There are two cynical answers: With a wave of a hand,years of human culture are dismissed.
Herodotus One theory claims that myths are distorted accounts of historical events. Apollo represents the sun, Poseidon represents water, and so on. Athena represents wise judgment, Aphrodite desire, and so on.
He believed myths began as allegorical descriptions of nature and gradually came to be interpreted literally. For example, a poetic description of the sea as "raging" was eventually taken literally and the sea was then thought of as a raging god. Mythopoeic thought Some thinkers claimed that myths result from the personification of objects and forces.
According to these thinkers, the ancients worshiped natural phenomena, such as fire and air, gradually deifying them.
Myth and ritual According to the myth-ritual theory, myth is tied to ritual. Forgetting the original reason for a ritual, they account for it by inventing a myth and claiming the ritual commemorates the events described in that myth.
He interpreted myths as accounts of actual historical events — distorted over many retellings. Sallustius  divided myths into five categories — theological, physical or concerning natural lawsanimistic or concerning soulmaterial, and mixed.
Mixed concerns myths that show the interaction between two or more of the previous categories and are particularly used in initiations. Plato famously condemned poetic myth when discussing education in the Republic.
His critique was primarily on the grounds that the uneducated might take the stories of gods and heroes literally. Nevertheless, he constantly referred to myths throughout his writings.
As Platonism developed in the phases commonly called Middle Platonism and neoplatonismwriters such as PlutarchPorphyryProclusOlympiodorus, and Damascius wrote explicitly about the symbolic interpretation of traditional and Orphic myths.
The resulting work may expressly refer to a mythological background without itself becoming part of a body of myths Cupid and Psyche. Medieval romance in particular plays with this process of turning myth into literature.
Euhemerism, as stated earlier, refers to the rationalization of myths, putting themes formerly imbued with mythological qualities into pragmatic contexts.
An example of this would be following a cultural or religious paradigm shift notably the re-interpretation of pagan mythology following Christianization. European Renaissance[ edit ] This panel by Bartolomeo di Giovanni relates the second half of the Metamorphoses. In the upper left, Jupiter emerges from clouds to order Mercury to rescue Io.
Nineteenth century[ edit ] The first modern, Western scholarly theories of myth appeared during the second half of the nineteenth century  — at the same time as the word myth was adopted as a scholarly term in European languages.
This movement drew European scholars' attention not only to Classical myths, but also material now associated with Norse mythologyFinnish mythologyand so forth.
Western theories were also partly driven by Europeans' efforts to comprehend and control the cultures, stories and religions they were encountering through colonialism.
These encounters included both extremely old texts such as the Sanskrit Rigveda and the Sumerian Epic of Gilgameshand current oral narratives such as mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas or stories told in traditional African religions.
These ideas included the recognition that many Eurasian languages—and therefore, conceivably, stories—were all descended from a lost common ancestor the Indo-European language which could rationally be reconstructed through the comparison of its descendant languages.
They also included the idea that cultures might evolve in ways comparable to species. This theory posited that "primitive man" was primarily concerned with the natural world. It tended to interpret myths that seemed distasteful European Victorians—for example tales about sex, incest, or cannibalism—as being metaphors for natural phenomena like agricultural fertility.
According to Tylor, human thought evolved through stages, starting with mythological ideas and gradually progressing to scientific ideas. He speculated that myths arose due to the lack of abstract nouns and neuter gender in ancient languages.
Anthropomorphic figures of speech, necessary in such languages, were eventually taken literally, leading to the idea that natural phenomena were in actuality conscious beings or gods. When they realize applications of these laws do not work, they give up their belief in natural law in favor of a belief in personal gods controlling nature, thus giving rise to religious myths.
Meanwhile, humans continue practicing formerly magical rituals through force of habit, reinterpreting them as reenactments of mythical events. Finally humans come to realize nature follows natural laws, and they discover their true nature through science. Here again, science makes myth obsolete as humans progress "from magic through religion to science.
In the mythos of Hesiodus and possibly Aeschylus the Greek trilogy Prometheus BoundPrometheus Unbound and Prometheus PyrphorosPrometheus is bound and tortured for giving fire to humanity The earlier twentieth century saw major work developing psychoanalytical approaches to interpreting myth, led by Sigmund Freudwho, drawing inspiration from Classical myth, began developing the concept of the Oedipus complex in his The Interpretation of Dreams.
Jung likwise tried to understand the psychology behind world myths. Jung asserted that all humans share certain innate unconscious psychological forces, which he called archetypes.
He believed similarities between the myths of different cultures reveals the existence of these universal archetypes. He is associated with the idea that myths such as origin stories might provide a "mythic charter"—a legitimisation—for cultural norms and social institutions.
In other words, myth is a form of understanding and telling stories that is connected to power, political structures, and political and economic interests. These approaches contrast with approaches such as those of Campbell and Eliade that hold that myth has some type of essential connection to ultimate sacred meanings that transcend cultural specifics.This is a vast collection of myths from around the world.
There are sections on classical, European, Egyptian, African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, and American mythology. the Myths. It is a universal truth that the myths of all cultures are the attempts of people to explain the world in which they live.
So too, are the myths of ancient Egypt. Norse Mythology: The Myths and Legends of the Nordic Gods [Arthur Cotterell] on initiativeblog.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
All the unforgettable characters and myths of this stormy yet fascinating ancient culture are gathered in this comprehensive. p. CHAPTER II MYTHS OF ORIGINS 1. The most significant myths of a given culture are usually the cosmogonic, or creation myths, the sacred stories evolved and developed in an effort to explain the origin of the universe, the presence of the gods, and the existence of man.
Poseidon, in Greek religion, god of the sea (and of water generally), earthquakes, and initiativeblog.com is distinguished from Pontus, the personification of the sea and the oldest Greek divinity of the waters. The name Poseidon means either “husband of the earth” or “lord of the earth.” Traditionally, he was a son of Cronus (the youngest of the 12 Titans) and of Cronus’s sister and consort.
Comparative mythology is the systematic comparison of myths from different cultures. It seeks to discover underlying themes that are common to the myths of multiple cultures.