Ancient Greek History - Greek Mythology Ancient Greek History - Greek Mythology. The Greeks were a part of the first western civilization in about 2000 BC. Greek mythology is said to have developed completely by 700 BC. It depicted gods in human form and they were likely to have feelings like humans too. In contrast to other religions which were dictated by prophecies and special revelations, Greek mythology is more about the lives of Gods and heroes. It does not involve a sacred book with a code to help the Greeks lead their lives in a certain way.

Ancient Greek History

According to the myth, the Gods chose their Mount Olympus which is a region in Greece called Thessaly for their abode. Here, they created a society and ranked themselves according to authority and power. They were free to roam where they wanted. While Olympus was home to many Greek Gods, there were 12 chief Gods who were referred to as the Olympians. Their names were Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Hephaestus, Athena, Artemis, Ares, Hermes, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hestia, and Poseidon.

The Greeks believed that the Gods controlled every aspect of nature and were responsible for their well-being. While the humans and Gods shared an amiable relationship, the Gods were known for punishing people who displayed unacceptable behavior. The reason why Greek myths are so popular is because they were once very intricately woven into the lives of the people. The people learnt about their Gods and heroes through word of mouth at home and through poets who narrated stories during festivals.
Ancient Greek History
Ancient Greek History

The three classic collection of myths are Theogony by Hesiod and Iliad and Odyssey by Homer. The stories and poems helped in passing downt he mythology from one generation to another. However, there are other archaeological resources which have also helped in developing Greek mythology. The literary and archaeological sources together prove that many of the stories and legends may be rooted in factual events. Starting from the creation of the world to the war of Gods and the eventual establishment of the pantheon of Gods, Greek mythology includes vivid descriptions of the Gods, their works, their relationship with humans, the heroes and the historic events.

Ancient Greek History - The Creation

According to Greek mythology, in the beginning, there was only chaos. Erebus and Night emanated from this void and everything was empty, dark and silent. When Love was born, it brought order into this endless chaos. Light and Gaea originated from Love while Ether, the heavenly light and Day, the earthly light were born from the union of Erebus and Night. All by herself, Night created the things that create fear and haunt mankind. They were Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams and Nemesis. And Gaea on her own created Uranus, which is the sky. Uranus embraced Gaea from all sides and became her husband.

They then gave birth to three Cyclopes, three Hecatoncheires and twelve Titans. Sadly, Uranus was a cruel father. He imprisoned the Hecatoncheires to the darkest corner of Earth which was Gaea’s womb. Infuriated by this act, Gaea plotted against her husband and decided to punish him for this act with the help of her children. She created a flint sickle and asked her children to attack their father. All of them were too timid and did not want to enrage their father, all except the youngest Titan, Cronus. With the help of Cronus, Gaea set up an ambush and they were able to castrate Uranus with the sickle and Cronus threw the genitals in the ocean. The myths do not throw any light on Uranus’ fate after the castration but it is said that he promised that Cronus and the Titans will be punished for their deed.

Uranus’ blood that was spilled on Earth during the attack gave birth to the Giants, the Ash Tree Nymphs, and the Erinnyes. Aphrodite was born from the sea foam that was produced when Uranus’ genitals were casted into the sea. After imprisoning the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheiresin Tartarus, Cronus ruled for many ages. He married his sister Rhea but he was afraid that his parents’ prophesy may come true. Both Uranus and Gaea had prophesied that Cronus’ eventual doom is written in the hands of one of his sons. In an attempt to overcome this prophecy, Cronuss wallowed all his children when they were born.

Saddened and exasperated by the fate of her children, Rhes plotted against Cronus and when it was time for her sixth child to be born, she hid herself and gave the child to the Nymphs to be raised. She then wrapped a stone in swaddling cloth and gave it to Cronus who swallowed it. Raised by the Nymphs, this child was named Zeus. He grew up into a handsome and brave youth at the island of Crete. He plotted to kill his father and avenge his siblings and for this he consulted Metis who prepared a drink which would make him vomit the children he had swallowed. Cronus accepted his son Zeus as a cup-bearer when Rhea told him that he was alive and convinced him to bring their son back.
Ancient Greek History
Zeus (image by wikipedia)

Zeus took advantage of this opportunity to serve Cronus the potion prepared by Metis. The five children came out of their father unharmed because they were Gods. They were appreciative of their younger’s brother’s courage and chose him as their leader. Angered by Zeus’ actions, Cronus – who was yet to be defeated – sought the help of the Titans to rule once again. All the Titans except Prometheus, Epimetheus and Oceanus fought along with Cronus. This battle between the Titans and the Olympians is known as Titanomachy. Atlas led the Titans against Zeus and the young Gods and they seemed to be in a position to overpower the Olympians, but Zeus’ with helped the Olympians win the battle.

