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Greek and Roman Mythology

Greek and Roman Mythology

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Greek and Roman Mythology

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  1. Greek and Roman Mythology

  2. What is a Myth? • A myth is a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning a hero or event; a myth is especially concerned with the doings of the gods • Mythology is the study of these myths. Usually myths contain universal messages that explain human behavior

  3. Fable vs. Fairy Tale • A fable is a short tale that teaches a moral lesson; often features animals or objects as characters • A fairy tale is a story for children and usually features elves, dragons, fairies, and other magical creatures. • The lesson in a fable is direct and focused whereas in a fairy tale it will be more hidden and is up to the reader to discover.

  4. Folklore vs. Legend • A folklore consists of stories, music, proverbs, jokes and popular beliefs that are the traditions of a certain culture. • A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived to take place in history.

  5. Where are we Going? Below are maps of Greece to help you situate the places we are going to read about.

  6. Who Were the Ancient Greeks? The stories we are going to study are from 800 BC to 600 A.D. Fate is the series of events that contain a person’s future. The ancient Greeks believed that everything was controlled by the fate that was chosen for them by various gods and goddesses.

  7. Fate and the gods • According to the beliefs of the ancient Greeks, every detail of one’s life was determined by the gods. • There is no escaping one’s fate. If the gods said an event was going to happen, then it was sure to happen. • The faster a person tried to run from his or her fate, the more it was sealed.

  8. Oracles and Prophecies • Because people believed that their futures could be revealed, they consulted oracles of every kind for personal and political purposes. • The most famous of these was the Delphic Oracle, where Apollo spoke through a priestess. Prophecies were also sought from seers who, it was believed, that the power to determine a person’s future.

  9. Rituals of the Ancient World • A ritualis an established procedure or tradition for a certain religion • The ancient Greeks were very religious; they believed that not observing their rituals would upset the gods • The most important among all the rituals was the burial ritual where two gold coins where placed over the deceased person’s eyes and his body burned in the presence of his loved ones.

  10. Remember The Titans The Titans included the following gods: Cronus, Rhea, Coeus, Metis, and Hyperion. The Titans and Titanesses were the children of Ouranos (the sky) and Gaia (the earth). These gigantic beings were older gods who ruled before the Olympian gods. (Sometimes the names are spelled Uranus and Gaea.)

  11. Cronus • Cronus was the father of Zeus who forced him out of his power when he became an adult. • Cronus swallowed his children because he had been warned that he would be displaced by them. • Zeus, however, survived and forced his father to vomit up his brothers and sisters.

  12. Gaia It is Gaia who advises Rhea to save Zeus’ life by hiding him. Gaia also conceived the Furies, the goddess who pursued murderers. • Gaia was the earth who came out of Chaos and gave birth to Ouranos, who was her son and husband. • One of their children, Cronus, decided to overthrow his father, and because of this, the sky was separated from the earth.

  13. Rhea • Rhea was the daughter of Ouranus and Gaia. As the wife of Cronus, she bore six children, and they are as follows: Hera Poseidon Hestia Hades Demeter Zeus It was Rhea who saved Zeus’ life by substituting him with a stone when Cronus decided to eat all of his children.

  14. Rhea • Rhea was the daughter of Ouranos and Gaia. As the wife of Cronus, she bore six children. Cronus learned that one of his children would depose him so he swallowed all of them as they were born. Zeus was the only one to survive because Rhea substituted the baby with a stone wrapped in cloths.

  15. Zeus • Zeus was the supreme and most powerful of all the gods. • When he came into power, he divided the world into thirds to share amongst himself and his two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. • Zeus chose to rule the sky, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld.

  16. Poseidon • Poseidon was the god of the sea. Although he agreed to be second to Zeus’ command, he would sometimes try to usurp Zeus’ power. He is often associated with being angry, and his anger is usually shown through earthquakes. Although Zeus is the most supreme god, Poseidon was the one people feared the most.

