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Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

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Old May 19th, 2007, 9:58 pm
Weasley_Luver08  Female.gif Weasley_Luver08 is offline
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

The latin word for "wolf" is "lupus" (Lupin being a warewolf)
Wolves would pee around their victims and they would turn to stone, accourding to my Latin book, but...I doubt we'll see anything like that in Harry Potter....


"But Ron was staring at Hermione as if suddenly seeing her in a whole new light..."

"Black wheeled Buckbeak around, facing the open sky.
'We will see each other again,' he said. 'You are-truly your father's son, Harry...'"

And Proud!!
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Old June 1st, 2007, 10:56 pm
msmooney  Female.gif msmooney is offline
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

It isn't mythology, but this is definitely history. The Latin word "crucio" means to torture or torment (literally, "I torture"). The Romans "crucified" Christ, and things that are difficult today are "excruciating." (It seems that a lot of the spells are grounded in Latin: lumos, accio, avis, colloportus, confundus...there's a really nice Wikipedia article about the etymology of the spells.)

Sinistra (Prof.) is from the Latin "sinister," which in its original meaning simply means "to the left," but now has the added connotation of "evil."

Some interesting information on Alastor: as a genius, or spirit of the household in Roman mythology, he incited people to murder and other sins. He was originally a mortal, son of Neleus, King of Pylos. He was later downgraded to a minor daemon after he and his brothers were killed by Heracles.

In Christian demonology, Alastor became chief executioner to the monarch of Hell. He was likened to Nemesis and the destroying angel and was known as The Executioner. He was exceptionally cruel. (from Wikipedia)

On Cornelius (Fudge): Cornelius (fem. Cornelia) was the nomen of the patrician gens Cornelia, one of the important families of Ancient Rome. (from Wikipedia)

Aragog: The name Aragog comes from aranea (a Latin word for spider) and Gog (a legendary giant). (from Wikipedia)

And probably many more!

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Old August 26th, 2007, 3:17 am
PrivetHedge  Male.gif PrivetHedge is offline
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology

Originally Posted by MinaMurray View Post
there's the Imperius curse. it means "absolute power".
in Roman Empire, the 2 more important magistrates could be given that power, for 1 year, if the city was threatened or considered as. They, if i well understood my lesson at the university, could do whatever they wanted, as long as they didn't break the Roman laws.

i'm sure there are loads of references, we just have to find them. ^____^
Brings to mind grade-school world history and the story of Cincinnatus, who was called from his fields, setting down his plow, to wield that power when the city was threatened and the two leaders in power were away.

I still remember the biography of some pro sports figure I read years later. The biographer displayed his own classical education. There was a minor point in the story, one of the long-time coaches of the team had been taken ill. A recently-retired player, noted for his physique (his nickname was 'King Kong'), was recruited from his family farm to fill the coach's position for the rest of the season. As the biographer put it, at the end of the season, 'that burly Cincinnatus returned to his fields...'

So, is Harry a scrawny Cincinnatus?

Or, was Snape a greasy Cincinnatus?

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Old February 18th, 2008, 11:27 pm
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Klio  Female.gif Klio is offline
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Well, a few things....

Most of what JKR is doing is based on the Latin language, the connections to Roman and Greek mythology are often more tenuous. As far as I am aware she did Classics and English at Exeter, by the way.... at least some people in the Classics department there still remember her (or they say so now anyway )

A bit further up someone brought up the connection between Regulus and baslisk. I think that this must be a coincidence.

'basiliskos' means 'little king' in Greek, and therefore the same as Regulus in Latin. but I am not sure that this was planned to be an actual connection (I don't think that JKR knows Greek).

The Attilius Regulus connection is an ingenious idea but i'd suggest that this might eb a bit far fetched. The Blacks are all called after stars, and Regulus is a star in the constellation Leo, and one of the brightest in the northern night sky. Not sure whether an author looking for star names would look beyond that and go hunting for an interesting but not very well known Roman consul (and a few other members of the same family with the same cognomen)!!

Finally, 'imperium' - now that connection seems pretty clear....
Since someone had a hazy memory of this just above....

'imperium' was initially the word for the power that a commander (of legions) had in the field. You lost the imperium as soon as you crossed the boundaries of Rome (and later Italy - hence 'crossing the Rubico' as a critical step). The imperium gave you very far reaching powers indeed - although there were restrictions (e.g. the treatment of Roman citizens).

Imperium also becomes the word for the areas controlled by the Romans of course, the Roman empire....

but the incantation for this curse is really rather fitting, isn't it?

There is one aspect of Greek mythology that has always amused me in the books, and that's Fluffy.

Hagrid says that he got the three headed dog from a 'Greek chap' in the pub (I was upset when the films turned this into an Irishman - it makes no sense).

This surely has to be Cerberus, the dog of the underworld or one of his descendents. I just love the idea that Hagrid found THAT a nice pet.

There is also the nice little about the music that sends Fluffy asleep - a reminder of Orpheus, the mythical musician who got past Cerberus with his music....

Great fun, that one It is particularly good because the only person apart from Orpheus who got past Cerberus alive (and actually brought him upo from the underworld) was Heracles. That gives some perspective to the achievement of the Trio


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Old August 27th, 2009, 10:29 am
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Tenshi  Undisclosed.gif Tenshi is offline
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

When they ended up in the Forbidden Forest, the centaurs said that "Mars is shining bright tonight". Mars is the Roman war god and it was a prophecy about a fight that followed. The fight for the Philosopher's Stone.

Mars one of the three biggest gods in Roman mythology, next to Jupiter and Quirinus.
Quirinus is the first name of Professor Quirrell, who was part of the above mentioned battle.


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Old February 27th, 2011, 11:52 pm
Remus_Romulus  Male.gif Remus_Romulus is offline
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

I always thought the three biggest gods in Roman mythology (like Greek) were Jupiter (Zeues), Neptune (Poseidon) and Pluto (Hades)

Remus: twin brother of Romulus and raised by Lupa the wolf (already mentioned). In addition, Remus and Romulus were the founders of Rome. However, the brothers disagreed with the location of the new city and quarreled. Romulus ended up killing his brother Remus, so Remus' name foreshadows his fate in Harry Potter. Also...I could be wrong on this next part, it's from memory...but Andromeda is a descendant of Hercules who is believed to be the father of Remus and Romulus. Remus' mother-in-law in Harry Potter is Andromeda Tonks.


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