A group of people time travel to ancient Greece while wearing modern clothing and bringing modern technology. They arrive in helicopters and fly over to ancient Athens, where they land. When they arrive, some of them make phone calls and put their phones on speaker. Some of them decide to log into their laptops in front of many of the ancients. They use portable microwaves to heat up their food before eating it. Some of them build working robots in front of the ancients.

Would these people be mistaken for gods and goddesses by the ancients?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ How exactly do they use their cellphones? I assume there were no cell towers back then. :-) $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 28 '15 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE 226868 They would use their cell phones using the signal from the wormhole they came through. $\endgroup$ – Anders Gustafson Oct 28 '15 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ how much shagging do they get up to? $\endgroup$ – Pete Kirkham Jul 20 '16 at 21:02

To the Greeks, the time travelers can

  • Fly (helicopters)
  • Bewitch inanimate objects to move (helicopters and robots)
  • Make voices come from nowhere (phones)
  • Create light and sound from boxes (microwave and laptops)
  • [Do whatever other things the laptops can do]

To the Greeks, the use of flight sounds a bit like Helios (though Daedalus (a human) could also do it, do some extent). The fire sounds like the work of Prometheus (a Titan). The mysterious voices coming from nowhere could be the Anemoi (basically wind gods) whispering. The robots could be the work of Daedalus).

These miracles could be the work of any of a number of mythical figures put together.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Daedalus is most famous for his flight from Crete $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jul 20 '16 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman True, although I've read the accounts, and the wings weren't quite as impressive as modern technology. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jul 20 '16 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868: But not so inconceivable that a flying machine must be Hephaestus' creation, rather than manmade $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jul 20 '16 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman Oh, I see what you mean. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jul 20 '16 at 20:56

Yes they likely would. Gods and Goddesses are things that they believed in. The concept offers an easy explanation for why the time travellers are laden with artefacts of a seemingly "magic" nature.

Or they might think that they stole or were given their gadgets by Gods.

Or they might not jump to any conclusion and simply ask the travellers to explain where these artefacts came from.


Mistaken for Greek gods and goddesses? I'm going to say no. Unless your time travellers are actively claiming to be those gods, and even then, they'd have to be carrying some pretty specific tokens of identity. Many Greek deities had identifying equipment (Dionysus's thyrsos staff, for example, or Athena's aegis) that was quite central to their image of the deity, and absent those items they wouldn't assume these newcomers were THEIR gods. Especially considering that your time travellers wouldn't speak Greek and would dress in strange fashion. They'd be considered barbarians, and probably Eastern barbarians at that, given that pants were pretty strongly associated with Near Eastern peoples, including the Persians and the Amazons.

The Greeks did recognize foreign gods and some were respectful of them when visiting or living in other lands, you know, just in case, but I think even with that they wouldn't assume a strange newcomer was a god. They definitely had concepts of superior technology (see: Daedalus) and magic that could be used by mortals, especially mortals with godly favour or ancestry (see: Medea, Circe). They might call them Titans, or assign them demigod status. It would also be reasonable to have the Greeks assume they were favoured in some way by some gods - not necessarily their own unless your time travellers claimed as much. But straight from zero to Olympus? No. Not even Herakles managed that one.


Greeks would be highly confused.

First of all, they had no concept of automotion. Even gods travelled in horse-powered chariots (save Hermes, who had his winged sandals). How can a thing move by itself was beyond them.

Second, they had no concept of magical artifacts. The closest to magic I gather were the Phaiakians' ships.

Finally, the god-to-human encounters were quite limited. There were very few lucky (or unfortunate) people interacting with gods directly. Almost all of such interactions were were initiated by the divinity (as an exception I can only recall Actaeon stumbling upon Artemis), and in all of them the divinity had the reason to appear, like grant supernatural powers, give an advice, or punish. Your visitors do nothing like that. No gods for sure.

Quite powerful yes. Maybe even Aethiopians. But they don't speak Greek and know no Homer, which makes them Barbarians. Confusion it is.


I can see them believing the time travelers to be Gods, but the possibilities of oracles, wizards, or [magical] alchemists crosses my mind only too strongly, depending upon what the time travelers had at hand upon arrival.

The foreknowledge of events to come, and even a general understanding of natural events and materials not yet understood by (or even known to) the ancient Greeks would give them God-like knowledge.


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