Chapter

Myths and Symbols

Peter Green

in The Shadow of the Parthenon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520255074
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934719 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520255074.003.0004
Myths and Symbols

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This chapter examines Thomas Mann's definition of myth as the foundation of life, a timeless pattern, and the religious formula to which life shapes itself, and opines that the statement alone is enough to show how radical a change the general attitude to myths and mythology has undergone during the past half-century. It notes that myth represented an early, pre-logical mode of human thought, which, as Professor Grimal once remarked, “saw the world as a stage for a dramatic conflict between capricious wills—to study myths, it was believed, was to review the errors and follies of man”. The chapter also explores Euhemerism and its fallacy, which assumes its own universal applicability, and notes that both Euhemerists and symbolists tend to be bedevilled by their own intellectual sophistication, and to project it on to the society they are studying.

Keywords: Thomas Mann; myth; life; mythology; human thought; Professor Grimal; Euhemerism; symbolists

Chapter.  9128 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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