roman and ancient greek mythology

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Greek myths are epic stories of overcoming difficult challenges and gods and goddesses gallivanting around the world. To others, they are legends of humans battling gods, in which the victor or victorious party is either bloodied and burned or transformed into animals or plants. On the surface, the tales seem to be nothing more than fancy stories of battles, conflicts, and romance told by old story-tellers. A deeper comprehension, though, reveals more than the common perception. A closer examination of the legends exposes morals, philosophies, doctrine, and so on.
These tales were possibly written thousands of years earlier. Talking about myths gives us some vivid images and visions of epic battles, the quest of legends and gods in a time when there were monsters in earth roaming freely and terrorizing the mankind. Myths are not histories, no one can categorize in a single discipline though it holds the characteristics of history, literature, philosophy, and religion.
Myths were mainly developed by the narrators who were recognized as a poet. The narrators used to present a unique version of a story each time. Most of the times the stories were unacceptable to the public and these stories had never been repeated.
The works of historians e.g. Herodotus, Hippocrates, were different than that of a poet. Historians presented the facts, incidents which had taken place.
The epic poem "Iliad" written by Homer was an oral tale long before Homer penned it, the version which is available to us. Historians agreed the poem was written in between 800 to 500 B.C. When any historical fact is presented the writer tries to focus on the fact. But like other poets, Homer continuously played with the audience with the improvised version of the oral tale. Some myths had also created some other myths thus a chain of myth had been developed.
Different types of views are shared by the historians, authors, and researchers. Some think that these are some fancy tales to entertain the audience. Another school of thought is these allegorical poems have some deep inner meaning which has moral, social and cultural values. Roman Empire was one of the largest and influential civilizations in ancient time. In many societies, ancient religious notions have performed a major role in developing cultural and social values.
Roman Empire was not an exception. The Roman myths are also revolved around the history and heroes of Rome who built it. Romans had their own pantheon of good and goddess. These deities are mostly associated with Greek mythology. Romans added the Greek gods by their own name and style and added some other foreign cults as the Roman Empire expanded.
From the founding of the Roman empire to its fall in A.D. 476, Rome dominated Europe and much of North Africa, the Near East, and Asia Minor. Although this sprawling empire encompassed many cultures with their own myths and legends, the mythology of the Romans themselves revolved around the founding, history, and heroes of the city of Rome. The Romans had developed their own pantheon of gods and goddesses.
After they conquered Greece, however, their deities became increasingly associated with the figures of Greek mythology. It is difficult to separate the history of Rome from the myths. Until 510 B.C. Rome was ruled by the kings. Then Rome became the republic government ruled by the officials. The foundation of Rome is extremely associated with the national epic of poet Virgil name 'Aeneid'. The mythologies were developed during the early stage of the empire (20 B.C. to A.D. 20). Virgil and Ovid, who wrote metamorphoses, drew myths linked with the city's founding deities and Greek legends. Ovid collected the near eastern and Greek myths and wrote in a unique way which portrayed the legends of founding city._x005F In ancient period the religious view was polytheistic both in Roman and Greek civilization. Different from today's monotheistic view the god and goddesses hold different types of power for different aspects of life. The gods ruled over the region, natural phenomenon and events. Differing from today's Messiah, salvation, and faith-based religion ancient religion was a tradition. The role of Greek myths and religion has a pervasive influence on society and every aspect of life.
In Lower Peninsula due to the Greek colonies Romans have adopted many Greek gods as their own. The religious view was no different. The Greek and Roman Gods were more anthropomorphic with human feelings such as love, hate, anger, wrath, and jealousy etc. Though adopting the Greek gods in religion the practice of rituals was different and had set rigid rules to avoid the hazardous religious zeal.
The fusion of Greek and Roman deities influenced the life of Rome in many ways. Even though only entertainment was the main function of these stories, poets were inspired to develop more characters interlinked with the previous plot and characters.
In Greek society, these myths serve many functions. The characters and plot of the stories give a view of the history of that time. Though the characters are fictional the allegorical description gives more messages than the actual historical texts. To understand the influence of these mythical heroes we can look at the names of the days and planets, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus etc.
The western culture and civilization have changed the religious view and science has overruled the factual accuracy of these events. But mythology can be used to relate to the happenings of past time beyond the memory. It sometimes refers significant hint of an event which might have taken place in ancient time. Many historians have confirmed that some fact of Home's 'Troy' was real. There may have been a war and the war was fought for a runaway wife. These myths are sometimes worked as an inspiration for further study.
People had fancy on gods, something for people to pray to for situational call for it. The need of these god's help is the result of human sufferings and helplessness. In the time of the battle the Greeks call for the support of Ares, Romans ask support from the mars. These myths don't give any direct lesson but a social and cultural value of a society is mainly based on some the folk proverb, in Greece which has mainly come from these myths. In many stories, there are examples of response from the God. Actually, people now believe that power of prayers actually resides inside any human. The willpower of human was symbolized by thunder, storm, and destruction etc.
