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Introduction to Mythology


 

Plato (427-347 B.C.)

 

Plato ... could still speak the language of archaic myth. He made myth consonant with his thought, as he built the first modern philosophy. We have trusted his clues as landmarks even on occasions when he professes to speak "not quite seriously." He gave us a first rule of thumb; he knew what he was talking about.

-- Professor Giorgio de Santillana (1902-1974), "Hamlet's Mill" (published 1969), page 6.

 

 

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Plato Believed Myths Inculcated Beliefs; They Could Be Used to Persuade Ordinary People.

 

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He Also Used Myths as Teaching Tools to Explain His Philosophical Ideas.

 

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He Distinguished Between the Terms Mythos and Logos; Mythos Was a Story while Logos Was an Argument.

 

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Plato Asserts (Seventh Letter) That Philosophical Truths Cannot be Expressed Discursively.

 

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.However, Appropriately Crafted Myths Could Create a Different Kind of Consciousness in the Listener, Such That He/She Could Receive Ideas That Are Beyond Ordinary Logic.

 

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He Used Many Traditional Myths in His Dialogues, for Example:

 

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Story of Gyges - Republic;

 

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Myth of Phaethon - Timaeus;

 

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Myth of the Amazons - Laws.

 

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He Also Used Many Specially Created Myths, for Example:

 

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Allegory of the Cave - Republic;

 

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Myth of Er - Republic;

 

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Myth of Atlantis - Timaeus.

 

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First Greek to Describe the Great World Year Which Became Known as the Platonic Year.

 

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The Great Year, of Highest Significance, Was Completed When All the Planets Returned to a Constellation in Which They Had Originally Been Located.

 

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For Numerological Reasons, He Believed This Cycle Was 36,000 Years.

 


Home Myths Legends Folktales Fairytales Fables Oral Transmission Textual Transmission Storytellers Plato Euhemerus Max Müller E. B. Tylor James Frazer Sigmund Freud G. I. Gurdjieff Giorgio de Santillana Carl Jung Evans-Wentz Joseph Campbell Marija Gimbutas Vladimir Propp Claude Lévi-Strauss Walter Burkert Bronze Age Persia and India Ancient Europe Africa and Australia Native American Modern Myths