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.

Gods, Goddesses and… Rabbits? The Surprising Ancient Myths of the Moon

Gods, Goddesses and… Rabbits? The Surprising Ancient Myths of the Moon

Before the first moon landing in 1969, the Chinese moon goddess Chang'e was mentioned in the Apollo 11 Air-to-Ground Voice Transcription between the Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas and the Apollo...
From the same 1429 Persian manuscript. Sañjīvaka/Schanzabeh.

What Pearls of Wisdom are Held in the Animal Tales of the Panchatantra?

The Panchatantra (which means the ‘Five Principles’ in Sanskrit) is a collection of interwoven short stories from India. The tales in the Panchatantra are told in both prose and poetry, and consist...
1st century BC marble statue of Cybele from Formia, Lazio

Mothers, Madness and Music: A Study of the Parallels of Cybele and Dionysus

Though she was one of the most renowned goddesses in her day, the motherly, wise Cybele has long been over-shadowed in the mythology of ancient Greece by the later pre-Olympian goddesses, Rhea, Gaia...
The Last of the Siberian Unicorns: What Happened to the Mammoth-Sized One-Horned Beasts of Legend?

The Last of the Siberian Unicorns: What Happened to the Mammoth-Sized One-Horned Beasts of Legend?

Elasmotherium , also known as the Giant Rhinoceros or the Giant Siberian Unicorn, is an extinct species of rhino that lived in the Eurasian area in the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene eras. They have...
Illustration from book in a series of fairy tales. A warning to children. John Lambton fights the Wrym

A Monstrous and Venomous Serpent: Legendary Crusading Heroes and Wyrm-Slaying Symbolism – What Does it Mean?

Whisht! lads, haad ya gobs, Aa'll tell ye aall an aaful story, Whisht! lads, haad ya gobs, An aa'll tell ye ‘boot the wyrm. --(C.M. Leumane, 1867) Beasts that Scorch the Land There are more than...
Was the Mythical Mesoamerican Death Bat Camazotz Inspired by Real Giant Vampire Bats?

Was the Mythical Mesoamerican Death Bat Camazotz Inspired by Real Giant Vampire Bats?

Bats are considered to be menacing creatures in many cultures. They are nocturnal and thus associated with the night, which is also often associated with death. Many common species also have a...
The Search for a Legendary Land: Does the Truth of Plato’s Atlantis Rest on a Shifting Sea Floor?

The Search for a Legendary Land: Does the Truth of Plato’s Atlantis Rest on a Shifting Sea Floor?

Plato wrote over two thousand years ago about a prehistoric Atlantean civilization that existed more than nine thousand years before his time, or over eleven thousand years ago. Plato describes a...
Tezcatlipoca: How Does the Supreme God of the Aztecs Compare to Other Omnipotent Deities?

Tezcatlipoca: How Does the Supreme God of the Aztecs Compare to Other Omnipotent Deities?

The god Tezcatlipoca was a major Aztec deity who was worshiped in east-west facing temples in many Mesoamerican city-states under the influence of the Aztecs, particularly Texcoco. He was considered...
Galician Faith in the Enchanted Mouros and Mouras: Is There Reality Behind the Fairytales?

Galician Faith in the Enchanted Mouros and Mouras: Is There Reality Behind the Fairytales?

Numerous folk stories in Galicia, Spain, tell of supernatural spirits that dwell in forests, among the waters of the rivers, or on sandy beaches. Many of them are related in some ways to ancient...
Sword in a Stone and Fairy Tale forest

Who Pulled the Sword from the Stone? The Truth of the Swords of King Arthur

This spring a new movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword , is to hit the big screens. Staring Charlie Hunnam as the fabled warrior, the film title suggests that the central theme is Arthur’s...
How King Arthur Became One of the Most Pervasive Legends of All Time

How King Arthur Became One of the Most Pervasive Legends of All Time

King Arthur is one of, if not the, most legendary icons of medieval Britain. His popularity has lasted centuries, mostly thanks to the numerous incarnations of his story that pop up time and time...
A modern illustration of Medb

When Irish Legends and History Combine: The Tomb of the Fairy Queen Maeve

Legends suggest that the green hills of Ireland have always been a place for fairy games. According to local beliefs, the forests were full of hidden settlements inhabited by supernatural creatures...
Roland Risse (German, 1835) - "Snow White"

Who Was Snow White? When Old Stories and Real Women Combine

One of the most famous fables of all, variations of Snow White appear in more than 400 versions of fairy tales around the world. The most well-known version is actually called “ Snowdrop ” and comes...
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? A Fearsome Beast in Legends and Tales Around the World

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? A Fearsome Beast in Legends and Tales Around the World

There are many stock characters that are present in folk stories, fairy tales, and legends from all over the world. However, few are as constant as the figure of the Big Bad Wolf, a giant predator...
Were the Merovingians Descended from a Monster? Meet the Quinotaur

Were the Merovingians Descended from a Monster? Meet the Quinotaur

You’ve probably heard of a Minotaur (half-man, half-bull), but what about a Quinotaur? In early Frankish history, there was a “beast of Neptune,” which was said to look like a creature called a...
Impossible Quest to Have the Perfect Man? The 5 Imperfect Brothers of the Mahabharata

Impossible Quest to Have the Perfect Man? The 5 Imperfect Brothers of the Mahabharata

The two major Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, still appear widely in popular folk drama, tales and art all over Southeast Asia with slight adaptations in all the myriad cultures of the...

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Top New Stories

The fall of Icarus, circa 1635.
Daedalus, the legendary inventor of ancient Greek myth, joined the court of Minos, the ruler of Crete, as the king's star engineer. Daedalus was credited with creating myriad marvels, from carpenter's tools to animated statues. It was Daedalus who designed and built the bewildering Cretan Labyrinth as a prison for Minos' monstrous son, the Minotaur. Every year, the Athenians were compelled to send fourteen young men and women to be sacrificed to the cannibal with the bull's head.

Myths & Legends

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 Argonauts turned into a particularly fragrant episode.

Ancient Places

Inside one of the tunnels under Valetta, Malta.
Hordes of tourists visit the Mediterranean island of Malta each year to enjoy the above ground attractions the country has to offer such as breath-taking sandy beaches, historical buildings, and traditional cuisine. Yet, there is also a subterranean world hidden beneath the island’s surface. These are the rumored secret tunnels of Malta.

Our Mission

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.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

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)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)