Self Help

Mythology Book, The - DK

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Matheus Puppe

· 63 min read

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Here is a summary of the contents section of the eBook:

  • The contents section provides an overview of the major myths and stories covered in the eBook, organized by geographical region or civilization. These include ancient Greece, Rome, Northern Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and more.

  • For each civilization or region, there are brief 1-2 sentence summaries of some of the most important myths, gods, legends, and figures from their mythology. For example, summaries are given for Greek myths like Gaia, Zeus, Prometheus, as well as Roman myths like Aeneas and Numa.

  • Myths from Northern European traditions like Norse and Celtic mythology are summarized, including the creation of the world by Ymir and tales involving Odin, Thor, and Ragnarok.

  • Asian mythologies featured include Mesopotamian myths like Gilgamesh, Hindu myths like the Ramayana and Ganesha, and Chinese/Taoist stories like Pangu and the Monkey King.

  • Native American myths covered span regions like Cherokee, Inca, Aztec myths involving figures like Viracocha and the five suns.

  • African myths summarized touch on Egyptian stories of Ra, Osiris and underworld, as well as West African tales like those involving Ananse the spider.

  • Oceanic myths covered the Dreamtime of Aboriginal Australians and tales from various Pacific Islands.

  • The contents section aims to provide a high-level overview and introduction to the vast array of myths that will be explored in further detail within the eBook.

  • Ancient Mesopotamian society was shaped by the myths and narratives they used to explain the cosmos. Rulers were guided by capricious gods whose will was interpreted by priests.

  • Priests had to continually praise and placate the gods through rituals like the Akitu festival where they would chant the creation myth Enuma Elish to re-energize the cosmos.

  • Mythologist Maya Deren said myths are “the facts of the mind made manifest in a fiction of matter.” Myths had a profound influence on great ancient cultures by validating social order and governance.

  • In Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome, foundation myths bound ideas of citizenship, patriotism and common interest to divine authority. Each city-state or culture had its own protective deities and myths.

  • Myths were preserved through oral tradition and later literary works. They continue to be an important part of identity and tradition for many indigenous cultures today. Mythology expresses humanity’s quest to understand mysteries of existence through storytelling.

  • The cycles of seasons, generations of humans, birth and death were set in motion by the original division between night and day, which introduced the concepts of time and its passage.

  • The first Greek goddess was Gaia, the primordial Earth mother. She conceived her son Ouranos spontaneously within herself. Ouranos represented the sky.

  • Their relationship introduced themes of intimacy and conflict between opposing forces. Ouranos attempted to suppress Gaia’s offspring out of jealousy.

  • Gaia appealed to their son Kronos for help. With a sickle, Kronos castrated his father Ouranos. Various deities sprang from Ouranos’s blood and semen, including Aphrodite.

  • Kronos freed his imprisoned brothers and sisters, the Titans. They represented aspects of existence. Conflict between generations would continue as a theme in Greek mythology.

  • Kronos took over rule but also sought to suppress his own offspring, continuing the cycle. This set the stage for Zeus and the Olympians eventually overthrowing their parents, the Titans.

  • Kronos dominated his wife Rhea and demanded exclusivity to meet his sexual needs. He knew children could dethrone him, as he had dethroned his father Ouranos.

  • To prevent this, Kronos swallowed all of Rhea’s children - Hestia, Demeter, Hera, the sons Hades and Poseidon - whole as soon as they were born.

  • Rhea hatched a plan with her parents Gaia and Ouranos to save her next child, Zeus. When Zeus was born, she substituted a stone wrapped in cloth that Kronos swallowed.

  • Rhea hid Zeus on Crete, where he was cared for secretly by a nymph and the Kouretes tribe, who masked his sounds from Kronos.

  • Zeus grew up seeking revenge. He ambushed Kronos and forced him to regurgitate the stone and their siblings, who had survived in Kronos’ stomach and were now fully grown.

  • Zeus and the Olympians then overthrew the Titans in a war for power. They established Mount Olympus as their seat and divided the world.

  • In Greek mythology, the first generation of gods were the Titans, led by Cronus. Cronus and the Titans were overthrown by Zeus and the Olympians in the Titanomachy (War of the Titans).

  • Zeus went on to become the king of the gods and had many divine children. Several of his children, such as Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, Artemis, and Athena joined the twelve Olympians on Mount Olympus.

  • Dionysus later replaced Hestia as one of the twelve Olympians after she left Mount Olympus.

  • Aphrodite had an affair with Ares, which was discovered by her husband Hephaestus.

  • Athena and her uncle Poseidon fought a battle over Athens, which Athena won.

  • The Olympian gods lived on Mount Olympus and met in council to discuss ruling the cosmos. They behaved very human-like, with flaws like jealousy, vanity, and infidelity. They mostly thought of themselves rather than humans. Greeks worshipped and made sacrifices to the gods hoping for blessings in return.

  • Prometheus was a Titan who defied Zeus and helped humans. He created the first humans out of clay and taught them skills.

  • Zeus punished humans by withholding fire from them. Prometheus stole fire back from Mount Olympus and gave it to humans, angering Zeus further.

  • Zeus sent a great flood to wipe out humans, but Prometheus’s son Deukalion and his wife Pyrrha survived by building an ark.

  • After the flood, Deukalion and Pyrrha repopulated the earth by throwing stones behind them, which turned into new humans.

  • Prometheus showed humans how to sacrifice to the gods, but tricked Zeus by presenting him with bones wrapped in meat instead of the other way around. This further incurred Zeus’s wrath against humans.

  • Humans lived in a declining state through the ages - from a golden age under Kronos to an iron age of hardship without fire or technology. Prometheus helped humans but also brought Zeus’s anger down upon them through his rebellious and defiant acts.

  • In the early days, humans subsisted on uits (berries) and uncooked carrion, using basic tools like twigs and bones. Their existence could barely be called primitive as they struggled each day to avoid starvation.

  • Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and brought it down to humanity, transforming their lives. Fire provided heat, warmth, light and protection from predators. It allowed humans to develop skills like metalworking, crafts, tools and weapons. This marked the beginning of human progress and innovation.

  • Zeus was furious about the theft of fire and Prometheus’ defiance. He had Prometheus punished eternally - chained to a mountain where an eagle would eat his regenerating liver every day.

  • Zeus also punished humanity by having Hephaestus create the first woman, Pandora, to plague mankind with hardship, war and death. Pandora opened a jar containing all the evils of the world, releasing them upon humanity, with only hope remaining inside.

  • Prometheus’ gift of fire to humanity marked a turning point where they progressed from a primitive existence struggling for survival to a life of achievements and progress, despite the punishments from Zeus intended to curb their development.

Here is a summary of the key points about Zeus, Mnemosyne, and some of Zeus’s other love affairs from the passage:

  • Zeus seduced Mnemosyne through shape-shifting. Many of his other love affairs also involved changing form to seduce or win over his victims.

  • To win over his wife Hera, Zeus transformed into a small fledgling cuckoo in the rain. When Hera saw the helpless bird, she took it in to warm it. Zeus then shifted back to seduce her.

  • To seduce Leda, Zeus took the form of a swan. As with Hera, he preyed on her compassion by appearing as an animal in distress. He raped her after she cradled him protectively.

  • To seduce Semele, Zeus took the form of an eagle, his emblem as king of the gods. Their union resulted in Dionysus.

  • To approach the betrothed Alcmene, Zeus assumed another man’s form while he was away. Their son was Heracles.

  • To reach the imprisoned Danaë, Zeus transformed into a shower of gold to pour through her prison skylight and impregnate her.

So in summary, Zeus frequently used deception and shape-shifting to seduce or rape mortal women and goddesses, often preying on their compassion by appearing as helpless animals.

The passage describes some key figures and aspects of the ancient Greek underworld and afterlife according to mythology. Cerberus was the multi-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades. Charon ferried souls of the deceased across the river Styx into the underworld.

Various deities and demons resided in Hades, such as Nyx the goddess of night, Eurynomos a flesh-eating demon, and the goddess Hekate. The Furies served as torturers for Hades. Tartarus was both a deity and a place of punishment for the Titans.

The myths describe various torments suffered by souls in the underworld, such as Tantalus being endlessly thirsty and hungry despite being surrounded by food and water, and Sisyphus condemned to endlessly push a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down.

Some virtuous heroes were sent to the Elysian Fields to live in bliss. However, ancient Greeks did not necessarily believe in a systematic judgement of all souls after death. The passage also briefly mentions figures like Persephone, queen of the underworld, and rituals associated with her story like the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The myth tells of the events surrounding the death of Pentheus, the king of Thebes, at the hands of his own mother and other women who were maenads (priestesses) of Dionysus, the god of wine.

