Introduction to Mythology
What are myths?
Why do we study them?
• Old stories created to explain religious beliefs,
events in nature, and transmit the beliefs and
values of a culture (taught proper behavior):
- about gods, goddesses, men, women, heroes
-adventures, tragedies, devotion, vengeance
• Repeated for hundreds of years before written
down and often changed by the minds of
• Mixture of morals, poetry, and history
Types of Myths
• Told merely for entertainment
• Reflect religious rituals thousands of years old
• Used to explain scientific facts or theories
• Studies of psychology
Men and gods in Greek Mythology
“The Greek Miracle”
• Greeks modeled the gods after themselves.
• Mankind was at center of the Greek world.
• Man was the ideal of the Greek search for
• All of the above ideas are joined in the
concept called “the Greek miracle.”
Why are Myths Studied?
• They have had a deep and thorough influence
on all great literatures.
• Myths have a huge influence on the arts,
especially music (muses), but also sculpture
• Important link with the past—how ancient
people regarded the world
• The sheer beauty, imagination, and
entertainment value of myths
Where We See Myths
• Told over and over in new cultures and languages; adapted to
• Allusions in literature (think Cyrano), movies, video games,
• Vocabulary—museum, labyrinth, marathon, months-January
• Scientific terms—arachnid, hyperborean
• Geographic names-Aurora, Il, planets, constellations
• Brand names—Prometheus Productions
• People’s names—Helen, Diana
• In advertising—Goodyear (winged sandal), Atlas Van Lines,
Mobil Oil (winged horse), FTD (males with wings on cap and