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Origins of Greek Mythology

By Edited Aug 27, 2016 2 5

Since childhood, I have remained fascinated by the ancient legends associated with Greek mythology. The respective origins and nature of the world were significantly more interesting than those preached in my Sunday school lessons. Literary sources, such as epic poems known as the Iliad and Odyssey, provided vivid details of adventures to mythical realms and encounters with extraordinary creatures. To this day, archaeological discoveries provide a principal source of interpretation of Greek mythology. Aside from the aforementioned literary sources, ancient artifacts depict decorations of gods and heroes in a similar, legendary description we have thus come to associate them with.

Hesiod and Homer were among the few responsible for our interpretation of ancient Greek mythology. Though scarce evidence and proof determining the age of the poets is debated, the associated texts are estimated to date near the eighth or ninth century BC. The achievement of mythology was to create legends based on chronology. The myths typically relate to the three broad periods known as the age of gods, age of gods and mortals, and the age of heroes. For example, Hesiod entailed his personal revelation of the creation of the world, the succession of gods, and the origin of men in his poem, Works and Days. Additionally, Theogony relays the traditions concerning the gods, and how each establishes control over a cosmos of the universe.

Originally, the myths were designed to interpret the succession of the universe. Initially, the universe was chaos. Out of the void emerged Gaia (Earth), who gave birth to Oranos (Sky), who in turn fertilized the earth and thus created the Titans. Cronus, the ill, sadistic offspring of Gaia, eventually castrated his father and became the supreme ruler of the gods. Assuming that his own offspring, conceived by his sister, Rhea, would similarly attempt to succeed his command, Cronus instead ate the children. Rhea, however, despised these motives and disguised the child, Zeus. Once aged, Zeus poisoned Cronus who had then apparently vomited and released the consumed siblings. The siblings declared war and challenged Cronus for leadership of the gods. With the aid of the rescued Cyclopes, Zeus banished Cronus to Tartarus, a torturous abyss beneath the underworld, and achieved kingship.

Naturally, the myth unfolds and reveals additional gods commanding other cosmos in the universe. However, this particular literary source attempts to initiate the presence of the gods and how they have advanced to control the universe. It is ideal and understandable that the Greeks relied on such beliefs in order to maintain order among society. It also, however, creates a similar question on other religions and beliefs such as Christianity.



Feb 4, 2010 5:33pm
I love classical mythology as well. Good quest about "...the presence of gods and how they have advanced to control the universe...other religious beliefs."
Feb 16, 2010 12:23pm
Thanks for your research.
Jan 4, 2011 12:45pm
It's time we start listening to the ancients when they tell us about the entities they worship and who influenced them. As a Christian this is an easy one since many of us have maintained contact. We are definitely not alone.
Mar 17, 2012 11:18pm
Greek mythology is incredibly creative and when you travel to Greece, to places like Delphi you can almost imagine Zeus or Aphrodite appearing.
Sep 26, 2012 8:24pm
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