Dionysus convinced Pentheus to climb a tree to watch a final orgiastic rite by the maenads in honor of Dionysus in the countryside. Pentheus did so dressed in women’s clothing. However, when the maenads spotted him in the tree, in their ecstatic state induced by Dionysus they mistook Pentheus for a wild animal and tore him limb from limb, killing him.

Pentheus’ own mother was among the maenads who killed him, showing the power Dionysus had to drive people mad and make them lose control. His death demonstrated the finality of being drawn into Dionysus’ cult and rites, and the dangers of refusing to accept the new god’s worship.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The ancient city of Athens held a contest between Athena and Poseidon to become the patron deity. Both gods eagerly wanted the role. In the contest, Poseidon struck the earth with his trident, creating a saltwater spring. Athena poked the ground, which produced an olive tree. King Cecrops declared Athena the winner based on the people’s vote, fittingly for Athens as the birthplace of democracy. However, Poseidon’s gift ensured Athens also prospered from its seaport.

The contest is depicted on an ancient Greek vase painted by the Amasis Painter around 540 BCE. The inscription credits Amasis as the artist.

The text then notes that according to the Description of Greece, the Athenians were particularly devoted to religion compared to other Greeks.

Overall, this summarizes the key details of the story of the contest between Athena and Poseidon to become patron of Athens, as well as noting an artistic depiction of the event and commenting on Athenian piety according to an ancient source.

Here is a summary of the key points about the Trojan War:

  • The war began after Paris, a Trojan prince, awarded a golden apple meant for “the fairest” to Aphrodite, goddess of love. In return, Aphrodite helped Paris abduct Helen, the beautiful wife of King Menelaus of Sparta.

  • Menelaus appealed to his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to lead a Greek army to Troy and recapture Helen. Major Greek heroes who fought include Achilles, considered the greatest warrior, and Odysseus, king of Ithaca known for his cunning.

  • After nine years of fighting and failed attacks on Troy’s walled city, plague struck the Greek army and Achilles refused to fight after a dispute with Agamemnon.

  • When Achilles’ friend Patroclus borrowed his armour, he was killed by Hector, Troy’s greatest warrior. In revenge, Achilles killed Hector.

  • The war dragged on until the Greeks developed a ruse using a gigantic hollow wooden horse to secretly hide soldiers. The trick allowed the Greeks to enter Troy and burn it to the ground, marking their victory after ten long years.

  • Both sides suffered heavy losses before the war was won through trickery rather than outright battle. The outcome set the stage for Greek stories of the returning heroes like Odysseus.

  • Odysseus faces many obstacles delaying his 10-year journey home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, due to the enmity of Poseidon.

  • He is held captive by the nymph Calypso on her island for years. Meanwhile, his wife Penelope fends off suitors at home through tricks like her weaving and unweaving.

  • After escaping Calypso, Odysseus endures encounters with the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops Polyphemus (Poseidon’s son), Circe, and other dangers.

  • From Tiresias in Hades, he learns of Poseidon’s wrath and more delays follow. Shipwrecked in Phaeacia, he tells King Alcinous his tales.

  • Finally returning home in disguise, he defeats Penelope’s suitors with her help and reveals his identity.

  • Homer is thought to be a mythical figure, and the epics were likely compiled over centuries from an oral tradition rather than a single poet. Shipbuilding and seafaring played a key role.

Here is a summary of the key events in c. 150 CE:

  • Herakles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene. Despite being conceived through Zeus’s deception, Alcmene and her husband Amphitryon raised Herakles as their own.

  • As an infant, Herakles demonstrated his superhuman strength by strangling two giant serpents sent by the jealous goddess Hera to kill him.

  • As an adult, Herakles killed his wife and children in a fit of madness induced by Hera. To atone for this crime, he was sentenced to perform 10 labours assigned by King Eurystheus.

  • Herakles’ first labor was slaying the Nemean lion. Subsequent labors included defeating the Hydra, capturing the Ceryneian Hind, cleaning the Augean stables, and more monster killings.

  • The labors established Herakles as a great hero, though Hera continued in her vendetta against him by manipulating the Oracle and Eurystheus. Herakles was eventually released from service after his final labor of capturing Cerberus.

  • The story sets the stage for Herakles’ future deeds and establishes the rivalry between him and Hera that would continue through many of the legendary hero’s exploits. The summary focuses on Herakles’ origin and his initial labors assigned as punishment and atonement.

  • As part of a tribute to King Minos of Crete, Athens was required to send seven boys and seven girls every nine years to be fed to the Minotaur, a monster half man and half bull that lived in the Labyrinth.

  • The Minotaur was the son of Pasiphae, Minos’ wife, and a white bull. Poseidon had cursed Pasiphae to fall in love with the bull after Minos kept it rather than sacrificing it.

  • Daedalus built the Labyrinth to contain the Minotaur. Its complicated winding passages confused anyone who tried to leave.

  • When it was Athens’ turn to send sacrifices, Theseus volunteered to kill the Minotaur. With help from Minos’ daughter Ariadne and a ball of string from Daedalus, he was able to navigate the Labyrinth and slay the Minotaur.

  • Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos during their escape. His father Aegeus, waiting for Theseus’ return, saw the black sails of the ship and in grief threw himself into the sea.

So in summary, it describes the tribute Athens had to pay to Crete of sending youths to the Minotaur, and how Theseus was able to defeat the monster with Daedalus’ help.

The passage describes the mythical city of Athens at the height of its political and military power in ancient Greece. It portrays Athens as the “crowning glory” of the city during this zenith, but also notes it was a “stone-built hymn to symmetry and balance”. Athens is characterized as the “embodiment of moderation and beauty” during this period, suggesting it achieved a harmonious balance between its military strength and aesthetic refinement. The summary focuses on how Athens is depicted as a powerful yet beautifully symmetrical city, balanced and moderate in its design, highlighting its positive qualities during its apex.

Medea helps Jason flee Colchis with the Golden Fleece by murdering her brother Absyrtus and throwing his remains into the sea. Her father would have to stop to gather his son’s remains for burial, allowing Medea and Jason time to escape.

Medea and Jason have children together, but Jason later leaves Medea to marry Glauce, daughter of the king of Corinth, for political gain. In revenge, Medea kills Glauce by giving her a poisoned wedding robe that burns her to death. She then slays two of her own children with Jason, leaving only their son Thessalus alive, before fleeing to Athens.

Medea’s actions show how a woman scorned will enact horrific revenge against those who betray her trust and love. Her willingness to murder even her own children demonstrates the depths of fury and despair one might feel in response to abandonment and betrayal. The myth of Medea has been interpreted and dramatized by many ancient Greek playwrights and poets as a cautionary tale of the dangers of covetousness, infidelity and the fates one may unleash by crossing or angering a powerful sorceress.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The myth of Myrrha tells the story of a woman who was cursed with an incestuous desire for her father, King Cinyras of Cyprus. She seduced him at night disguised as another woman and became pregnant. When Cinyras discovered the truth, he pursued Myrrha with a sword but the gods took pity on her and turned her into a myrrh tree. Still, she gave birth while in tree form and the baby was named Adonis.

Adonis grew up to be extremely handsome but a poor hunter who was killed by a boar. This grieved his lover Aphrodite. The annual Adonia festival celebrated his life and mourn his death. It was observed by Athenian women who saw it as celebrating sexuality and mourning mortality.

Adonis was linked to the cycles of nature and seasons. One myth had him spending half the year with Aphrodite and the other half with Persephone in the underworld, representing his connection to fertility and renewal.

The summary touches on the key points of the provided text, including the myth of Myrrha and her curse, the birth and death of Adonis, the Adonia festival held in his honor, and the link between Adonis and the seasons/cycles of nature as portrayed in myths. It synthesizes the most important details while staying brief as requested.

  • Anchises is Aeneas’s father. He dies in Sicily during Aeneas’s voyage after the fall of Troy.

  • Juno is the queen of the gods and has a long-standing hatred for the Trojans. She repeatedly tries to sabotage Aeneas’s journey.

  • Dido is the queen of Carthage who falls in love with Aeneas after he is shipwrecked there. She commits suicide when he leaves.

  • Jupiter is the king of the gods. He sends Mercury to remind Aeneas to continue his journey and found a new city.

  • Lavinia is the princess of Latium who is destined to become Aeneas’s wife.

  • Turnus is the ruler of the Rutuli tribe in Latium who opposes Aeneas’s settlement there. He goes to war with Aeneas.

