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Greek mythologyis the body of myths and legends belonging 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. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Modern scholars refer to the myths and study them in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece, its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.Sony NP-F330 Battery

Greek mythology is embodied explicitly in a large collection of narratives and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as 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, andmythological creatures.Asus Eee PC 904HA Adapter

These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, the epic poemsIliadand Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War.Nikon D80  Battery

Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogonyand 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.Sony PCGA-AC19V9 Adapter

Myths also are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians 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.Dell T555C battery

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.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL battery

In the succeedingArchaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.

Greek mythology has exerted an extensive influence on the culture, the arts, and the literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language.HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in these mythological themes.

Sources of Greek mythology

Greek mythology is known today primarily from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900–800 BC onward. HP Pavilion DV9700 battery

Literary sources

Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. Nevertheless, the only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Libraryof Pseudo-Apollodorus.HP Mini 702EA battery

This work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus lived from c. 180–120 BC and wrote on many of these topics. His writings may have formed the basis for the collection;HP Pavilion DV7-1120EO battery

however the "Library" discusses events that occurred long after his death, hence the name Pseudo-Apollodorus.

Among the earliest literary sources are Homer's two epic poems, the Iliadand the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these later and lesser poems now are lost almost entirely.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer. They are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony(Origin of the Gods) the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world;HP Pavilion DV6-1030US battery

the origin of the gods, Titans, and Giants; as well as elaborate genealogies, folktales, and etiological myths. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life, also includes the myths of Prometheus, Pandora, and the Four Ages. The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods.HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

Lyrical poets often took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became gradually less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets including Pindar,Bacchylides, Simonides and bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

Additionally, myth was central to classicalAthenian drama. The tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories (e.g. Agamemnon and his children, Oedipus, Jason, Medea, etc.) took on their classic form in these tragedies.HP EliteBook 2530P battery

The comic playwright Aristophanes also used myths, in The Birdsand The Frogs.

Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, and geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends, often giving little-known alternative versions.HP Pavilion DV4385EA battery

Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East. Herodotus attempted to reconcile origins and the blending of differing cultural concepts.Compaq PP2100 battery

The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was primarily composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise. Nevertheless, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of:HP Compaq KU532AA battery

  1. The Roman poets Ovid, Statius, Valerius Flaccus, Seneca, and Virgil with Servius's commentary.
  2. The Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, and Quintus Smyrnaeus.HP Pavilion DV6-1270EQ battery
  3. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Callimachus, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, and Parthenius.
  4. The ancient novels of Greeks and Romans such as Apuleius, Petronius, Lollianus, and Heliodorus.HP Pavilion DV4385EA battery

The Fabulaeand Astronomicaof the Roman writer styled as Pseudo-Hyginus are two important, non-poetical compendiums of myth. The Imaginesof Philostratus the Elder and Philostratus the Younger and the Descriptionsof Callistratus, are two other useful sources that were drawn upon for themes.HP Compaq Business  NC4400 battery

Finally, Arnobius and a number of Byzantine Greek writers provide important details of myth, much derived from earlier now lost Greek works. These preservers of myth include a lexicon of Hesychius, the Suda, and the treatises of John Tzetzes and Eustathius.HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

The Christian moralizing view of Greek myth is encapsulated in the saying, ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ???????? ????? / en panti muth?i kai to Daidalou musos("In every myth there is also the defilement of Daidalos"). In this fashion, the encyclopedic Sudas reported the role of Daedalus in satisfying the "unnatural lust" of Pasiphaë for the bull of Poseidon:HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

"Since the origin and blame for these evils were attributed to Daidalos and he was loathed for them, he became the subject of the proverb."

Archaeological sources

The discovery of the Mycenaean civilization by the German amateur archaeologist,Nikon D200 Battery

Heinrich Schliemann, in the nineteenth century, and the discovery of theMinoan civilization in Crete by British archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, in the twentieth century, helped to explain many existing questions about Homer's epics and provided archaeological evidence for many of the mythological details about gods and heroes.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

Unfortunately, the evidence about myth and ritual at Mycenaean and Minoan sites is entirely monumental, as the Linear B script (an ancient form of Greek found in both Crete and Greece) was used mainly to record inventories, although the names of gods and heroes doubtfully have been revealed.Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle, as well as the adventures of Heracles.These visual representations of myths are important for two reasons. For one, many Greek myths are attested on vases earlier than in literary sources:HP Compaq Business 6715b Battery

of the twelve labors of Heracles, for example, only the Cerberus adventure occurs in a contemporary literary text. In addition, visual sources sometimes represent myths or mythical scenes that are not attested in any extant literary source. In some cases, the first known representation of a myth in geometric art predates its first known representation in late archaic poetry,Kodak KLIC-7004 Battery

by several centuries. In the Archaic (c. 750–c. 500 BC), Classical (c. 480–323 BC), and Hellenistic (323–146 BC) periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

Survey of mythic history

Greek mythology has changed over time to accommodate the evolution of their culture, of which mythology, both overtly and in its unspoken assumptions, is an index of the changes. In Greek mythology's surviving literary forms, as found mostly at the end of the progressive changes, is inherently political, as Gilbert Cuthbertson has urged.Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Battery

The earlier inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula were an agricultural people who, using Animism, assigned a spirit to every aspect of nature. Eventually, these vague spirits assumed human forms and entered the local mythology as gods. When tribes from the north of the Balkan Peninsula invaded,HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

they brought with them a new pantheon of gods, based on conquest, force, prowess in battle, and violent heroism. Other older gods of the agricultural world fused with those of the more powerful invaders or else faded into insignificance. Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

After the middle of the Archaic period, myths about relationships between male gods and male heroes become more and more frequent, indicating the parallel development of pedagogic pederasty(Eros paidikos, ???????? ????),thought to have been introduced around 630 BC.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

By the end of the fifth century BC, poets had assigned at least one eromenos, an adolescent boy who was their sexual companion, to every important god except Ares and to many legendary figures. Previously existing myths, such as those of Achilles and Patroclus, also then were cast in a pederastic light.HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

Alexandrian poets at first, then more generally literary mythographers in the early Roman Empire, often readapted stories of Greek mythological characters in this fashion.

