Talk:Interpretatio graeca

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Before I delete a whole category, is there any cogent reason to keep the Roman Anglicization in the chart? Why not just have one Anglicized column with links to the deities? That way, users can see what the names of the deities are when they click on the article. As an analogy, we use "Natalie Portman" in articles, not "Natalie Hershlag". So why not just "Jupiter", and when they click on it, they'll be able to see "Jupiter (Lat. Iuppiter)" in the page. A similar problem exists with the Greek. Why is the Greek in Greek when it's not in other pages? Chris Weimer (talk) 14:20, 12 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Although there may be problems with the chart, its purpose seems to be to show how theonyms were either adopted (and Latinized, then Anglicized) or interpreted as the corresponding deity. That is, it doesn't show just correspondence, but also something about naming. Would you mind not making the deletion yet? I'll try to look at it soon, and have others who work regularly with the subject matter look too. I agree that what I see as the underlying use may not be articulated. There are some other problems with the article too. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:19, 12 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, please hold off for now. Cynwolfe's points are well made. I'll need a good chunk of reading-time before I can even begin to wrap my head around this - I've only a small corner on interpretatio romana as basis for judgment - but at first glance, I doubt that an Anglicised list format could accurately represent what might be going on in each case; I think investigation and elucidation are called for, rather than further simplification. Haploidavey (talk) 20:43, 13 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm quite sure we can lose the links between the Greek names here, and their articles on the Greek Wikipedia. Haploidavey (talk) 22:12, 13 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, I looked at this a bit, and it isn't going to be quick to sort out. I don't have the patience for it at the moment. I'd leave the chart for now (with Haploidavey's point taken), because there's nothing terribly misleading about it, and it does point toward the issue of naming that's usually central to interpretatio. The "Meaning" column is problematic because it doesn't give the same kinds of info for each deity. The article just needs to be reworked with a few good sources. Cynwolfe (talk) 01:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps someone could clarify and indicate the color coding (blue vs. pink) in the table. There may be a standard somewhere which is not readily apparent. (talk) 15:44, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seconded. I have no clue what the colors are supposed to represent. It makes me worried about the reliability of the chart as a resource, since my initial instinct is that red represents some sort of citation problem or possibly a lesser tier of "canonical-ness", but I have no apparent way of confirming whether or not that's the correct reading. What yellow represents, I have no clue. BrokenEye3 (talk) 23:03, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think I just just figured the colors out. Of the deities I recognize, it looks like all the blue cells are male and all the pink cells are female. If that's what the colors represent, it would follow that yellow cells are gods that exist outside of that binary in some fashion or other (though I don't recognize any of them, so I'd have to check the articles). BrokenEye3 (talk) 23:46, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mars & Ares[edit]

Why is it assumed that they are the same, of course they are both so-called gods of war. But if you put it this way, the only difference between Athena and Mars is the gender. I regret that I do not recall the title of the book where I've read that Mars traits are (very) different than those of Ares. Mars was to be a more heroic fighter, whereas Ares did not care how you achieved victory, only that victory was achieved. This also included very violent practices and perhaps dishonourable deeds. I will check on it later, but for now, can someone please tell me why Athena is not the equivalent. A source of Roman/Greek would do. In English. Mallerd 12:36, 27 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Athena is not the equivalent because the Romans did not associate her with Ares. The Romans co-opted and associated their gods and took Greek myths as their own. They associated Mars with Ares and Minerva with Athena. Maybe they were off, but it's too late to tell them that. Also, consider this: Roman attitudes of war were very different from Greek attitudes about war, particularly, pre-Alexander. What may be seen as a "just" and "unjust" war in the eyes of (certain) Greeks may have carried no such connotations with the Romans. Also it's important to note that some Greeks felt that war was "enough" for Ares; i.e. he didn't need or want the sacrifices given to other gods (animals, grains, etc); he wanted you to kill your enemy. But as you should know, views on deities changed over time, as did how you worshiped them. Views Greek and Roman religions were rather subjective. (talk) 18:17, 20 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interpretatio Graeca in Greek-ruled areas of India[edit]

I was wondering if anyone knows of any instances of Interpreatio graeca in the Graeco-Indian kingdoms. I know there was heavy Greek influence in Buddhist art in the area, but I wondering if there was any mingling with other polytheistic religions like Hinduism. (talk) 18:11, 20 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Citations for verification[edit]

