Greek vs. Roman Mythology (Essay Sample)

Greek vs. Roman Mythology

Myths refer to a body of a culture comprising of narratives of historical thoughts explaining the diverse cultural practices upheld by various groups of people or natural phenomenon the people experienced, as well as, the magic in the world they observe. Robert Graves, a poet, noted that myths fulfill the functions of sorting out unexplainable circumstances in the universe such as where do souls go after death, and justifying the social organization of a group, their conducts, and customs. The Roman and Greek mythologies are bodies of stories and teachings about their gods, heroes, origin, and religions, myths throughout generations. The two mythologies have always been confused with each other. However, their numerous differences define their cultures making them unique.

Their origin defines distinct foundation. Greek mythology traces its origin from seven hundred years ago, before the development of the Roman Empire and following the publishing of the iliad book. The book, comprising of twenty-four poems feature Achilles as the leading character, a hero who enjoys immortality but also experiences torture in wars that he detests. The Roman mythology came into existence 1000 years later of the Ancient Greek. The mythology aligns its identity with the book Aeneid containing twelve long poems about a Trojan man’s journey to Rome. The book’s hero comes across as a typical demigod who sets on a mission to accomplish his destiny.

Different myths define the two mythologies. The central myth of the Greek mythology is about a Minotaur. According to the myth story, the then king of Crete known as Minos and his cursed wife delivered a child who was partially male and partially bull and named him Minotaur. The king reared Minotaur in his residence and had a giant labyrinth built to secure him. Every year the king sent seven men and women to their deaths as food to Minotaur, and after continually practicing this for several years, a young man named Theseus offered to save the kingdom by killing Minotaur. In the process, he developed feelings for the king’s daughter Ariadne who aided him to kill Minotaur successfully. However, as they sailed the sea together back home to Athens, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the way. Contrary, Roman’s mythology foundation is a story of twin boys named Remus and Romulus whose parents were Mars, Roman’s god of war and a woman named Rhea Silva. Due to the action of Rhea’s brother killing their father, she feared for her sons and therefore abandoned them at River Timer in a basket. Lupa, a she-wolf found them and choose to raise them as hers. However, a herder took them and raised them as his children. When they became of age, they set on a course of building a city at the river where Lupa rescued them. Nevertheless, they got into an argument leading to Romulus killing Remus and consequently becoming the ruler of the present day Rome city.

The nature of gods is different in the two mythologies. In the Greek mythology, the adoption of gods and goddesses was out of the need to explain their creation. The Greek-based the existence of these supernatural powers on features of love, honor, hate, dignity, and roles in life, which determined what each god signified. These gods included Poseidon, god of the sea, Hades, the deity of the dead, Artemis, the deity of hunt and moon, Ares, the deity of war, Eros god of love, and Apollo, the god of Sun among others. The Romans founded their beliefs on gods whose appearance was subject to an individual’s imagination named after objects. For instance, Neptune the deity of the Sea, Pluto the god of the dead, Diana the goddess of hunt and moon, Venus the deity of love, Cupid, the deity of love and Mars the god of war.

The two mythologies differed in their belief systems. The Greek mythology placed immense importance in the physical life of their gods and goddesses and the actions they conducted while on earth. The gods who undertook individualistic measures aimed at advancing the society by utilizing creativity as expressed in poems to make life better. According to them, ensuring the community succeeded was their essential role. Additionally, by putting more importance and belief in the physical presence, mortals became crucial to the mythology. Thus, the gods exerted vast efforts in transforming their societies, as they did not believe in an afterlife. Contrary, the Roman mythology founded their myths on bravery and heroic deeds of the gods. Their collective ability to taking actions gave them a wide array of aspects of life to improve such as winning battles and making their cities safe guided by the warrior in the Aeneid book. Also, they emphasized more on the work of gods other than the mortals due to a belief in an afterlife.

Overall, the Greek and Roman mythologies are the religions of the ancient Greek and Romans that focused on how religion defined their worlds and the impact of gods on their cities. The two mythologies differ in their origin, the myths that represent their beliefs, the nature of their gods and in their belief systems. Nevertheless, their differences impose diverse ways of telling stories and affirming their convictions, enabling these myths to live on to future generations.

related articles