vengeance for the Olympians killing her children, the Titans (which she herself pretty much caused by the previous plot; never mind that Zeus had freed the kyklopes and hekatonkheires), she sets Typhon and the Gigantes onto the Olympians. Basically, she took offense to pretty much every generation of the gods, even when she got them into power in the first place. Brings a whole new meaning to Gaia's Vengeance, doesn't it?
      • Gaia never was the benevolent entity that modern usage tends to attribute to her. All she cared about was her deity children being able to run all over the place. Them pummeling each other? Couldn't care less.
      • Damage to the environment? Despite what people tend to indicate today, apparently, she still didn't give a damn.
      • Although being the one who pretty much created just about everything, worrying about the environment doesn't make much sense, you can just remake it. She would care if someone was destroying her creation because it's hers. It's also possible that the place of the Mother Earth was passed down through generations like it was said in Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia: "Demeter would take the place of her grandmother, Gaia, and her mother, Rhea, as goddess of the earth in a time when humans and gods thought the activities of the heavens more sacred than those of earth." After Demeter comes Persephone until she is kidnapped by Hades and turned into the Queen of the Underworld.
  • Ravens and Crows
  • Really Gets Around: ZEUS, probably the Ur Example, and possibly the Trope Maker. According to The Other Wiki, not including his wife, he slept with at at least 62 and as many as 69 assorted women, goddesses, nymphs and the like - some of whom were his daughters from previous encounters...
    • Lots of the other gods - including Poseidon, Hermes and Aphrodite - also had several lovers, and by them, lots of kids.
      • Apollo more than made up for his sister Artemis being a sworn virgin.
  • Revenge SVP: Eris wasn't invited to a wedding, so she throws the Apple of Discord onto the table and causes Hera, Aphrodite and Athena to fight over who is prettiest. In a roundabout way, this kickstarted the Trojan War.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: From the story of Oedipus.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Cerberus.
  • Rock of Limitless Water: Several examples:
    • One legend involves Athena and Poseidon dueling over the patronage of the city that would become Athens. As part of said duel, Poseidon creates a sea from a rock.
    • Another legend involves the winged horse Pegasus flying up to the top of Mt. Helicon and striking a rock with his hoof, creating a stream of water. It became known as the Hippocrene, literally the "Fountain of the Horse"
    • A third legend involves a woman named Niobe who thought herself above the goddess Leto. To avenge this insult to their mother's honor, Apollo and Artemis flew from Olympus and smote each of Niobe's children. In her grief, Niobe turned into a stone constantly awash in tears.
  • Rule 34: And much Older Than They Think, at that, what with Agostino Carraci's I Modi


  • Sacred Hospitality: Very, very sacred. As noted below, Ixion breeched this trope in the most stone-cold retarded way.
  • The Scrappy: Ares is an in universe example. Zeus flat out tells him in The Iliad that he hates him most out of all his children, and that if he saw reason for it, he wouldn't hesitate to kill the God of War and never regret it. Ares' actions that caused Zeus's outburst? Complaining that Athena had helped the mortal Diomedes try to kill him, causing him to suffer a severe stomach wound. A severe stomach wound he was suffering at that same moment.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: Trope Namer from The Odyssey.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Pandora's Box, the Titans and Typhon.
  • Self Fulfilling Prophecies: No kidding. Someone along the line should have learned that trying to prevent, kill, or throw away an infant with bad prophecy is a surefire way of it coming back and, often completely unaware, do exactly what you tried to prevent it from doing (e.g. Perseus, Paris, Oedipus, Romulus and Remus, and many more).
  • Semi-Divine: Many, many demigods. Heracles is only the most famous.
  • Shapeshifter Mashup: What happened to Scylla.
  • The Smart Gal: Athena. She is the goddess of wisdom, craftsmanship, and strategy. Oh, yes and Athens named themselves after her which shows that Athenians were not humble about their reputation in such matters.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Not impossible considering the fact that Greek did and still does use a different alphabet than English. An example would be Heracles often being spelled Herakles as well.
  • Swallowed a Fly: Zeus swallows Metis after she transforms into a fly. Cranial pregnancy ensues.
  • Taken for Granite: The Gorgon's victims, Niobe (turned to stone), Amethyst (turned to crystal). Daphne is a variation - she chooses to be turned into a tree to escape from Apollo's amorous advances.
  • Tempting Fate: Happens a lot.
    • In revenge for Diomedes wounding her before Troy, Aphrodite/Venus saw to it that he was driven into exile in Italy. Trying to cheer him up, his six companions told him him that at least Venus could do no worse to them. She could - she turned the six into birds.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Apollo and Artemis; Ares and Eris
  • Thicker Than Water
  • To Hell and Back: Orpheus, Heracles, Odysseus, Psyche, Aeneas, even Theseus and Pirithous (though Heracles had to give them a hand)... apparently, Hades has Swiss Cheese Security.
    • Well, yeah. The method of getting past Cerberus in one myth is feeding him a frickin' cake.
