With the term Greek mythology we mean the entire web of myths related to the cause of Hellenism, as presented in the texts of Ancient Greek or Byzantine literature. In Greek mythology also specifies the narration of stories created by the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the ritual practices of worship.
|Statues of the Greek gods|
The Greek mythology consists in part of a large collection of narratives that explain the origins of the world and chronicle the life and adventures of a wide variety of gods, heroes, heroines, and other mythological creatures. These stories originally elaborated and disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition and that is why the Greek myths are known today primarily from the Greek literature. The oldest known literary sources are the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, which focus on events surrounding the Trojan War. Also two poems of Hesiod, the Theogony and Works and Days, contain many descriptions of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes and sacrificial practices. Various myths have also been conserved from: Homeric Hymns, fragments of epic poems circle, lyrics, works tragedians of the 5th century BC, writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic period and texts by writers of the Roman period, as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Monumental evidence at Mycenae and Minoan Crete helped resolve many questions arising from the Homeric epics and granted archaeological evidence for many of the mythological details about gods and heroes. The Greek mythology was depicted also in artifacts. The geometric designs on pottery of the 8th century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle, as well as the adventures of Heracles(Hercules). In the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods, the Homeric and various other mythological scenes complement the existing literature data.
The Greek mythology had extensive influence on the culture, arts and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage. It is a part of the education from childhood, while poets and artists from ancient times to the present have been drawing inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary meanings and relevance in classical mythological themes.