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MYTHS

&LEGENDS
CONTENTS
-------- ~ ~ -
S•ni<>rbl ih>r< SoonAlkiM<>n,l'>ui>R<gon
&litorsP,.nckN=man,MoniohaThakk.at
US F-<Ii"" Eii:.>be<hBro" lmrodttction Fertility Deities
l'roj<<1 "'" &!~or Anna 1-l.all Pan and Syrinx
Duign er<DeonMorri•.MamV..~ lk<t Northern lO u rope
EUROPE 10
~hruoging f ditor Dd>I>Woll<t Norse Origins 90
Classical Europe 14
~hn• gi n~A" &lioorl<o,.nS.If The Norse Cosmos 91
AociemGreekCre~tion 16
"'" Dio.<tor Bryn\l~llo
1\obUsh<r joiUOO.nM<tolf
As.social < l'ui>lish<tlizWbt<l<r
Cosmic War
The Twelve Ol;•mp i~tiS
l8
10
The Norse Gods
Loki
Thelas1 Battle
"96
98
Produ<1ioo Ed ~ o.. joonMBym<,l.ucaFr..,<in«ti
Prx>du<tio>n Con•NIIO< hodoryuBhulbt
"~
ThcCreationofHurnank ind
H
16
Kaleva \a 100
T:JksofHcroismandChivalry
Pi<lur<R<><•tchcr Robnd5mithtt< Apollo
Beowttlf 106
lllo>O roati<>ns Aouhu!lhanugarand~iDutta Poseidon and the Flood
Legends of the Ring 108
Mythical Beings
EanhDcities 110
f'Nj<e~&li"" RohanSi" ha
Dionystts 3i
Wcstc rnl:uropc 112
Edioo,.. Suchismitollonttjtt, At hen;~ 36
M;1hsoftheAncientCehs 114
KinphukGJ.:>shal Thelo,·esofAphrod ite 38
The Ulster Cycle 116
lk!oignMonog<r ArunehTobpatr.o TheGn::ekGoddesses iO
The Fenian Cycle 11 8
Pwj<<ID<signcrTonnishtlu Cha k""""'y ThtUndemwld i1 ~tagical Worlds
D<signo< f> MtunBol><tj«,Mahu.aM>ndal,lryRoy Orphettsin theUnderwo rld H
TheMabinogi
lllusr,..o i<> n w-o r ~ in •tor Mob.'1k.alaluW.r The Labors of Herxles 46
KingAnhurandhisKnights
lllPro-onlin.tool)aiwltnt Stngh TheGardenof theHesperides 48
I)TP jo.gurStllglt,PlutomS4t><;h TheHolyGmil 118
TheseusandtheMinotaur 50
lludofPublishin&Apom>Shamu CcmrJia nd Eastern Europe 130
Bel\erophonandPegastts 52 Koscheithe lrnrnonal 131
l'utli.n.dinlh<Unil<dSUttsl>j TheExploitsofPersetts Legendsofthe\Vitch 13<
37~~~:-;::~~ AbandonedChildrrn
Oedipus
56
58
Mythsof\Voodand\Vater 136
NtwV<:rt.NtwYotklOOii GodsandG.:.idessesojLMt 138
TI~eTrojat1War
1»1011 12 l09816H32J Tl~eFi rebird 1i0
TI~eOdysse;•
SbvicGodsofPower 141
Classica\ Antil~eroes
Copyngltt02009rx.tonsKn<lmleylimot<d Classica\ Amil~eroir~es
Allrigh ....... N<d The Argonauts Wt: ST AND C t: NTRALASIA
l>.llhM~m ot;ns t h<righO>oni<t<OJ')'rigltr,.......w
RornanGodsandGoddesses 76 West Asia 148
obmo<,,.,pandthisp..bi""""' "''Yb.t<produt<d,
-..Jonoti,...~•moortt~l>y>«tn,ot Aeneasand theOriginsofRorne 78 EnttmaEiish ISO
'""""ill<d,on"l)'lotm. otl>j'"')'m<>n>(dtdron.c Guardian Deities 82 ln;~.nna 1H
m<d>""""l~g.t«»«>ins.ototh<ro;>t),
wilOOutthtpnorwnot<nl"m";sirnolboththt
«<p'frigltt.,.,.,.,....:ld><obo>¥<publi ..... ol ..... boolc
F'ubli>h<d inG.,.,Btit>tnl>j
-----~---- --

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TheEpicofGilpmesh 156 A!' RID\ 230 Mythsof thePlumedSerpent


~1)1hsof Ugarit Ancient l:gYIII 234 AztecN~tureGods
~1}1hsof the
lhtt itcs The&ginningofthe\Vorld 236 The Caribbean
TheGreatSkyGod 162 Book of the Dead 238 The Five Eras 3()6
DciursofF~Ieand Fortune 3()8
Ccmoal As ia and Arabia
TI~eFightApinsthil 168
'" A KingS Murder
Goddesses of the Nile
journeytotheLmdoftheDe~d
240
2H
246
Gods and Spirits
Ghede
SoUlhA merica
310
312
TheltgendofRusnomandSohmb 170 West Africa 248 Inca Beginnings 31<
Animal M)'thsofMongolla 172 African Origins 250 Sky GodsoftheAndes 318
Godsof\\\u A tlatiSe 252 Spiri1SojP1au 320
The EpicofGesar Khan 176 Mythica11lerMs
TheGoddessAl-L:l.t 18() CeutraiArriu. 156
OCEANIA 322
Lonkundo 258
Au s tralia 3 26
Mwindo 260
SOLJTH AND EAST ASIA 182 The lbinbowSnake 328
The \Vise King 262
S<.> uth Asia 186 The Primal Sisters 330
l:asr Africa 264
The Vedic Gods 188 The 1\ilhngoflurnalurna 332
TheFirsrC..u le 266
BrahmalndrheCreat ion 190 The Brarn-Bram-Buh 33<
Shamans 268
Shiva Po lynes ia 336
Sourhc rn Africa
TheTenA,':ltarsofVishnu 196 Tangaroa 338
MythsoftheS.1n 272
Durga 198 The Origin of Death 3<0
Hbk:myam 273
Stont~
TheRamayana
TheMah:lbh:lrata
TheOriginoftheGanges
200
206
208
Southern African Folk Tales 174
Sacred

Index
"'
3 44
!;astAsia THE AMERICAS 276 Acknowl edgrncrrl s 351
PanGuCreatestheUniverse Norrh Arnc rica 280
legendsoftheChineseHeroes Navajo Emergence 282
TheCourtof t hejadeEmperor Ancestor~
TheTenSmtsofllea,·en Raven Steals the light 286
The Adventures of Monkey 220 j ourney to the Sky 288
Thejap;meseCreation 222 MytltsoftheFarNorth 290
Susano-Oan d hisDes.:endanrs 226 Mesoame ri ca
Ki111aro 228 PopolVuh 19<

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INTRODUCTION
yths-stories of the gods. of heroes. Some of the world's greatest literature, from

M and of grem cosmic events-are told


in all of the world's many cultures
They deal with the deepest, most fundam ental
the Greek epics of Homer to the sagas of the
early Icelandic writers. are based on much
older myths that were origi nally told orall y.
issues: the creation of the universe and of the
human race. the nature of the gods and spirits, MYRIAD MYTJ-lS
what happens to us when we die, and how the Because of their oral roots, myths are not set in
world will end . They examine love and jealousy, stone. Each one, endlessly retold, has spawned
war and peace. good tmd eviL Myths explore variations_Often, there is no single "correct"
these crucial issues with intriguing plots, vivid version of a myth. The name of a god will
characters, memorable scenes, and conce pts change from one tribe to the next: a twist in
1har touch our deepes1 e m oli ons~ and so they a rale will be explained in different ways by
have become eternally fascinating neighboring groups. Written versions of a
Myths began as tales told around the fire by myth multiply the retellings still further
successive generm.ions. and in places they are This book can only 1.ell a fraction of rhe
srill passed on orally. L"ller. with the inventio n world's myrhs. and usually only b>ives one
of writing. people began to write their myths version of each story. But it does contain a
down and adapt them in new ways-mrning generous selection of myths from around the
1hem im o plays, poems. or novels. for example globe, including many from rhe cultures of
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SOi\\E CULTU RES HAVE THOUSANDS O F
DEITIES, SO Tl IE SCOPE FOR VA RIATIONS
IN THEIR MYTHS IS AL1\ lOST INfiN ITE.

Europe thac because they have been written Earth Diver, a common figure in Native
down and widely circulated, have had an American myths. In other myths the world is
enonnous influence across the world. the offspling of a male and a female creator
Often, people come much later. Usually
COSMOS AND PEOPLE they are molded from day or cmved from
Among the seemingly endless variety of myths wood Like human sculptors, the gods often
are common themes. Nearly every mythology make several false starts. Myths from Mexico
starts with the question: "How did the universe to Greece tell of three versions of people, onl y
begin7" Often. a shadowy c reat or takes the firsT the last being right_ Sometimes the first people
step: a god. perhaps, who wills himself into are male. and when they begin to die the gods
bei ng. Frequentl y, the creator is faced \'lith a make women so that the people can reproduce.
cosmic egg_ In one variation of the Chinese
creation myth, for instance, the god Pan Gu GODS AND THEIR POWERS
has to break such an egg 10 fom1 the land and Most cultures have a large number of gods or
sky. Sometimes the creator has 10 fetch land spirits-sometimes thousands, because there
from the depths of a primal ocean-like The are spiriTs evel)'\vhere . In places as far ap:m as

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FOR EARLY PEOPLES, THE EX ISTENCE O F
DEITIES EXPLAI N ED I VI IY TilE SUN SII ONE
AN D I VI-I ERE T HE RAINS CA1\ IE FRO!'vl.

Japan a nd Aflica. every rock. stream, lake. Undenvorld. They may also be culture heroes,
and hill may have its own spilit. Many are who teach people imponant ski ll s such as
local deities, worshipped mainly by the people fire-making_ Their achievements are often so
who live nearby and share their sacred space great that they become gods when they die.
Yel even in cultures that ha\'C thous.. mds
of deities rhere are ~core" groups of widely MYTHS OFTJ-IE ELEMENTS
known gods with special powers. There are Among the most prominent gods are those
gods of the sun, the rain, the sea, the sky, the of the elements, notably the sun and the rain.
mountains. and rhe rivers_ Specific gods look They detem1ined whether crops grew. so the
after hunting, fam1ing, love. childbirth, war. sun and weather gods were often the most
and death. The myths involving these gods widely worshipped of all the gods. From the
rend w relate closely tO their roles Inca sun god lmi to the Greek sky god Zeus,
Man>' other myths involve rnonals with they were supremely powerful
extraordinary superhuman powers. These Some of the most familiar mythical themes
heroes accomplish apparently impossible tasks. concern the elements. Many cult ures have a
win battles single-handedly, and even visit the myth in which the sun disappears, depriving
-· .. ;":"·'d
. \(~

the world of food and wannth and explaining patron goddess, Athena: to the lnc.1s, who
night and d1y. Other cultures, such as China believed their mlers to be descended from the
and pans of Africa, have a myth in which there sun god himsel f: and to the Norse, whose
is too much sunlight which the gods reduce, or warliors tlied to emulate their great god Odi n.
counter with night. Worldwide, wrathful gods rhe vitality and importance of myths is
send great fl oods, sometimes wiping out all but seen not only in their countless retellings. but
one human L·unil y before nonnality is restored in the way their gods, heroes, and creatures
Stories like these explain natuml disasters and have inspired artists. From China to ancient
encourage people to honour the gods. so that Rome, artists have painted and carved images
they wil l not unleash their anger: they are also of the gods. an activity that is sometimes itse lf
glippi ng tales of adventure and rescue. an act of worship, someti mes more simply a
celebration of the dei ties and their deeds
THE IMPORTANCE OF MYTHS Myths alise from an intimate relationship
Myths reinforce the cultuml identity of the between people and the natuml and spi rit
people who tell them. For the Abo rigines of worlds-something so many of us have lost
Australia, the oli!,>in myths of each tlibe tell not They opemte on the borders between reality
onl y of the ancestors, but of the routes they and fantasy. celebrate oddity and uncertainty,
took across the land when they brought each and describe terrifying cosmic forces_ But they
natural feature into being: the land, it.s people, also deal \vith great excitement and inspirat ion
and their myths are united inextricably. Myths Myths are the most enthralling stories we have,
were just. as important 10 the ancient Greeks. because they w uch our hearts and minds and
who named their gremest cit y. Athens. after its reach to the very core of ou r being

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£ Aitartorh• godrluo fonuna
Jhosaltarcomoskornlhaatyolc-ten.burltt,.the[u""""".whowamtheltaloa.n
lorOO\Oino:.. ot tOoflctnan> lldol'd•a""'"ficetol«t""".ago;ldosool<ktunywf>:l
s!OO!odlhaoourwolpooplo's l""'andwhowasalwlaloowasii'I'P"''tft' lheflctnans
CLASSICAL EUROPE
The mylhs of ancient Greece and Rome, with their tales of the great loves,
tivalries, and achievements of the Classical deities and heroes, are some
of the most familiar stories in all world literature.

TheciviliutionofanciemGreece,which fher<Xslike Heracles~ndj3SOn, involving


reached itszenith intheStha::muryKf, greatadventuresandjourneysasbrasthe
wasfoundednotbyonelargenationor Underworld.havebeenendlesslyretold
empire,butinaseriesofcity-states,eachof
whichhaditsowntr:Jd itions,culture,and AN EN DURI NG INF LUE NC E
deities. Asaresuh,manyofthegodsand \VhenGrttk civili:w.tion declined,the
goddessesofancientGreecehadlocal mythslivedoninnriousw~ys.Asthe
followings . For example , A!lu~na was Romansbuihuptheirvastempire ,the}'
closelyassocbtedwithAthens,Zeus adoptedlocal deitieswherewr theywent.
with Olympia, and Apollo with Delphi They found thegods~nd goddesses of
But anciemGreekse"erywherecameto • Sicilion t.mplo Greeceespe<:iall)·~ppealing,:mdcombined
recognizealargegroupofde itieswho CjasS>Cai~Waslhosooo ~n .I.;Jn ii""IO in S<clly tbeirpersonllities withtheir owndeities
-eooclangulaoou..:IUreSendooedby oCM'Solwl..-nns
interacted with one another- and with ln$0d(lwasaooomwoth awllsmtoao!thaienltkda<ty, tocreatefigurestlut\\-erecloselyrebted
theworldofpeople-ratherin the wherualuableolle<onopsuch .. !Pdands~""'-•lett butsubllydifferent.Thesky godjupiter,
m:mner of an extended human family, for example. is the Rom~nequiv~lentof
with its myri ~d close rebt i,·es. ~ ! embers th eGreekgodZeus,but differsfromhim
of this great pantheon of gods and goddesses fe ll in love ~nd in several ways the Romans linked him with justice. with the
had reb.tionshi ~,·en with mere monals--hld immense keepingofolths,andwiththeirmagistrates,whomade
persotl:llandpoliticalrivllries,andfrequentlywenttowar. sacrificestohimwhentheytookuptheiroffice
The~rt,architecture,andmythologicaldepi<:tionsof the
TilE GREEKS AND T JI EIR G O DS Greeks were also preserved and h~d a longer-term im]XICI.
TheattcientGreeksworshippedtheirdeitiesbyleaving plrti<:ularlyonanistsandwritersin\\'esternEuropeduring
offerings tothern internples.andhonoredt hernbyholding theRemissance(c.l350-c. l 550)
regubr fest ivals. Muchisknownaboutthisworshipbecause
manyoftheirtemples,togetherwithritua\objectsandcult
Statues.havesurvived.andancientGreekwritersdescribed
rehgiousritualssuchasrnakingofferingsoffoodandwine
lnreturn,worshippershopedthmthedeitieswouldlook
kindlyonthem,siocemOSigodsandgoddessesweresaidto
takeakeenimerestinhurnanaffairs. ln themythicalgreat
warbetween Greecea ndTroy.forexample.everystage ofthe
conflict,togethe rwiththefinal outcome. wasinfluenced:IS
muchbytheac!ionsofthedeitiesasbywhmthemenofthe
twosidesactuallyachievedonthelxtttlefield
The myths of Greece also show this interaction between
deitiesandhumans intheguise of numerousher<Xs:figures
whoaremonalbut.bec:msethey oftenhave onedivine
parent,h.1\·esomeofthech.1racteristicsofthedivine. Stories
ANCIENT GREEK
CREATION
Classical mythology contains several accounts of the creation,
telling how creator dei ties gave the universe shape and form
before the first races to inhabit the cosmos were born. These
creation stories give the background to the birth of the gods
and goddesses who dominate much of Classical mythology
and who were beli eved to dwell on Mount Olympus.

