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.

A Match Made in Greek Legend: What Happened When Heracles Met the Snake Woman?

A Match Made in Greek Legend: What Happened When Heracles Met the Snake Woman?

While completing his Twelve Labors, the Greek hero Heracles (a.k.a. Hercules) got up to tons of mischief—and that included bedding a lot of women. In the process, he fathered a whole host of...
Shennong: The God-King of Chinese Medicine and Agriculture

Shennong: The God-King of Chinese Medicine and Agriculture

Shennong, which means “God farmer” or “God peasant”, is a deity in Chinese religion. He is a mythical sage healer and ruler of prehistoric China. Shennong is also known as Wugushen “five grains,” or...
Odysseus and Polyphemus, Arnold Bockling. Polyphemus is one of the only Cyclopes recognized by name.

Is There Any Truth to the Existence and Damning Character Assassinations of Mighty Legendary Cyclopes?

The mysterious, one-eyed creatures revered in Greek and Roman mythologies remain one of the most interesting creatures spoken of in the oldest Mediterranean legends. They were members of the race of...
The Revelation (the Valkyrie Brünnhilde discovering Sieglinde and Siegmund).

The Bold and Beautiful Valkyries and Their Mortal Lovers

In Norse mythology, Valkyries were originally sinister spirits that would fly above the battlefield in search of the dead, deciding the fate of the fallen for Odin. The word “Valkyrie” means “chooser...
5 Mythical Creatures – And Where to Find Them

5 Mythical Creatures – And Where to Find Them

Folklore is littered with accounts of unusual beasts of all shapes and sizes. Some, like Bigfoot, are household names. Others, like the Japanese water demon Kappa, are not so well-known. But they all...
Sculpture of Athena, 1915 and painting ‘Fire of Troy’

Battle of the War Gods: Ares versus Athena! Understanding Ancient Greek War Deities

The ancient Greeks had two different gods of war — the wise goddess Athena and the bloodthirsty god Ares. The mere fact that, out of twelve Olympian gods, two deities were devoted to armed conflict...
Glastonbury tor, a location that has often been associated with Avalon.

Avalon: A Real Island Obscured by Legend, or Just a Legendary Island?

Like many mythical paradise isles, Avalon has captured the imagination of generations of writers since the island was first mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae or...
‘Jacob’s Dream’ with Jacob’s ladder (1660-1665) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Hopes, Fears, Progress…and Maybe DNA? Unravelling the Real Meaning of Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is the common term (particularly in the West) used to describe a bridge that connects Heaven and Earth. More broadly speaking, the ladder represents an ancient symbol of unknown...
Disney ALMOST Got It Right: From Moana to Mayhem, The Mythology Behind the Real Maui

Disney ALMOST Got It Right: From Moana to Mayhem, The Mythology Behind the Real Maui

Disney’s latest animated feature film, Moana , has achieved critical acclaim, already netting over half a billion dollars. It tells the story of a Polynesian princess, who must seek out Maui, a...
Tuatha Dé Dannan, the Enchanting Predecessors of Irish Fairies and Elves

Tuatha Dé Dannan, the Enchanting Predecessors of Irish Fairies and Elves

Most people do not believe in elves. The little people, along with fairies, banshees, and werewolves, are often thrown into the category of ‘fantasy’ and left to molder unless some video game or...
Not Just an Urban Legend: The Terrifying Ghostly Tales of the Lady in White

Not Just an Urban Legend: The Terrifying Ghostly Tales of the Lady in White

There is a famous “ghost” of a long-haired woman in a white dress in Quezon City, Philippines. According to legends, she died in a car accident while driving along Balete Drive. Her stories usually...
A Man-Eating Hog? Meet the Crommyonian Sow

A Man-Eating Hog? Meet the Crommyonian Sow

The myths of ancient Greece had their fair share of unusual animals—the Chimera, the man-eating horses of Dionysus, and Pegasus, to name a few. But one that usually oinks its way under the radar is...
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...

Pages

Human Origins

The lower jaw of the 7.175 million-year-old Graecopithecus freybergi (El Graeco) from Pyrgos Vassilissis, Greece (today in metropolitan Athens).
A new analysis of two 7.2 million-year-old fossils belonging to a hominin species nicknamed “El Graeco” from Mediterranean Europe, suggests that mankind emerged in Europe and not in Africa. The new study could reshape history, since it openly challenges the “out of Africa theory.”

Ancient Technology

The Antikythera Mechanism, National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece
Every time ancient Greece is mentioned most people automatically think of democracy, the Olympic Games, mythology and philosophy. It seems that not many are aware of how advanced the ancient Greeks were on a technological level as well and the Antikythera Mechanism, known as the world’s first analog computer, is the brightest example of all.

Ancient Places

View of the “Cueva del Pirul”, one of the largest systems of interconnected caves to the East of the Pyramid of the Sun. One can notice the many rough pillars left to support the roof and a number of side passages branching out in different directions.
Few of the modern visitors to Teotihuacan are aware of the vast and mysterious underworld of caves and man-made tunnels that extends under much of the ancient site and for miles around. The existence of these tunnels has been known for centuries, but not even the most recent research has been able to solve the mystery of their origin and purpose. Very much like at Giza, in Egypt, these tunnels are rumored to connect all the main pyramids by means of underground passageways, and perhaps even lead to the records of a lost civilization.

Opinion

View of the “Cueva del Pirul”, one of the largest systems of interconnected caves to the East of the Pyramid of the Sun. One can notice the many rough pillars left to support the roof and a number of side passages branching out in different directions.
Few of the modern visitors to Teotihuacan are aware of the vast and mysterious underworld of caves and man-made tunnels that extends under much of the ancient site and for miles around. The existence of these tunnels has been known for centuries, but not even the most recent research has been able to solve the mystery of their origin and purpose. Very much like at Giza, in Egypt, these tunnels are rumored to connect all the main pyramids by means of underground passageways, and perhaps even lead to the records of a lost civilization.

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. 

Ancient Image Galleries

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)