  17. Hades The ancient Greeks believed in an underworld called Hades, named after the god who ruled there. Everyone who was given the proper burial ritual went there. It was thought that if a person were not buried properly, he would never reach Hades, but his soul would wonder the universe for eternity. Therefore, the ancient Greeks placed extreme importance on burials.

  18. Hera • Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus. • She is the goddess of women and marriage. • The animals she holds most sacred are the cow and the peacock. Hera is known for her jealous and vengeful nature, especially against Zeus’ lovers and children. When asked to name the most beautiful goddess, Paris offended Hera by selecting Aphrodite instead of her.

  19. Athena • Athena was one of the daughters of Zeus and was the goddess of war and wisdom. • Athena is most famous for the aid and protection she lends to men on and off the battlefield. After the Trojan War, it is Athena who helps Odysseus find his way home from a ten year journey.

  20. Arachne • Arachne was a mortal weaver who boasted that her skill was greater than Athena’s. When Arachne refused to acknowledge that part of her skill came from the goddess, Athena challenged her to a competition. When Athena saw that Arachne could weave beautifully, and that her tapestry mocked the gods, the jealous goddess turned her into a spider.

  21. Aphrodite • Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure. In Roman Mythology, she is referred to as Venus. • During the Trojan War, she lent her support to the Trojans, mainly Hector, but she was not able to help them to victory.

  22. Leto • Leto, the goddess of motherhood, was one of the few Titanesses to be worshipped in ancient Greece. Leto had twins (Apollo and Artemis) by Zeus. Niobe taunted Leto for having only two children when she had fourteen. As a result, Artemis and Apollo avenged their mother by killing Niobe’s children.

  23. Niobe • Niobe and her husband Amphion had fourteen children (seven male and seven female) who were called the Niobids. • Niobe bragged about her numerous offspring to Leto because Leto only had two children, Artemis and Apollo. • They became so angry that Artemis killed all of Niobe’s daughters and Apollo killed all of her sons. • Devastated by the mass killing of her children, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus and was turned into stone. She wept so much that water started to pour out of her.

  24. Apollo • Apollo was the son of Zeusand Leto. He was one of the most important of Greek and Roman gods. • He was the god of prophecy, archery and music. • Apollo is one of the gods to guard the Oracle of Delphi.

  25. Artemis • Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and the twin sister of Apollo. • Artemis was the goddess of the wilderness, hunting, childbirth, and virginity. Many sacrifices were devoted to her. • Because she was widely worshipped in Troy, she sided with the Trojans in the Trojan War.

  26. Orion • Orion, the son of Poseidon, was a very skillful hunter whose talent had gained a great reputation, though he never forgot to give Artemis the credit for being the greatest of all hunters. • Orion had the ability to walk upon water because of his father. • After many trials, including losing his eyesight, Orion soon befriended Artemis who could appreciate both his talent at hunting and his modesty. • Orion was the only man Artemis favored, and this caused Apollo to be very jealous. He poisoned Orion who died soon afterwards. • Artemis hung Orion’s image amongst the stars so that he would not ever be forgotten.

  27. Actaeon • Actaeon was the son of a minor royal god. He was a Greek hunter who offended Artemis by either bragging of his superior skills as a hunter or watching her bathe naked. • To stop his bragging, Artemis turned him into a stag, and he was chased and devoured by his own dogs.

  28. Ares Ares is usually depicted as an instigator of violence and as a corrupt friend. During the Trojan War, Ares sided with the Trojans and aided them whenever possible. • Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera. He was the god of war. • Although he did not have a wife, he had three children by Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

  29. Persephone and Demeter Demeter wandered the earth looking for her daughter and as a result, the land was no longer fertile. Finally, Zeus intervened and ruled that Persephone would spend half the year with Hades and the other half with her mother. • Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. • Zeus promised his beautiful daughter to Hades without consulting her mother. When Hades rose from the underworld to take her as his bride, Demeter went into a state of grief.

