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Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History



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  #1  
Old February 18th, 2007, 1:53 am
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Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

There are some things that I detected, where JKR (probably) pulled from the Roman Mythology.

1. Minerva McGonagall
Minerva is the Roman Goddess for wisdom and crafts (and resembles Athene in the Greek Mythology).

2. Luna Lovegood
Luna is the Roman Moon Goddess.

3. Mors Morde
Mors is the personification of Death in the Roman Mythology. Furthermore is "mors" the Latin word for Death.

4. Nox
The Goddess of Night is Nox and furthermore the mother of the above mentioned Mors.

5. Veritaserum
Veritas is the Goddess of truth.

Do you think there are more things in the books related to the Roman Mythology? I am pretty sure there are.


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  #2  
Old February 18th, 2007, 11:26 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology

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. ^____^


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Old February 19th, 2007, 9:32 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Great catch. I changed the thread title abit so that we can bring in references to the Roman history as well.

Thanks to Hes for pointing this out.

Tiberius (Odgen):
Tiberius Caesar Augustus was the second Roman Emperor and a great general. After the death of his son he exiled himslef and left the administation to incompetent person.

Interesting to see that the Tiberius Odgen was in a high position himself (Wizengamot elder) who resigned himself after a happening in OotP.

Severus Snape:
Flavius Valerius Severusis nother Roman Emperor and junior partner to Contantius Chlorus. Chlorus is named "The Pale" and is the son of a noble man and the niece of two Emperors.

Now this is far fetched, but Voldemort is described as pale and the son of a noble man (Riddle) and Merope who comes from a family with history.


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Old February 19th, 2007, 9:37 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Lucius Malfoy has a Roman first name.

HP Lexicon 'Lucius'=common first name among Roman nobility; possible reference to Lucifer. Lucius was the name of a Roman emperor who fought against King Arthur in legend. Interesting, considering that Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley are bitter enemies and have even come to blows. It is also interesting that King Arthur killed Emperor Lucius with a blow to the head with Excalibur. In the scuffle in Flourish and Blotts, Arthur knocked Lucius into a bookshelf and Lucius was hit in the head by an Encyclopedia of Toadstools (cf: Le Morte d'Arthur V : VIII).


Next to what TENSHI says about Severus Snape:

HP lexicon Possible allusion to the Roman Emperor, Lucius Septimius Severus, who reconstructed Hadrian’s wall and defeated Clodinus Albinus and Pescennius Niger. There are also several saints with the name 'Severus.'


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Old February 20th, 2007, 8:06 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

there were loads of emperors and other important guys called Severus and Lucius! i wouldn't try to see if one of them fit the HP characters.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 3:21 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaMurray View Post
there were loads of emperors and other important guys called Severus and Lucius! i wouldn't try to see if one of them fit the HP characters.
Now to find connections to the HP books, that is the funny part here.

For example what Hes posted above.

HP lexiconPossible allusion to the Roman Emperor, Lucius Septimius Severus, who reconstructed Hadrian’s wall and defeated Clodinus Albinus and Pescennius Niger. There are also several saints with the name 'Severus.'


Lucius Septimus Severus defeated Clodinus Albinus.
Albinus totally sounds like Albino and Albinos are white. Albus means white.


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Old February 20th, 2007, 6:50 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

ahh! i didn't remarked the other was named Albinus!!


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Old February 20th, 2007, 7:54 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaMurray View Post
there's the Imperius curse. it means "absolute power".
in Roman Empire, a prefect who had been given the Imperium could do whatever he wanted in the province where he was in duty.

i'm sure there are loads of references, we just have to find them. ^____^
That's a great observation - I agree entirely. Good call.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaMurray View Post
there were loads of emperors and other important guys called Severus and Lucius! i wouldn't try to see if one of them fit the HP characters.
Yeah, the Romans didn't have a lot of variety in names. Lucius was definately popular. They had about 12 staple names that everyone used.

In the case of Lucius I tend to favour the Arthurian reference - because the Weasley family seems to be based off of names from it as it is. And the Lucius/Arthur rivalry fits so well.