TIIEMYTII • orphion
!hawrpen t O.~ooiOO
ln thebeginningtherew:J.Snothingbutavast,darkvoid otselfaooundlha"J'lhidb>,>
[uryooroo.wflichcootainOOtha
calledChallS.Outofthisernpt ine,;sthecreati'·eforce
begi M t"'JSoi~ I I[IIIJIII'tfm( "-' is\
ernng~d. The ''ariousGreekaccoum~ofcreat iongive this
force different rume~- In SO(ne, shew~ agoddr.sscalled
Eurynome,whocottpledwithaprimalserpemcalled
Orphiontobegintheproce~ofcreatiop, w hilein·others,
she was Gaia. MotherE:lrth

THI: PRI MAL EGG


Eurynotne took the fonn ofado\'e J nd laid a great egg, armsbrar u:hingoutfromtheirshoulders.Thcncamcthe
around whichOrphioncoiled. Warmed b)• the serpent's C)·dopes. arru;eofone-eyedgiantswhowere~kil ledin
coils. the egghltche~, and out of it came allthingsthat metalworking. Somesaythatbtertheyatt:u:kedthegod
exist: Ur::mus,thesky;Ourea,the mountains; Pomus, Astlepius,sohisfather,Apollo,kil!edthem. Their ghosts
thesea:a ttd allthestarsaitd pbnets. Gaia,theEan h,and stillhaunt theca•·esbenearhthevo\canoMountEtna
hermountainsandriversen:tergedfromtheegs althe Othersd:umtlwthepowerandskillofthe
same time . \Vhenallthesethings wereborn.Eurynome CyclopesftightenedUrnnus,whothought
and Orphion uavelled w Mount Olym pus and made thattheym ightrobhimofhispower.So
the irhotne!here ButOrphiondecbrtd hintself UrnnusbanishedtherntotheUnderworld
solecreatorofthecosmos,andEurynome The most important ~ produced by Gaia

