Mentor

Mentor

[men-tawr, -ter]
Mentor, residential village (1990 pop. 47,358), Lake co., NE Ohio, on Lake Erie; founded 1799, inc. 1855. James Garfield was living there when he was elected President, and his home, "Lawnfield," is preserved.
Mentor, in Greek mythology, friend of Odysseus and tutor of Telemachus. On several occasions in the Odyssey, Athena assumes Mentor's form to give advice to Telemachus or Odysseus. His name is proverbial for a faithful and wise adviser.

(born 1780, near Louisville, Va., U.S.—died Nov. 19, 1850, Frankfort, Ky.) U.S. politician. He practiced law in Kentucky before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1807–19, 1829–37). As a colonel in the War of 1812, he was wounded in the Battle of the Thames, where he reputedly killed Tecumseh. He returned to his congressional seat and later was elected to the Senate (1819–29). He was a loyal supporter of Pres. Andrew Jackson, who chose him as Martin Van Buren's running mate in the 1836 election. None of the four vice-presidential candidates won an electoral-vote majority, and the outcome was decided by the Senate, the only such occurrence in U.S. history. Johnson served one term in the office.

Learn more about Johnson, Richard M(entor) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born 1780, near Louisville, Va., U.S.—died Nov. 19, 1850, Frankfort, Ky.) U.S. politician. He practiced law in Kentucky before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1807–19, 1829–37). As a colonel in the War of 1812, he was wounded in the Battle of the Thames, where he reputedly killed Tecumseh. He returned to his congressional seat and later was elected to the Senate (1819–29). He was a loyal supporter of Pres. Andrew Jackson, who chose him as Martin Van Buren's running mate in the 1836 election. None of the four vice-presidential candidates won an electoral-vote majority, and the outcome was decided by the Senate, the only such occurrence in U.S. history. Johnson served one term in the office.

Learn more about Johnson, Richard M(entor) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

In Greek mythology, Mentor (Greek: Μέντωρ / Méntōr) was the son of Alcumus and, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War he placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of his palace. When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus' mother Penelope. As Mentor, the goddess encourages Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and to go abroad in order to learn out about his father.

When Odysseus returns to Ithaca, Athena (in the form of Mentor) takes the form of a swallow and the suitors' arrows have no effect on him.

Mentor as term

The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a book entitled "Les Aventures de Telemaque", by the French writer François Fénelon In the book the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was published in 1699 and was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.

This is the source of the modern use of the word mentor: a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professions have "mentoring programs" in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people in order to obtain good examples and advice as they advance, and schools sometimes have mentoring programs for new students or students who are having difficulties.

Today mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks. Many of the world's most successful people have benefited from having a mentor including:

Fictionally, a mentor is a common character in the hero's journey.

Historically, Mentor of Rhodes was a Greek mercenary who at various times fought either for or against Artaxerxes III.

Mentoree (or mentee)

The student of a mentor is called a protégé or mentoree. More accurately, for the recondite, the protégé would be called the telemachus (pl. telemachuses or telemaches). Sometimes, the protégé is also called a mentee. The -or ending of the original name Mentor does not have the meaning of "the one who does something", as in other English words such as contractor or actor. The derivation of mentee from mentor is therefore an example of backformation (cf. employer and employee).

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