Greek MythologyIntroduction

A Brief Introduction to Greek Mythology

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Before heading towards the Greek mythology, let’s first take an overview of the phrase ‘myth’. The word myth comes from the Greek phrase mythos, which suggests “story” or “speech.” Myth is usually the word used to explain a narrative that explains events or objects that happen in nature, such because the creation of certain flowers or animals, placing deserts or oceans, and even the origin and cycle of the seasons. Myths may additionally be stories regarding the origins of customs or traditions.

Though there could also be elements of truth intertwined with their telling, these stories occur in a time and place that doesn’t actually exist, no matter how actual the setting could seem.

The years 3000 to 1600 B.C. are sometimes thought of the start of Greek tradition and Western civilization. A number of information, however, exists in regards to the civilization then thriving on the island of Crete, where the legendary King Minos was thought to have lived. Beginning in about 2200 B.C., the people of Crete, known as the Minoans, constructed fabulous palaces and dominated the seas with a powerful hand.

In 508 B.C., Athens grew to become the world’s first democracy when free adult males could vote on issues in regards to the city. The word democracy comes from the Greek phrase democratia, which suggests “ruled by the demos, or the people.”

During the rise of Athenian democracy through the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., great strides have been made within the fields of philosophy, history, medicine, and the arts. It was a period of serious improvement, particularly in Athens, where a few of the world’s most influential thinkers could possibly be discovered. This period is also known as the “Golden Age of Greece” or the “Golden Age of Pericles,” referring to the ruler.

Origins of Greek Mythology

The Greek myths we’re acquainted with today are the product of generations of storytelling. Many have been variations of tales that the Greeks gleaned from different cultures. Before about 800 B.C., when the Greek alphabet was developed, word of mouth passed myths down from one era to the next.

In the eighth century B.C., the poet Homer is believed to have composed The Iliad and The Odyssey. These two epic poems comprise well-known tales about legendary events in Greek history. The Iliad tells the story of the tenth year of the Trojan War, which can even have taken place around 1250 B.C. when the actual city of Troy was destroyed.

The Odyssey recounts the adventures of Odysseus, a legendary ruler from Ithaca, an actual island situated off the west coast of the Greek mainland. No one is aware of much about Homer. Legend has it he was a blind poet who might have lived in Asia Minor or on Chios, one island off the coast of Asia Minor.

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Another necessary figure was a poet generally known as Hesiod, who was born round 700 B.C. His two surviving poems are the Theogony, which tells the story of the mythic creation of the world, and Works and Days, which tells different vital stories. These two works inform us so much in regards to the prevailing myths surrounding the various gods and goddesses in Greek legend and religion.

When democracy was creating in Athens, literature and the humanities have been additionally prospering. Theater was considered one of these arts. Three of Athens’ greatest playwrights have been Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Many of the myths we all know in the present day come from their plays.

For scholars in the present day, one other necessary source of Greek myths is definitely the work of Romans. When they conquered the Greeks, the Romans absorbed many features of Greek tradition.

The Concept of Greek Gods and Goddesses

The ancient Greeks have been polytheistic, which suggests they believed within the existence of many gods and goddesses. A group, or collection, of gods and goddesses is named a pantheon, and the leader of the Greek pantheon was Zeus, the king of the gods and ruler of the sky. The Greeks believed the gods had enormous power over the world and that they managed nature in all its varieties. They typically worshipped the gods in temples erected of their honor. Most cities had a specific god or goddess whom they thought of a particular protector. Athens, for instance, regarded to the goddess Athena and the god Poseidon as its specific protectors.

The cities additionally held festivals in honor of individual gods at varied instances of the year. One of essentially the most well-known festivals within the ancient Greek world was the festival in Athens honoring Dionysus, the god of wine.

The Greeks additionally believed in oracles, or prophets. At the temples of varied gods, the priests, who could possibly be men or women, have been typically called upon to interpret omens, such because the sighting of a certain bird or the looks of another natural event. One of essentially the most well-known oracles was at Delphi, where there have been many necessary temples.

Sometimes the gods had a number of jobs. Zeus, for instance, the ruler of the sky and the leader of the gods, was additionally a protector of guests and travelers. Hera, Zeus’s spouse, was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. Athena was the protectress of Athens, however she was additionally the goddess of wisdom and war. Poseidon was one other protector of Athens however, because the ruler of the ocean, he was an essential god for sailors and those that traveled by boat. Hephaestus was the god of fire, and he additionally served within the role of blacksmith for the gods.

The Greeks believed the gods lived on Mount Olympus, a veritable mountain within the central part of Greece known as Thessaly. However, based on Greek custom, the gods might depart their mountain and go wherever.

Within the pantheon, the gods typically married one another, and a few of them had over one partner or companion at a time. Sometimes the gods married their siblings, parents, or children. The god Zeus, for instance, had many partners apart from his spouse, Hera, who was also his sister.

As people believed various things about different gods, they related the gods with each other in new ways. Besides being part of the plays and poems recited at festivals, the tales of the gods and goddesses have been additionally frequently advised at home and in schools.

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