Definition: definition


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DEFINITION:

  • DEFINITION:

  • The word “myth” comes from the Greek word, “mythos”, which means, “a spoken or written story.”

  • The modern definition includes:

    • The ancient stories themselves
    • The overall belief-system (i.e. religion) of the people/culture who originated these stories


PURPOSE:

  • PURPOSE:

  • Myths were developed so people could make sense of the world around them.

  • This is why every society has its own collections of myths-its “mythology”



PURPOSE:

  • PURPOSE:

  • Myths try to explain the way the world is.

  • Their explanations are often dependent on relationships between humans and the gods and goddesses who made humans



PURPOSE:

  • PURPOSE:

  • Myths answer unanswerable questions, like:

    • “Who made the universe?”
    • “What causes a storm?”
    • “Why are humans different from animals?”
    • Myths usually play an important part in religion.
    • Myths answer primitive people’s fears about science
    • Myths make nature seem less chaotic


NATURE: (origin myths)

  • NATURE: (origin myths)

    • Where did the Earth come from?
    • Heavens- sun moon stars, etc.
    • Seasons- climate, rain, fertility
    • Geography – oceans, mountains, forests


MAN

  • MAN

    • Where did man come from?
    • His life cycle-birth, growth…
    • His victories
    • Glories in war and love
    • Defeats in war, love, misfortunes
    • His end/death-glories and weaknesses


GODS

  • GODS

    • Where did the gods come from?
    • Number of gods
    • Polytheism vs. Monotheism
    • Responsibilities / duties of gods
    • Roles of gods – their powers and weaknesses


TEXTS:

  • TEXTS:

  • Oral Tradition:

    • Most myths were passed down orally
    • They were permanently recorded in rhyming poems that were publicly recited or sung.
    • He longest of these are known as “epics”
      • Iliad


TEXTS:

  • TEXTS:

  • They were also recorded in:

    • Plays
    • Architecture
    • Sculpture
    • Mosaics
    • Ceramics
    • Frescoes and Murals
    • Carvings
    • Textiles
    • Other assorted human artifacts…


Plays

  • Plays

    • Particularly, those of four Greek playwrights who lived near Athens around 500 – 400 BC
          • Aeschylus
          • Euripides
          • Sophocles
          • Aristophanes


Architecture

  • Architecture



Architecture

  • Architecture



Architecture

  • Architecture



Architecture

  • Architecture



Sculpture

  • Sculpture



Sculpture

  • Sculpture



Sculpture

  • Sculpture



Mosaics

  • Mosaics



Mosaics

  • Mosaics



Mosaics

  • Mosaics



Ceramics

  • Ceramics



Ceramics

  • Ceramics



Ceramics

  • Ceramics



Ceramics

  • Ceramics



Frescoes and Murals

  • Frescoes and Murals



Frescoes and Murals

  • Frescoes and Murals



Frescoes and Murals

  • Frescoes and Murals



Carvings

  • Carvings



Carvings

  • Carvings



Carvings

  • Carvings



Textiles

  • Textiles



Textiles

  • Textiles



Textiles

  • Textiles



LEGACY:

  • LEGACY:

  • Why do myths survive?

    • Myths allow modern people to reflect upon a more simple and genuine time
    • Myths promote the use of symbols to explain shared patterns of experience
    • Myths are cool stories that resonate on many different levels.


Themes, Motifs, Symbols

  • Themes, Motifs, Symbols

      • Good against Evil
      • Gods and Goddesses
      • Creation Myths
      • The First Humans
      • Heroes
      • The Afterlife
      • Animals






Sacred Places

  • Sacred Places



Sacred Places

  • Sacred Places



Legends

  • Legends

    • Usually do not have religious or supernatural content
    • Usually do have historical content
      • They give almost-superhuman qualities to historical figures or events
    • They are more about the “story” than the significance of the story


Legends

  • Legends

    • They are more about the “story” than the significance of the story
      • More for entertainment
      • Sometimes used as educational examples
    • We might gain some meaning from a legend, but not the archetypal intensity that myths contain
      • Ex:
        • Atlantis
        • Robin Hood
        • Romulus and Remus
        • Headless Horseman


Atlantis

  • Atlantis



Robin Hood

  • Robin Hood



Romulus &Remus

  • Romulus &Remus



Knights of the Round Table

  • Knights of the Round Table



Knights of the Round Table

  • Knights of the Round Table



Headless Horseman

  • Headless Horseman





El Dorado

  • El Dorado



Tall Tales

  • Tall Tales

    • Folktales, known to be fictional
    • Usually limited to specific regions
    • Always contain exaggerations
    • One town, one city, one mountain range
      • Paul Bunyan
      • Br’er Rabbit
      • Rip Van Winkle


Paul Bunyan

  • Paul Bunyan



Br’er Rabbit

  • Br’er Rabbit



Rip Van Winkle

  • Rip Van Winkle



Fables:

  • Fables:

    • Short stories to entertain (and teach) kids
    • Emphasize the moral (lesson)
    • Characters are often animals (or other non-humans)
    • Plot is a metaphor for a human behavior that must be clarified or modified
    • Examples include Aesop’s fables


Fairy Tale:

  • Fairy Tale:

    • A fictional story set in a magical version of the real world
    • Characters are archetypes
      • Specifically, there is usually a “Hero”
    • Characters’ actions teach a lesson
    • Magical Beasts / Talking Animals are often present in fairy tales
    • Magic is often used to move the plot
    • Examples:
      • Cinderella
      • Pinocchio


Folklore (or Lore)

  • Folklore (or Lore)

      • consists of :
        • legends,
        • music,
        • oral history,
        • proverbs,
        • tall tales, and
        • customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group.
      • It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared.


Folklore (or Lore)

  • Folklore (or Lore)

      • Study of folklore (by Folklorists)
      • looks at four general (non-literary) media:
          • Artifacts
          • Oral Tradition
          • Culture, and
          • Behavior / Rituals


Primitive Myths

  • Primitive Myths

  • Pagan Myths

    • Which were like the Greek and Roman stories of the interplay between humans and deities


Sacred Myths

  • Sacred Myths

    • As in the stories from current Eastern and Western religions such as Christianity and Hinduism
  • Scientific Myths

    • Stories which support natural laws


Cosmic Myths

  • Cosmic Myths

    • Stories which detail the creation and end of the world
  • Place and Object Myths



Theistic Myths

  • Theistic Myths

    • Detail events involving the deities
  • Hero Myths

    • Stories about characters including Heracles,
    • Moses, Odysseus, and Achilles


Myths grant continuity and stability in culture

  • Myths grant continuity and stability in culture



Myths present guidelines for living

  • Myths present guidelines for living



Myths justify a culture’s activities

  • Myths justify a culture’s activities



If we believe that humans can interact with gods, then we obviously must have some part in their grand scheme

  • If we believe that humans can interact with gods, then we obviously must have some part in their grand scheme



Myths explain the unexplained

  • Myths explain the unexplained



Myths offer role models

  • Myths offer role models








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