Legendary special effects artist Ray Harryhausen discusses his Pegasus design for Clash of the Titans.

Legendary special effects artist Ray Harryhausen discusses his Pegasus design for Clash of the Titans.

S+ Stimulant: Greek Myths

 

The oldest known Greek mythology dates back to around 1250 BCE, marked by Homer’s famous epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. Those poems, like many other Greek myths, have hugely influenced artists and philosophers all around the world, and continue to do so to this day. These myths have directly inspired a myriad of works across the entire spectrum of arts, including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and, more recently, a number of Hollywood blockbusters such as Hercules, Helen of Troy, and Jason and the Argonauts.

But how can such ancient stories still appeal to us over 3000 years later when even some pieces of work from the 20th Century already seem antiquated to some audiences?

The answer is that the ancient Greek storytellers were masters of spinning the timeless yarn. Admittedly, storytelling has changed and modern works have intentionally been written to suit the contemporary epoch; however, Greek myths continue to be adaptable and relevant to this day. The tales strike a fine balance of being entertaining, intriguing, and potent with messages and advice whilst also not being didactic or preachy.

Not only that, but Greek myths have a broad reach, appealing to children, seasoned literary types, and those who rarely read. Perhaps you remember having an illustrated book of myths when you were younger; maybe it’s been years since you’ve acquainted yourself with the twelve labours of Herakles or the tragic tale of Icarus and Daedalus; either way, they’re great ways to inspire the imagination and fall back in love with stories.

 

S+ Suggested reading: Myths and Folktales Around the World by Robert R. Potter

 

Published: October 28th, 2014

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