He went to Tartarus and rescued the imprisoned Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires. Prometheus – one of the Titans – joined the battle taking Zeus’ side. With stronger allies, Zeus was victorious and he exiled the all the Titans except Atlas to Tartarus. Atlas’ punishment was that he had to hold the universe on his shoulders. Gaea was not happy to hear about the imprisonment of her children, and so she gave birth to Typhon who is considered to be the deadliest monster in Greek mythology. Zeus was the only God brave enough to face Typhon. He used his lightning bolts and killed the monster that is known to be buried under Mount Etna in Sicily.

Since Prometheus and Epimetheus had not joined the opposing forces during the Titanomachy, Zeus did not imprison them. Instead, the two Titans were given the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man in the form of the Gods out ofmud and Athena breathed life into the mud figure. Epimetheus gave the creatures various qualities like looks, cunningness, strength, nimbleness, wings and fur. In wanting to give the creatures all the great qualities, he realized that he did not have anything left by the time he came to man, so Prometheus decided to give man fire which was till then limited to the Gods.

Prometheus’ love for mankind was far more than that for the Olympians who had banished most of his family. Zeus took away fire from man but Prometheus brought it back for them by lighting a torch from the sun. Enraged by Prometheus’ affection for mankind, Zeus decided to punish them. To do so he created a beautiful mortal and the Olympians gave her many gifts of wealth. But to punish man, Hermes gave the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. She was the first woman and her name was Pandora. The Gods gave her one last gift which was a box, but she was forbidden from opening it. Zeus sent her to Epimetheus who had chosen to live among men.

Prometheus had cautioned is brother to not accept any gifts from Zeus, but Pandora’s mesmerizing beauty charmed Epimetheus who let her stay. Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her and one day she finally opened the forbidden box and ended up releasing all evils upon Earth. By the time she closed the lid, the only thing that was left in the box was hope. Having had his revenge on mankind, Zeus also wanted to punish Prometheus and so he had him chained to a rock on Caucasus Mountains with unbreakable chains. There, a giant eagle tore at his liver every day for thirty years. Zeus told Prometheus that he would be released from the torment if he told Zeus who was the mother of the child who would overthrow him or if an immortal died in Prometheus’ stead and a mortal killed the eagle and unchained him. Prometheus was released when Chiron the centaur gave up his life for Prometheus and Heracles killed the eagle to unchain him.

This is how Gods and men were created according to Greek mythology. The Gods were very much like human when it came to physical structure, looks and emotions. Each of the Gods expressed feelings like anger, jealousy, love, joy just like the humans. They had their own limitations and their own weaknesses. They were not portrayed as ideal figures, their flaws were described as vividly as their strengths. They represented each side of human nature and their perception of justice was from their own point of view. Every God had their own realm, and many of them had children with mortals too. These children often reflected additional powers like Heracles. Zeus was the ruler of the Gods and he was omnipotent and he ruled all the realms.

Ancient Greek History - The Era of Gods and Mortals

Then the Gods lived on their own, the myths were mainly about the fight for being the ruler. The stories revolved around the creation and birth of Gods and their role in the wars that took place during this period. But when humans were created, Greek mythology began to include stories about how the Gods roamed freely among the people and the interactions of the Gods and humans. Ovid’s Metamorphoses has many of these stories about how the two worlds mingled with each other. These mythical stories were primarily divided into two themes; love and punishment.

Myths themed on love had stories about Gods falling in love with a mortal woman or seducing or raping a mortal woman which led to the birth of a hero. These stories generally pointed towards the fact that relationships of this kind should not be formed since they may not lead to a happy ending. While most of the Gods in such stories were males, there are a few instances where Goddesses also harbored feelings of love for a mortal man. Then there were the tales of punishment where the Gods punished other Gods or mortals for deeds that were regarded as inappropriate or for any form of misbehavior.
Ancient Greek History

Prometheus’ punishment for stealing fire from the Gods was one such tale. The Gods strongly believed in punishment and tales of punishment are abundantly found in Greek mythology. The Gods lived in Mount Olympus but they interacted with humans in different forms and ways through which judgment was passed on the actions of the humans. While there were 12 chief Gods, there were many others who belonged to a certain realm. Zeus was the leader of the Gods. He was considered to be the spiritual father of Gods and humans with his might reaching out to all the realms. He was the God of thunder and sky and his symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, oak and the bull.

