An Introduction to Greek Mythology
The Greek word “mythos” means story and Greek mythology is a group of fictional stories that were created thousands of years ago by the ancient Greek people. Even though these Greek myths were created so long ago, they are still entertaining to audiences today.
Greek myths were created to explain what couldn’t be understood thousands of years ago, specifically the mysteries of nature. The ancient Greek people didn’t have science class that told them that the sky is bright during the day and dark at night because of the rotation of the Earth or that electrical fields in the clouds caused lightening. In order to be less afraid of all of these things that didn’t make sense, the ancient Greek people relied on myths to help create order in their world. Myths explained things that didn’t (at the time) have an explanation.
What separates Greek mythology from other types of stories, like legends (that are based on history) or folktales (a form of entertainment) is that myths try to explain human relationships with the divine. Greek myths are stories about gods, goddesses, and other supernatural entities and the relationships that humans have with them. Because the myths are about humans and the gods, they are also about religion.
The Greeks believed that they shared their world with gods and goddesses who had superhuman powers. These gods and goddesses were all around the humans, living in the oceans, the air, the forests, and under the ground. They were a part of everything. Like humans, these gods and goddesses had individual personalities that made them unique. Gods and goddesses could be friendly or they could be evil. They could be helpful or play tricks on humans and on one another.
Storytelling was a primary form of entertainment in ancient Greece. After all, there weren’t TV shows or movies or other entertaining ways to pass the time. Greek myths were told by word of mouth, which is how Greek mythology evolved over the years.
Greek myths were told by bards, or traveling storytellers. These bards told myths to audiences of people through song or poetry. Of course, each bard put his own spin on the myths based on their own personal preference. Depending on their mood, they could make the story scarier, sadder, more romantic, etc. Bards told these stories for generations through the spoken word and through art and with every telling the myth changed a bit.
Because the myths were always being revised throughout history, there are many versions of the myths that can be found. Since these stories began as fictional stories there is no way to say which myth is the “correct” one.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by GreekBoston.com