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Classical Mythology Three types of Story ‘True’ Myth – gods/elements with religious or scientific functions; often etiological (explanatory) Legend or Saga – stories about humans in faraway past often with special connections to gods; rooted in historical past; often with social/political uses Folktale – stories of common folks that illustrate everyday morals; loaded with magic and fantasy; functions as entertainment, as well as instilling social values
Sources of Classical Mythology • Greek ages (3000 BC – 331 BC) derived from literature, arts, and architectural structures of the Greek adapted from eastern Mediterranean tales and contacts. • Roman period (753 BC- AD 450) a reinterpretation of Greek stories compounded with Rome’s native, rural traditional tales and religion and stories picked up from contacts around the Mediterranean.
General Definition of ‘Myth’ A traditional narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. With plot, characters, and setting. No single author or original source. Orally conveyed. In effect, an organic piece—a performative.
Fields Using Classical Myth • • • Theology Anthropology Archeology History Philosophy Psychiatry Art Marketing Science Classical Studies Psychiatry
Entries into Ordinary Language • Odyssey, erotic, Adonis, hector, protean, Nestorian, mentor, lethal, Oedipus complex, panic, Amazon, calypso, echo, Achilles’ heel, aphrodisiac, bacchanal, satyriasis, hermaphrodite, Herculean, atlas, hydra, hyacinths, narcissus, etc.
Class Sources • Ovid – Roman poet, ca 43 BC – AD 17 • Homer – Greek poet, ca 750 BC, a ‘rhapsodos’
• Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish. --Ovid