Every ancient society in the Mediterranean region has a creation myth of some sort, including the Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hittite, Anatolian, and Jewish civilizations. What becomes apparent when these myths are studied is that they share remarkably similar themes, characteristics, and legends, despite their geographical distance from each other. These similar themes consist of the creation and destruction of the world due to the actions of the gods, often resulting from their conflict with each other, and the theme of the decline of humanity from a Golden Age through various ‘Ages of Man’. Through examining the literature and art that relay these myths, the similarities can be compared, and their origins can be analysed. Greek society is the youngest of the Eastern Mediterranean societies in terms of its development of literature. The epic poet Hesiod provides the earliest surviving written records of what were the traditional archaic oral myths related to Greek religion. Through analysing his Theogony, which examines creation, destructions, and conflicts among the gods causing natural disasters, and his successive Works and Days, which presents Hesiod’s ‘Five Ages of Man’ myth, the means of this transmission of similar myths can be determined; were these myths passed down to archaic Greece through diffusion of cultures from cultural interaction? Or do these widespread similarities relate to the oral memory of a region-wide natural disaster that each society recorded in their mythologies? Hesiod’s Typhonomachy is one such conflict that has parallels in both Greek literature and that of the Eastern Mediterranean too. Analysis of the Typhonomachy episode can contextualise these similarities in the myths and provide a starting point from which to determine the more likely transmission model.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

All research seminars begin at 4 pm on Friday (with the exception of special Friends of Antiquity events). 

They will take place simultaneously in person and online.

The in-person venue is room E302 of the Forgan-Smith Building (building no. 1) on the St-Lucia campus of the University of Queensland.

Please contact Associate Professor David Pritchard d.pritchard@uq.edu.au or admin-hapi@uq.edu.au for the zoom link. 

For further information please contact the Seminar Convenor Associate Professor David M. Pritchard (d.pritchard@uq.edu.au or +61 401 955 160).



Michie Building (09) Room 536