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Greek mythology and culture

  1. Jul 22, 2010 #1
    I'm not a student of philosophy or mythology, so please keep what you say simple and explanatory.

    I see most of the Greek mythology is based on Hesiod's work Theogony as is evident from the current historical records. What really motivated Hesiod to write such a work? Did he or anyone else, such as Homer, ever claimed that they were divinely inspired or any such thing? I think once I read that the persons who wrote Hindu mythology were divinely inspired. What was the status of Greek mythology in Greek culture and society? Was it taken as a religion, a time pass activity, or a part of literature of that time? Hindu mythology is, you can say, seen as a religion by Hindus. I observe there is a kind of similarity between cosmogonic claims of both Greek and Hindu mythologies. What are the reasons for this? They both assume the universe started from nothing. When Romans invaded Greece, they stole the ideas of Greek mythology, such as concepts of gods, to make part of their own culture. Did Romans have no mythology of their own, if they did, then what aspects of Greek mythology fascinated them to such a degree that they incorporated most of it?

    The classical mythology is a system of mythology of the Greeks and Romans together; much of Roman mythology (especially the gods) was borrowed from the Greeks. Graeco-Roman deity, Greco-Roman deity is a deity of classical mythology.

    In the table of Greek gods under link No. 1, at first sight you are misled into believing that Thaumas, along with others under the same tree (on the far top left), was a son of Oceanus and Gaia. In fact, his and others' parents were Pontus and Gaia. Did the layout also give you the same wrong impression?

    Thank you for reading this, your time, and any help you could offer.

    1. http://chaos1.hypermart.net/fullsize/mythfs.gif
    2. http://www.apodimos.com/arthra/06/Dec/GREEK_MYTHOLOGY_THE_PRINCIPAL_GODS/index.htm [Broken]
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontus_(mythology [Broken])
    4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyx
    5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theogony
    6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesiod
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2010 #2


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    The first statement in OP is incorrect - even according to the references cited. In the Wikipedia page on Theogony, it states "Hesiod's 'theogony' is a large-scale synthesis of a vast variety of local Greek traditions concerning the gods,. . . . ."

    Hesiod simply recorded in writing what was already expressed in the spoken language, and perhaps other writings. He just happened to be the one who was inspired to produce such a comprehensive work.

    Probably all of those, and perhaps just an expression of thinking about the world in which they lived. Perhaps some found reassurance in the stories and explanations of phenomena.

    Not necessarily so. There was already trade and competition between Greek and Roman centers.

    I was reading about a link between Hindu religion and Greek and Roman culture and religion a few days ago. Now I just have to remember where I read that.
  4. Jan 9, 2011 #3
    Actually I think the greeks were influenced by the hindus. But I think the greeks brought the whole constellations to the hindus. But I am pretty sure that the greeks were influenced by the hindus
  5. Jan 10, 2011 #4


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    It is highly unlikely that most of the religio-cultural transfer from Greece to ROme happened in the time of Rome's build-up of hegemony in Greece, i.e, in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C

    A far likelier model is the following:

    From the 7th century BC, the Greeks established numerous colonies in Italy.
    There were also numerous Greek craftsmen in the very early Rome, probably already under the kings.

    The two culturally superior cultures within the local neighbourhood of Rome were the Etruscans and the Greeks.
    The culturally simple Romans fashioned their own,mainly agricultural deities along the lines of the least threatening, and hence more admirable, culture, i.e, the Greeks. Much Etruscan culture filtered in, but the Romans, in their identity-building project, defined themselves AGAINST the Etruscans. That they therefore did not wholesale adopt Etruscan myths the way they did with the Greek myths is rather understandable.
  6. Jan 10, 2011 #5
    I think 7th century bc is a little to early. Ancient india has archaeological evidence dating back to at least 3000 bc. You should look up dwarka if you don't already it has just been discovered under water and disproved a few theories. You may be correct in a bunch of stuff but I'm just saying
  7. Jan 10, 2011 #6


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    I said the Greeks began to establish colonies in Italy in the 7th century, not that the cultural transfer to the Romans began in earnest then.
    But, from 6th century Rome, we DO have archeological remains from Greeks, for example temples, if I recall correctly.

    Now, some of Rome's kings were definitely Etruscans, for example the Tarquins.
    Thus, more narrowly, the identity-building project for the Romans would begin under the late kings and early Republic, say 550-450 BC.
    This was, in its latter phase, also coincident with fighting the Etruscans, the previous overlords.
    In order to prettify their own homely culture, wouldn't it make sense to borrow what they liked from an advanced culture like the Greeks, who were in cultural terms on par with the Etruscans, but not at all that menacing to the Romans?
  8. Jan 10, 2011 #7
    Ok sorry
  9. Jan 11, 2011 #8


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    Why should you feel sorry?

    I think your comment concerning the Hindu to Greek-connection is very interesting.
    It is an area where I am completely blank, so thanks to pointing this out!
    It is not improbable that SOME sort of connections exist here, although I would assume that most have been mediated through Persian culture.

    My own posts were restricted to the tiny sub-field concerning the Greek to Roman-connection, with which I am somewhat familiar.
    In no way should this imply criticism of what you have written.
  10. Jan 11, 2011 #9

    You are such a gentleman!:smile:

    Best wishes
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