Portal:Greek mythology

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Template:/box-header Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They are a part of religion in Greece. Modern scholars refer to the myths and study them in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece, its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is embodied explicitly in a large collection of narratives and implicitly in representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth explains the origins of the world and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and other mythological creatures. These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths also are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.

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Homer bust

Homer (Ancient Greek: Ὅμηρος, Hómēros) is a legendary ancient Greek epic poet, traditionally said to be the author of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. The ancient Greeks generally believed that Homer was an historical individual, but modern scholars are skeptical: no reliable biographical information has been handed down from classical antiquity, and the poems themselves manifestly represent the culmination of many centuries of oral story-telling and a well-developed "formulaic" system of poetic composition. According to Martin West, "Homer" is "not the name of a historical poet, but a fictitious or constructed name."

The date of Homer's existence was controversial in antiquity and is no less so today. Herodotus said that Homer lived 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 BC; but other ancient sources gave dates much closer to the supposed time of the Trojan War.The date of the Trojan War was given as 1194–1184 BC by Eratosthenes, who strove to establish a scientific chronology of events. For modern scholarship, "the date of Homer" refers to the date of the poems' conception as much as to the lifetime of an individual.

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Gods and goddesses

In Greek mythology Demeter (/dəˈmtər/ də-MEE-tər; Greek: Δημήτηρ, Dēmētēr, probably "earth-mother") was the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, the seasons (personified by the Hours), and the harvest. Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sanctity of marriage, the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon. Her Roman cognate is Ceres.

According to the Athenian rhetorician Isocrates, the greatest gifts which Demeter gave were cereal (also known as corn in modern Britain), the cultivation of which made man different from wild animals; and the Mysteries which give the initiate higher hopes in this life and the afterlife. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century BC. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons", a subtle sign that she was worshipped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.

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Pallas Athena by Klimt
Artist: Gustav Klimt

Pallas Athena by Gustav Klimt. Athena, goddess of strength, is one of the twelve Olympians.

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WikiProject Mythology
WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome

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Heroes

Jason and the snake

Jason (Greek: Ἰάσων, Iásōn) was a late ancient Greek mythological hero, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus. He was married to the sorceress Medea.

Jason appeared in various literature in the classical world of Greece and Rome, including the epic poem Argonautica and tragedian play, Medea. In the modern world, Jason has emerged as a character in various adaptations of his myths, such as the film Jason and the Argonauts. He has connections outside of the classical world, as he is seen as being the mythical founder of the city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

Pelias (Aeson's half-brother) was very power-hungry, and he wished to gain dominion over all of Thessaly. Pelias was the product of a union between their shared mother, Tyro and allegedly the sea god Poseidon.

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Legendary creatures

griffin

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature, though some believe the griffin was the ancient misconception of a Protoceratops. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure and well valued priceless possession. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.

Most contemporary illustrations give a griffin legs like an eagle's with talons, although in some older illustrations it has a lion's forelimbs; it generally has a lion's hindquarters. Its eagle's head is conventionally given prominent ears.

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