Greek Mythology

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Greek Mythology

Post by testsuda » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:28 am

Dear all,

I do not know from what original Greek work Mythological Stories come. Please kindly show me

Sincerely yours,

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Re: Greek Mythology

Post by Timothée » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:13 pm

I cannot be exhaustive by any means. It has been extracted from all possible material, not only literal but (to some extent) iconographical, as well. The terse Theogonia by Hesiod is our first source (Martin West derives its disposition from eastern models; the absolute and relative dating does vary in different scholars). Naturally Homer gives much information, though not necessarily in mythologically structured manner. The classical playwrights used mythological material to large extents, often providing a new aspect to it and thus reflecting their contemporary society via myths. For example the Oedipus Rex wells from the Theban mythological cycle, but the Athenians who first saw it would have got new facets to a story they already knew. Ovid presents much in his Metamorphoses, and to many stories he is almost our only source. It's not, though, in every single case easy to say what is old material in the story and what is added by the particular author. Vergil, for instance, gives us (in Aeneid ii) the famous story of the wooden horse, though I would think it is attested in some earlier authors, too.

(The Greek mythology is a complex construction which varied muchly through time and locally. It was not a monolith. Scholars have given much work for analysing as many of these layers as possible.)

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Re: Greek Mythology

Post by seneca2008 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:54 pm

I suggest you look for Timothy Gantz "Early Greek Myth" A guide to literary and artistic sources. Two Vols. John Hopkins University press 1993

It is a fascinating work which is pretty exhaustive. I found the fact that it looked at vases and other material culture which often predate early texts very helpful.

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Re: Greek Mythology

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:36 pm

To Timothée's reply I'd add the Homeric Hymns — there's actually surprisingly little from Homer in typical compendiums — more from the Odyssey than from the Iliad. And as Timothée suggested, often the source for so-called Greek myths is actually in Latin, as Romans made their our versions of the stories.

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Re: Greek Mythology

Post by mwh » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:38 am

The “Library” (Bibliotheca) that goes under the name of Apollodorus is a great organized collection of the Greek myths (largely based on Hesiod’s mostly lost Catalogue of Women), complete with variants. The Loeb edition by the famous anthropologist J.G. Frazer has informative (if sometimes wacky) notes detailing the older Greek sources.

Myths are not fixed. They have a stable core, often a single datum, but admit of great variation in the details, something that gives the Athenian tragedians much freedom. Even details we tend to think of as fixed (e.g. that Medea killed her children) are often innovations. Some but not all of the variant versions are recorded by “Apollodorus.” There are mythological constants: e.g. anyone who who offends a god gets zapped by that god. That template allows endless variation in names, circumstances, motivation, action, moral significance. Fundamental to nearly all of them (as also to the Iliad) is a concern with relations between mortals and gods, i.e. with the human condition.

Some alternative versions are known only from Latin, as Timothée noted. But that doesn’t mean there were not Greek sources for them. A lot of Greek literature has been lost between then and now. The story of the Wooden Horse was told by Stesichorus, an early Greek poet, as well as being mentioned in the Odyssey.

Gantz’s book is a very good suggestion.

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