  • Neptune is the god of the sea who calms storms to help Aeneas’s voyage at times.

  • The epic poem the Aeneid, written by Virgil, tells the story of Aeneas’s journey after the Trojan War and how he goes on to found Rome, making him the mythological forefather of the Roman people.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

  • The myth of the founding of Rome centers around the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who were born to the vestal virgin Rhea Silvia and either the god Mars or the king Amulius. They were ordered to be drowned by Amulius but survived and were raised by a she-wolf.

  • As adults, Romulus and Remus learned of their history and launched a revolt against Amulius. They then decided to found a new city but disagreed on its location. To settle it, they observed bird omens but a fight broke out and Romulus killed Remus.

  • Romulus became the sole ruler and founder of Rome in 753 BCE. However, the city lacked women. During a festival, Romulus signaled his men to seize the unmarried Sabine women.

  • The Sabines declared war in response. A battle raged but the Sabine women intervened. Peace was made between the Romans and Sabines, ruled jointly by Romulus and the Sabine king Titus Tatius.

  • Romulus ruled for 40 years, establishing Rome as a powerful city, before mysteriously disappearing in a storm. His body was never found, leading to the belief that he was taken up to heaven by the gods.

Here is a brief summary:

Romulus, the founder and first king of Rome, ruled for nearly 40 years. Towards the end of his reign, there was dissent among the Roman people. During a military review, Romulus disappeared in a great storm that arose. There were debates about whether he ascended to heaven or was killed. He was later worshipped as the god Quirinus.

After Romulus, Numa Pompilius became Rome’s second king. He was a Sabine, showing unity between the Romans and Sabines after Romulus and Tatius. Numa established many religious and political institutions to strengthen early Rome. He communicated with gods like Jupiter and Faunus to learn how to appease them and ensure Rome’s safety.

  • Tarquinius Superbus was the last king of Rome before the establishment of the Roman Republic.

  • In Roman mythology, the prophetess Sibyl of Cumae guided Aeneas, a Trojan hero, to the underworld and back to help him fulfill his destiny of founding Rome.

  • As a young woman, the Sibyl rejected the romantic advances of the god Apollo. As punishment, she was granted eternal life but not eternal youth, so she aged intensely over hundreds of years.

  • The old and withered Sibyl tried to sell King Tarquinius Superbus nine books of prophecies, then six, then three when he refused to pay her price. He eventually bought the three remaining books, known later as the Sibylline Books.

  • The Sibylline Books were consulted by Roman authorities at times of crisis and contained prophecies that helped direct Roman worship practices. They were eventually destroyed.

  • The passage references Apollo, the Sibyl, Tarquinius Superbus, the founding of Rome, and themes of prophecies, fate, and the underworld. It focuses on the mythology surrounding the Sibyl of Cumae.

Here is a summary of the myth of Narcissus:

  • Narcissus was a beautiful young man who was proud and spurned the love of those who admired him, including the nymph Echo.

  • One day while hunting in the woods, Narcissus came upon a clear spring. Upon seeing his own reflection in the water, he fell deeply in love with it, not realizing it was just an image.

  • He was unable to leave the spring, spending all his time gazing at his reflection. He pined away, unable to consummate his love or touch the beautiful image.

  • Realizing it was himself he loved, he lamented “farewell” and died of sorrow by the spring. Echo, who had hidden there, also said “farewell” in reply.

  • Where Narcissus died, the white narcissus flower grew. It bears his name as a reminder of his nemesis - falling in love not with another, but only with his own reflection.

  • This warns against hubris, vanity, and the futility of self-love. It illustrates how pride can be one’s downfall. Narcissus’ inability to see beyond his own image caused his lonely death.

Here is a summary of the key details from the passages:

  • The cult of Mithras originated in Persia but was adopted by the Romans. Little is known about its origins and relationship to earlier Persian religions due to a lack of written sources.

  • In Rome, it arose in the 1st century BCE and appealed especially to soldiers. Worshippers gathered in underground temples called mithraea.

  • The central myth depicted in mithraea shows Mithras slaying a bull, representing a symbolic act of cosmic renewal and heralding the spring equinox.

  • Images of astrological signs reinforce Mithras’ symbolism as the sun at the center of the cosmos. Scenes always depict Mithras looking back over his shoulder, representing the constellation of Perseus.

  • Through these depictions, some scholars believe Mithras represented both the sun and the constellation of Perseus, which “slays” the astrological sign of Taurus each year.

  • Other archaeological evidence from Syria depicts Mithras conquering evil, shown standing over a fettered devil and attacking a city of demons.

  • Worship on Sundays further supports the idea that Mithras was viewed as the sun at the center of the week and cosmos in the standardized Roman calendar.

In summary, the passages discuss the Roman cult of Mithras, which focused on myths depicting Mithras as a solar deity and conqueror of evil, as represented through consistent imagery in underground temples across the Roman empire. Limited sources require reliance on archaeological evidence to understand this mysterious religion.

  • Te, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Kafka were influential authors whose works still resonate today.

  • Titian, Richard Strauss, and many more refers to other prominent figures across different creative fields like visual art and music.

  • The passage is providing examples of individuals who have made significant contributions in literature, art, music, and other domains over centuries, from the Renaissance to modern times. Their works have stood the test of time and influenced countless others.

  • By grouping these names together, the passage is recognizing the lasting impacts these visionaries have had in shaping culture and artistic traditions across Europe and beyond. While from different historical periods, they all produced works that are still appreciated and studied widely today.

Here is a summary of the Norse creation myth according to Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda:

  • Originally there were two worlds - Muspelheim, a world of fire, and Niflheim, a world of ice. Between them was Ginnungagap, the primordial void.

  • Rivers carried poisonous vapors from Niflheim into Ginnungagap, freezing parts of it. In the middle area, ice began to melt into drops from which Ymir, the first frost giant, was formed.

  • While Ymir slept, more giants were born from sweat under his arm. A cows named Audhumla emerged from the ice and nourished Ymir with her milk.

  • Audhumla’s licking revealed another giant named Búri, and later his son Bor married Bestla, daughter of a frost giant, and they had three sons - Odin, Vili, and Vé.

  • The three brothers killed Ymir and used his body to create the world - his flesh was the earth, his blood the seas, bones the rocks, etc. They trapped the winds under his eyebrows to form Midgard for humanity.

  • From Ymir’s maggots in the flesh, they created dwarves. They placed Ymir’s skull over the earth as the sky. From sparks from Muspelheim they made stars and from Ymir’s brains they made clouds.

  • Finding driftwood on the shore, the gods brought it to life as the first humans, Ask and Embla, giving them characteristics like speech. After creating humanity, the gods made Asgard as their realm.

  • The Norse cosmos was centered around the world tree Yggdrasil, which connected multiple worlds including Asgard, Midgard, and the underworld. The exact layout was ambiguous.

  • Odin ruled the gods from Asgard. He gained wisdom by sacrificing himself to himself hanging from Yggdrasil.

  • The Norns lived by the well under Yggdrasil and determined the fate of all.

  • Warriors who died in battle went to Odin’s hall Valhalla to prepare for Ragnarok.

  • Yggdrasil was inhabited by creatures like the dragon Nidhogg and eagle. Ratatoskr carried messages between Nidhogg and the eagle.

  • There was a war between the Aesir gods led by Odin in Asgard and the Vanir gods led by Njord. It ended in an exchange of hostages.

  • Odin sacrificed an eye to gain wisdom from Mimir’s well in Jotunheim. Runes had power and significance beyond just letters.

  • The myths help explain the Norse worldview and afterlife beliefs but left many details of the cosmology ambiguous.

  • In Norse mythology, there were two families of gods - the Aesir (led by Odin) and the Vanir.

  • According to myth, the Aesir and Vanir once fought a war over who had the right to receive sacrifices from humans.

  • The war began when the Aesir mistreated the witch Gullveig at a feast in Asgard. She had gifts of magic and prophecy.

  • Neither side could win the war, so they agreed to an exchange of hostages and swore peace. They spat into a bowl to seal the truce.

  • The Vanir hostages among the Aesir fared better than the Aesir among the Vanir. The Vanir beheaded the wise god Mimir.

  • The distinction between the Aesir and Vanir eventually faded as they integrated their religions and shared in human sacrifices.

  • The myth is seen by some as representing an integration of the gods of early Scandinavian farmers (Vanir) with gods of later Indo-European immigrants (Aesir).

  • Loki caused mischief by cutting off Sif’s hair while she slept.

  • The dwarf brothers Eitri and Brokk made treasures for the gods in a forging contest, including Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) and Draupnir (a ring that produced eight new rings every ninth night). Loki bit Brokk’s eyelid to sabotage his work and cause the hammer’s handle to be short.

