Introduction to mythology
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Introduction to Mythology. English II. Unit Questions. What is a myth? What makes  Gilgamesh  and  Iliad  epics? What are some similarities and differences between creation stories around the world?. Myth.

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Unit questions
Unit Questions

  • What is a myth?

  • What makes Gilgamesh and Iliad epics?

  • What are some similarities and differences between creation stories around the world?

Introduction to mythology

  • a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being orhero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or anaturalexplanation,especiallyonethatisconcerned with deities or demigodsandexplainssomepractice,rite, or phenomenon of nature.

Greek mythology origin
Greek Mythology Origin

  • Greeks were polytheistic people, meaning that they believed in the existence of Gods, the famous 12 Gods of Mount Olympus and numerous deities and semi gods that played supporting roles to the original Gods.

  • Ancient Greeks believed that their Gods had enormous powers, and that they were able to control nature in all its forms. The interesting part is that it was Greeks themselves who appointed all this power to their Gods, yet, they were full of respect and fear for them.

Origin of greek mythology continued
Origin of Greek mythology continued

  • The oldest sources of Greek Mythology are the two epic poems written by Homer: the Odyssey and the Iliad, although the origins of the world and the vast effort to explain the nature, the surroundings and the very essence of Greek mythology itself, lies at the texts of Hesiod, especially Theogony:

  • “At the beginning, there was chaos” he said, explaining the Genesis of the world, the birth of Gods, the succession of rulers, the origins of human woes. Till today, Theogony is considered the basis of the Greek mythology, probably the most comprehensive literal creation of that time.


  • Greek mythology

  • Characters: Daedalus, Icarus, and King Minos

  • Setting: Labyrinth of Crete

  • Plot: Daedalus and Icarus are held prisoner by King Minos because he wants to keep Daedalus’ talent to himself

What is an epic
What is an epic

  • Epic- is a long narrative poem about a larger than-life- herowho is engaged in a dangerous journey, or quest, that is important to the history of a nation or people

  • Types of Epics:

    • Folk Epics- stories about heroes that were originally recited or sung as entertainment at feasts

    • Literary epics were written by a specific author, usually borrowing the style and characteristics of folk epic

Elements of epic
Elements of epic

  • An epic focuses on the adventures of a larger-than life main character called the epic hero

  • Heroic quest- hero goes in search of something of value to his people

  • Divine intervention- the epic hero often receives help from a god or some other supernatural force

Epic conventions
Epic conventions

  • Epic usually begins with an open statement of theme, followed by an invocation, or appeal for supernatural help

  • Story begins in medias res- readers are plunged right into the action, and then flashbacks and other narrative devices report on earlier events

  • Serious tone

  • Epic similes- comparisons using like and as

  • Epithets- stock descriptive words or phrases. Poems were originally composed and recited orally

    • Kind of shorthand

The epic of gilgamesh notes
The Epic of Gilgamesh notes:

  • Long Narrative Poem

  • Traced to 2700-2500 BC

  • Named for a Sumerian King

  • Concerns: Timeless and Universal

    • How to become known and respected

    • How to cope with the loss of a dear friend

    • How to accept one’s own inevitable death

How epic stories endured
How Epic stories endured

  • Told and handed down by Sumerians for hundreds of years after death

  • Babylonians conquered the Sumerians soon afterward; they inherited the Sumerian cultural tradition

  • Babylonian author created the start of the unified Gilgamesh epic

    • Others modified the epic, adding the prologue and the flood story and emphasizing the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu

      Most important search for immortality

Story of the ancient king
Story of the Ancient king

  • Gilgamesh is the King of Uruk

  • gods and goddesses in his life to provide challenges, obstacles, and challenging tests

  • Gods and goddesses Aruru creates Enkidu to provide such a challenge to Gilgamesh

  • Gilgamesh and Ekindu became engaged in a heated wrestling match, which Gilgamesh wins after a hard fought battle with his opponent

  • The two men became close friends

Introduction to mythology

Archetype everlasting life

  • An archetype is a basic plot, character, symbol, or idea, that recurs in the literature of many cultures

Hero s quest
Hero’s Quest everlasting life

  • A plot in which an extraordinary person goes on a difficult journey or mission

  • The hero may search for a person, place, or object of value; the answer to a problem or puzzling question or some other kind of special knowledge

  • In Gilgamesh, a heroic king searches for the secret of immortality

Characterization everlasting life

  • Characterization is the means by which characters are created or developed

  • Authors reveal characters’ personalities through direct statements; through characters’ actions, speech, and thoughts; or through descriptive details

As you read
As you read everlasting life

Before you read complete an overview of Sumerian and Babylonian civilization

As you read look for details about the way the people lived, worked, and believed

On a chart record the details that provide clues to the culture that created this epic

Historical background
Historical Background everlasting life

  • Those who spoke Semitic languages, the Semites, were nomadic people who had migrated to Mesopotamia from the Arabian Peninsula

  • At the times that Sumerian civilization was developing along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Egyptian civilization arose along the banks of the Nile in Northeaster Africa.

  • At first the villages along the Nile were divided into two countries: Upper Egypt in the south and Lower Egypt in the north

Time period
Time period everlasting life

  • The history of the pharaohs, or rulers, who then led Egypt to be divided into:

    • Early Dynastic Period (c. 2925-2575 B.C)

    • Old Kingdom (c. 2575-c. 2130 B.C)

    • Middle Kingdom (1938-c 1600 B.C)

    • New Kingdom (c. 1540- 1075 B.C)

Background continued
Background continued everlasting life

  • The pharaohs were looked at as gods

  • The pyramid that housed a pharaoh's remains was both a symbol of the afterlife and an image of Egyptian society

    • At top of pyramid was pharaoh

    • Beneath pharaoh were priest and nobles who held administrative positions

    • Next were the middle class: artisans, merchants, and physicians who served the ruling class

    • Last were the lowest and most numerous: the peasants and slaves

Babylonians everlasting life

  • Babylonians had a reverent attitude toward Sumerian culture, however, they were far more than slavish imitators

  • The Babylonians reshaped the group of Sumerian tales about a legendary king, Babylonian scribes fashioned a brilliant work that we know today as The Epic of Gilgamesh

Hebrew scripture
Hebrew Scripture everlasting life

  • Hebrew monotheism, or belief in a single God, served as a basis for two other world religions, Christianity and Islam

  • Hebrew law demonstrated a greater respect for human life than had previously existed in the ancient North East

  • Another new idea was the Hebrews’ deep concern with moral behavior