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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.

Detail of the runic inscription found on the 6th- or 7th-century Björketorp Runestone located in Blekinge, Sweden

Discover the Hidden Roots of the Runes

A long time ago, runes were used by the Shamans of Scandinavia and the word “rune” at its origin made reference to mystery. Runes were used as protective symbols and were carved in wood, bone, or...
An illustration by Gennady Pavlishin from the book Folktales of the Amur: Stories from the Russian Far East showing a little baby, Azmun, found on an island in the river, who grows up to become a hero. This type of foundling-hero story has been told worldwide.

A Brothers Grimm Story Proven Right: Many Fairy Tales Stem from Ancient Oral Traditions

Many writers have speculated on the origin, antiquity and meaning of fairy tales. These fantastical stories often involve magic; strange, archaic situations; speaking animals; kings, masters and...
Illustration of a range of 'sea monsters' in Carta Marina (Ocean Map)

Aspidochelone: A Giant Sea Monster of the Ancient World and an Allegorical Beast

In ancient Greece there was a large and dangerous sea monster called the aspidochelone , which could be translated as asp-turtle . The people who described it for centuries probably just saw a whale...
Deriv; Shui-nu Niang-niang Illustration (Public Domain) and China landscape

Shui-mu Niang-niang: The Old Mother of the Waters Who Submerged an Ancient City

In Chinese folklore, Shui-mu Niang-niang, or the Old Mother of the Waters, is a legendary spirit guardian of the waters surrounding the city of Sizhou (or Ssu-Chou, according to ETC Werner’s...
Deriv; Ancient Celtic dolmen from Poulnabrone, Ireland and carved Egyptian deity Thoth

Thoth’s Storm: New Evidence for Ancient Egyptians in Ireland?

When ancient Egypt and Ireland are spoken about in the same breath it usually results in the rolling of eyes, polite exits and the sound of murmurs citing pseudo-history and new age babble. At least...
Re-creation of the port at Eridu, an ancient “Court of the King of the World”.

The Royal Road of the King of the World, and the Ancient Center of the Earth

The Royal Road of the King of the World is a 20-degree band around the Earth that has 30 degrees north latitude as its center. This band is not, technically, the geographical center of the Earth,...
1001 Arabian nights.

Jinn: Tales of Wish Masters Throughout Time

In translation, the term jinn can be interpreted as hidden from sight or the hidden ones . In Arabic, jinn defines a collective number and it derives from the root jnn or gnn which means to hide or...
Artist’s interpretation of the holy grail.

The Truth About the Holy Grail: Magical Chalices Around the World

Most people identify one special chalice as the only Holy Grail. Others point out that the Holy Grail legends composed in Europe during the 12 th to 15 th centuries enumerate more than ten different...
Prince Arthur and the Fairy Queen by Johann Heinrich Füssli, c. 1788

Amoral Tricksters that Enhance World Mythology and Entertain Cultures

Mythologies around the world speak of beings which cannot be defined as good or evil. German folklore mentions a household elemental named kobold . Even though he can be helpful, as a trickster, he...
"Tartini's Dream" by Louis-Léopold Boilly

Stan Patitul and his Infernal Pact with the Devil

The legends of world mythology are full of tales about infernal pacts. In the case of such a pact, the individual gives up his or her own soul in exchange for service to the devil or demons. However...
The Story of Mulan.

The Ballad of Hua Mulan: The Legendary Warrior Woman Who Brought Hope to China

Hua Mulan is one of the most legendary women of ancient China. Her story was originally described in a poem known as the Ballad of Mulan. There is no archaeological proof that she was a real person,...
Nuada The High King by Jim Fitzpatrick

King Nuada and his Famous Sword of Light

Dating back to the 12 th century, the “Lebor Gabala” or “The Book of Invasions” talks about how Ireland came to be populated. After the great flood, only the Fomorians, a supernatural race in Irish...
Amulet of a Ba. Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, 332-30 B.C. Jewelry and Adornments; amulets. Gold with inlays of lapis lazuli, turquoise, and steatite.

Warding Evil and Welcoming Luck: Protective Amulets of the Ancient World

In the past, human life was vulnerable to disaster; Disease, wars, famine, natural disasters and many other factors could easily claim the lives of individuals. For this reason, people sought all...
The Annunciation by Fra Angelico

Virgin Mothers and Miracle Babies: The Ancient History of Miraculous Conceptions

At the centre of the annual Christian festival of Christmas, particularly among those of the Catholic faith, is the sacred narrative of the Virgin Birth. In the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and...
Fortuna (1754) by Tadeusz Kuntze. National Museum in Warsaw.

The Goddess Tyche as Lady Luck

Throughout time, humanity has given great consideration to elements believed to bring good fortune our way. The more people believe that they can control unpredictable forces, the more they trust...
Prophet Elijah (Al-Khidr) Rescuing Nur ad-Dahr from the Sea, a scene from the Hamzanama, here imagined in a Persian miniature by Mir Sayyid Ali (c. 1550 C.E.).

The Strange Life of Al-Khidr, the Legendary Immortal Prophet, Mystic, Trickster and Sea Spirit

In ancient Islamic legend, there exists the wonderful, contrary figure of Al-Khiḍr, an immortal prophet who kills a youth out of mercy and who scuttles a boat of some travelers to deny the greed of a...

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