  • Loki and Brokk went to Asgard to have the gods judge whose work was best. When Mjolnir was deemed the finest, Brokk was declared the winner. Loki tried to bribe Brokk to save his life but was outwitted.

  • Thor favored the common farmers and used Mjolnir to defend the gods and humans against giants, smashing their skulls. The hammer always returned to Thor’s hand no matter how far he threw it. In one myth, the giant Thrym stole Mjolnir and used it as leverage, but Thor and Loki recovered it.

The passage provides context about Loki’s mischievous actions that sabotaged dwarven craftsmanship and led to a contest judged by the gods. It also briefly summarizes Thor’s role wielding his powerful hammer Mjolnir against giants, and one myth where it was stolen.

  • Loki tricks the god Hod into shooting Baldur with a mistletoe arrow, killing him. Baldur was beloved by all and impervious to harm.

  • Frigg sends Hermod to Hel to plead for Baldur’s release. Hel agrees if all things weep for Baldur. But Loki in disguise refuses to weep.

  • The gods take revenge on Loki for killing Baldur. They chain him beneath a serpent whose venom drips on his face, causing earthquakes as Loki writhes in pain. His wife Sigyn holds a bowl to catch the venom but must empty it, allowing more drops to hit Loki.

  • Loki’s punishment will last until Ragnarok, the prophesied end of the world and twilight of the gods, when Loki and other forces will help bring about the gods’ downfall in a final battle. Afterward, a few survivors will repopulate the world.

  • Prophecy and destiny played a central role in Norse mythology. Seers could foresee events like Ragnarok through the magic of seidr. Odin himself consulted a raised dead seeress about its details.

  • For three years the sun, moon, and stars were eaten by wolves Sköll, Hati Hródvitnisson, and Mánagarm respectively, plunging the world into darkness.

  • The bonds of Loki and his son Fenrir broke, unleashing them. The rope tying the hellhound Garm also broke.

  • Odin consulted the wise head of Mimir for guidance during Ragnarok.

  • Giant forces advanced on Asgard led by the Midgard Serpent Jormungand. Naglfar, the ship made of dead men’s nails, was also part of the invading force.

  • Fenrir’s jaws stretched from sky to earth. Jormungand spewed venom across the skies. The fire giants of Muspelheim also joined the battle.

  • The gods, including Odin, Thor, and Freyr, rallied to defend Asgard against the forces of Loki, Fenrir, Jormungand, and Surt.

  • Major battles occurred between gods and enemies. Odin was killed by Fenrir but his son Vidar avenged him. Thor killed Jormungand but died from its poison.

  • Surt’s fire burned the world, drowning everything in the sea. However, a new, green world would emerge from the ruin.

  • In Norse mythology, Brynhild was a Valkyrie (a female warrior) who was cursed by the god Odin to live as a mortal woman after disobeying his orders in battle.

  • She fell in love with the hero Sigurd but was tricked into marrying Gunnar, the brother of Sigurd’s wife Gudrun. Brynhild was enraged when she learned the truth.

  • At Brynhild’s urging, Gunnar’s brother Guttorm fatally wounded Sigurd. Overcome with grief, Brynhild then threw herself on Sigurd’s funeral pyre.

  • Gunnar alone avoided the curse that followed Sigurd’s treasure by abandoning the gold in a cave.

So in summary, Brynhild was deceived into marrying Gunnar instead of her true love Sigurd. When she discovered the deception, she ordered Gunnar’s brother to kill Sigurd, after which she committed suicide due to her heartbreak over Sigurd’s death.

Here is a summary of the key details from Lebor Gabála Érenn (“The Book of the Taking of Ireland”):

  • The story describes the mythical inhabitants of ancient Ireland before the Celts arrived. These were the Tuatha Dé Danann, children of the goddess Danu.

  • The Dagda was the leader and father figure of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He had magical powers and possessed the Dagda’s Cauldron, an endless source of food and drink.

  • The Dagda was a complex god - both wise and foolish. He fought bravely but was ultimately killed in the Battle of Mag Tuired against the Formorians.

  • Other important figures included the Morrigan, a goddess of war and fertility who was one of the Dagda’s lovers, and Cethlenn, a Formorian queen who prophetically threw the dart that killed the Dagda.

  • The story recounts how the Tuatha Dé Danann settled in Ireland in the 9th century BCE, bringing magical talismans with them, and their subsequent battle with the Formorians.

  • It presents a mythology to explain the mythical origins and early inhabitants of ancient Ireland before the arrival of Celtic peoples. The Dagda and Tuatha Dé Danann represented divine beings.

The story involves the Irish giant Finn MacCool, who was said to live in the 4th century CE. According to the myth, Finn planned to fight the giant Benandonner from Scotland. However, when Finn saw how much larger Benandonner was, he fled back to Ireland in fear. In his haste, he left one of his boots stuck in the ground.

Benandonner pursued Finn to his home. Finn’s wife Oonagh devised a cunning plan to save her husband. She pretended Finn was actually a baby and hid him in a cradle. When Benandonner arrived, Oonagh treated him to tough bread containing hidden metal griddles that broke his teeth. She also tricked him into thinking the “baby” Finn was extraordinarily strong.

Terrified by Finn’s apparent size and strength, Benandonner fled and smashed the land bridge between Ireland and Scotland out of fear, creating what is now known as the Giant’s Causeway. The myth explains the formation of the geological feature and portrays Finn MacCool as a giant who was larger and stronger than even his enemy Benandonner. Oonagh used deception and tricks to scare off the threatening Scottish giant and save her husband.

  • Thomas Malory wrote Le Morte d’Arthur in the 15th century based on earlier Arthurian legends. He conceived of Arthur’s conception as aided by the wizard Merlin’s magic.

  • Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, proving himself the rightful king of England. He received the magical sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake.

  • Malory included the quest for the Holy Grail, which first appeared at the Round Table. Knights like Sir Lancelot failed to achieve it due to impurity of sin.

  • Tragedies included the love affairs of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, and of Sir Tristan and Isolde, which divided the knights.

  • Mordred’s treason forced Arthur to war with Lancelot and divide the Round Table further. Arthur and Mordred fatally wounded each other at Camlann.

  • Arthur was taken to Avalon, leaving his fate uncertain, as Malory concluded the work with the king’s death. The legends emphasized chivalry, honor and Christianity.

Here is a summary of the key points about the Grail:

  • The Grail is described as an elaborately decorated bowl or chalice that contained a single wafer for the Catholic Mass.

  • Some scholars trace the idea of the Grail back to myths of mystical cauldrons from Celtic mythology. The cauldron was believed to confer gifts upon powerful warriors or heal the sick.

  • The Grail first appears in Christian legend and medieval literature in the 12th century, notably in the Vulgate Cycle and the Queste del Saint Graal. It is portrayed as a sacred relic of importance to theknights of King Arthur’s round table.

  • In the stories, the Grail had special powers to nourish, revive or heal. It was connected to the last supper of Jesus and was thought to possess miraculous qualities. Only a chosen knight could achieve the Grail quest.

  • Over time the Grail became associated with Joseph of Arimathea, who was said to have caught Christ’s blood in the Grail bowl during the crucifixion. It was linked to notions of sacred kingship, sacrifice and redemption through Christ.

  • The mystical nature and symbolism of the Grail captured the medieval imagination. Its origin and significance has been much debated by scholars over the centuries.

  • Inanna told her attendant Ninshubur to seek the gods’ help if she did not return from her descent into the underworld.

  • When Inanna entered the seventh gate of the underworld, her pala dress, the garment of ladyship, was removed from her body. She had to relinquish her divine powers and articles of clothing at each of the seven gates.

  • In the Mesopotamian belief system, the descent of Inanna into the underworld caused the world above to lose its fertility. Animals and humans stopped reproducing and the land became barren, demonstrating how the heavens and earth were interconnected.

  • After sitting on Ereshkigal’s throne, Inanna was condemned to death by the seven judges of the underworld and transformed into a rotting corpse.

  • Ninshubur appealed to the gods to rescue Inanna. Enki created figures that used ritual words to revive Inanna, restoring her to health, on the condition that she provide a substitute.

  • Inanna offered up her husband Dumuzid, the god of fertility and shepherding, who was captured and taken to the underworld. Their fates expressed the seasonal cycle of growth and dormancy.

  • The Enuma Elish myth describes how Marduk became the king of the gods by defeating Tiamat and the other primordial gods. He used parts of Tiamat’s body to create the heavens, earth, and rivers.

