A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN GREEK MYTHOLOGY AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY

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A Term Paper Submitted to Mrs. Angeline P. Dinoro Languages and Social Sciences Department MSU- IIT Integrated Developmental School

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Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirement for the Course English IV

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Kissza Mari V. Campano Pol Carlo T. Badelles Stephanie Rae G. De Mesa February 2010

For IV- Photon 09-10 And all our friends

Acknowledgment The researchers would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to the following:

The Almighty God for giving us the strength and courage to face the challenges that we encounter each day;

Our kind and loving parents for their undying support and financial management;

The IDS Library for its inexhaustible source of information that greatly helped the researchers in the completion of this paper;

Our classmates in IV-Photon for the encouragement and help that made us continue to make this paper; and

Our adviser and English teacher, Ma’am Angie, for her guidance and for giving us this project to prepare us in college.

P.C.T. B. K.M.V.C. S.R.G.D.M.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 THE PROBLEM AND ITS SCOPE I. Introduction People, especially children, love to hear and read fascinating stories. They love adventures of brave heroes who defeat the forces of evil and reach their ultimate goal, or stories of different fascinating mythical creatures, like mermaids, fairies, and the like. Others love the stories of gods and goddesses, and how things came to be. Literature provides a lot of these types, but the greatest of them are the mythologies. Mythology is a collection of different myths, which is an old traditional story or legend that explains certain natural or supernatural phenomena, origin of different things, and many others. It involves many characters, which includes gods and goddesses, human beings, and mythical creatures. Mythology varies from region to region, and each country has its own myths. This study will discuss two famous world mythologies, the Greek mythology and Roman mythology. The researchers will do a comparison of the two mythologies, and will try to find the similarities and differences among the two.

A. Statement of the Problem This study aims to answer the questions that follow: 1. What are the main characteristics of Greek mythology? Of Roman mythology? 2. What are the similarities between Greek mythology and Roman mythology? 3. What are the differences between Greek mythology and Roman mythology?

4. What are the common myths in Greek mythology and Roman mythology? 5. Do Greek and Roman mythology have a similar source or origin? B. Significance of the Study This study aims to give more knowledge about the two mythologies: the Greek mythology and Roman mythology. Furthermore, it discusses the similarities and differences of the two known mythologies that will also help them know more about the tradition and culture on the particular regions.

C. Scope and Limitations In the study, the researchers present their differences and similarities of Greek mythology and Roman mythology, and the characteristics of each mythology. This research will also cite the examples of myth the both have in common.

D. Definition of Terms To aid better understanding of the paper, the following terms are defined: 1. Chaos 2. Hesiod 3. Homer - the oldest of the gods, the mother of Erebus and Night. - Greek poet of Boeotia - the poet who regarded by the Greeks to be the author of the “Iliad” and Odyssey” 4. Mythology - a body of myths especially those relating to a people’s gods and to their origins or those connected with a certain subject.

5. Tartarus

- lowest part of the underworld where the worst evildoers are imprisoned.

Chapter 2 PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION I. Mythology A. What is Mythology? The word “mythology” comes from two Greek words, mythos (“story”) and logos (“word”, “talk”). It means, therefore, “story- telling”. The word is now used, however, especially for stories that deal with gods. Myths are supposed to explain how things in the world began. Legends also explain things, but legends are usually based on history. Myths go back to a time before history. They often explain happenings in the world for which the people who tell them can find no explanation other than a supernatural one (Fried, 1995).

II. Greek Mythology Greek mythology has exercised a profound and unparalleled influence upon Western cultures. Dramatists, artists, and philosophers from Roman times, through the great revival interest in antiquity in the Renaissance, up to the present day, have been inspired by the thrilling legacy of ancient Greece. The origins of these myths are impossible to determine and there is no one true version of any myth. Instead, every city in the ancient Greek world, spanning from Southern Italy across the Aegean and the Adriatic islands to the coast of Asia Minor, created its own myths. This can result in confusion, as many different, and often contradictory, versions of the myth exist.

Originally passed on, adapted and developed by an oral tradition of storytelling, the basic canon of gods and heroes was well established by the time the myths came to be written down, from about 750BCE. Greek mythology has many similarities with IndoEuropean mythology and was either influenced by it or shared common sources (Averbach, 2002).

