In ancient times, most people believed that the world and the universe were inhabited by many different deities(gods and spirits) whom they worshiped. The sun was often thought to be a god, and the moon a goddess. The winds and the rain were also thought to be gods, and there were gods and goddesses of the sea, wine, and hunting. There were gods of thunder and war, and gentler gods of love,marriage, and the countryside. The stories that tell of the gods and their deeds are called myths. The study of myths is known as mythology. To ancient peoples, myths were not just entertaining stories, byt part of their religion. People prayed to the gods and tried to behave in ways that they thought would please the gods. In those early times, people did not have the scientific knowledge we have today. If a river flooded its banks, they thought it was caused by an evil or angry god. People did not understand nature’s ways. So they created the idea of gods and told myths to explain natural happenings. Some myths also were about extraordinary human beings, who performed great deeds. These human beings were called heros. Some mythical beings were demigods(half gods), with one parent god or goddess and the other mortal(human being). Myths tell of horrible, firebreathing monsters,magic weapons, and fantastic animal that fly. They tell of the powers of the gods and the tricks they play on ordinary mortals. …
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