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Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

ANCIENT GREEK CULTURE

[From: Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]

Supernatural Beings - Arachne - Argus - Centaurs - Calydonian Boar - Cerberus - Charon - Charybdis - Chimaera - Cyclopes - Echidna - Giants - Golden Fleece - Graiae - Hydra of Lerna - Grypes - Hypnos - Pallas - Pegasus - Scylla - Sirens - Sphinx - Stymphalian Birds - Talos - Typhon

Supernatural Beings
in Greek Mythology

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Greek mythology, a subject of centuries of development, as witnessed by the diverse forms which the gods and heroes have assumed on account of the increasing number of attributes given them by their worshippers, abounds with remarkable beings and monsters. These beings and monsters often played a primary role either in the worship of the god or hero, or served as essential appendages to the deity or hero, or were created in order to be subdued or destroyed by them so as to enhance their divinity even more. Contemporary scholars of Greek mythology have striven in many instances to provide some kind of justification or explanation for the existence of these awful and at the same time marvelous beings, interpreting in an ingenuous way their activities, the harm or the miraculous deeds brought about by them or which were generated by themselves. In the list of monstrous and wondrous supernatural beings that follows, an attempt will be made wherever this is feasible to explain the reason behind the myth. At all events, one must never forget even for a moment that the ancient Greeks with their remarkably lucid insight and their highly refined culture clothed these figures within the haze of myth and the supernatural, allowing their imaginations and phantasy to create or to alter legends which they had inherited from time immemorial by word of mouth until the moment they began to record them in later centuries when they gave them their final form. A good example of continuous accretions to a legend is that of Heracles and his labours, heroic feats that are associated with people of one age, and which go back many centuries in time, for even the gods had called upon him for help in their battle with the Giants. Was it possible that the ancient Greeks did not distinguish one age from another when they placed the battle of the Giants at the same period when the eponymous kings of the cities of Greece lived? Undoubtedly they were aware of the discrepancy in the chronology. But the help given by Heracles to the gods was [p. 81] indicative of the fact that the ancient Greeks looked upon their ancestors as supermen who combined magnanimity and good-naturedness and kindness with cruelty and evil. What could therefore be more important, more beautiful and more remarkable than the fact that man helped the gods who had need of him. And what is more beautiful and more admirable than that man with the help of the gods was able to crush the monsters that had been created in most instances by the forces inimical to the gods which forces envied their splendour and power. [pp. 81-82]

[Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]




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