Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture, arts, and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language.Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes.
Nevertheless, the only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus.
This work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. His writings may have formed the basis for the collection; however the "Library" discusses events that occurred long after his death, hence the name Pseudo-Apollodorus. The myth of Prometheus first was attested by Hesiod and then constituted the basis for a tragic trilogy of plays, possibly by Aeschylus, consisting of Prometheus Bound, Prometheus Unbound, and Prometheus Pyrphoros.
These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices.
Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.
The tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Agamemnon and his children, Oedipus, Jason, Medea, etc.) took on their classic form in these tragedies.
The comic playwright Aristophanes also used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs.
This category includes the works of: Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths include Apuleius, Petronius, Lollianus, and Heliodorus.
Two other important non-poetical sources are the Fabulae and Astronomica of the Roman writer styled as Pseudo-Hyginus, the Imagines of Philostratus the Elder and Philostratus the Younger, and the Descriptions of Callistratus.
Myths are also preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods, heroes, and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts.