Store Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

The god of Chaos in Greek mythology was depicted as both a goddess and a place.	Source: RolffImages / Adobe Stock

Literary Legends: Mythology and Folklore Across Civilizations

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The narratives of ancient civilizations are stitched together with ethereal threads of mythology and folklore. Be they tethered in fact or complete fiction, these tales, handed down through generations, reveal clues to the cultural fabric of societies long gone.

While myths and legends from different corners of the world often appear distinct, they also have striking similarities in many aspects. This blend of uniqueness and universality provides a rich field for examining the human condition through the ages.

In this exploration, we delve into creation myths, hero journeys, gods and goddesses, and supernatural beings, tracing shared themes and divergent details that shaped the beliefs and values of ancient societies.

Creation myths emerged in many cultures and civilizations. (QuietWord/Adobe)

Creation myths emerged in many cultures and civilizations. (QuietWord/Adobe)

Creation Myths: Birth of the Cosmos

Creation myths form the bedrock of any mythology, addressing the fundamental question: How did the world begin? In many cultures, creation stories start with a primordial chaos or void. The Greek myth describes Chaos, an empty, dark nothingness from which everything originated. Similarly, in ancient Egyptian mythology, the universe began as a watery abyss called Nun.

Contrastingly, the Norse myth depicts a more vivid scene with the Ginnungagap, a yawning void bordered by Muspelheim (a realm of fire) and Niflheim (a realm of ice). The interaction between these extreme elements gave birth to the first beings.

The Biblical creation story in Genesis, presenting a monotheistic perspective, narrates how God created the world in six days, introducing a structured, chronological process absent in many other myths.

Meanwhile, in the Rigveda, one of the oldest texts of Hinduism, creation is a mystery even to the gods. The Nasadiya Sukta (Creation Hymn) reflects on the ambiguity and unknowability of the universe's origin, highlighting a philosophical approach unique among ancient texts.

To really explore the depth of these varying mythologies, the best thing is to study the intersection of cultural and mythological stories. Nowadays there is no shortage of novels available free online which cover the ancient myth genre. You can find hundreds of thousands of novels for iOS in any genre: from to ancient myths, love stories and more. Not only do you gain knowledge of ancient beliefs, but also an emotional rollercoaster, and free novels online give this in unlimited quantities.

Gods and Goddesses: Divine Personifications

Deities populate these myths, embodying natural forces, human emotions, and societal norms. They are relatable yet awe-inspiring, human yet divine. Consider the Greek pantheon—Zeus, Hera, Athena. Each god, distinct in personality and domain, interacts with humans, often meddling in mortal affairs. Divine and human destinies are intertwined.

In Egypt, gods like Ra, Osiris, and Isis represent life and death aspects. Pharaohs, living gods, bridge the divine and mortal realms, underscoring Egypt's theocratic nature. Meanwhile, Hinduism presents a vast array of deities—Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Each with multiple avatars and narratives, reflecting the religion's complexity and philosophical diversity.

Norse gods, including Odin, Thor, and Freyja, are powerful yet fallible, destined to face Ragnarok—the world's end. A stark contrast to Hinduism's cyclical time, where destruction begets rebirth. These offer different perspectives on divinity, both profound.

To learn more about the life of one of the mythological heroes, you can explore novels online. Moreover, thousands of iOS novels are available in just a couple of taps. To get them, to the App Store. You will be able to not only read novels online, but also create your own library, a list of books to read and will be able to share reviews on novels.

Supernatural Beings: Beyond the Ordinary

Beyond gods, supernatural beings populate these myths. They embody fears, hopes, the unknown. Benevolent spirits, malevolent monsters, tricksters—they reflect life's mysteries.

Greek mythology offers creatures like the Minotaur, Medusa,the Hydra. Symbols of chaos, they challenge heroes to prove their worth. Norse sagas? They feature trolls, giants, elves—a world where reality and the supernatural blur.

Japanese folklore is rich with yōkai—supernatural beings both mischievous and malevolent. Kitsune (fox spirits), yurei (ghosts)—unseen forces demanding respect and appeasement.

African myths often highlight trickster figures like Anansi the spider, a cultural hero, and the Mami Wata, water spirits that can bestow wealth or wreak havoc. Cunning over brute strength, these stories convey moral lessons, reflecting cultural values.

Similarly, Slavic tales speak of Baba Yaga, a witch who lives in a hut on chicken legs, representing both the fear and respect for the wilderness.


In Celtic mythology, fairies and the Sidhe inhabit a parallel world. The Otherworld—eternal youth and beauty—an idealized realm beyond human reach. These beings influence fate, embodying the mystery and allure of the supernatural.

The Tuatha Dé Danann as depicted in John Duncan's "Riders of the Sidhe." (1911) (Public Domain)

The Tuatha Dé Danann as depicted in John Duncan's "Riders of the Sidhe." (1911) (Public Domain)

Hero Journeys: Trials and Transformations

Enter the hero's journey. An archetype, identified by Joseph Campbell, that transcends cultural boundaries. Heroes embark on adventures, face trials, and return transformed. They are universally resonant, yet uniquely interpreted.

Take Odysseus, the Greek hero of Homer's "The Odyssey." His voyage home from Troy? A labyrinth of challenges. Poseidon's wrath, the Sirens' temptations—each obstacle tests and tempers him. Then, there's Gilgamesh, from the Sumerian epic. His quest for immortality follows the death of his friend Enkidu. Gods, monsters, existential despair—he faces them all.

Travel east to Japan. The Kojiki recounts Yamato Takeru's story. A prince on perilous quests—defeating a monstrous boar, avenging his brother's death. Cunning and bravery define his journey, paralleling Western heroes' exploits.

Even across the ocean, Native American narratives resonate. The Navajo twins Monster Slayer and Born-For-Water? They rid the world of evil creatures, embodying growth and salvation.


Myths and legends, with their intricate and diverse narratives, offer endless possibilities for storytelling. From gods and goddesses to supernatural beings and hero journeys, these tales reflect universal human experiences while celebrating cultural diversity. And with the convenience of reading novels online through iOS apps like FictionMe, exploring these mythical worlds has never been more accessible.

So go forth and immerse yourself in the vast realm of mythology – there's always something new to discover!  Keep reading, keep exploring, and let your imagination run wild with the infinite stories waiting to be discovered. Happy reading!

Top image: The god of Chaos in Greek mythology was depicted as both a goddess and a place.   Source: RolffImages / Adobe Stock

By Margo Chelsey



Margo Chelsey is a passionate writer specialized in history and art. 

Next article