Mythos: An Animation Retells Timeless Greek Myths with Abstract Modern Designs

Design­er Stephen Kelle­her and ani­ma­tor Chris Guy­ot present “Mythos,” an ani­ma­tion that tells time­less stories–Greek myths–with sim­ple abstract designs. Here’s how they describe this project where the ancient unex­pect­ed­ly meets the mod­ern:

For cen­turies the Greek Myths have been used as cau­tion­ary tales and teach­ing tools for peo­ple both young and old. These sto­ries con­vey deep wis­dom about the human con­di­tion which con­tin­ue to res­onate with us. I want­ed to hon­or these ancient sto­ries by inter­pret­ing them in the age of the pix­el and gif.

The chal­lenge was to com­mu­ni­cate these com­plex sto­ries in the most min­i­mal way pos­si­ble while retain­ing their essence. By hav­ing each vignette loop seam­less­ly, the time­less and peren­ni­al nature of these sto­ries are rein­forced. Ulti­mate­ly these ani­ma­tions serve as visu­al short­hand for ancient truths which are as rel­e­vant today as they were when first told.


After numer­ous trans­gres­sions, Zeus decid­ed to pun­ish the deceit­ful king Sisy­phus once and for all by forc­ing him to push a huge enchant­ed boul­der up a steep hill. As soon as he reached the top, the boul­der would roll back down to the base of the hill, con­demn­ing Sisy­phus to an eter­ni­ty of frus­trat­ed labor.


King Minos impris­oned Icarus in a tow­er along­side his father, the mas­ter crafts­man Daedalus. As a means of escape Daedalus cre­at­ed a set of wings made of feath­ers and wax for his son but warned him not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus did not how­ev­er heed his father’s advice. His wings dis­solved and Icarus fell into the sea below and drowned.


The daugh­ter of Zeus and Deme­ter, Perse­phone was abduct­ed by the god of the under­world Hades. Although Zeus inter­vened and brought her back to the land of the liv­ing, Perse­phone was bound to Hades for four months of each year. In her grief, Deme­ter would make the soils bar­ren there­by cre­at­ing win­ter while Persephone’s return would mark the start of the spring.


As pun­ish­ment for mor­tal Nar­cis­sus’ cru­el treat­ment of the nymph Echo, he was cursed by Neme­sis, the god­dess of revenge. She led him to a pool where upon see­ing his own reflec­tion, he became besot­ted with his image and was unable to leave. Fix­at­ed, starv­ing and in despair, he fell into the pool and drowned.


Hav­ing done a great ser­vice for the god Diony­sus, King Midas was grant­ed one wish of his choos­ing. He wished that every­thing he touched would turn to gold. Upon turn­ing food, water and even his own daugh­ter to gold how­ev­er, he soon real­ized his fool­ish­ness and prayed to Diony­sus to undo his wish. Diony­sus took pity on King Midas and duly undid the wish.


A Greek hero of many adven­tures, The­seus is best known for his defeat of the Mino­taur. Under the decree of King Minos, every year four­teen young Athe­neans were sac­ri­ficed to the Mino­taur — a mon­strous half bull, half man who resided deep with­in the Labyrinth. Not only was The­seus able to slay the Mino­taur but he also suc­cess­ful­ly escaped the com­plex Labyrinth, solid­i­fy­ing his leg­end.


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via Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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