He was known for his violence. He often terrorized men and was very keen about punishments. According to a story in Greek mythology, he got so enraged with human behavior and the way they performed sacrifices on one another that he decided to take the help of his brother Poseidon and wipe out the entire human population. A flood ended human life on Earth and only two humans were left to repopulate the world. They were Deucalion and Pyrrha.

Hera was Zeus’ wife and the queen of heaven. Since she was partner to the leader of Gods, Hera is often considered as the guardian of marriage as well. Hera is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea too which makes Zeus her brother as well. She is known to have harbored feelings of jealousy against Zeus’ other consorts and his children from them. It is said that even Zeus was afraid of her tantrums. She often tormented the children Zeus had from his mortal consorts. The most noted story about Hera’s jealousy involves Heracles who was born to Alcmene.

Hephaestus is the Greek God of file and metal workers. He created all the weapons for Gods and served as a blacksmith for the Gods. Many manufacturing and industrial centers in Greece worship Hephaestus. He had his own workshop in Olympus where he had 20 bellows that worked according to his commands. All weaponry and metalwork that is known to have great powers and was used by the Gods was said to have originated in Hephaestus’ workshop.
Ancient Greek History
Hephaestus and Athena (image by wikipedia)

His most popular creation was Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology. Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and war. She is said to have had a calm temperament and was known to fight for just reasons. Zeus’ union with Metis – Goddess of crafty thought and wisdom – gave birth to Athena. But her birth was not an ordinary one. Since it was prophesied that Zeus will be overpowered by one of his own children, he realized that his union with Metis may give birth to a child of great power. So he swallowed Metis but by that time, she had already conceived Athena. He ended up with a bad headache and legend has it that Athena sprung out of his head fully grown and dressed in armor. She never took a consort and is known for sexual modesty.

Often called Athena Parthenos which stands for Virgin Athena, she is the virgin patroness of her namesake city, Athens. Apollo is the God of light and he is often recognized as the God of music, truth, prophecy, healing, poetry and plague. He is considered to be one of those Greek Gods who has some very complex and intriguing stories built around him. He is the son of Zeus and Leto and he has a twin sister, Artemis. Mythology states that Artemis was born before Apollo and is known to have even assisted with her brother’s birth. It is said that his first heroic act was of killing the Chthonic Dragon, Python, when he was just four days old.

He also plays a role in the Trojan War where he shot arrows that were infected with plague into the Greek encampment. He had male and female lovers and he is known to have fathered many children. During the Renaissance, Apollo was chosen as a common theme by many artists. Artemis is the Goddess of wildlife. She was Apollo’s elder twin, and most of the artists depicted her as a huntress. She chose her hunting companion Orion as her partner. Orion was eventually killed in an accident by either Artemis or Gaea. Ancient Spartans used to prepare a sacrifice for her before they started any military campaign. Sometimes, she is also portrayed as a moon Goddess. Paintings and sculptures depicting Artemis usually show a very soothing and serene look on her.

Ares is the God of war. Son of Zeus and Hera, Ares represents the violent aspect of war which includes physical vehemence. While he is known for physical valor, there is the part of Ares which is considered to be a dangerous force, because of his insatiable need for war and violence. He is one of the Gods whose reputation remained ambivalent among the Greeks. In the Trojan War, he was on the losing side while his sister Athena who represents wisdom, was worshipped for military strategy and was known to be on the winning side. Ares’ mention in Greek mythology usually involves humiliation.

