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I love this. There are only seven stories one can tell, and (obviously) the more people travel, the further the reach of specific elements of those stories. It’s no surprise that a culture that replaces another keeps some of the remnants of the replaced culture, but it’s notable that Roman mythology was so very similar to Greek mythology. It’s almost like Chicagoans’ jealous appropriation of everything New York. 🙂 <ducks> But hey, Chicago has much better pizza. <still ducking>
The explanation is interesting, and goes beyond mere travel.
When the Romans invaded Greece starting in 146 BC, their gods were not as developed and sophisticated as the Greeks. The Romans knew that bridging the differences would add to their influence over the conquered nation. Captured Greek scholars were used to tutor Roman children because they knew that the Greeks had an excellent educational system comparatively. And because Greek literature was also superior, the Romans adopted much for the Greek literature, much of which was about their gods. The intermixing of the literature resulted in a cross-pollination of all the Greek gods and deities with their own.
Where the Romans paved their own way, it was clear. Their original stories were often based on politics rather than the divine. While I’m sure little of this is new to you, it’s an important in understanding not only our past but also our present.
I know. Not exactly an Earth-shattering post.
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[…] it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are very few new ideas under the sun. Moreover, as I reminded you on Monday, there are only seven stories one can tell. While there can be other factors, putting […]