Ancient Mythology East and West
Professor Shawn Youngblood
October 2, 2012
Creation myths of are often examined, but more often than not they are looked at individually. Much more can be learned if different myths are analyzed at the same time, recognizing similarities and differences as well as overlapping themes in these myths. We can learn about many aspects of a culture from their creation myths. The portrayal of women in the myth can teach whether the society is patriarchal or matriarchal. The descriptive vocabulary, and the characteristics given to the gods can show us what societies view as god-like qualities. Finally through analyzing overlapping themes that are repeated from myth to myth we can begin to infer what interaction some of these cultures may have had. Creation myths are crucial to a society’s identity, and we can learn much about these cultures through these myths.
We can learn a lot about the gender related aspects of a society; patriarchal or matriarchal society, are women viewed as equals or subordinates to men, and what role women play in day to day life of these cultures. Taking a look at the Greek myths we can see that Ancient Greece was a patriarchal society through the leading gods in the myth, Ouranos, Cronos, and Zeus, for example. Now this is not to say that women were held far below men, just that men held higher positions in the society. Female goddesses still played an immense role in these myths, and are not to be forgotten. Gaea for example protected Zeus from being eaten by Cronos, and without Zeus a very important part of the plot would be missing. However, when you analyze The Enuma Elish, and the Chinese creation myths it is not nearly as clear. In The Enuma Elish you can see that this society was most like patriarchal as well, but women may have played a larger role. Although Marduk is the champion god, and king god by the end
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