Aphrodite is the Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. While Hesiod’s account of her birth in Theogony claims that she was born from the foam that was formed when Cronus’ genitals were thrown into the sea, Homer’s Iliad sees Aphrodite as Zeus and Dione’s daughter. Zeus married her to Hephaestus who was deformed. She had many lovers, both Gods and mortals. In most of the paintings and sculptures Aphrodite is depicted nude. Mythology has no account of her childhood, and it is considered that she was born as a very desirable adult. Her marriage does not stop her from having a number of affairs with other men and Gods. She often sought for the company of Ares but she is known to have been with others like Adonis. She plays an important role throughout the Trojan War, and is also known to have caused the War by offering the mortal, Paris, Helen of Troy is he judges her as the fairest one.
Ancient Greek History

Hestia is the virgin Goddess of hearth. She is linked with architecture, home and domesticity among the Greeks. Mythology established her as the first daughter of Cronus and Rhea. While she was born first, Hestia was the last one to be regurgitated by Cronus and so she is considered to be the eldest and the youngest daughter. Hestia chose a life of perpetual virginity after rejecting marriage proposals from Apollo and Poseidon. Zeus assigned her the job of feeding and maintaining the firs of Olympia’s hearth with the help of the fatty portions of animal sacrifices that were made to the Gods. This is why she was always honored when food was cooked or when any animal offerings were made.

Hermes is the messenger of Gods and is usually associated with Science and invention. He is the son of Zeus and Pleiad Maia. Most of the myths show him as a quick and cunning God who often outwits other Gods. He also plays the role of an intercessor between the mortals and the divine and he is known to be a conductor of souls into afterlife. Mythical stories generally depict him as one of the benefactors of humans. He supported the Greeks in the Trojan War. In the Odyssey, he helps Odysseus by telling him about what would happen to his companions. He helped his great-great-grandson, protect him selfagainst the powers of Circe by chewing a magical herb. This ensured that he did not turn into an animal like the rest of his friends.

Poseidon is the God of the Sea. He was born to Cronus and Rhea and while some stories say that he was saved by his brother Zeus who had his father regurgitate his siblings including Poseidon, another mythological story states that just like Zeus, Rhea was able to save Poseidon by deception as well. She concealed Poseidon among a flock of lambs and pretended that she had given birth to colt. She presented the colt to Cronus who devoured it. His consort, Amphitrite, is a nymph and is also believed to be an ancient sea-goddess. Poseidon had many lovers of both sexes. He is fathered many children from mortals and Goddesses. Some of his children also grew up to become heroes. Most of the Greek artists depict him as a bearded mid-aged God riding a chariot which is pulled by horses who can ride on the sea. He, along with his wife, led a society of smaller Gods like the Nereids and the Tritons.

Demeter is the Goddess of agriculture. She is associated with the fertility of Earth. The most popular story related to Demeter is about her virgin daughter, Persephone’s abduction by Hades, the God of underworld. Demeter was so grief-struck by the abduction that Earth began to lose its fertility and all the fruits and flowers dried. Seasons did not change any longer and all plants stopped growing. Concerned by the situation created by the abduction, Zeus decided to send his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring him back. The story from here as different versions, but all of them involve Persephone eating the seeds of Pomegranate while she was in the underworld. This meant that she would have to spend a few months every year in the underworld.

This time of the year was marked by the unfruitful season in the Greek calendar. Hades is the God of underworld. He rules the underworld which is a place for the souls of the people who have died, along with his wife Persephone. His abduction of Persephone is a popular story in Greek mythology. Dionysus is the God of wine and pleasure. He was one of the most popular Gods worshipped by the Greeks. There were a lot of festivals that were dedicated to Dionysus, and in some regions he was even considered to be as important as Zeus. Most of the artistic depictions of Dionysus show him accompanied with other smaller Gods like satyrs, centaurs and nymphs. These Gods played an important role in Greek mythology.

They interacted frequently with the mortals and most of their stories are based on the way Gods and humans communicated and mingled. With their powers and might, Gods were able to help, save and bring relief to many humans but when they were enraged, they would use their powers to punish them as well. Every God had their own cult and region where they were praised and worshipped.

Ancient Greek History - The Heroic Age

The Heroic Age began with the coming of the Greeks to Thessaly and it ended with the return of the Greeks from Troy. During this period, a number of heroes with supernatural powers lived and roamed the regions of Greece. While there is no fixed list for the heroes, there were some very interesting events that took place during the time because of the heroes. The courageous acts of Heracles is said to be the beginning of the Heroic Age during which period, three great events took place in Greek mythology.

