Mythology 101
A Guide to Greek and Roman Myths
What is Mythology?
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Long ago, people had a hard time explaining what
was happening around them.
There were no scientists or teachers to explain
why things happened - like why we have 4
seasons, for example.
They made up their own stories to explain why
and how things worked.
These stories are called MYTHS.
What is a Myth?
• Setting is Ancient Greece or another world such as
the underworld or heavens.
• Has god/goddesses with superpowers, heroic or
godly abilities.
• Out of the ordinary events or heroic deeds.
• Purposes include:
to teach a lesson
explain how something came to be
What is the difference between a
myth and a tall tale/folktale?
A tall tale is a story that has these features:
• A larger-than-life, or superhuman, main character with a specific
job.
• A problem that is solved in a funny way.
• Exaggerated details that describe things as greater than they really
are.
• Characters who use everyday language.
• Animated Tall Tales
• Read about these tall tales: Paul Bunyan,
Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill
What is the difference between a
myth and a fairy tale?
• A fairy tale is a story featuring folkloric
characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls,
giants, and others. These stories often involve
princes and princesses, and usually have a happy
ending. Usually fairy tales start with “Once upon
a time..”
• How many fairy tales have you read? Can you
name 3?
• Click here for examples: Fairy Tales for children
or Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson.
What is the difference between a
myth and a legend?
• Legends are set in the present or recent past.
Legends are supposedly true and are used to
scare, teach, inform, or entertain. Legends are
stories that are handed down through
generations- usually by word of mouth.
Examples: Legend of King Arthur and the
Knight’s of the Round Table, Robin Hood,
• Legend Website
What is the difference between a
myth and a fable?
Just what is a fable, you ask?
Well, a fable is a kind of story that:
• has animal characters that are smart, foolish, sly, or
clever
• has a character that plays tricks on other characters
• has a character that makes a bad decision
• has a moral or a lesson learned
• is short, sweet and to the point
• Click here to read some of Aesop’s fables.
• Click here to watch some animated versions of
Aesop’s fables.
• Fable Webquest
Myth, fable, fairy tale, tall tale or
legend? The story of The Milky Way
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Chinese
The seventh Princess of Heaven fell in love with a poor herdsman and ran away to marry him. When her
mother sent soldiers to bring her home, the herdsman chased them away. Seeing her daughter’s husband
running, the mother dropped a silver pin to make a silver stream to separate the lovers forever.
Eventually, her father allowed her to have an annual reunion with her husband — black birds escorted
her across the stream. The Milky Way is that silver stream. The young lovers are the stars Vega and Altair
on either side of it.
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Navajo
When the world was created, the people gathered around Black God to place stars in the sky. Coyote was
frustrated by how long it was taking. He threw the bag of stars over his head, forming the Milky Way.
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Egyptian
The goddess Isis spread large quantities of wheat across the sky. We see this bounty as the Milky Way.
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African Bushmen
The Milky Way is made of the ashes of campfires.
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Polynesian
The Milky Way is a long, blue, cloud-eating shark.
They are ALL MYTHS
• Mainly because they all explain how something
came to be.
Main Greek Myths
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Narcissus
Prometheus
Pandora
Adonis and Aphrodite
Apollo
*Read in pairs and summarize in comic strip style!
See examples:
http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/english/englis
hcart.htm
The Principal Gods
• Cronos and Rhea were parents
of
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Zeus (Jupiter, Jove)
Poseidon (Neptune)
Hades (Pluto)
Hera (Juno)
Hestia (Vesta)
Demeter (Ceres)
• Other Olympians include
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Athena (Minerva)
Ares (Mars)
Hebe (Juventas)
Hephaestus (Vulcan)
Apollo (Apollo)
Artemis (Diana)
Hermes (Mercury)
Aphrodite (Venus)
Dionysus (Bacchus)
Persephone
The Olympians
Zeus
• Roman Name: Jupiter
(also Jove)
• Supreme god of the
Olympians.
• Fathered many
characters in
mythology
ZEUS: King of the gods and the sky
Roman name:
Jupiter
Symbol:
Thunder bolts
Interesting Facts about Zeus
He and his siblings fought to gain control of
the universe from the Titans and Cronus
(his father)
He and his brothers (Poseidon and Hades)
divided up creation with Zeus receiving the
sky as his domain. He was also accorded
supreme authority on earth and on Mount
Olympus.
Zeus
Hera
• Roman Name:
Juno
• Zeus’s sister and
wife
• Jealous protector
of marriage
• Punished the
women Zeus fell in
love with
HERA: Queen of the gods
• Wife of Zeus
• Roman Name: Juno
• Symbol: Golden
Crown
Interesting Fact: Hera hated the great
hero
Heracles since he was the son of her
husband Zeus and a mortal woman. When
he was still an infant, she sent snakes to
attack him in his crib.