  30. Nike • Nike is the daughter of Pallas and Styx. Nike and her siblings were close companions with Zeus and aided him greatly in his war against the Titans. Nike was known as the Winged Goddess of Victory and was a close friend of Athena, goddess of war.

  31. Dionysus • Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele. He is the youthful god of vegetation, wine and ecstasy. • He is also knows as the “bull-horned beast” because he often took on the form of a powerful beast. • Dionysus was mainly worshipped by woman and those were enjoyed themselves to extreme with wine. • Because of his reckless nature, the worship of Dionysus became to be banned in some areas.

  32. Io However, Hera found out about Zeus’ plans attempted to prevent their love affair, though she was unable to do so. Io is mostly associated with the cow. • Io was one of the mortal women who bore Zeus children. She was the daughter of river god Inachus. Io was a priestess to Hera, one of Zeus’ wives. Zeus turned Io a cow so he can make love to her without Hera finding out.

  33. Pandora The most significant gifts were a golden box from Hermes and curiosity from Hera. Pandora was instructed not to open the box at any costs. Her curiosity finally gets the better her and she opens the box. All that mankind experiences come flying out except for hope which stays locked in the box forever. Pandora was a gift from Zeus to man. Zeus was angry for mankind for using fire, so he sought revenge. He decided to construct a beautiful women and allow Epimetheus to marry her. Each god was instructed to give Pandora a gift.

  34. Orpheus Orpheus was a famous musician, poet and prophet who was very well known for his talents. Mortals and gods alike loved to hear his music and took great joy in watching him perform. One day, Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice. Because he was so occupied with her, he abandoned his music which made people very unhappy. Aristeus, Apollo’s son kills Eurydice so the world can have Orpheus’ music back. Orpheus searches for his wife all throughout the underworld and falls under a curse from Hades in the attempt to win her back.

  35. Narcissus and Echo When he did not return Echo’s love, Aphrodite cursed him to fall in love with his reflection. His good looks eventually faded away. Echo was a kind hearted water nymph was favored by Aphrodite. Aphrodite granted her the wish of having the person of her choice fall in love with her. Echo was cursed by Hera. She was only able to repeat the last words a person spoke to her. Narcissus was so handsome that he refused to talk to any woman unless she was as beautiful as he was.

  36. Cyclops • The Cyclops are a race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead. • The Cyclops provide aid to Zeus during his war against the Titans. During the Titan War, Zeus releases three Cyclops and they give him, Poseidon and Hades weapons to defeat the Titans.

  37. Cerberus • Cerberus was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. He was a three-headed watchdog who guarded the underworld and stopped anyone who tried to return to the land of the living. Cerberus was so dreadful that anyone who looked upon him was turned to stone.

  38. Typhon Typhon wished to establish himself as ruler of the world, but Zeus destroyed him with a thunderbolt. Mount Aetna in Sicily is said to be caused by Typhon’s imprisonment beneath the crater. • Typhon was conceived by Gaia when she was banished to Tartarus. He was a terrible serpent-like monster whose eyes shot out in flames.

  39. Sphinx The Sphinx guarded the city of Thebes, and all who wished to pass had either to answer a riddle or die. Oedipus was the only one who gave the right answer. When he did so, the Sphinx hurled itself over a cliff and died. • The Sphinx was the daughter of Echidna and Typhon. The Sphinx was a monster with the face of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird. She was sent by Hera as a curse on the city of Thebes.

  40. Nymphs Nymphs could not die of old age or illness. If they mated with a god, their children would be immortal. • A nymph is a minor deity (god) that is typically associated with a certain area or region. • Different from gods, nymphs are spirits who complement nature. They are usually depicted as young beautiful females who love to sing and dance.

  41. Homer • Homer (not the father of Bart) was the most important author during this time. He wrote two epic poems which are believed to the be foundation of Western Literature. • He is most famous for writing The Iliad and The Odyssey. We will be studying the events surrounding the Trojan War, which are documented in The Iliad.

