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Greek Mythology

April 4, 2018

The origins
Greek Mythology was developed to explain the origin of the world and of mankind. So myths appeared to relate the stories of ancestors, origins and gods. Mythology tries to answer the most difficult and the most normal questions of human existence: “the origin of the world”.
Therefore the population had true faith in gods. They were making sacrifices for them and prayers. All the rules were made according to them; relationships between gods and humans were based on exchanges. If humans were making sacrifices and gifts then the gods thanked them by providing fertility, prosperity and health on earth.

The most famous myth is called “Demeter” which explains the origin of season. Demeter had a daughter: Persephone, the latter was kidnapped by Hades, god of the hell  because Persephone had eaten in the underworld so she broke the rules. As a consequence she had to pass half of the year in  hell and the other with her mother. The year is halved: when Persephone is in hell it is the winter because she is in darkness and when she is with her mother it is spring she is happy, free, and outside.

How did these gods appear in Greece?    

 

Context/

Gaia, goddess of the earth  gave birth to Uranus without any help, then Gaia and Uranus united. From this union six males Titans were born:  Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Oceanus  and six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys. The most known, Cronus, had betrayed her father and became the ruler Titan with his wife and sister Rhea. After these events Rhea became pregnant many times. Unfortunately Cronus was afraid that the story of father-son conflict repeated so he ate the children. Rhea decided once to hide her new-born called Zeus.  Zeus defeated his father by sending him in the Tartarus (a place even deeper than Hell). He gave to his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, the sea and the underworld, respectively, for their domains. He married Hera with whom he had many children ; he also had children with other women.

These ones are know as the Olympians

At the center of Greek mythology is the Pantheon of Deities who were said to be on the highest mountain in Greece. From there  they ruled on human life. Olympian gods and goddesses looked like men and women  but  they could change themselves into animals and other things.

The twelve main Olympians are:

-Zeus (Jupiter, in Roman mythology): the king of all the gods; and god of weather, law and fate
-Hera (Juno): the queen of the gods and goddess of women and marriage
-Aphrodite (Venus): goddess of beauty and love
-Apollo (Apollo): god of prophecy, music and poetry and knowledge
-Ares (Mars): god of war
-Artemis (Diana): goddess of hunting, animals and childbirth
-Athena (Minerva): goddess of wisdom and defense
-Demeter (Ceres): goddess of agriculture and grain
-Dionysos (Bacchus): god of wine, pleasure and festivity
-Hephaistos (Vulcan): god of fire, metalwork and sculpture
-Hermes (Mercury): god of travel, hospitality and trade and Zeus’s personal messenger
-Poseidon (Neptune): god of the sea

Mythology in life

The wedding/

Women were married to men according to their father’s will. Indeed marriage was usually arranged between the parents of the bride and the groom himself. There were usually no established age limits for marriage. Many women were married by the age of 14 or 16, while men commonly married around the age of 30.
The ceremony was divided into three parts:
-the Proaulia : the day before the wedding, the bride was with her mother and other women.
the Gamos: which was equivalent to the wedding day. It’s started with a sacrifice which was for the gods to bless their union. Then the future wife would cut her hair signifying her previous virginity. After that the two took a ceremonial bath in holy water.
-the Epaulia: was the time when the bride would spend her last days with her mother. During this ceremony, the bride would make various offerings, called the proteleia, to gods such as Artemis and Aphrodite. These offerings signified the bride’s separation from childhood. It could be for example toys.

Death/

This ritual is very significant. When a person died, the body was “exposed” on a bed where anybody could make offerings to the deceased. A coin was put between his teeth in order to pay for his passing on the other side. If the deceased didn’t have the ritual it was said that the soul was condemned to wander for eternity and was considered as damaged, harmful.

Modern Mythology

Mythology is an ancient subject but we still use it nowadays. To set an example you can watch movies or read books inspired by it. I discovered mythology thanks to the books  called Percy Jackson or even in French literature with Cocteau in Eurydice; this book gives a new representation of the meeting between Orphee and Eurydice in a station. Movies such as Pompei , Hercules , Troy are  inspired  by mythology. The fact that we are still inspired and curious about it shows that it is something that fascinates us.

Manoa

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