• Hera was worshipped throughout Greece,
and the oldest and most important temples
were dedicated to her.
Poseidon
• Roman Name:
Neptune
• God of the Seas and
Waters
• “The Earthshaker”
Poseidon: god of the oceans
• Zeus’ brother
• Roman Name:
Neptune
• Symbol: Trident
• As the god of horses, he would often adopt
the shape of horse.
Interesting fact: When the Olympians
gained control of the universe, they agreed
that the earth would be ruled jointly, with
Zeus as king. This led to a number of
territorial disputes among the
gods. Poseidon vied to be the ruler of
Athens. He demonstrated his power by
striking the Acropolis with his three-pronged
spear, which caused a spring of salt water to
emerge.
Hades
• Roman Name:
Pluto
• God of the
Underworld/
Dead
• Kidnapped
Persephone
HADES: god of the underworld
• Brother of Zeus and
Poseidon
• Roman Name: Pluto
• Symbol: Invisible
Helmet
Hestia
• Roman Name:
Vesta
• Goddess of
Home
• Powerful
Protector
HESTA: goddess of home and hearth
• Zeus’ virgin sister
• Roman Name: Vesta
• Symbol: Sacred
Fire
APHRODITE: goddess of Beauty and
Love
• Daughter of Zeus
• Roman Name: Venus
• Symbol: Roses and
Doves
Demeter
• Roman Name:
Ceres
• Goddess of the
Harvest
• A Goddess of
the Earth
DEMETER: goddess of grain and harvest
• Responsible for the
creation of seasons
• Also known for
fertility
• Roman Name: Ceres
• Symbol: Rake
Athena
• Roman Name:
Minerva
• Goddess of
Wisdom and
War
• Sprang from
Zeus’s head
ATHENA: goddess of wisdom and law
• Daughter of Zeus
• Roman Name:
Minerva
• Symbol: Armor and
an Owl
Ares
• Roman Name:
Mars
• God of War
• Son of Zeus and
Hera
• Bloodthirsty and
merciless
ARES: god of War
• Son of Zeus and
Hera
• Roman Name: Mars
• Symbol: Sword and
Spear
Hephaestus
• Roman Name:
Vulcan
(Mulciber)
• God of
Fire/Forge
• Son of Zeus and
Hera
• Kind, unlike his
brother
• Limped
HEPHAESTUS: god of fire and
forge
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Son of Hera
Fatherless
Roman Name: Vulcan
Symbol: Anvil and Hammer
Apollo
• Roman Name:
Apollo
• God of
Light/Sun and
Music
• Brother of
Artemis
APOLLO: god of the sun
• Son of Zeus, twin brother of Artemis
• Roman Name: Apollo
• Symbol: Golden Chariot and Harp
Artemis
• Roman Name:
Diana
• Goddess of the
Moon/ Hunt
• Sister to Apollo
ARTEMIS: goddess of the hunt and moon
• Daughter of Zeus
and twin sister of
Apollo
• Roman Name: Diana
• Symbol: Silver bow
and arrow
Hermes
• Roman Name:
Mercury
• Messenger of
the Gods
• Appears in more
myths than any
other character
HERMES: Messenger of the gods
• Son of Zeus
• Responsible for guiding
souls to the underworld
• Roman Name: Mercury
• Symbol: Winged
Sandals
Dionysus
• Roman Name:
Bacchus
• God of Wine
• Patron god of the
Greek stage
• A God of the
Earth
Persephone
• Roman Name:
Proserpina
• Goddess of the
Underworld
• Daughter of Zeus
and Demeter
• Abducted by
Hades
Hebe
• Roman Name:
Juventas
• Goddess of Youth
• Cupbearer to the
Gods
• Restored youth to
the aged
Eros
• Roman Name:
Cupid
• Young God of
Love
• Son of Aphrodite
and Hephaestus
Iris
• Goddess of the
Rainbow
• Messenger for
Zeus and Hera
• Daughter of the
titan Thaumus
and the nymph
Electra
Common Themes in Mythology
• Trickery (Trickster=coyote)
Sources
• Graphics in this presentation were taken from
the following web sites:
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http://www.bulfinch.org/fables/search.html
http://www.pantheon.org/
http://www.messagenet.com/myths/
http://mythman.com/
http://web.uvic.ca/grs/bowman/myth/index.html
http://www.paleothea.com/
http://www.entrenet.com/%7Egroedmed/greekm/myth.html
http://classroom.springisd.org/webs/crystalc/upload/greekgodsandgod
desses.pdf
• This presentation is for educational purposes only; it has not been and should not be
sold or used as a vehicle to make money.
http://classroom.springisd.org/webs/cryst
alc/upload/greekgodsandgoddesses.pdf
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