There were many other gods and goddesses and other supernatural beings in both mythologies (Meeks 2002). There were godlings, demigods, river nymphs and tree dryads and other mythical creatures, such as satyrs, comprising the entire belief systems. These systems were polytheistic as well as animistic. The system held that every tree, river and every part of nature had a spirit or energy behind it. Hercules was a famous demigod (Meeks). Mythology was central to the everyday lives specifically of the ancient Greek people (World News 2007). Myths not only explained natural occurrences, the people's varied cultures, conflicts and relationships. They also endowed them with a sense of pride to be related to some mythological hero or god. Quite a few of them even doubted the truth of myths, such as the Trojan War in Homer's two great epics. Military historian Victor Davis Hanson and Classic Professor John Heath at Santa Clara University said that the Greeks' knowledge and belief in these myths considered them the basis of their culture. Homer was considered the "education of Greece" itself. But with the rise of stern mind sciences, such as philosophy, history, prose and rationalism in the late 5th century, the status of myths was threatened. The exploration work of history set aside the role and worth the supernatural and the myth. Poets and dramatists were subjected to the criticism and ridicule of Greek historians and philosophers (World News).
The Roman Academic Cotta flatly rejected and ridiculed the literal and allegorical acceptance of myths (World News 2007). It categorically stated that myths had no place whatsoever in philosophy. Cicero was one of those who relished a general disdain of myths, although he emphasized the need for the support for the state religion and religious institutions. He vigorously asserted that no one should be so foolish as to believe in the existence of Hades or Scyllas and the terrors they presented. At other times, he complained against superstitions (World News).
During the Roman period, there surfaced a popular trend to syncretize the many Greek and foreign gods and goddesses into strange, un-acceptable and nearly unrecognizable new cults (World News 2007). Syncretization may also be the result of the little mythology among the Romans at that time. The fact was that the Romans inherited the tradition of Greek mythology. Hence, the major Roman gods were syncretized along with the entire system of Greek gods and goddesses. Another consequence was the elimination of Roman association with eastern religions. The cult of Sun, for example, was introduced in Rome after Aurelius' successful campaign in Syria. As a result, the Asiatic gods Mithias and Ba'al were merged with Apollo and Helios into Sol Invictus. Sol Invictus, thus, possessed compound attributes and required a mingling of different rites. Apollo became increasingly identified in religion with Helios, sometimes with Dionysus. Traditional literary mythology reflected an increasing dissociation from actual religious practice (World News).
Meeks, Travis. Roman and Greek Mythology of Gods and Goddesses. Essortment: Pagewise, 2002. Retrieved on October 27, 2007 at http://mdmd.essortment.com/greekromanmyth_rnpe.htm
MSN Encarta. Greek Mythology. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia: Microsoft Corporation, 2007. Retrieved on October 27, 2007 at http://encarta.msn.comencyclopedia_761570116/Greek_Mythology.html
Sheppard, David. In the Beginning. Introduction to Greek Mythology: Tragedy's Workshop, 2006
Wickersham, John M., ed. Greek Mythology. Myths and Legends of the World: MacMillan Reference Books, Nov 2000