The achievement of epic poetry was to create story-cycles and, as a result, to develop a new sense of mythological chronology.Dell Studio 1537 battery

Thus Greek mythology unfolds as a phase in the development of the world and of humans. While self-contradictions in these stories make an absolute timeline impossible, an approximate chronology may be discerned. The resulting mythological "history of the world" may be divided into three or four broader periods:HP PPP009H Adapter

  1. The myths of originor age of gods (Theogonies, "births of gods"): myths about the origins of the world, the gods, and the human race.
  2. The age when gods and mortals mingled freely: stories of the early interactions between gods, demigods, and mortals.Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery
  3. The age of heroes (heroic age), where divine activity was more limited. The last and greatest of the heroic legends is the story of the Trojan War and after(which is regarded by some researchers as a separate fourth period). Dell PA-12 Adapter

While the age of gods often has been of more interest to contemporary students of myth, the Greek authors of the archaic and classical eras had a clear preference for the age of heroes, establishing a chronology and record of human accomplishments after the questions of how the world came into being were explained.Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

For example, the heroic Iliadand Odysseydwarfed the divine-focused Theogonyand Homeric Hymns in both size and popularity. Under the influence of Homer the "hero cult" leads to a restructuring in spiritual life, expressed in the separation of the realm of the gods from the realm of the dead (heroes), of the Chthonic from the Olympian.Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

In the Works and Days, Hesiod makes use of a scheme of Four Ages of Man (or Races): Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron. These races or ages are separate creations of the gods, the Golden Age belonging to the reign of Cronus, the subsequent races the creation of Zeus. Hesiod intercalates the Age (or Race) of Heroes just after theBronze Age. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

The final age was the Iron Age, the contemporary period during which the poet lived. The poet regards it as the worst; the presence of evil was explained by the myth of Pandora, when all of the best of human capabilities, save hope, had been spilled out of her overturned jar. In Metamorphoses, Ovid follows Hesiod's concept of the four ages.Acer AS07B41 Battery

Cosmogony and cosmology

"Myths of origin" or "creation myths" represent an attempt to render the universe comprehensible in human terms and explain the origin of the world.Dell Vostro 1310 Battery

The most widely accepted version at the time, although a philosophical account of the beginning of things, is reported by Hesiod, in his Theogony. He begins withChaos, a yawning nothingness. Out of the void emerged Eurynome, Gê or Gaia (the Earth) and some other primary divine beings: Eros (Love), the Abyss (the Tartarus), and the Erebus.HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

Without male assistance, Gaia gave birth to Uranus (the Sky) who then fertilized her. From that union were born first the Titans—six males: Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Oceanus; and six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys. After Cronus was born, Gaia and Oranos decreed no more Titans were to be born.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

They were followed by the one-eyed Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires or Hundred-Handed Ones. Cronus ("the wily, youngest and most terrible of Gaia's children") castrated his father and became the ruler of the gods with his sister-wife Rhea as his consort, and the other Titans became his court.Dell PA-12 Adapter

A motif of father-against-son conflict was repeated when Cronus was confronted by his son, Zeus. Because Cronus had betrayed his father, he feared that his offspring would do the same, and so each time Rhea gave birth, he snatched up the child and ate it.Sony NP-FH100 Battery

Rhea hated this and tricked him by hiding Zeus and wrapping a stone in a baby's blanket, which Cronus ate. When Zeus was grown, he fed his father a drugged drink which caused Cronus to vomit, throwing up Rhea's other children and the stone, which had been sitting in Cronus' stomach all along. Zeus then challenged Cronus to war for the kingship of the gods.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

At last, with the help of the Cyclopes (whom Zeus freed from Tartarus), Zeus and his siblings were victorious, while Cronus and the Titans were hurled down to imprisonment in Tartarus.

Zeus was plagued by the same concern and, after a prophecy that the offspring of his first wife, Metis, would give birth to a god "greater than he"—Zeus swallowed her.Apple MacBook Pro Battery

She was already pregnant with Athena, however, and they made him miserable until Athena burst forth from his head—fully-grown and dressed for war. This "rebirth" from Zeus was used as an excuse for why he was not "superseded" by a child of the next generation of gods, but accounted for the presence of Athena.Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

It is likely that cultural changes already in progress absorbed the long-standing local cult of Athena at Athens into the changing Olympic pantheon without conflict because it could not be overcome.

The earliest Greek thought about poetry considered the theogonies to be the prototypical poetic genre—the prototypical mythos—and imputed almost magical powers to it.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

Orpheus, the archetypal poet, also was the archetypal singer of theogonies, which he uses to calm seas and storms in Apollonius' Argonautica, and to move the stony hearts of the underworld gods in his descent to Hades. When Hermes invents the lyre in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, the first thing he does is sing about the birth of the gods.Canon EOS 450D Battery

Hesiod's Theogonyis not only the fullest surviving account of the gods, but also the fullest surviving account of the archaic poet's function, with its long preliminary invocation to the Muses. Theogony also was the subject of many lost poems, including those attributed to Orpheus,Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery

Musaeus, Epimenides, Abaris, and other legendary seers, which were used in private ritual purifications and mystery-rites. There are indications that Plato was familiar with some version of the Orphic theogony. A silence would have been expected about religious rites and beliefs, however,Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

and that nature of the culture would not have been reported by members of the society while the beliefs were held. After they ceased to become religious beliefs, few would have known the rites and rituals. Allusions often existed, however, to aspects that were quite public.Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

Images existed on pottery and religious artwork that were interpreted and more likely, misinterpreted in many diverse myths and tales. A few fragments of these works survive in quotations by Neoplatonist philosophers and recently unearthed papyrus scraps.Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

One of these scraps, the Derveni Papyrus now proves that at least in the fifth century BC a theogonic-cosmogonic poem of Orpheus was in existence. This poem attempted to outdo Hesiod's Theogonyand the genealogy of the gods was extended back to Nyx (Night) as an ultimate female beginning before Eurynome, Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

Night and Darkness could equate with Chaos.

The first philosophical cosmologists reacted against, or sometimes built upon, popular mythical conceptions that had existed in the Greek world for some time.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Some of these popular conceptions can be gleaned from the poetry of Homer and Hesiod. In Homer, the Earth was viewed as a flat disk afloat on the river of Oceanus and overlooked by a hemispherical sky with sun, moon, and stars. The Sun (Helios) traversed the heavens as a charioteer and sailed around the Earth in a golden bowl at night.Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

Sun, earth, heaven, rivers, and winds could be addressed in prayers and called to witness oaths. Natural fissures were popularly regarded as entrances to the subterranean house of Hades and his predecessors, home of the dead.Influences from other cultures always afforded new themes.HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

Greek pantheon

According to Classical-era mythology, after the overthrow of the Titans, the new pantheon of gods and goddesses was confirmed. Among the principal Greek gods were the Olympians, residing atop Mount Olympus under the eye of Zeus.Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

(The limitation of their number to twelve seems to have been a comparatively modern idea.) Besides the Olympians, the Greeks worshipped various gods of the countryside, the satyr-god Pan, Nymphs (spirits of rivers), Naiads (who dwelled in springs), Dryads (who were spirits of the trees), Nereids (who inhabited the sea), river gods, Satyrs, and others.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

In addition, there were the dark powers of the underworld, such as the Erinyes (or Furies), said to pursue those guilty of crimes against blood-relatives. In order to honor the Ancient Greek pantheon, poets composed the Homeric Hymns (a group of thirty-three songs).Asus f82 battery

Gregory Nagy regards "the larger Homeric Hymns as simple preludes (compared with Theogony), each of which invokes one god".

