3.03: Greek and Roman Mythology


  • In conversation, she mentions the names Mathena and Zheres [TFOH: 47, The Price of a Ship, 540].
    Mathena: Athena/Artemis
    Zheres: Tiresias? Orion?
    The goddess Artemis turned the hunter Orion into a stag so he would be killed by his dogs, after he saw her bathing. Athena was also surprised by Tiresias while bathing, but she blinded him and gave him the gift of second sight in return.
  • The silver bow seems to have come straight out of Greek Mythology. Artemis had a silver bow, to match her brother Apollo's golden one.
  • When Birgitte is created a Lady by Elayne, and invested with patent of nobility and an estate of her own, the surname she chooses is "Trahelion," which suggests a link to Helios, the Sun God who became syncretized with Apollo, who was the god of archery.
  • Birgitte's sudden emergence into this world, nude and fully formed, is reminiscent of the birth of Aphrodite, who emerged from the sea foam near Cyprus unclothed and bodacious. Also, Aphrodite's husband was the lame and unattractive god Hephaestus; Birgitte is linked to the ugly swordsman, Gaidal Cain.

Cyndane: Cynthia, a poetic name for Artemis, the Greek Moon Goddess, who also was identified with Selena (see below). [Rich Boyé]

The Illiad:

  • Aginor: "In book 21 [of The Illiad], a character named Agenor attacks Achilles, and is defeated. Not much is said about him (Agenor) other than that he is "blameless and powerful", and knew that Achilles was stronger than he was. He attacked anyway, figuring that while Achilles was much more combat-capable, Agenor had the gods on his side, not to mention the fact that even the powerful make mistakes. In a few minutes, Achilles defeats Agenor, and Apollo surrounds the loser "in a thick mist", and transports him back to Troy. Some interesting parallels between this and TEOTW's final battle: Each Aginor knew that his opponent was more powerful. Both were full of pride. Both attacked anyway." [Mike O'Malley]
  • Illian: Ilion, aka Troy.
  • Telamon: another character in the Iliad who we might recognize is Aias, (Roman: Ajax) one of the most powerful and respected warriors of the Greek army. Because there was another, unrelated warrior with the same name, Aias was also known by his father's name, Telamon. [Peter Smalley] Jon Wheeler tells us, "When Achilles' armor was passed on to Odysseus, Ajax went mad and killed himself out of jealousy. However, I came across an interesting footnote to a Shakespearean reference to Ajax which indicates that in his madness, Ajax also slew an entire herd of sheep after mistaking them for the enemy. This bit of info ties the name in nicely with ol' Lews Therin, I think." Jamie McKinney adds that a "telamon" is defined in the dictionary as a male caryatid, a supporting pillar in the shape of a man, from the Greek for "bearer" or "supporter".

Jupiter's women: Several of the moons of Jupiter are named for his mistresses. Among them were:


  • Callisto, a follower of Artemis and sworn maiden.
  • Europa, a princess kidnapped by Zeus, an act leaving her brother uprooted from his land and obligations.
  • Io, a girl who had premonitions of Zeus's love for her.

These match up nicely with Aviendha, Elayne and Min. [Johan Gustafsson]

Kore: Tuon, the Daughter of the Nine Moons, has as one of her names, "Kore." Kore was an ancient name for Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, who was abducted by Hades, and later they married. At the end of WH, Mat abducts Tuon, and they are destined to marry as well. [Rich Boyé] Also, the name "Kore" literally means "daughter" or "maiden." [Encyclopedia Mythica]

Moiraine: Moirae or Moirai, the three Fates of Greek mythology. The name means "parts" or "alloted portions", and their job was to assign to every person his or her destiny, and direct their steps along the path from birth to death; their dictates could only be circumvented with great difficulty. Homer personified them as one goddess, Moira. [Jennifer Myak, Leigh Butler]

And as long as we're talking about the Fates, isn't it interesting that Min was raised by three women she calls her "aunts", though we never find out if they are actually related to her, who didn't seem at all fazed by her ability to see the fates of others? [Alan Ellingson, Matthew Hunter]

Oedipus: Doomed king of Thebes who killed his father and married his mother. When he discovered what he had done, he blinded himself and exiled himself from his city. He led the life of a blind beggar until he died near Athens. [Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, by Sophocles]. Possible connection to the vision of Rand as a blind beggar.

Orpheus: A great musician whose wife, Eurydice, was killed on their wedding night by a snake. Orpheus traveled to the kingdom of Hades to try to get her back, and his music so moved the King and Queen of the underworld that he was allowed to take her back, provided that he leave, and not look back at her until he had reached the surface. He couldn't control himself, so he looked, and she went back to Hades. Orpheus ended up getting ripped to shreds by the Maenads, a tribe of ferocious women, during a Bacchanale. Possibly a connection to Thom rescuing Moiraine from the Finn. [D. Sohl] (Hopefully, Thom will fare better than Orpheus!)

People of the Dragon: The end prophecy from TSR runs:

And when the blood was sprinkled on ground where nothing could grow, the Children of the Dragon did spring up, the People of the Dragon, armed to dance with death. And he did call them forth from the wasted land, and they did shake the world with battle.

This is a direct reference to the legend of Jason and the Argonauts - one of the tasks Aeetes had Jason do in order to gain the Golden Fleece was sow the earth with dragon's teeth, which then sprang up into an army of warriors. It is interesting to note that the way Jason defeated them was to hit one with a rock and turn them all against each other, and they ripped one another to pieces... [Leigh Butler]

Selene: Selena, a Greek goddess of the moon (hence the icon), merged in Artemis and Hecate. She loved a youth named Endymion, and put him into a deep sleep so that he would not be conscious of her caresses.

Soe'feia: Sophia, the Greek word for wisdom. The Greeks personified wisdom as a woman, as did the Hebrews. [Maccabeus Epimanes]

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