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How Greek Mythology Can Still Be Considered as Relevant in Today’s Modern Society?

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Greek mythology is immensely immersed into many forms of society beginning from ancient times and up until now in the 21st century. Greek mythology has always been a favourite subject in popular culture even in this age of advanced technology where many would have thought that such ancient and scientifically unrealistic ideas such as myths and legends would be outmoded but instead in actuality, society nowadays find themselves rushing to the cinema to watch Greek mythology influenced movies or maybe even be engrossed in a book where the story revolves around Greek myths and legends. Why is this? How can this collection of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, regarding their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and importance of their own cult and ritual practices, can still be accepted and considered as relevant in today’s modern society?

Every Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, natural phenomena, and essentially every element of the human condition through detailing the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines and mythological creatures (Cartwright, 2012). The fact that these myths revolve around the themes of human conditions and values is probably the primary reason as to why the stories are still in use and considered as relevant today. Whether, heroes or gods, all these mythical characters mainly the gods were given human characteristics and features; they were anthropomorphic (Renshaw, 2008). Furthermore, apart from experiencing unearthly adventures, they also face common mortal challenges such as war, loss, rivalries and had human emotions such as love, hate, and jealousy, just like their human creators. One can feel the shame of Hephaestus when he finds his wife Aphrodite has cheated on him with wicked Ares, or the anger of Poseidon when Odysseus blinds his son Polyphemus. Also, there must be some human sympathy for Homer's description of Zeus in the 16th chapter of the Iliad, sorrowing for the death of his son Sarpedon, who fell on the plains of Troy before the murderous Greek assault on King Priam's high towers. Contrasting these stories of the Greek gods to other mythical gods such as the Egyptian, Amun-Re with his hawk head distantly driving the solar barge across the sky far from men, it might be somewhat of a difficult image for some to acquire much of an emotional connection to.

It’s interesting to note that whether people realize it or not but among any other ancient myths, Greek myths is arguably the most dominant in many cultures especially Western culture which itself influences other cultures thus inadvertently broadening the impact of Greek mythology . Compare Greek gods to Egyptians gods, one of the reasons they are perceived as more culturally appealing to many is that the Greek gods and goddesses were basically humans written large in the heavens meanwhile, the Egyptian gods were usually illustrated as more formal and strict (Mark, 2016). In addition, Egyptian gods were often times illustrated as hybrids; being part mortal and part animal. For instance, one can observe a statue of Apollo or Aphrodite and witness real (humanly) beauty however, it’s hard to be emotionally enticed/titillated by Thoth, who had the head of an ibis bird.

The mythology of the Greeks and the Egyptian, both were religious systems of their respected civilizations but the two served different cultural roles even in ancient times. The mythology of the Egyptian gods and their ritual cults was to a large degree secret, hidden behind the walls of temples into which only royalty or initiated priests were permitted. Modern scholars can translate their secret language and deduce what their rituals were, but they were the property of the ruling classes and the dual king of Egypt above all. The Egyptians did have a mythology and there are books on the subject but the rites and the mythology of the Egyptian state cults were the domain of the rulers and not the common people.

The Greeks, by contrast, were much more public about their religion, which made it by necessity more human and accessible to ordinary, uneducated people (Cartwright, 2013). They also had secret cults, such as the Mysteries of Demeter or Dionysus, but these were also often open to the masses. Even the mythology was available more commonly. The ability to read and write was a status symbol and education for the young, often males, was encouraged. Plato called Homer the "educator of all Greece" and so his mythology was well known and publicly recited and even acted out on stages, so it had great popular appeal. This ease of accessibility by the public of the past to these Greek myths has worked its way to modern times where the stories are still being spread, told, and taught to people and there is no sign of stopping.

Part of human nature is the attempt to explain things that are incomprehensible. People want to fill in gaps in knowledge that can't be rationally answered through experimentation and observation. When logic and religion can't be used to explain such situations, consequently, many rely on the alternative to the development of a mythological explanation, using supernatural



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