Greek Pagans Angered by Commercialization of Olympics, Greek God "Mascots"

August 20, 2004


Wire Service: AP

On August 20, 2004 the Associated Press reported, "When the gods of antiquity were upset, they churned up a tempest or dispatched a few choice lightning bolts. The people who still follow them get a lawyer and grumble - at least during the Olympics. 'Let's just say we're not taking part in the all the hype,' said Panaghiotis Marinis, who leads a group seeking official recognition for rites and gatherings based on spiritual connections to ancient Greece... The corporate sponsorship alone is enough to make them wince. But what's really soured them to the Olympic homecoming are the two big-footed 2004 mascots: Athena and Phevos. They can cope with the smiling figures, inspired by a 7th century B.C. terra cotta doll. It's the names they hate. Athena was the goddess of wisdom and protector of Athens. Phevos is another name used for Apollo, the god of light and music. 'It's insulting,' said Apostolos Amyras, publisher of the monthly Hellenic Religion magazine, which promotes the mysticism of antiquity. 'They took the names of two of our gods and they demeaned them'... Two years ago, the mascots were taken to court. A lawsuit filed by Marinis and supporters - calling themselves the Greek Society of the Friends of the Ancients - sought a ban on the figures and $3.6 million in damages. No date has been set for a hearing. 'It would be like presenting Jesus Christ not with seriousness ... but with a suit and tie,' the lawsuit said."