Appropriated mythology

I’m back on 702ABC again today. We are talking about appropriated mythology*. It thought it was an apt subject seeing that I am in Greece this month. I’m currently staying at my aunt’s home** on the island of Poros (Greece’s only male island)***.

The Twelve Olympian gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon / by Flickr user Dunechaser CC by NC SA 2.0

The Twelve Olympian gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon / by Flickr user Dunechaser CC by NC SA 2.0

Whenever I am in Poros, I have a sense of Greek gods and historic tales happening about me. I am less than 100 kilometres from where Paris kidnapped Helen spurring Menelaus to start the Trojan Wars. There is a Temple to Poseidon on the hill behind me. Sphairia is the ancient name for Poros and is where Theseus was conceived when his mother Aethra waded into  water inspiring lust into Poseidon (damn Greek gods).

I love retellings of Greek myths. They were certainly not lacking from my own upbringing with my parents and their friends regularly telling us stories about the gods (or warning us from misbehaviour as the gods might smite us).  My favourite retelling is the devastatingly romantic The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller about the friendship and love affair between Patroclus and Achilles. The ABC has a great website called Winged Sandals (I love the Amazons vs Spartans game) and there is a oddly engaging (rather basic) animation Greek Mythology series by Wooding Media that my kids were only slightly obsessed with. As for Norse Gods – need I say anything else other than Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth!

As much as I adore retellings of Greek mythology, I love appropriated mythology. Some like Percy Jackson are fabulous stories (but the purist in me grates at the incorrect geneaology). Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The Dark Hunter series did not engage me either but I loved Nymph (see previous blog post). I don’t mind the campish Hercules films though retellings that get the Roman and Greek gods mixed up annoy me greatly (Hercules vs Heracles anyone). I also love Norse god appropriation – The Almighty Johnsons.


So what are your favourite retellings? What about appropriations?


Poros looking across to the Peloponnese from my aunt's verandah

Poros looking across to the Peloponnese from my aunt’s verandah

* In case you were wondering, the difference between retellings and appropriation is that retellings is when the storyteller tries to stay faithful to the original story whereas appropriation is when the original stories are placed in an alternate universe or when one culture adopts elements from another culture (sorry if this sounds like Mansplaining – blame it on fuzzy brain and midnight blogging).

**I’m going to subtly mention my aunt’s apartments now. When in Poros you should stay with her. She is awesome.

*** Henry Miller said of Poros “I will cling to Poros…if I should ever have the choice of attaining Nirvana or remaining behind to watch over and guide those to come, I say now let me remain behind…”. Lawrence Durrell’s says of Poros “it is not possible to exaggerate the charm of this little Aegean nook and the sense of elation it conveys”. This is how I too feel. It is a charming, gorgeous island, with diffuse light and crystal clear waters. If I could holiday here every year I would. Unfortunately, that is not always possible.

4 thoughts on “Appropriated mythology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s