Mythology Essay by Edith Hamilton

Topics: Zeus, Religion, God Pages: 2 (786 words) Published: January 12, 2014
How did the Greeks use mythology as both a science and a religion? Use 3 examples.

Since the beginning of mankind, humans have been inventing various explanations in order to explain the world around them. The Ancient Greeks, as Edith Hamilton points out, created some of the most complex and intricate stories of gods, goddesses, and monsters that justified many of the world’s mysteries. They also fabricated their deity’s in their own image (they were the first to do so), which allowed the universe to, in many ways, become more rational. Their stories explained things like the creation of the universe, the origins of man, the seasons, the weather, natural phenomenon, and day and night, etc. According to modern definitions mythology is not a form of religion but simply explanations for something in nature, and yet in Greek literature, “there is a deepening realization of what human beings need and what they must have in their gods.” For instance over time the mighty Zeus changed from, “the god of the strong into the protector of the weak,” and now “beside Zeus on his throne Justice has her seat” (Hamilton 20). In early stories of him, he had many instances of cowardice, ridiculousness and mostly stupid, blind passion, but as men became more conscious of what life demanded of them and clearer boundaries developed between right and wrong another Zeus came into being until, “at last the thunder and lightning were changed into the Universal Father” (Hamilton 21). Also the belief in three sections of the underworld in Greek mythology (for the good, bad and average life) gave each and every person a greater destiny to strive for. Today mythology is remembered for its heroism and tragedy, the smiting of evil and the battles for power. What is less often realized is the fact that these were much more than tales of great adventure to entertain the Greeks and Romans. No these were the science and the religion of a people whose understanding and worship was so important...
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