Memorial Day Offer

Discover your mystery discount!

Greek mythology

Sources of Greek Mythology: – Greek mythology is primarily known from literary and visual sources dating back to the Geometric period. – Literary sources include […]

« Back to Glossary Index

Sources of Greek Mythology:
– Greek mythology is primarily known from literary and visual sources dating back to the Geometric period.
– Literary sources include works by Homer, Hesiod, Pseudo-Apollodorus, and various poets, tragedians, comedians, and historians.
– Archaeological findings by scholars like Heinrich Schliemann and Arthur Evans have contributed to understanding Greek mythology.
– Roman poets like Virgil also preserved details of Greek mythology in their writings.
– The Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus reconciles conflicting tales and provides a summary of Greek myths.

Evolution and Divisions of Greek Mythology:
– Greek mythology evolved over time to reflect cultural changes, with origins rooted in early agricultural beliefs.
– The mythology is divided into periods such as myths of origin, age of gods, age of heroes, and the Trojan War.
– Pederasty became prominent in myths around 630 BC, influencing relationships between gods and heroes.
– Theogonies like Hesiod’s explain the creation of the universe and the genealogy of gods.
– The influence of epic poetry and literary adaptations reshaped mythological chronology and storytelling.

Visual Representations and Adaptations:
– Visual representations in pottery and art depict scenes from myths, often predating literary sources.
– Linear B scripts and eighth-century BC pottery showcase mythological themes like the labors of Heracles.
– Art across different periods like Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic depict Homeric and mythological scenes.
– Epic poetry and adaptations like Ovid’s Metamorphoses created story-cycles and developed mythological chronology.
– Myths were adapted into various art forms, contributing to the rich visual history of Greek mythology.

Gods and Heroes in Greek Mythology:
– Greek gods have unique genealogies, interests, and expertise, associated with specific aspects of life.
– Each god is called upon with specific epithets in poetry, prayer, or cult practices.
– Impressive temples were dedicated to a limited number of major gods in the Greek pantheon.
– Heroes like Heracles, Bellerophon, Perseus, and others had exploits that provided material for legends and tragedies.
– The Heroic Age, House of Atreus, Theban Cycle, and Argonauts are well-known for their heroic tales and tragedies in Greek mythology.

Themes and Influences in Greek Mythology:
– Mythological tales often revolve around love and punishment, bridging the age of gods and mortals.
– Influences on Greek mythology include philosophical cosmologists, historical figures like Orpheus and Hermes, and literary works like Plato’s Orphic theogony.
– The Heroic Age marked by heroes like Heracles and Bellerophon, and the House of Atreus and Theban Cycle known for their tragic events.
– Gods and mortals in Greek mythology mingled in various tales, with themes of punishment, love, and heroism prevalent throughout the myths.
– Influences from historical figures, philosophical ideas, and literary adaptations shaped the rich tapestry of Greek mythology.

Greek mythology (Wikipedia)

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks, and a genre of ancient Greek folklore, today absorbed alongside Roman mythology into the broader designation of classical mythology. These stories concern the ancient Greek religion's view of the origin and nature of the world; the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures; and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece, and to better understand the nature of myth-making itself.

Scenes from Greek mythology depicted in ancient art. Left-to-right, top-to-bottom: the birth of Aphrodite, a revel with Dionysus and Silenus, Adonis playing the kithara for Aphrodite, Heracles slaying the Lernaean Hydra, the Colchian dragon regurgitating Jason in the presence of Athena, Hermes with his mother Maia, the Trojan Horse, and Odysseus's ship sailing past the island of the sirens

The Greek myths were initially propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most likely by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC; eventually the myths of the heroes of the Trojan War and its aftermath became part of the oral tradition of Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are also preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.

Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods, heroes, and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Epic Cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.

Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture, arts, and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes.

Achilles and Penthesileia by Exekias, c. 540 BC, British Museum, London
« Back to Glossary Index
This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.