Portal:Myths

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The Myths Portal

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories 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.

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Depiction of Aravan, worshiped at Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

Iravan (Aravan) is a minor character from the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. The son of Pandava prince Arjuna (one of the main heroes of the Mahabharata) and the Naga princess Ulupi, Iravan is the central god of the cult of Kuttantavar and plays a major role in the cult of Draupadi. Both these cults are of South Indian origin, from a region of the country where he is worshipped as a village deity. The Mahabharata portrays Iravan as dying a heroic death in the 18-day Kurukshetra War, the epic's main subject. However, the South Indian cults have a supplementary tradition of honouring Iravan's self-sacrifice to the goddess Kali to ensure her favour and the victory of the Pandavas in the war. The South Indian cult focus on three boons granted to Iravan by the god Krishna in honour of this self-sacrifice. Iravan is also a patron god of well-known Indian transgender communities called Ali. In Koovagam, Tamil Nadu, an 18-day festival holds a ceremonial marriage of Iravan to Alis and male villagers and followed then by their "widowhood" after ritual re-enactment of Iravan's sacrifice. Iravan is also known in Indonesia. Independent Javanese traditions present a dramatic marriage of Irawan to Titisari, daughter of Krishna, and a death resulting from a case of mistaken identity.

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Battle at Lanka, Ramayana, Udaipur, 1649-53.jpg

Battle at Lanka, Ramayana by Sahibdin. It depicts monkey army of the protagonist Rama (top left, blue figure) fighting the demon-king of the king of Lanka, Ravana in order to save Rama's kidnapped wife Sita. The painting depicts multiple events in the battle against the three-headed demon general Trisiras, in bottom left - Trisiras is beheaded by the monkey-companion of Rama - Hanuman.

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Miracle of the roses

  • ... that, in the lives of saints, the appearance of roses (example pictured) sometimes announces the presence or activity of God?


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Featured Articles: Featured article Ahalya, Featured article Ancient Egyptian literature, Featured article King Arthur, Featured article Ganesha, Featured article Greek mythology, Featured article Iravan, Featured article Orion (mythology), Featured article Vampire, Featured article Vithoba

Featured Lists: Featured list List of valkyrie names in Norse mythology

Good Articles:  2012 phenomenon,  Æsir–Vanir War,  Ala (demon),  Ardhanarishvara,  Battle of Barry,  Bhikshatana,  Chamunda,  Chhinnamasta,  Consorts of Ganesha,  Cú Chulainn,  Dhumavati,  Einherjar,  Eir,  Erebus,  Fairy Flag,  Fenrir,  Gerðr,  Hel (being),  Huginn and Muninn,  Iðunn,  Ila (Hinduism),  Kabandha,  Kali,  Kamadhenu,  Kangiten,  Keshi (demon),  Khandoba,  Krishna,  Kubera,  LGBT themes in Hindu mythology,  Manasa,  Mandodari,  Matangi,  Matrikas,  Maya Sita,  Mohini,  Myrrha,  Mythology of Carnivàle,  Naraka (Hinduism),  Prester John,  Prithu,  Putana,  Rati,  Ratatoskr,  Revanta,  Satyavati,  Sharabha,  Shashthi,  Shiva,  Sif,  Tara (Ramayana),  Troilus,  Tuisto,  Valhalla,  Valkyrie,  Vampire folklore by region,  Varaha,  Varahi,  Veðrfölnir and eagle  Zduhać

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Selected Myth

Trojan Horse

The Trojan War was a war waged, according to legend, against the city of Troy in Asia Minor by the armies of the Achaeans, following the kidnapping (or elopement) of Helen of Sparta by Paris of Troy. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in a cycle of epic poems of which only two, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, survive intact. The Iliad describes an episode late in this war, and the Odyssey describes the journey home of one of the Greek leaders, Odysseus. Other parts of the story, and different versions, were elaborated by later Greek poets, and by the Roman poet Virgil in his Aeneid.

Featured creature

Scene from Nosferatu

Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures and according to speculation by literary historian Brian Frost that the "belief in vampires and bloodsucking demons is as old as man himself", and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent.

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