what can we learn from myths

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what can we learn from myths

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Dec 04, 2004 3:07 pm

Salvete

A while back someone asked on a yahoo! group (Greek mythology) what lessons we can learn from mythology. I thought it was a good question that not so much is asked. The answer to this question may look easy, but it isn't.
We could say that myths are stories inspired by the divine, but influenced by the social and politica enviroment its located in. So in a way we could learn a lot from mythology. It tells us or better warns us against hubris, pride that could lead to our downfall. Than again, another question could be asked like: what is hubris? And that is not easy either.
Anyway, so what do you people think that we can learn from mythology?
valete

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Postby Q Valerius on Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:37 am

Scerius Orco SPD:

Mythology gives us foremost a glimpse into the mind of the people who accepted the myths. Take your hubris example: hubris was obviously the boasting of oneself as greater than the gods. This was the greatest offense one could perpetrate. Another would be hospitality. We know that hospitality was highly regarded, Zeus would kill if he was refused, and Latin words like hospes show us that the myth wasn't just a myth. These myths were a lifestyle, traditions giving them a link with their culture, each other, and their past. It carries on to us today.

It is true that most of the stories lost their original meaning and become fantastic tales of adventure etc... But look at Socrates, he quotes the Odyssey and Iliad many times. These were regarded as scripture. Their society, and likewise ours, depends on some sort of mythological tradition to stand on. What society is there that totally shuns legends? We all have our heroes, we all have our great wars, our enemies, our friends.

What would the world be like without myths? (or Cpt. James Hook?)
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:42 pm

Salve Sceri

hubris was obviously the boasting of oneself as greater than the gods. This was the greatest offense one could perpetrate. Another would be hospitality. We know that hospitality was highly regarded, Zeus would kill if he was refused, and Latin words like hospes show us that the myth wasn't just a myth. These myths were a lifestyle, traditions giving them a link with their culture, each other, and their past. It carries on to us today.

The definition of hubris is more than just boasting. I think disrespect towards the Gods might also be hubris. Its a though one. The myths passed down from generation to generation was also a way to educate the next generation what they should do or not do. Sure it had a certain entertainment value, but it thought people to remember who they are, where they come from and most of all, that they are humans, mortals and that we are as much part of nature, this world we live in, as the animals that surround us. I think that this is something that got lost in the last 1600 years.
It is true that most of the stories lost their original meaning and become fantastic tales of adventure etc... But look at Socrates, he quotes the Odyssey and Iliad many times. These were regarded as scripture. Their society, and likewise ours, depends on some sort of mythological tradition to stand on. What society is there that totally shuns legends? We all have our heroes, we all have our great wars, our enemies, our friends.
What would the world be like without myths? (or Cpt. James Hook?)

In our modern age, those tales had lost their original meaning and are purely entertainment, something to read to your children when going to bed, that sorth of thing. Than again, if you look at the Harry Potter series, you see that myths and legends are desperatly needed now. I just wish that more people read mythology books- mythology that has been around for ages- rather than reading something like harry Potter. Than again, if people read Harry Potter, is an accomplishment on itself since most people don't find the time to read. Or just don't want to read.
Maybe I'm just exagerating here.
vale

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sun Dec 05, 2004 9:41 pm

Salvete,

Concerning this subject, I might mention a bibliographical reference about a book that looks interesting (I've bought it a few weeks ago but have not read it yet) : G.S. Kirk, "The Nature of Greek Myths", published as a Penguin pocket in 1974 and reprinted several times; the last reprint meanwhile dates from 1990, if my information is correct.

As I've not yet read the book, I can, for the time being, only share the flap text with you :

What are myths ? Theories abound. They have been seen as echoes of cosmological and meteorological events; as attempts to explain some of the odder things that go on in the world - a sort of primitive science; as stories invented to validate existing customs or institutions; as evocative tales of a creative past; as justification for primitive rituals. Psychologists and structural anthropologists have all had a say.

Professor Kirk examines such universal theories in this Pelican. They are all, he admits, illuminating, but none is adequate by itself, because these 'traditional tales' are of such variety that no single theory can embrace them all. His general analysis of the nature of Greek myth is followed by a splendid account of Greek myths...

In the final chapter of this unusually rigorous study Professor Kirk speculates on the manner in which an age dominated by myth gave way to an age dominated by philosophy.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:18 pm

Salve Draco

Looks like a good book. Where did you bought it? I'm looking forward to hearing from you on this subject.
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:23 pm

Salve Orce,

I bought it at De Slegte in Ghent. Unfortunately, it's a second-hand book and there was only one copy :(. You can always try De Slegte's "book search service" @ http://www.deslegte.nl/formulierboekenzoekdienst.asp?sid=757634199-550228, to see if they receive any new copies in any of their stores.

Vale,

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:10 am

Salve Corunciane,

Thanks for bringing to our attention this interesting and little known text !

Vale,

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:18 am

Salvete

Sallustius may be on to something. The myths in general, told by poets maybe not so entirely divine as they thought. Poets are humans, and have human audiences. They probably altered, adjusted their stories to their audiences, but that does not necessarily mean that myths don't have a divine origne. There could be a divine origine, but largely myths are human invention.
valete

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Postby Q Valerius on Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:24 am

I think Ovidius Naso said it best with: In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen!
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:37 am

Quintus Aurelius Orcus wrote:Salve Draco


It is reassuring to know you always think of me, my friend, even though I posted nothing in this thread. 8)

Vale,
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:33 pm

Salve Scerio

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen!


I'm affraid my Latin is a bit rusty so could someone tell me what the translation is of this text.
thank you.
vale

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