Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Greek Myths Are Great!

Oral and literary traditions of the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes and the nature and history of the cosmos. The Greek myth and legends are known today primarily from Greek literature, including such classic works as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiod's Works and Days and Theogony, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The myths deal with the creation of the gods and the world, the struggle among the gods for supremacy and the triumph of Zeus, the love affairs and quarrels of the gods, and the effects of their adventures and powers on the mortal world, including their link with natural phenomena such as thunderstorms or the seasons and their connection with cultic sites or rituals. Among the great stories of Greek mythology and legend are those of the Trojan War, the voyage of Odysseus, Jason's search for the Golden Fleece, the exploits of Heracles, the adventures of Theseus, and the tragedy of Oedipus. Mitos-Griegos is a really cool thing to check out. To the ancient Greeks we owe our love of wisdom. Or at least the word philosophy, which is the same thing, phil meaning "love" and sophy meaning "wisdom." Combined, the two elements mean both a love of wisdom and a desire for it. Check out the Diccionario de Filoso when you get a chance. In English, philosophy first appears in writing as early as 1340, when it is explained for the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the word as "love of wysdome." Wisdom is a word native to English, but we had no term for the love of learning or the desire to gain wisdom. Like the rest of the Western world, we learned that from the Greeks.

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