Myths have their own explanation of the creation theory. It is very interesting to read the fancy stories of the clash of Supergiant and Gods. Prometheus the creator of mankind, Zeus the supreme power, each and every figure has some characteristics human mind always craved for. Pandora's Box is a great example of an allegorical story which explains how the sufferings have come to earth.
There are some similarities between the biblical theory and the Greek myths. In both texts, it is found that curiosity was the reason behind the human sufferings. In bible eve curious about the forbidden fruit, on the other hand, Pandora was curious about the wooden box which was also forbidden to open.
People try to understand the world and phenomenon in their own ways. The answered questions were answered through stories, myths, and fairy tales. By the flow of time, some of these stories become a proverb and set moral notions in cultural tradition. Change of season, day and night and other natural phenomenon were mysterious in ancient time due to lack of scientific research and explanation.
People created superpowers and asked them for help. Polytheistic religions have become obsolete, Monotheistic God based religion has gained popularity and acceptance among the people. But there are some basic similarities which will never be changed. The human quest for spirit and consciousness colors these stories in many ways. The creation myth was a complex process regardless of the long explanation. Erynome the goddess bore Titans, Uranus; the father had the power of government over the planets. Saturn was ruled by Rhea and Cronus, Cronus rebelled against his father Uranus and castrated. When the drops of his blood fell on earth it brought life to earth.
This is a very abridged version of the creation myth. Another question people have been searching is 'what will happen after death?' In Greek mythology, the deceased descend into the underworld. There is a river called Styx charon has to be paid to cross the river. So after death, two gold coins were put on the closed eyes of deceased to pay Charon. The God of the underworld is Hades. The deceased souls can go into three places. Dreadful creatures protect the place from outside, so the living persons are unable to visit the place. The underworld was placed into a deep abyss.
Unlike the Greeks, Romans were more imaginative when drawing the images of the God. But Roman traditions are based on ceremonies and the worship of God was a part of it. The culture of Rome has not been developed in one or a few days, defining culture is very difficult. Culture holds a nations art, literature, religion etc. In ancient Romans, there were gladiators who fought in an arena for the entertainment of people. Romans haunt people and make them slaves.
The medieval centuries are also influenced by this literature in many ways. Language is the medium for the flow of information from one age to another. Mythologies of every separate region hold a special place. These stories have been told for thousands of year generations by generations. Sometimes myths legitimize a claim to a land or a city which gives the right to rule the land or city. These types of myths are called founding myths.
It is still a mystery that how people get the idea of such as disciplined myth series which had begun even the basic understanding the human life. In ancient time people were busy in collecting food and hunting animals. They strive to secure their generations from outside threat. People lived by tribes they fought for their land their shelter. Ancient Greek and Romans also fought for their land. The uncertainty of living, the fear of unknown encouraged people to come up with such tales, offers answers give courage to youth to protect their families, encourage them to be a hero like Hercules.
When analyzing the myth comparing the daily life, mythic stories suggests thinking in between the 'Fact' and 'Myth' as a linear spectrum radically contrasted by the black and white. There are many 'Gray areas' which are investigated in many pre-modern cultures have not been prioritized as scientific analysis. Metaphysical characteristics don't hold the ground of science rather these are interpreted as visions and symbolic expression.
Despite having the differences between fantasy and mythic stories and daily life, these have several common features. It becomes very difficult to tell whether the story deals with more fantasy than the typical daily life when there are some real characteristics which can be found in reality. Most of the storytellers developed and narrated these stories in their families and communities. Human actions are encouraged through similar characters, situations, and events. Sometimes the characters are real but the place is imaginative and sometimes the characters are fictional but the place is a kind of map of some territory.
Outsiders don't understand the mythic stories and generally assume it as fictional and fairy tales to meet some psychological needs. The critics from outsider consider these stories as unconnected from the real world and somewhat nonsense folk tales. The authors of mythology argued that the accuracy of the mythology had never mattered to the people who were the audience.
Many powerful symbols and messages were conveyed through these stories were perceived by the wise listeners of that time. Most of the time the storytellers mixed their stories with other stories but the messages was the same and wise people were quick to catch it. People may find some conflicts between the plots which give a different perspective somewhat a greater truth.
Time has changed we don't live in ancient time. So for the modern readers, it is very difficult the contextual myths. Researchers still have found much proof of mythical incidents though these are not like the fancy tales but have great similarities and hints. For common people, these stories are still a great source of entertainment. Books are being written, movies are being made on these myths. Mythology still has the same appeal to people. Some people find moral messages, some find entertainment. Thousands of years old stories still fascinates us in many ways.


Diaz, Marta Gomez, and Gregory Nagy. "Greek Mythology And Poetics". Language 68, no. 1 (1992): 237. Doi: 10.2307/416404.
Graves, Robert, Rick Riordan, and Ross MacDonald. The Greek Myths. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.
James, E. O. The Ancient Gods. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 2004.
Laing, Jennifer. The Greek and Roman Gods. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1982.
Miller, Walter. "Roman History and Mythology. Henry A. Sanders". Classical Philology 7, no. 1 (1912): 97-100. Doi: 10.1086/359620.
Stark, Rebecca, Karen Birchak, and Nelsy Fontalvo. Mythology. Hawthorne, N.J.: Educational Impressions, 2001.

September 01, 2021

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