Greek Mythology And Religion

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How Greek Mythology has affected religion

How Greek Mythology has affected religion


The themes of great myths are universal, and they center on ancestors, deities, heroes, heroines, and nature. Mythic themes have evolved in every culture, are unique to each culture, and yet often bear striking similarities. Myths are seldom simple and never irresponsible. Esoteric meanings abound, and the proper study of myths requires a great store of abstruse geographical, historical, and anthropological knowledge. The stories underscore both the variety and continuity of human nature. One of the most intriguing characteristics of myths is the way in which they have been transmitted, adopted, and adapted by successive cultures. The abiding interest in mythology lies in its connection to human wants, needs, desires, strengths, and frailties. By their nature, myths reveal the interwoven pattern of circumstances that are beyond the control of the mortal and the immortal.

As we delve further into the world of myths, we enjoy the subtle and dramatic ways in which myths pervade societies, unveiling universal themes, moral direction and inspiration, and how particular myths mirror the society in which they were created and developed. Myths are decidedly human in origin, and they speak of fire and ice, wind and rain, selfishness, anger, jealousy, courage, love and hate, hope and despair. Ironically, it is the human ability to make myths, and the very need to do so, that ultimately sets humans apart from other inhabitants of the earth.

Myths may be drawn from any era and any geographical area. For this treatise, we examine components of Greek and Roman mythology, Norse and Teutonic (Germanic) mythology, Oriental mythology, and the commonalities among these and several other cultures.

To people of Western cultures, the most familiar mythology outside of the JudeoChristian culture is that of Greek and Roman mythology. The mythology of ancient Greece and Rome stemmed from the human desire to explain natural events and the origin of the universe. The myths chronicle Zeus and his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, who exacted control of the universe from their father, Cronus, and the Titans, a powerful race of giants. Cronus himself had wrenched control from his own parents, Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). Great epics of war and peace and proud heroes and courageous heroines, who represented the basic cultural values of the Greek people, were recorded. Men and women alternately worshipped and feared a ménage of gods and goddesses who traditionally resided on Mount Olympus, attributing failure and defeat to the wrath of the gods and attributing success and victory to the grace of the gods.

Women offered great homage to Hera, the wife of Zeus and queen of the gods, whose name means “splendor of heaven.” Hera, the mother of some, but not all, of Zeus's many offspring, was implored by women who were about to give birth to numb the pain of labor and to favor them with healthy and beautiful infants. Because she had been betrayed by Zeus, Hera, who wore golden sandals and sat on a golden ...
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