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The Greek and Roman Myth: A Guide to the Classical Stories is a book written by R. Matyszak. It outlines a blend of narratives, facts and citations from ancient Greek and Roman authors and interprets the ancient narrations and myths in accordance with the modern context. It also discusses the afterlives of the myths and the reliability of their messages. The author has also included fact files on heroines and heroes and family trees of the gods. Matyszak has done a remarkable job in trying to explain the relationship between ancient myths and the history of ancient gods and modern ways of living. He explains the interaction that the Romans and the Greeks had with their gods as a way of explaining the natural and supernatural forces around them. The relationship defined the ancient ways of living hence determining peace time and war time. The author uses specific themes to transmit his message about the content of ancient stories and myths to the modern society. The paper will conduct a critical analysis on Matyszak’s book to assist in better understanding of its content.
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In the book, Matyszak’s intends to give his readers an easy way of comprehending the ancient myths and stories and assist them to understand how they are used in modern life. It is evident that the gods, goddesses, titans and other heroes existed many years in history before the construction of the modern schooling system (North 4-5). However, they have a great influence on people’s day-to-day live. For instance, astronomers today navigate the constellations searching for the heavens utilizing names like Leo, Aries, and Cassiopeia. Another example is that most of the planets are named after the Roman gods. Companies that offer internet services such as Delphi and Juno have copied their names from ancient Roman gods. Continents and the names that we call the days of the week are not exception. The stories behind their names are fascinating and lay a colorful dynamics upon the nomencature and thus cannot be taken for granted. The author uses these examples to outline the impact that Greek and Roman myths have in the modern context. Many people assume that they are just myths that never existed. Nevertheless, from the writer’s point of view, the stories and myths have a great importance, and this is the reason that different names from the myths are used to mark important features of life today, such as the days of the week. Scholars in the past used the names of the gods to name important events as a way of marking the importance of these myths to future generations (Matyszak 224).
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The Romans and the Greeks believed that their gods are more essential in nature than within themselves. Matyszak offers a host of snapshots explaining the stories into a relief fleshing out the anamorphic from the ethereal. Civilization evolution predicts that many years of polytheism gradually offered a way to prophetic based cultures. It also brought about a culture that focused on deities of the old as symbols of human nature. In the Greek and Roman myths, the author offers many of grist of such ideologies when displaying allegories such as Neoptolemus principle. According to the principle, the harm that an individual may cause the other will one day come back to her/him. The author also explains other allegories through a Sisyphean labor. The two principles have their foundation in Greek lore. Nevertheless, today, they are used as metaphors for easy application in today’s time.
The Greek and Roman Myths can be interesting for everyone who understands the message in a clear way. The subject of the book is handled in a respective way and with a scholarly approach. The context is structured well and easy to access. The author has presented the myths in a granular view. The author gives a greater scope to assist the readers understands the scope without being expansive. The complexity of Roman and Greek mythology is divided into different sections (Wiiseman 85). The sections include characters and major plots. It is meant to provide a brief view on how most of the narratives have impacted literature and development of art throughout the history forming a remarkable fun and illuminating read.
The Greek and Roman myths as written by Matyszak portray the development of arts and literature from the primeval times to the current days of civilization. As indicated by the author, literature does not change as time changes. Important aspects of literature remain outstanding such as teaching morals to the society, criticizing negative behaviors in the society and keeping records. Artists in ancient Rome and Greece used literature to make a positive contribution to the society development. They used myths to define different aspects of nature and uphold a positive moral conduct within the society. Matyszak outlines that the authors used different names from their myths to name important issues in life and to keep a record. It is well amplified in what is used today as some of the names given to the days of the week. Ancient artists decided to use the names of the god’s in different important aspects since it was easy for the people of the time to recall the titles of the gods and reflect on the moral conduct required by the gods. As a result, the basic function of art and literature standards in the modern world differ from those of ancient times (Matyszak 224).
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Matyszak uses another example to illustrate the importance of ancient Roman and Greek myths in today’s life. Apart from the use of the names of gods and goddesses in different aspects of life, the myths offer entertainment, social and moral teachings of life. It also assists different individuals to uphold their cultures and focus on social and cultural development. As indicated by the author, literature has not changed but has only advanced to a new level. The author uses different themes to explain the impact of Roman and Greek myths in modern life.
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