Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Greek Mythology Sources

Greek mythology is the aggregation of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, and concern their gods and heroes, the nature and origins of the world, and the significance of their own cult and ritual practices, as part of their religion. Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts.


Birth of Athena who emerged from Zeus' head.
Birth of Athena who emerged from Zeus' head.
The earliest Greek myths were part of an oral tradition that began in the Bronze Age, and their plots and themes evolved gradually in the written literature of the archaic and classical periods. Greek mythology was for the first time presented in written form in Homer’s Iliad. Homer’s Iliad describes the Trojan War, and the Odyssey recounts the voyage back home of the hero Odysseus following the Trojan War. These two works describe the story of the mythical Trojan War as a divine conflict as well as a human one. However, they don't fully introduce the gods and goddesses, who are their main characters, since readers and listeners should already be familiar with them.

Another source of Greek Mythology is the poem Theogony (Θεογονία - the genealogy or birth of the gods) from the poet Hesiod (Ησίοδος). The poem describes the story of the universe’s journey from nothingness (Chaos - Χάος) to being, and a number of elements, gods and goddesses who have evolved from Chaos and descended from Gaia (Γαία - Earth), Ouranos (Ουρανός - Uranus- Sky), Pontos (Πόντος - Sea) and Tartaros (Τάρταρα - Underworld).

Later Greek and Roman Writers, such as the 2nd-century BC Greek mythographer Apollodorus of Athens, compiled the ancient myths and legends for contemporary audiences (The Bibliotheca). Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories and local myths and legends, often giving largely unknown alternative versions. Finally, a myriad of mythical scenes decorate ceramics of all shapes and function and must surely have spread the myths to a wider audience.

"Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundation of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus...".
Hesiod, Theogony 116–122