It would be entirely possible to go through life not consciously knowing anything about classical Greek mythology, and yet still be equipped with a very basic understanding. That’s because references to the myths are everywhere. For example, there is the word “herculean” meaning a massive task. It is a reference to the half-god, half-man Herakles (Hercules is the Roman spelling), who was blessed/cursed with amazing strength and was required to perform 12 labours. Or Narcissist, a reference to the ancient hunter Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and either stared at it until he died, or fell in and drowned – either way, it was death by excessive vanity.
Then there is the divine little nymph Minthe, who was the daughter of river god Cocytus. Cocytus is the river that runs through Hades, the ancient Greek version of hell or the underworld. Hades (the God who ruled the underworld) was married to Persephone, daughter of Demeter (goddess of the harvest). Hades is said to have abducted Persephone and then done a deal with her mother, whereby she would spend with six months with him and six months with Demeter, which is why we now have seasons.
Anyway, Minthe got caught up in all this when Hades noticed her beauty and began to fancy her. Depending on what version you favour, this either made Persephone jealous of Hades’ attraction to Minthe, or worried for Minthe’s safety (she knew first-hand it didn’t pay to catch a god’s eye). Whatever the motive, Minthe was turned into the herb Mint before she could come between the divine couple.
Minthe’s revenge is maybe that by giving her name to a hardy herb, she is now more famous than the gods she had the misfortune to tangle with.
Mint is of course the main player in our Hop and Skip herb dip mix. And it’s what inspired the name – if you are noticed by the gods it is best to skedaddle out of the way, in any way you can. Check out more about Hop and Skip here.