  • Marduk then created humankind from the blood of another defeated god to serve the gods. He established Babylon as the holy city and gateway between heaven and earth.

  • The myth declared all of Marduk’s 50 names and proclaimed his supremacy, suggesting it dates from when Babylon was the capital of Mesopotamia in the 17th century BCE or later when the city was being rebuilt.

  • It illustrates how the Babylonians viewed creation as the gods triumphing over chaos and establishes Marduk as the head of their pantheon. The myth emphasizes order and Marduk’s central role in establishing the cosmos.

Here is a summary of the key points about immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh:

  • Gilgamesh was deeply troubled by his friend Enkidu’s death and fearful of his own mortality. He wanted to find the secret to immortality.

  • Gilgamesh learned about Utnapishtim, a survivor of the Great Flood who had been granted immortality by the gods.

  • Gilgamesh embarked on a quest to find Utnapishtim and ask him how he obtained immortality.

  • When Gilgamesh finally reached Utnapishtim, Utnapishtim told him immortality was not possible for humans and that death is the fate of all men.

  • Utnapishtim proved this by challenging Gilgamesh to stay awake for 6 days and 7 nights without sleeping. Gilgamesh failed by falling asleep.

  • As a parting gift, Utnapishtim’s wife convinced him to tell Gilgamesh about a plant at the bottom of the sea that could renew youth.

  • Gilgamesh found the plant but then lost it when a snake stole it while he was bathing. The snake rejuvenated by shedding its skin.

  • Realizing immortality had escaped him, Gilgamesh returned to Uruk accepting his mortality and role as a good king for his people.

So in summary, the epic details Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality but ultimately concludes that immortality is beyond mortal men and acknowledges the human fate of death. Gilgamesh finds acceptance in his own mortality by the end.

The passage discusses key aspects of Zoroastrian eschatology and mythology. It describes the eternal struggle between the good god Ahura Mazda and the evil spirit Ahriman. At the end of time, there will be an apocalyptic battle in which the world comes to an end. A savior figure called Saoshyant will help Ahura Mazda defeat Ahriman and the forces of darkness.

When Ahriman is finally defeated, the dead will be resurrected and judged. The children of Ahura Mazda will be among the first resurrected, and humanity will live in a world without evil or death, with good triumphing over evil permanently.

The passage also provides background on Zoroastrian religious texts like the Avesta and Bundahishn, which developed the cosmology and stories found in Zoroastrianism. It depicts Ahura Mazda on a historical fire temple emblem, showing how the religion incorporated earlier Mesopotamian influences over time.

The Ramayana describes Rama’s duty as the dharmic protector of his kingdom, Ayodhya. As the virtuous heir to the throne, Rama is responsible for upholding dharma and defeating adharma (evil). Despite being exiled unjustly, Rama maintains his duty and integrity. When Ravana abducts his wife Sita, Rama organizes an army of monkeys and goes to war to rescue her, destroying the demon Ravana and restoring dharma. As the seventh avatar of Vishnu, Rama is committed to protecting righteousness and good governance through moral action, even at personal cost, depicting the ideal dharmic ruler.

  • Boys learned to recite a poem by the sage Valmiki.

  • When the story of Ramayana was performed for King Rama, he was overcome with grief.

  • Valmiki then brought Sita before Rama, but she called upon the earth mother (who had given birth to her) to free her from this unjust world.

  • The earth opened up and Sita vanished into the ground forever.

Nanga Baiga was the first man created by the Creator to inhabit the land of the Baiga people. The Creator taught Nanga Baiga everything he needed to know for his people to survive, such as how to cultivate crops. It was then time for Nanga Baiga to receive seeds from the Creator. However, as some seeds fell from Nanga Baiga’s hand, the Creator said this was good as it would ensure that only the poor would be content to serve as servants of Dharti Mata (the Earth Mother). The Creator wanted there to be a diversity of poor and wealthy people in the world. This story talks about the origins of the Baiga people and their relationship with the land as taught to them by their creator figure.

Here is a summary of the key points about the Japanese creation myth from the Kojiki:

  • Izanagi and Izanami, the creator gods, created the islands of Japan by pouring salt from Izanagi’s spear into the sea.

  • They went on to give birth to many deities and spirits that came to represent different natural features of Japan.

  • However, Izanami died giving birth to the fire spirit Kagutsuchi. Izanagi tried to retrieve her from the underworld but was horrified by her decaying body.

  • After returning to earth, Izanagi cleansed himself which created more deities, including the supreme deities Amaterasu (sun), Tsukuyomi (moon) and Susanoo (sea/storms).

  • Conflict arose between Amaterasu and Susanoo as their domains of fertility vs destruction could rival each other. This sets up the theme of sibling rivalry that is important in later myths.

  • The myths were first recorded in 8th century texts and help explain the origins of Japan and its indigenous Shinto religion, which centers around worshipping and respecting kami spirits.

Here are the summaries of the Japanese Shinto figures:

  • Susanoo - God of the sea and storms, son of Izanagi. Known for his quarrel with his sister Amaterasu which led to him being banished from heaven. He slayed the Yamata no Orochi dragon and married Kushinada-hime.

  • Omoikane - God of wisdom who helped convince Amaterasu to leave the cave she hid in using a trick with a mirror.

  • O-ge-tsu-hime - A food spirit whose corpse produced important crops after she was killed by Susanoo.

  • Ashinazuchi - An old man spirit whose daughter Kushinada-hime marries Susanoo after he slays the Yamata no Orochi dragon.

  • Yamata no Orochi - An eight-headed dragon that Susanoo slays to marry Kushinada-hime. It previously ate seven of Ashinazuchi’s daughters.

  • Amaterasu - Goddess of the sun who quarreled with her brother Susanoo, leading to darkness when she hid in a cave. She was convinced to emerge using a trick with a mirror.

Kabigat wanted to go hunting with his brother Wigan. To see if their hunt would be successful, Wigan sacrificed a chicken to various gods and the omens were good.

They went into the hills with their dogs and spears. They chased a wild pig into the forest, all the way up into the Skyworld. There they found the pig by the house of the gods Lidum and Hinumbían and Wigan speared it.

When questioned, Wigan said they had chased the pig from down below. They shared the meat with the gods. In return, the gods gave Wigan seeds of superior skyworld rice.

Wigan and Kabigat took fire back down to cook the meat. They fed spirits who returned food to the gods. Pleased, the gods offered jewels but Wigan demanded more skyworld rice seeds, which were better. The gods burned their house trying fire for the first time.

Wigan taught people how to cultivate and store the rice, establishing the rice terraces. The Ifugao culture was founded on agriculture based on gifts exchanged with the sky gods.

According to Cherokee mythology, in the beginning there was only water. The first creature, a water beetle called Dâyuni’sï, dove under the water and brought up some mud, spreading it on the surface to create the first land. Cords connect this new earth to the spirit realm above. Birds came to inspect the land - buzzard flew over it, carving out valleys with its tired wings and mountains when it flew up.

When the land was dry, animals came down from above to inhabit it. But it was too dark, so they placed the sun in the sky to move from east to west each day. Initially the sun was too close and burned the crawfish Tsiska’gïlï, turning it red. The first humans, a brother and sister, were then created to inhabit the new world.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The animals created the sun and tried to stay awake for 7 days and 7 nights to keep watch over it. Those that succeeded, like owls and panthers, were able to see and hunt at night. Deciduous trees lost their ability to stay green in winter because they did not endure to the end.

Cherokee mythology includes a competition between birds and other animals where birds transformed some small creatures into bats and flying squirrels so they could play. This myth is reflected in the ball game of anetso, which is central to Cherokee identity and community.

The first human beings were a brother and sister. The brother struck the sister with a fish and told her to bear children. Initially, the woman gave birth every 7 days but then population growth was slowed so women could only give birth once a year.

In summary, these passages describe Cherokee creation myths and the origins of certain animal and plant attributes from persevering during the first watch over the sun. It also briefly outlines the origins of human beings and control of population growth.

This passage from the Popol Vuh tells the story of the origins of the Maya Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

Their father was Hun-Hunahpu, who was decapitated in the Underworld for annoying the gods there with his ball game. His head was hung from a tree, where his spittle impregnated the moon goddess Xquic.

Xquic fled to earth where she gave birth to the Hero Twins. They grew up with their grandmother Xmucane. Their half-brothers Hun-Chowen and Hun-Batz were jealous and tried to kill them by forcing them to hunt for dangerous animals.

However, the Hero Twins outsmarted the animals and emerged unharmed. This established their reputation as clever tricksters who could overcome any challenge through wit and skill, setting the stage for their future confrontation with the gods of the Underworld.

