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Each country has certain features which were developed centuries ago. In Greece, this specific feature is mythology. In the fifth century BC, in Athens, there were no books, which described the myths because the Greeks considered them a part of their life. Mythological characters and events were likely integrated into Greek society finding expression in different periods of human life - from infancy to old age. Mythology organically intertwined in real peoples lives working at several levels. Fascinating stories about the lives of the gods were a kind of entertainment. They were reflected in music, poetry, fine, and applied arts. At the same time, myths provided an inexhaustible supply of not only examples of good or bad behavior necessary for the education of youth, but also examples to help the older generation understand the world: the vicissitudes of fate, the relationship of destiny and human nature, and mysteries of life. Greek mythology originated as an attempt to explain the appearance of ancient life on earth, the causes of natural phenomena, and determine a place of a person in the world. In addition, all of the stories described in myths, complex relations of gods and heroes, and their connection to certain places formed a complex system of worship, which was very important for a Greek social structure (Payment, 2006). Nowadays, the influence of Greece mythology can be seen in every aspect of modern life such as literature, arts, and science.

The creation of myths was the first step of a person to developing creativity and self-knowledge. Gradually, some of the legends that originated in different areas of the Greek land developed the whole cycles of fate of the heroes and their tutelary gods. All these legends, myths, and songs performed by itinerant singers over time were united in large epic poems such as The Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, The Theogony and Works and Days by Hesiod, and many others. Great Greek poets and playwrights - Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides built their tragedies on the material of the ancient tales of gods and heroes (Payment, 2006).

Greek mythology had an impact on people not only in the past. The contribution of Greek mythology in modern culture cannot be overstated. Nowadays, business, art, and languages demonstrate the influence of the Greek heritage. For example, most people who do not have common understanding of Greek mythology yet know that Hercules was a strong man and Venus was the goddess of love. Myths of the Greek people, who tried to comprehend what was happening around them, formed the basis of universal culture. They deeply penetrated in views and mindset of modern people. In everyday speech, names, titles, and metaphors borrowed from Greek mythology are often used. Nowadays, people in the most ordinary conversations talk about Sisyphean labor (referring to the senseless and useless pastime), titanic efforts and giant sizes (the titans and giants were the generations of the Earth goddess, who fought with the Greek gods), panic fear (it were tricks of the god Pan, who loved to inspire irrational fear into people), Olympic serenity (which was possessed by the ancient gods inhabitants of the holy Mount Olympus) or the Homeric laughter (this rampant thunderous laughter of the gods described by Homer). Using these metaphors, a lot of people are not able to explain their original meaning since they are not familiar with the images of Greek mythology. Knowledge of ancient mythology is essential for teachers of history, language and literature, philosophy, artistic disciplines as well as students of relevant disciplines (Kilinski, 2012).

 

Nowadays, not many people know the language of ancient Hellas. However, the Greek legends largely shaped English and other languages. For example, a Herculean task is the task that requires great efforts. This expression comes from the myth of the twelve labors of Heracles. Medicine substance morphine is named after the Greek god of sleep, Morpheus. Sexually transmitted diseases are a negative allusion to Venus. A name of the goddess of love sounds better in the word aphrodisiac, which means any substance or circumstances that cause the sexual desire. Until now, a nasty woman can be called harpy (a winged monster with a womans body and bird feet). On the other hand, an attractive man is often called Adonis. He was a mortal boy who was very handsome that even Aphrodite fell in love with him. People call one kind of computer viruses Trojan horses (Trojans). It is an unfair comparison with the legendary inhabitants of Troy. In fact, it is meant the Trojan horse built by the Greeks and used to enter city and end the war.

The contribution of Greek mythology in modern culture and language is not limited to individual words. A lot of phrases, sayings, and cliches were directly borrowed from Greek legends. For example, the phrase between Scylla and Charybdis goes back to the stories of sailors caught in a trap between these mythical beasts. Other common expressions demonstrating the influence of ancient Greek legends are:

1. Achilles heel (the only weak spot).

2. Midas touch (the ability to turn into gold everything a person touches).

3. In the arms of Morpheus (to sleep).

4. Open Pandoras Box (do something that can bring misery and misfortune).

5. Rich as Croesus (fabulously wealthy) (Kilinski, 2012).

The influence of Greek mythology on the contemporary society has often been noted in the arts and pop culture. In the 1980s, a single Venus of a female rock group The Bangles entered the top ten hits. TV shows and films such as Disneys Hercules re-introduced a new generation with mythical heroes such as Hades, the lord of the Underworld. In fact, the films retell the story of Hercules from the 1950s. Some famous works of art and literature of the Western world also hold the traces of Greek legends. For example, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. Operas also often draw inspiration from Greek mythology. One of the most famous examples is Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach. Such great writers as Shakespeare, Milton, and Dante so often referred to Greek mythology that for full understanding of their creations, it is necessary to know these legends. Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a collection of rewritten Greek myths. Consequently, artists, poets, and sculptors are attracted primarily by the depth and artistry of mythical images (Ferrell, 2000).

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In the XX century, Greek myths continued to inspire poets and writers. In 1922, James Joyce published Ulysses. It is a modern epic poem which describes one day from the life of an Irish Jew. The saturation of events is similar to the ten-year return of Odysseus to Ithaca. In this poem, Aeolus, the ruler of the winds, is a newspaper editor controlling public opinion, sirens are a pair of the barmaids and Kirk, who turned people into pigs, is a mistress of the brothel. Greek myths were also important for Thomas Stearns Eliot. The protagonist of The Waste Land, for example, is the blind Theban prophet Tiresias. Even today, at the beginning of the XXI century, the Greek myths remain attractive, although these ancient stories sometimes appear in strange interpretations. For example, Hercules occurs in the image of Superman and modern Odyssey arises as the traveling in a spaceship Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek. Nevertheless, it is also acknowledged that the current creators draw inspiration and plots from figurative inheritance left by the ancient Greek civilization (Ferrell, 2000).

The contribution of Greek mythology in science is significant. A lot of planets of the solar system, constellations, and stars are named after the monsters and heroes such as Andromeda, Gemini, Cassiopeia, and Hercules. Most of the moons and all the planets in the solar system are also named after the characters of Greek mythology, although planets were given a Roman version of the Greek names. The Earth has also a mythological name. The other name is Gaia in honor of the Greek mother earth (Cousineau, 2006).

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Nowadays, people are surrounded by different names of Greek mythology, and sometimes they are found in unexpected places. Ajax (one of the great heroes of The Iliad) would not be pleased if he knew that a famous cleaner was called after his name. Now and then, references to Greek mythology are pertinent. For example, Aegis is a shield of Zeus and his daughter Athena. Today Aegis is an insurance company as well as name of cruisers which the U.S. Navy uses. In both cases, it is obvious that the analogy with the Greek myths is justified. In fact, the insurance company and warships ensure protection like the mythological shield. The contribution of Greek mythology to modern society cannot be overemphasized. There is a great number of references to Greek myths. In fact, they even affected the maps. The collection of maps is called Atlas on behalf of titanium, which kept the ground. Europe being a home to many communities was also influenced by Greek culture. The name of this part of the world is called in honor of Europe - a girl who was kidnapped by Zeus and turned into a bull (Littleton, 2005).

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The impact of Greece mythology on the modern reality is obvious. Images of ancient Greek culture are manifested in the art and culture of modern civilization everywhere because it is impossible to build the traditional culture without foundation of antiquity. Greece mythology had a strong impact on both the development of ancient culture and the formation of human civilization in particular.

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