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King Haraldr hárfagri receives the kingdom out of his father's hands. From the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.

Icelander Sagas May Have More Truth to Them than You Think

Myths and legends – purely the creation of creative and imaginative minds, right? Not necessarily. Numerous stories, sagas, and texts from the ancient past have been proven to hold facts. For example...
Hercules and the Leraean Hydra by John Singer Sargant

A Herculean Effort: What Led to the 12 Labors of Hercules and How Did He Succeed?

Classical mythology is full of heroes but Hercules (known to the Greeks as Heracles) is undoubtedly the most celebrated of them all. Although his heroic life was packed with daring escapades from...
The taking of Excalibur by John Duncan

Where did King Arthur Acquire Excalibur, the Stone or the Lake?

Excalibur is a legendary sword found in Arthurian legends, and is arguably one of the most renowned swords in history. This sword was wielded by the legendary King Arthur, and magical properties were...
A vase-scene from about 410 BC. Nimrod/Herakles, wearing his fearsome lion skin headdress, spins Noah/Nereus around and looks him straight in the eye. Noah gets the message and grimaces, grasping his scepter, a symbol of his rule - soon to be displaced in the post-Flood world by Nimrod/Herakles, whose visage reveals a stern smirk.

Ancient Greek Vase Artists Painted Images of Biblical Figures Noah and Nimrod Over 2,000 Years Ago

The Book of Genesis describes human history. Ancient Greek religious art depicts human history. While their viewpoints are opposite, the recounted events and characters match each other in convincing...
Zeus

The Unshakeable Power of Zeus, Prime Mover of Ancient Greek Deities

“ Then Zeus no longer held back his might; but straight his heart was filled with fury and he showed forth all his strength. From Heaven and from Olympus he came forthwith, hurling his lightning: the...
Sixth-Century silver plate of Hercules

The Rocks, Stained Red with Blood: A Son of Hercules Slew Giants at Salcombe, Devon?

The myth of Brutus of Troy is well over a thousand years old, yet it continues to fascinate and current scholarship seeks to find new truths hidden in its mossy folds. John Clark’s excellent paper ‘...
Åsgårdsreien (The Wild Hunt) by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872).

Omen of Odin: The Wild Hunt Thundered Across European Skies, Bringing Calamity and Doom

Ask anyone who has ever seen Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones —witnessing a Bolton "hunt" is rarely a good sign. So too is the case for the supernatural Wild Hunt of European myth. A phenomenon...
Illustration by H.J. Ford for Andrew Lang's Tales of Romance, 1919. "Arthur meets the Lady of the Lake and gets the Sword Excalibur"

7-Year-Old Pulls Sword from Lake Where Folklore Claims King Arthur’s Excalibur Was Thrown

A sword has been retrieved from Dozmary Pool in Cornwall by a 7-year-old girl who was paddling in the shallow water near the edge. Local folklore has it that this was the very lake where the...
Elves and other fairy folk.

Divine, Demonic, or Something In-Between: How the Changing Face of Elves Reflects the Zeitgeist

Just as human culture has changed over the centuries, supernatural creatures also change with time. For example, elves were originally a type of nature spirit similar to Nymphs in Greek mythology...
Detail of a bowl from the Hildesheim Silver Treasure featuring a seated Athena, 1st century BC.

The Hidden Identity of the Woman Glorified as Athena: Her Link to the Pre-Flood World

Here is that woman in all her splendor, reconstructed in the imitation Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, based on the original in her ancient temple atop Athens’ Acropolis—the high place of the city...
Orcas attacking a whale, from Carta Marina (1539)

Mapping the Menacing Sea Monsters in Medieval and Renaissance Cartography

Until a few years ago, no serious consideration had been made of the many and varied representations of monsters found on world maps from the 10th century through to medieval and Renaissance times...
Beowulf against the dragon.

Finding Beowulf: Is Some of the Famous Anglo-Saxon Heroic Epic Based on Truth?

Beowulf is possibly the most famous example of Anglo-Saxon literature. The heroic epic was created between the 8th-11th century and is set in Scandinavia. In the tale, Beowulf helps the king of the...
‘Evil eye.’

Rings, Gestures, and Phallus Talismans: The Evil Eye and Ancient Ways to Ward Off Its Power

For over 5000 years people have worried that a look of envy or dislike would inflict injury, bad luck, or even death on the recipient. People would wear specific items of jewelry or other talismans...
Rhineland Master. Love Magic, 1470s. Museum für bildende Künste, Leipzig.

A Patriarchal Portrait of a Witch: Warning of Witchcraft in the Female Wiles

Early modern Europe was a period of patriarchy, in which men were in control and women only truly had a say in the household affairs. Power and regulation lay in the hands of men, while the care of...
The Stone of Scone.

The Voice is Mightier than the Sword: The Stone of Scone That Roared with Power

"Unless the fates be faulty grown And prophet’s voice be vain Where’er is found this sacred stone The Scottish race shall reign." -translated by Sir Walter Scott, 16th century A stone valued more for...
The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant

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...

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