Almost all of the world’s civilizations arose from strong encouragement from robust societies or a series of myths (mythology) that describes the people’s prosperity. The powerful Greek and Roman mythologies inspired the rise and domination of the Roman and Greek civilizations, either consciously or indirectly (Greco-Roman mythologies). Many of the everyday activities of Greek and Roman cultures were influenced by myths, as were the operations of the Roman government and the arrangement of their religion. This research paper explores how Greco-Roman mythologies affected Roman and Greek cultures. It immensely considers areas of Roman and Greek civilization such as education, religion, architecture, and politics and several other as main regions of consideration in the civilization of the two regions. A wide segment of the modern civilizations traces its roots from the Roman and Greece civilization especially in the education, architecture and many other human endeavors.
Greek and Roman Mythologies
Greco-Roman mythology refers to the massive collections of myths and teachings whose origin is traceable to the ancient Greeks or the Roman Empire. The teachings harbor extensive portrayal of supernatural beings (gods) and ancient heroes, unique portrayal of the nature of the world. The myths also show great significance of the origins and importance of the Greco-Roman religious beliefs and ritualistic practices. Critical study of the Greek and Roman mythology exhibits how the people uniquely grew in politics, commerce and even religion that proceeded to transform wide region of Europe. Some of the memorable segments of the mythology elaborate on the origins of the world, explains various adventurous lives of gods and goddesses, ancient heroes and heroines and also include other mythological creatures which explain how the society operated and what should be done on a daily basis. The narrations show the clash between supergiant and gods. Prometheus the creator of mankind, Zeus the supreme power, every figure has some characteristics of a human. Several of the ancient Greco-Roman mythologies were preserved over a long time through the hefty collection of narratives, impressive Greek figurative arts, for instance, antique vase-paintings and votive collections. Initially, the mythology narratives were circulated in various oral-poetic convention.
Readers of the mythologies derive entertainment and enjoyment from the fanciful stories of fights, wars, and romance. However, a deep understanding of the tales informs of the legends which transmit morals, philosophies and theological teachings to the readers. The myths exhibit some vivid images and visions of epic battles, the quest for legends and gods.The narratives had the deep inner meaning which induced moral, social and cultural values to the societys civilization. Roman Empire and Greeks had some of the largest and influential civilizations in ancient time. In many societies, ancient religious notions have performed a major role in developing cultural and social values. The Roman myths revolved around the history and heroes of Rome who built it. Romans had their pantheon of god and goddess. These deities are mostly associated with Greek mythology. Romans included the Greek gods by their name and style and added some other foreign cults as the Roman Empire expanded.
After Romans conquered Greece, they adopted huge segments of Greek deities and other figures of Greek mythology. It became hard to delink the Roman myths from Greek myths. Initially, only kings mainly controlled Rome, but it later adopted more sophisticated leadership structure with more added officials in the management and control of the wide Roman Empire.
The mythology explains the transformation of the people who believed in polytheism (presence of many gods). The gods ruled over the region, natural phenomenon and events. The role of Greek myths and religion had an inescapable influence on society and every aspect of life. The Greek and Roman gods were heavily anthropomorphic with human feelings such as love, hate, anger, wrath, and jealousy and many other characters. In Greek society, these myths served many functions. The characters and plot of the mythical narrations gave a view of the history of that time. The mythology depicts of innovative thinkers who generated stories with limitless teachings on human life.
In ancient time, people were predisposed towards collecting and gathering of food and hunting animals. Ancient Greek and Romans also fought for their land. The uncertainty of living, the fear of unknown encouraged people to come up with such tales, offers answers give courage to youth to protect their families, encourage them to be a hero like Hercules.
Importance of the Greek and Roman Mythologies
Greco-Roman mythology inspired the civilization culture, architecture and politics of the Romans and the Greeks in multiple ways. The beliefs of the gods and goddesses endeared them (Greeks and Romans) to undertaking functions that pleased the gods and goddess. The Greeks and the Romans believed in the myths and trusted in their supernatural powers. The mythology revealed that the gods controlled over many dissimilar aspects of human life. Generations were taught how to please the gods and goddess from childhood stages to avert possible wrath. Human beings worked hard in their endeavors to appease the gods. Mythology revealed of gods and goddesses who behaved like human beings in characters but had additional superhuman endowments.
The gods could be kind or mean, happy or sad, cruel or loving depending on how people approached them. The gods and goddesses also fell in love amongst each other, stole from each other and exhibited nearly all human behaviors or weaknesses. Vast of Greco-Roman civilizations emanated from the participation of people who acted in obedience to mythical gods and goddesses or even in fear of the wrath of the supernatural beings. For instance, Zeus, King of all the gods and goddesses was painted as overly powerful and could control the weather. People referred to him as the Thunderer’ and was said to dwell with other gods on Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is a high mountain located in the northern parts of Greece. The mythology contributed immensely to the civilizations of architecture, religion, education, politics and the family unit at the time.
A key part of the Greco-Roman civilization is notable in the Architecture. Some of the magnificent Greco-Roman Architecture are prominent in temple architecture. Greco-Romans built lovely temples for the worship of their gods and goddesses. Mythology revealed respect accorded to the gods and goddesses. Due to the respect on the gods and goddess, multiple resources and ingenuity were rendered in the construction of the temples. For instance, the Parthenon was built in honor of the goddess Athena. The people of Athens recognized her as their patron and revered her. The design and architecture were heavily influenced by the increased application of geometry and mathematics in the derivation of various patterns. The Greeks and Roman people equally accorded respect to government buildings, for instance, the Roman Senate, and cultural constructions, such as the Colosseum exposed magnificent attempts in building architecture. Some of the ancient buildings have weathered multiple vagaries of nature and still outstanding up to today. The ancient architecture also continues to influence modern architecture. The Hephaisteion temple was erected in Athens in respect of god Hephaistos and the goddess Athena. The buildings acted as both temple and sanctuaries for the revered gods. The people also held celebrations and festivals in honor of the gods. Other functions that the society held were processions, sports, rituals sacrifices and competitions in respect of the Gods.
