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Introduction to Mythology

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1 Introduction to Mythology
Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths

2 Mythology A usually traditional story of events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon . Myths often involve divine, supernatural, and/or heroic characters.

3 Mythology OR A collection of fictional stories involving the actions of gods, goddesses and other imaginary characters, intended to explain the unexplainable.

4 Classical Greek Mythology
A collection of stories about a set of gods, based upon oral tradition, as told and recorded by the ancient Greeks Myths served as entertainment, a sense of national/regional pride, and religious education

5 Oral Tradition The practice of passing along stories, tales, and folklore by word of mouth Oral tradition is responsible for many of the “inconsistencies” of ancient mythology.

6 Fantasy Highly imaginative writing that contains elements not found in real life Many science fiction and fantasy books, movies and comic books are based upon the style and manner of myths.

7 Legends Definition: fictional stories loosely based upon real/historical people and events. Also known as “tall-tales” Are rooted in facts, but stories have been changed through the years…WHY?

8 Fables Definition: A brief story, often containing animal characters that teaches a lesson or moral Fables deal with “useful truth”

9 “The Classicists” Greek mythology existed for hundreds of years before these stories were ever recorded with written words. The scholars/poets who recorded the myths are known as “classicists.” The major classicists of Greek Mythology include Virgil, Homer, and Ovid.

10 The Importance of Myths
Myths were critical to the ancient Greeks These stories touched all aspects of Greek life, including art, music, architecture, military endeavors, religion, and education. Greek myths and sunlight are represented by moral quality. Heroes are set in sunlight, monsters belong to the darkness.

11 Categories of Myths Myths of creation: these explain the beginning of time, space, and man Myths of explanation: these explain the great questions of the universe Myths of morality: these teach lessons and reinforce cultural morality

12 Why Study Mythology? Greek myths are the foundations for the arts as we know them, including movies, television, commercial products, sports, music, and comic books. A knowledge of Greek mythology enhances a person’s ability to understand and appreciate the world as a whole.

13 Mythology: A Brief Timeline
The beginning: according to popular belief Uranus was the “First One”, and he created the universe. Uranus created and married Gaia, otherwise known as “Mother Earth.” They lived on Mt. Olympus

14 Uranus and Gaia had many children:
Some were human-like giants, called the “Titans” Some were hideous, disfigured monsters The Titans lived for many years under Uranus’s cruel reign Uranus’s most powerful son would soon challenge his rule.

15 Cronus killed his cruel father and assumed his role as “king of the Titans.”
Before Uranus died, he predicted that Cronus would be killed by one of his sons, just as he had been. What is the logical solution to this problem?

16 Because he feared his sons, Cronus ate his first two sons whole
Fed up with his baby-gobbling, Rhea gave birth to her third son in secret Rhea dressed a boulder up as a baby and Cronus ate the rock unknowingly Zeus was sent as an infant to be raised in secret by human shephards

17 Cronus married his sister, Rhea, and had:
-Three daughters: Hestia, Demeter, Hera -Three sons: Posiedon, Hades, and Zeus These offspring were considered Titans, but would later become the gods and goddesses of Greek Mythology

18 Zeus returned to Mt. Olympus as a young man and poisoned Cronus
Cronus vomited up brothers Poseidon and Hades Zeus was celebrated as a hero An epic battle ensues between Cronus and his sons for the right to rule Mt. Olympus and the universe.

19 The Great Battle! Cronus is assisted in battle by his Titan brothers
Zeus and his brothers are assisted by the monsters Cronus had abused and tortured for years in captivity. These monsters included the Cyclopes (3) and the Hundred-Handed Ones (3)

20 Mythology and Classic Art
The Battle Between the Gods and the Titans by Wtewael Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

21 Cronus is Defeated! The three sons roll dice to divide Cronus’ kingdom
Zeus wins, and chooses the empty sky. Poseidon secretly wanted the sea. Hades is left to bitterly receive “leftovers” In the underworld.

22 Enter the Gods… Magically and mysteriously, the children of Cronus become immortal, and become gods and goddesses. Mythology offers no explanation for this important transformation! The twelve main gods and goddesses are known as the Pantheon.

23 The Pantheon There are many gods, goddesses, demi- gods (half-gods) and supernatural beings in Greek Mythology. The twelve main gods and goddesses are known as the Pantheon.

24 Zeus

25 Zeus: King of the gods, ruler of Mt. Olympus Also god of lightning
Was a powerful and aggressive ruler Struck Earth with lightning bolt when upset Waged constant war with wife and sisterHera Cheated on wife countless times, and had numerous children with mortals, gods, and other creatures

26 Zeus (continued) Was a master of disguise, which aided him in his philandering Was a complex character: capable of unspeakable acts of immorality and occasional acts of mercy

27 Hera

28 HERA Queen of immortals, goddess of marriage and childbirth
Unhappy wife of Zeus Disapproved of Zeus’ constant cheating Held grudges against Zeus’ “children” Often punished Zeus with childish pranks and vengeful schemes

29 Athena

30 Athena Goddess of wisdom and warfare, mistress of strategy
Taught men how to use an ax, plough, wheel, sail. Taught women how to spin and weave (Arachne story...) Mother was Metis, a Titaness Zeus became paranoid that his child would harm him, so he eats her whole. Zeus developed a splitting headache Hephaestus split his head open with a chisel, and…