~
ptmishedhimforthisby andUranus wereagroupofgiamsk ttown
firstkickinghim a nd astheTitans.Theybecamethe
then, when he persisted, firstrulersofEarthandstanedbm il ies
~
byOO.nishinghimtothe with theirfema!ecounterparts, the
u Underworld forever Tit:messes. Titeirchildrenbecamesorne
~ ofthemostpowerfulgodsand goddessoes,
:5 MOTHt:R t:i--\RTH
J. Thotlo--io
suchasllelios,thesungod,andEos,the
goddessofdawn,whowere thechildren
' u lha•I<W\'ol thaplfll(llg::.ddess ofHyperion. ~loS! influemial of all were the
!1G E...,....,....lab"'J theloomotadoi'Olis
a•urroo•~""'"\ha t f)XJ<t.<ma•nly•n
childrenofCronus, the leaderoftheTitans,
lragroontsoi...,OOGrool:wo mog• who became the de ities of Mount Olympus

~~~2<~-,
KEY CHARACTE RS
lhe~neientGI'ffkcosmosbegin>"ithshado")'characrerswhose
mainpurposeistogetcrea!ionSiantd,butwhodonotha,·ethe
highlydewlopedpers.onaliti.sor compkxmytflsassociated"ith A
~
rhe la1~r Olpnpian deities. Eurynome, for example, is deS<:ribcd a:;
rhegoddessofall t hings,afigu""whocand~n<:eac:rossd>eprimal
dtaOs,bn:><l<lonthewater,or~ake•l"'fonnoftl>ebirrllhatl.t}'$111(
universalegg.Othercharncu:rs,suchasCrooms,originallyaharves•
god,presidem·ernaturalforu:s. TheT\tane<SRheawasaprimal
god<loe<slikeGala,amatenulfiguresuonglyidenhfi«<"iththe
A. Gaia.thomollll! godde..
Earth . TI~eTitansalsorultd t he\'ar\oushea\·enlybodies. Phoebe
and Atlas ruled the moon. while Rh<a and Cronus go'·• mOO th.e
planetSatu m . Theiaand H)l>erion
::h:::':.:u;::
geogoapho:alfwl<ore;;''''''"
ri..,.o.and<! ro.,...

~ CronU IH tlft9h11Chlld
farr>J<.,ko>Yollllowlngtt.lliol!froo
ol ... chilot..,ls8<1p.!8llho lrtan
CKIIIUS~I<Id wotllhtsconooot 111oo
no rcrl:ymadelooMJuntOthfl'

THE GIANTS AN D CYCLO PES TH E TRI NITI ES


Amongth.:firsttreaturesinth.:unh·erse v... reraasofgiants,suchas TiteTitansandotherptimalbeings
the one·e)..d Cyclopes and the Hundred · Handed Giants. TileS<: raas produced a numberofchildrenwho
hadsuperhumans:trengt handbe<:au~of t his(andrhelrdis:turbing hadthes:tatusoflesser delrles,bur
appearancdtheTitansb.nlsht;drhernto theUnderv.-orld.Later cooldst ill ha,·egreatinfluenceowr
rn)1hs,OOv."'"'·tellofanumberofCyclopeswh<> foundaroute thehesofothers.llteyoftencame
bJcktoEanh,wheretheyh,-edasshepherds in groupsofth""'.suchasthethrtt
Mostof thes.:Eanh-dv...,lllngCyclopesv.'ere HesperidesandthethreeF.tes. llte
gen~e, buta fewliked toeathumanflesh latterwereer>dov.'edv.ithtremendous
power.controllingthelivesnoton!y
ofhumansbutalsoofthegods----
theGreeksbelievedthatnoone
coul d e«:Jpethepow.:roffute
j.:f·
COSMIC WAR
The gods of Mount Olympus, who are the the Titanomachia, involves many themes-
dominant characters in most of the myths of such as oracles, lost children, and revenge-
ancient Greece, took control of the universe that arc prominent in later myths. At the end
by fighting a long war with their ancestors of the struggle, Zeus emerged as the supreme
and rivals, the Titans. The story of this ruler of the entire cosmos, and the defeated
Cosmic War, wh ich is also known as Titans were banished to the Underworld.

TI-IE M YTII admimstered to Cronus, would make him


Anor:;clehadtoldtlreTitanCronusthatone vomitupallhischildren. Zeusfollo""ed Metis's
of his children would killhim.As~resUlt. instruelioi\Sandrr>euedhissibling>--~hegods
whenc•·er~childwasborntohiswife.Rhea. ~o..eidon and ll:tdes, and the goddesses 1\erJ,
Cronus would swallow it. After Cronus·had H~stia,and Demeter. Then Zeus freed the
disposed of five children. Rhea hatched-~ Cyclopes, the one-eyed giarns whom Ur:Jnus had
plan . Whentheirne~tchild,Zeus,w:tibom, .A Bron.. •hie ldandoword b.wishedtotheUnderworld. Thegodsandtlle
she sem him to c;ete. wheo-: Am:l.lthea. a llllQocb!OO:ln rrral:aW.bo:n!a Cyclopesledby7.eusdeclan:d\\':lronCronus.
friend lygoaHtymph,broughtupthechild. _.,._ M,-tl~aro.t""""Muk<Js T11e two sides were equal\)' matched and
~leanwhile. Rheawr:Jppedastone insw.1d dling :~!Msi~=~:.,lal the conflict seemed destined to \a;,t forever.
cl<llhes ~nd g~ve it to Cronus to swallow. . But the Cyclopes were master metalworkers,
and they created ~number of magic~\ wupons. including~
THE RETUR N O F ZEU S thuuderboltforZeus.atridentforPoseidon,andahelmet
After 7.eusgo-:w up, one day his fo;aer-mother. Amalt hea, for Hades th:lt made the wearer invisible. These eventually
rel·ea\edhistrueident itytohimandnarmtedhowCronus gal'ethegods theupperl:mndintheconllict.Attheendof
hadsv.-allov.edallhissiblings.Anenr:JgedZeusthenresolved thewar.the .godscontrolledthecosmosandtheTitanswere

-..~!""!!!:l'"'""' ~ n ~~ser:~~:~for
01 imprisonedinTanarus,aregionintheUnderworld full of
· fearsome mon~ers guarded by the Hundred -Handed Giants
thiscrime. \ \)hen
he declared his FURTHER BATTLE S
intention to the Gai~.outr.t.ged that her children had beendisp.1tched to
- ..... , .. . , . TitanessMet is,she Tartarus.begananotherwaragainst rhegods,bringingthe
toldhimthat!Je Giams,whowerealsoherchildren. imob..1ttleagainstZeus
couldst ill rescuehis andthe01hergodsandgoddesses. Thegodswerefimll)•the
brothersm1dsisters victors in this b~nle. known as the GigantomxhL1, and the
Shrg:~1>ehi madrug Giantswereburiedbeneathvolcanoes. Buteventhentheir
th~t,whenitwas rulewasnotsecure . Zeuswaschallengedonelastrimeby
Typhon, ~<::t::tnO'IherofGaia"soffsp ring. AhhoughZeus iqjured
~ In bani•
Typholl----<lhugecreawrewithlrutn)·heads:mdcoumlesslegs
l!uoling""""vrochwooone
wayonwllio:ll lhog.:;<lllN-.:l andanns---withhisthunderbolt,themonstercontinuedto
IJI•ntsattackedeachOIOO.. hurl enormous rocks at him . 7...eusreuliaredb)· attacking rhe
l hispa<n11ngohows3.....-.l rockswnhthunderbolrs,sotiL11theyreboundedonTyphon ,
IIQIIIIhoGIIJ"f'to:rnachia. lho
battlebetwoo<llhoQOO!ar>d knockingthestrengthoutofhim.Fimlly.Zeushurledhim
Gaoa-..childoon.lhogooots downtoTanarus. Hisrulew:ISsecureatbst
IVEAPONS OFTIIE GODS ATLAS
ThedeiliesofandentGreeeertsembledhtunansinseveralways SonoftheTitanlapetusanda
Wh.en the gods fought a war, the Greeks imagined th.em as beings in sean}mphealleddymene,
hwnanform.fightlngwithweapons.n..seweaponswerernadefor Atlasru ltdalargeisland
thembyl-ll:plueSIUS, thegodofm.:L11working,cr•flsmansltip ,atld fire , kingdomcalledAtlomls
whow·~sakindofe<:le>t ialblacksmlth_ Buttheweaponsof thegods Hehadrrumysubjeeu,but
hadpower;thatwemfarbeyonde>nhlyswordsanddtggers..When theybttamedeg.:ner•te.so
ZewwieldedhisthUllderi:>oltorPoseidonsnuckhistridettt, theemln: thegodsd(Cidedtopunish
eosmos<hook.Hepha¢;1ussoon<:limesmadeannorformonalheroes
like Achilles (<U pp.60-6J), otld when a hero showed sptcia) prowess
inanns.proplesaidhisweaponrymuSihave
beenmadebyHephaestus.

n
0

"
(j
ZEUS
Zeus, son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea, was the god of the
sky and thunder. His most feared weapon was his thunderbolt,
fashioned by the Cyclopes. He became ruler of the gods when
he led them in their defeat of the Titans dming the Cosmic War
(see pp.lB-19). Though he married the goddess Hera, he was famous
for his many other sexual conquests, which included goddesses,
nymphs, and mortal women. Some of the numerous children of
these liaisons wielded immense power over the people of Earth.

- - - - - - - - -ol!l.- -·

THE DISG UISES OF ZEUS


Zeus'sshmingbodycou ldterri fymon~lsand hist h underboh
cou\dburn todeathanythingthatcametoonear. For these
re~ns, an d beca~ many of his sexw.l panners were
unwi ll ing, 7.eusadoptedvariousguiseswhen:.ppro:>ching
hi> loves. HecharmedEuropabymkingtheformofabuiL
gotthroughDJ.na~'sprisonbyturningintoashowerofgold,
becameaSJ.t}T torapeAmiope,aprincesoofThebes,and
approache d Leda as a owan. He tricked Akmene (su p.-16)
bydisguisinghimself:~Sherh usband .Amphitryon,and
turnedintoan eagletocarryoffGanymede,J.young
manheh.:t.dblleninlovewith.Zeuscou lddisguise
theobjectsofhislove too, turninglo,apriestessof
Hera. into a cow ;~.nd Callisto, a nymph of Anemis.
intoabear toalbythesuspicionsofhiswife

!;';.".)~-,
,; :".

ZE U S AND HERA
Zeus tookhissister.Hern.thegodde.sofmarriage.ashiswife
Hera had been ignoredwhe n thegreatgodsZeus. Poseidon. and
Hadesdividedupthecosmosbetweenthem.somarl)'ingleus
and ruling theskyashisconsongawher thepowershehad
been denied . Mostofthestoriesabout Hernrecoum thejealousy
shefeh atl~rhusband'salf3irsandthe,·endeuasshelaunched
aga in>t her riv11ls . When lo W:tS tr:JtiSformed into~ cow, Hera
sentaflytostingherperpetually,md drivehermad. Whenthe
goddessletowasexpectingZeus'schildren, Hembanr~dher
fromgivingbinhonthemainlandoronany island.Shetricked
Semeleintodemanding th atZeusappear toher inallhisglory.
Wl ~nhe:Jgreedrelucta mly.Sernelewasb\lrnedtoashesbyhis
pow·erful thunderbolt. Heraalsopersecutedtheolfspringof
Zeus'saffairs.includingDionysus(sreppJ'f-J5)and the hero
J,. TM diYino oouplo Her:teles (se~pp.i6-i7), whom sl~ drove insane-as a resub
llilllouyhHe!awaslarrw:ust,-J'I'IIOu$,ho<-sh'l'fl'l<1 ofwhichhekilled hisownwife~ndchildreninafitofrnadness
s!l<ISOOd!ha i ~olmamago . ..-.di!OO'IIlaiUst> llo"·e,·er.theeffectsonl\era'svictimswerernrelyperrnanent.
~~ayedho<andlW<Malan<lao.kwlllQCOUpla

------------
ThetlwooGroc"'oclm1"'..00Aphoodillla00[roo
Theybr<Jug h tpaoplahappneu.Oiop(OOl~ly l nlo<.l
aMtheubl.,..hhelf"ld~nts11ounsh

THE CIIIL DREN


O F ZEUS
Zeus h~d dozens of children by
hisvariouspanners,andsome
oftheseolfspringhadprominem
p;>nsinotherGreekmyths--either
3Simmonals whoruleddifferemaspectsof thecosmos.
orasheroeswhoseexploitsbecamefarnousamongmonals.
Zeusandhiswife,Hern,we~theparentsofdeitiessuch
asAres(thegodofwar)and Hebe(thehandmaidenofthe
gods). Hermes was the product of his union with ~\aia, and
hisalfair with~ \ettsresuhedinthebinhof At hem(scep.J6)
Withl.eto,Zeusbtheredthetwindeitiest\polloand
Anemis,whilewithEurynomeheproduced thethree
Gr.lCes. His liai,;on with the Titaness named Mnemosyne
(memory) produced the Muses, and his affair with Ananke
producedtheFates. Arnonghismonalloves,Europawas N
themotherofSarpedon(a heroof theTrojan\\'ar),Mmos c
(the King of Crete), and Rhadamanthus(whobecamea
judgeofthedead). Danaeg;~,·ebinhtotheheroPerseus,
while A\crnene was the motl~ r of rhe famed Her..cles
THE CREATION
OF HUMANKIND
Unlike many cultures, ancient Greece did not have a single
StOiy nan ating the origins of humanity. Greek myths men tion
several a11empts at creating humans, or mortals as they were
knovm. Three of these attempts failed before the current race
of humans finally emerged , although it is not clear who is
responsible for their creation. However, the origins of key
cultural skills, such as fire-making, are firmly amibuted to the
Titan Prometheus, who is port.rayed as a friend of humanity.

THE 1'dYT I-I


The first attempt at cre~ting :t hutnl tlt;JC(: took pbce whet\
the1ltans.b.lb)·Cronus,ruled thetosmos(supp.!6---17).
Thcresuhwa~ theGoldenRace,agrot(pofpe.oplewho
li•·edanidealexistence withoutworkofageirig.andfor THE HUM AN RACE
whomlifew:o:;.one-longfeJSt.Whenthepeopleofthe Finally.thecu rrentraceofhumans
Goldenlbcefinlllydied,theirdeath wasli keapeacdul appeared . Somesaythatt hegreatTitan
sleep. Nevertheless, itlefttheE:lrthu npopubted cr:~.ftsman,Prometheus,was itscreator.WhetherornOihe
lntentonfillingupthevoid,the01)·mpbns(seepp.20--2/) xnmlly created humanity, Prometheus certainly became its
createdtheSi\verRace.wholivedfor J iongtimebutgre"' protector. He taught humans many important skills. including
\'ery slowly to mat urity. Their children were brouglu up n3vigation and medicine, and showed them how to m~ke
carefullyb)'theirmothers,andspentonehundredyears sru;rifices.b)·keepingsomeoft hemeatforthemselvesand
as babies before re~chingadu lthood. However, they offeringtherest tothegods. Once,thepeoplekilledabullbut
tumedout tobedullandunintelligentpeople,fighting n;>uldnotagreeonwhichpart toofferthegods. Prometheus
continuously~mongthemsehes.and cle\·erlywrappedthemeat inthebull"s
oncctheybeomeadult stheytended skin,andthebones initS(;l\ . Zeuschose
to die quick!)'- These qualities, thebonesco>"ered inFat,andbecameso
togetherwiththeirrefusalto angry at the deception tl~lt he refused
worshiporevenrespectthegods. togt•·efiretothehumans.
exasperatedZeus,sohebanlshed
them to the Underworld. Zeus then THE n1EFT O F FIRE
crafredanewrnceout of clay The T3kingthesideofhurnanity, Prometheus
peopleofthisT:lceworebronze stolefirefromheavet\atldcarried itlo

*
armorandusedtoolsmadeofthe Eanhsothatthepeoplecouldcook
samemetal,so theywerecalled t he theirfoodandheat theirhomes . Zeus
Bronze R::lce . UketheSi lverR:lce, A Th• toog• otH• phbuttn pun ishedPromet heusfor thetheftby
Pt""""""'sloondhosi«l•nlhe...,..mpollloJfue>tuo,
:.£ the}· wereaggressi,·e,anddestroyed wt...elheomflSIIIan(IOdl•od.""""""f. t00CI'Oioposl havinghimchainedtoarock,wherean
themseh·esinruthlessbaules koQI)dleus"• th lllldo)ob:M!$and(l!tl(lO~tulwoop0<1J. eaglecame!opeckat luslivere''eT)'day.

~ .~.~~~-.
TH E GOLDEN AGE

as ~here v.'aS oo "·~r or h~u>rice. and ~he Golden Race did tl01
lu\'tiOWOrl<becouoernoug)>f<X>dwasw.<ldily
'""•il>blefrornpl.am.sa.>dtrees.lnlal(rer2S,the
Goldo:nAg<:be<:ameabywordfor otitn.:inlhe
distantpastwhenthings''''""rnochbenuth.m
thep""""'t.TheideaoftheGoklenAgebocame
fcl-oionableintheRm.oissa"""(c.l350-<:.l550)
whenltaliananistsandwritersmli.sro'"""dthe
cultureofallCirntG"""".andthisClasskolera
becameafavorite>ubjec~forpainters.

" The Golde n Roc• • cronuo


fl.;flat~arbSI$1'1W l).)$~!!)ho$wJenc:et<:M'ar<ll
the Golden Age ala hlsoonchoklroolsoop.18).

~:,~-:::: ::·
trysdlWl lhWII:l'""""'l'
CrOIUll i;otl(>'l....,. .. a
IJO<llle, JU>I,andkLfd rulor
oltlolGoldrn~Hewa<
wob:ulaoyfear<J•nacl I'M<hiWOdasahaoostdany

-.W.
PR01\IETHEUS BOUND
Aspunishmentforstealingfirefromthegods.Z.ushad
Prometheusct..i..,dtoarockinaplaasaidtobeOl\the
b01dersofEanhandChaos.l-kre.hewasrondenmedto
sufferwhileaneaglepockedathisher.whichronst•rulr
repairWi~<¢llsodtaltho:lrlrturecouklrontinu.e.b:us
decn:tdthatPrometh<ousshouldremainbounduntil

Slars, while the Gocek hero H~rades

(secpp.46-47) killedtheugl~.

~odlng Prom<theus~ agon~


Portrayed as a handsome young man, the god Apollo had power
over many aspects of life. Patron of archers, his bow brought pain to
humans, but he was also a god of healing and father to the
mythical physician Asclepius. He was the god of
music and the arts, and an accomplished player
of the lyre. The son of Zeus and Leto, Apollo was
also worshipped as the god of light and the sun.

THE LYRE OF APOLLO


Once when Apollo went on a journey in pursuit of one of his lovers. he
lef! his fine herd of canle umended. Hermes, who had long admired the
creatures.sawthattheywereleftaloneanddecidedtosteal them
andhidetheminacaw.ButApollo.whohadthegiftofpropht""Cy.
knewexoctlywherethecaulewereandwenttofind
Hermes an d dem:md his animals back. When Apollo
arrived, l!ermesbeganpbyinganinstrumentthat
hehadcreatedfromtheimestinesofoneofApolloS
canle.Apollowasenchamedonhearingthemusicof
thelyre,andagreedtoexchangeitforthecanle

APOLLO NW DA PIII':E
WhenApolloscornedthearche rrski llsofEros.thegodoflove,
Erosdecidedtoukerevenge HeshotApollowithagold-headed
arrow.tomakehimfall inlove,bmshottheobjectofhisdesire.
Daphne. with an arrow tipped with lead. so that she would reject
him . Apollo chased Daphne,bmshewouldnOtgiveinto
himand.asshemn.shepmyedtoZeustobetr.msfonned
intosomethingthatwoulds.aveherfrornApolloSpursuit.
Zeusrespondedbyturningherintoabureltree.
APO LLO AN D DE LPIII
WhenZeusSwife, Hera, foundoutth~t her husband hadh.ldan
affairwithleto(sup.25),shedecidedtotakerevengeonherand
sentagreatscrpem, known as the Python.toanackher. The snake
lurked around the great peak of Moum Parnasslls ,md bid was1e
the are:~ of Delphi. Apollo killed the scrpem with a bow and arrows
gi,·enby Heplmestus,thedivinecrahsman(step.39).Afterwards,
De lphi became sacred to Apollo, and his shrine was built there. The
Pyth ian Games were hdd there e'·ery four years to commemorate
Apollo'striumpho,·e r the P}1hon,andApollohasbeenassociated
A. Tho *- plootDolphi
wnh Delphi ever since. Theactivitiesatthegamesincluded poe try Theleu~oi Apolo atllelpho.lirstboJ~t"'ooodthe
andmusiccornpet it ions,inadditiontose,·eralathletice,·ems /lf1..,oluty !Q, <IariliMahobuleandwasOO <jloali:y
our<oondodbysmwo.ot..,.lhi<aiGroo<herooo

THE FLAYI\JG OF M A RSYA S


The s;~tyr (serpJ2) Marsy~s was just as accomplished a performer on
the double lluteasi\pol!ow:o.sonthelyre . ~brsyasthoughtth:u he was
thebeuermusicl:tnanddL1llengedthegodtoacomesLApolloagreed
ontheconditionthatthewinnercouldpunishtheloserinan)'Wayhe
chose. NoonecoulddecidewhowasthebeuerplayerumilApollo
suggested they both play their instruments upside-down . This worked
• Mo oicalduelwithM•rqn
with ApolloS l)•re, but not with MarsyasS flute. so Apollo was judged
Ma.sya~wa<lcio)o.lhiOiangle""lhApoiiO,whokt<kOOhon
I MOio:!.I10Jihamu~chaii""!J".Ihooii'JWOOdhomMho8 the winner. HepunishedMars)•asbyskinninghimali,·e. ?.J
l ~ i nooeof tOOcruelenwayooJJIII(I I nable
POSEIDON AND
THE FLOOD
Many ancient Greeks lived on islands or in settlements
dose to the coast, so their lives were dominated by the
sea . Consequently; the sea god Poseidon , a bringer of
violent storms, who also controlled natural forces such
as earthquakes, was one of the most powerful gods of
Mount Olympus. But he longed for more power, and
became involved in a dispute with Athena for the great
honor of being the patron deity of the city of Athens.

---· · - - - - - - - - - - -,l!r, -·- -·

THE MYTH
Poseidon mod Athena both WJmed 10 be the com rolling
deityofthecityofAthens. R.atherthandecbringwar,md
fightingabaule,thetwogodsdecidedthmtheywould
seuletheirdisputebycompetingtoprovidethebestg•ft • Poo• idon
ThagodofltJe...,isolten
fortheci ty'speoplt-. TheseagodclimbedtheAqopohs """"""'"booldodnunholdiogo~odoot
(lhehilloverlOOk ingAthens):whenherexhedthetop, a..J(I<IIIvo;o>ad.,aqli!<llCiarn <hellorabo<wda
hestruckthegroundhardwithhistridemauda<;J.hwjter shell-fikadmiOllllfladbjdolphonsoo"""tmas
spring beg:Jn to flow. Then At hem came to the Acropolis
andofferedhergift: thefirstolivetreetogrov.inthecity. Atheniansbuta!sotothosewithwhomtheytmded---so
lhetr'tecou!dbolhnourishthepeop!eofAthensandmake
HIE GODS " JUDGEMENT them rich. The}·wou!dbeab!etousetheoh,·ewood.too,to
Zeus summoned the otljer gods from Mount O!ym~us cmiSiructthings.KingCecrops.theru!erofGreece,confirmed
tojudgethegiftsanddecidewhichofthetwowasgrealer. th.1tsuchatreehadnewrbcrnseenon1heAcropo!is.After
TheappearallCe of thespringwasimpres:sive,bulsahwater !ll:':~ringalltheevidence,ZeusdedaredAthenalobethe
wasoflin!euse101hepeople. Theoh,·erree.ontheolher winner ofthecomest. Shebecamerhecity"spatrondeily.
andtheplacew:.snamedafterher.

THE COMI NG OF THE FLOOD


forbothcookingand Poseidonwasfuriouswhenheheardtheresult
lighting. Olive oil was oftl~ecompetition. Hetookuphislridentandsmote
valU.1blenotjuSitOthe lhesea!m.nyt irnes.causingagreatslonn . Thew:11ers
roseandthephinofEieusis,whereAthensstood,was
flooded. Thewalerscowred lhepbinforalong
• Tho dispu1o wi1hAthona time, but finall)'theysubsided.allowingtheAthenians
Posedon"'"lhhis no:lolrll3ndAI~wnh torepairtheircity_ Theybuiltatempletotlteirnew
~spearmJ001ormodaNe(W011911tl.
alltroo.oqhthaydocoded1o.>WIIIa1hen goddes:s.Athena.whowou\dbringthem prosperity. but
oJospo1<111'13<efulfy alsomadeofferingstoPoseidon.toplacatetheangrygod.
POSEIDON AN D
THE BEA STS
Poseidonwaslinkeddo>ely
withthoevitoli tyandenergyof
animals. Twocreatu..,sespcd.ally
assoct.tedw irhhimwuethebull
atxltheS!allioo.Bo!hweresin#<Jout
bytheGreeksfortheir..,xualpotency
and,iolwct . Duringhissexwltxploits
PoS<idonsometimes took th.eformofa
horse ,asontlleocrasionwllenhewas

bullth;urostfromthooseainsome mphs,
suchas!hal ofllipp<>I}1Us(sup.70),is
alsoamanifestalionof Poseidon'spower. had.lpilkldonau:ld

·!',~.,.,.- -" :;.,


.. - ·- i

r ) ~ '

I
. ,.,;,,,..,.,,, ,~"'""
Alt<Jacuo..,komf'o!eoOOn,lhequoonoi C!ele.l'a>rphoo,
t.)IIOII(M)!Mih ,;>nd ""!f)dWIIIl,3b<JII~tt,.lhe>OO')>d
II
it.)oll$pongolthosU<liOn'M'ISihe~•r ootaurlseepp.50-51).

-~ - ------~ ---------- ,;!!, -------- ---------- - -~--

PO SEID ON AND ODYSSEU S


