Greek Mythology Quiz

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is Greek mythology?

What is the oldest literary source of Greek mythology?

What is the Theogony?

What is the Trojan War cycle?

What is the heroic age in Greek mythology?

What is the story of the house of Atreus about?

Who are the tragic playwrights that took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War?

What is the Theban Cycle about?

What is the purpose of mythology in Ancient Greece?


Greek mythology - a summary

  • Greek mythology is a genre of ancient Greek folklore that tells stories about the origin and nature of the world, the gods, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices.

  • The myths were initially propagated in an oral-poetic tradition by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. They were eventually written down in epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and other literary works.

  • Visual representations of gods, heroes, and mythic episodes feature prominently in ancient vase paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts.

  • Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture, arts, and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language.

  • The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus, which attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends.

  • The oldest literary sources are Homer's two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are about the Trojan War and its aftermath. Other poets completed the Epic Cycle, but these later and lesser poems are now lost almost entirely.

  • Greek lyric poets and bucolic poets relate individual mythological incidents, while classical Athenian drama uses myth as a central theme. Tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War.

  • Historians and geographers who traveled throughout the Greek world supplied numerous local myths and legends, often giving little-known alternative versions.

  • The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was primarily composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths include Apuleius, Petronius, Lollianus, and Heliodorus.

  • The discovery of the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations helped to explain many existing questions about Homer's epics and provided archaeological evidence for many of the mythological details about gods and heroes.

  • Greek mythology has changed over time to accommodate the evolution of their culture, of which mythology, both overtly and in its unspoken assumptions, is an index of the changes.

  • Greek mythology's surviving literary forms are inherently political, as they reveal the changes in the culture. The earlier inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula were an agricultural people who, using animism, assigned a spirit to every aspect of nature.

  • The earliest Greek thought about poetry considered the theogonies to be the prototypical poetic genre—the prototypical mythos—and imputed almost magical powers to it.Greek Mythology: An Overview

  • Hesiod's Theogony is the fullest surviving account of the Greek gods and the archaic poet's function.

  • Plato was familiar with some version of the Orphic theogony, which was used in private ritual purifications and mystery-rites.

  • Images on pottery and religious artwork were interpreted and misinterpreted in diverse myths and tales.

  • The gods of Greek mythology are described as having essentially corporeal but ideal bodies and are not affected by disease.

  • Most gods were associated with specific aspects of life and had a certain area of expertise and a unique personality.

  • The heroic age is known as the time when heroes lived and gods and mortals moved together.

  • The monumental events of Heracles are regarded as the dawn of the age of heroes.

  • The only surviving Hellenistic epic, the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, tells the myth of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

  • In the story of the house of Atreus, the problem of the devolution of power and the mode of accession to sovereignty is central.

  • The Theban Cycle tells the story of Oedipus and his descendants.

  • These myths and tales established family relationships between the heroes and arranged the stories in sequence.

  • The hero becomes the center of local group identity, and the hero cult differs from the cult of gods in this respect.Greek Mythology: A Summary

  • The Theban Cycle is a series of stories about Cadmus, Laius, and Oedipus at Thebes, leading to the war of the Seven against Thebes and the eventual pillage of the city by the Epigoni.

  • The Trojan War cycle starts with events leading up to the war, including the abduction of Helen and the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis. The war is fought between Greece and Troy, and the Greeks eventually win with the help of the Trojan Horse.

  • The Trojan War provided a variety of themes and became a main source of inspiration for Ancient Greek artists.

  • Mythology was at the heart of everyday life in Ancient Greece. Greeks regarded mythology as a part of their history and used it to explain natural phenomena, cultural variations, traditional enmities, and friendships.

  • After the rise of philosophy, history, prose, and rationalism in the late 5th century BC, the fate of myth became uncertain, and mythological genealogies gave place to a conception of history which tried to exclude the supernatural.

  • During the Hellenistic period, mythology took on the prestige of elite knowledge that marks its possessors as belonging to a certain class.

  • Rationalizing hermeneutics of myth became even more popular under the Roman Empire, thanks to the physicalist theories of Stoic and Epicurean philosophy.

  • In Ancient Roman times, a new Roman mythology was born through syncretization of numerous Greek and other foreign gods.

  • The surviving 2nd-century collection of Orphic Hymns and the Saturnalia of Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius are influenced by the theories of rationalism and syncretizing trends.

  • The genesis of modern understanding of Greek mythology is regarded by some scholars as a double reaction at the end of the 18th century against "the traditional attitude of Christian animosity".

  • The development of comparative philology in the 19th century, together with ethnological discoveries in the 20th century, established the science of myth.

  • Since the Romantics, all study of myth has been comparative.

  • Wilhelm Mannhardt, James Frazer, and Stith Thompson employed the comparative approach to collect and classify the themes of folklore.Greek Mythology: Origins, Influences, and Motifs

  • Edward Burnett Tylor's Primitive Culture attempted to explain the origin and evolution of religion using the comparative method.

  • Max Müller applied comparative mythology to the study of myth, detecting the distorted remains of Aryan nature worship.

  • Bronisław Malinowski emphasized the ways myth fulfills common social functions.

  • Claude Lévi-Strauss and other structuralists have compared the formal relations and patterns in myths throughout the world.

  • Sigmund Freud introduced a transhistorical and biological conception of man and a view of myth as an expression of repressed ideas.

  • Carl Jung extended the transhistorical, psychological approach with his theory of the "collective unconscious" and the archetypes.

  • Max Müller attempted to understand an Indo-European religious form by tracing it back to its Indo-European "original" manifestation.

  • Greek mythology is generally seen as having heavy influence of Pre-Greek and Near Eastern cultures.

  • Archaeology and mythography have revealed influence from Asia Minor and the Near East.

  • The widespread adoption of Christianity did not curb the popularity of the myths.

  • With the rediscovery of classical antiquity in the Renaissance, the poetry of Ovid became a major influence on the imagination of poets, dramatists, musicians, and artists.

  • By the end of the 18th century, Romanticism initiated a surge of enthusiasm for all things Greek, including Greek mythology.


How well do you know Greek mythology? Test your knowledge of the gods, heroes, and mythical creatures that make up this ancient genre of folklore. From the Trojan War to the adventures of Heracles, this quiz covers the most famous stories and characters from Greek mythology. Discover the origins and influences of these tales and see how they have impacted Western culture. Whether you're a mythology enthusiast or just looking to learn more about this fascinating subject, this quiz is sure to challenge and entertain.

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