Classical Greek Mythology

What Do We Mean By Classical Greece As Opposed to Mycenaean or Archaic Greece?

Who compiled or augmented the Greek myths during the Classical period?

As noted above, the Homeric epics, Hesiod’s works, and the Homeric Hymns were standardized from the sixth century B.C.E. There were poets such as Pindar, who, in the transition between the Archaic and Classical ages, somewhat revised the Homeric and Hesiodic versions of the gods as sometimes selfish, fickle, and arbitrary. In some of his odes, Pindar is much more respectful of the gods, seeing them as concerned with human welfare. The poets who added most significantly to the body of Greek mythology as it has come down to us were the great dramatists. In the third century B.C.E. a major contribution was made by Apollonius of Rhodes in his epic, Argonautica, about the hero Jason’s quest for the golden fleece. There were several collators of Greek mythology after the Classical age, the most important of whom were Apollodorus of Athens (180–120 B.C.E.), whose Bibliotheca (The Library), much of which was actually written by a later author, contains complete versions of many of the myths, and the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, better known as Ovid (43 B.C.E.–c. 17 C.E.), whose Metamorphoses remains a popular sourcebook for myths which, though greatly embellished, were originally Greek.


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