This article is in desperate need of sources, and seems to express a limited understanding of the subject matter. -- (talk) 13:25, 15 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Egyptian gods[edit]

Böri (talk) 15:46, 27 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I forgot them! Böri (talk) 12:36, 9 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interpretatio christiana[edit]

I was wondering if Interpretatio christiana should be integrated in this article as well... a term which covers the tendency of Christians either to demonize pagan deities or, especially in Iceland, to use Pagan Germanic myths to illustrate Christian philosophy. Simek's dictionary of Norse mythology has an entry on this, and it is true that this Interpretatio christiana is relevant to Norse mythology studies.--Munin75 (talk) 15:12, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interpretatio christiana is the subject of various scholarly studies, independent of those on Interpretatio Graeaca or Romana. Better, I think, that it has its own article; if you can find more sources than Simek alone (and they're certainly out there), perhaps you'd like to start such an article? On the following, I'd probably say "this looks interesting", if 1) I had access, and 2) my French was up to reading it: Interpretatio christiana. Les mutations des savoirs (cosmographie, géographie, ethnographie, histoire) dans l'antiquité chrétienne (30–630 après J.-C.). By Hervé Inglebert. (Collection des Études Augustiniennes. Série Antiquité, 166.) Pp. 632. Paris: Institut d'Études Augustiniennes, 2001. Haploidavey (talk) 15:25, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This does sound interesting. Because it was applied to religions outside the Greco-Roman world per se, I'm inclined to agree with Davey. I see it ideally as a separate article (this one's already a bit confusing), with maybe a concise summary section here directing readers to the main article. If you start such an article, could you leave a note on my talk page? Cynwolfe (talk) 16:18, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why was Proto-Indo-European religion removed from the "see also" section?[edit]

I noticed that a link to Proto-Indo-European religion was removed from this article, despite being relevant to this article's topic. Why was this link removed?

I think because it's mentioned and linked in the body text, per WP:SEEALSO. However, IMHO we should not strictly exclude linked articles under their proper title from "See also" if the the link is piped in the body. So if you'd like to add it, I for one wouldn't object. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:41, 1 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Carthaginian gods[edit]

Interpretatio romana:

Michael! (talk) 20:43, 10 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Those are good, and should be incorporated into the article somehow, perhaps with a paragraph under interpretatio romana. I'm not keen on the table and have been trying to work on a newer one that incorporates Egyptian and other deities, but it isn't coming together for me. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:01, 10 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Further remarks[edit]

Well, I'm not keen on the table either, but I don't think it's a good idea to incorporate more than two "mythologies" into a single table. Take for example the Egyptian war goddess Neith. In ancient (pre-Greek) Egypt, she was the equivalent of Phoenician Astarte. Astarte was equated to Greek Aphrodite (sometimes to Artemis), but the Greeks equated Neith to Athena. To make things even more complicated, Neith seems to be the same goddess as Carthaginian Tanit, which was equated to Roman Juno (thus Greek Hera). It'll be rather difficult to include all of these interpretationes in one table. Michael! (talk) 13:15, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By the way, Egyptian mythology is especially messy, since any two Egyptian gods could (and often were) merged into a new Egyptian god (syncretism: Amun and Ra => Amun-Ra, which were three different gods, or Apis and Osiris => Serapis), gods could be equated (Hathor contained almost all aspects of goddess and most Egyptian goddesses were at least once identified with her), gods could change into other gods under certain circumstances (like Bastet-Sekhmet), and certain aspects of a god could also be deified (hypostasis: e.g. Eye of Ra, which could be literally the eye of the sun god Ra, but also a female counterpart of the sun, a goddess (Hathor, but also other important Egyptian goddesses like Bastet, Sekhmet, Wadjet, Mut or Neith), but the Eye of Ra could also be the same as the Eye of Horus). Furthermore, the living, ruling pharaoh was always (an incarnation of) the god Horus himself and his predecessor, the previous pharaoh, was his dead father Osiris. Michael! (talk) 13:44, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be a good idea to create two subsections, one for interpretatio graeca and one for interpretatio romana. Under IR, there could then be several subsubsections, e.g. for Carthaginian, Celtic (or Gaulish or Gallic?), and Germanic gods. Under IG there could be subsubsections not only for Egyptian, but also for Phoenician and Scythian gods (didn't Herodotus provided Greek equivalents for those? Please check!). Michael! (talk) 17:50, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, something should be done in this. The article title is an odd one, given how much space is spent on romana versus graeca. It's also odd to follow a link to the former and arrive at the latter. Perhaps the page could be renamed? - Eponymous-Archon (talk) 09:48, 29 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interpretatio germanica[edit]

