Our Original Theories on How Mythology Came About
It is my belief that the Greeks, having little or no extensive spiritual history, were looking for ways to explain deep questions to themselves about the earth and the universe. They probably also wanted to pass down history to future generations and express and entertain themselves. Lastly, I think they wished to fulfill their longing to believe in a power greater than themselves that had a hand in destiny. Mythology may have also been used to vent their frustrations. Could neighbors on bad terms have been inducted into each others' tales as villains or monsters – maybe even Medusa – as writers do now, but do not care to admit? My guess is that mythology also acted as a form of discipline and warning to the young and irresponsible, as it was filled with real experiences, emotions and metaphors.
The Greeks seemed to be a refined people, some of the first to show their gods in human form, contrary to peoples like the Egyptians whose gods were strange, non-relatable creature-deities. As for the sea legends, because so many of the Greeks were excellent sailors out of necessity to survive with the vast waters surrounding them, they probably invented tales to explain seemingly other-worldly events at sea. A ship with crewmen that never returned, things that may have washed up on the beach, eerie noises, undertows, maelstroms (frighteningly powerful ocean whirlpools that devoured ships and brought certain death) and unknown animals lurking below all probably contributed to the myths. Sailors in that day were also very superstitious and relied on changing natural sources like wind and stars to guide their way. Any sudden storm or hurricane could easily be deemed supernatural.
I consider the stark similarities between Greek and Roman myths and legends to be somewhat like a game of telephone: the original product usually remains essentially the same, but with slight distortions. It is my hope that our website provides a comprehensive guide to a subject both fascinating and overshadowed by everyday requirements.
- Kaitlyn G., Age 16, Primary Editor
I think the god Dionysus was created as an excuse for the Greeks to engage in debauchery. It was probably during a festival with alcoholic beverages that a group of Greeks wanted a god to symbolize this. By saying they were worshiping Dionysus, god of wine and ecstasy, nobody could blame them for their overindulgence.
I believe the goddess Demeter was created from anticipation of having better vegetation. The Greeks were probably having a terrible year of crops and wanted either someone to give them hope or just someone to blame. By creating a goddess of vegetation and fruitfulness, they then had both. Thus, Demeter came into being.
- Marisa J., age 14, Primary Graphic Designer
I think mythology came about because of peoples’ deep-seated instincts to blame someone or something when things went wrong. They wanted a logical (or maybe not so logical) explanation. Perhaps if someone contracted a horrible disease or affliction after they had done something wrong, they would blame it on the punisher, Nemesis. Maybe they had conversations like, “Have you seen his crops this year? They’re failing. I heard he forgot to sacrifice to so-and-so.” Greek and Roman men and women still faced many of the basic problems and decisions we have now, so I assume they would have wanted to create the perfect system of cause and effect. I am sure the stories still fascinate people nowadays because of these shared issues.
- Melissa G., age 12, Primary Artist