The Myths Portal

1929 Belgian banknote, depicting Ceres, Neptune and caduceus

Myth is a genre of folklore or theology consisting primarily of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. For folklorists, historians, philosophers or theologians this is very different from the use of "myth" simply indicating that something is not true. Instead, the truth value of a myth is not a defining criterion.

Myths are often endorsed by secular and religious authorities 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. (Full article...)

The picture stone Lilbjärs III, showing a helmeted woman receiving a man with a horn of mead. On picture stones, the recurring motif of a woman receiving a man with a horn is generally interpreted as a dead man being received by a valkyrie at Valhalla.

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse: valkyrja, lit.'chooser of the slain') is one of a host of female figures who guide souls of the dead to the god Odin's hall Valhalla. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar (Old Norse "single (or once) fighters"). When the einherjar are not preparing for the cataclysmic events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens and sometimes connected to swans or horses.

Valkyries are attested in the Poetic Edda (a book of poems compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources), the Prose Edda, the Heimskringla (both by Snorri Sturluson) and the Njáls saga (one of the Sagas of Icelanders), all written—or compiled—in the 13th century. They appear throughout the poetry of skalds, in a 14th-century charm, and in various runic inscriptions. (Full article...)

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Centauress, by John La Farge

A centaur (/ˈsɛntɔːr, ˈsɛntɑːr/ SEN-tor, SEN-tar; Ancient Greek: κένταυρος, romanizedkéntauros; Latin: centaurus), occasionally hippocentaur, also called Ixionidae (Ancient Greek: Ἰξιονίδαι, romanizedIxionídai, lit.'sons of Ixion'), is a creature from Greek mythology with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse that was said to live in the mountains of Thessaly. In one version of the myth, the centaurs were named after Centaurus, and, through his brother Lapithes, were kin to the legendary tribe of the Lapiths.

Centaurs are thought of in many Greek myths as being as wild as untamed horses, and were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia. Centaurs are subsequently featured in Roman mythology, and were familiar figures in the medieval bestiary. They remain a staple of modern fantastic literature. (Full article...)

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