I didn't contribute the content of this section, but at one point I seem to recall editing it because it originally sounded like there was a genuine equivalence between particular Germanic deities and Roman deities, in the way that there is among Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and later Gaulish deities (that is, direct influence and assimilation in the development of cult and myth in historical times, rather than some theoretical reconstruction). It seemed to me that the source was making a much more limited claim that in the adoption of Roman calendar practices in Europe, days that had been named for certain Roman deities were adapted as under the patronage of Germanic deities that were interpreted as functionally appropriate substitutions. There had been (again, if I'm recalling correctly) a lot of synth expanding on the source's more limited point. Overall, that point seems to be that there is some evidence that the interpretatio methodology occurred within Germanic culture as it had in the four above, but that it's quite thin by comparison. The names of the days of the week are one of the most secure pieces. I don't see the sentence as misleadingly worded; it simply provides a little context for understanding that the days of the week are named after deities. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:19, 6 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Common Era vs Christian Era[edit]

Christian Era is not an Era. The Christian Era Dating System refers to the usage of 'Before Christ' and 'Anno Domini', as time markers. When using BCE and CE, it is Before Common Era and Common Era. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:23, 8 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The abbreviations "BC" and "AD" are used in this article to designate eras, thus "common era", rather than "Christian era" is inconsistent with that. "Common era" is really just the Christian era with some window dressing to make it less religio-centric, at the cost of being un-historical and, I think, potentially more confusing than BCE/CE, especially when not linked. Since the section is on the adaption of pagan Roman tropes by the Germans, designating it as "Christian era" may seem out of place, although when the fact that pagan Rome soon led to Christianity as we know is considered, not so much so. In any case, the current style of the article shouldn't be changed without consensus, and if changed, should be done consistently. Dhtwiki (talk) 19:02, 8 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But "Christian Era" isn't an era. Therefore, that style of article isn't out of place, it is wrong. There is Before Christ and Anno Domini, and there is Before Common Era and Common Era. This isn't about something out of place, this is about something that doesn't exist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:03, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Splitting the Chart[edit]

Earlier in this discussion the possibility of splitting the chart was thrown about, due to the fact that the Greek equivalents matched with the Roman equivalents matched with the Egyptian equivalents might not always add up. Now there is a comparison of Phoenician deities as well. Perhaps we should split the chart into Greek/Roman/Etrustcan, and then GrecoRoman and Egyptian, and GrecoRoman and Phoenician. Any ideas? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fabianzzz (talkcontribs) 18:49, 11 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jehovah an Jupiter[edit]

I think there things to be said about how the association with Jupiter and Zeus further influenced the depiction of the abrahamic god, particularly in Renaissance art, and modern pop-culture.--Nngnna (talk) 10:06, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Citations for Hindu and Parthian Deities[edit]

I'm concerned that there seem to be no citations for the Hindu and Parthian deities in the chart. Many of the associations are themselves intuitive to a modern reader, but I wonder if there is an ancient source which clarifies that these associations were in fact made in Gandhara/Bactria? JackKausch (talk) 15:53, 24 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Equivalence Table[edit]

Is frankly sketchy. There are deities connected which I doubt ever were connected in the Greco-Roman mind.

First, there are some connections that are either undoubted or proven, such as Zeus-Jupiter, Athena-Minerva -- basically all of the Roman, Greek & Etruscan matchings. But from there it gets less plausible. While Roman writers frequently listed Celtic & Germanic by the Roman names more familiar to them & their audience, I'd feel more comfortable if the equivalents were sourced: either by the Classical writers who made the connections (e.g. Julius Caesar, Pliny, Tacitus), or by a modern expert. (In some cases, I'd prefer citing the Classical writer directly, especially if it seems to have been that ancient's opinion. YMMV.)