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Old February 22nd, 2007, 6:31 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Quote:
Originally Posted by owlpostgirl View Post
That's a great observation - I agree entirely. Good call.
i've edited my definition wich was wrong (the 2 more important magistrates could have it)

Quote:
Yeah, the Romans didn't have a lot of variety in names. Lucius was definately popular. They had about 12 staple names that everyone used.
the Romans had a name, a familly name, and a nickname. for example: the entire name of the famous Cicero was: Marcus Tullius Cicero (Cicero means chickpea! )


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Old February 24th, 2007, 1:49 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Many of these are simply because they are Latin words and Roman gods and goddesses were Latin. Except for Minerva and possibly Luna (I thought the Roman name of the goddess of the moon was Diana?)


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Old February 24th, 2007, 3:33 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Diana was the goddess of the hunt and of the moon. Luna is just a Latin word for moon. And you are right, many of these connections are due to the use of Latin words in names, spells and potions rather than to mythology.


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Old March 9th, 2007, 1:16 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Hey!
I was flipping through our school's mythology book and found the name "Pomona" in there. As it's Professor Sprout's first name, I did a little research and here's what I found:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki
In Roman mythology, Pomona was the goddess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards. She scorned the love of Silvanus and Picus but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman. Her high priest was called the flamen Pomonalis. The pruning knife was her attribute. She is a uniquely Roman goddess, and was particularly associated with the blossoming of trees versus the harvest.

Pomona is usually associated with abundance. In 19th century statues and building decorations she is usually shown carrying either a large platter of fruit or a cornucopia.
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.rainewalker.com/Pomona.htm
Pomona was the uniquely Roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards, and her festival, which she shared with her husband Vertumnus, was always on August 13th. Pomona watches over and protects fruit trees and cares for their cultivation, and Her name is from the Latin pomum, fruit. "Pomme" is the French word for "apple".
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/pomona.html
Pomona is the Roman goddess of fruiting trees and orchards. She watches over and protects fruit trees and cares for their cultivation, and in fact Her name is from the Latin pomum, fruit. She is an expert in pruning and grafting, and was so absorbed in this labor of love that She turned away many suitors, including Priapos and Silenos, who was part of the entourage of Dionysos. But Vertumnus, the God of gardens and orchards, persisted, and finally won Her by appearing to Her in His own true beauty.


There is a lot of mention of Pomona having a husband. Could Professor Sprout have one too?


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Old March 9th, 2007, 1:50 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Wasn't JKR a latin teacher or something like that? I think it adds a very nice touch to make the spells with latin or other ancient influences, as well as the names.
Ignisia, I love the Pomona reference That's certainly no coincidence

Well, another famous one is the Remus reference
wiki Romulus and RemusRomulus and Remus were kept safe by the river deity Tiberinus, who made the cradle catch in the roots of a fig tree growing in the Velabrum swamp, which therefore has a high symbolic significance. He then brought the infant twins up onto the Palatine Hill. There, they were nursed by a wolf, Lupa in Latin, aa designation also used for female prostitutes and for priestesses of a wolf goddess, leading to an alternative theory that the "wolf" was human. They were nurtured underneath a fig-tree and were fed by a woodpecker.
Link

I also found that besides of being a star in the Orion constallation, Bellatrix is the latin word for Amazon who were a group of female warriors in greek mythology.
I find it difficult to make a sharp difference between greek and roman myth, given that the romains basically copied the greeks


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  #14  
Old March 13th, 2007, 12:54 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Yes, the roman and greek mythology are close linked to eachother.

Inferi

is the name given by the Romans to the Netherworld and the gods of it.

So while in HP the Inferi are creatures itself in the Roman mythology it describes a whole world.


Other rather funny thing:
Regulus is the latin word for the Basilisk.

When this is no big hint.


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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:07 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Quote:
Originally Posted by TENSHI View Post

Other rather funny thing:
Regulus is the latin word for the Basilisk.

When this is no big hint.
That's scary... what could it mean?

If Regulus had been of Voldemorts age it could have been that Voldemort had turned him in into the Basilisk and put him in the Chamber of Secrets... sadly that's not possible...


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Old March 15th, 2007, 3:06 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Well, actually, IIRC the basilisk had been there since Salazar Slytherin's time. Reg probably isn't that old. (and how old does that make his older brother Sirius!?)

The basilisk is called the king of serpents because its crest is crown-shaped. Since Regulus means "little king", maybe that has something to do with it.


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Last edited by ignisia; March 15th, 2007 at 3:09 pm.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 9:53 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

I hope this hasn't been posted yet, but Luna blew up Pluto in the Department of Mysteries. Pluto is also known as hades, the god of death. By destroying 'death' I beleive the 'death' of Sirius is not permanante, or at least will talk to Harry again.


