Got thoughts on SPN's representation of Greek mythology?
Hi! Thank you for the awesome question and yes, I’ve got thoughts - mostly bad ones, in the sense I’m not a fan of how the show’s treated Greek mythology but *waves a hand airily* I’ll allow it, one because they’ve got a story to tell and the law stipulates that everything else comes second and two because the Greek world is messy and scary and complicated and I don’t think anyone ever gets it right (in fact, it’s likely the Greeks themselves didn’t much understand it - except perhaps for Euripides *fans self, swoons*).
So, first of all - let’s point out how Supernatural basically said the Christian God is the one true god and everyone else’s got less power than His childish, demented archangels and call bullshit on that and then forget about it, because, as I said, Supernatural is about a specific kind of American folklore, so it makes sense that it’s about Christianity, and (for the story they meant to tell in the beginning) they also needed a kind of power structure, so, whatever - it wasn’t done out of malice, it’s just world-building and make-believe and that’s always okay.
(Still - on bad days it does make me think about a hilarious discussion I had the pleasure to witness in college - see, there are a lot of wackos who study ancient history, you could even say we’re the majority, but in this particular class - something about religion in Imperial Rome - there was a belligerent and well-organized group of Christian fanatics, and they were there because they’d always assumed this particular professor was on their side - you know the type - an older gentleman who spent fifty years studying war and warfare and routinely makes students cry and doesn’t take shit from anyone - and anyway, this one guy was presenting something and he randomly started talking about Hinduism, and how he’d seen on TV some director created a god for a movie, and people liked the new god so much they started worshipping him, and Aren’t Indians a peculiar breed? and just like that we’d come to the point where half of us were seething with rage and about to throw stuff at this idiot and then - then our professor stood up and whatever, ninety years old or not he was very tall and awe-inspiring and impressive, also he used to threaten us with invisible pikes, so there’s that, any anyway he adopted a kind of Columbo stance and was all, Tell me, young man, don’t you belong to the congregation of [name redacted]? and That’s right and I was under the impression they took the Scriptures literally and Yes, we do and So if you believe that some snakes can talk and people can be turned into salt and there are magical music instruments which can tear down the walls of a city, I don’t exactly understand why you’re making fun of someone else’s faith and then - he fucking walked out halfway through the guy’s presentation, which was boring as hell, anyway, and full of stupid mistakes and just - wow - definitely a top five moment in my university career.)
As for the rest of it - look, the fundamental problem we have with Greek mythology is we are not taught the difference between mythology and religion, and the other fundamental problem is that Greek religion had nothing to do with faith and to us, that’s basically a biological impossibility and the third fundamental problem is that it’s not clear what those famous myths were even about and who were they meant for. So, really - there’s not much a modern writer can do with them - some have created wonderful things by using Greek myths as a kind of weft (for instance, Charles Frazier and his Cold Mountain), while others seem to have an instinctive understanding of how ancient religions and ancient gods behave (hashtag Neal Gaiman, hashtag actual god Neal Gaiman), but Supernatural - they’re not interested in any of that - despite their subject matter, they’re barely interested in the sacred at all, which means I don’t particularly enjoy, but also don′t particularly mind, their silliness - from Chronos to Calliope to the Moirai, Supernatural is not really talking about Greek mythology - they’re simply reimagining those stories to tell their own, sometimes to great effect (I loved what they did with sirens, for instance), so - people who like that stuff will find their own sources sooner or later, because that’s what ancient Greece is like - an illness and a curse which blooms and festers inside you until that’s what you live for, and the Greeks themselves - they did much worse than that to their own sacred traditions, and anyway, it’s their own damn fault if we can’t understand those stories at all - because you truly can’t - I spent half my life trying to make sense of them, and they’re like fire - the more you look at them, the more difficult it is to say what you’re actually looking at - if it’s shapes and shadows or simply flames or a chemical reaction you need a book and a piece of paper to pin down, or maybe even a thing you’re not supposed to master and should always be wary of - a mirror image of that world those people created for themselves - a web of wilderness and proud cities and coloured marble statues whose eyes would follow your every step and robots and werewolves and gods appearing on the battlefield and gods who haven’t walked this Earth for thousands of years and also women trained like dogs and women ruling Athens itself and that tension, that old, innate, overpowering need to travel East - to forget and betray that ‘between-the-lands’ sea that gave them undreamed power and discover a much greater prize: the deserts and mountains under the domain of a deity who should be Apollo and yet is not, and beyond that, the very secret of life, and the very secret of death. A place to rest.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization located in North Eastern Africa. According to Egyptian chronology, it began around 3150 BC and ended in 30 BC, when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire. It is one of the six civilizations globally that rose independently, and owes its success partly to the way they adapted their agriculture to the conditions of the Nile river. The surplus of crops supported the growing population and the following social and cultural development. Among the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians, there is the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques needed for the building of their monumental pyramids, temples and obelisks, as well as the development of a new written language and the making of the earliest known peace treaty. The Egyptians also left a lasting legacy; its art and architecture is widely admired and copied, and became the starting point of ancient Greek sculptures and building.