The Greco-Roman mythology hugely contributed to the civilization in their model of worship or religion. Their religion was not entrenched in any specific scriptures or exegesis, but they had priestly literature which exhibited some of the earliest written religious text in Latin prose. Their books called Libri and commentaries acknowledged as the commentarii compiled several religious processes, prayers models, rulings and opinions regarding issues of the religious law. The written materials were accessible for reference by the Roman senate. Their religion also explained about the prophecies regarding the world history and Roman’s future destiny. It revealed the head of the original pantheon who were called the Archaic Triad of Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. The Roman religion was founded by Numa Pompilius. In their religion, the gods symbolized the distinct and practical desires of daily life. The gods were accorded befitting rites and offerings which resembled the respect they had in the society. The Roman religion also had a group of specialist gods whose names were invoked during special activities. The people offered to gods during various functions such as plowing and sowing. The Roman adopted and respected the gods from the regions which they conquered and incorporated them into their list of gods and goddesses.
Greco-Roman mythology positively influenced civilization in education. Mothers were the earliest teachers of their children, and they taught them regarding the Greco-Roman mythology and culture. Positive behaviors were inculcated into children at an early age. The Greco-Roman established schools which did not only teach mythology but also taught art, philosophy, and rhetoric. During the wide span of the Greek and Roman rule, coherent structures in the basics of education were established. The globes history also reveals that the significant development civilization and education are estimated to be from the Greek and Roman regions. Historical research shows presence a large span of Greco-Romans educated class in ancient times. Evidence also shows the presence of multiple hundred volumes of information inscribed on papyrus which was placed in a Roman building located at Herculaneum are in Greek. History exhibits numerous times during the life of Cicero and Julius Caesar time in power which show that many Romans and Greeks went to school especially in Greece. Multiple of modern endeavors in mathematics and physics are traceable from the Greco-Roman times. Application of mathematics in commerce, building, and many other human endeavors are traceable from the great thinkers of the Greco-Roman times. A significant study in astronomy, for instance, studies of planets show significant contribution from Greco-Roman education and research structure.
Politics was another critical area of civilization that the Greco-Roman mythology influenced its development in the Roman and Greek times. Greco-Roman mythology exhibits narrations and teachings regarding great conquests, great battles and bravery. The Roman army adopted the bravery in battle and always abducted women from their conquests to help in widening their population. Out the of bravery mythology stories, the Romans fought hard to defend and acquire territories thus expanding their control. After attaining control of a colony, they accorded the people citizenship thus widening the Roman society from a tribe to a more sophisticated political structure. The empire grew into multiple kingdoms. The Romans adopted Greek as the major language in the empire and as free inhabitants were accorded citizenship. The gods such as the Heracles, Zeus, and Ares were closely associated with battles. Hercules was regarded as the immortal hero of Greek legends and was recognized as the best fighter on the earth. Zeus was the god of goddess while Ares was the god of disordered war.
The mythology showed human beings how to live. Many of the gods and goddesses were in families which indicated that Romans and Greeks had to develop the family unit of social organization. The mythology narrations showed Zeus being the god of all other gods while Hera was the goddess of other goddess. The same mythology also stated that Hera gave birth to Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus and Zeus was their father.The father headed the social unit (family) of the Roman and Greek family units, and that is also relatable to the mythology narrations in which there was the male dominance of the female members of the family. The myths are also in agreement with the early Roman laws which placed fathers under the control of mother and children. Such rules have never changed in the modern era; many cultures recognize men or father as the topmost authority in the house. The mythology provided guidelines to the running of the current society, and each member of the family was expected to undertake his or her culturally assigned role. Myths were center stage in running many of the daily affairs of the Greek and Roman societies.
In brief, the Greek and Roman mythology contributed massively to the development of the civilizations in both Greece and Roman territories. The myths acted in uniting people of different origins in undertaking a common course of developing the society. Mythology operated through imparting fear, hope, expectation, and love amongst the people. Nobody in the society would ever attempt to displease the gods or the goddess, and every people worked to make the gods happy even in their secret moments. The use of religion and culture to control people to operate in a specific direction is easier as compared to using military force or country laws. The mythology both indirectly and directly influenced the civilization in architecture, education, culture, religion and many other segments in Greek and Roman societies. The mythology explained the presence of gods and goddesses who behaved like human beings and lived in the Mount Olympus. The gods controlled particular aspects of life, and they lived away from human beings. Apart from uniting people in sports, festivities, prayers, battles their mythical gods and goddesses inspired them to overcome various life obstacles which faced them daily. For instance, through physical representation shaped idols the people felt the presence of their gods and goddesses.
Detienne, Marcel. The gardens of Adonis: Spices in Greek mythology. Princeton University Press, 2015.
Dowden, Ken. The uses of Greek mythology. Routledge, 2013.
Graf, Fritz. Greek mythology: an introduction. JHU Press, 2016.
Kerenyi, Karl. “The trickster in relation to Greek mythology.” The trickster: A study in American Indian mythology (2016): 173-91.
Nagy, Gregory. Greek mythology and poetics. Cornell University Press, 2014.
Nilsson, Martin P., and Frederick Joshua Fielden. “A history of Greek religion.” (2015).
Slater, Philip Elliot. The glory of Hera: Greek mythology and the Greek family. Princeton University Press, 2015.