Greek Myths

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Characteristics of Greek myths

The Greek civilization is considered the cradle of western civilization. The deepest expression of Greek ideology, however, lay in the Greek myths which are relevant and compelling to the present day. The Greek myths are basically of two sorts. Some are used to explain everyday event like why seasons come and go or how plants bear their fruits. A second much larger group may be called the "historical" myths. Both fiction and history grew out of the two types of myths. Herodotus, in his historical recount of the great Persian War, adopted numerous themes and stories found in myths. The value and truth of the myths do not rest in the accuracy of fixed interpretations, but in their providing all free men and women with the implements and examples by which they may deepen their understanding of what it means to be a human being. Greek mythology has several distinguishing characteristics. The Greeks viewed their gods as similar in nature to themselves, differing only in power and longevity. It¡¯s therefore no surprising to see many unpleasant ¡°human¡± characteristics---jealousy, selfishness, cruelty and cunning in Greek gods. These are most obviously presented in the famous story which is claimed to be the cause of Trojan War. Overpowered by her beauty and intriguing offer, Paris, prince of Troy, handed the fateful apple to Aphrodite---Goddess of love. She set up the contest only to punish Tyndareus because she felt that she was not fully respected. Sixth-century Greek philosopher Xenophanes described Greek view of gods: ¡°Mortals think that the gods are begotten, and wear clothes like their own, and have a voice and a form. If oxen or horses or lions had hands and could draw with them and make works of art as men do, horses would draw the shapes of gods like horses, oxen like oxen; each kind would represent their bodies just like their own forms. ¡± This sort of secularism is uniquely Greek. Gods were no saviors to Greeks for...
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