Portal:Myths
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Portal:Myths

The Myths Portal

1929 Belgian banknote, depicting Ceres, Neptune and caduceus

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths.

Myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses and are closely linked to religion or spirituality. Many societies group their myths, legends, and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its later form. Other myths explain how a society's customs, institutions, and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and the enactment of rituals.

The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject. The study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus, Plato, and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and later revived by Renaissance mythographers. Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies, philology, psychology, and anthropology. Moreover, the academic comparisons of bodies of myth are known as comparative mythology.

Since the term myth is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be highly political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Nevertheless, scholars now routinely speak of Jewish mythology, Christian mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, and so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Meanwhile, identifying religious stories of colonised cultures, such as stories in Hinduism, as myths enabled Western scholars to imply that they were of lower truth-value than the stories of Christianity. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. (Full article...)

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In Germanic mythology, Thor (; from Old Norse: Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with lightning, thunder, storms, sacred groves and trees, strength, the protection of mankind and also hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar. All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning 'thunder').

Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the Germanic expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir, were worn and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. (Full article...)

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Prithu

  • ... that according to Hindu mythology, the "first king" Prithu chased the Earth in the form of a cow (pictured), who eventually agreed to yield her milk as all the world's grain and vegetation?

Statue of Bochica




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illustration of a great auk
A great auk, which may be the source for descriptions of the boobrie

The boobrie is a mythological shapeshifting entity inhabiting the lochs of the west coast of Scotland. It commonly adopts the appearance of a gigantic water bird resembling a cormorant or great northern diver, but it can also materialise in the form of various other mythological creatures such as a water bull.

A generally malevolent entity, the boobrie typically preys on livestock being transported on ships, but it is also fond of otters, of which it consumes a considerable number. In its manifestation as a water horse the creature is able to gallop across the top of lochs as if on solid ground. During the summer months it is seen infrequently as a large insect, sucking the blood of horses. (Full article...)

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