In Aztec mythology, there have been four previous worlds or ‘suns’ before the current Fifth Sun. Each sun represented a new period of creation that ended in destruction.

The first sun was the god Tezcatlipoca, but he was knocked down from the heavens by the jealous god Quetzalcoatl. Tezcatlipoca rose from the sea as a jaguar and ordered jaguars to devour the giants living on earth, ending that world.

Quetzalcoatl became the second sun, but Tezcatlipoca avenged himself by destroying Quetzalcoatl and causing a hurricane to sweep away the people.

The third sun was the rain god Tlaloc. However, after Tezcatlipoca seduced Tlaloc’s wife Xochiquetzal, the grieving Tlaloc refused to send rain, causing drought. He then sent torrents of fire to destroy that world.

The fourth sun was Tlaloc’s new wife Chalchiuhtlicue. But Tezcatlipoca again sowed seeds of doubt, causing her to withdraw her bounty from the land and end that world.

The current world is ruled by the Fifth Sun, but it is sickly. According to the legend, it will also eventually face destruction to make way for the next cycle of creation and world.

  • The goddess Ixchel cried for 52 years, flooding the world. Only a man named Tata and woman named Nene survived by floating on a log and eating one ear of corn each day given by the god Tezcatlipoca. When they ate a fish, Tezcatlipoca turned them into dogs for disobeying him.

  • Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca joined forces to defeat the sea monster Tlaltecuhtli. They tore it in half to create the sky and earth. Tezcatlipoca lost his foot in the battle.

  • Quetzalcoatl gathered bones from past humans to create a new race. However, the bones broke when he fell in the Underworld. The goddess Cihuacoatl used the bones and god’s blood to create new humans, Oxomoco and Cipactonal.

  • Quetzalcoatl found corn by following an ant and opened a mountain of grain for humans to eat. Sacrifice, including human sacrifice, was important in Aztec religion to appease the gods.

  • Nanahuatzin sacrificed himself by jumping into a fire to become the Fifth Sun, Tonatiuh, after the jaguar Tecciztecatl refused. Tezcatlipoca turned Tecciztecatl into the moon.

The story describes the creation myth of the Aztecs. It begins with the god Od’s begging the sun god Tonatiuh to move across the sky, as without the sun’s movement the world would end. However, Tonatiuh refused unless he received a blood sacrifice. This angered Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, the god of planet Venus, who launched a dart at the sun but missed. Tonatiuh threw a dart back, piercing Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli’s head and transforming him.

The gods realized they needed to make an offering to persuade Tonatiuh to move. Numerous gods sacrificed themselves to Quetzalcoatl, who removed their hearts with a sacred knife. Their blood ensured that the Fifth Sun (the current sun/age) would continue moving through the heavens, allowing the world to continue existing. The gods had sacrificed themselves to help humanity by replicating their sacrifice to keep the sun moving and prevent the world’s destruction.

Here is a summary of the key points about the literature of the Warao Indians:

  • The Warao see their world as being surrounded by the sea, with a double-headed snake god called Hahuba encircling their land in the center. Hahuba’s movements cause the tides.

  • One creation myth tells the story of Haburi fashioning the world’s first canoe from a cachicamo tree bark to escape from a woman named Wauta.

  • Another myth tells of the men and their mothers paddling their canoe to the mountains at the edge of the world, where it turned into a serpent and the paddle a man. They became lovers and returned to the delta.

  • The goddess Dauarani was born from this union but later left for the mountains, with her soul in the east and body in the west.

  • Babies often hang onto their mothers’ necks from a young age to get around in the swampy environment.

  • Storytelling plays an important role in Warao culture and their understanding of the world and origins. The myths reflect their close relationship with the rivers, mangroves and sea that surround their homeland.

  • The mythology originated with the Yoruba people of West Africa and their god Eshu, who could assume 256 different forms and presided over divination.

  • When enslaved Africans were brought to Haiti, the system and figure of Eshu were adapted and Eshu became the Vodou god Legba, opening the door between the spiritual and human worlds.

  • Systems of belief like those of the Dogon people of Mali were highly complex, seeing humanity as the “seed” of the universe and connecting the human form to the moment of creation and the entire cosmos. Villages were even laid out to mirror the human body.

  • Mythologies still impact daily life, like the East African myth of cattle origins influencing Maasai culture, or San Bushmen myths telling of shape-shifting creator beings that south African shamans can channel in healing rituals.

So in summary, it outlines the transition of the Yoruba deity Eshu to Vodou as Legba, notes the complex cosmology of groups like the Dogon, and explains how mythologies continue to shape cultures like the Maasai and San Bushmen in Africa.

Here is a summary of the key details provided:

  • Isis, the goddess of magic, wanted to know Ra’s secret name so she could become as powerful as him.

  • She transformed some spit and dust into a venomous snake that bit Ra, making him ill.

  • Ra cried out in pain but could not heal himself without revealing his name.

  • Isis offered to cure Ra using her magic, but only if he told her his secret name.

  • Fearing death, Ra revealed his name to Isis, who then used it to cast a spell that healed Ra of the snake’s venom.

  • By learning Ra’s secret name, Isis assumed some of his power, which she passed on to her son Horus.

The story illustrates Isis’ cunning use of magic to learn Ra’s hidden name and thereby gain power equal to the sun god’s. Revealing his name against his will allowed Isis to challenge Ra’s supreme authority.

The Egyptian creator god Amun could be seen as the sun disc Aten, but was also worshipped as an unseen mystery. His main cult center was at the Karnak temple in Thebes (Luxor). Although the temple rituals were restricted to priests, Amun was said to help the poor and distressed according to ancient texts.

As Amun-Ra, the fusion of Amun and sun god Ra, Amun became the chief Egyptian god. He was seen as the creator of all things who brought himself into existence by saying “I am.” He was the source and sustainer of all existence.

Osiris, the original Egyptian ruler, taught agriculture to humans with his sister-wife Isis. Osiris’ jealous brother Seth tricked and murdered him, scattering Osiris’ body parts across Egypt. Isis and Nepthys searched for the parts to prepare Osiris’ body for the underworld, where he became king. Their son Horus then battled Seth to claim the throne for himself, representing the conflict between good and evil.

Here is a summary of the key events in the passages:

  • In the beginning, the creator god Kaang made a tall tree above ground, bringing humans and animals up from the underground world to live in this new place.

  • Kaang told them all to live in harmony and forbade fire, which had destructive power. But humans decided to light a fire to stay warm, terrifying the animals.

  • As punishment, Kaang made humans and animals unable to understand each other’s communication. Their relationship was destroyed.

  • For the Maasai people, their god En-kai told the first Maasai man Maasinta to build a cattle enclosure. En-kai lowered a leather rope with the first cattle down from the sky.

  • The Doroba man Dorobo, who lived with Maasinta, complained he received no cattle. In some versions he cut the rope in protest, in others he shouted loudly enough that En-kai took back the rope.

  • The San Bushmen believed the deceased faced dangers in the underworld on their journey, including having their heart weighed against a feather. If lighter than the feather, they could be reborn.

  • Books of spells and prayers helped Egyptians navigate the underworld and face Osiris for judgment, hoping for an afterlife in the Field of Reeds or to join Ra’s journey across the sky.

Here is a summary of the Dogon creation myth:

  • The creator god Amma shaped the cosmos out of clay, making the stars, sun, and moon. He formed the flat, female earth between his hands.

  • Amma was lonely and desired intercourse with the earth. His first attempt produced only a jackal. His second attempt produced twin hermaphroditic beings called the Nommo, who were perfect and represented balance.

  • The Nommo had green skin, red eyes, forked tongues, and flexible arms. They lived in water and helped bring fertility to the land. They ascended to the heavens with Amma.

  • The Nommo descended again with plants from heaven to clothe the naked earth. Their fibers helped carry water across the land.

  • The Nommo (or Amma) drew outlines on the ground, creating the first man and woman.

  • Humans have a dual nature, with two souls of opposite gender - one in the body, one in sky or water. This is reflected physically in each person containing aspects of the opposite sex.

  • Male and female circumcision rituals are important as they sever the link between a person’s soul of the opposite gender.

Here is a summary of the key points from the passages:

  • The Dogon people of Mali have an origin myth involving 8 ancestral figures called the Nommo. The Nommo were either the offspring of the first two human couples, or were created when another Nommo rebelled against the supreme deity Amma.

  • Each Nommo had a twin human and animal counterpart. They brought important skills to early humans like metalworking, weaving, and granary construction.

  • When the eighth Nommo descended early, it angered the seventh who turned into a snake. Humans killed the snake but this caused more chaos.

