We tend to think of the ancient Greeks when the word Myth is mentioned however many cultures have a library of stories, the word comes from the Greek ‘mythos’ meaning story or legend.  Like Fables, Myths have a deeper moral message, and thus extend the boundaries of realism into the spiritual or religious elements of the society.

As the majority of these ancient societies were still not literate, storytelling is an integral part of passing down ethical and moral codes from generation to generation.  To reaffirm the message, the characters in the stories are often depicted as supernatural, heroic or divine.  These characters conform to as aspirational desires that we as humans want to achieve; such as super strength, the ability to triumph over adversity, or even in modern day heroes such as flight and super agility.  However a lot of characters also display weaker human characteristics, jealousy, lust, desire and envy.

In Greek mythology, the most popular stories revolve around demigods, half human and half God.  It is important to have human elements to link the character to the audience and create an association.  Being half man and half god enables the character to have superhuman qualities, yet still remain separated from the gods.

In the story of Hercules, the hero is the son of Zeus and a mortal.  Jealous of the boy, Zeus’ wife Hera tries repeatedly to kill him; sending him into the unknown world, into Hades and back to complete 12 seemingly impossible labours, each harder than the previous to earn penance for killing his wife and child (albeit under a spell by Hera at the time).  Hercules uses his strength, wit and archery skills to complete the trials, much to the annoyance of the gods, earning his place in popular mythology.

Greek and Roman mythology can be so influential that it still has influence today, such as modern interpretations such as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson novels and the naming of the planets.

Mythology is often used as a method to explain events such as the creation of the universe and the formation of the physical landscape.  Even though Myth is separated from the human timeline, there have often found to be correlations between myth and recorded historical events.  In this case, the myth may be a representative of the actual event, a device used in Modern TV dramas based around crime or science.  The true facts and processes may often be distorted to be more entertaining to an audience.

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