Epithets in Classical Myth & Literature

by Erin on March 13, 2012

First of all, let’s define what an epithet is in Classical mythology. It is basically a surname, or as I like to think of it, a poetic nickname. Epithets often reveal a role, characteristic, or even a nuance of a particular god or goddess.

Some of my favorite epithets follow:

Anadyomene – One of the many names of Aphrodite. I’ve seen the word defined as “she who emerges”.

Caelestis – This word means celestial. It appears as an epithet in conjunction primarily with the goddesses Juno, Aphrodite, and Diana.

GlaukopisAthena sports this poetic nickname in Homer’s Odyssey. It means “grey-eyed” or “bright-eyed”.

Natalis - A name applied to the Roman goddess Juno. It was given to women on their birthdays.

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