In the wide variety of myths and legends that Greek mythology consists of, the gods that were native to the Greek peoples are described as having essentially corporeal but ideal bodies.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

According to Walter Burkert, the defining characteristic of Greek anthropomorphism is that "the Greek gods are persons, not abstractions, ideas or concepts". Regardless of their underlying forms, the Ancient Greek gods have many fantastic abilities;HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

most significantly, the gods are not affected by disease, and can be wounded only under highly unusual circumstances. The Greeks considered immortality as the distinctive characteristic of their gods; this immortality, as well as unfading youth, was insured by the constant use of nectar and ambrosia, by which the divine blood was renewed in their veins.Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

Each god descends from his or her own genealogy, pursues differing interests, has a certain area of expertise, and is governed by a unique personality; however, these descriptions arise from a multiplicity of archaic local variants, which do not always agree with one another.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

When these gods are called upon in poetry, prayer or cult, they are referred to by a combination of their name and epithets, that identify them by these distinctions from other manifestations of themselves (e.g. Apollo Musagetesis "Apollo, [as] leader of the Muses").Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

Alternatively the epithet may identify a particular and localized aspect of the god, sometimes thought to be already ancient during the classical epoch of Greece.

Most gods were associated with specific aspects of life.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

For example, Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty, Ares was the god of war, Hades the god of the dead, and Athena the goddess of wisdom and courage. Some gods, such as Apollo and Dionysus, revealed complex personalities and mixtures of functions, while others,HP Compaq Business NX6325 Battery

such as Hestia (literally "hearth") and Helios (literally "sun"), were little more than personifications. The most impressive temples tended to be dedicated to a limited number of gods, who were the focus of large pan-Hellenic cults. It was, however, common for individual regions and villages to devote their own cults to minor gods.Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

Many cities also honored the more well-known gods with unusual local rites and associated strange myths with them that were unknown elsewhere. During the heroic age, the cult of heroes (or demi-gods) supplemented that of the gods.Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

Age of gods and mortals

Bridging the age when gods lived alone and the age when divine interference in human affairs was limited was a transitional age in which gods and mortals moved together.Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

These were the early days of the world when the groups mingled more freely than they did later. Most of these tales were later told by Ovid's Metamorphosesand they are often divided into two thematic groups: tales of love, and tales of punishment. HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

Tales of love often involve incest, or the seduction or rape of a mortal woman by a male god, resulting in heroic offspring. The stories generally suggest that relationships between gods and mortals are something to avoid; even consenting relationships rarely have happy endings.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

In a few cases, a female divinity mates with a mortal man, as in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, where the goddess lies with Anchises to produce Aeneas.

The second type (tales of punishment) involves the appropriation or invention of some important cultural artifact, as when Prometheus steals fire from the gods,HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

whenTantalus steals nectar and ambrosia from Zeus' table and gives it to his own subjects—revealing to them the secrets of the gods, when Prometheus or Lycaon invents sacrifice, when Demeter teaches agriculture and the Mysteries to Triptolemus, or when Marsyas invents the aulos and enters into a musical contest with Apollo.Dell T117C battery

Ian Morris considers Prometheus' adventures as "a place between the history of the gods and that of man".An anonymous papyrus fragment, dated to the third century, vividly portrays Dionysus' punishment of the king of Thrace, Lycurgus, whose recognition of the new god came too late, resulting in horrific penalties that extended into the afterlife.Asus x5dij-sx039c battery

The story of the arrival of Dionysus to establish his cult in Thrace was also the subject of an Aeschylean trilogy.[41]In another tragedy, Euripides' The Bacchae, the king of Thebes, Pentheus, is punished by Dionysus, because he disrespected the god and spied on his Maenads, the female worshippersof the god.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

In another story, based on an old folktale-motif, and echoing a similar theme, Demeter was searching for her daughter, Persephone, having taken the form of an old woman called Doso, and received a hospitable welcome from Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica.HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

As a gift to Celeus, because of his hospitality, Demeter planned to make his son Demophon a god, but she was unable to complete the ritual because his mother Metanira walked in and saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright, which angered Demeter, who lamented that foolish mortals do not understand the concept and ritual.Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

Heroic age

The age in which the heroes lived is known as the heroic age. The epic and genealogical poetry created cycles of stories clustered around particular heroes or events and established the family relationships between the heroes of different stories;HP Pavilion dm4 battery

they thus arranged the stories in sequence. According to Ken Dowden, "there is even a saga effect: we can follow the fates of some families in successive generations".

After the rise of the hero cult, gods and heroes constitute the sacral sphere and are invoked together in oaths and prayers which are addressed to them.Sony NP-FS11 Battery

In contrast to the age of gods, during the heroic age the roster of heroes is never given fixed and final form; great gods are no longer born, but new heroes can always be raised up from the army of the dead. Another important difference between the hero cult and the cult of gods is that the hero becomes the centre of local group identity.Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

The monumental events of Heracles are regarded as the dawn of the age of heroes. To the Heroic Age are also ascribed three great events: the Argonauticexpedition, the Theban Cycle and the Trojan War. Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

Heracles and the Heracleidae

Some scholars believe that behind Heracles' complicated mythology there was probably a real man, perhaps a chieftain-vassal of the kingdom of Argos. Some scholars suggest the story of Heracles is an allegory for the sun's yearly passage through the twelve constellations of the zodiac.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

Others point to earlier myths from other cultures, showing the story of Heracles as a local adaptation of hero myths already well established. Traditionally, Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, granddaughter of Perseus.His fantastic solitary exploits, with their many folk-tale themes, provided much material for popular legend.Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

He is portrayed as a sacrificier, mentioned as a founder of altars, and imagined as a voracious eater himself; it is in this role that he appears in comedy, while his tragic end provided much material for tragedy — Heraclesis regarded by Thalia Papadopoulou as "a play of great significance in examination of other Euripidean dramas".IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

In art and literature Heracles was represented as an enormously strong man of moderate height; his characteristic weapon was the bow but frequently also the club. Vase paintings demonstrate the unparalleled popularity of Heracles, his fight with the lion being depicted many hundreds of times. Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Battery

Heracles also entered Etruscan and Roman mythology and cult, and the exclamation "mehercule" became as familiar to the Romans as "Herakleis" was to the Greeks. In Italy he was worshipped as a god of merchants and traders, although others also prayed to him for his characteristic gifts of good luck or rescue from danger.Apple MB771 battery

Heracles attained the highest social prestige through his appointment as official ancestor of the Dorian kings. This probably served as a legitimation for the Dorian migrations into the Peloponnese. Hyllus, the eponymous hero of one Dorian phyle,Sony DSC-P5 Battery

became the son of Heracles and one of the Heracleidaeor Heraclids(the numerous descendants of Heracles, especially the descendants of Hyllus — other Heracleidae included Macaria, Lamos, Manto, Bianor, Tlepolemus, and Telephus).Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

These Heraclids conquered the Peloponnesian kingdoms of Mycenae, Sparta and Argos, claiming, according to legend, a right to rule them through their ancestor. Their rise to dominance is frequently called the "Dorian invasion". The Lydian and later the Macedonian kings, as rulers of the same rank, also became Heracleidae.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

Other members of this earliest generation of heroes, such as Perseus, Deucalion, Theseus and Bellerophon, have many traits in common with Heracles. Like him, their exploits are solitary, fantastic and border on fairy tale, as they slay monsters such as the Chimera and Medusa.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

Bellerophon's adventures are commonplace types, similar to the adventures of Heracles and Theseus. Sending a hero to his presumed death is also a recurrent theme of this early heroic tradition, used in the cases of Perseus and Bellerophon. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Argonauts

