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We say an A400M Atlas airplane flying the other day, and my colleague said "It's so slow". I told him "It's Atlas, not <fastestMythicalCharacter>!".

I ended up using the modern superhero Flash, but I would really like to use a character from Hellenic Mythology...Any ideas?

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    Maybe I'll go for Hermes as the emissary and messenger of gods, he is supposed to be real quick. I don't know if he really is the quickest tho – Calaom Jan 17 at 14:17
  • I wasn't thinking of the twelve Gods, I was focusing more on less devine characters @Calaom, but yes, definitely Hermes, with his flying sandals would be a superb candidate. Since we cannot really enjoy their speed in the Olympic games, I think that an answer of yours with Hermes will be great! – gsamaras Jan 17 at 14:23
  • There you have my answer but I think we can still find some fairly quick characters – Calaom Jan 17 at 15:08
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The first that comes in mind is

Hermes

As the emissary and messenger of the gods, he sure has this position because of his unprecedented speed, as his theoi page lists, his attributes contained winged boots that are of course associated with speed. One of his sacred animals is the hare, well known for its speed.

Actually, even some mere mortal could outrun him, could discover this story thanks to @Tom:

Apemosyme

Hermes developed a passion about her but could not get to her as she was swifter than the messenger god. He even had to trick her into a trap to rape her. The poor soul ended being killed by her very own brother that could not believe the way she became pregnant (source Theoi.com):

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 14 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) : "[Althaimenes grandson of Minos] left Krete with his sister Apemosyne and went to a certain place on Rhodes . . . Not long after that he became the murderer of his sister. For Hermes developed a passion for Apemosyne; proving unable to catch her as she ran from him (she was swifter of foot than Hermes!), he strewed some newly stripped hides along the road, on which she slipped as she was returning from the spring. He then raped her. When she disclosed to her brother what had happened, Althaimenes took her story about the god to be an excuse, and killed her with a kick of his foot."

While talking about messenger of Gods, we can talk about the ones that had this job during the Titanomachy:

Iris and Arke

Iris was the messenger of the Olympian gods during this period.

And her twin, Arke chose to support the other side, the titans, in this conflict. Thanks @Spencer for bringing theses two deities up!

Another good competitor would be

Helios

The sun titan-god that dedicates each day driving his chariot across the sky. But its speed depends on his horses then.

Another Mythologic one but not a god

Ajax

Who is said to fight a whole army alone while the front line is on many different warships, which means he can leap from boat to boat as a dazzling speed. In his characteristics we can find swift

And if you want one historical but still epic if not mythic guy, you can count on

Pheidippides

Who was a simple herald who ran from Marathon to announce their victory over Persia to Athenians. He died heroically right after the announcement (Adrenalin, you'll say). This story later inspired the Marathon sport discipline.

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    Helios is also a great candidate! Pheidippides is the one that inspired the Marathon run, which is mostly based on stamina, rather than speed. However, I can imagine him going at full speed, yet if I would use it in my phrase in question, people would probably think about the stamina-based sport. I think, I would choose Hermes, since an airplane inspired this question in the first place! – gsamaras Jan 17 at 15:13
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    If you're going to prooose hermes, tou'll also have to mention Iris. – Spencer Jan 26 at 1:24
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    Hermes fell in love with Apemosyne, but Apemosyne fled from him. Hermes could not catch her, because she ran faster than him. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apemosyne – Tom Feb 19 at 8:58
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    @Tom I could not believe that a mortal woman would outrun one of the messenger gods, but you prove me wrong! Sad that she couldn't run from the wrath of her brother though, because from her womb could have come an even greater sprinter (that could have also avenge her from his father) – Calaom Feb 20 at 8:48
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    @Calaom I happened on it while i was researching my own question, you immediately came to mind , happy to help! – Tom Feb 20 at 9:21
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Achilles

One of Achilles' standing epithets in the Iliad is "swift-footed". The story also shows that he is indeed fast when he chases down and kills Hector.

Later during antiquity Zeno of Elea used him in a famous paradox, in which he was to compete against a tortoise, similar to how we today usually pit hare and tortoise against each other.

  • Yes! Achilles was indeed blazing fast, but I have Achilles in my mind as an actual human being, which his fame produced this mythological veil surrounding him, but still, a superb candidate. – gsamaras Jan 18 at 7:19
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I agree with Caloam, that Hermes was surely the swiftest. But let us never forget:

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    Not such of a famous candidate, but certainly a good one! However, what surprised me is that sentence (off-topic): "The belief at the time was that lions could not mate with their own species, only with leopards"! :O – gsamaras Jan 25 at 21:59
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    They had a lot of interesting beliefs! (I disagree that she is not famous though--the story of her footrace is incredibly well known.) – DukeZhou Jan 25 at 22:05

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