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Greek Mythology

Greek mythology is brought through a wide history in the form of word of mouth and the words of poets during festivals. Many Greeks learned about the gods by these sources and their mythology was connected with every feature of their lives. Greek myths are the only things left from the religion and were carried on by followers who told them. The people of Crete believed every natural object had a spirit and that fetishes had special magical powers. These beliefs were made into a set of legends, which only some survived to produce classical Greek mythology. Different parts of a house were dedicated to a certain god, where people would worship and since cities honored one or a group of gods, they built temples for them and held festivals. Some people of the Greek culture have proposed explanations for how Greek mythology developed. They included Euhemerus, Prodicus of Ceos, and Herodotus. They said that myths were “distortions of history and gods were heroes who had been glorified over time; gods were personifications of natural phenomena, such as the sun moon, winds, and water; and Greek rituals were inherited from the Egyptians.” (said in order of names) (1)  This religion’s history greatly affects the way that Greek myths are told and how they explain how everything is the way it is now.

There are some characteristics of Greek myths that are all in common and reflect what Greek myths are all about. Mainly, Greek myths “emphasized the weakness of humans in contrast to the great and terrifying powers of nature.” (1) The Greeks believed that their lives depended on the good will of the gods, who were immortal (could never die), since they controlled all of nature. The gods gave very harsh consequences to humans who showed, as in their opinion, unacceptable behavior. All the things that were created and why they were created are explained throughout all Greek myths. Some myths even have gods making or causing things for humans, both good and bad. An example of a myth is when Prometheus created man, gave him fire and had him sacrifice the bad parts of animals to the gods. As a result Prometheus was tortured and man was punished with getting every evil thing on earth- all the sorrows, plagues, misfortunes, but one good thing was hope. Always, the result of the god’s actions mainly affects mortals. The characteristics of Greek myths all revolve around gods and goddesses, who were immortal and the humans who were mortal.

The characters of Greek mythology include many gods, animals, and other “things”. The main characters of Greek mythology are the twelve Olympians, who are named after where they live-Mount Olympus. “The Olympians are descended from the primal, self-created gods, beginning with Kaos.” (2)  They ruled after their parents or grandparents, the Titans, and are the gods and goddesses that are mainly worshipped. The supreme ruler of all gods is Zeus and his brother, Poseidon, is lord of the sea and second most powerful. His brother, Hades, is ruler of the underworld and has the third most power. These three brothers are found throughout all Greek myths and many descendants are related to them (mainly Zeus). Many stories involve Hera, Zeus’s wife and sister, who is jealous of his many lovers, immortal or mortal, and she usually gets her way some way or another. All the characters of Greek mythology are all unique in some way, and what they do are extraordinary for readers to discover.

 

 

 

Bibliography

1.   “Greek Myths” <http://www.crystalinks.com/greekmythology.html>

28 Feb. 2002

2.   “Origins of Greek Mythology” Greek Mythology 1996-1998 <http://www.messagenet.com/myths/neomyth.html>

28 Feb. 2002

3.   J.M. Hunt “The Olympians” Greek Mythology

<http://www.math.utk.edu/~vasili/GR_link/Greek_myth/olympian.html>

21 Feb. 2002

4.   J.M. Hunt “The Creation of Man by Prometheus” Greek Mythology

<http://www.math.utk.edu/~vasili/GR_link/Greek_myth/creationMan.html>

 

 

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