Pan

And finally here's a word you may have used before without realizing your debt to Greek mythology. The word panic comes from the goat-god Pan.







The Myth of Pan

Pan was the god of shepherds and flocks, the son of Hermes and a nymph. Pan was born with the legs and horns of a goat, which caused his own mother to spurn him. Nor was the adult god more popular with the nymphs. Echo ran away from him and lost her voice as a consequence, being condemned only to repeat the words of others. Another fleeing nymph was transformed into a reed, which inspired Pan to invent the shepherd's pipe of bound reeds of varying lengths. Pan was considered to be the cause of the sudden fear that sometimes comes for no reason, especially in lonely places. That's why it's called "panic".

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