A. Origins In the beginning, according to the ancient Greeks, there was Chaos—a great mass of darkness without shape or sound or meaning. Out of this grew Night and Erebus. The strange shadowy world found the earth, which is the home of death. Then came a wonderful thing called Love, which produced Light and Day. Mother Earth, called Gaea, appeared next with Heaven’s blue, star- studded dome on high (Sellew, 1995). Before the gods existed, there had been Titans—the children of the Earth(Gaea) and the Heavens(Uranus). According to Hesiod’s account there were originally 12 of them: the brothers Oceanus, Coens, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Cronus and the sisters Thea, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. At their mother’s prompting they rebelled against their father, who had shut them off in the underworld of Tartarus. Under the leadership of Cronus, they deposed Uranus and made Cronus their ruler, and Rhea, his sister, was his queen. (Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1992). The story goes that Cronus learned that one of his children would overthrow him. To prevent this, every time Rhea gave birth to a child, he would swallow it. However, when their son Zeus was born, Rhea had him hidden on the island of Crete. Then she presented Cronus with a stone, instead of the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Cronus

swallowed the stone, and Zeus grew to manhood. He forced his father to disgorge his brothers and sisters, and with their help, overthrew Cronus and other Titans. Now that Zeus and his brothers and sisters had power over the universe, they drew lots to see who should control the different kingdoms (Sellew, 1995).

B. Gods and Goddesses Zeus married his sister, Hera, and they were now the heads of the divine family made up of themselves and ten other gods and goddesses. There were their brothers, Poseidon and Hades, and their sister Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. Then there was their son, Ares, God of War. Zeus had children other than those by Hera. There were Athena, Goddess of Wisdom; Apollo, God of the Sun; Artemis, Goddess of the Moon; Aphrodite, Goddess of Love; and Hermes, the Messenger of Heaven. Finally there was Hera’s lame son, Hephaestus, God of Fire. These made up the 12 gods and goddesses in the Olympian pantheon, commonly known as the 12 Olympians (Sellew, 1995).

C. Main Characteristics Greek mythology expresses neither unity nor consistency. It is due to several factors that went into the formation of Greek myths and mythological personages. First, the existing fragments of Greek myths. These myths and fragments of myths are in many cases parts of total mythological cycles in local communities, but in many cases the entire cycle is not known today. Second, the corpus of Greek mythology contains mythological elements from different cultures and histories.

The fact that the Greek poets, tragedians, and philosophers present their own literary and philosophical interpretations and dramas of the deities, making use of the many strands and varied traditions of the mythological cycles. According to Herodotus, Homer and Hesiod defined the gods. They drew from a rich and complex historical and mythological past, indicating themes and trends that have become decisive for the understanding of Greek mythology. Hesiod presupposes the reality of the gods, where as Homer’s characterization of them is symbolic (Grolier International Encyclopedia, 1995).

III. Roman Mythology In the second century BC, Rome conquered Greece and Absorbed Greek culture. Both Roman and Greek writers continued to create mythological works in the Hellenistic style— both scholarly and romantic. As the city- state became an anachronism in a world of kingdoms and empires, new religious forms evolved. The ruler cult of the Hellenistic kingdoms and the emperor cult of the Roman empire. The rulers became gods, first after death and then even while alive. This was a cult that recognized power but did not require a mythology of stories or a theology. One of the most persistent and widespread movements was in the interest in astrology, which defined the old gods with stars and saw in their shifting but predictable patterns a system that determined human affairs. The culmination of these tendencies was the belief in the sun as an essentially monotheistic god and the emperor as the corresponding supreme power on earth (Jameson, 1995).

A. Origins The basic mythology of Rome was borrowed from the Greeks, though later Romans also borrowed from the Egyptians and some of the regions of Asia Minor and the Middle East as the size of the Roman Empire increased. When the Romans took over the Greek gods, they gave them different names and sometimes combined them with other gods of their own (Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1992). The best known version of the founding of Rome itself tells of a usurping king of Alba Longa who had deposed his brother, killed his nephews, and made his niece, Rea Silvia, a vestal virgin to keep her from having sons. But Rea Silvia is loved by the god Mars, and bears him twin Romulus and Remus (Jameson, 1995).

B. Gods and Goddesses The Roman changed the name of ten of the 12 gods of Mount Olympus to to Jupiter (Zeus), Juno (Hera), Neptune (Poseidon), Vesta (Hestia), Mars (Ares), Minerva (Athena), Venus (Aphrodite), Mercury (Hermes), Diana (Artemis), and Vulcan (Hephaestus). Apollo and Hades retained their names though Hades doesn’t mean the ruler of the underworld for the Romans (Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1992).