The only surviving Hellenistic epic, the Argonauticaof Apollonius of Rhodes (epic poet, scholar, and director of the Library of Alexandria) tells the myth of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the mythical land of Colchis.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

In the Argonautica, Jason is impelled on his quest by king Pelias, who receives a prophecy that a man with one sandal would be hisnemesis. Jason loses a sandal in a river, arrives at the court of Pelias, and the epic is set in motion. Nearly every member of the next generation of heroes, as well as Heracles, went with Jason in the ship Argoto fetch the Golden Fleece.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

This generation also included Theseus, who went to Crete to slay the Minotaur; Atalanta, the female heroine; and Meleager, who once had an epic cycle of his own to rival the Iliadand Odyssey. Pindar, Apollonius and Apollodorus endeavor to give full lists of the Argonauts.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

Although Apollonius wrote his poem in the 3rd century BC, the composition of the story of the Argonauts is earlier than Odyssey, which shows familiarity with the exploits of Jason (the wandering of Odysseus may have been partly founded on it).Dell Latitude D830 Battery

In ancient times the expedition was regarded as a historical fact, an incident in the opening up of the Black Sea to Greek commerce and colonization. It was also extremely popular, forming a cycle to which a number of local legends became attached. The story of Medea, in particular, caught the imagination of the tragic poets.Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

House of Atreus and Theban Cycle

In between the Argo and the Trojan War, there was a generation known chiefly for its horrific crimes. This includes the doings of Atreus and Thyestes at Argos.Asus Eee PC 1201PN battery

Behind the myth of the house of Atreus (one of the two principal heroic dynasties with the house of Labdacus) lies the problem of the devolution of power and of the mode of accession to sovereignty. The twins Atreus and Thyestes with their descendants played the leading role in the tragedy of the devolution of power in Mycenae.Dell PA-12 Adapter

The Theban Cycle deals with events associated especially with Cadmus, the city's founder, and later with the doings of Laius and Oedipus at Thebes; a series of stories that lead to the eventual pillage of that city at the hands of the Seven Against Thebes and Epigoni.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

It is not known whether the Seven Against Thebes figured in early epic.) As far as Oedipus is concerned, early epic accounts seem to have him continuing to rule at Thebes after the revelation that Iokaste was his mother, and subsequently marrying a second wife who becomes the mother of his children —Dell XPS M1330 Battery

markedly different from the tale known to us through tragedy (e.g. Sophocles' Oedipus the King) and later mythological accounts.

Trojan War and aftermath

Greek mythology culminates in the Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and Troy, and its aftermath.fujifilm np95 battery

In Homer's works, such as the Iliad, the chief stories have already taken shape and substance, and individual themes were elaborated later, especially in Greek drama. The Trojan War also elicited great interest in the Roman culture because of the story of Aeneas,Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

a Trojan hero whose journey from Troy led to the founding of the city that would one day become Rome, as recounted in Virgil's Aeneid(Book II of Virgil's Aeneid contains the best-known account of the sack of Troy). Finally there are two pseudo-chronicles written in Latin that passed under the names of Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius. Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

The Trojan War cycle, a collection of epic poems, starts with the events leading up to the war: Eris and the golden apple of Kallisti, the Judgement of Paris, the abduction of Helen, the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis. To recover Helen, the Greeks launched a great expedition under the overall command of Menelaus' brother,Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

Agamemnon, king of Argos or Mycenae, but the Trojans refused to return Helen. The Iliad, which is set in the tenth year of the war, tells of the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles, who was the finest Greek warrior, and the consequent deaths in battle of Achilles' beloved comrade Patroclus and Priam's eldest son, Hector.Dell Studio XPS 1640 battery

After Hector's death the Trojans were joined by two exotic allies, Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons, and Memnon, king of the Ethiopiansand son of the dawn-goddess Eos. Achilles killed both of these, but Paris then managed to kill Achilles with an arrow in the heel.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

Achilles' heel was the only part of his body which was not invulnerable to damage by human weaponry. Before they could take Troy, the Greeks had to steal from the citadel the wooden image of Pallas Athena (the Palladium). Finally, with Athena's help, they built the Trojan Horse.HP Compaq Business NX6320 Battery

Despite the warnings of Priam's daughter Cassandra, the Trojans were persuaded by Sinon, a Greek who feigned desertion, to take the horse inside the walls of Troy as an offering to Athena; the priest Laocoon, who tried to have the horse destroyed, was killed by sea-serpents.Canon POWERSHOT G2 Battery

At night the Greek fleet returned, and the Greeks from the horse opened the gates of Troy. In the total sack that followed, Priam and his remaining sons were slaughtered; the Trojan women passed into slavery in various cities of Greece. The adventurous homeward voyages of the Greek leaders (including the wanderings of Odysseus and Aeneas (the Aeneid),Dell Latitude E6500 battery

and the murder of Agamemnon) were told in two epics, the Returns (the lost Nostoi) and Homer's Odyssey. The Trojan cycle also includes the adventures of the children of the Trojan generation (e.g. Orestes and Telemachus). Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

The Trojan War provided a variety of themes and became a main source of inspiration for Ancient Greek artists (e.g. metopes on the Parthenon depicting the sack of Troy); this artistic preference for themes deriving from the Trojan Cycle indicates its importance to the Ancient Greek civilization.Asus R33030 Adapter

The same mythological cycle also inspired a series of posterior European literary writings. For instance, Trojan Medieval European writers, unacquainted with Homer at first hand, found in the Troy legend a rich source of heroic and romantic storytelling and a convenient framework into which to fit their own courtly and chivalric ideals.Dell Mini 1011 battery

12th century authors, such asBenoît de Sainte-Maure (Roman de Troie[Romance of Troy, 1154–60]) and Joseph of Exeter (De Bello Troiano) describe the war while rewriting the standard version they found in Dictysand Dares. They thus follow Horace's advice and Virgil's example: they rewrite a poem of Troy instead of telling something completely new. toshiba pa3332u-1brs battery

Greek and Roman conceptions of myth

Mythology was at the heart of everyday life in Ancient Greece.Greeks regarded mythology as a part of their history. They used myth to explain natural phenomena, cultural variations, traditional enmities and friendships.HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

It was a source of pride to be able to trace one's leaders' descent from a mythological hero or a god. Few ever doubted that there was truth behind the account of the Trojan War in the Iliadand Odyssey. According to Victor Davis Hanson, a military historian, columnist,HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

political essayist and former Classics professor, and John Heath, associate professor of Classics atSanta Clara University, the profound knowledge of the Homeric epos was deemed by the Greeks the basis of their acculturation. Homer was the "education of Greece" (??????? ?????????), and his poetry "the Book".Acer Aspire 5720 Adapter

Philosophy and myth

After the rise of philosophy, history, prose and rationalism in the late 5th century BC, the fate of myth became uncertain, and mythological genealogies gave place to a conception of history which tried to exclude the supernatural (such as the Thucydidean history).Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

While poets and dramatists were reworking the myths, Greek historians and philosophers were beginning to criticize them.

