Greek Gods, Heroes, and Monsters is a documentary series that explores some of the most famous mythological characters. When most people think of mythology, many of the first stories and characters that come to mind are from the Greek mythos. Part of this could be because we all learned it in school; admittedly along with a few others but for some reason the Greek versions seem to stick with most people. Why is that, we may ask. This documentary series takes a look at the mythical characters through many different view-points in order to explore their meanings.
As with any mythos, the stories and characters created by the Greeks at this time could be used to give meaning to the world both immediately in front of them as well as aspects that could not be explained as the science had not been discovered yet. This is one of the views taken within the documentary, how do the stories coincide with known aspects of history as well as major ways in which the world works. For instance, Zeus’ use of lightening can be used to explain how this phenomenon comes into play during thunderstorms. Within the Zeus mythos itself, there is even a story of how the world flooded and only two people were left alive to repopulate the earth.
And this brings us to another view-point; how the Greek mythology mirrors other mythologies of the other peoples around them. One of the obvious mirrors is between the Greek and Roman mythologies. Another mirror is between a few of the Greek characters and Christian characters and stories. The most obvious connection is the flood story. Another connection is the Hercules and Jesus mythos. This was one that surprised me at first but when the similarities were discussed it was a little more obvious. One of the reasons for these similarities in the stories is the fact that the peoples of the different beliefs would share stories and thus the same concepts came up in both.
Then there is the third view-point and that is the view-point of how much of the stories have roots in real events and people. Although the Gods and Goddesses did not have roots in real people, the lesser character and even monsters may have had real life counterparts who eventually were morphed into the mythological characters we know. This may be several fire-side stories who became Hercules or unexplained animals that would become monsters. In any event, there seemed to be a twinge of truth in some of the stories, thus helping to create the belief that people held in these mythological characters.
Greek Gods, Heroes, and Monsters is seven hours of documentary in eight episodes, available on a three disc DVD set from HISTORY. Episodes include “Zeus”, “Hercules”, “Hades”, “The Minotaur”, “Medusa”, “Odysseus: Curse of the Sea”, “Odysseus: Warrior’s Revenge”, and “Gods and Goddesses”.