The Role of Ancient Gods

Topics: Odysseus, Trojan War, Greek mythology Pages: 4 (1349 words) Published: June 8, 2005
When we study ancient Greek and Roman literature, we realize that the world perception in those times, among people, was much different from what it is now. It is especially obvious when we begin to analyze the role of mythical and religious elements in ancient literature. According to the classical Christian theological theory, people's need for believing in supernatural beings is caused by their fear of nature. This concept strikingly resembles the Marxist explanation - it also names fear as the main factor. If one reads Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey," and Virgil's "Aeneid", he gets to realize that the ancient concept of people's interaction with Gods is totally deprived of fear in any form. In all three masterpieces, Gods are basically described as humans, with all their strengths and weaknesses, although being immortal. Humans often revere Gods, but not out of fear – they simply respect their superiority. Many historians suggest that one of the main reasons, which enabled Greek and Roman civilizations to reach extraordinary heights in the fields of culture and science, is the fact of their religious liberalism. Let us to take a closer look at all three poems, so it'll be easier for us to find common religious motives in all of them. Homer's "Odyssey" is one of the finest examples of ancient Greek literature. Along with "Iliad" it represents an ultimate expression of ancient spirit, which we still use as a standard while assessing the cultural legacy of our own Western civilization. Modern historians doubt whether the same author wrote these two epic masterpieces. The main reason for this is that "Odyssey", stylistically and conceptually, is much different from "Iliad". First one is a high tragedy, its storyline based on the events of Trojan War. The style of this poem is very noble and there is no place for petty human weaknesses. The action takes place at the time when city of Troy was being besieged by Achaeans. Achaean leader Agamemnon takes Chrysies as...

Bibliography: 1. Homer. "The Odyssey". Translated by Fitzgerald, R. Garden City, NY, Anchor/Doubleday, 1961
2. Homer. "The Iliad". Translated by Lattimore, R. University of Chicago. 1951.
3. Vergil. "Aeneid". Translated by Williams. T. Boston. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1910.
The Outline
1) P. 1, Short introduction of the topic.
2) Pp. 1 – 2, Homer 's "Iliad" analysis.
3) Pp. 2 – 3, Homer 's "Odyssey" analysis.
4) Pp. 3 – 4, Virgil 's "Aeneid" analysis.
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