A few radical philosophers like Xenophanes of Colophon were already beginning to label the poets' tales as blasphemous lies in the 6th century BC;Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

Xenophanes had complained that Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods "all that is shameful and disgraceful among men; they steal, commit adultery, and deceive one another". This line of thought found its most sweeping expression in Plato's Republicand Laws.Dell Mini 1011v battery

Plato created his own allegorical myths (such as the vision of Er in the Republic), attacked the traditional tales of the gods' tricks, thefts and adulteries as immoral, and objected to their central role in literature. Plato's criticism was the first serious challenge to the Homeric mythological tradition, referring to the myths as "old wives' chatter".HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

For his part Aristotle criticized the Pre-socratic quasi-mythical philosophical approach and underscored that "Hesiod and the theological writers were concerned only with what seemed plausible to themselves, and had no respect for us ... But it is not worth taking seriously writers who show off in the mythical style;Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

as for those who do proceed by proving their assertions, we must cross-examine them".

Nevertheless, even Plato did not manage to wean himself and his society from the influence of myth; his own characterization for Socrates is based on the traditional Homeric and tragic patterns, used by the philosopher to praise the righteous life of his teacher:Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

But perhaps someone might say: "Are you then not ashamed, Socrates, of having followed such a pursuit, that you are now in danger of being put to death as a result?" But I should make to him a just reply: "You do not speak well, Sir, if you think a man in whom there is even a little merit ought to consider danger of life or death, and not rather regard this only, Asus M50 battery

 

when he does things, whether the things he does are right or wrong and the acts of a good or a bad man. For according to your argument all the demigods would be bad who died at Troy, including the son of Thetis, who so despised danger, in comparison with enduring any disgrace, Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

that when his mother (and she was a goddess) said to him, as he was eager to slay Hector, something like this, I believe,

My son, if you avenge the death of your friend Patroclus and kill Hector, you yourself shall die; for straightway, after Hector, is death appointed unto you. (Hom. Il. 18.96) Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

he, when he heard this, made light of death and danger, and feared much more to live as a coward and not to avenge his friends, and said,

Straightway may I die, after doing vengeance upon the wrongdoer, that I may not stay here, jeered at beside the curved ships, a burden of the earth.HP Compaq Business NC6220 Battery

Hanson and Heath estimate that Plato's rejection of the Homeric tradition was not favorably received by the grassroots Greek civilization. The old myths were kept alive in local cults; they continued to influence poetry and to form the main subject of painting and sculpture.Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

More sportingly, the 5th century BC tragedian Euripides often played with the old traditions, mocking them, and through the voice of his characters injecting notes of doubt. Yet the subjects of his plays were taken, without exception, from myth. Many of these plays were written in answer to a predecessor's version of the same or similar myth.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Euripides mainly impugns the myths about the gods and begins his critique with an objection similar to the one previously expressed by Xenocrates: the gods, as traditionally represented, are far too crassly anthropomorphic. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Hellenistic and Roman rationalism

During the Hellenistic period, mythology took on the prestige of elite knowledge that marks its possessors as belonging to a certain class. At the same time, the skeptical turn of the Classical age became even more pronounced. Greek mythographer Euhemerus established the tradition of seeking an actual historical basis for mythical beings and events.HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

Although his original work (Sacred Scriptures) is lost, much is known about it from what is recorded by Diodorus and Lactantius.

Rationalizing hermeneutics of myth became even more popular under the Roman Empire, thanks to the physicalist theories of Stoic and Epicureanphilosophy.Dell Studio PP39L battery

Stoics presented explanations of the gods and heroes as physical phenomena, while the Euhemerists rationalized them as historical figures. At the same time, the Stoics and the Neoplatonists promoted the moral significations of the mythological tradition, often based on Greek etymologies.Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

Through his Epicurean message, Lucretius had sought to expel superstitious fears from the minds of his fellow-citizens. Livy, too, is skeptical about the mythological tradition and claims that he does not intend to pass judgement on such legends (fabulae).Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

The challenge for Romans with a strong and apologetic sense of religious tradition was to defend that tradition while conceding that it was often a breeding-ground for superstition. The antiquarian Varro, who regarded religion as a human institution with great importance for the preservation of good in society, devoted rigorous study to the origins of religious cults.HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

In his Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum(which has not survived, but Augustine's City of Godindicates its general approach) Varro argues that whereas the superstitious man fears the gods, the truly religious person venerates them as parents.[76]In his work he distinguished three kinds of gods:HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

  1. The gods of nature: personifications of phenomena like rain and fire.
  2. The gods of the poets: invented by unscrupulous bards to stir the passions.
  3. The gods of the city: invented by wise legislators to soothe and enlighten the populace.Dell T117C battery

Roman Academic Cotta ridicules both literal and allegorical acceptance of myth, declaring roundly that myths have no place in philosophy. Cicero is also generally disdainful of myth, but, like Varro, he is emphatic in his support for the state religion and its institutions.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

It is difficult to know how far down the social scale this rationalism extended. Cicero asserts that no one (not even old women and boys) is so foolish as to believe in the terrors of Hades or the existence of Scyllas, centaurs or other composite

creatures, but, on the other hand, the orator elsewhere complains of the superstitious and credulous character of the people.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

De Natura Deorumis the most comprehensive summary of Cicero's line of thought.

Syncretizing trends

In Ancient Roman times, a new Roman mythology was born through syncretization of numerous Greek and other foreign gods.Asus S1 Adapter

This occurred because the Romans had little mythology of their own and inheritance of the Greek mythological tradition caused the major Roman gods to adopt characteristics of their Greek equivalents. The gods Zeus and Jupiter are an example of this mythological overlap.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

In addition to the combination of the two mythological traditions, the association of the Romans with eastern religions led to further syncretizations. For instance, the cult of Sun was introduced in Rome after Aurelian's successful campaigns in Syria.Ibm Thinkpad T30 Battery

The Asiatic divinities Mithras (that is to say, the Sun) and Ba'al were combined with Apollo and Helios into one Sol Invictus, with conglomerated rites and compound attributes. Apollo might be increasingly identified in religion with Helios or even Dionysus, but texts retelling his myths seldom reflected such developments.Dell Studio PP39L battery

The traditional literary mythology was increasingly dissociated from actual religious practice.

The surviving 2nd century collection of Orphic Hymns and Macrobius's Saturnaliaare influenced by the theories of rationalism and the syncretizing trends as well.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

The Orphic Hymns are a set of pre-classical poetic compositions, attributed to Orpheus, himself the subject of a renowned myth. In reality, these poems were probably composed by several different poets, and contain a rich set of clues about prehistoric European mythology.HP Compaq Business NC6400 Battery

The stated purpose of the Saturnaliais to transmit the Hellenic culture Macrobius has derived from his reading, even though much of his treatment of gods is colored by Egyptian and North African mythology and theology (which also affect the interpretation of Virgil).HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

In Saturnalia reappear mythographical comments influenced by the Euhemerists, the Stoics and the Neoplatonists.

Modern interpretations

The genesis of modern understanding of Greek mythology is regarded by some scholars as a double reaction at the end of the eighteenth century against "the traditional attitude of Christian animosity",Compaq Presario CQ35-100 battery

in which the Christian reinterpretation of myth as a "lie" or fable had been retained. In Germany, by about 1795, there was a growing interest in Homer and Greek mythology. In Göttingen, Johann Matthias Gesner began to revive Greek studies, while his successor,HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

Christian Gottlob Heyne, worked with Johann Joachim Winckelmann, and laid the foundations for mythological research both in Germany and elsewhere.

