What is Mythology?

To put it simply, a myth is a type of story. They are old stories that were originally told orally. They do, however, have several characteristics.

  1. Myths are usually about gods, goddesses and other supernatural beings with great powers and abilities that humans don't possess.
  2. Myths explain the origins of the world or how our human customs came into being.
  3. Myths took place a long time ago. Their setting is usually in the ancient history of a civilization.
  4. Myths were thought to be true by the original storytellers. Today, we consider them to be a little strange or wild at times.

Myths also served a purpose for the ancient cultures. There are basically three purposes for myths.

  1. Myths explain how things came into being. These are the creation and explanation myths.
  2. Myths help teach people about values and beliefs that are important to their society. These are the lesson or teaching myths.
  3. Myths can provide excitement and entertainment. These are the hero myths.

Often times, myths were created to answer questions that human would have about the world around them. Some of these questions included:

  • How were the universe and earth created?
  • Where did people come from?
  • What happens to us when we die?
  • Where did things in nature come from?
  • Where did the constellations come from?
  • Why do creatures behave the way they do?
  • How did bad things come into the world?
  • Why do the seasons change?

Mythology seeks to provide definite answers to unanswerable questions. Myths also establish a natural and social order to the world in how they are told. Some of the best known authors of myths were:

- Homer: he was blind and wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad.
- Hesiod: he was a shepherd and wrote Works and Days.
- Aeschylus: he was a play wright of Greek tragedies.
- Virgil: he was a Roman poet who wrote Aeneid.
- Ovid: he was also a Roman poet and he wrote Metamorphoses.

Winds of Olympus