32 The “Rebirth” of Athena
Athena jumped out of Zeus skull, full-grown and wearing battle armor. One of the most popular and respected immortals Athens, Greece is named for her

33 Poseidon

34 Poseidon God of water Never had children with sea nymph-Thetis because any son of Thetis would be greater than Poseiden Thetis had a son from Peleus whose name was Achilles therefore the prophecy came true. Difficult, quarrelsome, greedy, liked jokes Thought up creature...octopus, squid, jellyfish, swordfish, dolphin, etc. Was trying to perfect the horse for Demeter and that is why we have the camel, hippo, giraffe, donkey, and zebra

35 Ruled over seas, oceans, rivers and all the sea creatures
Did not live in the lost city of Atlantis Invented many of the fish and sea monsters of mythology Created the horse for Demeter (*)

36 Hades

37 HADES God of the Underworld
Greeks buried their dead with a coin so that when they entered "Hades" they could pay the fare on their way to the river Styx Cerberus- 3 headed dog that guarded the gate 3 judges awaited the dead - Minos, Rhadamanthys and Aeacus. > if judges were displeased - bad punishments > if judges were pleased - Elysian Fields Palace grounds were called Erebus- deepest part of the underworld

38 Hades (continued) Lived with his kidnapped wife, Persephone
The Eumenides or the " kindly ones" would wander the earth in search of evil-doers and ones that escaped punishment and their attention persuaded people to suicide

39 Demeter

40 Demeter Goddess of the cornfield, mistress of planting and growing things One of Zeus’ favorite females (also sister) Had a daughter named Persephone Demeter's daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades Responsible for the winter and summer seasons, since Persephone ate the 6 pomegranate seeds, she will have to stay in the underworld with Hades for 6 months, and nothing will grow on earth because Demeter will mourn.

41 Artemis

42 Artemis Born of Zeus and Leto (a nymph)
Zeus granted her whatever she wanted: remain a maiden, many names, silver bow and arrow, deerskin tunic, 50 ocean nymphs, 20 wood nymphs, hounds, mountains, and one city Was Zeus’ favorite daughter Went by Goddess of the Moon, Maiden of the Silver Bow, Lady of the Wild Things, Huntress, Maiden

43 Apollo

44 Apollo God of the sun, patron of music, math, medicine and poetry. Preached moderation Artemis’ twin brother Hunted python who hunted his mother Showed no mercy against the musician Marsyas ( unfair competition)

45 The Flaying of Marsyas

46 Hermes

47 Hermes Precocious Stole Apollo's cattle and named himself the 12th god
Taught Apollo to play the lyre and traded Apollo pipes for his herdsman's golden staff Apollo took Hermes to meet Zeus Hermes became Zeus's messenger and known as the patron of liars, thieves, and gamblers, God of Commerce, framer of treaties, guardian of travelers, took newly dead to Tartarus Invented the alphabet, scales, playing cards and card games Told Zeus to disguise himself and join in on many adventures of the mortals

48 Hermes Messenger god, god of gambling, theivery and trickery
Has a sketchy creation: Zeus child with a nymph Zeus child with a goddess (unnamed) Son of two enchanted mortals *Oral tradition is contributed to the many different creations of Hermes

49 Hephaestus

50 Hephaestus Son of Zeus and Hera Was born ugly and fitful
Hera kicked him from Mt. Olympus Was reinstated by Hera for his masterful skill of jewelry-making Hera gave him Cyclops for helpers and Aphrodite for a bride

51 Hephaestus Strikes Gold…
Married to Aphrodite, the most beautiful of all goddesses Had no children with his wife Endured Aphrodite’s many affairs and constant flirtations Was emotionally scarred by Aphrodite’s affair with Ares, the god of war

52 52

53 Aphrodite Goddess of love and beauty, desire
Never distracted from her duties Born out of primal murder - when Cronus killed his father Oranus/Uranus a body floated up from the foam and taken to Olympus Hera wanted her married immediately, Aphrodite chose Hephaestus because he worked late ( though she planned to meet her other suitors)

54 Aphrodite’s Creation Version #1: Aphrodite was the son of Zeus and a Dione Version #2: Aphrodite was born of Zeus and the daughter of one of his arch enemies But both of these stories are less-than- accurate twists on the real version…

55 Aphrodite (con’t.) Discovered by fishermen and taken to Mt. Olympus as a gift to Zeus Hera, fearing a relationship between Zeus and Aphrodite, insisted that she marry Hephaestus, her ugliest child Aphrodite serves as a constant temptation for gods and mortals alike. Her name literally means “from the foam”

56 The Real Creation of Aphrodite
Aphrodite was born from the death of Uranus Cronus castrated his father before death, and threw the “part” into the ocean From the bubbling, boiling, bloody foam, Aphrodite appeared She was accompanied at birth by sea nymphs and doves Often depicted as having hatched from a seashell

57 Ares

58 Ares God of warfare Was violent, aggressive, and unlikeable
Was Hera and Zeus’s most despised son Had an awkward love affair with Aphrodite Was actually a coward (traitor) Was feared, but not respected by Greeks

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