Comparative and psychoanalytic approaches

The development of comparative philology in the 19th century, together with ethnological discoveries in the 20th century, established the science of myth.HP Pavilion ZE4500 battery

Since the Romantics, all study of myth has been comparative. Wilhelm Mannhardt, Sir James Frazer, and Stith Thompson employed the comparative approach to collect and classify the themes of folklore and mythology. In 1871 Edward Burnett Tylor published his Primitive Culture, in which he applied the comparative method and tried to explain the origin and evolution of religion.HP G62-100EB battery

Tylor's procedure of drawing together material culture, ritual and myth of widely separated cultures influenced both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Max Müller applied the new science of comparative mythology to the study of myth, in which he detected the distorted remains of Aryannature worship.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX battery

Bronis?aw Malinowski emphasized the ways myth fulfills common social functions. Claude Lévi-Strauss and other structuralists have compared the formal relations and patterns in myths throughout the world.

Sigmund Freud introduced a transhistorical and biological conception of man and a view of myth as an expression of repressed ideas.HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO battery

Dream interpretation is the basis of Freudian myth interpretation and Freud's concept of dreamwork recognizes the importance of contextual relationships for the interpretation of any individual element in a dream. This suggestion would find an important point of rapprochment between the structuralist and psychoanalytic approaches to myth in Freud's thought.HP EliteBook 6930P battery

Carl Jung extended the transhistorical, psychological approach with his theory of the "collective unconscious" and the archetypes (inherited "archaic" patterns), often encoded in myth, that arise out of it. According to Jung, "myth-forming structural elements must be present in the unconscious psyche".HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

Comparing Jung's methodology with Joseph Campbell's theory, Robert A. Segal concludes that "to interpret a myth Campbell simply identifies the archetypes in it. An interpretation of the Odyssey, for example, would show how Odysseus’s life conforms to a heroic pattern. Jung, by contrast,Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

considers the identification of archetypes merely the first step in the interpretation of a myth". Karl Kerényi, one of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology, gave up his early views of myth, in order to apply Jung's theories of archetypes to Greek myth.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Origin theories

There are various modern theories about the origins of Greek mythology. According to the Scriptural Theory, all mythological legends are derived from the narratives of the Scriptures, although the real facts have been disguised and altered.HP G6000 battery

According to the Historical Theory all the persons mentioned in mythology were once real human beings, and the legends relating to them are merely the additions of later times. Thus the story of Aeolus is supposed to have arisen from the fact that Aeolus was the ruler of some islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea.HP HDX X18-1005EA battery

The Allegorical Theory supposes that all the ancient myths were allegorical and symbolical; while the Physical Theory subscribed to the idea that the elements of air, fire, and water were originally the objects of religious adoration, thus the principal gods were personifications of these powers of nature.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL battery

Max Müller attempted to understand an Indo-European religious form by tracing it back to its Aryan, "original" manifestation. In 1891, he claimed that "the most important discovery which has been made during the nineteenth century with respect to the ancient history of mankind ...HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 battery

was this sample equation: Sanskrit Dyaus-pitar = Greek Zeus = Latin Jupiter = Old Norse Tyr". In other cases, close parallels in character and function suggest a common heritage, yet lack of linguistic evidence makes it difficult to prove, as in the comparison between Uranus and the Sanskrit Varuna or the Moirae and the Norns.HP Pavilion DV6100 battery

Archaeology and mythography, on the other hand, have revealed that the Greeks were inspired by some of the civilizations of Asia Minor and the Near East. Adonisseems to be the Greek counterpart — more clearly in cult than in myth — of a Near Eastern "dying god".HP EliteBook 2730P battery

Cybele is rooted in Anatolian culture while much of Aphrodite's iconography springs from Semitic goddesses. There are also possible parallels between the earliest divine generations (Chaos and its children) and Tiamatin the Enuma Elish. According to Meyer Reinhold,HP Pavilion DV9000 battery

"near Eastern theogonic concepts, involving divine succession through violence and generational conflicts for power, found their way ... into Greek mythology".In addition to Indo-European and Near Eastern origins, some scholars have speculated on the debts of Greek mythology to the pre-Hellenic societies: Crete, Mycenae, Pylos, Thebes and Orchomenus.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Historians of religion were fascinated by a number of apparently ancient configurations of myth connected with Crete (the god as bull, Zeus and Europa, Pasiphaë who yields to the bull and gives birth to the Minotaur etc.) Professor Martin P. Nilsson concluded that all great classical Greek myths were tied to Mycenaen centres and were anchored in prehistoric times.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

Nevertheless, according to Burkert, the iconography of the Cretan Palace Period has provided almost no confirmation for these theories.

Motifs in Western art and literature

The widespread adoption of Christianity did not curb the popularity of the myths.HP Compaq Business 6735S battery

With the rediscovery of classical antiquity in the Renaissance, the poetry of Ovid became a major influence on the imagination of poets, dramatists, musicians and artists.From the early years of Renaissance, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, portrayed the Pagan subjects of Greek mythology alongside more conventional Christian themes.HP 540 battery

Through the medium of Latin and the works of Ovid, Greek myth influenced medieval and Renaissance poets such as Petrarch, Boccaccio andDante in Italy.

In Northern Europe, Greek mythology never took the same hold of the visual arts, but its effect was very obvious on literature.HP Compaq Business NW9440 battery

The English imagination was fired by Greek mythology starting with Chaucer and John Milton and continuing through Shakespeare to Robert Bridges in the 20th century. Racine in France and Goethe in Germany revived Greek drama, reworking the ancient myths.HP Compaq Business  TC4400 battery

Although during the Enlightenment of the 18th century reaction against Greek myth spread throughout Europe, the myths continued to provide an important source of raw material for dramatists, including those who wrote the libretti for many of Handel's and Mozart's operas.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

By the end of the 18th century, Romanticism initiated a surge of enthusiasm for all things Greek, including Greek mythology. In Britain, new translations of Greek tragedies and Homer inspired contemporary poets (such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Keats, Byronand Shelley) and painters (such as Lord Leighton and Lawrence Alma-Tadema).HP HSTNN-LB31 battery

Christoph Gluck, Richard Strauss, Jacques Offenbach and many others set Greek mythological themes to music. American authors of the 19th century, such as Thomas Bulfinch and Nathaniel Hawthorne, held that the study of the classical myths was essential to the understanding of English and American literature.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

In more recent times, classical themes have been reinterpreted by dramatists Jean Anouilh, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Giraudoux in France, Eugene O'Neill in America, and T. S. Eliot in Britain and by novelists such as James Joyce and André Gide. HP Pavilion DV3-4000  battery

Greek religionencompasses the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religionsor "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared similarities.HP Pavilion TX1000 battery

Also, the Greek religion extended out of Greece and out to other islands.Many Greek people recognized the major gods and goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena,Hermes, Demeter, Hestia and Hera though philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism used language that seems to posit a transcendent single deity.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  battery

Different cities often worshipped the same deities, sometimes with epithets that distinguished them and specified their local nature.