These were the expedition of the Argonauts, the Theban Cycle and the Trojan War. The early Greek heroes were those who were not divine but they could trace their roots to the Gods. These early heroes were later descendants to other heroes as well. One of the earliest Greek heroes was the Phoenician prince Cadmus. He was Poseidon’s grandson and Agenor’s son. Cadmus founded Thebes. The Theban Cycle is a collection of four lost epics which are in connection with the city of Thebes.

Perseus is another Greek hero of early Greek mythology. He was the son of Zeus and the most popular mythical story about his heroic adventures include the one where he beheads Medusa. The stories also talk of his bravery when he saved Andromeda from the sea monster. Perseus was the founder of Mycenae. Heracles was his great grandson. Heracles was the greatest of the heroes in Greek mythology. He is also known as Hercules. He displayed extraordinary strength and courage and when strength was not the answer, he knew how to use his wit to succeed. He was considered to be a benefactor of Earth because he had saved mortals from a number of monsters and archaic forces.

Heracles was portrayed as a passionate and emotional mortal who loved to play games when he had the time. He was a very loving person who was loved a lot by children too. His heroic deeds include the twelve labors and many other adventures. It is said that he was accepted into the Olympian Pantheon during the Classical times.
Ancient Greek History

The Argonauts were the heroes who sailed along with Jason to bring the Golden Fleece which was considered to be a symbol of authority and kingship. They sailed in a ship called the Argo and thus the name Argonauts. The Golden Fleece was in the kingdom of Colchis on the Black Sea. Once Jason returned with the Golden Fleece he would be able to rule the kingdom of Iolcos in Thessaly. The Argonauts faced many hurdles in accomplishing their mission. The heroes sailed on bravely and were finally able to obtain the Fleece. It is said that there may be some truth in this myth because geological studies prove that the mountainous area of Svaneti was a place that was rich in gold, and the villagers used to use sheep skin to capture placer gold from the streams in the mountains.

Then there was the Greek hero Oedipus who kills his father and marries his mother with no knowledge of the fact they was his parents. The plays on Oedipus were written by Sophocles. The stories related to Oedipus show how fate takes its turn and how Oedipus handles the truth. The Heroic Age also includes the heroes from the Theban Cycle. It includes Oedipus’ story and how he solves the Sphinx’ riddle to get the throne. The popular story was Seven Against Thebes in which Oedipus’ two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, fight against each other and of Polynices’ unsuccessful attempt to capture the city of Thebes with six other commanders.

The Heroic Age came to an end with the Trojan War. The War saw many heroes fight for the Greeks and against them. A lot of heroes were lost during the War as well. Achilles’ choice of fighting in the war so that he can be remembered forever even if he lives a short life instead of choosing a long life of obscurity is a famous story in Greek mythology. Mortality is what made the heroes so popular. Unlike Gods, they could not live forever, but they chose to live their lives to bring peace to mankind and to make sure that the mortals lived a peaceful life.

Ancient Greek History - The Age of Philosophy and Rationalism

In early periods, Greek mythology was accepted in the daily lives of the people. This was during the Ancient times when myths were a way to describe natural phenomena, cultural differences and enmities and friendships that had been established for generations. But gradually, these myths began to lose their true essence when philosophy, history and rationalism gained grounds.

During the late 5th century, many Greek historians and philosophers began to openly criticize the mythical stories. Xenophanes was one of the philosophers who began to publicly suggest that the mythical stories were lies. He said that the Gods described by Hesiod and Homer have many faults and they are generally attributed with characteristics that would be otherwise shameful for mortals. Plato was another philosopher who referred to the myths as old wives’ chatter. He also explained that the way in which Gods are described doing wrong things like committing adultery, stealing and deceiving is immoral.

While these philosophers were not able to completely wipe myths from amongst the Greeks, they had an impact upon many people. The more orthodox Greeks did not find this to be favourable and they tried to keep the mythical stories alive in as many ways as possible. They told the stories in local cults and they used the stories as the main subject for paintings, poetries and sculptures.

Euripedes was a tragedian during the 5th century BC who also mocked the old traditions and the myths. He often used his plays to create a note of doubt in the various mythical stories. He criticized the way Gods had been described in early Greek stories and legends and usually objected to the myths. The Greek mythographer, Euhemerus, during the Hellenistic period looked for historical evidence to prove that the myths were based on true stories. Many other mythographers and philosophers were a part of this period when people tried to make more sense of the mythological stories.

