Greek mythology: what it is, gods and heroes –

A mythology greek it was the set of myths and beliefs that existed in the culture and religiosity of the ancient Greeks. Its main records were made by Homer and Hesiod, two Greek poets. In it there were several myths involving gods, but also the presence of heroes and many other beings.

The Greeks were polytheists and believed that their gods were immortal, although they had feelings, qualities and defects like any human being. For them, the most powerful god of all was Zeus, son of Cronos. The main gods of Greek mythology were known as the Olympian gods.

Check it out on our podcast: 5 things you need to know about the Greek gods

Topics of this article

Overview of Greek Mythology

  • This is how the set of narratives of the religiosity of the ancient Greeks is known.

  • Its main records were made by Hesiod and Homer.

  • The Greeks were polytheistic and believed in the existence of many gods.

  • The main Greek god was Zeus, who ruled men and gods from Mount Olympus.

  • The Greeks also believed in heroes, children of gods and mortals, and many other mythological beings.

What is Greek Mythology

Greek mythology is the term used to define the set of myths that made part of the culture and religiosity of the ancient Greeks. These narratives were the way found by the Greeks to explain reality, including the phenomena of nature and even Greek practices and traditions.

Myths, naturally, were not only used to explain the phenomena of nature and Greek traditions, but also the origin of the planet, men and the gods themselves. They could be counted orally, but the Greeks were a people who recorded a considerable part of their culture in writing.

Important records were made by two authors, Homer (who probably lived during the Homeric period) and Hesiod (who lived during the Archaic period). Many of these myths probably originated from more remote periods of Greek history, such as the Pre-Homeric period, and were passed down from generation to generation.

Don’t stop now… There’s more after the publicity 😉

Homer was the composer of two well-known poems: the Iliad It is Odyssey. The first narrates the events of the Trojan War and the second, the return of Odysseus, one of the characters of the Trojan War, to his residence in Ithaca. Historians understand that Homer recorded the poems that make up these two books, but he did not invent them because it is believed that they had been told by the Greeks for centuries.

In the case of Hesiod, the two known works were theogony It is Works It is dgo. Both were also possible thanks to the oral tradition of the Greeks, which preserved and passed them on. theogony is a poem that records the emergence of the world as well as the emergence of the gods.

Already jobs and dgo it is about the organization of men, approaching themes related to work, commerce, justice, among others. This poem also deals with Hesiod’s personal life.

The works of Homer and Hesiod contributed significantly to the recording of a good part of all the knowledge that is had about Greek mythology and the principles of religiosity of this people.

As mentioned, myths were an important part of Greek culture and religiosity, but belief in them it was not unanimoussince there were skeptical people in Greece, who doubted the existence of the gods and did not believe in their stories.

Login also: Mythology — set of beliefs or myths of a people

Gods of Greek Mythology

It is impossible to talk about Greek mythology without mentioning its main characters: the gods. the Greeks were polytheists and believed in the existence of several deities. Greek myths presented them as immortalshowever, just like humans, they had feelings.

Thus, the Greek gods fell in love, felt hate, jealousy, envy, became proud, felt compassion and could act moved by these feelings. Myths emphasized that these deities had qualities and flaws that were also human, and their personalities eventually generated conflicts.

The gods could be personification of natural phenomena, but also represent abstract values ​​present in Greek culture and society. So, for example, the Greeks believed that Zeus had the power to control the weather, so any sudden change in that direction could be understood as his action.

The main Greek deities were Olympians, that is, they resided on Mount Olympus, ruled by Zeus. The Olympian gods settled after the war initiated by Zeus against the Titans. This conflict was called Titanomachy and it began because Zeus rebelled against his own father, Cronos, and went in search of his brothers, who had been devoured by the titan.

After winning the war, Zeus and his brothers proceeded with the division of the kingdoms, and Zeus took the skies, Hades, with the underworld, and Poseidon, with the waters. No one took Earth as it was Gaia’s domain. It is important to mention that not all Greek gods resided on Olympus, as is the case with Hades, god of the underworld.

The Olympic gods were:

  • Zeus: king of the gods, ruler of Mount Olympus, god of the sky, lightning, thunder;

  • Ivy: queen of the gods, goddess of marriage, women, family;

  • Poseidon: god of the seas, water, storms;

  • Athena: goddess of wisdom, crafts;

  • ares: god of war, violence;

  • demeter: god of harvest, agriculture, seasons;

  • Apollo: god of light, sun, prophecy, philosophy, poetry, music, art;

  • Artemis: goddess of the hunt, virginity, the moon;

  • Hephaestus: god of metallurgy, fire, invention, volcanoes;

  • aphrodite: goddess of love, passion, fertility, beauty;

  • Hermes: messenger of the gods, god of travel, trade, communication, diplomacy;

  • Dionysus: god of wine, parties, theater.

Read more: Gods of Egypt — Ancient Egyptian deities who acted to preserve the harmony of the Universe

Heroes and Other Beings of Greek Mythology

Greek mythology was formed not only from gods, but also from beings of the most varied forms and also from heroes, known as demigods, that is, mortals who were children of gods. Two of the best-known heroes in Greek mythology were Perseus and Hercules.

Perseusson of Zeus and Dânae, was marked by having received the mission to obtain the head of Medusa, a gorgon, a monstrous being known for its ferocity and its ability to turn people who looked directly at it to stone. Perseus enlisted the help of the gods and accomplished the feat by beheading her.

Hercules had great strength and was one of the best-known heroes in Greek mythology.

Herculesin turn, was the son of Zeus and Alcmene and wielder of superhuman strength. He was haunted by Hera part of his life, driven insane and induced to murder his wife and children. In addition, he was marked by having completed 12 jobs that were considered impossible.

In addition to heroes and gorgons, Greek mythology had beings like centauryou, cyclopes, mermaids, hydras, sphingesone horse winged (Pegasus) and countless other types of monstrous beings.

Video lesson on Ancient Greece: religion

By Daniel Neves
History teacher