Mythology is the study of myth and the body of myths of a particular culture. It is a cultural phenomenon that can be approached from a number of different viewpoints. In general, myth describes and portrays the origin of the basic elements and assumptions of a culture. For example, how the world began, how humans and animals were created, how certain customs, gestures and forms of human activities originated. Almost all cultures possess or possessed and lived in terms of myth.
Myths differ from fairy tales in that they refer to a time that is different from ordinary. The time sequence of myth is extraordinary, a time before the world came into being. Since myths refer to an extraordinary time, place, gods and other supernatural beings, they have been seen as aspects of religion. However, the inclusive nature of myth can show many aspects of individual and cultural life.
Myth has presented a problem of meaning and interpretation from the beginnings of Western culture. A history of controversy has gathered both the value and the status of mythology. Myth, History and Reason in the Greek heritage of the west has always been in tension with reason or logos, which symbolized the analytic mode of coming up at a true account of reality. Greek philosophers such as Xenophanes, Plato and Aristotle, exalted reason and made sarcastic criticisms of myth as a proper way of knowing reality.
Although essential, the distinctions between reason and myth were never quite absolute. Aristotle concluded that in some of the early Greek creation myths, logos and mythos overlapped. Plato used myths as metaphors and also literary devices in developing an argument.
Greek religion and mythology are supernatural beliefs and ritual observances of the ancient Greeks, mostly related to a diffuse and a contradictory body of stories and legends. The most notable features of this religion were many gods having different personalities having human form and feeling. The absence of any...