C. Main Characteristics The Roman derivatives proved colorless counterparts to the Greek divinities. The Greek gods were anthropomorphic in more than shape; like humans they fought, swindled, loved and avenged. The Roman deities did not possess human psychology.

Instead, they were mostly personifications of various abstract qualities and the personalities were much less important than their functions. Roman myths were also more historicized than Greek myths and it is impossible to demonstrate any clear line between Roman myth and its early history. On the whole, Roman mythology is less fantastic and more realistically grounded in time and place than Greek mythology. The extent of Rome’s dominion is the key to understand its mythology. The Roman state was simply too large and mutable for only one set of mythological and religious traditions to suffice. As Rome expanded its territories it incorporated the myths of the conquered peoples into its own. The result is eclectic: Roman mythology is a strange hotchpotch of Greek, Egyptian, Celtic, and many other myths. All of these, once assimilated, become Roman myths (Averbach, 2002).

IV. Similarities and Differences between Greek and Roman Mythology

A. Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Since some of the basic mythology of Rome was borrowed from the Greeks, the two have some similarities. Roman gods and goddesses are most likely of that of the Greeks but they differ only in their names. For example, Zeus, the king of the gods to the Greeks is Jupiter to the Romans. Poseidon to the Greeks is Neptune to the Romans. Ares, the god of war to the Greeks is known to the Romans as Mars. Apollo is the god of the sun to both Greeks and Romans.

The Roman Hero contrasts strongly with the heroes of Greek mythology. The Greek hero was often driven by the quest for personal glory and the desire for individual fame. This led him to behave antisocially, like Achilles sulking in his tent while his fellow Greeks died on the battlefield at Troy. The Roman hero, however, exemplified the ideal Roman citizen, wholly focused on championing the great city and its ideals. In contrast to Achilles and Herakles, Aeneas was a paradigm of gravitas (devition to duty, especially towards state), frugalitas (a rejection of excess indulgence), and pietas (devotion to duty and Roman religion): the three most important Roman values.

B. Story Greek and Roman mythology also have some common stories about their heroes. One common example is Homer’s Odyssey which tells the wanderings of the hero, Odysseus, after the Trojan War which is also the same as Virgil’s Aenid that tells the adventure of Aeneas. The two stories share the same characters and events, although they are not exactly the same. Many of the Greek myths, which features metamorphosis, or the fantastic transformation of shape, are refashioned into Roman myths. An example is that of Apollo’s pursuit if the nymph Daphne, whose father turned into a laurel tree. C. Characteristics Roman myth was strikingly patriarchal. The majority of myths feature themes of rape or threatened rape and is concerned with female chastity and virginity. Greek mythology is also largely patriarchal, but myths like that of Demeter and Persephone

present a female perspective on male violence and also celebrate women’s close relations and power. In Greek myth, when the Centaurs attempt to rape the Lapith women, their behavior is seen as abhorrent and uncivilized and they are driven off by the Greeks. In contrast, when the early Romans rape the Sabine women, they benefit by getting wives and land. The gods and even the women themselves, in time, approve of violence.

Chapter 3 SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATION

A. Summary This research is about the comparison between Greek and Roman mythology. Firstly, Greek mythology does not express unity and consistency. Every province has its version of the same mythology, which often results to confusion to researchers. Secondly, most of the Greek mythologies are copied by the Romans, to form the Roman mythology. Although Romans have their own mythology, they assimilate the myths of the regions that they conquer to their own. This results to parallelism between Greek and Roman myths, due to the similarities of the characters and plot.

B. Conclusion Based on the results of the study, the researchers concluded that Greek mythology and Roman mythology are closely related to each other. There are some notable similarities and differences between the two mythologies. The similarities are due to the fact that some of the Roman myths, gods, goddesses, and heroes are derivatives of its Greek counterparts. The differences lie on the characteristics of the gods, goddesses and heroes of a few unique characters and myths of the two mythologies.

C. Recommendation

The researchers would like to encourage the readers to further accomplish this research paper by looking deeper into the characteristics of Greek and Roman mythology. The researchers would also like to recommend making a research of Greek mythology and Roman mythology. In addition, the researchers recommend having a comparison of other world mythologies.

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