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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 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 appear to the scientific world to be 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.

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...
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,...
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...
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...
Deriv; Unidentified ancient manuscript

The Hidden Origins of Il Separatio: Manuscripts Deemed Dangerous and Banned

Throughout history a large number of books have been banned only because they contained various uncomfortable truths or tales. Such books have been systematically hunted down and destroyed by...
Deriv; Moses and the Messengers from Canaan, Christopher Marlowe

Questioning the Moses Timeline: Clues revealed in work of murdered playwright Marlowe

On May 29th, 1593, a government informer, Richard Baines, formally charged the famous playwright, Christopher Marlowe, with blasphemy. The complaint sent to Queen Elizabeth I read: “Containing the...
Ancient elves were diabolical fiends and dangerous beauties.

Revealing the True Nature of Elves: Dangerous Beauties and Diabolical Fiends

Present day movies show elves as beautiful beings who help people in their times of need. However, the original ancient form of these beings was quite hostile towards humans. Often enough, elves...
Painting of Snow Maiden (1899) by Viktor M. Vasnetsov.

The Snow Maiden of Slavic Folklore: Magical Characters of Winter from Russia

Ded Moroz, translated to (Grand)father Frost, or Old Man Frost, is a legendary Slavic character that makes his rounds every New Year’s Eve. Along with his companion, Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), he...
Ded Moroz and Snegurochka in the sleigh

Meet Father Frost and his Fairy Goddaughter Snow Maiden: Magical Characters of Winter from Russia

Ded Moroz, translated to (Grand)father Frost, or Old Man Frost, is a legendary Slavic character that makes his rounds every New Year’s Eve. Along with his companion, Snegurochka, he brings delight to...
The devil carrying Danila Prepeleac.

Danila Prepeleac – The Man Who Tricked the Devil

Romanian mythology and folklore present a more comic image of the Devil. Also, in many cases, the Devil is fooled by clever humans who manage to escape him by means of various tricks. One example of...
An evil undead woman and a demon king spell the end of Khoma Brut in a Slavic tale

Beware the Evil Dead in Myth and Folklore: The Tale of Khoma Brut

A well-known medieval tale talks about the three living and the three dead. As the story goes, three young men meet three undead walking, talking corpses. The dead tell the living that they must mend...
A frog changes into a princess in the painting Tsarevna Frog ("The Frog Princess") by Viktor Vasnetsov

Forgotten Rituals and Magical Practices in Ancient History

Over the centuries, historic texts have recorded a large number of rituals – magical or religious – some of which have been preserved in modified forms, while others remain only in obscure, old books...
Deriv; Revelers dressed as Krampusin Austria

Santa’s Horned Helper: The Fearsome Legend of Krampus, Christmas Punisher

In ancient times, a dark, hairy, horned beast was said to show up at the door to beat children, and carry them off in his sharp claws. The Krampus could be heard in the night by the sound of his...
Detail, An illustration of Loki with a fishnet, from an Icelandic 18th century manuscript.

Loki – The Trickster Redeemed?

For a long time, Loki, the Trickster of Norse mythology, has been demonized as a figure of evil. But is he really so? Many mythologies speak about beings that are neither good, nor evil, entities of...
Francisco Goya, Witches' Sabbath (El aquelarre).

Mythology in Romania: Exploring Beliefs about Witchcraft and the Devil

An old Romanian proverb says: Do not speak badly of the Devil because you cannot know to whom you will belong . According to popular Romanian mythology, it is not considered difficult to establish a...
Photo of the dome of the so-called Lupercal Cave, taken by a probe beneath the Domus Livia on the Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy.

The Lupercal Cave: A Refuge for Romulus and Remus and the Roman Festival of Lupercalia

The Lupercal Cave is a cave mentioned in the story of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of the city of Rome. Like many other legendary forefathers of ancient cities and societies, Romulus and...
Cat Keiko (1841) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Beware of Cat: Tales of the Wicked Japanese Bakeneko and Nekomata – Part Two

Read Part I Who knew innocent little Fluffy could be so devious? Cats’ reputations have often swayed from good to evil over the years as they have been both revered and feared around the world. One...
Fire Symbolism

Fire Symbolism: Flames that Ignite Faiths and Inspire Minds

Since it was first proposed by the Pre-Socratic philosopher, Empedocles of Acragas, fire has been regarded in the Western world as one of the four classical elements. The status of fire as a...
Sigurd and Fafnir (Public domain). Fáfnir was a son of the dwarf king Hreidmar. After being affected by the curse of Andvari's ring and gold, Fafnir became a dragon and was slain by Sigurd.

Outlaws, trolls and berserkers: Meet the hero-monsters of the Icelandic sagas

Iceland’s medieval literature is rich in many regards: in Eddas and sagas, it tells us about early Scandinavia and its expanding world-view, ranging from the mythology of the North, the legends and...

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