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Old March 16th, 2007, 10:54 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

Interesting point....And not just Sirius, I'll bet. There seems to be a lot of evidence for the veil's reappearance, so perhaps Harry will see all those he's lost once again.

I don't see the connection to Luna, but destroying death seems to be Voldemort's ultimate goal (at least for himself).

Death has never been popular. If he was at all like his Greek counterpart, Hades, Pluto was known as the sterner and more unyielding of Gods, since he symbolised death itself. And we all know death stops for no one.


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  #19  
Old March 19th, 2007, 2:55 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

JKR degree is in classics so i think it's quite safe to assume that this references to mithology and Roman history can be taken as clues.

You're right in saying that Regulus means "little king" but I believe the name hasn't been chosen because of his mening but because it was the name of a very famous character of Roman history: Marcus Attilius Regulus he led Rome's army in several battles against Cartago (I didn't know the english name, so I used the latin one),and won the majority of them. Unfortunately for him he lost a big one somewhere in southern Italy, and he and his army were taken as prisoners. As a prisoner he was sent to Rome to negotiate peace, wich, of course, had to be set according to cartago's conditions because af the high number of prisoners that were in the enemy's hands: his mission was to persuade the romans to surrender, something wich was very likely to happen anyway: the roman were discourahged, half the army was in cartago's hands.
When he got to Rome, however, he didn't did what he was supposed to do: he didn't make the slightest effort to persuade Rome to surrender, on the contrary he persuaded them that they had to keep on fighting, putting every effort in the battle.
Then , as he had promised he went back to the enemies: he was conscious he had betrayed them but he didn't run for his life leaving his soldiers to face Cartago's anger alone. He went back, and was tortured and killed for his betrayal. Rome however gained new courage and finally won the war.

Pretty sinificant, in my opinion...


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Old March 22nd, 2007, 8:28 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the Roman Mythology and History

fragolacannella, I think, may have nailed it.

I'm familiar with this story as well. It was a favorite of the Romans, so there's a good chance JKR would know about it. It isn't obscure.

And I think there's definately a parallel in the Roman Regulus's knowledge that he was making a choice that would lead to torture and death, and the fact that he did it anyway. Regulus Black likewise knew he was going to be dead soon when he wrote that note to LV (assuming he's RAB).

fragolacannella summed it really well, but for fun here's some Roman sources I hunted down. The first is from Cicero, on the subject of expediency. The second is a snippet from an ode by Horace.
Cicero, De Officiis, III.xxviMarcus Atilius Regulus in his second consulship was taken prisoner in Africa by the stratagem of Xanthippus, a Spartan general serving under the command of Hannibal's father Hamilcar. He was sent to the senate on parole, sworn to return to Carthage himself, if certain noble prisoners of war were not restored to the Carthaginians. When he came to Rome, he could not fail to see the specious appearance of expediency, but he decided that it was unreal, as the outcome proves. His apparent interest was to remain in his own country, to stay at home with his wife and children, and to retain his rank and dignity as an ex-consul, regarding the defeat which he had suffered as a misfortune that might come to anyone in the game of war. Who says that this was not expedient? Who, think you? Greatness of soul and courage say that it was not.

....What, then, did he do? He came into the senate and stated his mission; but he refused to give his own vote on the question; for, he held, he was not a member of the senate so long as he was bound by the oath sworn to his enemies. And more than that, he said — "What a foolish fellow," someone will say, "to oppose his own best interests" he said that it was not expedient that the prisoners should be returned; for they were young men and gallant officers, while he was already bowed with age. And when his counsel prevailed, the prisoners were retained and he himself returned to Carthage; affection for his country and his family failed to hold him back. And even then he was not ignorant of the fact that he was going to a most cruel enemy and to exquisite torture, aged prisoner of war, a man of consular rank forsworn.
Horace, Ode 3.5...His wife's pure kiss he waved aside,
And prattling boys, as one disgraced,
They tell us, and with manly pride
Stern on the ground his visage placed.
With counsel thus ne'er else aread
He nerved the fathers' weak intent,
And, girt by friends that mourn'd him, sped
Into illustrious banishment.
Well witting what the torturer's art
Design'd him, with like unconcern
The press of kin he push'd apart
And crowds encumbering his return,
As though, some tedious business o'er
Of clients' court, his journey lay
Towards Venafrum's grassy floor,
Or Sparta-built Tarentum's bay.


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