Horner's0Jyssey(secpp.64-61)describes!here!umoflhenaglc
h.:roOdySSI:usfiOlnTroy!ohh...:aasaseritsof mishapsa!S<:a
1 5
1
1
~~:~~~;;;,~9c~!?n !!~2y~vered some of
templeslusesu"·l\·ed.Hewls•I<Jtalwaysworshippedasaseagod
ond his

Mostof lhesewertd'-"'I<>Poseidonandcameaboul because -some temples wert dedicated to Poseidon Hippies ("Poseidon of
Odysseus had blinded the Cyclopes Polyphemus. who was1he
seagod'sson.Thepoemdescribesvhidlyhow thegodstirred
up storms and ttmpests. which wrecked Odys.seus~ ship and
1
horses"), and many people worshipped a fotm of Poseidon who was a
god of plants. At least one of his temples in Greett, though-the
tempkatSounion , i nAuka~issitedona
§
0
dro.,.nedhiscompanions.ManyoflheperilsOdysseusfaced. spectaculardifftopo,·erlookingthesea.a 0
suchasthewhirlpooiCharybdis.v..,retheoffspringofPoseiOOn dea r mninderofthe deity~ sphertof z
influrnce . Boa.tr.c•""'""'hdd ~
th.:rein hon<>rofthegod
z
0
~ Po H idon ol i ,. tlo • w•• ..
~
Soroob"""""""doo.llriOiathoS93wrth
"
.,. Tompl • ~ tSounion 5
~ ·~~·' 0
Souno:rnc:ooldbeseenby 0
ohipslar ootat -N<Mrrt

'Mihlw\Jr(rmo!oolun'WIS
31
"''"'"""""platfoom.
SEE Al SO S..doO"'l~lllHI.~.-.J/,331-JII • F IIKol*"'"''lllf-97.2ll-IJ.nl-1~2lOH!l.3 1 4-1~m--l!l
~
h"'· DIONYSUS
The god of wine, Dionysus, was an anarchic figure who presided over
dmnkenness and other irrational or ahered states, such as religious
ecstasy. A shape-changer, he could take the form of an animal but also
appeared as a human, when he was often accompanied by revellers or
anima ls. These quali ties made him a patron of actors, and plays were
regularly performed at the Athenian festivals held in his name.

- - ~------~~-· ---~
THE RESCUE O F DIONYSUS
When Zeus, di,;gu ised ~~a mona!, began an affair "ith Semele,the daughter of King
Cadmus and Queen Harmonia of Thebes, his wife, Hera, grew jealous and plotted her
revenge . Shetooktheformofanoldwornana ttdpersuJdedSeme \etoaskthegodto
appearbeforeherinallhissplen dor.\Vhenhedidso, t he !Jeatfromhis thunderbolt
killed Semele, who W35 a mona\. One of\ he gods-some say Hermes, Nhers \he river
goddess Dircc-rescued her unborn child, Dionysius, and wok him 10 Zeus, who cut
ar~open i ng i r~histhighand pbced thechildsafely insideumilit W:tSread )•tobe born
When Dion)'SUS emerged from Zeus's thigh , l!era was so angry tim she il\(: ited t he Tiuns
(seep./6-19) totearthebabyintopieces. His grandmother, Rhea, took pit y on Dion)·sus, A flio.,.ouo
lhagodoiWIOOKlallttl"'!>l<IS
put hisbodybacktogether,andcarriedhimtofosterparents . Again, Hera discovered Oiooymhalolll<lboeoruuayed
what had happened,sotoproteo him Rheadisguis.edthech ild as a ram a~ahard&<wre)'!)U"Jman Clf'!'"'J
a cup,wodo,.ooiea>elrnholhait

~
,:!
£ flttl
ln!haS1oryollloorryou$,lioraphl'l'•hel
U ll$tiiii«J0lb$fl)31o)ul wlle,$ho)do)IOOI$
~ he<«\IIISemaie,bo.Jtn(JI$emehl'Hhild

:5U • s.molo
flamesfr omlr•us'sthunrleri:>ol t~ lled
31 Semalell91•101ybec-apopui:J r
:Wbjeo:llr;opainiOolondklr lheC(WnJXIO'(ll
e * . Handel,whawrotean(lfOrllabouthoo

l ~4~
Ti lE JO U RNEY O F THE \ VINE- DA KK SEA
DIONYSUS Ashe1ravelltd :~.round the \1~duerr.mtan, Diortrsus
As he g~v. up. 01011)'~1.1~ hecame m>tle>~> and toldthose 'l hometandfollowedhimho"'toh.1r\'eStthe
Wf:nt on :tSo!rie~of longJOUrtl~)'S \\
hcrt•n he grapes, pm;s them . and mrn their JUitt UJto wine. When
trave~d. hebtcarnc famousforlnsdrunken peoplctastedther~uhs.hebtcamever)'popular.Onct
();("CS!iotiwlnchemkdmakmdofms:mefrenzy_ Jhegodwasonhistra\'tb'lhenhe"ascapturcdby
\bnysatdtluttht~f~nZ}·"~c.:tustdbyllera, pirates,whothoughthe"asa .. eahhy)·oungman.When
v.ho\\JSSiill~semfultlutthc..onofSemdc 1he pira~esmed to tic him up. ho"ever.rhe knot.~ kept
ludsurvtl'rd. Dton)'SUS\\lSXCOtnpankdonhrs umringoftheiro .. naccord. OiO!l)'SUslhenmadeihemasl
travclsbysat)'rs. kdbytht.irking.Silenus.Aiw andriggingturnmtogrape
amongh~:Scompanion"'''"-""Jgroupofftm:dc ''ines,andnansformed
follo"ns called the "\bcnad~.· The \l~tuds theseaaroundiheshtp
wert p~d wnh a kind of m.xhltSS. in "hich iruowine. Thepif:lles
theyworkcdthem!otlvesimoanccstaticfrenzy weresofrigluened
Astheydidthis,theydanccdawilddan~. bythesightofthis
cvcntuallygcuingsoo.utofcomrolthattl-.c)·
wouldnpapalla ttycreaturethcycan'oeacross
I tll:lltheyjumped
imo1hesea
TheMaemdsdrew!l-.etrSlrengthfromDionysus. turned

§:;~~~~:;~ m\,
d:u~et:orbring
< i : .:::: :.::;;:b-
:::.:.~~-=•
II ~~:~o:h...,~

··-
themtohann.

~ s.rrrs d 8t:----- ------


thoolb!lmJol•-•._.
ood~gooi.~AlJI_holl_,

::::'..."::::.,"'::." THE TRAGEDY OF PENTII EUS


ThedancmgjourneyofOionysusandJhe Maenadsbrought

'"',......_.... ....._
them 10 The~. which wa;, ruled by Pentheus. TI1e young

tf
king'smother,Ag.wc."'asanrxtcdtoOionysusandbl:-came
ondelaraclk>lho-ollho a Maemd. gelling drunk and JOmmg rhe fnmztcd danct
dooot*lrutea.d . . . . . . PentheuswashorriliedJoseehismmher;.bl:-luviorand
r!'.~.=::.:!.. dcci<;led rotrylostopthcdancc. Heturnedforadvkc\O
""-ncloo!IIJIIIIhorJ. OiOrt)'liUS,\\hO!oldthekitlgiO
hidcand'latch5ecretly
bl:-forcdomganything.
However.1he Maen.ads
' discovertdl'emheusand
- ton'himtopieth
0
i5
• s11....
z
~
<II Du ltootP• nl t.Uf
AWIIOloldSII!yls.lonuJ !lno:ll~t~lhoMao ..... wOO
Diooyoul• ........ atl3l:k00Penthouswashos
Somo ........ uyt. .,..molhoo,ft9.we lot.Go
was._otm... lt\MIIY.~ • tlilstlhoo.f9ht
wh(lbtoooght~lhoOOd •wasblongala.bobo
wt....llowasadold liiii~~"!!IIWIISioertoo

SHilS0.-...,.4f-4>.61-t1. "'-llt8-11,1'1f-2t
ATHENA
A powerful war goddess, Athena was usually depicted with her shield
or protective cloak, known as the aegis. She was also a patron of
crafts, especially pottery, weaving, and shipbuilding, and the
goddess of the city of Athens. She inherited the wisdom of her
mother, Metis, an attribute that made her favor Odysseus, the
wisest and most cunning of the Greek heroes. In all these roles
she was especially valued because she was always accessible,
unlike many gods who kept their distance from humans.

- -- · - - - - - - - - - - - ol!lo---- ------
, ~ A!tlonaormodforwor
Athel'la'!I<Mlredmapon
TilE BIRTII OF ATIIE N A 1 '''"har-.whi<h8ha
Oneofthefirstlovesofthegodleus wasMet is,
! :~rt=:::.
~ :.::~OS==~
daughter of the Ti! ansOceanusand Tethys. ~ \etis
wasknownnotonlyforherbeautybutalsoforher
brai ns--hermmemeans-cunningimell igence.·
Shew:tSespe<:bllydeartoZeus,bmwhenshe
becamepregnam,GaiaandUranustoldZeus tlw
lftershe ludgivenbinhto~da\ogluer, Met is wou ld
thenh:ll'eason,alsobyZeus. whowouldtake
awayallhispower. TheyadvisedZeustoactat
oncetoprevem this.Gai3toldZeusthatthebest
waywswp thisch.1inofevems w:tStoswallow
Metiswholebeforeshegavebirth.Zeusdidthis,
butwhenitW:lStimeforMetis'sdaughter tobe
born. Hephaestu~im ervened.spliuingope ttZeus's
head with anaxe and emblingthechildtostep
forth . Miraculously, Athena emerged from Zeus's
skullfullyarmed,uueringawarcry.Accordinglo
several accounts,A1henaw:lSherfa1her'sfavorite
child,and!l~eonlyor~eallowedtouseh isaegis

"" Athou"obinh
[•~jdap< tioosollhe
boothoiA\hon3,$1.>ChU
th""""'''""""'l·W...
3G :~~
~:Zoo~'~woth
THE \VEAV ING CO N TEST
One of Atll{na's roles was as the goddess of weavers and embroiderers_When
someone W'aS good at we:wing, people &tid their gift came from Athena. But
Arachne,amortal girl andafinewea\·er.insistedthathergiftw-asherown,

\f~~K'>!:and ~~~~~:~:;~s;~:~~~·i1t: ~~:e~~1:;:~;:~~;!~~er~ ~~~~~~:r·. ~~~a


s::tw that Amchne's weaving was at least as good as her own
work.whichshowedthegodsvictoriousoverthemortals
However. she was offended by the subject of ArachneS tapestry, which
depictedthevariousinfidelitiesofherbther.Zeus.lnherjealousyandmge
she wre up AradmeS work. A humilbted Amchne resoll·ed to hang herself.
Y Arachn• -••ing
1\lhenawal'~lloundt,th&boo uty;)ndqua~lyol
ButAthenadecidedthatthiswastooharshaptmishmentandtransfonned
Arachoo'sW<IO~Soola•~""'was"'I"' OO. t hatonalil Arachneimoaspiderinstead,soth.1tshecouldcominueweaving
ol""'l"'""'<tr..:klha!JIIIWI!hheloonwe<Mng....,nla

r TO TilE GODDESS YIELD,

c" .. : ~/.
. ~ .
AND 1-l UJv\BLY MEE K
A PA RDON FO R YO U R BO LD
PRE SUM PTIO N SEE K.

,_..____ '*'_ . _____ -· ·-------


ATI-IEC.:A AND HEPIIAESTU S
The craftsman god Hephaestu~.whorescuedAthem
I T H E llAT!-1 1\!G O F ATI-I E\!A
AI hen~. who was a modest goddess. did n01 like others
from he r fa!her'ssk ull,hadal:lStingimer~stinthe towatchwhenshebathedatthesacredspringcalled
goddes.5Asshegrewup.Heph:~tstusfellinlovewith Hippocrene on Moum Helicon. But Tiresias. a man
herand~kedZeusforpermissiontomarryher. Zeus fromThebes.w.-.ss.oentrancedbythebeautyofthe
agreed. provided that his daughter was willing . But goddessthat hefollowedherandher
Atheruvaluedhervirginityanddid notwamtom:lrry, attendantnymphs,andspiedonthe
s.oshetumed Heph.wstusdown . Heph:~estusthen goddessasshetookoffherdothesand
lriedJorarwAthena.butthepowerful goddesspushed bathed.WhenAtherurealizedshe
himawJyand HephaeStusspilledhisseedomothe wasbeingwatched,shedimbedout
ground. TheseedferlilizedGaia(MOJherEanh)and and in her artger hit Ti reS~1S :>CrOSS
Erichthoniuswascreated. theeyes.mJkirtghimgoblind
Athemagreedtorearthe Oneofthenymphswass.orryfor
child , andhegrewup TiresiasandbeggedAthenatogl\-e
rolaterbecomethe him something incompensation for
rulerofA1hens thelossofhissight.Sot\ihenag;~,·e
Tiresiaslhegiftofprophecy

• Alhono thofoo10rmothor
Gaoahando,_her~n 11011
. ,_; .
'"""""'i'"""'"'e<klad ..."'"""""·""""l"'"ll'"ol' 'Sl
Eo~ ht hon•usiOihawaot • rJQAthena pr~IO i ni!)M)<Io)"'~"'o'lh<, lncludmgltioM
wloi le~tuslooksoo abou10adi~s;)nd t hecilyol'lh00osi""'PP-51l-59l-

-=::ol.'od.',c~~~oU-- SEE ALSOW..dH..,Jl.-3!1,40HI,141-.!~ 1 14-I~doM-«> • Vign~-1. 82-83. -l • .

\'-.._. ~ ~ ....~~~
THE LOVES
OF APHRODITE
The name of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, this magnetic attraction made her one of the
means "born from the foam ." She was bom in most powerful of all the deities. Yet some
the frothing sea and was famous both for her accounts describe her as vain, ill-tempered,
exquisite beauty and for her many lovers, who and easily offended. Her children included
included both gods and mortals. Her partners the Trojan prince, Aeneas (see pp.78-79),
found it impossible to resist her charms, and and Priapus, the god of fert ility.

~~IE ~~:T-:---------*,,~:.~""'~::=,~~l!
Aphrodite was marned to Hephac~tus the dtvme
blxksmuh He adored her and crafted beauttful g~fts for
preferred Aphrodue and :l,J£alous
Persephone told Ares about the afbtr
her Amongthern"asagoldenchanOidra"nb}doves Enr.:.ged Aresunle:>shed:>wtldboar Dcm•Vfllbol
whu;h "ere s:tewd ro her Howe\er she was frequeml) whw::h :tU:tCked Adoru~:md ktlled ofAphrod"'
unbithful to him_ Of her many affairs. the most bmous
ofa\lwaswith,AreS,thegod..ofw:>r. Th}saffairproduced arrivedinthelJnder,vorld,wherehewas
fourchildren,thefirsttwoofwhom immediatelypursuedbyPersephone. Aphrodite
appeakdwZeus,andthekingofthegodsdecided
onacomprornise.,\doniswouldspendhalfthe
)"~rintheUnde.rwor!dwithPersephone,:tndthe
otherhalf.,ithAphrodite
lhedeathofAdonisshowsllO"
dangerousitwasforanJe"remonaltofall
inlovewithAphrodite.AnOihermortal
whofellforhercharms.Anchtses,also
ltwassomet imebeforeHephaeSiusfoundout p.1iddearlrAnchisesw:~Sashepherd,whose
abouthiswife'sliJ.isonwithhisbrother.Ares, li:>isonwithAphroditeproducedthehero
butwhenhedid,hedecidedtot:>kerevenge 1\eneas.aocestoroftheRomans.Aphrodite
byridicuhngthecouple. He used his skill in disguisedherselfasamortaltosleepwith
metalworkingtomakeabrgenetoutofbronze AtJChises.butheglimpsedherinhertrue
wire,andsecretlysuspendedthisabo,·ethelovers form. Aphrodite made him promise not to
bed.\Vhenthepairwereinbedtogether, reveal the afbir-an al liance with a mere
Hephaestustuggedthe netsothatit fell onto shepherdwoulddamageherreputation
the couple.tr:>ppingthem . Then he called the Butonce,whenAriChisesw:ISdrunk,he
godstowimesstheludicroussight revealedthesectl':tarrdw:.sblinded(or,
somesay.bmed)b)•Zeusaspunishment
MORTAL LOVES
<l lkgoddon otlo••
U<ualtydepo<IOO&ab(lauMui )Wng""'""""· Aplnodllll
osotb)fosh(wmnai.OOfletauwsho rc,w!)$(!01odplrylo<ai
parloctm.shawasa l"""'les~OC1b.'J<Uip~<.-s
APIIRODITE'S lllRTII APHRODITE'S LOVERS
Aphrodi~issold~<>bcthcd;o.uglutroftht Aphrodi tt'sf""'"<,.tom.tktodl(rsf.oll!niO\-ewlthhnc-arTI<from
nun Ur.mus. Gall and Unltlw Jud mony hug... atphystc.o.lbcallly.Sk.alsohad;utaphrodisiacglrdk,lronically
chikl..,n.ir>dudir_,!I,.C>'CioPC>IIlddl< gif~ to htr by Htp~us. which sll< wore rw:xt ro htrbruSIS. This
Hund.W-Hafld,d Clams. Agha~ atthtit girdlew;>Sthctn,yofod"'r~wswho•...mtdAphrodnt'sallun:
monstrousapp.an~rn.Ur.onusdrddt.l Honw:r~ n:dd- for tnmplt- ~us how m.god..lus lkn bonowtd 1110
10 Imprison all ofthnn In Tonan.os. ~. <fur.-..:tLeus"1tllhetch:annsduringthtTrojanWartoU..tthtGrttk<l
dldnot"·amanymoll'chlldnmand could";n_Ahhougt\Aphrodnt"'.Umarrift:ltoHcptu..5tUiandw><in
~IOithlltroffs.prlngwpm!tc'lhtr lm'!"1thA~.shealsoUSo!dhtrchlonnswauranm.onymhulo-.-,rs
froonUranus~ad\·arocn.An.lty.Cronus
bo~asickltfromllisiOOih.riUldrut

II EPIIAESTUS
Thrw><Joffi~randmttalworl<.tng,lkpii:.O<Siu>wasalsoth.d.ity
whorontrolltd\-ol.canot!~.Wlt!chwcres.tldtobthls""rksmps.
~ "'15 bmt. as thr ~It of an lr~ury tll.tt cam< about wl>tn 1>t
t..d.., •'&"ffl~llt with Ztw. wh<> then thn:w him off Mown
Ol)mpu•. ThiJ infirmity &1-'t lkpiLatSCUs a comic cp.10hty IOrtl>t
G~ks. who ~~rro pll)'Sbl ptrf«1ion. In ~Itt of tim. t.. was
admlno:dforlmltlfJ'nultyandslalllnrnakin&thlngs.fromthe
tltltlu.teapo.uno:dApluocbttandAJe.toarnaglalthroneon
whrllt..muldltnprison~stntmlu
THE GREEK GODDESSES
The Greeks had many goddesses who played of the da ily life of the people. Like most
a variety of roles in their mythology. Some ancient cultures, the Greeks sought to explain
were primal, shadowy figures , such as Gaia natural phenomena by auributing them to the
(Mother Earth), who existed before most activities of the gods. Greek myths typically
other deities, and Rhea, often seen as a ascribe human em01ions to their deities,
Titaness, who was the mother of many of the hence there are n umerous stories featuring
Olympians. Others ntled over different aspects the loves and rivalries of the Greek goddesses.

·-·-·· - -----------o!lo ---- - - - - - - - - -


Y O.moll<inmoutlling
DEI'v\ETER AND PERSEPHONE Whilellomatern>J<Jrrll'>:l th&louolhordaughh)',,ha
ooje<tedherdubos3$1he')OOdnssol•"9"tll<lna!d
Persephone "·astheonl)·daughterofDemeter,thegoddess
oftheEanh,grain,andfeniht;:t!ades,therulerofthe :~~~~;::~U..thlxo:aroobal!oo
Undetv:orld,fellinlovewithPer>ephone,butknewdw
Demeter wouldnotpanwithherbecaU5eshehelpt'dher
mother inmakingtheplantsgrowandthecropsripen. So,
oneday, whenDemeterSattentionw·aselse\lhere, Hades
stUlchedPersephonewhileshe waspb yingwithher
companions, and drawd her down with him to the
Undetv;orld. Demeter wasenragedanddislraught.She
wemona longsear<:hforherd:~ughter,du ri ng
whichtimeall thecrops \>.i theredand died
Zeusrealizedtlwifthisstatew·asallowed . -. .lr\'llli.
tocominue,lifeonEarthwould
perish,sinceDemeter wasalso
responsibleforthecycleoft he
seasons.Fimlly,hepersuaded Hades
toagreetoacompromi5e,whereby
Persephonewouldbeallov:edtolin:
onEanhwithDemeterinspringand
summer,bm wouldhavetospendtherestof

~~
~
t he);:~~~~_:~~~:::::~::;~~::~~h<o
shegoesbacktotheUnderv.·orld
U dunngauturnnandwmter.
~
:5U <t lh• g•holcorn
__ The-tGmo«s~-lhat

.
~
'
-
..... ,
j)..':v-,;'__ ; :.. ~..
~..: ~c:::::.=~~
' ~'"'"""~"
A RTEJ\ 11 5
The goddess Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo (see pp.28-29) and the
daughterofletoandZeus.Shewasthep;~tronessofhuming,andtheprotector
of the weak. The deer and the cypress uee were sacred to her. Anemis w:lS
a virgin and devoted to the hunt, but she also used herwe~ponsagainst her
enemies. \VhenthehunterOriontriedtorape
oneofherfollowers,Anemiskilled
him . Whenanotherhumer,Act:«:on,
spiedonherwhileshew:ebathing,
sheturnedhimintoastagandhe
W:lSkilledbyhisownhounds .

.,. Anemi o wit~ htrfamily


leu~andtoiOh!d!NOdlikli-Apolo
whote:aorelhagodotoooS>C.oo:lhiOOI•
... ~--......- · lfarletO.IhaijOO<ktosollhahunt

I-IESTI A HECATE
ThedaughterofCronusand Rhea,Hestiawasthe The goddess Hecate is a shadowy figure-some say
godde,.,;oftheheanhanddornesticity. Unusu:o.llyfor herparentswereTitans,somethatshewJ.Sadaughter
an Olympian goddess, Hestia remained a virgin-in of7..eus. Hecate had manydifferema,pects.Asthe
spite of the bctthatbO!hPoseidonandApollowere moongoddess.shetmvelledacrossthenightskyin
inlovewithher.Shehadswornanomhuponthe herchariot,castmghercoldlightacrossthewhole
headofZeusth:ttshewouldalwaysbechasteand cosmos. Shew3Salsoworshipped3Sagoddessofthe
never marry. Another w:.y in which she differed from Underworld . lnaddition.asshe
theotherGreekdeitieswasthatshedidnottr"wl. wasthegoddessofchildbinh,she
lnstead.shelivedherlifeonMoumOlympus. W:ISofteninvokedtoeasethe
becoming the symbol of hom~. and family. She had pain of labor. Crossroads
nothrone,butw3Sresponsiblefortend ingthe weresacredtoHecate,and
sacredfirem!l.toumO!)•mpus offeringsofmeatwereoften
Hestiarepresemeddomestic leftbytheancientGreeksat
stabihtyandthehearthw:~Sher plxeswherethreeroadsmet
ahar.lnevetysa:rifice.thefirst
offeringwasmadetoHestia
"'l fripto llou to
flao:al(lwasl'OII'IOI III'I9$plrfiayed3$alnpla
goddessC31fi'1"1J•Imll!syrnb:lliiDJiuna!
~aLaiOllp(l<ltl~ti ng i rmi<O"Iahtyl
aod3knoletq-rmoloco!rroclwlloryl.

tlaa•th•mto1hlll'l(l$wheralha
goddassllesoowaswaslupped
SEEAlSOf~tiilydo<,..- 114-1~1-.llol-l~. -.-.liD-11 • ~iiii'~Jl-ll. l:l-13.8IHII . .

-~:\-~~~
ORPHEUS IN THE
UNDERWORLD
The hero Orpheus was famed for two major qualities. The first
was his remarkable musicianship, which, according to some,
he had learned from Apollo. With his music, he was able to
charm gods and mortals alike. Orpheus was also very brave,
and had accompanied jason on his quest for the Golden
Fleece ( see pp.72-73). But his most daring adventure
was his legendary journey to the Underworld.
-·-· · - - - - - - - - - -- - o!r. ----- --
~ Orph o u1 ond Eurydic •
TIIEMYTII O.phoo•'•"""'""looftl!j'di<e
The power of Orpheus's music was mirwred In his \'ery madet.mdwega•dllado•'
mrsterjousorigins,because itw'lSnm knownforcen:~i n -~.aMOOpaio:I!OOpnao""
l.or,dce,..,I!Rll:hadhomflrn
where he came from or who his parents were. Although
it was rumored thm he was a son of ApoJio (supp.28-29), hisqueen,Persephone.lladeswasgenerallynotmO\'edby
his real L1ther was eurponedly a man from Thrace-an appeals from mere mortals, bm Orpheus's eloquellt mUsic
area that rnany-southernGreeksconsidereduncivllized. sohenedhisheartandhelistenedto themusician:Srequest
Hismotherwasbe li evedtobeorn-ofthenine Muses HadesdecreedthatEurydicecouldaccompanyOrpheusback
tobnh,butforbadehimfromlookingathiswifeontheway
ORP~IWS AND ~l ADES
WhettOrpheusSbeloved~>.ife.thenymphEurydice,diedfroni· TI-lE RETURN JOURNEY
asnakebite.h1'"docidedtogototheUnderworldtoget her Orpheusandhiswifebegantheirjourncyanditwentwell
lxlck.ltwasajournerfromwh ichl'irtll.'dlynomon:d!udever initially,withthemusicianpb.yinghislyreandthebeautiful
returned. The great hero llf;racles(sapp.~6---·f1) had made the chordsguid ingEurydicebackth roughthed:uktv:ssofthe
journeyandsun·h·ed, buthisstrengthwassuperhuman.. Underworld t o~>.ardsthelight oftheEanh . But Orpheus w-as
Orphcuswasnot:lSstrong,lluthehadhisincrediblemusical concernedabouthiswife.andworriedthat Hades had not
skill. He sang and played allowedhertofollowhim
thelyresowellthatpeople
belie vedhe<::ouldmove
even inanimate objects
Aherarrivinginthe
Underworld, Orpheus
plaredhis lyretoHades,the
kingofthedarkrealm.and

)> 0'1'1Moo• inlho Undooworld


!lctCfdi"'J!OSOOIO-olthe
"'fd>, rtwasl'eo~"""'wa•
..,..-:lbyCkphouisrrwicthat
$hea>l:odHadostolct(uryd"9
.....,,..thO• phoo•
ORPHEUS AND HIS MUS IC ~
Thebegullingbeautyof OrpheusSmuskwas
fam.ous.hwassa.ldtl,.twhenheplayedhislyre

:~::;,~~~::;,:;~ ~:.c;;:: ~~~:~~~:Y j


~
eouldhearthebeautifulsoundsmortelearly.For
therultu,.,.IO\.ingGr«k.>,thismuskalabilityga'"
Orpheusaspecialplaceintheirm)1hol<>g~<Butthe V- 11'
I
beautyofhismusic,.·asnolalwaysanforitso"n --
s.ke. For example. when OrpheusacrompaniN A Gro•k "" j A Th hiNd ol Orphu•

