Achilles Recommends This Restaurant

One thing I noticed while we were in Greece were the names the young people gave us. There was a man named Achilles whose job was to stand in the street and to charm passersby to choose his restaurant. It was essentially the job of a host plus a salesman.

I didn’t believe that his name was Achilles any more than I bought that the tour guide’s name was Dionysus.  I figured they had pulled mythological names out of the Iliad-hat to be able to have names the tourists would remember and be able to pronounce.

But later in the trip, we met Athina, and I really do think that these are these people’s given names.

This makes me wonder about the culture and religion of the Greek. Most of the country is Greek Orthodox, and even the tiniest bunch of houses also had a small church.  Was it pride? Patriotism? Were they cheeky jibes at the pantheon? Or are Greeks naming their kids these names as a shout-out to the old stories and heroes?

I don’t know the answer to this. It might be something as simple as tradition. Greek mythological names might be as interesting as saint names or biblical names. I don’t know. I just dig that I have a friend whose name is Athina, and Achilles works for a really good restaurant in the Plaka, we highly recommend it.


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