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Asclepius – a fragment of mosaic bathroom in Kyustendil, Bulgaria.

The Rod of Asclepius and Zeus’s Fear of Immortality

Asclepius was a demi-god son of Apollo who developed such incredible powers of healing under the tuition of both his father and the centaur Chiron, that even Zeus felt threatened that he might...
pper part of a gypsum statue of a Sumerian woman. The hands are folds in worship.

Nammu: A Forgotten Tale of the Sumerian Mother of Gods

Nammu was the primeval Sumerian mother goddess who gave birth to the gods and created humanity. Despite her extremely important role, much of her story is wrapped in mystery. Some information can be...
Pasiphae

Pasiphae: Daughter of the Sun, Wife of a King, and Mother of the Minotaur

Pasiphae is a figure from Greek mythology. She is best-known as the wife of Minos, the legendary king of Crete, and the mother of the Minotaur. But Greek mythology has more to say about this...
Ereshkigal.

Ereshkigal: The Mighty Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld

“Namtar made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Ereshkigal, "Send me to Anu your father, and let me arrest the god! Let me take him to you, that he may kiss you again!" - Excerpt from...
Modern representation of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war.

Bellona: The Roman Goddess of War and Artistic Muse

Linked to war, destruction, conquest, and bloodlust, Bellona was a mighty figure in the ancient Roman pantheon of gods. As a personification of war, Bellona became quite a popular figure in the arts...
Triumph of Achilles in Corfu Achilleion.

Death and Glory: Heroes in Search of Kleos

It was the great philosopher, Woody Allen, who said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my...
The one-eyed Odin with his ravens Hugin and Munin and his weapons. An illustration from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript.

The Saga of Gestumblindi and Odin’s Riddles

In mythology, riddles are used to test the intelligence and wisdom of mortals. They can contain elements of everyday life, but they can also contain elements from lore that would only be known by...
Valhalla

Denizens of Valhalla and the Transient Afterlife of Norse Myth

The ancient Norse were one of the few cultures to create a mythology that did not necessarily promise eternal life of any kind for the souls of the deceased. The world was believed to be heading...
A demon or dark angel.

A Multitude of Demons: More on the Mythology of the Constantine TV Series

Jacques Collin de Plancy was a French occultist, demonologist and writer. He published a number of books on occultism and demonology. The most famous of these books is probably his “Dictionnaire...
The Abyss of Hell, Sandro Botticelli, 1480s

What is hell?

The recent dispute over whether Pope Francis denied the existence of hell in an interview attracted wide attention . This isn’t surprising, since the belief in an afterlife, where the virtuous are...
A modern representation of Humbaba

Humbaba: A Monstrous Foe for Gilgamesh or a Misunderstood Guardian?

Humbaba (Huwawa) is a guardian creature found in the Epic of Gilgamesh , which is generally considered to be the earliest surviving great work of literature. Although Humbaba is traditionally...
 ‘Idun and the Apples’ (1890) by J. Doyle Penrose.

Idunn: The Rejuvenating Goddess that Keeps Norse Deities Young

Idunn (Iðunn) is one of the most important goddesses in Norse mythology. The name of this goddess has been variously translated to mean ‘The Rejuvenating One’, ‘Ever Young’, and ‘Rejuvenator’, which...
Illustration of a winged helmet.

Did Ancient Warriors Really Go to Battle Wearing Winged Helmets?

The winged helmet is a type of helmet that is found in mythology as well as history. In the realm of mythology, such helmets are associated with the Greek god Hermes (known also as Mercury by the...
Thor and the Midgard Serpent, by Emil Doepler, 1905.

Thor: How a Norse Warrior God of Thunder Handles a Predicament

Thor is one of the most important gods in the Norse pantheon. He’s normally depicted as a middle-aged man with a red-beard wielding his famous weapon, a magical hammer known as Mjollnir...
Heimdall blowing Gjallarhorn

Heimdall, Watchman of the Gods, Will Sound the Horn as Ragnarok Approaches

Heimdall is a god in the Norse pantheon, most well-known for his task to announce the coming of Ragnarok by sounding his horn, which will be heard across all worlds. He is one of the better-known...
‘Nótt riding Hrímfaxi’ by Peter Nicolai Arbo. Nótt is the daughter of a jötunn from Jötunheimr by the name of "Norfi or Narfi."

A Jotunn Did Not Have to be Giant to be a Big Problem for Norse Gods

The jötnar (plural for jötunn) are a race of beings found in Norse mythology. The word jötnar is often translated into English to mean ‘giants’, though this is somewhat misleading, as not all of the...

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