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What I find interesting in the Creation Myths that we have read so far is the generally universal portrayal of social realities in the mythology itself. For example, the Greco-Roman world is a very patriarchal society. This is strongly reflected in Greco-Roman mythology. For example, the head of the gods is always a male figure. For example, Zeus is the head of the Olympian gods. The head of a Greek or Roman family is also always a male figure, typically the father.

Mesopotamian mythology reflects the shift which gradually occurs from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal society. This is primarily reflected in the change of portrayal of the goddess Tiamat from a positive maternal figure, to a negative monstrous figure, (described in more depth on pages 65-66 of the text). This also demonstrates the changing attitude of society towards women as the shift to a patriarchy occurs.

I find that the reflection of societal realities in mythology is perhaps intended as a justification for the way society is. The gods modeled the world after themselves to be the way that it is. 

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2 thoughts on “Social Realities in Myth

  1. I think that the Enuma Elish influenced the evolutionary principles and/or social practices of the Mesopotamians. Perhaps the purpose of this creation story was to provide context behind gender roles and/or personifications in the Mesopotamian culture. Gender roles are the result of numerous influences, such as societal expectations, religious beliefs, culture, and traditions. The Mesopotamians may have written these stories as a way to satisfy the curiosity of their people by explaining why women are incapable of being the dominant and/or ‘ruling’ gender (the fear that women would transform into monsters, like Tiamat).

    Your post makes me wonder what life would be like if matriarchy was the primary form of authority. Would men be as oppressed as some women are today???

    – A.P

  2. As history is written by the victors, so to myths are developed and changed to suit the times, promote an agenda and rewrite the past. I wonder just how prevalent it is that Matriarchal societies have been downgraded to be subsummed by the patriarchs. I’ve read about it at least a dozen times or so but wouldn’t it be interesting if it was the norm instead of the exception. To date this has been happening as far back as 7500 BCE in Catalhoyuk, Anatolia. I wonder what the archeologists will find in the coming centuries.

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