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Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture


Malgorzata Budzowska and Jadwiga Czerwinska

The reception of Mediterranean Antiquity heritage is one of the dominant research areas in contemporary classical studies. This issue has constituted the scope of the conference Reception of Ancient Myths in Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Culture, which took place at the University of Łódź (Poland) in November 2013. The volume consists of the selected articles based on the conference papers. They are divided into the main chapters: Literature, Visual and Performing Arts and Philosophy as well as Anthropology. The authors consider different methods of reception of ancient myths focusing on various cultural phenomena: literature, fine arts, theatre, cinema and pop culture.
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The Myth of Helen of Troy and Its Transformations in the Dramas by Euripides


The myth of Helen of Troy is constantly present in Greek literature, beginning with the archaic age, throughout the classical period, until the Hellenistic times. After Homer, we may trace it in the Epic Cycle, in the lyric poems of Sappho, Alcaeus, Ibycus, and Stesichorus, in the historiography of Herodotus and Thucydides, in the rhetorical works of Gorgias and Isocrates, in the comedies of Aristophanes, and even in the tragedies of Aeschylus and Euripides. In the Hellenistic period, the myth appears inter al. in Theocritus and, in later times, in Lucian. Many reasons may be found for the myth’s popularity, one of ← 43 | 44 → which is the fact that the Homeric poems were considered to be archetypical in their form and content for future literary works. This, however, does not fully explain the popularity and permanency of the Helen myth in Greek culture. Another reason for its preservation may lie in the religious components encapsulated within the myth, especially ancient initiation rites, as well as in the references to historical elements reflected in the myth. Both reasons, therefore, indicate, in a broad sense, the myth’s connection with the political sphere of life, mirrored, at the same time, by the Helen myth itself. An outstanding feature of Greek myths is their variety of alternative stories, which, in the case of the Helen myth, is especially noticeable in the diversity of opinions about the main heroine. On the basis of the modifications within the myth, which have occurred throughout the...

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