Greek mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. It was a part of the religion in ancient Greece. Modern scholars refer to and study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.
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.
Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as ancient vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines and mythological creatures. These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition most likely by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC; today the Greek myths are known primarily from ancient Greek literature. The oldest known Greek literary sources, Homer's epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on the Trojan War and its aftermath. 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.
Archaeological findings provide a principal source of detail about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently in the decoration of many artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan 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.
Main article: Greek cosmology
Greek cosmology is wide and depicts the universe and the world as having a limit both on it's sky and ground, the sky limit is known as Heaven of Heavens and it's opposite end, which lies beneath all the world, is the Underworld. The Heaven and any other realm above it, are sustained by the Pillars of Heaven while the Underworld and the rest of the world is hold together by the Pillars of Earth.
Locations in Greek cosmology
- Firmament with the Stars
- Ocean of Heaven
- Heaven of Heavens
- Pillars of Heaven
- Pillars of Earth
- Primeval Ocean
Origin and creation of the UniverseTheogony, at the beginning there was chaos, a yawning nothingness. From the void in there emerged Gaia (goddess of the Earth and the Earth itself). From the void, other primary divine beings emerged: Eros (Love), the Abyss (Tartarus) and the Erebus. Gaia didn't have male assistance, therefore she gave existence to Uranus (the sky) who then impregnated her. The first wave of Titans were born as product of this union. Gaia gave birth to six males: Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Lapetus, and Oceanus; and six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys. After Cronus was born, Gaia and Cronus declared that no more Titans were to born.
Overthrowing of UranusAfter Cronus was born, Gaia and Uranus decreed no more Titans were to be born. They were followed by the one-eyed Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires, who were both thrown into Tartarus by Uranus. This made Gaia furious. Cronus ("the wily, youngest and most terrible of Gaia's children"), was convinced by Gaia to castrate his father. He did this, killing Uranus, and became the ruler of the Titans with his sister-wife Rhea as his consort. The other titans became his court.
Main article: TitanomachyThe Titan Cronus devoured all the sons and daughters he procreated with Rhea, again and again. But when Rhea gave birth to Zeus, she could not see another of her sons devoured by Cronus, therefore she hidden Zeus from Cronus. Zeus was raised in Crete, and when he was old and experienced enough, along with the aid of the Cyclopes, he defeated his father and the titans. Cronus and the rest of Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus. After the battle with the titans and his subsequent victory, he shared the world with his brothers Poseidon and Hades.
Age of Gods
The Age gods is the term which defines the period in which Gods interacted with men, but could not intervene in any of the confrontations or events of humanity.
Age of Heroes
Main article: Age of heroesThe age of heroes also known as heroic age, is the period between the coming of the Greeks to Thessaly and their subsequent return from Troy. The age of heroes saw a series of events which would demonstrate the humans did not need to depend on the gods or live their lives as gods demanded, such as Heracles' (Hercules) battle against the supposedly invincible Hydra.
Heracles and the Heracleidae
Jason and the ArgonautsBeen earlier than the Odyssey, Jason and his crew, the Argonauts exploits date back to 3rd Century BC, which was the period in which the poem depicting their adventures was wrote. Jason's voyages are famous in Greek mythology because of the fact, that his crew on the Argo, included various members of the next generation of heroes, including Heracles.
The Trojan War
In the aftermath of the Trojan War, Odysseus and various surviving soldiers navigated in search of their home, instead they ended on the island of the Cyclops Polyphemus.
- Greek mythology at Wikipedia.
- Cosmogony of Alcman
- Thetis Creatrix
- The Protogenoi: the first-born Gods
|Greek mythology articles|
|Deities||Aphrodite • Apollo • Ares • Artemis • Athena • Demeter • Dionysus • Hephaestus • Hera • Hermes • Poseidon • Zeus|
|Heroes||Abderus • Bellerophon • Daedalus • Diomedes • Achilles • Cadmus • Heracles • Perseus • Odysseus • Orpheus • Theseus • Jason • Argonauts|
|Groups||Demigod • God • Titans • Graeae • Gorgons • Protogenoi|
|Creatures and monsters||Chimera • Centaur • Charybdis • Cyclops • Ceryneian Hind • Cretan Bull • Empusa • Erinyes • Erymanthian Boar • Minotaur • Typhon • Medusa • Makhai • Lernaean Hydra • Pegasus • More...|
|Titans||Atlas • Coeus • Crius • Cronus • Epimetheus • Gaia • Helios • Iapetos • Pallas • Perses • Prometheus • Oceanus • Hyperion • Rhea • Styx|
|Locations||Mount Olympus • Tartaros|
|Topics||Titanomachy • Overthrowing of Ouranus|