~~~=~u:'~:::';::;:~";;~-~~~;,: =~;:::m
themfromth<oentral>eingsongoftheSirtns a~..,...,jrgboord
I ~~::::~~~~~::!:.:~~
r<ehedL... bos.SliiSI"'JJ"'J.ItiJ""'tts........:al
· - - - - - - a!E: (Wid~h<:QtttsiOtt.)~otlllat!Siand
ORPHEUS'S DEATH ! TH E CUlT OF O RP HEUS
Laoerlnhishfe,Orphe<~Sreoiu:d ooa ~aveand ! TI>ewisdomandsongsofOrpl"'uslindon
gaveupthecomr»nyofwomen.Heaoorn~ted 1 afterhisdl:atlLHelxcametheobje<:tofacuh
many male folk>wus, who weu: worshippers of j thatbeganon11sbos.whereashrill'Cwasbuilt
Apollolikehim.Hetaughtthemmusica l skills ataplacrcalledAntissaforpeople toconsu lt
andthehiddonmyst<ri~sthat hehadleam<d
asaresuhofhistriptothe Und<rworld.
Euryd~"s fellow nymphs. worshipp<rs
I anoradethatsuppo>edly,.lay"«<Orpheus~

theyrouldcheatdeathbyfredypassinginand
ofDionysus.w~realreadyangrywith

Orpheusbecauseofthew•yhehad
lookedback intheUnde!"'.mrldand
lo>lhiswife.llleywerefurtherenrag«<
I'' ~:::.:~~~~:;:"::· ~~:.:7s"~;::1:a1~,:~d
inl1sbos,notablyAkaeusandSappho.who
~= P~~ri5hedin t he late7thct:ntury JCE
owrhisdecision toforsaktwomenand
becauseofhisdevotiontoApollo.When
theycameuponOrpheusteachinghis
malelollowers.thenyrnphsottackedhim
I
l
Uootr~f'OI'I ~wasloegooo""t"""'*'wo ' teo
....,..,..tv llorlo;a-.oddo•..ed~""""
....,....,,t.li'OIIISplr(ldpQel3.001VOSiil r((Kl!(d>y
andtorehisbrxlyapart. .I. Apollo
O.phe~~.<wascle'oO!edto
oli£,---~------
~lo. w~''"'!hogod 1
otrnu.ll<,!»(ltry,ar>dttoe I
aoto.ar>d!honllllar>dpolao I
-laotlloooy...,

Orjrofdfwr,Ju,(l7t>ll
.,....,.-.d)ba....dvnthf"'-'1)'
Ollenbaeh'scoml<
opera . Orph.'tauxfn(trs
(18';81 _"·~salso
inspiredbythem}1h
and"·aslollo"·edbya
"a&•'·er-;ion _a,wella>
am<n·if.Otpfllr(\04Q\
noadtby_)t-anCoN.-au

SH ALSOL.,..,..,.. ll-1'9.1oo--trJ.IOJ-<ll,116-11.114-~116-ll, l-1.11lj-l/ •

·~C~-r-'lf-•~ J< .~ ' d_;


·-~

THE LABORS OF
HERACLES
The hero Heracles, renowned for his great of King Creon of Thebes, but Hera made
strength , was the son of Zeus and the mortal him go mad and kill his wife and children.
woman Akmene. Zeus's wife, Hera, was To punish Heracles, King Emystheus of
jealous of the affair and resentful towards Mycenae set him l2
Heracles, and she persecuted him throughout apparently impossible
his life. The hero married Mega ra, daughter tasks to accomplish.

