Ancient Greek Essay Questions

Ancient Greek Essay Questions-47
Mondi concludes by stating that elements in Greek myths are "derived from contact with the considerably more advanced cultures to the East and South." The analysis of the historical aspects of mythology, specifically the heroic myths, is another way mythology is studied. Carlo Brillante, on the other hand, examines the ways the ancient Greeks viewed mythology, and argues that mythical heroes were regarded as historical figures by the Greeks. Kirk breaks down the traditional groupings of gods and heroes sketched by earlier critics even further.Brillante contends that the Greeks distinguished heroic myths as being situated in "a well-defined past," as a part of the human world, and as separate from those myths which focus on the "age of the gods." He then considers whether an historical approach, similar to that taken by the ancient Greeks, is "adequate" today, and outlines the drawbacks and benefits of various types of historical analyses. For Kirk, divinity myths include those that deal with the creation of the universe (cosmogony); with the development of the Olympian gods; and with the creation of men, man's place in the world, and his relationship with the gods.

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In a different approach to the role of women in Greek mythology, C.

Kerényi studies the nature of the Kore, or maiden goddess, in Greek myth.

Kirk divides hero myths into three categories as well: those that deal with older heroes (in myths set in a "timeless past," long before the Trojan War); with younger heroes (in myths set in a time close to or during the Trojan War); and later "inventions" based on "definitely historical figures." In his study of the divinity myths, Richard Buxton identifies several characteristics of Greek gods as well as the prevalent themes of these types of myths.

Buxton notes that Greek gods appear as neither good nor evil, but simply as powerful, and that conflict arises between gods and mortals when imbalances of power occur or when mortals overstep their boundaries.

C., there existed an oral tradition "firmly rooted" in "Goddess worship." The goddesses of these matriarchal pre-Hellenic myths were both powerful and compassionate, but Spretnak notes that when they were incorporated into the Olympian myths, they were transformed into jealous, disagreeable, sexual objects.

Robert Emmet Meagher also examines how early myths depicting women as birth goddesses and creators were subverted by the later mythological system and by the poet Hesiod into beings created by male gods for the purpose of bringing misery and death to human males as a punishment.

The most common themes of these myths include violence, deception, negotiation, reciprocity, and honor. Edinger takes another approach in his analysis of the cosmogonical myths; he examines them from a psychological standpoint, noting what the myths appear to demonstrate about the nature of the conscious and unconscious mind.

Edinger argues that in these myths, whenever a being is brought from an unconscious state into a conscious one, a split into opposites occurs, and that conflict invariably results; unity is only present in the unconscious state.

C.), the transmission of myths was primarily an oral affair.

Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days, in addition to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, are the oldest extant written sources of Greek mythology, and most scholars agree that certain mythological elements in each can be dated to a much earlier period.


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