The religious practices of the Greeks extended beyond mainland Greece, to the islands and coasts of Ionia in Asia Minor,HP 448007-001 battery

to Magna Graecia (Sicily and southern Italy), and to scattered Greek colonies in the Western Mediterranean, such as Massalia (Marseille). Greek religion was tempered by Etruscan cult and belief to form much of the later Ancient Roman religion.

While there were few concepts universal to all the Greek peoples, there were common beliefs shared by many.HP Compaq Business  6530B  battery

Theology

Ancient Greek theology was based on polytheism; that is, the assumption that there were many gods and goddesses. There was a hierarchy of deities, withZeus, the king of the gods, having a level of control over all the others, although he was not omnipotent. Some deities had dominion over certain aspects ofnature.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

For instance, Zeus was the sky-god, sending thunder and lightning, Poseidon ruled over the sea and earthquakes, Hades threw his remarkable power throughout the boundaries of death and the Underworld, and Helios controlled the sun. Other deities ruled over an abstract concept; for instance Aphroditecontrolled love.HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  battery

While being immortal, the gods were not all powerful. They had to obey fate, which overrode all. For instance, in mythology, it was Odysseus' fate to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, and the gods could only lengthen his journey and make it harder for him, but they could not stop him.HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB battery

The gods acted like humans, and had human vices. They would interact with humans, sometimes even spawning children with them. At times certain gods would be opposed to others, and they would try to outdo each other. In theIliad Zeus, Aphrodite, Ares and Apollo support the Trojan side in the Trojan War, while Hera, Athena and Poseidon support the Greeks (see theomachy).HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  battery

Some gods were specifically associated with a certain city. Athena was associated with the city of Athens, Apollo with Delphi and Delos, Zeus with Olympia and Aphrodite with Corinth. Other deities were associated with nations outside of Greece; Poseidon was associated with Ethiopia and Troy, and Ares with Thrace.HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

Identity of names was not a guarantee of a similar cultus; the Greeks themselves were well aware that the Artemis worshipped at Sparta, the virgin huntress, was a very different deity from the Artemis who was a many-breasted fertility goddess at Ephesus.HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR  battery

When literary works such as the Iliadrelated conflicts among the gods these conflicts were because their followers were at war on earth and were a celestial reflection of the earthly pattern of local deities. Though the worship of the major deities spread from one locality to another,HP Pavilion DV5-1111EA Battery

and though most larger cities boasted temples to several major gods, the identification of different gods with different places remained strong to the end.

The Greeks believed in an underworld where the spirits of the dead went after death.HP Pavilion DV6-1234TX battery

If a funeral was never performed, it was commonly believed that that person's spirit would never reach the underworld and so would haunt the world as a ghost forever. There were various views of the underworld, and the idea changed over time.

One of the most widespread areas of the underworld was known as Hades.HP Pavilion DV3-2008TX  battery

This was ruled over by a god, a brother of Zeus, who was called Hades (his realm was originally called 'the place of Hades'). Another realm, called Tartarus, was the place where the damned were thought to go, a place of torment. A third realm,Elysium, was a pleasant place where the virtuous dead and initiates in the mystery cults were said to dwell.HP Pavilion DV8  battery

In the early Mycenean religion all the dead went to Hades, just as in early Judaism all the dead went to Sheol. When Odysseus visits Hades in Odyssey11, Achilles tells him he would rather be a farmer's servant on the face of the earth than king of Hades. The rise of mystery cults in the Archaic age led to the development of places such as Tartarus and Elysium.HP Pavilion DV6-1215SA  battery

A very few, like Achilles, Alcmene, Amphiaraus Ganymede, Ino, Melicertes, Menelaus, Peleus, and a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, were eventually considered to have been physically immortalized and brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, heaven, the ocean or literally right under the ground.HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

Such beliefs evolved during the Archaic period (800-500 B. C. E.) as lower-class people began to play a larger role in Greek society and politics. Without belief in doctrines of the mystery cults, at the moment of death there was no hope of anything but the existence of a disembodied soul.Compaq Presario CQ50  battery

Some Greeks, such as the philosophers Pythagoras and Plato, also espoused the idea of reincarnation, though this was not accepted by all. Epicurus taught that the soul was simply atoms which dissolved at death, so there was no existence after death.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO  battery

Mythology

Greek religion had an extensive mythology. It consisted largely of stories of the gods and of how they affected humans on Earth. Myths often revolved around heroes and their actions, such as Heracles and his twelve labors,Odysseus and his voyage home, Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece and Theseus and the Minotaur.HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

Many different species existed in Greek mythology. Chief among these were the gods and humans, though the Titans also frequently appeared in Greek myths. They predated the Olympian gods, and were hated by them. Lesser species included the half-man, half-horse centaurs,Compaq Presario CQ35-100 battery

the nature basednymphs (tree nymphs were dryads, sea nymphs were Nereids) and the half man, half goat satyrs. Some creatures in Greek mythology were monstrous, such as the one-eyed giant Cyclopes, the sea beast Scylla, whirlpool Charybdis, Gorgons, and the half-man, half-bull Minotaur.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51  battery

Many of the myths revolved around the Trojan war between Greece and Troy. For instance, the epic poem, The Iliad, by Homer, is based on the war. Many other tales are based on the aftermath of the war, such as the murder of King Agamemnon of Argos, and the adventures of Odysseus on his return to Ithaca.HP Pavilion ZE4500  battery

There was no one set Greek cosmogony, or creation myth. Different religious groups believed that the world had been created in different ways. One Greek creation myth was told in Hesiod's Theogony. It stated that at first there was only a primordial deity called Chaos,HP G62-100EB  battery

who gave birth to various other primordial gods, such as Gaia, Tartarus and Eros, who then gave birth to more gods, the Titans, who then gave birth to the first Olympians.

The mythology largely survived and was added to in order to form the later Roman mythology.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX  battery

The Greeks and Romans had been literate societies, and much mythology was written down in the forms of epic poetry (such as The Iliad, The Odysseyand the Argonautica) and plays (such as Euripides' The Bacchaeand Aristophones' The Frogs). The mythology became popular in Christian post-Renaissance Europe,HP EliteBook 6930P battery

where it was often used as a basis for the works of artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo and Rubens.

Festivals

Various religious festivals were held in ancient Greece. Many were specific only to a particular deity or city-state.HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

For example, the festival of Lycaea was celebrated in Arcadia in Greece, which was dedicated to the pastoral god Pan. There were also the Games held each year in different locations, culminating in the Olympic Games, which were held every 4 years. These celebrated Zeus.Compaq Evo N610C  battery

Morality

One of the most important moral concepts to the Greeks was a fear of committing hubris, which constituted many things, from rape to desecration of a corpse. It was a crime in the city-state of Athens. Although pride and vanity were not considered sins themselves, the Greeks emphasized moderation.HP Pavilion DM3-1050EO battery

Pride only became hubris when it went to extremes, like any other vice. The same was thought of eating and drinking. Anything done to excess was not considered proper. Ancient Greeks placed, for example, importance on athletics and intellect equally. In fact many of their competitions included both.Compaq Presario 1245  battery

Pride was not evil until it became all-consuming or hurtful to others.

