Greek and Roman Mythology

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Anthropology, Mythology
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Greek and Roman Mythology A Review of The Principal Gods and Goddesses

What is a myth? A traditional story rooted in primitive folk beliefs of cultures  Uses the supernatural to interpret natural events  Explains the culture’s view of the universe and the nature of humanity 

Introduction to Mythology   

Modern Western civilization (American included) owes much to the Greeks, as words like democracy and philosophy attest. The lives of ancient people were not romantic and beautiful, but full of hardship, disease, and violence. One of the most important aspects of the Greek worldview was that it was the first to put humans at the center of the universe. Also, unlike the animal deities of the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, the gods of the Greeks are human in form. Not only do they possess human physical characteristics, but they embody the emotional flaws of humans as well, such as philandering, feasting and drinking, and obsessive jealousy. Like humans, the gods are often unpredictable and more than occasionally immoral. They often get angry and jealous, sometimes doing terrible things like exacting vengeance or calling for sacrifices. These myths are not really a religion, but more of an attempt to fill the scientific void. They help explain natural phenomena, such as thunderstorms or the setting of the sun.

In the beginning... …was Chaos (shapeless nothingness)  Chaos had two children: 

– Night (darkness) – Erebus (death)

“All was black, empty, silent, endless.”  Mysteriously, Love was born of darkness and death. 

And then... When Love was born, order and beauty began to flourish.  Love created Light and Day.  Earth was created. 

– She was the solid ground, but also a personality. 

The Earth bore Heaven to cover her and be a home for the gods.

The First Parents Mother Earth = Gaea (Gaia)  Father Heaven = Ouranos (Uranus)  They had three kinds of children: 

– Three monsters with 100 hands and 50 heads – Three cyclopes – The titans 

These were the first characters that had the appearance of life, although it was unlike any life known to man.

The Titans      

Enormous size, incredible strength Cronos (Saturn): Ruler of the titans Rhea: Wife of Cronos Ocean: River that encircled the world Prometheus: Gave Mankind the gift of fire Atlas: Fought against the Olympians - as punishment, supports the Earth & Heavens on his shoulders

The Olympians

The Children of Cronos & Rhea

Zeus   

Roman Name: Jupiter (also Jove) Supreme god of the Olympians Fathered many characters in mythology Principal weapon: lightening bolt

Hera    

Roman Name: Juno Zeus’s sister and wife Jealous protector of marriage Punished the women Zeus fell in love with

Poseidon Roman Name: Neptune  God of the Seas and Waters  Carried a threepronged spear called a “trident”. 

Hades Roman Name: Pluto  God of the Underworld/ Dead  Kidnapped Persephone 

Hestia  

Roman Name: Vesta Goddess of the Hearth (symbol of the home) No distinct personality or part in myths

The Children of Zeus

Athena  

Roman Name: Minerva Protector of civilized life, handicrafts, and agriculture. Also a fierce warrior. No mother, she sprang from his head full-grown and in full armor

Ares  

 

Roman Name: Mars God of War Son of Zeus and Hera Bloodthirsty and merciless, but also cowardly

Hephaestus  

  

Roman Name: Vulcan (Mulciber) God of Fire/Forge, crafter of weaponry for the gods Son of Zeus and Hera The only ugly and deformed god. Makes armor and weapons forged under volcanoes.

Apollo  

Roman Name: Apollo Master musician, archer god, healer, god of light, god of truth, sun god Twin brother of Artemis

Artemis Roman Name: Diana  Goddess of the Moon/ Hunt  Apollo’s twin sister 

Hermes   

Roman Name: Mercury Messenger of the Gods Wore wings on his sandals and his hat, thus was graceful and swift. Appears in more myths than any other character

Aphrodite    

Roman Name: Venus Goddess of Love and Beauty Married to Hephaestus No mother, sprang from the ocean foam

Other Major Gods & Goddesses

Demeter  

 

Roman Name: Ceres Daughter of Cronos & Rhea, sister of Zeus Goddess of the Harvest Goddess of the Grain

Persephone   

Goddess of the Underworld Daughter of Zeus and Demeter Abducted by her husband Hades, her story explains the changing of the seasons

Dionysus    

Roman Name: Bacchus God of wine and madness Patron god of the Greek stage Festival of Dionysus (held in a theater)

Eros Roman Name: Cupid  God of Love  Eros & Psyche 

Hebe 

Roman Name: Juventas Goddess of Youth

Iris Goddess of the Rainbow  Messenger for Zeus and Hera 

The Muses 

Nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne Inspired artists of all kinds

Goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences “He is happy whom the muses love.”

Clio, Urania, Thalia, Melpomene, Erato, Calliope, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Polyhymnia

The Graces Three Goddesses of Grace and Beauty  “They give life its bloom.”  Aglaia (Splendor)  Euphrosyne (Mirth)  Thalia (Good Cheer) 

The Furies 

Three Goddesses of Vengeance – Tisiphone – Alecto – Megaera

They punish evildoers.

The Fates 

Three sisters – Clotho (“The Spinner”) – Lachesis (“The disposer of lots”) – Atropos (“The cutter”) They weave, measure, and cut the thread of life for humans.

The Underworld

Asphodel Meadows 

Where the souls of people who lived lives of near equal good and evil rested A plain of Asphodel flowers, which were the favorite food of the Greek dead A ghostly place that is an even less perfect version of life on earth

Tartarus 

A deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld Sisyphus: forced to roll a large boulder up a mountainside, which, when he reached the crest, rolled back down, repeatedly. Tantalus: Eternally thirsty and hungry, he stands in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reaches for the fruit, the branches rise beyond his grasp. Whenever he bends down to get a drink, the water recedes

Elysian Fields 

The final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous Heroes such as Achilles lived on in splendid company, in pleasant surroundings, in heroic pursuits of the hunt and banquet The residents of Elysian Fields did not drink from the river of Lethe, and therefore retained their memories

Cerberus   

Three-headed dog Guards the gates of Hades Prevents those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping

The Rivers of the Underworld

Acheron 

the river of sorrow

Cocytus 

the river of lamentation

Phlegethon 

The river of fire

Lethe 

The river of forgetfulness

Styx  

The river of hate Forms the boundary between upper and lower worlds

Charon  

The ferryman of Hades Carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divide the world of the living from the world of the dead. Dead souls must have a coin to pay Charon for passage. This coin was placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. Those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores of the river Styx


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