Mythology is a subject that I am unfortunately not familiar with, even though I have always found it quite interesting to hear about. My roommate just so happens to be Greek, so she and her family have greek God sculptures and artworks everywhere. To be honest, the only God I knew about was Zeus and of course Hades. These are by far the most popular because Zeus is the Supreme Ruler and has the iconic thunderbolt. Then there is Hades who is the Ruler of the Underworld but was not evil himself. Of all of the parts and myths we are going to read about, I am most looking forward to the “Stories of Love, Adventure, and Great Heroes”, which is Part 2 of the book.
I am a huge sucker for love and heroes, which is why I think that will be the most interesting topic for me. As opposed to learning about the creation of the world and mankind because that feels more specific and almost religious. I had absolutely no idea that the Greek and Roman Gods were mostly the same but named different. I found that very fascinating how the Romans enjoyed the Greek Gods so much, that they chose to have almost the same exact Gods. I am looking forward to reading the love stories between the Gods and how the heroes were created. Also, I am curious to see how many love stories there really are because I just know of the most popular one between Cupid and Psyche.
In this week’s reading, however, my favorite thing to learn about was each individual God, Roman, and Greek. I had no idea there were so many Gods, so it was very interesting to learn how each God become the God of their topic. I did not know that the Gods were all related to Zeus, I thought they were mostly friends or just separate Gods. It is very interesting to see that the original 12 Gods were all related, but their family dynamic was very chaotic. The Gods did not treat each other with any respect, they constantly fight, and are punishing each other or get revenge on each other. All the men Gods seemed to be very narcissistic and selfish, for example, Zeus. He knew he was the most powerful, and he took advantage of that against his siblings, his wife, and kids. Whereas all the women Gods seemed to be extremely obsessed with beauty and jealous of other women. For example, Hera, let her anger and jealousy get in the way of a family because the woman tried to get with Zeus.
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It is quite clear that the women Gods were portrayed as more aggressive and angry Gods, and if you crossed them then that was it. This goes to show that even the Gods thought of women as lesser equals than men. Especially because the men were the “rulers” and the women were just “leaders” that they did not have to listen to. The men Gods were constantly being in love affairs and cheating on their wive, while their wives would know and hold their anger against those people. This made women seem like they were jealous of everything, and even the smallest amount of anger could set them off extremely. The women were mostly known for their beauty and the creation they had for the beauty of the world. The book even says that Zeus punishes men by giving them, women.
Lastly, the way the Gods treat the humans is pretty bad. Zeus holds the humans to extremely high expectations, and if they do not meet those expectations, then they are punished. The book says that “mortals learned that it is not possible to get the better of Zeus or ever deceive him” (Hamilton 73). This shows that humans feared him, yet they also worshipped him. It was not only Zeus that held the humans to high standards, but all the Gods did. The Gods held all the humans up to the standard of heroes, and some as Gods. When the humans were uncooperative, the Gods would get angry and punish them.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. Grand Central Publishing, 2011.
• Introduction to Classical Mythology, pp. 1–16
• Part One: The