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Today almost all of of the gods are mostly referred by their Greek names, with Hercules and Cupid being two notable exceptions.

Is there any reason why we mostly use Hercules and Cupid, instead of Heracles and Eros respectively?

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  • Only a small minority of gods are called by Greek names. Mostly the Greek ones.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 28, 2023 at 21:58
  • When talking about Greek gods, why would they not use their Greek names? Also, Heracles (or Herakles) and Eros is also pretty common. I don't think the premise is correct.
    – cmw
    Dec 31, 2023 at 21:47
  • Ulysses is also probably as popular as Odysseus. Jan 3 at 14:11
  • What's the Greek name of Wotan, and why would anyone refer to Wotan by a Greek name? Could you edit to clarify more exactly what you mean?
    – elemtilas
    Apr 5 at 4:17

1 Answer 1

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First of all, they were named differently in Greece and Rome. Also, there were different names for different aspects of Gods, in the modern sense in non-academic sources people either use it losely, or take an easy path, but the precision is preserved in academic books and treatises and journals:

Hekate could be Hekate-Artemis, Hekate-Epigurgidia, Hekate-Eileuthyja etc. Apart from that, the geographical zone mattered, Thracian Zeus Sabazios was not the same as Zeus Dolichoneus, or Zeus Hypsistos (Hellenic-Jewish version of Zeus).

There is also a notion of syncretism here, for example Anubis + Hermes = Hermanubis as in bionic statues, for example. Citing Emperor Julian "mythology is for toothing children, wisdom to comprehend powers and forces is philosophy".

As long as you agree with the axiom that ontologically, the forces and powers, ideas cast upon the world are real, everything is splendid and intelligible, then comes the geometry, mathematics, architecure, music, science, philosophy, astronomy, government - all supported by theological greatness of ancients.

Mythology is great, inspiring and fun but it is more of "tale about human play of Gods", theology is the "word about the Gods", therefore Graeco-Roman theology which to my great woe is not taught in schools is the key to understand the mythology. Someone voted it down, no idea why, it's an excellent question at its core. Good luck and thank you.

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