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1. What is Myth and Why Study It?

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University of Toronto St. George
A Keith

What is myth and why study it y Myths of Greeks and Romans o Transmission through art and literature classical o Cultural and historical background o Meaning and value of myth to ancient society o Difference between myth and religion o Changing nature of myth o Survival of classical myth and its influence on subsequent art and literature y Hesiod OvidHesiod Greek earliest poetry Ovid Roman later poetry y What is mythAncient Greek word mthos authoritative speech modern meaningtraditional story of collective importance y Comprehensive term for stories speak of relationship with Godshave gods characters and temporal and spatial settings o Traditional talk that is important to a particular society o Often explains aspects of societys origins and values y Transmitted through oral tradition literature art dance and music o Oral tradition can be anonymous but can be credited to a master story teller o Can also be written down and circulated o Written stories usually have a known author EuripidesOvid o Myths can change depending on the author or the storyteller thy Orpheus traditionalmythical Homer Greek 8 century BC Hesiod700 thBC Euripides Athenian 5 century BC Ovid Roman 43 BC17 CE catasterism man to star theodicydivine justice thy Ovid born March 20 43 BC o Aristocrat who got the best education because his father wanted him to be a politician o He chose to be a poet o Wrote metamorphoses in 8 CE when he discovered something biased in the favour of Augustus emperor who banished him to the island of Elba o Metamorphoses is about transformation man to god apotheosis god to man man to animal man to plant man to features of nature eg starscatasterism o Divine transformation is changeable but humans transformation is not stndy Apollodorus Greek 1 or 2 century CE o Greek who tried to systematize Greek mythology o Summarizes events uncritically and sometimes tells us of alternate versions ndy Hygenius Roman 2 century CE o His mythology is compiled from Greek sources y Mythology is derived from mthos story and logos account o study of myth
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