Mythology (from the Greek 'mythos' for story-of-the-people, and 'logos' for word or speech, the spoken story of a people) is the study and interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as 'myths' or the collection of such stories which usually deal with the human condition, good and evil, human origins, life... [continue reading]
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The Enuma Elish (also known as The Seven Tablets of Creation) is the Mesopotamian creation myth whose title is derived from the opening lines of the piece, `When on High'. All of the tablets containing the myth, found at Ashur, Kish, Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh, Sultantepe, and other excavated sites, date to c. 1100 BCE but their colophons... [continue reading]
A detail from the north frieze of the Treasury of the Siphians at Delphi depicting the Olympian gods fighting the Giants (525 BCE), Delphi Archaeological Museum.
Greek mythology, as in other ancient cultures, was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Myths were also intricately connected to religion in the Greek world and explained the origin and lives of the gods, where humanity... [continue reading]
A bronze sheet griffin, perhaps once covering a wooden metope (630-620 BCE), Olympia, Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Hathor is an ancient Egyptian goddess associated, later, with Isis and, earlier, with Sekhmet. She is always depicted as a cow or with the attributes of a cow. In her form as Hesat she is shown as a pure white cow carrying a tray of food on her head as her udders flow with milk. Although in time she came to be considered the ultimate personification... [continue reading]
Joshua J. Mark
published on 26 July 2014
For the ancient Greeks, the quality of arete (personal excellence) and the concept of eusebia (social duty) were most important. Aristotle discusses both of these at length in his Nichomachean Ethics and relates arete to eudaimonia - translated as "happiness" but actually meaning "to be possessed of a good spirit". To have arete, Aristotle... [continue reading]
published on 26 April 2012
Hesiod and the Muse,1891,oil on canvas by Gustave Moreau
The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) is most famous for his works Theogony and Works and Days. In this passage from Theogony, Hesiod relates the birth of the gods from cosmic Chaos and follows the lineage through the great Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, worshipped by Hesiod’s contemporaries: (ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin... [continue reading]
Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, procreation, and of war who later, became identified with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, and further with the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, among others. She was also seen as the bright star of the morning and evening, Venus. Through the work of the Akkadian poet and high priestess, Enheduanna... [continue reading]