  42. The Trojan War • One of the most important stories to emerge from Greek Mythology is the story of the Trojan War. • This war, which lasted ten years, was between the countries of Greece and Troy. • Let us take a background look at the gods, goddesses and the mythological characters who emerged from this story.

  43. Paris According to the Greeks, Paris was the entire cause of the Trojan War. Paris, a prince of Troy, was a very handsome man who had a reputation with many women; indeed it was believed that his good looks were a gift from the gods. However, he also had a reputation for not being very manly or aggressive. Up until the Trojan War, Paris did not fight in any battles and had never killed a man. Paris’ wanderings with women soon came to a stop when he fell in love with Helen of Sparta The two fell in love so quickly and to such a degree that Helen left her husband to be with Paris in Troy.

  44. The Judgment of Paris • Hera: offered to make Paris king of Europe. • Athena: promised to give Paris wisdom great skill at hunting. • Aphrodite: promised to give Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. • What Aphrodite did not tell Paris was that the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Troy, was already married to someone else. • (Ooops) The judgment of Paris is said to be one of the main causes of the Trojan War. Aphrodite, Athena and Hera demanded to know who among them was the most beautiful. Zeus picked Paris, a mortal, to make the selection. Each goddess offered Paris something so she could be chosen.

  45. The Greeks knew that without Achilles and his men fighting for their side, victory in the war would be difficult to manage. • Achilles is killed in battle by Paris when he shot an arrow into his heel. Achilles Achilles was the son of King Peleus and a water goddess named Thetis. He had the reputation of being the greatest of all the Greek warriors. Achilles’ only weakness was his heel. This was the only part of his body his mother forgot to dip in the sacred water in order to protect her son.

  46. Helen of Sparta (and then Troy) The two had a peaceful marriage until Aphrodite, the goddess of love had her fall in love with Paris. She soon left her husband to join Paris in his home of Troy. When Menelaus decided to fight Troy to win her back, the Trojan War began. • Helen was the most beautiful and desirable women in Greek mythology. • When she was young, parents married her to Menelaus in order to keep the peace between the two cities. • The two had a peaceful marriage until Aphrodite, the goddess of love had her fall in love with Paris.

  47. Hector • Hector was the eldest son of Priam, king of Troy. He was the bravest of the Trojan warriors and was unbeaten on the battlefield. • His luck soon ran out when he mistakenly killed Patroclus, a young man under the guidance of Achilles. Achilles challenged Hector to a duel and killed him. Achiles’ anger was so strong that he refused Hector the proper burial rites until King Priam convinced him to return the body.

  48. Odysseus • Odysseus was king of Ithaca and one of the leaders who took part in the Trojan War. • He had a reputation for being a brave and clever man, someone who oftentimes relied on tricks to get by. It was Odysseus who came up with the plan of the Trojan Horse. Many kings relied on him to be a great schemer and a great speaker. After the Trojan War, Odysseus has his own adventures which are documented in The Odyssey.

  49. The Trojan Horse • Once the Greeks realized that the walls of Troy were too immense and strong for anyone to pass through, they started to think of a new strategy. • It is Odysseus who comes up with the idea of the horse. The Greeks pretend to leave Troy in defeat and leave behind a giant statue of a horse as an offering to the gods. • Fooled by this, the Trojans bring the horse into their city walls. At nighttime, when everyone is asleep, Greek soldiers climb out of the horse and being a surprise nighttime raid.

  50. Aeneas • Aeneas was the son of Venus and a favorite citizen among the Romans who claim descent from them. • Aeneas distinguished himself as a brave warrior during the Trojan War. During the fall of Troy, Aeneas managed to escape with this father and son. Through many trials and obstacles, Aeneas eventually made it to Rome. To appease the people already living there, the Trojans agree to adopt the Latin language and culture.