Greek Mythology and American Geography

Greek Mythology has been responsible for the naming of many American towns. Gods and goddesses and Greek heroes are everywhere.

There’s an Achille, Oklahoma, and a town called Achilles in Virginia. Achilles was, of course, a Trojan War hero, a noted warrior, and a star of Homer’s Iliad. Both towns are very small.

There’s a very small town in Missouri named Amazonia. It has been incorporated into the city of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is where Jesse James once lived and is also home to the Glore Psychiatric Museum that is far more interesting than it sounds. An Amazon in the Greece of old was a female warrior who lived on the edge of the known world. Today it’s also the name of a major corporation that delivers almost everything. St Joseph is not too far from Helena, MO. There are a few Helenas around. Several were named for Helen of Troy.

There’s a town named Apollo in Pennsylvania and an Apollo Beach, FL in the Tampa area. The Greek Apollo was a god who loved sun and light. He was the god of prophecy and healing. Reportedly, 21,000 Floridians live in Apollo Beach.

There’s a Cassandra, PA. Cassandra was a mythological woman who was abducted by Ajax. She was a Trojan priestess.

There’s a town named Calypso in North Carolina. Calypso in Greek mythology was the daughter of Atlas. She entertained Odysseus for 7 years but could not overcome his longing for home and Penelope.

There are towns named Clio in at least 7 states. Clio was one of the 9 muses and the Greek goddess of music. There’s a town called Muse in Pennsylvania, but it was named for a coal shipper whose first name was Charles not a female Greek goddess.

There’s a large town of 26,000 people named Daphne across the bay from Mobile, Alabama. Daphne was the daughter of a river god who turned into a laurel tree. This town is often called Jubilee City.

There are towns named Eros in Louisiana and its neighbor Alabama. Eros was the god of love, and he was often depicted like a naked angel with a bow and arrow.

There’s a very tiny town in Washington State named Hades Creek. It is too small to appear on most maps. Hades, called Pluto in Rome, was the god of the underworld and Zeus’ brother.

There’s a Hercules, CA, but the town is more about dynamite than a hero who was Jupiter’s son. Jupiter was the Roman name given to Zeus. Hercules was known for his great strength and many adventures. His Greek name was actually Heracles, and he was the son of Zeus and a divine hero in his own right.

Hesperia is a city of 94,000 in California and the southern terminus of Highway 395 in the Mojave Desert. Hesperia was the goddess of the evening star.

There’s an important town in Alaska named Homer, but it was named for a con man with the surname Pennock and not for the supposed blind Greek writer of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

There’s a town named Medusa in New York State near Albany, its capital. Also called Gorgo, she was one of the 3 Gorgons who had snakes instead of hair. New York City will soon have a 7-feet statue of her called “Medusa With the Head of Perseus”. She will be imposingly naked like Eros.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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