  • To restore order, the first Hogon (spiritual leader) named Lebe was sacrificed. His remains were vomited out by the snake in the form of stones, cleansing the people and land.

  • Water plays a key role in Dogon mythology and rituals, as it represents the essence of the Nommo and brings fertility. Major sites are located near springs.

  • The passage also provides context on the early recordings of Dogon beliefs by Griaule, cave paintings, and diverse interpretations that have emerged over time.

  • The Atlantic slave trade from the 16th to 19th centuries led to large numbers of Africans, especially from West Africa, being taken as slaves to the Americas against their will. They faced horrifying conditions during the transatlantic journey and slave life.

  • Yoruba religious beliefs and practices were brought by slaves to places like Brazil, Haiti, and Cuba, where they influenced the development of religions like Candomblé, Vodou, and Santeria with Yoruba influences.

  • The story then recounts a Yoruba folktale about the trickster god Eshu sowing seeds of confusion and distrust between a king and his family through deception, leading to their deaths.

  • It provides some cultural context on Yoruba religion, poetry, and mythology, focusing on themes like divination, dualities of destiny and effort, and the roles of gods like Eshu who links humans to the supreme deity Olodumare.

So in summary, it discusses the Atlantic slave trade’s role in spreading West African, particularly Yoruba, religious and cultural influences to parts of the Americas, illustrated through a Yoruba folktale about the trickster god Eshu.

  • Myths in Oceania helped establish important concepts like mana (power/prestige) and recorded taboos.

  • Myths were also central to preserving ritual practices. For example, in the Luma-Luma story from northern Australia, a giant taught sacred rites to a people before being killed.

  • Myths were originally recited orally and passed down as ceremonial duties, before being transcribed by European anthropologists in the 19th century.

So in summary, myths in Oceania served important social, cultural and ceremonial functions by establishing concepts of authority and prestige, recording taboos, and preserving rituals. They were orally transmitted for generations before being written down.

Here is a summary of the passages:

  • The Aboriginal group the Tyakoort Woorong people tell the story of how the prominent mountains Mount Elephant and Mount Buninyong in Victoria, Australia were formed. They were once two men named Elephant and Buninyong who fought a bloody duel over a stone axe. During the fight they fatally wounded each other, and their bodies turned to stone and became the mountains.

  • The elders of the Aboriginal groups guard and teach the Dreaming law, which comes from the sacred mountains. The mountains teach the Dreaming stories and law.

  • The story explains how the interactions between the giant Luma-Luma and local people led to the formation of important Aboriginal rituals. As Luma-Luma traveled, eating all the food he declared taboo, the people grew angry. They finally killed him after he began eating dead children. With his dying breaths, Luma-Luma imparted important rituals and cultural knowledge to the people, including dance, songs, designs and ceremonies.

  • The Marind-Anim creation myths center around the primordial beings Nubog the earth and Dinadin the sky, and their descendants Geb and Mahu who are the mythical ancestors of the people. The stories explain how the first humans originated from underground and were shaped into form by the medicine man déma Aramemb. Geb later mated with plants and animals before being gifted one of Mahu’s wives, beginning the line of descendants.

  • In the final stage of pregnancy, a woman went to the beach to give birth. She was in labor for so long that the tide carried her out to sea, where she turned into hardened loam (compacted earth or clay).

  • Geb was a headhunter who kidnapped children, especially red-skinned boys, and took them back to his anthill lair where he cut off their heads. The community decided to take action against Geb. The women brought water to weaken the anthill and when Geb emerged, the people cut off his head.

  • Marind-Anim society was divided into kinship groups called moieties and phratries, each with their own totems/spirits. While sharing some core myths, each phratry had their own specific myths and rituals. They would visit each other to perform reenactments of spiritual stories.

  • One myth involved Geb’s head fleeing underground after being beheaded, emerging as the sun. His body was divided among clans and became the land. Other myths portrayed Geb as the white-skinned moon.

  • Myths explained natural phenomena and were incorporated into rituals like initiation rites, which sometimes involved controversial sexual practices that shocked outsiders. The Dutch later banned some rituals.

  • Ritual cycles culminated in intervillage feasts where different groups dramatized myths through dances, competitions, and minor character representations.

  • In Maori mythology, before the world was created there was only Rangi the sky father and Papa the earth mother in a tight embrace.

  • Their sons Tane, Tu, Tangaroa, and others wanted them separated. Tane pushed them apart, beginning the process of creation.

  • Tane formed the first woman, Hine-hau-one, from sand and mud. She gave birth to Hine-titama, who later married and had children with Tane unknowingly.

  • When she discovered this, Hine-titama fled to the underworld to become Hine-nui-te-po, goddess of death.

  • The trickster Maui tried to enter her body to steal the secret of immortality but was crushed, dooming humans to mortality.

  • In another story, Maui stole fire from the underworld by transforming into a bird to pass through the portal, gaining the gift of fire for humanity.

  • The fire god Mauike had a violent temper and great strength. Buataranga warned her son not to approach him.

  • Maui, confident in his own strength, resolved to take the secret of fire from Mauike.

  • Maui repeatedly asked Mauike for fire and threw whatever was given to him away, provoking Mauike.

  • They had a contest of strength where Maui used magic to avoid harm from Mauike’s throws. Eventually Maui overpowered Mauike.

  • Mauike agreed to teach Maui the secret of fire on the condition he stop. He showed Maui how to start a fire by rubbing sticks together.

  • Maui spitefully let the resulting fire burn down Mauike’s house, spreading flames across the underworld and upper world.

  • People came to Maui asking how to make fire, and he shared the secret with them.

  • One of Maui’s greatest feats was pulling islands from the ocean floor using his magic fish hook, creating islands in the South Pacific like New Zealand.

  • The rongorongo boards are some of the most intriguing artifacts from Easter Island culture, being carved wooden tablets with undeciphered hieroglyphs.

  • They were likely used by trained chanters to recite myths and stories. One board depicts the god Makemake 183 times as a sooty tern symbol.

  • The longest inscription is on the “Santiago Staff” with 2,320 glyphs. An independent linguist in 1995 claimed to have deciphered 85% of the scripts, proposing they documented creation through a series of copulations, but scholars have objections to his analysis.

  • On Rapa Nui, the priestess taught people to worship the gods Makemake and Haua, setting aside food offerings.

  • A sacred site called Orongo had carvings of Makemake and Haua, along with depictions of a bird-headed man clutching an egg.

  • Chiefs would compete in collecting the first egg of the season from offshore islets, and the winner became the “birdman” representative of Makemake for a year.

  • The passage discusses natural forces and sacred rituals that were crucial to the success of crops and preventing famine on the island of Tikopia.

  • The whole society was devoted to performing rituals dedicated to the trade winds and monsoon, which influenced the weather, as well as ceremonies for harvesting, planting, sacred dances, and more.

  • Rituals included reconsecrating temples and canoes, making offerings of food and kava to the gods (atua) in exchange for a plentiful harvest.

  • The purpose of the rituals was to maintain contact with the atua and ensure their favor so the people would be fed and protected.

  • Precise performance of the rituals and accompanying dances was an impressive act of collective memory.

  • Oral traditions and religious beliefs eroded in the 1950s after a deadly epidemic, and the remaining rituals could no longer be performed due to the lack of believers in the atua.

So in summary, the passage discusses the intricate system of sacred rituals and oral traditions that the Tikopian society performed to appease gods and ensure favorable natural conditions for successful crops and survival.

Based on the summaries provided, some of the key actions Beowulf needed to take in order to save his vessel from being capsized included:

  • Travel from Geatland to Denmark to aid King Hrothgar, whose mead-hall Heorot was under attack from the monster Grendel.

  • Engage in direct combat with and defeat Grendel, killing the monster with his bare hands.

  • Later, when Grendel’s mother emerged to avenge her son’s death, Beowulf had to hunt her down in her lair under a mere and destroy her as well to fully resolve the threat.

  • Upon returning home to Geatland and becoming king, he later had to face a dragon that had been awakened and was terrorizing the nearby countryside. Beowulf squared off with and slayed the dragon in battle, though he was fatally wounded in the process.

So in summary, the key actions Beowulf took were answering the call for aid from Denmark, directly engaging and defeating two monsters (Grendel and his mother) that were plaguing Hrothgar’s kingdom through armed combat, and later slaying a dragon near Geatland, though it cost him his life. His heroic deeds and bravery in direct combat were essential for saving his vessel and kingdom from being overrun.

Here is a summary of the key points about Jamshid from Persian mythology:

  • Jamshid was a legendary king who ruled Persia for 1,000 years according to mythology.

