Myths & Legends

All over the world there are extraordinary stories—stories that once upon a time were believed to be true but are today limited to the sphere of ancient myths and legends. The question remains, are those myths and legends stories something that existed in the minds of our ancestors, or were they based on true events? It is true that most of those ancient myths and legends stories appear to the scientific world as fictitious products of vivid imaginations whose goals were purely to explain phenomena beyond their comprehension. Yet is it not arrogant to accuse our ancestors of being uncivilised and ignorant in one breath, then offer them praise and admiration over their monuments, buildings, art, sculptures, and societies in the next? This only proves that our modern society has two contradictory attitudes toward our past.

In this section we will explore some of the most amazing myths and legends from around the world—legends that may hold truths that can unlock the secrets of our ancient origins.

Fairy realm and abstract quantum physics

Do you have the Second Sight? Finding Fairies & The Secret Commonwealth of Robert Kirk

The tale of the Rev. Robert Kirk and his Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Faeries is very peculiar. When read carefully, the text of his 1691 manuscript describing the faeries of Aberfoyle,...
Why We Can’t Resist the Lure of Mermaids

Why We Can’t Resist the Lure of Mermaids

Mermaids are everywhere. In the past month alone they have surfaced in New Brighton, caused controversy in Asda, reinvigorated toast, partied with the Kardashians , transformed maternity and wedding...
The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant

The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant

We all know Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty, made sure that she was worshipped by punishing those who ignored her altars. One brief appearance of this wrath in the tale of Jason and the...
Fossil, dinosaur and dragon montage (Legendz Collective)

Unearthing Unexpected Fossil Usage in Ancient Medicine (Part 2): Dragon Pills to Gods' Horns

Of all fantastic creatures of legend, dragons are undisputedly the most iconic of the lot. One powerful reason for their fame may be found in the fact that dragonkind permeates across cultures...
‘Meadow Elves’ (1850) by Nils Blommér.

The Diverse Nature of Elves in Norse Myth: Beings of Light or Darkness?

Santa Claus, Keebler cookies, and overloaded shelves. When one speaks of elves, the mind most often goes to those who work for Santa or Keebler, or those which hide from little children in the middle...
Demons in Your Toilet? Guardians of the Sewers and How They Protected Ancient Latrines

Demons in Your Toilet? Guardians of the Sewers and How They Protected Ancient Latrines

As a ritual symbol of purification, water plays a key role in the public space of hygiene and sanitary activities as well as in almost all religions past and present. From the first moment mankind...
Detail of a modern depiction of the goddess Ishtar.

Love is a Battlefield: The Legend of Ishtar, First Goddess of Love and War

Louise Pryke / The Conversation As singer Pat Benatar once noted, love is a battlefield . Such use of military words to express intimate, affectionate emotions is likely related to love’s capacity to...
Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?

Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?

How plentiful it is, what you have made, Although they are hidden from view, Sole god, without another beside you; You created the earth as you wished, When you were by yourself, Mankind, all cattle...
Fossils were viewed very differently in the past; usually through wilder... more fantastical interpretations.

Unearthing Unexpected Fossil Usage in Ancient Medicine (Part 1): Ogre Balms to Dragon Tongues

Whenever a person thinks of fossils today, lively images of dinosaurs or other primordial beasts emerge within one's mind. Indeed, most people nowadays would connect fossils with museums, excavation...
Achilles and Patroclus: Brothers from Other Mothers or Passionate Paramours?

Achilles and Patroclus: Brothers from Other Mothers or Passionate Paramours?

A woman launched a thousand ships. Men traveled far to rescue her, though her motives and intentions were shrouded in haze. But when one warrior quit, it did not take a woman to bring him back to the...
Artists impression of Norse giantedd , Skaði or Skadi

Skaði, The Norse ‘Giantess’ with a Godly Vendetta

In Norse mythology, Skaði (also anglicised as Skadi, Skade, or Skathi) is a giantess and goddess. She is most often associated with winter. Apart from that, Skaði is also connected with hunting,...
Model of the Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant: Destruction, War & Plague – Part II

One of history’s most intriguing ancient mysteries remains the elusive and legendary Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony. According to Biblical sources, it was constructed...
‘The Ark Passes Over the Jordan’

Ark of the Covenant: A Weapon, A Throne, A Temple – Part I

The Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is one of history’s most intriguing ancient mysteries. According to Biblical sources, it was constructed after Moses had freed the...
Detail of ‘The birth of Adonis and the transformation of Myrrha.’ By Luigi Garzi.

From Incest to Incense: The Sad and Sordid Affair of Myrrha’s Punishment by Aphrodite

One of the most disturbing stories in the Greek mythological canon has ties to some of the most important figures on Olympus. The multi-generational madness of the royal family of Cyprus includes...
Ganesha

Understanding Ganesha: Legendary Wise Hindu God who Removes Obstacles, Ensures Success

Ganesha is one of the most distinctive Hindu deities. His role is to remove obstacles and ensure success as well as creating obstructions for those whose ambition has become destructive. He is also...
Detail of two ancient Egyptian 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the ‘gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter the 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant underworld protectors.

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other...

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Alexander on his deathbed, surrounded by mourners, and dictating his will to his notary, Unknown Flemish artist
It might be a surprise to learn that Alexander the Great was only 32 when he died in Babylon in June 323 BC. In a short period of 12 years as ruler he managed to create an empire stretching from modern Albania to Pakistan. As much as we know of his achievements as a fearsome general, we still have no conclusive cause of his untimely and unexpected death.

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At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

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By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

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View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
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Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)