Greek Mythology

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     Long ago, people lacked knowledge on why certain things happened. Without scientific answers, like we have today, the Ancient Greeks created their own answers about the world and an individual’s place in it. These tales were known as myths. They described the feelings and values that bound the members of society. There are two types of myths -- creation myths and explanatory myths. A creation myth explained the start of many events such as the origin of the world and the creation of human beings. An explanatory myth explained a natural process or event such as illness and death. Most myths concerned divine beings such as gods, goddesses and other heroes with supernatural powers. These characters had many human characteristics, aside from their special powers, that included birth and death and the presence of emotions such as love and jealousy. These human qualities of the divine beings reflected the values of society. Such characters are called anthropomorphic, derived from two Greek words meaning “in the shape of man”. Gods and goddesses that resembled animals were referred to as theriomorphic, derived from two Greek words meaning “in the shape of an animal”. The last group of mythical characters has no name. They didn’t take the form of a complete human or animal, such as a figure with a human body and an animal head. As well as being entertaining and interesting to read, myths played an important role in Ancient Greek society.
     The Greeks honored their gods with different kinds of festivals. Their celebrations have continued throughout the years and two have become worldwide traditions.

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