Mythology Of Ancient Greek And Roman Civilization
Over the course of many centuries, Mythology has passionate many generations with their rich diversity of characters and adventurous lives that may have existed in ancient times, and fed the imaginations of many people. Countless places are lost but their stories sill remain in our heads, Since that from a very young age we start to investigate, research and read stories about myths of ancient civilization that mostly deal with various aspects of life like traditions, cultural value, human origin, natural events and mostly love. Till nowadays some Scientifics and researchers thanks to their observations have based their theories and allude on them in many cases. Every culture in the world has some type of mythology and mostly they are familiar to many of us. Egyptian, Maya, Chinese and even Greek each civilization has brought it own magic from stories of goddesses, legendary kings and witches.
Because people used to believe that those are true and the same questions always come back in our minds, whether those stories real, whether they have based on real event or was it just created by the imagination of our ancestors since that it is full of supernatural beings. Although the Romans Empire and ancient Greeks were quite different, their mythology were almost the same in many different aspects. It is quite hard to distinguish between reality and myths in our advanced world because we only came back to them to convince ourselves about the impossible or unexplainable things even though we cannot ignore the fact that in our contemporary culture they still exist and it is not ready to disappear. .
There are a very large number of theories that have sought to explain the birth of myths, legends and tales. Till today people can find stories about divine beings that represent the creature of our world. In Ancient Greek’s civilization, they have left multiple developed unique styles of arts, astronomy, languages, and rituals that we have through thousand of left and forgotten mythological stories of Gods and Goddesses that they have associated to aspects of nature and life, since that they have always believed in polytheism, which is religion with many gods. Compered to all the other civilization, they have one thing in common with the Roman Empire is that one gods from whom others deities have come, and in Greek civilizations they have named the king of all other gods and men, Zeus. His name derives from a Greek word for bright and that is why. He was known as the Olympian god of the sky and the thunder, but in the Roman Empire they have decided to all it in another way, his name was Jupiter. Both gods were the protector of human kind and come to their rescue each time needed. Seen like that there is no actual differences between them. And as known, no king can rule without his queen by his side. Hera was known as the queen of Greek gods and the wife of the leader Zeus. As one of most important female character in ancient Greek’s History, She was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. Furthermore there was an ancient story about her and how much she had hatred Heracles, the son of her husband from another mortal woman. Hera have done everything in her power to make his life difficult, she even tried to kill her stepson by sending snakes to attack him, and all this hate can only be explained by the fact that her husband had cheated on her with a mortal. Since then Zeus’s son had many trouble caused by her since that she was the source of all the trials and battles of Heracles. In Roman Empire, Juno who is Jupiter’s wife, has always been compared to Hera, since that they have a lot of similarities. Despite all that they have had plenty of difference point. One of those that we can have is that, unlike Hera who is always jealous of her husband’s girlfriend and trying to get revenge, Juno was represented as kind, graceful, and tender and has spent a lot of her time to women and being their protector. Another point is that unlike Hera, Juno had as title of being the moon goddess and in her honor they have named the month of June since that it was when most of wedding occurred and added to this in ancient Rome, people believed that she was the giver of the light on the night of the full moon. Moreover, we have among the supreme gods of Mount Olympus in ancient Greek Poseidon, The god of the sea, earthquakes and horses and one of Zeus‘s siblings and as named in Roman Empire Neptune known as well for being Jupiter’s brother. When both, the same image came to our mind of the sea, with a bearded man who holds in his hands a trident and seating above a throne of sea shells drawn by sea horses. For Neptune, we have probably all of us heard his love story with Amphitrite who have started with him seeing her dancing that day in Naxos’s island, She was in all her splendor that day that he have fallen in love at first sight with her beauty but unfortunately she rejected his marriage proposal although He sent one of his dauphin servant to convince her. Since then they have lived happily ever