The beginning of Greek mythology
In the beginning, before the written word, Greek myths were told by mouth, or story-telling. The myths are generally believed to have been acquired during the Mycenaean age being transmitted by poets and minstrels. Following mythical chronology it may be said that the Greek historical legends extend from 1900 BC to 1000 BC.
Around 700 BC, the myths enter the literate era with the works of Homer and Hesiod, flourishing for a few centuries after them through the works of poets and dramatists. By the end of the Roman times, from the 4th century to the 6th century AD, literary works were still being created. In addition to the poets the myths were also told, collected or commented by historians and compilers.
The work of mythographers continued during the Middle Ages, but about two hundred years before the collapse of Rome the myths went through the historical accident of being banished. The persecution against the myths that were associated with the Olympian religion may be traced back at least to the activities of the Roman citizen St. Paul, who in Ephesus promoted or was involved in the notorious ritual of the burning of the books.
In the west, however, the decadence of education followed the barbarian irruption, and by the 7th century AD, the cultural tradition had collapsed. But neither cultural tradition nor the worshipping of the Olympian gods ever disappeared completely, as it has been recorded in France of the 12th century.
Last modified: 11/26/04