-·----·------------· ------ ------


THE MYTH ~ Th o Stymphalianb i rd o
l his•-•"'-llaracloosOOo!ingthe
rhelabors imposedont!eradesbyKingEurystheus Sf)mlDal13nl:ud$,.,thos!mg,am:;.oe
involvedslayinghorrificmonsters,bringingbacktrophies otloctM>-f"l'llhan hisdubootJON.
forthe~ing,andothertasks,eachofwhichwasmore
dilficuhandsenttheheroonalong(rjourney\ha ttthe ofwisdom. For! hefifthbbor,l~e
preced ing one. The firstlaborwastokil!thelionof wastoldtogotoElisand deanrhe
Nemaea. not br fro'n M)·cen:)e. Heracle~ thronled the beast stablesof KingAugeas,whichwere
~ndski nned it,takingt hecreature'spehas hisdook. The fouled with great he~psofhorsedung
second labor w:J:S to slay the Hydra, a water monstn " ith Heracles ingeniouslyclearedoutthe
manyhe:•dsthatlivedat Lerna. Her.>elesfoundtlt-~texh St~bles by divening two rivers >0 tlut they washed the mess
t i mehecutoffoneofthecremure'sl~e3ds,rwonewones away. Then, for his sixth bbor. Hendes lL1d to l'iSit Gke
grew.Soheaskedhisl~elper,!olaos,tocauterizethe Stymphalis,nonh";estofM)·cenae,torid itofapbgueof
stumps. to stop t l~e new l~eads growing. The third labor was birds. Hefrightenedthebirdswithcastanets tlL1lAthe!L1
tocaptureandbringbxktheKeryt~ei:mhind.agolden­ had lem him, then shot them as they flew imo the ~ir.
horne ddeerconsecrat.edto thegoddessAnemis. This
invoh·ed theheromalongc;,hase,butevemuallyhe FA RHIER A I' !ELD
succeeded. Thefourthtask wastoseizet l~eErymamhian For his subsequent labors, Herades ludtotrnvel farther.
boar.afiercecreaturethatrosedlitl ieproblemforHeracles. leaving mainland Greece. Hisseventhlaborwastocapture
amonstrousbullbelongingto KingMinosofCrete.After
tlutheW:ISsemnonhtoThrxe,wherehecaughtsome
Next, Heradesundenook man--eatingmaresthatbelongedtoKingDiomedes. The
twotasksthatrequired ninth, tenth.andeleventhbborsrequired lleraclestosteal
more ingenuity. He was itemsofgreat value. Firsthetook thebeltofHi ppol)'ta,
helped in theseby queenoftheArnawns, whol ivedtothesouthoftheBlxk
Atl~ena,tl~egoddess Sea. Next he ledawaythecattleofthegiant Ger)·on.who
dwelled inthefarwest.After!his,hemarmgedtoobtainrhe
golden apples of the llesperides(setpp.~8---~9). But e'·en
""" H• raoiH ondthbull thesebborswerestraightforwardcornparedwiththe
lhe~f uiOOiofCmwwa• t'l'.-elflh togototheUnderworldandbringbackitsguard
thetar!1'1olllaradeSo""""'th
lot>:w.lhehe<onaadadolhl< dog,Cerberus.TotheamazementofEurystheus. lleracles
s~ength10...Wuethe beasL succeededinthisseeminglyimpossiblefeattoo.
THE MONSTE RS OF GREECE HERACLES AND NESSUS
Uke other Grttk heroes, such ~• Perseus (su pp.54-55), Her~des Heracles was trawlling "ith his third wife, Dei.mira, when they mel •
wasteSitdduringronfronutionswit hnwnerouscreatures,many centaur, called Nessus. who offer<d to cony Ddanira across • rtver
of whom were momters that would ttrrify mo>l people. Thv;e Whentheyweuacrossthe".. terandasafedistancefromHer.>cles
crc.turesrangedhomtheNema.eanlion ,ananim.alofsuprerne Nes,--usrapedDeianlra,butHen•dessawwha!washappcnlng:utd
sneng'llt,tomonsu'Ouscr<:a1Ures-such as tlt(three-headcddog, slt.olthee<:m•urwlthoo~~:ofhlsdeadlyarmws . Asl~~:dil:d,Nessus
Cerberos-whkh $0':emed "'come from the world of horror ""d toklDeianlradtatifsl~~:w<>VeHeradesashi nfromd~ehair<onhl>
nightmar<: . By O\'en:oming them , Hera.cks was able 10 demonstr•te l»ck, tl~e weaurwoold never lea\·e her for atWher womatL Same time
bothhissuperhumanstrengthatldhisexco:p!ionalbra'·ery.He later,Deianirasuspected l~~:rhusbandS fidel ily,andgave himll~esltin
alsogainedfrom<;<>meofthe .. combatsbyadopting
theaunbutesofhJSadversanes-forexample he
~ tookthehon'sskmashtsdoakandtheHydr•s

TilE CHARACTER OF IIERACLES


fltst.mdlomnost_lltracl.-slsahtro.afigull'ofitl("l\'dlblt
.trmgthandoUbt.lndlngbn~ry-ButancitntGll'tkwrtttrstll'at
---- -- ------- ~ hlschararltrlndllftll'ntwaysacrordingtotbtpartsofhl>.rory
tbtyall'narnllng.tortMmplt.lnThtCitMTtnoj/-kt'!Uks
THE HE RO'S CLUB Eulipldtsponrayshlmaslhttr.tgicligull'whoklllshls<>WT~
Kinglhespius.ruluofakingdomcalled
dtlldun.butinllllOiherplay.Almlis.hegn:>comlcaUydrunk
Thespi.oe,wastroubltdbyalion tftatauacktd
Sophoclesduls
hiscattle.ThespiusSmenhadfailedinkilling
wllhtheheroS.
thebon,soHernclesvo lunt.,.,~totry.He

mackhimselfanenormousdubbytearingup
anolivem:e.He dubbedtheliontod;::u hond
wasallowedtosle<:pwithallbmoneof
TI~~:spius'sfiftydaughtcr<asareward

• Aformidabl• wH pon
Jhe~dubolllelados.wnh wtlldlhe
<Ml0<3nla"""l'OppOnenl1, wasoohaavytllat
onlyheo:uldpidllopandwlllld llwttheasa.

SHAlSOn...to& ~44~.~~-~-~-~.n-13. 1oo-t3. tlf-19.294-!l ..

,rf(
THESEUS AND
THE MINOTAUR
The Minotaur was a mons rrous ncsh-eating creature, half man,
half bulL Minos, the King of Crete, kept it imprisoned in a
labytinth near his palace. According to a treaty between Minos
and Aegeus, the King of Athens, 14 young people had to be sent
every year from Athens to be devoured by it. But the Greek hero
Theseus resolved to kill the creature and put an end to the carnage.

TIIEMYTI I
ThcseagodPoseidononcegawawhitebull, knownas

~~i~:J'~~ :~~· t~e ~~ :~:;:; ~~:,~:::fi:~::;~,:7~~ on


8

was :mgered He asked Aphrod ite, the g,_oddess of love,


to make Minos's wife. P:lsiphae,f:tUinlove with the bull
"' Th•••••kil!o thoM inotaur
TlleM>roliiU!aiiRI$1""""')9diO

~;:;:;: ,----
..
lnthemiddleOfthebbyrinth.Theseusconfrontedthebea;;t
and killed it \lith a blow from his btherS golden swonl He
as punishment, Thisunionproduced3,_beastcalledthe then retraced hissteps"ith the body of the ~!inotaur by
Minotaur. which had a monstrou~ appetite for human flesh. followingArtadneSthread,umilhefinallyemergedfrornthe
KlngMinoswamedtoavengethedeat hofhissonatth~ entrJnce to the rn:ue. His fellow Athenians rejoiced when
hands of the Athenians. He waged a war on KingAegeus t.heysawthatTheseusludbeenvictoriousandquicklyran
of Athens and won. Ascmnpet!SJtion,hedemandedthar totheirshiptosetsailforhome. TheseustakingAti::tdne
14)"0utlgpeoplebesentfromAthenseachyeartofeed with him. In the excitement. they forgot to hoist the whtte
theMinotaur. Aegeus:Sson. Theseus,decidedtogotoCrete sails to signal Theseus's success
a;;oneoftheill-fatedpwple, andkillthebe:J.St. The ship
carryingTheseusandthemhervictimssetsailfromAthens TRAGIC ENDINGS
"-ithblacksails.andtheherppromisedlusfatherthathe · Onthewayhome,theycalledattheislandofNaxosfor
wouldreturnwithwhitrsailshoistedonhisship water. Whentheyreturnedtotheship,Theseus
ifhesucctededinkillingtheMinotaur. abandonedAriadneontheisland,saihngaway
wit hout her. Sornes;~yth~t he did this since
Hll:SEUS ON CRETE healreadyhadawife::trhome;other<>
WhenrheAtheniansarrivedm Crete. that Dion)·susspottedAriadneonthe
~tinosSdaughter.Ariadne, s.awTheseus island,fellinlovewithher.andputa
~nd fell in love with him. She kne" spell on Theseus. making him forget
tlutTIJeSeuswouldneedhelpinfinding her.AftermarryingAriadne. Dionysus
hisw:~.youtoftheimpenetrablebbytinth , gave heracrownmadeofsevenStars
once hehadslainrhecreature. SoAriadne
gave him a spindle wound with woollen
thread . AsTheseusmadehiswayintothe • t...ving tho lab,rinth
r~oon~;li[>)IOC<Iofti,.VIlS$i"Oh(IIIIGroooo
labytimh.heunwoundtherhreadbehind
~~~do"'fl"9hlsde<d""lm(MJt
him. so th~t it would mark his winding p:uh ofrl<JII!IQI13$~10)lr"""'h~•~tlnrulh
andshowhimhowtoexitthelabyrinth t001at>jlrutlr"-""9ilmohl'•throod
THE LABYR INTH KEY CHARACTE RS
KingM inosordered thebuildingof tll< TI>em)lhoflhestusandtheMinotaurcontainsa
labyrinthasaprts.onfortheMinotaur.He variedcastofcharacters,mOSiofwhomarepeopk
entrumdthedesignofthe labyrinthtothe who meanwell butm.,.,t tragkeOO...Ariadne's
master-crahsman Da.:Wius., whc was famous ~bJ.ndoomemand Aegeus's sulddeoomeabout

as. an lm·emor-he wa> said to have hwenRd b<:causell>eypl>y ml n.orrpksinalargerdrama-


saillngboa.tsandsharpurldl:rwaterramsthat thecam:r<itheherolheseu>.TIII:li\"CSofthe
madetheCwanshipsunb<:atableinban le
His labyrtnthb<:cameabyv•ordinthe3lll:ient
worldforcomplexityand impenet rnbility. The
storyofthelabyrinthSttmstocombinetwo
• Anoi• ntlabytintt. idea>----ther..lpalaceat Knossos.Crete
Unlihthepulzle.mawo"""''"["'_ , whkhhashundredsofroomsondappe..-s
(13 r ileno,whodlha>erna<lyolltl<~IO!rle
impenetrable;O<Jddrawingsofm.uesfound
:~::'=:~~·::cRy onanckmc• "1ngsandooins.

l1
' i THE 1VVDDLE O F THE LABYRJ NTH ,
THESEUS KI LLED THE BEAST\ VITl-1
A BLO \ V O F H IS GO LDEN S\ VORD

THE CRETA N BULL CU lr


Thebullpla)">~ctntralpart int h emyt hs

surrouoJdingCrete-thecreaturetha!fatherrt!
theMinotaurhadb:ensent toMinosbythe
stagodPostidonasaconfinnationof the
kingSright toruleontheisluJd . Manyancient
imagesofbullshavebttnfoundonCrete.
so theanim•lss<,.mtoho,·e
be.:nimponamln! he
cuswms andbeliefsof
rherealisbnd<:rs. too

THESEUS
A&er b=mlng !be IOns of Albms folknolna
lhedntlhofbbfalbtt Tbatewaabakeclao
•loar;ttlpiO!heUndawo.tcl.wllhlUfdmd.
1'1.-.bout.Onh»mum ~dumewas
ulrm..-.yflumhlm
mdhetpmth»IIIA
ynnu1bqpr.
Hlslfeend!dll.lhl:

................
bthntofllletpkitss
BELLEROPHON AND
PEGASUS
Like most Greek heroes, Bcllerophon was own status. He overreached himself when
given a seemingly impossible task-killing he used the horse's flying ability to try to
a monster called the Chimaera. With divine visit the gods at Mount Olympus. The gods
assistance and the aid of the fabulous flying saw this act as supremely presumptuous.
horse , Pegasus , Bcllerophon succeeded , but Although Bcllerophon was a hero , he did not
his triumph gave him an inflated view of his have the rank of a god , and so was punished.

---· - - - - - - - - - - - - - o!f, - - - · - · · - - - - - - - - - - - -

TIIEMYTII f:tther,killedsomegiams"'hothreatenedlobatesS
llellerophonwasayoungherowhohadunintentionally kingdom, and repelled a force of Amazons-female
killed a man in his home city of Corinth and was banished. warriors who were famous for fighting like men
He was accepted at Tiryns, which was ruled by Proetus, but lobJ.teswasimpressedwith Bellerophonlndthetwo
thek ing'swife.Stheneboia,fell in lovewithhirn. When becarnefriends--r.hekingevenofferedtheherohisdaughter
Bellerophonrejectedheradvaoces.thequeen"engefully inm:trriage.SoonthespitefuiSihenebobdied . Somem)·ths
occusedtheyoung"manoftryingtoseduceher. Proetus cbimshecommilledsuicideindespairwhen Bellerophon
belie,·ed hiswifeSblsewords,andsollellerophonfound married,Oihers,;ayllellerophonkilledhermfurywhenhe
himselfOO.nishedagain.Thistime,Proetussemhimtolycia disco,·ered th.ltsheludaccusedhimofuyingtoseduoeher
thek ingdomofSt heneboiaSf:tther,IOOO.tes. Proerus .'l.fterherdeath,thefamilywasabletolive inpeace
askedlolxuestokfl!Bellerophon,butlob:ues
didnotwamtomurderague!>l . Instead, he
sentBellerophonon:mapparemly
'':tinquesttokillrhemonstrous
Chim:Jer:t, ;lcremure!hatwaspan
serpem.pangoot,and panHon

Atheruhe lpedr heyoungheroby Olympusunirl\'ited. Thekingofthe gods


givinghimthemagical semaflytoSting thehorsemidway
winged horse, Pegasus in his flight. Pegasu~ reared on
Withhis:~SSistance. hishindleg;in]Xlin,sending
llellerophonw:~Sable Bellerophontumblingall
toswoopdownon 1heway1oEa.nh, where
themonster3nd hemethisde3t lt
dispatchitwithhissword.fr«ing
lobates'skingdomofthedeadly
menxc. Athenl ~llowed Belkrophon
toretainthehorseand,rid ingon this
remarkablemoum,hefulfilledman)'
other quests. HedefemedtheChimaer:J's
OVE RR EACII ERS Ti lE CIIIMAE RA
I nCI.ossie~l m)'lhology tllereisadear ThechildofMomonsters.lhe Jnan.drawnT)"phon
hierarehy,"ithgodsatthetop,mortals andthewoman-,.,rpentEchidna , theChimaera
below, and animals low.r &itl. Heroes, wasoneof themoSibiz.orrehybridsofdassical
howe,·er,occupkdanamblguou,;pl...:eln lll)thologJ'. hwasterrif)ingbo•hlx<:auseoflts
rhts fr.unewori<-they were mortals, bU! Slrang.ecompoundfonn,andbe<:aure ltbrel!hed
ofrenhadon<:di\itll:p.m:m.Thi s some1imes firefroml!smoudt. \\1tenltraided lob.ltes~
rrudethemimoov~m:a<: he~bei ngswho
aspiredtoahigh er=tusthan thd rallott<:d
po;;tion. n..,;, ambition drove~"'"' to great
heightsbutfinallybrought themtogrief.
&llerophon,lcarus,andPhaetonw<reall
lleroe>wOOfkwtoohighandpoidthep..n.

• Ph .. ton
Pt.ooiOn""$ b lodwhen ho i r~>t ll<ldond r Moglhe

:a:~::~heo~~~;oogOO. Ile.,.!<nobcl

J. B• IIorophon
Al1ku)hhob:lold......, i t;;o(lll\gasus,~ lhogrooto:mtt>..,.o-blus<mdewongs""he
tncuoredthewrath ollemw.lht..anoganooand andloo"""lcamo.ooukl ly. But lcouoW100
tellto(artn""""he 1rllld101tj100ho)h ci(>$o) 10 1heounar>:lh"wa<enW1111)1JI'Irllllld

PEG AS US
TI>e name Pe!}ISU> is rd.utd to the G~ttk word for
"spring,-•ndonem)1hofhlsbir1hsaystha.thewas
bominlhtfarwe:Xal•hespringsof theO«an
Aherhisa(h'emures"ilh&llerophonhe
flew back ro Moum Olpnpus, whe"" he
coustdanotherspring.Hippo<:""'>e("horse
spling")roHowfromMountHelkonduringa
singingconte>lin,·ohing theMuses(sup.25).

ot. iohgain:lheopii"Jt<lllod ;;.._~


Hli'I'(XIenfi')U!he<Jk<:wnlhe~
wherehahadkld:;odlhegrouod
SEE ALSO Ma!Hs«i-41.~~64--61.11-IJ.!iiH!l.IIJIHII, I~I.1l8-Z9,114-~ • •

'·1:
_\':",..~ ~ .'-."\
THE EXPLOITS
OF PERSEUS
Perseus----one of the greatest Greek heroes- wooden chest and threw it into the sea. The
was the son of Zeus and Danae, the daughtet chest reached the island of Scriphos, where
of Acrisius, the King of Argos. An oracle had Perseus and his mother were rescued by the
once predicted that Acrisius would be killed king, Polydectes, who brought him up. Many
by his daughter's son. To prevent the oracle's years later, Polydectes would be the one to
warning from coming true, he imprisoned send Perseus on his most perilous journey-
his daughter and grandson , Perseus, in a to retrieve the head of the Gorgon Medusa

--· - - - - · - - - - - - - - - - - · --

THE SLAYING OF MEDUSA


PerseusrashlyboasledtoPolyde<:testh:uhewouldbchcadoneofthe
threemonSirousGorgons.WhenPolydectesheld himtohisboast,
Perseus decided to sby Medusa, a Gorgon who could turn men
tostone withhergaze. DivineassistancewasnttdedforPerseus
to complete his task, so the deities of Mount Olym pus lem
Perseus several objeCIS that helped hirn succeed . H~. use d
HennesS winged saudals to fly 10 the pbet: where Medusa lived.
a11d Hades"shelmet ofinvisibilitywgainaccesstoherdwelling
\VithAthena"sshield.polishedlikeamirror, heapproachedthe
Gorgon,avoidingherdirectgaze. And " ith Hepluestus"sdiamond
sword,hechoppedoffMedusa"shead , thusmakinggoodhisboa;t

Y Hoodof Modusa ~ Moduum o o1Jh11du11!

