An essay on Greek and Roman Mythology.

English writes have used ancient myths, especially Greek and Roman myths, so frequently that these myths have become an inseparable part of English Literature. In fact, without a fair knowledge of them, any study of English literature is not possible. In this essay we will discuss shortly about Greek and Roman myths and the characters of Greek and Roman God and Goddesses.

The ancient people of every civilization did not have any clear idea of God and His powers. They understood the supernatural powers and their secrets in their own ways. About one thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the writers of Greek imagined that their were supernatural beings who controlled the universe they called them god and goddesses. The interpreted the mysteries of those unseen powers with their experience of the visible world. These people made their deities in their own images. They imagined them as males and females and made Olympus their abode. They imagined them as beautiful, friendly and amusing but fearful when angry. These Gods were immortal, and so, more powerful than human beings. They shared human feelings, and sometimes, turned childish and indecent losing sainty. However, they thought their Gods and Goddesses were sensible in spite of their occasional nonsensical activities. Their Gods occasionally turned amorous, cowardly and ridiculous but they uphold Justice in most cases. Thus, the Olympus was made a “humanized world”. The Greek and Roman writers used their general concept of the time about supernatural powers in their writings. They, in fact , gave better shapes to the myths.

The Greek poets endowed each of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses with distinct personality. The Roman poets borrowed the concept of the Olympian from the Greek poets and gave them Roman names. The following list shows the Greek and Roman names of the major gods and goddesses:

Greek                          Roman
1. Aphrodite…….. Venus
2. Apollo…………….Apollo
3. Ares.                   Mars
4. Artemis.             Diana
5. Athene.              Minerva
6. Cronus.              Saturn
7. Demeter.          Ceres
8. Enyo.                 Bellona
9. Eos.                   Aurora
10. Eros.                 Cupid
11. Furies.              Dirae
12. Hades.              Pluto/Dis
13. Hebe                 Juventas
14. Hephaestus.    Vulcan
15. Hera                  Juno
16. Hermes                 Mercury
17. Hestia.                   Vesta
18. Pan                         Faunas
19. Persephone.         Proserpine
20. Poseidon               Neptune
21. Rhea.                     Ops
22. Thanatos.              Orcus
23. Zeus.                      Jupiter/Jove 

The concept of the Greeks and Romans about the creation of the universe helps understand the nature of each of the major gods and goddesses. They believed that the universe was not created by the gods and goddesses. According to their belief there was a time when there was nothing but chaos --- shapeless , dark confusion. The chaos gave birth to Night and Erebus in a mysterious way unknown to the Greeks. Night was chaos daughter and Erebus was her son. From the union of Night, also called Nyx (darkness) ,and Erebus(Death) were born Love, Light and Day. Then came Earth ( who is also called Gaea or Ge or Gaia), the mother, and Heaven (Uranus), the Father, again mysteriously. From their union were born Cronus, Reha were king and queen and gave birth to Hestia, Pluto, Poseidon, Zeus , Hebe and Demeter. From the union of Zeus and Hera were born Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.  From Zeus and Metis came Athene/ Athena, from Zeus and Demeter came Persephone, from Zeus and Leto and from the union of Ocean and Tethys came Iapetus descended Prometheus, Atlas and Epimetheus. From Atlas came Maia whose union with Zeus gave birth to Hermes. From Epimetheus came Dione whose union with Zeus gave birth to Aphrodite. Thus, Olympus become an abode of a host of Gods and Goddesses.

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