    • On the other hand, people who visit the Underworld can't really do anything once they're there other than lament over the state of their loved ones and that they probably share the same fate. Removing somebody from the Underworld was impossible without Hades's permission, an issue he was generally shiftless on (and even then there were conditions which even Hades might be unable to circumvent). Cerberus was more about keeping the dead in than keeping the living out (after all, where are the dead going to get cake from?)
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: The Golden Age is identified (at least in some versions) with the reign of Kronos. Now there was a prophecy that one of his children would topple him, like he had toppled his father Uranos. So Kronos ate all his children to avoid this. Not sure whether he did that for concern that the Golden Age should continue or just because he himself didn't want to lose power, but if it was the former, this would be a case.
  • Trash of the Titans: Heracles having to deal with Augias's stables. By driving two rivers through them.
  • The Trickster: Prometheus functioned as a pro-human trickster god until Zeus locked him up. Hermes has tricks and moral transgressions as one of his hats.
  • Troll: What Eris does best.
  • True Art Is Realistic: Pygmalion tells Aphrodite this trope is the reason for not marrying, he simply refuses to marry until he made the most realistic depiction of the most beautiful woman in the world. Basically her. The ending takes the trope further, The goddess of love brings Pygmalion's statue to life just for him to marry, since his masterpiece had become so real to him that he wanted to be with her for the rest of his life, so literally his "art" became "realistic". Plus, Aphrodite was pleased with this request.
  • Truly Single Parent: Nyx (although exactly which ones are just hers and which ones she had by Erebus are disputed). Also her daughter Eris, to either a lesser or further extent, depending on whether you're counting number of kids had or percentage of kids born by parthenogenesis.
  • Twincest Subtext: Apollo was not happy when he heard about Artemis and Orion. It didn't end well for Orion.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Hephaestus and Aphrodite. Depending on the version, it was either to stop the marriage squabbles over her or that he impressed her with his craftsmanship.
    • Or a promise Hephaestus extracted from Hera in return for freeing her from a chair he made.
  • Unstoppable Rage: "The wrath of Achilles."
    • At his worst, Heracles is also known for this as well as being more unstoppable.


  • Virgin Power: Hestia/Vesta, Artemis/Diana and Athena/Minerva, obviously, but also somewhat unexpectedly Hera/Juno. According to a myth from Argos, Hera once every year restored her virginity by bathing in the spring of Kanathos. According to Hesiod, Hera had Hephaestus asexually, which may explain why according to one myth Hephaestus sided with his mother against Zeus in the matter of Herakles. According to the Romans, Jupiter was Vulcan's father, but Juno had Mars without male aid.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Thetis had Achilles hide among Lycomedes's daughters, fearing he'd die at Troy. Odysseus still found him.
    • Also, Omphale, Queen of Lydia, forced Heracles to dress in woman's clothing and do women's work, as punishment for his sins. To add insult to injury, she wore his Nemean Lion skin during this. Believe it or not, she then made Heracles her husband and got away with it all.
      • Some texts note that after a couple of peaceful years of crossdressing and housework, Heracles became a much more calm person. What are the odds?
      • Other texts state: At first he was her slave, as punishment for killing a guy when he (Heracles, that is) was insane. Then, she married him when she recognized who he was. Then, he became decadent, and the whole cross-dressing thing started. Later, he got better and left her again.
  • Who's on First?: Odysseus.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Tithonos, who was granted eternal life as a favour to his lover Eos, the goddess of the dawn. He was not granted eternal youth, so the gods decided to turn him into a cicada, which sheds its skin to remain eternally young, and chirps at the sign of his love.
  • Wild Child: Romulus and Remus.
    • Also Herakles' son Telephos (raised by a hind) and Agamemnon's murderer Aegisthos (raised by goat).
  • Winged Humanoid: Ancient Greece imported the "winged humanoid" imagery from Mesopotamic cultures, resulting in various gods and personifications with (usually feathered bird-) wings, e.g. Nike, Eros, and the rest of Aphrodite's gang, the Erotes, many of the Wind Gods. Eros's lover Psyche, as an exception from the usual bird wings, is depicted with butterfly wings.
    • And there is also a mound of usually non-winged animals and creatures with wings: Pegasus, gryphons, the Sphinx; then there's the harpies, and the Sirens (before they got warped into mermaids).
  • Wolverine Publicity: A lot of characters get this, but mostly Zeus, Hercules, Cupid, and Medusa.
  • World's Strongest Man: Heracles.
    • He can even lift the sky... ask Atlas...
  • Yandere: Medea. Sweet merciful Zeus, Medea. what she does to her own kids, and their father, is almost too gruesome to believe.
    • Hera, too. Doesn't help that her husband is none other than Zeus.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Odyssey, The Aeneid.
  • You Can't Fight Fate, because
  1. In Greek culture of the time young men were supposed to have older male suitors, as well as continue to be attracted to women
  2. Once or twice in three-thousand years of marriage according to different versions. That's leagues above a lot of people, let alone Zeus or Poseidon
  3. "Helen of Sparta" is technically correct as she was Menelaus' wife. "Helen of Troy" is technically correct as well, at least after her defection (or kidnapping) to Troy. As to why people think of her as "Helen of Troy" regardless... chalk it up to Memetic Mutation. The whole Troy business is what she's most well-known for.