While religion was an important aspect among Greeks, the philosophers were inclined towards proving that the myths set a bad example for the people about their Gods. Superstitions were seen as a medium to create fear among people, and philosophers believed that religion helps people come closer to God and not to fear them. Lucretius was one of the people who tried to increase understanding of the fact that superstitions did not have a very firm basis. He tried to remove superstitions from among the people.

Livy chose not to pass judgment based on the mythological traditions and he explained that these stories and legends did not take root from actual occurrences. Gradually, the Romans began to use Greek mythological stories as a basis for their own myths because the Romans did not have a lot of mythology of their own. This is why many Roman Gods had characteristics of Greek Gods and you will be able to find a similarity in Roman and Greek mythology. Where the Greeks saw Zeus as the leader of the Gods, the Roman counterpart of Zeus was Jupiter.

Many other Greek Gods have similar Roman counterparts. When the Romans imbibed the Greek mythology, they tried to keep the religious essence of it. Antiquarian, Varro also explained that religion was important for the people but it should not create fear among them through superstitions. According to him, while the superstitious will fear God, the religious will find venerate them as parents.

Ancient Greek History - Modern Interpretations

The modern understanding of Greek mythology is very different. It is no longer rooted in superstitions or fears. Today it is more of a study of the myths and the use of mythological characters in modern arts. The Christian interpretation of myth as a lie makes all these mythological stories, no more than just a classic tale of Gods and heroes with no evidence or truth in them. During the eighteenth century, German scholars tried to revive Greek mythology and they established the foundations for mythological research in Germany.

Sigmund Freud explained that myths were an expression of repressed ideas. Carl Jung added to the Freudian myth interpretation with his theory of the unconscious mind. Mythological Gods and creatures are also studied to find resemblance in another mythologies and stories. Many Greek Gods and Goddesses are similar to those in other Indo European cultures. While the mythological stories were reduced to lies with the adoption of Christianity, these myths still had an impact among the artists who picked themes related to the Greek myths for their artistic representations.

Popular artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were known to pick Christian as well as Pagan subjects for their paintings and sculptures. Renaissance poets like Petrarch, Boccaccio and Dante were also influenced by Greek mythology. Many Northern European countries used Greek mythology as a source of inspiration for literature. In these countries, Greek myths did not have a huge impact on visual arts. Chaucer, John Milton, Shakespeare and Robert Bridges are some of the authors whose works showed influence of Greek myths.

The myths spread across Europe after the Enlightenment period. These myths were a great source of inspiration for many artists, authors and poets. Recent novelists like James Joyce and Andre Gide are also inspired by Greek mythology. Greek myths are now seen as important for the understanding of English and American literature by many authors. Greek mythology tells stories and legends about Gods and heroes right from the beginning.

Hesiod and Homer were two luminaries of the period whose workswe are able to use to know and interpret Greek mythologies. They gave birth to a lot of superstitions and they also helped the people understand natural occurrences. Right from the creation when there was nothing but chaos, to the time when the heroes saved mankind from evil forces, the mythical stories include interesting accounts of Gods and people and their interaction with each other.

The philosophers tried to interject a note of doubt among the people, trying to question their unperturbed faith in Gods that seemed to be too vile and fearful. The age of rationalism tried to question the credulity of the myths and enforced a sense of rationalism among the people. Needless to say, this had an impact but the stories and legends continued to be passed on from one generation to another. While people stopped trying to trace their roots to the Gods and Olympians, they did pass on these stories.

Even till today, Greek mythology is considered to be one of the most interesting mythologies. It has numerous Gods and heroes and all ofthem have a number of stories related to them. These Gods and heroes are not only remembered for their acts in the stories, but with modern paintings and sculptures that interestingly capture the beauty of these myths. A lot of mythographers today look for evidence or truth behind these myths. While some may be deemed as completely insubstantial, there are many that may have some truth in it. For example the story of the Argonauts has an explanation which matches reality. There is a possibility that the Argonauts may have existed, although their acts and stories may have been quantified to portray them as heroes.

Gods and mortals at one time shared a friendly relationship according to Greek mythology. The immortal Gods took residence in Olympia which was on Earth and they roamed freely among the people. They were seen to have traits that were similar to humans as well and their faults were magnified just as much as their good deeds. This proved that mortals were the same as the Gods and many of them were even considered to be more heroic than them.

Ancient Greek History - Greek Mythology