All  

Europe

‘Will-o-the-wisp and snake’ by Hermann Hendrich.

In the Spirit of Science: Casting Light on the Enchanting Will-o’-the-Wisp

Will-o’-the-Wisps, also called “ignis fatuus,” Latin for “foolish fire”, are enchanting balls of greenish-blue floating lights observed over swamps and marshes at night. At a distance, they look...
Section of tapestry discovered in the Oseberg ship burial mound showing a figure wearing a horned helmet.

The Confusing Horned Helmets Depicted in the Oseberg Viking Age Tapestries

By ThorNews If you claim that Vikings did not use horned helmets, you are right. If you claim that Vikings used horned helmets, you may also be right. However, horned helmets were probably only used...
A Frog underwater with a crown.

An Ambiguous Amphibian: The Everchanging Frog Symbol in World Myth

Frogs and toads played a wide variety of roles in ancient cultures. Although there are some differences, they generally represented female creation energy. Frogs appear in ancient stories, myths,...
An illustration of Vasilisa the Beautiful, by Ivan Bilibin.

A Freaky Fairy Tale of Ancient Folklore: Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga

“[…] In the evening the girl laid the table and began waiting for Baba-Yaga. It grew dark. The black horseman swept by and it was night. The skulls’ eyes began to shine. The trees creaked, the dead...
Zoe Wanamaker in TV series ‘Britannia’.

Britannia, Druids and the Surprisingly Modern Origins of Myths

The new TV series Britannia, which has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is clearly not intended to be strictly historical. Instead director Jez Butterworth gives us...
Venus and Anchises

Explainer: The Gods Behind the Days of the Week

The Roman weekday ‘dies Veneris’ was named after the planet Venus, which in turn took its name from Venus, goddess of love. The origins of our days of the week lie with the Romans. The Romans named...
King Arthur monument in Tintagel, Cornwall.(left), Excalibur in Brocéliande Forest, Brittany, France.(right)

Has the King Arthur Gene Been Traced?

If stories of King Arthur and his knights are based on real people their DNA markers should still be with us today. New DNA research has perhaps found the King Arthur gene. The Genetic Lead R1b-L513...
‘Ariadne in Naxos’ (1877) by Evelyn De Morgan.

The Descent of Ariadne: Minoan Queen of the Dead to Mistress of the Labyrinth?

"Mistress of the Labyrinth", "the Great Goddess", "The Potnia ." These three terms have long been used, somewhat interchangeably, to describe the original forms of Ariadne, a Cretan princess who has...
Illustrations to Dante's "Divine Comedy" - "Minos" by William Blake.

In Search of the Mythical King Minos, Did the Legendary Ruler Really Exist?

When we think of Minos, two images immediately come to mind: (1) the legendary and cruel tyrant of Crete who demanded the tribute of Athenian youths to feed to the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and (2) a...
Lemminkäinen and the black swan.

Lemminkäinen: Resurrection of the Handsome, Yet Frivolous Finnish Epic Hero

Thus became a mighty hero, In his veins the blood of ages, Read erect and form commanding, Growth of mind and body perfect But alas! he had his failings, Bad indeed his heart and morals, Roaming in...
The Fomorians as depicted by John Duncan, 1912.

The Fomorians: Destructive Giants of Irish Legend

Bloodthirsty, warrior giants which came from far across the sea? Or was it the underworld? Perhaps they were more like monsters with a single leg, arm, and eye? No, it was heads of goats they had…or...
Mór Than's painting The Feast of Attila, based on a fragment of Priscus.

Did the Roughly-Hewn Stone Throne at Torcello Really Belong to Attila the Hun?

On the island of Torcello there exists an ancient white chair that local legend names as the throne of Attila the Hun. The chair is large, of solid stone and certainly has the air of unyielding...
Exhibit in the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Saint Brendan and His Epic Voyage: Was the Irish Saint the First European in the New World?

Saint Brendan (also referred to by his various epithets ‘the Navigator’, ‘the Voyager’, ‘the Anchorite’, and ‘the Bold’) was an Irish saint who lived between the 5th and 6th centuries AD known for...
An octopus and fish. Scandinavian mythology claimed the Kraken was a sea monster that looked like an octopus or a squid – but was much bigger.

Are Fossils Linked to the Legendary Kraken Enough to Prove its Terrifying Existence?

Scandinavian mythology claims the Kraken swallowed up whales and devoured ships. It has been described as a huge version of an octopus or squid. Legends have even claimed the terrifying sea creature...
“Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the forest” (1881) by Carl Larsson.

Humans Traveled Far and Wide Before Little Red Riding Hood Ever Made It Through the Woods

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairytale most children have heard. But if you’re not familiar, it tells the story of a young girl who wears a red velvet hood and cape and travels alone through a...
Detail of ‘Sisyphus’ by Antonio Zanchi.

Sisyphus: King Cheats Death, Annoys Zeus, and Receives Never-ending Punishment in the Greek Underworld

Doomed to forever roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology who represents an impossible task. As his punishment in the Greek Underworld, each time Sisyphus neared...

Pages