After the Celtic & Germanic names, the matchings feel like original research, or some individual's own opinion. One problem is that not all mythologies were homologated into the Greco-Roman pantheon: in the case of the Egyptians, while Thoth was equated with Mercury/Hermes (leading to the mythological personage Hermes Trismegistus), the rest of the Egyptian pantheon was just too foreign for the Greeks & Romans, & they were content to refer to these alien gods by the original Egyptian names. Some mythologies never had Greek or Roman names added to their deities, such as the Carthaginian. (Well, if these deities were identified with the more familiar Classical ones, I don't remember encountering these identifications.) And some are ... just implausible. The Sumerian deities were forgotten long before the heyday Greco-Roman times; I'd like a reliable source to confirm that Parthian & Hindu gods were even known to the Greeks & Romans; & identification with Norse gods is practically laughable! (Well, maybe some Medieval monk or other learned man made the identification in a manuscript as an antiquarian exercise -- in which case, I want to see a reliable source for this.)

In short, there's a lot of unsupported relationships that seem to be more the product of an undisciplined imagination than any scholar, either ancient or modern. -- llywrch (talk) 23:01, 20 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes indeed. This table is introduced as specifically and only those whom the Greeks or Romans identified with their own in interpretatio graeca, and should not be an endless attempt to find cross-cultural correspondences across millennia. The lack of referencing gives editors licence to keep adding and tweaking according to their own perceptions. One column, Sumerian does have references but they've been incompletely pasted in from other articles where they support very different claims.
  • for Adonis, Dumuzid[1][2][3]. No full sources given, not work, full author's name, publisher - nothing. The references have been pasted in as they appear at Dumuzid, which has "The myth of Inanna and Dumuzid later became the basis for the Greek myth of Aphrodite and Adonis.[1][2][3]" - ie no claim of Greek knowledge of this basis, or even of actual equivalence.
  • for Aphrodite, Inanna[4][5][6][7]. Again, no full sources given, pasted in from Inanna, "where she either gave rise to or heavily influenced the Greek goddess Aphrodite.[4][5][6][7]" - no claim of Greek knowledge, though much about similarities.
  • for Athena, also Inanna[8][9]. No full sources, pasted in from Inanna as it was then "Classical scholar Charles Penglase has written that Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and defensive warfare, resembles Inanna's role as a "terrifying warrior goddess".[8] Others have noted that the birth of Athena from the head of her father Zeus could be derived from Inanna's descent into and return from the Underworld.[9][10]" No claim of Greek knowledge, only "resembles" and "could be derived".
It's the same with the other Sumerian claims added in one edit in 2020, a particularly horrifying case of trying to enhance the encyclopedia by creating and filling in parameters that should never have existed, let alone should have been empty. At least it serves as an awful warning against arguing A is B and B is C, therefore A is C; if Aphrodite = Inanna and Inanna = Athena, plainly Aphrodite = Athena.
I've left the column in place for the sake of this discussion, otherwise I'd have deleted it as soon as I saw what it was based on. Other columns you mention as implausible – Parthian, Hindu and Norse – are completely unsourced and yes, it's absurd to claim Greeks or Romans had knowledge of Norse religion, while Greek accounts of India have been frustrating scholars for years with their failure to mention which Hindu gods they're calling by Greek names. Complete column deletions would be reasonable, beneficial and within policy.NebY (talk) 18:54, 24 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Glad to see one vote for this, but I'm waiting a few more days before performing a wholesale deletion of these columns to give a few more a chance to comment. Just so no one thinks we're rushing this. -- llywrch (talk) 19:51, 24 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This page abounds with OR, and heavy-handed deletions are sorely needed. I would support simply removing the far-fetched columns as a first step. – Michael Aurel (talk) 20:05, 24 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As DuncanHill had made a start on repairing the copy-pasted references that don't support the Sumerian inclusions even when repaired (as above), I've gone ahead and deleted the column so as not to waste any more of their time and hard work. NebY (talk) 17:20, 31 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ a b West 1997, p. 57.
  2. ^ a b Kerényi 1951, p. 67.
  3. ^ a b Cyrino 2010, p. 97.
  4. ^ a b Breitenberger 2007, pp. 8–12. Cite error: The named reference "FOOTNOTEBreitenberger20078–12" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b Cyrino 2010, pp. 49–52. Cite error: The named reference "FOOTNOTECyrino201049–52" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ a b Puhvel 1987, p. 27. Cite error: The named reference "FOOTNOTEPuhvel198727" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b Marcovich 1996, pp. 43–59. Cite error: The named reference "FOOTNOTEMarcovich199643–59" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  8. ^ a b Penglase 1994, p. 235.
  9. ^ a b Deacy 2008, pp. 20–21, 41.
  10. ^ Penglase 1994, pp. 233–325.