From ancient Greek sculptures to modern video games, the myths of how greek mythology influenced our culture today have touched many people throughout the ages. They have shaped Western literature with the epic poems of Homer and Odysseus and influenced artists from sculptors to painters. Whether it’s Perseus soaring to save Andromeda or Hercules wrestling with a wild satyr, these stories continue to be compelling.
In addition to explaining cosmological events and establishing the relationships between the Olympian gods, these stories also illustrated moral lessons and gave form to abstract concepts. For example, Hesiod’s Theogony explained the presence of evil in the universe through the story of Pandora. Her husband Zeus had made her from clay and given her a jar which she was told not to open; she did so, unleashing all of the world’s misery on mankind. Hercules and Apollo then used their powers to restore hope to humanity.
Gods and Mortals: The Enduring Impact of Greek Mythology on Contemporary Culture
These stories offered a sense of order and structure to the Greek world, and a way to explain a lot of the natural world. But they also told us a bit about the Greeks themselves: the imaginative, adventurous, restless and feisty race who sought immortality by daring deeds.
The stories of the gods and heroes were a way for them to visualize powerful natural phenomenon and also to worship these godly figures. And it was in their stories that we have some of the most beloved figures in folklore, from Hercules and his 12 impossible labors, to Arachne who was turned into a spider by her arrogance; Pygmalion the man who fell in love with an ivory statue; Pandora the first woman who brought disease to mankind, and even the mighty Kratos from the new “Final Fantasy” series.