The Importance of Greek Mythology

Topics: Greek mythology, Alexander the Great, History of Greece Pages: 5 (1639 words) Published: March 24, 2012
The importance of Greek mythology
Today, the ancient Greek myths still fascinate readers throughout the world. There are thousands of books written about the importance of Greek mythology in the formation of modern-time societies. There are hundreds of movies created about the adventures of Greek heroes. Apparently, the events, creatures, and people described in the ancient Greek myths were not real; however, their mythical nature does not undermine the importance of Greek mythology in defining the world of fantasies and in everyday life of people today.

Rose argues that myths were the tales which meant simply ‘words’ (1). It indicates that the purpose of the myths was to create the fantastic presentation of the life of ancient Greeks. Furthermore, Rose suggests that “full as they are of impossible events, it needs no argument to prove that they differ widely from Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War, or Hippokrates’ discussions of the effects of diet on a patient” (1). Indeed, Greek myths had little in common with the true history of the Greek people; nevertheless, those myths remain an important part of ancient Greek history as well as today’s humankind.

To understand the importance of Greek mythology for modern people, it is important to take a look at the allegorical meaning of the tales. Rose suggests that Greek myths were allegories which concealed deep meaning and talked about the wisdom of the rules, the courage of ordinary people, and the eternal quest of humans to become equal to gods. Indeed, the myths convey values and cultural beliefs that have helped shape the thoughts of people all around the world. Presently, the ancient heroes such as Hercules and Achilles are still referred to as the ideal individuals by millions of people. Children grow up watching movies and television shows about action packed adventures of ancient Greek heroes. Of course, there are many heroes of the modern type; nevertheless, none of the modern heroes are able to compete with the ancient Greeks in this regard. Today, children often dream about becoming as amazingly strong as Superman, and yet many more children are forever fascinated with the seemingly never ending courage of Hercules and are immensely impressed with his vast adventures.

Why do we need to study Greek mythology? From one side, Greek students need to know about their cultural heritage. From another side, the study of Greek mythology is included in almost every educational curricular, from elementary to college level for the detailed part it plays in our past, present, and future. It thoroughly shows that Greek mythology has an essential role for not only the Greeks but for the rest of humankind. By studying the myths of ancient Greeks, we have a great opportunity to define our own place in the history. Even though we realize that Greek heroes and all of those incredible creatures they have to fight with were probably not real, we tend to believe in the possible existence of superpowers and supernatural things. Thus, Greek myths give us a ground to believe in things we are not likely to ever have the chance to experience.

In addition, special attention should be paid to the placement of gods in ancient Greek mythology. Unlike the other mythological heritage of different countries, the ancient Greeks attributed great importance to their gods, their ultimate powers, and their ability to significantly shape the lives of mortal. In Greek mythology, on the other hand, gods were definitely considered superior to mortals, but their superiority did not actually undermine the greatness of its people. Greeks embedded strong messages into their myths by arguing that human beings were able to become equal to gods if they were not afraid to face extremely dangerous challenges, if they were absolutely honorable in their actions, and if they lived actual heroic lives. Thus, Greek myths give modern mankind a baseline foundation to maintain eternal values of...

Cited: Dowden, Ken. The uses of Greek mythology. Routledge, 1992
Graf, Fritz and Thomas Marier. Greek mythology: an introduction. JHU Press, 1996
Hard, Robin and Herbert Rose. The Routledge handbook of Greek mythology: based on H.J. Rose 's "Handbook of Greek mythology". Routledge, 2004.
Nilsson, Martin. The Mycenaean Origin of Greek Mythology. Forgotten Books, 2007
Rose, Herbert. A Handbook of Greek Mythology. Routledge, 1991
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