Sacred Texts

Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Pindar's Odes are included as sacred texts as are other works of classical antiquity.HP G6000  battery

These are the core texts that were considered inspired and usually include an invocation to the Muses for inspiration at the beginning of the work. Such texts, however, were not considered inspired in the sense that they had to be believed by everyone. Plato even wanted to exclude the myths from his ideal state described in the Republicbecause of their low moral tone.HP Compaq 451086-661  battery

Ceremonies

Greek ceremonies and rituals were mainly performed at altars. These typically were devoted to one, or a few, gods, and contained a statue of the particular deity upon it. Votive deposits would be left at the altar, such as food, drinks, as well as precious objects.HP Pavilion DV2166EA  battery

Sometimes animal sacrifices would be performed here, with most of the flesh eaten, and the offal burnt as an offering to the gods. Libations, often of wine, would be offered to the gods as well, not only at shrines, but also in everyday life, such as during a symposium.HP Compaq 464119-143  battery

One ceremony was pharmakos, a ritual involving expelling a symbolic scapegoat such as a slave or an animal, from a city or village in a time of hardship. It was hoped that by casting out the ritual scapegoat, the hardship would go with it.

Sacrifice

Worship in Greece typically consisted of sacrificing domestic animals at the altar with hymn and prayer.Compaq Presario CQ71  battery

Parts of the animal were then burned for the gods; the worshippers would eat the rest. The evidence of the existence of such practices is clear in some ancient Greek literature, especially in Homer’s epics. Throughout the poems, the use of the ritual is apparent at banquets where meat is served, in times of danger or before some important endeavor to gain the favor of the gods.HP Pavilion DV9565EA  battery

For example, in Homer’s The Odyssey (circa 725 B.C.) Eumaeus sacrifices a pig with prayer for his unrecognizable master Odysseus. In Homer’s The Iliad (circa 750 B.C.), which may describe Greek civilization centuries earlier, every banquet of the princes begins with a sacrifice and prayer.HP Pavilion DV6203TX battery

These sacrificial practices, described in these pre-Homeric eras, share commonalities to the 8th century forms of sacrificial rituals. Furthermore, throughout the poem, special banquets are held whenever gods indicated their presence by some sign or success in war.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO  battery

Before setting out for Troy, this type of animal sacrifice is offered. Odysseus offers Zeus a sacrificial ram in vain. The occasions of sacrifice in Homer’s epic poems may shed some light onto the view of the gods as members of society, rather than as external entities, indicating social ties.HP HSTNN-OB51  battery

Sacrificial rituals played a major role in forming the relationship between humans and the divine.

Rites of Passage

One rite of passage was the amphidromia, celebrated on the fifth or seventh day after the birth of a child. Childbirth was extremely significant to Athenians, especially if the baby was a boy.HP Pavilion DV7-2185DX  battery

Mystery religions

Those who were not satisfied by the public cult of the gods could turn to various mystery religions which operated as cults into which members had to be initiated in order to learn their secrets.HP Compaq Business  6830S  battery

Here, they could find religious consolations that traditional religion could not provide: a chance at mystical awakening, a systematic religious doctrine, a map to the afterlife, a communal worship, and a band of spiritual fellowship.HP PP2200 battery

Some of these mysteries, like the mysteries of Eleusis and Samothrace, were ancient and local. Others were spread from place to place, like the mysteries of Dionysus. During the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire, exotic mystery religions became widespread, not only in Greece, but all across the empire.Compaq CQ50 battery

Some of these were new creations, such as Mithras, while others had been practiced for hundreds of years before, like the Egyptian mysteries of Osiris.

Origins

Mainstream Greek religion appears to have evolved from the earlier Mycenaean religion from the Mycenaean civilization of Bronze Age Greece.HP Pavilion DV8 battery

The Mycenaeans, according to archaeological discoveries, seemed to treat Poseidon as the chief deity. It may also have absorbed the beliefs and practices of earlier, nearby cultures, such as Minoan religion. Herodotus traced many Greek religious practices to Egypt.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Classical Antiquity

The mainstream religion of the Greeks did not go unchallenged from persons within Greece. Several notable philosophers criticised a belief in the gods. The earliest of these was Xenophanes, who chastised the human vices of the gods as well as their anthropomorphic depiction.HP DV9700 battery

Plato did not believe in many polythiestic deities, but instead believed that there was one supreme god, whom he called the Form of the good, and which he believed was the emanation of perfection in the universe. Plato's disciple, Aristotle, also disagreed that polythiestic deities existed, because he could not find enough empirical evidence for it.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

He believed in a Prime Mover, which had set creation going, but was not connected to or interested in the universe.

Roman Empire

When the Roman Republic conquered Greece in 146 BC, it took much of Greek religion (along with many other aspects of Greek culture such as literary and architectural styles) and incorporated it into its own.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

The Greek gods were equated with the ancient Roman deities; Zeus with Jupiter, Hera with Juno, Poseidon with Neptune, Aphrodite with Venus, Ares with Mars, Artemis with Diana, Athena with Minerva, Hermes with Mercury, Hephaestus with Vulcan, Hestia with Vesta, Demeter with Ceres, Hades with Pluto, Tyche with Fortuna, and Pan with Faunus.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

Some of the gods, such as Apollo and Bacchus, had earlier been adopted by the Romans. There were also many deities that existed in the Roman religion before its interaction with Greece that weren't associated with a Greek deity, including Janus and Quirinus.HP 448007-001 battery

Greek Polytheism revivals

Greek religion has experienced a number of revivals, in the arts, humanities and spirituality of the Renaissance as well as with the contemporary Hellenic Reconstructionism, or "Hellenismos" as it is sometimes called (a term first used by the last pagan Roman emperor Julian the Apostate).Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

Many neo-pagan religious paths, such as Wicca, use aspects of ancient Greek religions in their practice; Hellenic Reconstructionism focuses exclusively thereon, as far as the nature of the surviving source material allows. It reflects neo-Platonic/Platonic speculation (which is represented in Porphyry, Libanius, Proclus, and Julian), as well as Classical cult practice.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

The overwhelming majority of modern Greeks are followers of Greek Orthodox Christianity. According to estimates reported by the U.S. State Department, there are perhaps as many as 2,000 followers of the ancient Greek religion out of a total Greek population of 11 million.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

Roman mythologyis the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in theliterature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period.Apple A1280 battery

The Romans usually treated their traditional narratives as historical, even when these have miraculous or supernatural elements. The stories are often concerned with politics and morality, and how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state.Apple A1281 battery

Heroism is an important theme. When the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual,augury, and institutions than with theology or cosmogony.

The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory,HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

and by the later artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors. The Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks (see interpretatio graeca), and reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts.HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

Rome's early myths and legends also have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks.

While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature,Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse.Dell Latitude E6400 Battery Battery

Because Latin literature was more widely known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans often had the greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources.HP Pavilion DM4 Battery

In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid'sMetamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical.Apple MB772LL/A battery

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