The show Blood of Zeus is based on Greek mythology, but it’s not exactly the first modern show to borrow the myths of the Classical Era. Peplum flicks, also known as sword and sandal movies, represented the fantasy genre of the time. These shows often had the same issues that movies about superheroes have today, mainly that they were hated by critics, loved by fans, and admired for the advances they made in special effects.
There are a few famous movies that still recall the time when the genre was popular. If the viewers pay attention they can catch some details in the background that callback to the classic sword and sandal movies that made modern animated shows like Blood of Zeus possible.
10 Talos the Automaton
Talos existed in mythology, but he was changed slightly when he appeared as the guardian of the Ilse of Bronze in the movie Jason and the Argonauts. Ancient accounts of Talos occasionally describe him as a bull, but the movie depicts him in the form of an armored man. In another interesting connection, the Giants of Greek myth, who take up most of the plot, were often described in mythology as resembling hoplite soldiers.
This is where this idea might have come from, and perhaps a bull-shaped stop-animation figure wasn’t feasible.
9 The Demigod Narrative
Grek legend on film almost always follows the path of a demigod character. A demigod is someone who shares their ancestry with both gods and humans.
Perseus from the original Clash of the Titans is one example, being the son of the god Zeus and the mortal princess Danae. The story of Heron and his mother seeking refuge from an angry god is similar to this ancient story, which actually saw the unfortunate princess and her baby cast out into the ocean in a wooden box instead of being spirited away as Heron and Electra were.
8 Hera, the “Frenemy”
Hera isn’t always a villain, just most of the time. In Jason and the Argonauts, she was the hero’s patron and protector. In the Hercules series that ran on television during the 1990s, the main characters were always on the run from angry Hera, and that also seems to be the case in Blood of Zeus.
The resentful goddess that follows Heron and his mother everywhere is reminiscent of the Hera that made Kevin Sorbo’s life miserable as opposed to the benevolent god that guided Jason. This was because Zeus had seduced Hercules’ mother very much like he had seduced Heron’s mother Electra, by disguising himself as her husband.
7 Jason’s Golden Fleece
The character of Hera is depicted wearing the fleece at several points in Blood of Zeus, notably when she’s leading her own followers against the supporters of the King of Olympus.
This isn’t only a reference to Classical mythology, in which she was also closely connected with the fleece, but to the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts. In the classical myth, several gods get together and help Jason, but in the movie, Hera is his closest patron and she’s mostly calm and benevolent.
There are sidekicks in literature, but the archetype appears in movies a lot more often. Bubo the Mechanical Owl isn’t a figure in ancient mythology. In Jason and the Argonauts, Zeus orders Athena to send her owl familiar to help Jason, but Athena refuses to send away her beloved pet so Hephestos makes a mechanical one to take its place.
In Blood of Zeus, the owl appears occasionally at the side of Hephestos, and although Athena was closely connected to the owl in classical stories she never had one as a pet.
5 Recruiting Athletes
Returning to our hero Jason, he needed to recruit help just like Heron and Alexia did. The way Jason did it was to hold a series of games, and the winners would be awarded a place on the crew of the Argo.
Heron did something similar, but as it is usually is with his character, he stumbled unto it by accident, not by design. When Heron meets Kofi in the slave galley, he introduces himself with a story about how he successfully competed in the PanHellenic games before he joins with Heron and Alexia. It’s a detail that’s taken from both the movie and the ancient myth.
4 “Release the Kraken”
Stories of the ancient war between the giants and the Olympian gods are ubiquitous in mythology, and later writers got a lot of details mixed up, including contemporary ones. Titans, Giants, and an assortment of other mythical beasts like harpies and hydras appear in some way or another in the vintage peplum flicks.
The Kraken is the most famous, partly because of his appearance in both the vintage version of Jason and the Argonauts and its more recent remake. The inspiration of the Giants in Blood of Zeus is an echo of this fearsome beast.
3 Journey to Olympus
The scene where Heron meets Hermes, who then takes him to Olympus to meet the gods, is reminiscent of a similar scene in Jason and the Argonauts.
In the movie, Hermes disguises himself as King Pelias’ soothsayer and reveals himself to Jason after he’s decided to seek the Golden Fleece. In the animated series, Heron makes a similar journey to Olympus with Hermes, and Zeus introduces Heron as his son. Jason, on the other hand, wasn’t of divine origin but was raised by Chiron the centaur and watched over by Hera.
2 Flying Mounts
In Clash of the Titans, there’s only one flying horse left of a whole herd, and Perseus has to rescue the last one. That’s some nice drama for the silver screen and was probably easier for the special effects people to handle than the classic version where Pegasus rises from Medusa’s blood.
The two most prominent flying mounts in Blood of Zeus are Seraphim’s winged lion and the griffon that Zeus gives to Heron. Unlike the movies they reference, the audience never finds out where they came from or why Heron and Seraphim chose these mounts.
1 The Amazons
The Amazon women appear in a wide variety of vintage media, and there have been many other characters who call back to that mythology even if they aren’t explicitly named as Amazons.
Popular modern examples range from the recent Wonder Woman movie to popular TV shows in the 1990s like Xena: Warrior Princess. Alexia in the Blood of Zeus is an Amazon that’s more like one directed by Patty Jenkins as opposed to an Amazon that would appear in a Steve Reeves movie.
NEXT: Blood of Zeus: Story Threads We Want to See Picked Up in Season 2
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