~~~~~.=:~~=m.
~ladosa 'silead~g l anc e oolywoobldwhonsholooi<OO

b""" """"""· •~was t"" rrit


::_~~~.,.:,!;~~~~~m~":
mortal <>rrong thoGorgons

~
~
u
~
:5U ~ ThothrH Grooo o
Weallnglladao'sholmot.Per..,...crept
~'II- ~thoGr - . throo<i>I<,..Wltfl cn>
"fj and(l(l(llr.»>hbo)lween lherr\Who
* IJWIOOd tho """oltho Gori)OO!

~ ~.~~ • . ; :•• ~. >


Ti lE RE SCU E OF AN DR01\ IEDA
Some say the winged hor!il' l'fcgasu~ ($U pp.52-5J) grew from
MedUl>.l-, blood after Pr~us had ~l:lm tl~ Gorgon, and h( left for
ho~ontlu;.magicJISlttd.Ashelkwhtsaw·a"omancluined
tos.omcrocksonthePhoemcuncoost.Shtwa.sAndro~Mda,the
d:lughltrofUpheus.t}II'KingofEdnopi;>.His.,..lft-.Ca:.s!optu.had
boastedthatAndron~tdawa.smcrtbcautifulttuntheseanrmplli
Furious at this nbult. the god P~idon lud sem a 5el mof!Slcr
wterroriuEthiopia:thebcast'''ouldonlybcsattsfitdwnhthe
sacrilkeofCa»iopell'~dauglner. Pcl"'<tusswoopeddownand
killed the 11101\51.cr. ll!scuing Amlromeda. He asked for her lund
in ffiJ.m;J.ge but whw her pall'nts rdus.od, Pe~us showed them • "--•N<IAIIII.-u
Tloo$~11Qrllhe-ol~b¥1W_ ...............
McdliS.1'~ head. nmting them to Slone. and ldt wtth Andronl!'d:~. .,og..,tho...,ogedDOCbbrAHo.w-.S.:W.•-ollhe*"YIIaw
t.Jnrodifo;...,..lhosl:yoo .. w.ged'llle<l.,._

T ilE PETRIFICATIO N
OF POLYDECTES
Afterhis adwntures wu htl~tGol);onam.lt hesc,tmo<~Ster. Perseus
firollyreturned home to the i~bndof&ripho... KingPolydectes
had bllen in love with Perseus's motl~tr, Darot, and IL1d bun
uying to persuade l~tr 10 marry him_ lie h.1d sent Pn~u~ away in
thefirStplaceforthisverypurpost. Danathidhcn.elfintl~ttcmplc
of Atheroand Polrdccte~ laid ~tcy totht butldmg. Enraged by
\\h:ithes:.wonhisarrivli,Pcrscus!l'vealedMcdUS3Sl~tadtotl~t
kingandhissolditrs,mrnmgtl~tmtoswnt.Pci"S(w.tl~tnll'turned
J. Toi'MIIIO .....
,.,._<OIIooo-.I~ ..... Uao<t.Q.tirllldt ...•t'-bolg thtgthstlutthegodshadloanedtohim , andga.l-e~-lcdUS3Shtad
_ ......... o.. .................. ,.. (i(wgonigMo toAthtna,whoanachtdutothe:frontofhcrshicld
_.....,IOptlnlyf'tll,doo:•..tlooo-•~""-..,..lb>d

TilE DEATI I O F AC RISIUS


Pe~us..,asgomgtoll'mrntoh1ShomclandofArg05.
butiW'hcardaboutthcorackthathadp!l'dicttdth:u
Dan:JtSson"'ouldktllhi>owngrandf:ul~tr,andsol~t
decidedtosuyawly.llcn:wclledinstcadtoPela-;giotiS
(oraccordingtosomeaccounts.l.aris.a)inTI,cSS3ly,
wheret!~t!oca.lking,Teutamides .... a..holdingfm~tral
games for his rec~ml)· de«:c.ed father. Perseus was
keentocompe.teintheg:tmts,especiallyinthedi,;cus,
whichwa-;hisfavor iiCCI'C111. Butwhetl hctook his
throw,tl~tdiscuswenta-;tmy, luuingandkillingot~t
ofthemen"atciung. UnfortmL1tely,tl~tl'ictimmrned
ou1 10 be PerstusSgrandf~ther, Acrisms
OEDIPUS
Laius and Jocasta , the King and Queen of the child on a mountain and left him to die.
the city of Thebes, were told by the oracle So began one of the most tragic tales in all
at Delphi that their son would kill his Classical mythology. By the end of the story,
fath er and marry his mother. the entire family was destroyed, victims of
Terrified by the prophecy, fat e and the impossibility of avoiding it.
when their son, Oedipus, Oedipus became the archetypal tragic hero ,
was born, they abandoned trying to live well but thwarted by destiny.

- - - - - - - - ,;!!, - -- · - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

TilE ,\\YT H anotherchildandateitup.Oedipu,;alonewasablet o guess


Soon:Jfterhewasab:lndonedonthe t hecorrectanswertotheriddleand.whenhedids.o, the
mountainsidebylaiusJttdjoc:Jst;l, Sphinxdied,breakingitsneckinafitofrage.Atriumphant
Oedipuswasfoundbyagroupof Oedipus became the most popular man m Thebes, and
shepherdswhotookhimwthecityof havingcaughtthe attentionofQueenJocasta,adescend.1n1
Corinth, where the king and queen, ofthefoundingbmilyofthecity.hemarriedher
PQ)ybusandMerope,broughthi!llupas
theirowns.on.Orn:daysomeonetoldhlm H IE TRUHI RE VE ALED
hewasafouudling.s.ohe"'en!tothe ForsomeyearsOedipusandjocast:JeJ~oyedahappy
oracleatDelphitofindoutthetruth marrL1geandhadfourchildren--daughtersAmigoneand
Butratherthanenhghteninghimabout lsmene.and son~Eteoclesand Pol)·nices. But after this
lliSt!"\lep;<remage,lheorx !etoldhirn periodofcontentment,Oedipusdiscoveredthehorrifying
hewasdeslinedtok illhtsfatherand trlllhabolllhlslifewhentheprophetTiresiasrevealedwhat
marrylusmother. Thmkmg1heoracle hadhappe11ed. ThechariotriderthatOedipuskilledatthe
' -- - - - \' had meant Polybusand Merope, crossroadswashistruefather,l:Jius,andthequeenhettld
• n.o illfant Ot<liJ•• Oedipus decided to leave C01inth married inThebeswashisownmorher,JOC:asra_Tile queen

=;z:::· ~~:1:~:~:~~a:::~~~;ac=:~ds
Whonlhest.lp'o<lsloond andsetoffonalongjourney. On· kHledherselfindespairol·erwlwhadluppet1ed,atld
Oedipustookap.infromherdresstostabhiseres,
blindinghimse!f.tleleftThebestospendtherest
was travelling in the ofhislifeasJ.wanderer,comfonedonlybyhis
opposiledirt:ction. ThemanorderedOedipus daughterAntigone , theonememberofhisfamily
toger o utofhisw:~y,oifendinghimwithhis 1\!oo<::::;-~,':-Ol)> who lud not rejected him for his deeds
rudeness. Thepairquarrelledandfought.and Aftermanyyearsofnavellingasablind
Oedipusendedupkillingtheman. beggar.Oedipusreachedthecit)"OfColonus,
ontheedgeofAthens,wheretheorac lehJ.d
~NSWERING HIE RIDDLE saidhewoulddie. Here, the King of Athens,
Oedipus continuedhisjourneyand Theseus. welcomed him. Howe1·er, OedipusS
evemuallyarrivedin1hebes,wherea sonswamed himtoreturntoThebes,
monstercalledtheSphinxwasdevouring convincedtluthisrelllrnwouldbringgood
the citySchildrenandthekinghad .6. Thoclol!hotlliuo fortunetothecity.Oedipusignoredtheir
lfl)"Steriouslydisappeared.Eachdaythe Ihe la~a l moo~ogoiOOOipu,.nd demandsandwalkedimothesa.:redgroveat
Larusloolpiaceatactoss.oodsnot
Sphinxaskedabaffiingriddleandwhen lar tromllelpho!tJem.lhe"""dsol Colonus,disappearingfromviewandstarting
nobod)•couldansv•erilcorrectly,ilgrabbed lheoracle""'epardytul!illed hislastjournq·-tothe Underworld.
THE FAM ILY TilE RIDDLE OFT/IE SPIIINX
OF OEDIPUS lbepuuleposedbytheSphinxtothepeopleoflbebes isnowaU.miliar
Asaropld}1JaSty,Oedipus's rtddle,butitbaffled.-·el)'One whentheyfirstheardit.Tnitsrnostfamousfonn
farnil y wen: d~ly lnvolwd With tt.etiddleis:•Whatgaesonfour lrgs intt.emoming,t"'Oiegsin tt.eda),ime
thepolitksofthelrdty,Thebes andth~Ukgsatnightr

\VhenOedipusblindl:dltimselfand Oedipusrightlyguessed that


ldtthtcity,Joc~Sia~ brother. Crwn, the answer was a man, who
mok 0''" the throi>e until Oedipus~ crawlsonfour limbsasababy,
sons.EteocksandPol}1licrs,w.re walksuprightontwolegsas
oldwoughtorukBwthebrothers anadult,anduscsastick,or
fought andki\led~achother,and thirdleg.inoldage
Cr<on r<tumed to the throne. H~
tn:edmruleforthegoodofthtdt)' 1 • Tt.oo phi"'
butwasknownforhisruthksSOI:ss $phoiiJO)$TJI>)YllnO<J.!klnn>mtha
oociootY~Uid.but t OoGreekS!Xl•nx
HedidnotevenspareAntigone, I hadthah«l<lola,...,.,_thabody;)IIOj
~Jocastahu ng whowosbetrothtdtohisson,
haooeltonangUishoo
o(l!llllln(jthatot.)had
Haemon,andconfintdherina ~ ~ota~~:~-=-~~br~ --
mistal:oo\or""' '""'hao cavetodieforsupponingller
own""'.0odipus brotherPol)1lkesa,w.h1Stltis"ish~. l THEBES
I Alt flough it is~ famUy tragedy. the .>tory of Oedipus and hi> sons is intimately
1 bound."iththehistoryoftheircity.Thebes.in~oti•,wOO,.,rulingfamily
1 tractdttsa"""suybacktoamagicale,·•minttlelifeoftfleh<rou.dmu>
t hefour><krofTI~ebes.Muchfater,whenPol ynicrswa>oustedbyhi>brother

