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Introduction to Mythology

Background information for Mythology Unit
by

Brittany Harden

on 2 October 2014

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Transcript of Introduction to Mythology

Short, sweet, & to the point...
Introduction to Mythology
- stories based on tradition
What are myths?
- universal concerns of humankind: "birth, death, afterlife, origins of men, good and evil"
- stories to answer questions that have been around since the beginning of time
- a kind of early science...how men explained their surroundings
- explain how something in nature came to be & how or why humans act the way they do
- not really about religion...although, there are religious undertones about what humans need from their gods
- Everyone! Every country and/or people group has myths

- Even in America, we have Native American creation stories/myths

- African, Norse, Greek, Roman

- What myths are you familiar with?
Who has myths?
- The oral tradition...
- They didn't have television, radio, or other modern conveniences (hopefully you know that already)
- Books or writings were super rare because of the amount of work that went into writing something...you had to MAKE paper, MAKE ink, etc. You couldn't just pick up a piece of paper and a pen or type away on a computer...
Methods...how do we still have myths from such ancient history?
- Magic...imagination...entertainment!
- Evidence of man close to nature in the distant past
- Truths about the human race and ancient cultures
- Focus on mankind as the center of the universe
- Gods in mankind's image...which hadn't really happened before (think Egyptian gods)
- Rational universe with humanlike gods, despite the seemingly irrationality of the myths (even Hercules came from a local, Greek hometown)
- Invisible to be understood by the visible...gods were not unknown beings anymore
- Beauty in the world around them...including human beings
- Gods were still to be feared (when angry), but they were now more personable and relatable
- Gods were even present in the earth
Greek & Roman
Mythology
- Greek myths tell us about what early Greeks were like...and they were the basis for our intellect, art, and politics
- We focus on Greek & Roman mythology because it is the most widely known...and the most integrated into our cultures now
- Allusion: "a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature. Allusions are often indirect or brief references to well-known characters or events"...especially mythological characters or events
Roles of myths in current life...
- Ovid (Latin poet): told almost all of the stories at length
- Homer (Illiad & Odyssey): oldest Greek writings we have - around 1000 BCE
- Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Alexandrian Poets: poets & playwrights with mythological subjects
- Herodotus: first Europian historian
- Roman writers: Virgil, Catullus, Horace
Who told/wrote about mythology?

- Mythology by Edith Hamilton

- PBS.org

- UNCP.edu
Sources:
We have games...
Movies...
Songs...and so much more.
Toploader - Achilles Heel
Full transcript