after and Neptune immortalized dauphin in the heavens. In other part, Poseidon was more related to governance and power since that he have done many incredible thing to become the god of all deities. Especially as the legends says, Poseidon and Athena the goddess of wisdom wanted to rule over Athens and each one presented a gift to the leaders and that is when olive tree was created, but Poseidon had the idea to create a new animal which was the horse, given that he could do the hard work, transportation and battle. Except that the leader appreciated more the tree, which was seen as more useful since that it could provides wood, olives, olive oil and since, then Poseidon and Athena were rivals and decided to put Athens in drought. Cronus as know in the ancient Greek mythology was the king of first generation of Titanes and the god of time and as all other gods he was identified with Saturn from the Roman empire. He had three sons who were one of the most powerful gods of all times Zeus (Jupiter), Poseidon (Neptune), and Hades (Plato). And after his death they have divided the power so that each one of them could rule over one aspects of the earth. Moreover, Hades, the oldest of his siblings, was made god of the underworld and as all other he had similarities with the Roman Empire god Pluto but one of the most important fact about him is that he was a bit hated by the ancient civilization since that he was also the god of dead and spent his time with them. But one of the differences between them is that Pluto was also lord of wealth because of all minerals discovered under the earth like silver, gold, and gems. And he was known for being more kind and more loving especially to his wife Proserpina. A famous Greek story about Hades was about Orpheus a musician who lost his wife on his wedding day so he have traveled to the underworld to get her back by trying to convince Hades to do it but he never came back since then, and the same story is given by the Roman version but with a change in person’s names and personalities.
The world of mythology in Ancient Greek and Roman Empire was full of magic and legendary stories about gods and goddess, but they are not only limited to that since that they were full of heroes and each having his or her own story to tell. The ancient Greek have created the word for heroes since that at the beginning it is a geek words Hero which means men who have sacrificed his life for others in earth. More often they are the sons or daughters of gods and goddesses and even thought they were mortal but due to their glory and courage they have became immortal. One of the most known heroes is Hercules, he was Zeus’s son from his mortal girlfriend and as cited before he had a lot of troubles when it comes to face him stepmother Hera because of her jealousy. His story is quite fascinating since that when Hera tried to kill him with all possible ways and even with snakes that he have crushed, and all this was when he was only a little kids, but he was stronger than anyone and had many clever tricks that he uses to stay alive and a lot of courage. Even when Hera and Eury, the king of a little village, have created twelve impossible tasks that they were sure that they will take the life of our hero in one of them and probably even from the first one. After surviving to all those impossible labors, Hercules did not only lived but he have also discovered new true friends and experienced a great adventure. He was not only known in the ancient Greek’s mythology but he has existed also in the Roman Empire, the main difference was basically about the parent’s names, Jupiter and Alcmene. Even for the twelve labors, a king of Mycenae where Hercules worked for twelve years gave them. But he was not the only one, since that we have also Perseus who is also a famous Greek hero. Perseus was also Zeus’s son which means that he was also half god half man since that his mother was a Danae, a princess of an ancient Greek city. One of his qualities is that he was brave, great speaker and quick thinker. Furthermore, he is really famous for his story with Medusa, a gorgon who could turn men into stones and who had hair made of living snakes. Thanks to the help of Athena, our hero could wisely attend his goal and face her without looking in her eyes. And this mythical story have inspired a lot of person, especially artists, around the world for their painting and sculpture. Not only the Greeks had their own mythic Heroes but also a lot of stories about the Roman Empire include legends that have shown their braveness and courage to always end up with a moral to the entire listener especially the youngest. The most famous story in Roman Empire was about two twins Romulus and Remus. At first they were rejected and abandoned by themselves but hopefully they were saved and were suckled by a female wolf. Later a herdsman called Faustulus adopted them. When they grow up Remus was imprisoned in the same place where they were born and that’s when their grandfather suspected their identity. After that Remus and Romulus were back together and have