Our word “myth” is derived originally from the Greek root sound mµ, suggesting a sound made by the mouth. The concept of that sound became, in Greek, mythos, or “word.” Eventually, in the epic poet Homer’s time, mythos became the stylistic arrangement of words as story. Later, the philosopher Plato saw mythos as a metaphorical tale to explain realities beyond the reach of human knowledge, and still later Aristotle equated the term with “plot,” the significant arrangement of events that was the most important element of Greek tragedy.
A copy of a second-century B.C.E. Roman bust of the poet Homer.