At the moment, this article deals primarily with the mythology of Greece and Rome and its influence on Western literature.
As Christianity swept through Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, the religion that empire had sustained slowly devolved into myth. However, the works produced during the height of the Roman empire, such as Ovid's Metamorphoses and Virgil's Aeneid continued to be read, and eventually provided a context for later writers to reference in contemporary writings. The Roman gods served as a useful counterpoint to the Christian God, and the pantheon of Olympians came to represent either different facets of God, the Virgin Mary, as a means of allegory, or to contrast the political situation with a heavenly one.
It is important to realize that for many years, until the 16th and 17th centuries, the works of Homer were largely unknown, and therefore unstudied, and unreferenced.