You might be wondering, is Greek Mythology really relevant today? Well, in order to fully understand just how relevant it is, you first need to understand Greek mythology. Mythology is important for the understanding of history, art, and literature. Science, philosophy, psychology, astronomy, and many other topics were heavily influenced by Greek myth. This is one of the many reasons Greek mythology, and mythology in general, should be a part of the general education curriculum in schools.
Just look up into the night sky and each constellation tells a story from Greek mythology. Look at almost any painting from the Renaissance and you will see aspects of Greek and Roman myth. To fully understand most classic literature, like any of Shakespeare’s works, you need to have a basic understanding of Greek myth. Even psychological theories have been based on Greek mythology; for instance, Sigmund Freud used the myth of Oedipus to help explain his theories of psychosexual development.
Greek mythology has shaped cultures, traditions, and history. In order to fully understand democracy and forms of government, you need to know the history behind it. There is a myth about a man named Lycurgus who was given the Great Rhetra by the oracle Delphi. The Great Rhetra is the Spartan constitution that gave most of the power to the people. This document was the first of its kind in the Western world and was the first step towards modern democracy. The Greeks even informed Western and Eastern cultures and their relationship today; for instance, the Persian Wars changed how the Western world viewed the East, and understanding this background is essential.
Myths don’t just inform the way we study certain topics, but they also give us insight into the human condition. Emotions such as grief, love, anger, lust, pride, and jealousy are all themes throughout Greek myth and most Greek heroes wrestle with these emotions. Reading about these mythological characters can give students guidance and assurance when dealing with their own emotions.
Learning Greek mythology in the school setting would help students better understand their emotions, the context for modern society, and the background for most modern structures, systems, and beliefs.