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by Archaeology Newsroom

Woman in the mirror of myth

According to the Homeric poems, the Iliad and Odyssey, a woman was the reason for the panhellenic campaign and the Trojan war. The Homeric epos belongs to the sphere of myth, not of history. However, when a myth corresponds to facts, it becomes a historical truth.Seen in this light myths contain a dynamic truth which, if analysed, pictures the psychological, ethical, social and generally the cultural physiognomy of an entire period. The Greek myths of the eight century BC start with the creation of the world. The female element, the woman – Chaos, Earth, Rea – plays the most important role, since she is the only one who can reproduce the “beginnings. Life and death”, a phenomenon which still attracts human thought, springs from and terminates in mother Earth. Therefore, the woman became the nucleus of every activity. Later, however, when social interrelations changed as a result of the introduction of patriarchy and -creation gained more weight than “birth”, the role of woman was downgraded, especially as regards her participation and activity in public life. European philosophy, based on the Aristotelian principles, on the one hand and on Christian religion on the other which held Eva responsible for the original sin, led contemporary woman to her present struggles for redefinition of her role in modern society.