Greek mythology is the set of legends (see mythology) which come from the religion of ancient Hellenic (Greek) civilization (see Hellenic civilization). These stories were familiar to all ancient Greeks and, although some thinkers professed skepticism, they provided the people with both rituals and history.
In Greek mythology, the gods in the Greek pantheon are given human form, but are first and foremost personifications of the forces of the universe. As such they are more or less unchanging, and while they sometimes seem to have a sense of justice, they are often petty or vengeful. The gods' favors are won by sacrifices and piety, but this does not guarantee them, for the gods are known to be prone to frequent changes of mind. Their anger is harsh and their love can be just as dangerous.
The world of Greek mythology is quite complex. It is full of monsters, wars, intrigue, and meddling gods. And there are heroes to help overcome these problems. Men and women were much greater in those days, of course, though the Greeks did not see any wide gulf between their history and their religion (see, for example, The Iliad and The Odyssey). Such beliefs can be compared to the way in which, for instance, some Christian creationists today equate the Bible literally with their history. The Greeks saw themselves as the direct descendants of the mythological heroes and their culture. In addition to the continuing use of and allusion to mythology in literature, Greek mythology today makes for some wonderful stories that remain enjoyable.
Some important mythical places: