Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome
Ancient World Mythology
The legends, heroes and Gods of Greek mythology and their Roman depictions are both intriguing and informative.
From the almighty Zeus and his several spouses, valiant Perseus who slayed the snake-headed Medusa, Helen of Troy, whose beauty sparked a huge war, incredibly jealous Medea to doomed Persephone, who had to live in the Underworld 6 months of a year, bringing winter to the world above- Greek mythology has it all.
This extensive collection was first released in 1880 and is a modern depiction of the tales and myths of ancient Greece and Rome. It provides a significant insight into the ancient cultures and helps you form a foundation to understand the classical era.
You will come across some of the most incredible and mythical Greek and Roman Gods in this book like Thetis with silver feet and fair hair, The Furies and The Muses, Nike the Goddess of Victory, Ares the God of War, Zeus the ruling God of the Universe and the enigmatic and magical Olympus.
Initially, EM Berens wrote Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome for young readers. That is why the author tried to bring forward the pantheon of Gods into a comprehensible form and did it in a simple and light style. In order to make the labyrinthine relationships and complex connections between the various Gods, heroes, mythical figures, legendary creatures and minor deities easily understandable for the readers, he organizes them into different dynasties and chronologies.
The foundation of all European art, civilization and literature are the different Greek and Roman legends. The so-called Pagan faiths that controlled the entire Europe for thousands of years was eclipsed since the rise of Christianity. However, Greek and Latin included classics as its part, which has helped to keep them alive. Today almost every serious English or Arts candidate comes across some reference to an ancient Greek or Roman God or mythology at some point or the other. Museums and classical art galleries in Europe are packed with references and representations of Roman or Greek legends.
Modern day readers prefer books to gather all information about the origin of the gods, festivals and temples dedicated to them and different modes of worship. Starting from the primitive tales of Uranus and Gaia to the formation of the Earth, warriors and deities of the Night, through the different empires the Gods, and the Sea, till Trojan War, where the Gods one of the key roles in the history of humans- it has all been beautifully chronicled. Archeology and history students are especially interested in the topics of worship and temples.
All the information on sculptures, soothsayers, augurs, priests, altars, temple architecture, and sacrifices are included. Daily life was often interfaced with an alternate realm abundantly inhabited by several Gods for the folks residing in the polytheistic cultures of ancient Rome and Greece. A wide array of human characteristics were depicted by the ancient Roman and Greek gods and goddesses embodied an array, from strength to failure. The enhanced versions of human character traits reflected in their attributes.
People living normal lives said that the ancient Greek and Roman gods and goddesses were worshipped both in temples and in legends. The myths were often portrayed in art, literature and architecture as the stories about the Gods were told and repeated.
The gods and goddesses communicated both among themselves and with humans, in these fictional tales with dramatic experiences of genuine human interactions like loving, fighting and forgiving. While at times the Gods showed great compassion, they behaved particularly badly at other times. Horrific and inhuman acts were said to have been done by the ancient Greek and Roman deities, which is the exact opposite of what humans should aspire to imitate.
In spite of all this, these gods and goddesses were worshipped by the ancient humans. They fictionalized these gods and goddesses and created art that depicted them. The myths often incorporated fantasy elements combined with a fragment of reality to symbolize the most nuanced aspects of human life. These myths used negative examples when necessary to teach essential moral lessons.
People in ancient Greece and Rome were able to be aware of the real world around them by telling and retelling these legends. People desperately tried to figure out how to survive in this sometimes overwhelming, terrifying, and chaotic world in the midst of famine, wars, droughts along with diseases, unpredictable deaths and socio-economic injustice.
People received some kind of reassurance through this fictional gateway that life was significant even in the midst of chaos. In this context, there was celebration among the gods and goddesses in ancient Greece and Rome, which paradoxically helped to keep the people grounded entirely within a particular moment in time.
Quotes on "Poseidon" from "Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome" by E.M. Berens
It is said that the sons of Uranus and Gæa are the Cyclops. But according to Homer, the chief of the Cyclops- Polyphemus, was the son of Poseidon and the Cyclops were his brothers.
The Olive tree, which she had created herself while competing against Poseidon, was very sacred to her. Thus the tree was preserved in the temple of Erectheus on the Acropolis after being called into existence. It is said that the tree had such miraculous vitality that it instantly branched out when the Persians burned it after sacking the town.
The king immediately recognized the horses of Poseidon the very moment Pelops appeared on the course. But, instead of getting bothered, he decided to depend on his own supernatural team and allowed the contest to proceed.
He traveled to Egypt, where another son of Poseidon, Busiris, was the ruler. Following the advice of a prophet given during the time of serious famine, Busiris sacrificed all strangers to Zeus. Heracles was captured and hauled to the altar on arrival. But this brought upon the wrath of the mighty demi-god, who shattered and destroyed his bonds, and afterwards slew Busiris and his son.
Poseidon tamed the horse for the utilization of humanity, and it is believed to have taught several men the art of using the bridle to manage horses. The Isthmian games, which got the name because they took place on the Isthmus of Corinth, were established in the honour of Poseidon. And horses and chariot races were the defining features of the game.
Pelops repaired to the sea-shore just before the race and sincerely tried to persuade Poseidon to accompany him in his dangerous venture. His prayers were heard by the sea-god who sent a chariot for him driven by two winged horses.
Thetis, the spouse of Peleus, Amphitrite, Poseidon’s wife and Galatea, beloved of Acis, were the most known members of the Nereides.
The Argo was sanctified to Poseidon and was preserved for many generations carefully until no fragment of it existed. Ultimately, it was placed as a magnificent constellation in the heavens.
The Romans always idolized Poseidon as Neptune and endowed every characteristic on him belonging to the Greek spirituality.
Scholar and author E.M. BERENS who wrote around more than a half dozen articles related to Greek and Roman mythology. Unlike other scholars of his time, Berens did not just write about the history and worship practices of the Gods. He researched mythology and oral traditions of ancient mankind and wrote accessible books on that. “The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome”, published in 1894, was one of his most famous pieces.
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