A Brief Introduction • Mythology refers to a set of stories, beliefs, and traditions associated with a particular group or culture and tells about their ancestors, heroes, gods and other supernatural beings and history.
On second thought… • Why do you think the Romans, Greeks and other civilizations enjoy a high social standing or political power at that time? (EQ) • Myths can serve to justify or validate social standing or political power in the secular world.
Zeus (Jupiter) • Supreme Ruler, Master of the Universe • Domain: Sky • Weapon: Thunderbolt and Lightning • King of Gods, God of Kings • First Sex Addict: in all forms (Rhea, Metis, Themis, Demeter, Mnemosyne, Leto, and Hera plus countless of mortals and Ganymede: a young Trojan man)
Hera (Juno) • Goddess of marriage but was not blessed with a happy and peaceful marriage • Wife and sister • Extremely jealous and competitive about beauty • Pursues, punishes, and persecutes her husband’s mistresses and bastard children (perfect archetype of a wife, and mother) • Hera on Echo- from being talkative to repeating senselessly what others had just said
Poseidon (Neptune) • God of the sea, earthquakes and horses • Weapon: Trident • Moody, gruff, and quick to anger • Sensitive towards his position: VS Athena over Athens (five VS four equals terrible flood: to appease his anger, women were stripped off their right to vote and children were stripped off their mother’s name)
Hades (Pluto) • God of the underworld, death and wealth • Though cold and grim, he was neither vicious nor evil • Very private, hates visitors • Weapon: cap or helmet
Hestia (Vesta) • The kindest, most virtuous, and most charitable • Chaste and virgin • Goddess of the hearth, symbol of home
Demeter (Ceres) • Was kind and generous, but if crossed, imposed harsh punishments • Goddess of the corn and harvest
Athena (Minerva) • Goddess of wisdom and of the First in war, first in peace: derived more pleasure from peaceful resolution of disputes • A sure- fire cure for Zeus’ migraine: Athena’s birth • Chaste and virgin • Olive tree and owl • Gray- eyed i.e. flashing
Hephaestus (Vulcan) • Two versions but with one common denominator: Hephaestus is lame. • God of fire as well as the blacksmiths and armorers • Sweet revenge: back in Olympus with the golden throne • The hands that built: the palaces of the Olympian gods, shield of Achilles, and Pandora, the first woman
Ares (Mars) • God of War • Chose sides capriciously and even switched sides in the middle of a war • Took pleasure in the bloodshed, slaughter, and wanton destruction of war • Was not as skillful as a warrior • Disciplined Athena beat him twice • Flees away from a battle twice when wounded or hurt or beaten, trapped inside a bronze jar as well
Functions of Myths as gleaned on some sample myths • What do myths mean for the early civilizations at that time?
The Rape of Persephone • What does the myth attempt to explain then? • What do we believe in now? • Why do early men cling to myths for certain beliefs?
Enduring Understandings • Myths have an explanatory element. They attempt to provide aetiology, to explain otherwise unanswerable questions, to provide reasons that things are the way they are. • The origin or cause of some unexplainable phenomena can be attributed to the gods and goddesses.
Further… • What would explain for the origin of certain practices and rites?
Enduring Understandings • Myths help to explain or justify particular rites or practices. • Myths may have led to the development of particular religious rituals and practices- or even gave rise to the birth of cults devoted to a specific deity. • The rituals, ceremonies, and other rites that we observe today trace their origin to gods and goddesses.
Story of Narcissus and Echo • Why do people believe in strange and extraordinary occurrences in everyday life that are unimaginable and unthinkable?
Enduring Understandings • Myths also explore incomprehensible and possibly terrifying aspects of life. • The gods can be arbitrary, destructive, and unjust to humans, which explains the series of unfortunate events and miseries that happen to some mortals even if they have done nothing to offend the gods, directly or indirectly.
Interesting Inquiries • Why did the gods not rally against Hades for kidnapping Persephone? • Why did Poseidon and Hades not plan to steal Zeus’ throne? • Why did Zeus refuse to take sides in the Trojan War? • Why do gods when they turn fools have to hide their mischief from the others? • Why do they observe a sense of hierarchy and respect each other’s domain?
Enduring Understandings • Myths also serve both a political and religious function- the relationship between gods and human race- explains the ordered universe. • The Olympians inspired the sense of order, organization and system in the world as evident in the government, leadership, and the human way of life.
Story of Arachne • What will happen if people did not behave the way they are expected to by the society?
Enduring Understandings • Myths also pointed the way toward acceptable behavior in interactions with both gods and fellow humans. (by encouraging socially acceptable behavior and discouraging crimes and other sins, such myths helped to uphold and protect the social order, while recognizing and respecting its fragility. • The gods and goddesses pointed out the acceptable norms of interaction between them and humans and among humans themselves, therefore all good deeds are rewarded and all bad deeds are punished.