Thursday, June 30

mythology....and much more

Pallas Athena by Rembrandt.
(Beautiful interplay of dark and light, mostly dark, (Rembrandt must have used a lot of black paint!) as most of the artist's paintings are. Wow, I sound like an art critic!)

Mythology is interesting. Studying the ancient Greeks' religion can give you a clue as to how they thought, reasoned, and lived their lives. Their gods had all of human nature's faults and sins, and the stories should be regarded as interesting stories from which we can learn a lesson. However, I am of the opinion that any inappropriate/dirty parts of the old myths should be discarded, leaving only material from which we can learn a lesson. Plato was of the same opinion, as stated in his  The Republic. He was also an early promoter of the totalitarian state (an idea which has always haunted mankind), but we won't go there today.

Being a Christian, I believe in the one true God, so the study of Him, the Bible, and our theology is way more important than learning about pagan (false) gods and their peculiarities, but mythology is a part of a well rounded education's literature.

Why? Well, proverbs and names from Greek (and Roman) mythology have become part of our language and culture, as has many Biblical references. "A Sisyphean task." "Between Scylla and Charybdis." (a really fun word to pronounce, BTW) Or at least they used to be, before a portion of America's people started to make their language largely consist of expletives and "Likes". But that is a discussion for another day!

Also--in poetry, both romantic, secular and religious, there are too many allusions to mythology to count, or to ignore! If you know what they meant, your understanding of the poet's meaning (if there was one) greatly increases. That is the main reason Thomas Bulfinch, a Massachusetts banker of "modest means', wrote in his spare time Age of Fable and Bulfinch's Mythology,  published in 1855.I recommend this book to anyone wishing to read about mythology. Mr. Bulfinch's synopses are short, to the point, and you will know what a Sisyphean task is. I do-oo!!!!

Having read the above-mentioned books in grades 4-6, I could especially enjoy the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series of YA books. I normally never read YA books, because I value my remaining brain cells, but I did enjoy this series for light, quick, funny reading. "Fluff" as my mother calls it, but pretty fun all the same. What made this book hilarious was it was about the old myths, coming to a modern day setting! A sure-fire recipe for disaster. And no, the characters don't worship the pagan gods, more like argue/fight with them, so devout Christians please don't get your hackles raised!

I also enjoyed the sequel to the series, The Lost Hero. Not as good as PJ&TO for three reasons, but still okay.
The reasons:
1. The characters are older. I miss being 12, like Percy was in the first book, and I think younger characters are more fun.
2. I didn't like the girlfriend/boyfriend stuff, or the use of the word "hot" in the book. Nothing inappropriate or adult-themed or anything like you'd find in probably lots of YA books, but I don't like too much romance in a book. But I guess I'd complain if there wasn't any because then it would be too boring.
3. It just....made you miss the first series. And Percy wasn't even in this book! Sadly. I also noticed a very slight multi-cultural slant (all the characters come from different backgrounds) , due to modern "all cultures are the same" attitudes. Easy to ignore, which I did. 
What I did like about this book that it was about the characters maturing, growing up, and learning to do harder things against all odds, rather than doing immature things and being childish for the sake of over-used lame humor. And the author, Rick Riordan, is a pretty reasonably good adventure story writer; other than these I don't read fantasy books. 
I think my favorite character(s) from The Lost Hero have to be the metal dragon Festus and Leo Valdez, who is riding him in this picture from the book's website.

Wow. I never meant to post this much.............if you read this far, congratulations! 



  1. I was very disappointed by the Lost Hero, as i really loved Percy Jackson. Great post! -Tani

  2. Thanks, Tani! I did like the lost hero, but I miss Percy. *sniff sniff* and Annabeth. And Grover! I loved that Camp Half-Blood was on Long Island, because I used to live there.


Thanks for commenting! I love to get comments!
Please write clearly with correct grammar.