Is it possible, in English, to refer to a Greek God by its Roman name (eg. Jupiter), as opposed to its Greek name (e.g. Zeus). Or is Jupiter just a name of a planet? In Italy, people are taught this distinction, given that the names were copied, but the mythological stories for Rome are somewhat different than the ones for Athens. How would I make this distinction in English, when referring to these Gods/gods (whether I am referring to the Roman one or to the Greek one)? Is it at all possible?

NOTE: I know there is a manga cartoon called Sailor Moon, which hosts characters such as Sailor Jupiter, but I'm not quite sure that covers the trick.

There is also a mythology SE, but I felt this post was was-specific enough to the English language to post it here.


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    Not a qualified answer, but in short, I would use Greek names for Greek gods and Roman names for the Roman "derivation". For finer points, e.g. describing how the mythology shifted, you'd need an explicit explanation anyway. If your listener has never heard of "Jupiter" as deity, you won't be able to solve this by calling him "Zeus". – Stephie Oct 19 '16 at 5:58

Unfortunately it's less a question of English language, and more to do with who has been educated in the classics and who hasn't. I can't guarantee that most English speakers will even recognize Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, etc. as anything other than the names of planets, much less know that the Romans borrowed them from the original Greek gods Zeus, Cronus, Ares, etc.

So first, you'd want to know your audience, and whether they ought to know the difference. After that, yes, we would know that, for example, Venus is Roman and Aphrodite is Greek. You could use either, depending on the context.

It might help if your audience grew up watching "Hercules" and "Xena Warrior Princess", since many of the gods showed up as (or at least were mentioned by) their Greek names. While they weren't always accurate -- Hercules is, of course, Roman, not Greek -- it might have been enough to get fans to search the Internet and read up on their classical mythology.

(Of course the history that was the background for either series was a complete joke. But that's outside the scope of this forum.)

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