“Imagination is more important than knowledge”
Meaning Of Mythology
From the greek words “mythos” (= an ancient story of unknown origin) and “–logos” (=word of), the term “mythology” is used to describe the collection, the “corpus” of myths, where the science of mythology deals with the study of the mythological material, which is essential in order to approach and basically understand the nature and the course of human civilization, both spiritual and material.
Myths are stories of unknown origin that pass from generation to generation, through the centuries, caring information concerning the creation of the world, the lives and acts of gods, heroes, kings, queens and mythical beings.
But a myth is not a fairytale or a folklore story. It doesn’t take place in an indeterminate space and time, it didn’t happen “once upon a time in a far away land…”, nor it ends with “…happily ever after”. Mythology begins with the creation of the world and mythical battles of gods in a vague and vast past, but as it continues it starts to take place in a more defined space and time, concerned with specific persons and places – for example in Greek Mythology, Odysseus (Ulysses) is the king of the greek island Ithaca, he has a specific genealogy, he lives at the time of the Trozian War, which appears to be happening one generation after the Argonautic expedition for the Golden Fleece and approximately a hundred years before the Dorians’ descend in Greece. Myths have completeness, which means that they have beginning, middle and end. At their majority they are connected between them, with continuity and coherence, constituting parts of wider mythical cycles, which are also connected between them, thus constituting the “corpus” of mythology itself.
A myth is not a bed-time story to get us to sleep. On the contrary, a myth is a story to keep awake the memory of our past. Since myths don’t state historical facts, they don’t need to be proven, because a myth by nature – like religion and faith – is self-proved by its own existence.
So as the begging of history is lost in a vague past and long before the first forms of historical records appear, people used myths in order to describe, explain and understand the nature of the world around them, to keep alive the memory of their history as they perceived it, using images and symbols when it could not be expressed differently. The course of human thinking, stories, cults and religions, beliefs, traditions and customs, were able to hold in time, evolve and survive, leaving us a priceless heritage of knowledge about the childhood of human history and thus the origins of civilization, in its purest form: through the imaginative power of a myth.
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Author: Tessy Parker