Greek mythology appeared later than other ancient cosmogonic conception. The Greeks, like other peoples of the ancient world, sought to unravel the strange and terrible phenomenon of nature, to discover the mysterious forces that govern people’s lives. Poetic imagination of the ancient Greeks created the Greek mythology and populated the world by fantastic creatures: water nymphs populated rivers, Dryads inhabited trees and groves, Oreades lived in the mountains, Nereids and Oceanides – in the seas. Wild nature was personified in the image of goat-footed satyrs and lush centaurs, half-human half-horse.
According to Greek mythology, the world was ruled by wise and immortal gods, who lived on the top of Mount Olympus. The Greeks represented them as perfect and beautiful people. They were one family, whose head was Zeus. This humanization of the gods, so characteristic of the Hellenic religion, made them close and accessible to man; it claimed human beauty as a measure of the highest perfection. Thus, the mighty, not subordinate to men deified forces of nature became more understandable and explainable to the mind and imagination of man.
The Greek people have created colorful mythological narrative of the life of the gods and heroes. This peculiar kind of folklore was named myths. They merged the memories of the distant past and poetic fiction. Stories about the world creation and the human race were based on the various myths of Greek mythology.
Greek mythology, its myths were the first attempt to understand the surrounding reality, to expand the life experiences, to give harmony and appropriateness of the overall picture of nature. The continuing importance of myths is explained by the extraordinary richness of their images. Later, in the archaic period, the myths became sources for Greek poets, philosophers, historians, artists, and sculptors, an inspirational force for their works, acquiring new, updated forms and meanings.
For those students, who have chosen the mythology of ancient Greece as the subject for their research paper, it is important to explain in their work that the myths had a huge impact on the development of art and culture around the world, and triggered countless religious concepts of man, heroes and gods. In addition to the indication of continuing importance of the ancient myths in the development of modern art, they must show their meaning for ancient Greeks.
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