The poet Hesiod's Theogony, written around 700 BC, provided the first recorded rendition of Greek Mythology. It included descriptions of how and when various gods had been born.
Myths are stories that explain the origin of things or events. Myths often include detailed accounts of battles or other important events from early times. Modern scholars believe that many common objects such as trees, stones, and stars also have shown evidence of being worshipped by ancient people. These objects could be considered "gods" in their own right so they would have required a deity to protect them or provide guidance.
People started creating myths to explain how they thought things came about. For example, humans may have needed a reason for why some animals were mean or others not, so they created stories about animals turning into people or people into animals as a means of explaining this phenomenon.
Modern scientists have also discovered evidence of ancient myths. For example, an Egyptian hieroglyphic text from 1550 BC shows King Shoshenq I defeating a rebel leader named Pabuhl. This story is similar to one found in many modern countries involving a king who defeats a rebel leader at a battle called the "Battle of Cars".
The Theogony ("Birth of the Gods") by Hesiod, who lived in the late eighth or early seventh century B.C., is the most extensive account of the Greek creation myths that has survived (that is, the low-numbered 700s or high-numbered 600s BC). It was probably based on a much earlier collection of stories told about the origin of things. Hesiod's work influenced later authors such as Plato and Aristotle.
Early civilizations all over the world invented legends to explain how it began. Many cultures believed that gods or goddesses played a role in creating the universe and humanity.
In Europe, scholars think that the Indo-Europeans created many myths about heroes who fought various monsters to save mankind. These included Deriades (Greek), Dêümces (Latin), Dyus (Persian), Dzhimush (Russian), etc. The myths usually ended with the hero defeating the monster at the end of the story. However, every now and then, they would agree to be friends instead!
In Asia, scholars believe that the Proto-Indo-Europeans created myths about gods who had adventures and battles against other gods. Examples include Anzan (Aztec), Varuna (Sanskrit), and Vasuki (Vedic).
Myths about Creation. There are different accounts regarding the origins of human life in Greek mythology. The genesis tale known as the Five Ages of Man is attributed to the 8th century BCE Greek poet Hesiod. In this account, the first man and woman were created by Gaia (Earth) along with the rest of living things. However, because they showed arrogance, Gaia cast them out of Earth's paradise called "Gaea" and forced them to live in pain. They were given intelligence so that they could learn how to help themselves and then go back into exile only to be cast out again at the end of each age.
In another version of the story, told by Dictys of Crete, humans are made from the blood of Zeus when he fights against his father Cronus for the right to marry Hera. This version of events occurs before the Age of Gold.
Another myth tells us that humans are made from the blood of Titans who fought against Zeus during his youth. Their blood made earth fertile after it had been destroyed by the Titaness Echidna.
Yet another story says that humans are made from the blood of Uranus (the sky). She was so angry with him for marrying her daughter Aphrodite that she castrated him with a lightning bolt. His blood mixed with that of the earth to create men.
When did Greek mythology first appear? It is impossible to say when Greek mythology began because it is said to have evolved from centuries of oral tradition. Greek myths are most likely sprung from stories spoken in the Minoan culture of Crete, which lived from from 3000 to 1100 BCE. The myths may also have been inspired by events that took place in Egypt, Syria, or other countries near Greece.
Modern scholars believe the myths probably began with the poet-musician-activist called "The Muses". They wrote many of the stories that would become Greek mythology. According to myth, the Muses were daughters of Zeus and Titaness Thalia. They were given permission to sing by their father as a reward for winning a musical contest against Apollo and Dionysus. The Muses were believed to inspire poets and artists while they were alive and after their death; their bodies were buried in caves throughout Greece.
Some historians believe the ancient Greeks created myths about themselves to explain how they had come into existence. For example, the Greeks might have told stories about their gods creating humans because they wanted to account for their own need for food and shelter.
Or perhaps the Greeks created myths about themselves because they were looking for ways to make sense of their world. They might have done this by telling stories about the gods, because mythology could be used as a tool for explaining phenomena such as natural disasters or human actions.
The most renowned stories from Greek mythology
Myths were constructed by the Greeks to explain nearly every aspect of the human condition. The myths were portrayed in the new format of theatre in the 5th century BCE, particularly in the works of the three tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. These plays included both fictional stories told through dialogue and monologues and actual events from Greek history.
Some have argued that the Greeks invented myth because they were not aware of other civilizations at the time. However, recent research has shown that the ancient Egyptians, Indians, and Babylonians also had a tradition of telling stories about their gods and past events. Thus, the invention of myth can be attributed to the Greeks' desire to explain unknown aspects of the world and themselves within convenient narratives.
Furthermore, myth is useful for teaching moral values as well. For example, a myth can describe how certain actions affect the soul after death (i.e., the main character dies). This helps young people understand that certain behaviors will not always have positive results.
Finally, myth is important for entertainment since it creates drama that could not be accomplished through dialogue alone. For example, when Oedipus discovers that he has killed his father and married his mother without knowing it, this moment of truth is complicated by many factors including physical action, music, dance, and costume. Without these elements, the story would be too confusing and tedious to follow.