Greek Mythology

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Greek Mythology
I INTRODUCTION

Temple of Apollo at Didyma The Greeks built the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, Turkey (about 300 bc). The temple supposedly housed an oracle who foretold the future to those seeking knowledge. The predictions of the oracles, delivered in the form of riddles, often brought unexpected results to the seeker. With Ionic columns reaching 19.5 m (64 ft) high, these ruins suggest the former grandeur of the ancient temple. Bernard Cox/Bridgeman Art Library, London/New York

Greek Mythology, set of diverse traditional tales told by the ancient Greeks about the exploits of gods and heroes and their relations with ordinary mortals. The ancient Greeks worshiped many gods within a culture that tolerated diversity. Unlike other belief systems, Greek culture recognized no single truth or code and produced no sacred, written text like the Bible or the Qur’an. Stories about the origins and actions of Greek divinities varied widely, depending, for example, on whether the tale appeared in a comedy, tragedy, or epic poem. Greek mythology was like a complex and rich language, in which the Greeks could express a vast range of perceptions about the world. A Greek city­state devoted itself to a particular god or group of gods in whose honor it built temples. The temple generally housed a statue of the god or gods. The Greeks honored the city’s gods in festivals and also offered sacrifices to the gods, usually a domestic animal such as a goat. Stories about the gods varied by geographic location: A god might have one set of characteristics in one city or region and quite different characteristics elsewhere.

II PRINCIPAL FIGURES IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Poseidon, Ruler of the Sea Ruler of the sea and brother of Zeus, Poseidon was one of the Olympian gods of Greek mythology. He is usually represented in Greek art wielding a fishing spear known as a trident. In this large bronze statue from about 460 bc, Poseidon seems poised to

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