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The Pagan Mission: Mythical Heroes In The Service Of Mankind

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Chapter Summary

Most of Diodorus's heroes contributed to agriculture; they introduced new plants which people were able to consume, improved cultivation techniques and found ways to irrigate the lands or to prevent flooding. They also founded cities, built new roads and restored old ones, were engaged in construction work, cleared lands infested with wild beasts and invented contests and performances for the entertainment of mankind. Furthermore, Diodorus's heroes initiated religious practices, such as erecting temples and establishing cults; they also intervened politically, enacting laws and replacing rulers. This chapter concentrates on a selection of the more notable tasks, such as those which were accomplished by more than one hero and which recur throughout the six tales examined. Examining the journeys of the gods and culture-heroes proves that Osiris, Sesostris, Semiramis, Myrina, Dionysus and Heracles were, in fact, pagan missionaries.

Keywords: culture-heroes; Diodorus; Dionysus; Heracles; mankind; Myrina; Osiris; pagan missionaries; Semiramis; Sesostris



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