From the Industry to the English Language; from Biology to the New World, the nouns such as Odysseus, Athene, Polis, Pan, Pegasus, Hector, Jason, Poseidon, Achilles, and Apollo have possessed human imagination and have made the best portrayal of their Historical/Mythological counterparts; having made a substantial impact on the Industrial and even the Information age, they have also made a sound impression of their Godly and Heroic traits which were perceived by our ancestors. Albeit, such stories have mesmerised humans for thousands of years. I feel that the stories, that have been told and retold from generation to generation until about 700BCE (Sure, there are recorded clay tablets dating at least 1300 years prior to 700BC; The Sumerian/Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh, and The Egyptian Hieroglyphs), when they were finally documented in the Linear B script(one of the oldest scripts; 1500 years prior to the birth of Christ)by Homer or one of his contemporaries, were more than mere Myth or Fiction and also marked the beginning of Western literature. The Ancients, as we are wont to call them, had an influenced, if not innate, understanding of the forces of Nature. Besides, a constant need for expansion and survival resulted in the mingling with other contemporary and proliferating civilisations such as the Indus, Chinese, Mesopotamian, Hittite, and the Egyptian. The story of castration of Uranus in Greek Mythology and Hittite Myth of Kumarbi have striking similarities which prove that our ancestors had shared opinions on Gods and their doings. However ancient they might be, these Archaic Gods still hold a good piece of land amongst the Monotheistic Pantheon.
Of all the Gods of the Argives, the names that have reverberated throughout history until this very day are that of the Olympians. After all, a God was a metaphor representing a human emotion in antiquity; Poseidon for Wrath; Nike for Victory; Zeus for Lust; Hades for Despair, Styx for Hate, so on and so forth. They are still, to this day, used to represent similar meaning in their respective fields if not the exact same; Coincidental? I think not! They have always been a pigment of Human imagination but based on a few real events of course.
The early Phoenicians, from whom the Greek Myths are said to have been originated, were the only survivors of the onslaught of the so-called Sea People who decimated most of the ancient Civilisations. The Minoans of Crete, The Mycenaeans of mainland Greece, The Hittites of Anatolia, The Canaanic Kingdoms, even the royal Kingdoms of the Pharoahs fell at around 1200BCE. The sea people went pillaging and colonising the Eastern Mediterranean; influencing and profoundly spreading the Pagan religion in and around the Mediterranean. The time of the Trojan war, some say. The Iliad, though regarded as a legend for centuries, is now thought to be based on actual events that occurred during the late Bronze age (around the same time as the onslaught is believed to have befallen). The alleged Legend also speaks about the Gods taking sides, helping men of their favoured belligerent which might have been the wrath of Nature at the time of the War personified. Achilles‘ anger, Hector’s bravery, Odysseus‘ craft, Ajax’s strength, Idomeneus‘ steadfastness; the Famed Hero, Odysseus who, after his exemplary cunningness at Troy, spends 10 years at sea yearning to reach Ithica, his Kingdom; craving to see his wife, Penelope, who faithfully awaits her husband for 10 long years amidst the wicked suitors who desperately try to usurp the Kingdom of Ithica in the absence of Odysseus, and his son, Telemachus, whose impeccable faith on his father is unmatched. His return voyage that is centred around Lust, Guile, Love, Wrath, Longing makes the Odyssey a true Epic thereby coining the word Odyssey in the English Language. The true essence of this tale is not in the truthfulness of tale itself but in the way it is presented. The Epic speaks about qualities that we, as Humans, lack.
Though the art of writing was invented early, it was in an extremely primitive form to record the intricate occurrences around; Sumerian Cuneiform-Harappan scripts with their wedge-shaped letters from the 3500 BCE, Egyptian Hieroglyphs predating the Akkadians and the Sumerians by 500 years, and the Minoan Linear A script from 2500 BCE have similar stories but inefficiently recorded based on even older historical shreds of evidence and oral traditions. Our Ancestors were misinformed in many ways of which ineffective oral communication of actual events through the ages eventually converted History to Myths and Legends. By the time writing was popularised, the historicity of the events was all but lost.
The Monotheistic Cults of late, started assimilating the practices of their older Pagan counterparts and thereby spreading their own beliefs throughout the known world; even crossing the Atlantic.
The Gods, remember them not because they were divine but because they were our Ancestors’ fundamental way of explaining the forces of Nature and the flaws of Mankind, on explaining the dominion of Order over Chaos; Good over Evil, so to say. After all, the Pantheon was not flawless. They were bound to err as most humans do; that was the very nature of their Gods, unlike many other faiths; there were feuds within the Olympian family and the greed for dominion and power that haunts every Man and God alike.
The legends are but exaggerations of true events that we have failed to see. Perhaps there is some reality which is shrouded in occult beliefs. After all, we must never underestimate the Legends of yore, they were never deprived of actuality. In the end, it is only a matter of what you believe and what you do not.
– Immortal Chiron