"Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them...." - Albert Camus
Greek Mythology, subjective and uninhibited yet curiously fair and balanced
When confronted with the subject of Greek mythology, many people immediately decide how much they loath it and how completely useless it is to study. Why bother with such boring and contrived topics? I have been reading it since I was ten years old, and it never ceases to entertain and educate me. Those who despise it neither read it nor do they really comprehend it. If one was to begin to understand just how fascinating all the stories and personalities are, Greek mythology would have a lot more appeal by its own merits and not from those useless syndicated TV shows. (Which, I apologetically admit, are rather amusing to watch, if only to filter out all the historical errors and ridiculous plots that totally wander from verity.) Greek mythology has a lot more signifcance other than giving grade B actresses a chance to flaunt their bulimic bods.
Much of etymology, terminology, names, and common phrases can be derived from Greek mythology. For example, I could tantalize you by promising to show Hercules's sculpted body, but prolong this introduction and never make good on it (and I won't). The word "tantalize" is correlated to the myth of Tantalus, who was bound in the underworld to be perpetually starved and thirsty though a tree of fruit and stream of water was in his sight. An Achilles's heel is a term for a person's weak spot and is is based upon the hero who was dipped in the river that granted immortality;
however, he was left vulnerable in the area he was held in: his heel. Phobos and Deimos, satellites of the planet Mars, were actually sons of the war god Ares (Mars is just the Latin version of Ares). In fact, many science and psychological terms are derived from or based upon Greek mythology. Many elements in the periodic table (hydrogen, helium, selenium, niobium...) come from characters associated with myth [see my Myth in Language section]. And while there are infinite examples of the Greeks' contribution to language, they are just too innumerable to list.
My attempt here, however feeble it may be, is to familiarize you with Greek mythology and hopefully have your curiosity aroused enough to check out myths yourself—whether it be Greek or not. As you will discover, mythology is chock full of captivating stories and personalities—and is a lot more sexy and violent than much of what we witness today. But I hope that is not why you pick up an interest in it. You may be amazed how educational it really is, and how many roots of names, terms and expressions you will recognize. I will not always simply regurgitate the basic storylines [you can get those anywhere] but delve further into lesser-known tales and the etymological meaning and societal elements of myths [mixed with my own subjective, somewhat disturbed opinions]. Hopefully, you will find mythology just as engaging as I do.