Some ancient Greeks explained myths as allegories, and looked for a reality concealed in poetic images.Theagenes of Rhegium was an early proponent (6th cent.Older Interpretations of Myths There have been many theories as to the reasons for similarities among myths.
Myths treating the origin of fire, or its retrieval from some being who has stolen it or refuses to share it; the millennium to come; and the dead or the relation between the living and the dead, are common.
While ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish mythologies are the best known, other important mythologies are the Norse, which is less anthropomorphic than the Greek (see Germanic religion); the Indian, or Vedic, which tends to be more abstract and otherworldly than the Greek (see Veda); the Egyptian, which is closely related to religious ritual (see Egyptian religion); and the Mesopotamian, which shares with the Greek mythology a strong concern for the relationship between life and death (see Middle Eastern religions). Eliot, and Wallace Stevens have consciously constructed personal myths using the old materials and newly constructed symbols.
Myth has been employed for the enrichment of literature since the time of Aeschylus and has been used by some of the major English poets (e.g., Milton, Shelley, Keats). Recurrent Themes Studies of the myths of North and South American natives, Australian aborigines, the peoples of S Africa, and others have revealed how widespread are many mythological elements and motifs.
Although people of all countries, eras, and stages of civilization have developed myths that explain the existence and workings of natural phenomena, recount the deeds of gods or heroes, or seek to justify social or political institutions, the myths of the Greeks have remained unrivaled in the Western world as sources of imaginative and appealing ideas.
Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in Classical mythological themes., the son of Zeus and Leto (Apollo, line 9) is as instantly identifiable to the Greek reader by his patronymic as are the sons of Atreus (Agamemnon and Menelaus, line 16).