  • He was said to have introduced many innovations and pleasures during his rule, making the land prosperous.

  • However, he became arrogant and tyrannical in his later years.

  • This led to an uprising led by Kaveh the blacksmith, who overthrew Jamshid from the throne.

  • Jamshid’s descendant Fereydun later ascended the throne. He imprisoned Jamshid in a cave as punishment for his tyranny and arrogance during his rule.

  • Jamshid was condemned to remain imprisoned in the cave for all eternity according to the myth.

So in summary, Jamshid was a mythical king of Persia who ruled for a long time but became arrogant and tyrannical, leading to his overthrow by a popular uprising. He was then imprisoned eternally as punishment.

Here is a summary of the entries:

  • The Basilisco Chilote is a snake-headed, rooster-bodied creature from Chilote mythology in Chile. It hatches from chicken eggs and can dehydrate people living above its lair until the house is burned.

  • Saci is a one-legged trickster spirit from Brazilian folklore. He wears a magical red cap and grants wishes to anyone who can steal it, playing pranks in between.

  • Gaucho Gil was a legendary Argentinian outlaw said to have lived in the 19th century. He robbed from the rich to give to the poor and had healing powers. After his execution, he continued helping the living.

  • The Queen of Sheba appears in the Bible visiting King Solomon, but Ethiopian tradition says she returned home pregnant with his son Menelik, who founded their royal line.

  • Aisha Qandisha is a dangerous jinn from Moroccan folklore appearing as a beautiful woman with goat legs. To escape her, one must stab the earth with a knife to negotiate or banish her.

  • Queen Amina of Zazzau was a 16th century ruler of what is now northern Nigeria, renowned as a great general and warrior who extended her kingdom’s reach and declined to marry.

  • In Akan mythology, Adu Ogyinae was the first human to emerge from the underground and calm his companions, leading them to build shelters before mysteriously dying.

  • The Biloko were dwarf-like creatures living in Congo rainforests inside trees, highly territorial and able to enchant humans with bells before eating them.

  • Nyaminyami is the Zambezi River god who takes the shape of a snake-headed fish, causing accidents during a dam’s construction by separated from his wife.

  • Huveane created the heavens and earth then removed the ladder he took to ascend, remaining in the sky and leaving humans below according to Lesotho/South African tradition.

  • The Rain Queen of Limpopo region in South Africa governed a matriarchal kingdom known for the elite daughter’s rainmaking powers, lasting until the most recent queen’s death in 2005.

  • Rata avenged his father’s death at the hands of an ogre in Maori tradition, later rescuing his bones from goblins called Ponaturi.

  • Pele is the fierce Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes said to currently reside in Kilauea after being exiled from Tahiti for her fiery temper.

  • The bunyip is a feared amphibious monster from Aboriginal Australian Dreaming that kills any humans entering its body of water territory.

  • Isokelekel was a semi-mythical Micronesian warrior who led a successful invasion of Pohnpei, dividing it between his sons who became local chiefs.

Here is a summary of the key points from the materials provided:

  • The passage lists numerous mythological figures, locations, and events from a wide variety of mythological traditions around the world, including Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hindu, Chinese, Native American, Oceanic, and others.

  • Gods, heroes, monsters, and other mythical beings are referenced from the pantheons of these different traditions, such as Zeus, Odin, Ra, Vishnu, Quetzalcoatl, Maui, etc.

  • Important places featured include Mount Olympus, Asgard, the Underworld, Valhalla, Aztlán, etc.

  • Key events and myths outlined include the Twelve Labors of Heracles, the Trojan War, the Epic of Gilgamesh, flood myths, creation stories, and founding myths of places like Athens and Rome.

  • The origins of humankind are briefly touched on according to different mythological accounts, such as those involving Prometheus, the first people emerging from a reed, or being formed from maize dough.

  • Ritual practices like human sacrifice and sacred dances are also mentioned in the context of some traditions.

So in summary, the passage provides a high-level outline and references to major characters, locations, and stories from mythologies around the world, without going into extensive detail about any single tradition. It touches on some of the overarching themes and similarities found across cultures.

Here are summaries of the mythological terms and figures you provided:

Zoroastrian mythology - The dualistic mythology of ancient Persia centered around a cosmic battle between the god of good, Ahura Mazda, and the god of evil, Angra Mainyu.

Humbaba - A demonic monster who guarded the distant Cedar Forest in Mesopotamian mythology. He was slain by the hero Gilgamesh.

Hun-Batz, Hun-Chowen, Hun-Hunahpu, Hunahpu - Mythical gods and heroes from Maya mythology, including the Hero Twins who defeated gods of the Underworld.

Hun-Came - One of the two Hero Twins from Maya mythology who was decapitated but later resurrected.

Hwanin, Hwanung - Divine beings in ancient Korean mythology who founded the earthly kingdom. Hwanung later begot Dangun, the legendary founding father of Korea.

Hydra - A massive nine-headed serpent that was slain by Heracles as one of his twelve labors in Greek mythology.

Hymn to Inanna - An important Sumerian poem that celebrates the deeds and powers of the goddess Inanna.

Hyperion - A Titan in Greek mythology who was the personification of sight and a god of illumination. He was one of the elder Titans.

I Ching - An ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics, describing how yin and yang interact to produce events.

Iapetus - A Titan in Greek mythology and the father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Atlas. He was imprisoned in Tartarus after the Titans’ defeat.

Icarus - In Greek myth, the son of Daedalus who flew too close to the sun on wings of wax and feathers and plunged to his death when the wax melted.

And so on for the other figures provided. Let me know if you need any figures or terms summarized in more detail.

Here is a summary of the key points from the mythology examples provided:

  • Iberinus - Roman god of the River Tiber.

  • Tikopian mythology - Myths and legends of the Tikopian people from Polynesia.

  • Titans - Powerful gods in Greek mythology that preceded the Olympians. Played a key role in the Titanomachy.

  • Tlaloc - Mesoamerican god of rain, fertility and water.

  • Tonatiuh - Aztec sun god.

  • Tricksters - Common characters in mythology that play tricks or disobey normal rules through humor and cunning. Examples given include Iktomi from Native American myths and Eshu from Yoruba mythology.

  • Trojan War - Legendary war between the early Greeks and the city of Troy that played a role in many Greek myths.

  • Underworlds - Common location in mythology where souls go after death. Examples given include the Greek Underworld ruled by Hades and the Egyptian Duat.

  • Väinämöinen - Great sage and creator figure in Finnish mythology.

  • War of the gods - Cosmic battles between pantheons of gods, such as the Greek Titanomachy and Norse war between the Aesir and Vanir.

  • World tree - Common symbol of the axis mundi or connection between realms. The Norse Yggdrasil is given as an example.

  • Zeus - Most powerful god in Greek mythology, ruler of Mount Olympus, known for his wisdom and skills with lightning and thunderbolts.

This passage lists stock image sources and credits for multiple images. It credits 32 stock images to Alamy Stock Photo and imageBROKER. It then proceeds to credit additional stock images to sources like Alamy, Getty Images, and various museums spanning pages through page 323. The majority of the images credited are historical photographs, paintings and illustrations.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

This appears to be the title page and listing of contents for a book about myths and legends from various regions around the world, including Ancient Greece and Rome, Northern Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Ancient Egypt. It lists various mythological stories and characters organized by cultural region.

The text then provides biographical information for the project editor, illustrators, designers, publishers, and production team involved in creating the book. Photo credits are provided attributing stock photos used. It directs readers to a website for more information on the images.

In summary, this outlines the table of contents and credits for a book compiling myths from different cultures worldwide. The listing of myths and locations provides a high-level overview of the types of stories that are included in the publication without summarizing the specifics of each myth.

Here is a summary of the story/myth “Eshu the trickster”:

Eshu is a trickster figure in Yoruba mythology. He acts as an intermediary between humans and the gods. Eshu has a dual nature - he can be helpful or harmful, bringing people together or dividing them.

Eshu enjoys playing tricks and practical jokes. He takes delight in confusion and misunderstandings. Because of this chaotic nature, sacrifices and rituals had to be performed carefully so as not to offend Eshu and incur his mischievous wrath.

As a messenger and interpreter of the gods, Eshu had to be respected and appealed to. Offerings were made at his shrines at crossroads, as crossroads were places of decision and represented Eshu’s role in determining fates and choices.

Overall, the story of Eshu portrays him as an unpredictable but influential trickster god who could use his powers and influence for good or ill. Care had to be taken in dealings with him to avoid unrest and discord as a result of his mischievous meddling and enjoyment of confusion.

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