Mythological Dictionary
Letter: O

Dictionary of Mythological Definitions and Terms.
Mythological | O




In mythology the world is a disc circled by a stream of water, the god Oceanus, who is the father of the Oceanids, i.e. all the lesser rivers, streams, brooks, and rills that flow over the earth. Today ocean can refer to the entire body of salt water or any of its major divisions covering the globe.
Category: Mythological
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Homer's Odyssey recounts the return of Odysseus to Ithaca, his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus. After ten years of war at Troy, Odysseus found the day of his return postponed for another ten years by the god Poseidon. On his extended travels he overcame many challenges before winnning his homecoming. An odyssey has come to mean a long, tortuous period of wandering, travel, and adventure, often in search of a quest, both literally and spiritually.
Category: Mythological
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Oedipus or oedipal complex.
King Laius of Thebes was given a prophecy that his wife, Jocasta, would bear a son who would kill his father and marry his mother. They did have a son whose name was Oedipus and when he grew up he killed his father and married his mother, despite all that was done to avert the prophecy and destiny. Sophocles' masterpiece, Oedipus the King, inspired Sigmund Freud to crystallize one of his major, defining ideas on the nature of the human psyche (q.v.) and infantile sexual development; the Oedipus Complex is the term he used to describe the natural progression of psycho-sexual development in which the child has libidinal feelings for a parent of the opposite sex and hostility for the parent of the same sex. The term oedipus complex refers to the male child. See Electra complex.
Category: Mythological
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Olympic Games
Olympic Games or olympian.
The Greek gods had their homes on the heights of Mt. Olympus in northern Greece, and so were called the Olympians. The term olympian carries with it notions of the new order ushered in by Zeus and his family and also distinguishes these gods in their sunlit heights from the chthonic ("of the earth") deities, who have associations with the gloom of the underworld. Therefore olympian means towering, awesome, and majestic, akin to the gods of Olympus. The adjective can also refer to one who competes in or has won a contest in the Olympic Games, but this designation is derived from the ancient Olympic games, celebrated at Olympia, which was a major sanctuary of Zeus in the Peloponnese.
Category: Mythological
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