Greek mythology sounds boring when you first hear of it. You start thinking fearsome dragons, huge monsters, incredible heroes and unimaginable deities. Well, you’re not wrong, but there’s much more to Greek Mythology than what meets the eyes. (or Eye in case of a Cyclops! ie. The one eyed monster)
Well, I never really bothered about Greek Mythology too! (Well, Harry Potter is engaging but Percy Jackson! Ugh! Let’s just save the drama.) But when I started seeing Greek references everywhere, in my favorite books, in TV show dialogues, and other random places, I finally decided to check out what all the fuss is about!
And what I discovered was just mind blowing!
(I’ll give you a hint; I’m reading Percy Jackson!)
So here are 3 reasons to start reading Greek Mythology:
1. It’s full of DRAMA!
Yes, what they say is true! Greek mythology has more drama than all Ekta Kapoor serials combined! It is full of surprises and twists and turns. Well, what else can you expect with dragons, monsters and vengeful gods? From Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey to Zeus’s “adventures” (I won’t elaborate though I want to) Greek Myths are no lesser than a thriller novel. They are full of tragedy, romance, suspense, horror, drama, betrayal, murder, revenge and what not! You name it and it’s right there. That makes Greek mythology livelier than most subjects. While I was reading it, there was never a dull moment in the entire course. I almost wished I had it as a school subject (But be careful what you wish for, as writing a test on the Greeks, let alone remembering the thousand names of deities, mortals and heroes is definitely not a cakewalk!)
So, reason no. 1 MASALA!
2. It makes you sound smart
Duh! This is a no brainer!
Greek mythology enriches your brain and makes it fertile so that you can explore deeper realms of the world. Or whatever! (wink!)
Everyone likes a smartie! And I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to sound smart amongst your friends and colleagues. While they are still discussing the latest football match or the recent eviction on Big Boss, you’ll be giving Greek references! When you swoop in with your smart retorts, you’ll carve a niche for yourself and impress everyone, be it your boss, your teacher or your pretty neighbor.
Ex. If you face a tough task
“Wow! That’s as complex as the Minotaur’s labyrinth”
Quick lesson: Minotaur was a large monster, half man- half bull. So he was kept in a very large maze with complex routes to keep him from killing people. His ‘food’ would be sent to him regularly until the hero Theseus killed him and put an end to it.
3. “You’re as desperate as Calypso”
Calypso was a goddess who fell in love with Odysseyus, a mortal hero when he came to her island. The catch? Odysseyus was happily married and had no intention of getting involved with a goddess in spite of her several advances. So to persuade him, Calypso trapped him on her island for 7 years! But of course, that didn’t work and she had to let him go unwillingly.
4. ‘As vengeful as Hera’
Hera was a prominent Greek goddess, the wife of Zeus.( I’m not going to tell you who Zeus is! Go, Google it) Zeus wasn’t exactly a faithful husband so he had several affairs. (And by several, I mean SEVERAL!) Zeus was the king supreme of gods, so Hera couldn’t exactly do anything to him, so she instead took her revenge on his girlfriends. And that went from preventing them from giving birth to making them into cows and monsters to intentionally incinerating them! That is how vengeful Hera can get!
5. ‘As cunning as Hermes’
Hermes was Zeus’s son (But not Hera’s; Bad Zeus!) He was the messenger of the Gods and a well known prankster. He stole Apollo’s cattle when he was just a baby and did a lot of other crazy stuff like killing a 100 eyed monster etc. But he was very cunning and tricky. He was like the ‘Google’ of the Greek era as he had information about every person in the kingdom. And the solution to most problems too! But he only helped the people he liked and always took something in return. That is Hermes for you!
6. It really does expand your horizons
Greek mythological stories take you to different lands. There, you meet new and different people and you learn new things. It is just an amazing experience. It’s like slipping into someone else’s shoes and seeing the world. The immense knowledge that you get access to, is a wonderful treasure. It’s up to you to believe it; whether you think it is true or false. But the world is enganging and vivid.
I learnt Greek mythology for free by doing a course on an app called ‘Coursera’. It’s a really cool app that provides free lectures on courses you are interested in. It also gives you a professional certificate on course completion if you want it for interviews! How cool is that!
Thanks to this new generation of technology, the books you need are just a few clicks away from you. All important books are freely available online in pdf forms. Or you can get them from the book store. You can either refer to the great originals of Homer or get their really easy to comprehend translations.Your choice! (A perk of learning stuff on your own. Who’s the boss? You are!)
My Personal reading recommendations
The Odyssey by Homer (translated by Samuel Butler)
The Illiad by Homer (translated by Samuel Butler)
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Also, there are a large number of YouTube channels to get you going.
TV shows and Movies
I’ll give you a concise list of shows I recommend but you can find more online.
(But don’t depend on movies or TV shows for accuracy.)
Troy: Fall of a City
Based on the Trojan War that lasted for ten years between the Trojans and the Greeks
Percy Jackson Movies