Edited by Eric H. Kessler and Diana J. Wong-MingJi
Chapter 6: Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership in Greece
Theodore Peridis INTRODUCTION Few would quibble with the assertion that some of the greatest stories ever told of how the world and the creatures in it came to be in their present form, have been handed down to us from the ancient Greeks. The stories of great heroes, who fought overwhelming odds and defeated formidable enemies, slaughtered atrocious monsters and overcame great adversities, have inspired generations of people to pursue laudable goals and achieve greatness. Greeks even gave us the word to describe those ostensibly historical events that capture the imaginary dealings of gods, demigods and legendary heroes. Myths narrate a people’s popular view of how practices, events, and phenomena unfolded. Mythology, the telling and re-telling of these traditional stories, as well as the systematic collection, study and interpretation of myths have engaged both literary and historical scholars for centuries, for the myths do reveal a wealth of insights about the people that nurtured those stories. Greek mythology offers us a tremendously fertile ground of fabulous stories and a fascinating window into the culture and the psychology of the Greeks. The 12 Olympian gods, the demigods, and the innumerable heroes, their deeds, labours, and achievements, their passions and indiscretions, their journeys, battles, and conflicts reveal a people that drew on tremendous imagination and rich artistic genetic material, but also reflect how Greeks come to terms with human pain and suffering, their inability to understand, and a genuine attempt to explain why the world is just ‘not fair’. Myths reflect and...
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