Saturday, September 28, 2013

Introduction to Mythology

Ø      What we call mythology are the stories that remain (zostavia) of the first religions of ancient (staroveký) civilizations. What we know about them come from ancient texts and tablets (pamätná tabuľa) that had to be discovered and decoded by archaeologists.

This tablet from around 1750 BC tells the story of an ancient flood

Ø      The most famous myths come from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, but there are also many from India, Africa, Polynesia, South America, and Scandinavia.

Ø      It’s funny how similar some of these myths are. In explaining creation and families of gods, many myths involve monsters, incest, and vomiting (zvracenie). It makes you wonder (byť zvedavý) what people were like back then.

Ø      Myths were more than just stories, and more than just religion (náboženstvo). In the ancient world, cities fought one another. The strongest cities controlled the small ones and demanded tribute (príspevky, dane). Any city could grow and build an army, hoping to start an empire (riša).

Ø      Every city had a patron god or goddess, and a temple (chrám) dedicated to him or her (svojho boha). Religion united the citizens in each town by answering the questions “How was the world created?” and “Why is life unfair? Why are there catastrophes like floods (záplavy)?” and “Why do kings have the right to rule (vládnuť)?”

Ø      By answering these questions, people:

1.      Knew which gods were true (theirs) and which were false (everyone else’s). They also knew how the world started, and where they came from.

2.      Understood the gods and why they did such terrible things. People believed that they could avoid (vyvarovať sa) disaster and suffering (utrpenie) by pleasing their gods with sacrifices (obeta) and prayer (modlitba).

3.      Understood why their struggle (snaha) was so important––that their city had to conquer (premôcť) all the others so that the true king of the one true religion would endure (vytrvať) and spread out around the world. It’s an idea that we still see today in the world.

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