Why Greek Mythology Matters

The Ancient Greeks and their incredible legacy.


The legacy of the Greeks

If you were to stand in the center of Washington DC, surrounded by the institutions and monuments at the heart of the United States, you might notice that the buildings all have something in common.


The institutions of the US government are all housed in buildings that imitate the architecture of ancient Greece. This is no accident. The founding fathers of America saw this ancient civilization as an ideal – the blueprint for a free, advanced, civilized society.

Our symbols and language

We see the influence of the Greeks everywhere in the modern world – from the design of our greatest buildings, to blockbuster films and TV shows, to our names for the stars in the night sky.


The influence of Greek culture even shows up in the names of our biggest corporations. Nike, Amazon and Oracle are all named after figures from Greek stories.

Even our language is littered with references to Greek culture. Echo, Europe, hypnosis, narcissism, music, ocean and tantalize. These are just a few of the many words that are named directly after characters in the Greek myths.

A cultural guidebook

We’ve inherited great swathes of our culture from the Greeks. But this culture has been handed down to us in a unique way. The values and ideas of the Greeks were passed down over generations, right to the present day, through a vast, complex, interrelated set of folk stories known as Greek mythology.

The Greek myths have served not just as entertainment but as practical, ethical and spiritual guidance to millions of people over thousands of years.


This astonishing set of tales are still well worth getting to know. A lot can be gained by looking at the world that gave rise to these narratives, the purpose they served, and the lessons that they can teach us.

The greatest stories ever told

Above all else, the Greek myths are worth studying for the stories themselves – stories of flawed heroes and bewitching villains, of gods and goddesses and their struggles for power, and the mortals that find themselves caught in the middle.

Occasionally grotesque, often beautiful, these tales, when taken as a whole, serve a clear purpose – to help their readers to live wiser lives.

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