joined the forces with their grandfather to restore the throne. By the end of the story, Remus was killed due to his brother who betrayed him for a challenge, and for Romulus, after killing his brother from anger, went on a journey looking forward to discover the city of Rome. And that’s when the new city Roma, according to his own name, was constructed. This legend has not only explained the origin Rome’s name but she also has fascinated hundred of person, who a young baby twins were raised by a flocks of wolf. Furthermore, before the role of the woman was limited to her house duty and taking care of her kids and husband, and it is quite rare to see a woman who has a function in society. But with the Roman Empire they have seen her beyond that with giving her part in their myths and legends for examples we have our legendary Lucretia. Other than being a noble woman She was the legend that Rome has never known before with her courage and wisdom. Her story is a little bit sad and depressing since that after being raped by Sextus Tarquinius better known as Tarquin, an Etruscan king’s son and being threatened to abandon her bare corpse in the arms of a slave and pretend to have caught them in the act of adultery which is going to make her lose her dignity in front of all the member of her family and the empire. In the presence of all persons in the place, she have decides to commit a suicide to put an end to her dishonor and prove her innocence betrayed by the king’s son. Following her tragic death, a kind of rebellion spread to the streets of Rome and have overthrew the Roman monarchy which generated the transaction of the Roman government from being a powerful kingdom to a republic. This horrible incident has ignited a war that has ended up by expelling the ancient king Lucius from the country. And as it was cited by most of works about this myth, our victim’s husband became the first consul of Roman Republic. Since that incident even though there are till today no contemporary sources to prove the existence of the legendary Lucretia but her story has been adapted in many forms and even the rape itself has became an important theme in European arts and literature and even historian do not want to use the world myth for her story although it is the case.
In the really ancient time whether in ancient Greek or Roman Empire, Mythology was really important to our ancestor. They were quite religious and had really big faith in their gods and goddesses that could take care of them. For decades now, we have noticed that through different period of times and different civilization people have worshipped the same gods and goddess, that had the same roles to play inside the society but the only difference was that they had different names. They have created them in order to facilitate they everyday life and It also helped them as well to have a better understanding of life, how it was created, days and nights, weather, season…and especially phenomenon for which they could not provide any clear explanation. Plus it kept them believing that they had their creators to look after them during their tough times and their heroes to make them more secure and have their justice when needed since that in all stories of ancient civilization there is always an understanding between man, heroes and, gods that has facilitated to historian of nowadays to have a better point of view of those people and how they looked at the world. Till today in our contemporary world we still hear about myths and legends in both Ancient Greek and Roman Empire. Even if they were two different civilization but they have shared most of their gods and ancient heroes.
- Adhikari S. (February, 2019) Top 10 Interesting Roman Mythology Stories, Ancient History Lists. Retrieved from: https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/rome-history/top-10-interesting-roman-mythology/
- Dean G. (1998), Poseidon, The Olympians: myth web. Retrieved from: http://www.mythweb.com/gods/Poseidon.html
- Donald L. W. (May, 2018) Roman Mythology, Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrived from : https://www.ancient.eu/Roman_Mythology/
- Donn L. (n.d.) Ancient greek gods for kids: the 12 Labors of Hercules. Greece mr donn. Retrieved from : https://greece.mrdonn.org/greekgods/hercules.html
- Hades (Pluto) in Orpheus and Eurydice (n.d.) SHMOOP University. Retrieved from : https://www.shmoop.com/orpheus-eurydice/hades-pluto.html
- Hera vs. Juno (n.d.) Myths and legends. Retrieved from: http://myths.e2bn.org/mythsandlegends/userstory20445-hera-vs-juno.html
- Joshua J. Mark (October, 2018) Mythology, Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: https://www.ancient.eu/mythology/
- McCord J. (April, 2014) Hercules and Juno, Jessica McCord Senior English Mythology. Retrieved from: https://jessymc96.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/hercules-and-juno/
- Myth stories (n.d.) Tales beyond belief. Retrieved from: http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/myth-stories/myth-stories-index.htm
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