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Definition

Greek mythology, as in other ancient cultures, was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Myths were also intricately connected to religion in the Greek world and explained the origin and lives of the gods, where humanity had come from and where it was going after death, and gave advice on the best way to lead a happy life. Finally, myths were used to re-tell historical events so that people could maintain contact with their ancestors, the wars they fought, and the places they explored. Without wide-spread literacy, the passing on of myths was first done orally, probably by Minoan and Mycenaean bards from the 18th century BCE onwards. This of course allows for the possibility that with each re-telling of a particular myth it is embellished and improved upon to increase audience interest or incorporate local events and prejudices. Over centuries though, and with increasing contact between city-states, it is difficult to imagine that local stories did not become mixed with others to create a myth with several diverse origins. The next development in the presentation of myths was the creation of poems in Ionia and the celebrated poems of Homer and Hesiod around the 8th century BCE. For the first time mythology was presented in written form. Homers Iliad recounts the final stages of the Trojan War - perhaps an amalgamation of many conflicts between Greeks and their eastern neighbours in the late Bronze Age (1800-1200 BCE) - and theOdyssey recounts the protracted voyage home of the hero Odysseus following the Trojan War.
Interject- So simple put (Prrimarily) Greek mythology explained everyday things (like the sun, the seasons, the stars) to the Greeks, and today they still have an influence. For example, some people say that the movie Finding Nemo is like an Odyssey of some sort. The words apollonian and Dionysian(day-uh -nition) came from Apollo and Dionysus. Odyssey came from Odysseus. Herculean came from Heracles (Hercules). Many of the Greek gods' Roman names became the names of the planets. The names Minerva and Diana are common girls' names. The word June, for the month of June, came from Juno. The word cereal came from Ceres. The word volcanoo came from Vulcan.

The next principal representation of myths was through pottery from the 8th century BCE onwards. A myriad of mythical scenes decorate ceramics of all shapes and function and must surely have spread the myths to a wider audience.

The Greeks created myths to explain just about every element of the human condition.
The myths continued to be popular through the centuries and major public buildings such as the Parthenon at Athens, the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple to Apollo at Delphi were decorated with larger-than-life sculpture representing celebrated scenes from mythology. In the 5th century BCE the myths were presented in the new format of theatre, especially in the works of the three tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Natural phenomena were explained with myth, e.g., earthquakes are created when Poseidon crashes his trident to the ground or the passage of the sun is Helios in his chariot riding across the sky. Myths such as Persephones half year descent to Hades explained the seasons. Time itself had mythological explanations: Helios seven herds of 350 cattle correlate to the days of the year, Selenes 50 daughters are the weeks, and Helios twelve daughters the hours. References to Greek mythology can be found all through time and in our Western culture. The influence of Greek mythology can be found in our science, arts and literature and our language, When Ancient Greece fell to the Roman Empire, Rome adapted its mythologies which still influence us today as they have through history. That is not to say that the Greek mythology Wasnt influenced itself Greek mythology has strong links with the bible and the late Mycenaeans. Greek mythology has influenced our western culture in the past and is still continuing today. by Mark Cartwright published on 29 July 2012