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Greek Mythology: Then And Now Essay

1872 words - 7 pages

"A myth is a collective term denoting a symbolic narrative in religion, as distinguished from symbolic behavior (cult, ritual) and symbolic places or objects (temples, icons)". (The New Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. 24)Mythology is a collection of myths meant to explain the universe. Mythological stories were told in many different cultures and civilizations. The existence of myths is known in every society. Many different myths were conceived to explain occurrences that happened in nature.

One of these natural occurrences is the solar eclipse. The word eclipse originates from a Greek word meaning "abandonment". Ana Ruiz states in “The Spirit of Ancient Egypt”, that the ancient Egyptians believed that Apep, a spirit of evil and chaos, swallowed the sun each day thereby causing the sunset. According to the myth every day Apep pursues his eternal battle to destroy Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, as he travels in his solar barge across the sky. The Egyptians believed that during an eclipse Apep was gaining control over Ra. (109) In Hindu mythology, there is a tale that depicts how long ago the demons and the gods once got together to create a nectar, churned from the milk-ocean, that would give them immortality. When the nectar was being served to the gods, a demon disguised a god, tried to obtain some of the nectar. The Sun and Moon detected the presence of the demon. Lord Visnu, "The Preserver", immediately beheaded the demon. However, it was too late and the demon had already become immortal. It is said that ever since the demon has sought revenge on the Sun and Moon. The myth states that when the Sun and the Moon get too close Rahu, the head of the demon, swallows them up and there is an eclipse. (The Encyclopedia of Ancient Myths and Cultures 198)

Thunderstorms are also acquainted with mythology. In Norse mythology, Thor is known as the God of Thunder. The Vikings believed that the sound of thunder was caused by Thor. In the Norse myth, Thor and his mighty hammer, Miolnir, take on the destructive giants. It is said that every crack of thunder is Thor dropping his hammer down. (The Encyclopedia of Ancient Myths and Culture 449-455)

Many cultures created different myths that try to explain the reality of volcanoes. The English word volcano is derived from the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. The Greeks later defined Vulcan as the Greek God, Hephaestus. The myth states that Hephaestus was skilled in the art of blacksmithing and metalwork. The Greeks believed his workshop was beneath volcanoes such as Etna in Sicily. The sparks and flames that arose from the volcanoes were thought to be Hephaestus forging weapons for the Olympians. (Daly 122) In the Chinese culture dragons are worshiped and feared. According to Chinese mythology, Fucanglong, the dragon of hidden treasures, lives in the underground and guards the treasures of the earth. It is said that a volcano would erupt...

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