I ~:;::';_;~~.:;~~~w:;.:;;~fi:~::~~
1
~~~~~g.Adrastu>.
collecm-.olykoownasthe"SevenAgainst
I lbebes.."TI>eir annywasslaughtered,both
I brotherswertkilltd ,ond thenobleline

J. Antigo no J. C,.on I ~:::~:::::::·: '"'"' , . "


OOOipus'sdaughto<Mugone
S<Jpp:illadheotathaoaodsroJ
upklrheobrolheo.~.
alteohos tOOell""l""'"!lhl~
l'l'lfl'liJdaallimi!'..,th b>"""'
andtf191l<loauth.s!orrit,o,C.I)(In
actod•idootlyandbocarootha
archelypeoltOouoolouler
iI :;~:;;~;::~~:£~
be<amelho...,..t«sollhelhc!Joos
\ -:_··1 -
.¥---.¥--·-···--------
OEDIPUS AT CO LON US I
~;;;~~~~:::::~~·.~~~~::;~l:•~:.::~;.:,r:;:r~::n I FREUD AND OEDIPUS
ofoneof t hemtra,.,.,stotheUnderworld.Af~erOOOipuscametoColonus.lhere

wasathunderstonn,whichhethoughtwas asign from

thelbebans,Oedlpuspassedbelow
theEanhtothene.xtworid. TheGreck
playwrtghtSophocles{+96-406 oc•) 0
wosbomintheareaanddescribedtt.ese
ewntsinhisplayO.JipusarColcmus
g
c
<II Ood ip .. • • blio-dbovg.o•
lfl hos btondwandet""}!.Oedlpus""'<p]OO
11['hosdaugh191Antigone.thaonljlll9fllbal
olllislarl'lt,owt.ooonomedla•thlultohorn.
THE TROJAN WAR
Homer's great epic poem , the Iliad, describes back. On Mount Olympus, the gods and
a war between the Greeks and the Trojans that goddesses looked down on the battlefield ,
lasted for ten years. The conflict began after taking sides and influencing events as heroes
Patis, a prince from Troy, eloped with Helen, of both sides fell. Finally, the Greeks were
the wife of the Greek king, Menelaus, and the
Greeks mounted an expedition to get her

------------------- * --
THE MYT H
The two sides were well matched. Each had the.serdce~of
good leaders.liketheTrojanprince, Hecwr,andtheGreek
genem~ Ag.unemnon. Each had other bmous s.oldters and
fightersontheirside-l'ari~ fortheTrojllnsandmensuch
asAchillesandthecunningDdysseusfortheGreeks. Each
>idealsoludthe~kingofseveralgodpandgoddesse,;­
Aphrod iteandPbseidonwereonthesideofTroy;Apo!lo,
Athena,andHerafavoredtheGreeks. Therefore the
sta!emaiecontinued,withmanyminorb.1ttle~butno
ovCral!\'ictory,foryears.

1\Ct-l! LLE S AND PATROCLUS Achillts,:.skedhis«>mradeforpemtissiontoleadhistroops


The w:~r reached a chmax when two of the Greek !e:~ders anddisguisehimselfinthearmorofAchilles. Whfnthe
quarreled . Agamemnon, who had been for<:ed to give up Trojansoldierssaw·thebestoftheGreektroopsbackonthe
oneofhisconcubi~s.tdokashismistresso~ofthemany b.1ttlefield,apparemlyledbyAchilleshimself,theybegan
women of Achilles. In disgust. Achilles withdrew his forch tolt>Sc hean ThisgavetheGreeksmoresuccess.butjust
fromthefightingandtheTrOjansbegantogettheupper JStheys.!emedtobo;winning. llectorkilledPatrodus
hand . Towinb.'lCkthe initiative. Patroclus,aclosefriendof
THE GREEKS GAI N GROUND
Thedeat hofPatrodusrous.!dAchilles,whoreturnedto
the fight, killing Hector and dragginghisbodyaround
Tro)''sw:Jlls. Next,thegodsencouragedtheGreekstobring
thegreatarcherPhilocretesintothebattle,and thebowman
killed P~ris.a huge psychological blowfortheTrojans. The
Greeks thenst olet\thena'sstatue,whichwasasignofgood
fonune for the Trojans, from her shri~ in Troy.
Finally,thegodsput intothe mind of Odysseus the
uickofthehollowwoodenhorse, inwhichsoldierscould
hide. TheGreeks leftthehorse infrontofthecityand
feigned a withdrawal. TheTrojansdraggedthestatue into
the city. During the night ,Greeksold iersemergedfrom
itsbell)•andopened the city gates. The restoftheGreek
armypouredinand Troyw~sdestroyed.
TH E JUDGEI" ENT O F PARI S
Theevem•hatSiarted!hewarO«UrredonMoumld•.where
th<Trojanptince.Pari>,wasvisitedby threegoddes.ses:Hera,
Athen.o,andAphrodite.Eris,go<ld<ssofdiscord,hadgi'""
th<magoldenapple,inscriW,-For thefaireSI."Eachofthe
three claimed the apple. Zeus commanded HemKs to take
t h<m to Paris, who would decide which was the most beaut iful
Thegoddes.sestliedtoinnuencehisdecisionbyofferingbri~
Athen.opledgedtogrnmhimsue<:e<Sinwar,Herapromised
power,andAph rodi teoffewltheltandofthe"mld'smost
beau!ifulwoman, llelen . PartsehoseAphroditel;offer--but
Helen was ahady married to Menelalli of Sparta . When"""
elopedwithParis,hostilitiesbetweenGreeceaOOTroybegan

Til E HERO ES
TI~~:storyof•l~~:Troj.ln\\"arlsfullofl~~:roeswlloare theeplc'S.m ain
charac~t:rs. Titeyaregelll:rnllybraveinbanll:.buiHomer~depictionof
ATI !ENE AND I !ERA
tl~~;irch.tmr:tersisp.trticularlyln t eresting.Ma nyare m otivat cdbyhonor THUNDERED,
-"•''~"'. '"'"'.""."""""'""'~'"'"~
"~'
owr theirconcubints.forexample.ignites
becausewhenAgamemnonapproprlates
DOING II O r\ JOR
TO THE Kl 1\JG O F
the woman of Achilks. the lauds honor ~
ls affected . Homershowsthatimelligrnox MYCENAE, RICI-1
lsessennalinbanletoo : lheh<ro0d)"S5eus _____.,
l>n:no,.~tedforhiscunning. ~
IN GOLD.
• Acholln bondlngPwocluo"o woul!d
·' .
hiendohop""'""'""'"lantootlvall<lnll
thewar-..tJaoPatrodU$died.Achrlkls '
wturnedr>lhobanlawomo~ere<'J'I
TH E A NCIE NT CITY
O F J\ IYCENA E
Alth.ough tht:Sioryof the!!iadisam)1h,all its
cltar.octusromefromrealplacesin•ncientGiffCe.
Mycrnae.intl>enonheast<mPdoponn<5e.was
saidtobe thehomeofAgamemnon . The city stat<
was a strong miliwy power during the Lot~ Bronz~
Age.Titi>anciem>itewastxca,·atedinthe l9th
crmury by the Gennan a~hawlogist H~nrldt
• A ...,omnon ,.turning willr Casundro Schliemann. He di>eovered s:tunningjewelry and
11
Atlhoendolthewar. !r,.wascapWred.OOsacb>:l otherortifactsomongtheruins.da1ing back tothe
l>qlrrernoonc:aru«<ollCassandra.theclaughtorof 2ndmillennium ocE. lledaimed tlltseobjecls
Ki"'JPnamollmy.auprrre rd>ebr"J"'""fioJhts"""""'blootau.., belongedtoAgamemnon.

~1
'"""'::;~;:;:,:;::
.J tosupportthis

. . .. ' l i.MI'jjl!~,r ~~~:,::t::


• Hoctorfi11hlin11Achilln • Ajoxcommitting ouicido I
::~~~~!.~.~:;~=.::~ ~~:.7'=~~~:~::.~~,:· G1
t,.lhoklssolonaolthorr~r roWt fighlrloJ. O:lyuoos.a<>Okrllod hrmsoll
SEEALSOW•oll-19.-. 1-lll-ll. l ll-1!.116-21. 110-71.115-71.10HII •

. ,.•_,..• ,..·, r(:


THE ODYSSEY
Homer's second epic, the Odyssey, tells the story of the Greek hero
Odysseus (Ulysses to the Romans) on his journey home to Ithaca
after the Trojan War (see pp.60-61). He faces many perils ,
including monstrous creatures and seductive women. Each
encoun ter stretches his intelligence and cunning. But his
greatest challenge comes when he anives home to find his
wife besieged by suitors who believe him to be dead.
--- -~- ~-~----- o!lo --- ----

THE /V\YTI-I
AfterleavingTroy,O<Iysseusandhiss..1ilorsfirstcametothe
wuntryoftheLotosEaters. Theseinhabitants..wholi''edaluy
ltfe of ~ase, tempted them wnh the lotQ~ fruit, which had the
power 10 tmke them forget the past Odys;seus had to force hb
relucr~ntcompanionsb:ocktotheirships. "lext t6ey
encoumeredtheC)·clope$,araceofono:·eyed meninu:>pig;;. BU!Odys,;eus".wedhirnsclfbyeminga.
gtmlls.Odysselioandhisfo!lo\\'ersWereCaughtby proteoil-eherbgiventohimbytiY:godHennes. Circe
oneoftheCyclopes,Polyphemus. "hokeptthem sawthatOd;-,;seus>vasresistanttohermagic,and
capti,>einacaveandatesomeofthem.\Vltenthe turnedhiscrewb:;ckintomenagain.Circeadvised
Gre~k hero w;;s asked to idemify himself, he Odys,;eus w visit the Undnworld to find out
c!e,·erlysaidhew;;scal\edOutis(me~ning•no more about his future Henaveledthere,
one") _QdysseusphedPolyphem uswithwine andhadavisioninwhichhishomebnd
~ttd then blinded thegiam wtthaheatedstake wasoccupiedbyi'K>:slileinvaders. The
Whenl'olyphemusshouted ,"Outislnoondis herodecidedtohurryhome
killingme,"theotherCyclopesheard him Buthisjoumeywoklongerthan
butdidnotcometohis hehadexpected_Odysse ttsfirst
rescue becau~ they _ _.....,~~~~ encounteredtheSirens,etduming
thought hew;;sdrunk creatureswho5ebeautifulsong lured
andtheGreeksmanagedtoescape. Polyphemus all passing sailors. He sailed past them
cornplaiaedwhisfather,the~agodPooeidon,who bycornm:..ndinghismentoblocktheirears
semterribkstormstohinderOdysseus'sjoumey Afterthis,Odysseus'sshipll1dtop3SSbetween
Scylb,asix-headed,man -devouring
AT THE M ERCY O F THE WINDS monster.andCharybdis,awhirlpool.
At their next ponofcall,Aeolus, thegodofthe Odysseuswasforadtotake thepainful
winds,gaveOdys~usthewindstied up inabag, decisionofl05ingsixofhissailorstoScylla,
lllowing him to control his course homew.Irds. But e:.chof whosesi xheads couldonlyeJ.tone
Odysseus'smen,filled with curiosit)'abomthe m:mruatime,rmherthanlt1\'eallofthem
contentsofthebag.untiedit.leuingla<J5eallthe drown inthe"hirlpoolo!Charybdis. ))
winds. T!tesh ipwJSblownbroffcourse,firstto
thelwdofthegi3ntlaeslrygoni311S,whodestroyed
mOSioftheirships,mtdthentomtisbndinhabited
bytlteench.1ntressGn:e,whoturnedOd}·sseusS
--.. ;"."'·'d
. \(~

MONSTERS AND OBSTACLES PER ILS OF THE SEA


Odysseusencounteredsever•lobstadesonhisjourney. The giant lheG""'ks'''"""J>"'O'k"'Tioliwdmainlyonislandsandineo;os.ul
Llestrygoni.onsdestroytdalltheshipsinhisatm.>dooexeeptforhisown seul.rll<1lts.andhen.,.,wereaeeomplishedsailors. lheyknewwell
WhentheyweretrappedinPolyphernus~c.-·e.heandhismentied that"'•''O)'ages,e,..,nintheoftenealmMediterran<an ,had their
rhe msekes to rhe underbellies of 1he Cyclops's sheep. The ne~r d•y. d•ngers,a,dthal sallors hadtow.,ehoutforun[a\'Or~blewinds,
Polyphetnuskt hissl>«p out to gt.lle, and 1he Gt«k>esc•ped. On On:o:'s dmge!'QUS wltirlpool sorcu~ms.md Jaro:d I(J(k>, Odysseus had
island.Odysseti>Smenweretunltd intopigs,rhusddl)ing lll<:\'0)-'•ge to oopewithtempeS>ssembyPoseidon .perilouscum:nt s,a nd
scmemorl':fantastkd•ngers.Someofthe;;e,liketheseduclive
scng of the Sirens, could be decepti,·e-Odysseus was wanl«<
byCircethat thescngoftheSirensmuSiberesi51td

N EVER YET l-I AS ANY


MAN ROWED PAST TI-ll S
ISLE IN Ill S BLACK SIIIP
UNTIL I-IE HAS I-l EARD
THE SWEET VOICE FROM
OUR LIPS. lloonec.Oolf'>'Y-Boo~IX

l' Charybdio
THE WO RLD O F THE DEAD lhlsoot;;o"""whol~.anl:allpaSS<ng
shtpo,bul()dy ........ -..d througtltha
""'"""'9"flbeiW<lOOotano.IScyh
Tire<ias.whowat1>cihimt>Ottoham>
theclttleofHelios..Then he methis
mother, Antideia, who told him how
hiswifeandson...,..,re<Uffetingat
home . Odysseusalsometthe
ghostofAdlilles(supp.60- 6!)
fina.lly,hegn:wfeatfuland leh
the Underworld in terror.

~ Aehilloo
T beghoololllchillo>~Ody....,,be
l'o(JUid.atOO. ~I'I!C<l Earth b!alurnbla
labor(lO tMnrulea!llr)ll(jthadaad

-~c~~'lf-,~ '' -~ ' d_;


HIE JOURNEY CONTINUES
OdysseusnextstoppedatanislandwhereHelios,thesun
god,kepthisca\\le.Ahhoughtheylud~enwarnednotto
killth~animals,thesailorssllughteredafewofthecallle.
Hehos complained to Zeus. who struck their ship with a
thunderbolt,killingthecrew:md~IL111eringtheship.Only
Odrsseussurvived,dingingw the:wreckagf"
Odrsseusw.ao...l·asheduponthek>l~ndbelongingtothe
goddess Calypso, who wanted him to stay with her. Though
helil"edthereforseven)·ears.Odysseusfinall)•resistedthe landsandwealth. Thesuitors":erelivingoffOdysseus'sfood
temptationtostayfurther,andtmvel\ed ou. lie was then :mdabusinghiswife'>hospitality,justlikethehostileinvaders
shipwreckedagainandwashedashoreontheisbndof hehadseeninhlsvisionintheUndetworld. Penelope did not
Alcinous.thel\ingofthePh:u:acians. wanttomarryanyofthem,s.oshe
Here,thegoddessAtherocomrivedto saidshewoulddedareherchoice
tn:Jketheking'sdaughter,Nausica:.. whensheludfinishedv.ulinga
meetOdysseus.andthetwow·ere tapestry on whkh she was working.
a\\ractedtoeachother.Odp;seuswas Finally,Pendopehadtomakeup
temptedtostaywithher,burfinally, hermind.Shesaidshewouldmarry
longingforhiswifeandhishomebnd, themanwhocouldstringOdysseus's
ltha::a,hetraveledonagain powerful bow. Noone recognized
Odysseus(herevealedhimselfonly
PENELOPE'S SUITORS tohisson.Telemachus)ashetook
hispbcewiththeothers. He was
theonlyonewhosttcceededin
stringingthebow. ThenPenelope
realizedthemanwasherhusband
WiththehelpofTelemachus,he
killedallthesui\ors.But,thoughhe
loved Penelope,Odysseus,af1er
• Odfu• ... andC..IypH wanderingforsolong,foundithard
f'TI)rl'»ood~D9$$arxlorrrti(Wtali\'ft,.Ca~~
to settle down in lth~ca. Soon he
:=:::::=·~;:~·
ho$J(l<JH'-'I't.;m)IO I11""'a

Penelop<":~ho>plr•lityand showed no
U:Spe<;tforhetO\-'lS.:ntiments. n11s
ffi •bus.:jusrlfiedthelrtvemualk illlng
:.·-~ byOd)"SS<:Usandhlsson,Telemao:hus

:t::;,~~.-:,·~~. .
DIVINE INTERVENTION
TI>e wd>of Mount Olympus not only influenre:i the Trojan War, but
also had an impact on tl>e a<hemuresof Od)'SS'us. \Vhet>ewrthe htro
offended a deity, his journey home was delay.,.;l.. Poseidon, Helios
andleushimself.all h;mpe~dtheprog~ssofthe
\'O)'lge.AfterblindingPolypl>emus,Odysseus
shoutedouthis~alna metotheCydopsas

hesailedawa)·.Polyphemustold Poseidon tltat


Odyss.:ushadblindedhim,mdtl>eseagod
unleashedaseriesofstonnstowrttkhisships
When Odysseus's men slew the canle of Helios,
Zruspunishedtl-;,m.ThoughHermess.,·edOdrsseus
fromthem•gicofCircr, t!Kooedeitywhoronsistently
prote<:tedandad,·lsedthecunningherowasAtherta.

SOME \VO RK O r
1\JO BLE NOT E, 1'vlAY
YET BE DO N E,
1\JOT UN BE COM ING
1\ \EN THAT STROVE
• Dioin• prot.c!G<
Alh(.-!awasD<t,<$:10<J$'•~taciOr.Shc~•<JadedCa!yp4oiO
I VITI I GOD S.
tele;,ehtm,..,tu ph,.moeb"'JWtlhNauso:.Handad...OO
him todisgu...,him,..IOOk<eroofrootmghi•wif<l•surt<ws

MODERN O DYSSEYS
TI>e ad\·enturesofOdy'>S<us are immensely popular. Becau.>e llomds
epicisapowerfult alewilhanopen-endedrondusion, its material
ltas bttn ustd in new ways . One oftl>ese "mrxlem Ody;.seys" is The
Odpy:AMoJtr"St'l"e1(1938),a
longpoernbyN ikos Kaz•ntL>kis
(1883-lll~n.deS<:tibingOdysseus's
newadventures.Ulxsscs(l922),a
rl<l>'elbyjarnes_loyo:(l882-19+ l).
alsouses theideaofanrxly-ssey inlts
SIOI)'aboutleopoldflloom,a r ~arive

oiDublin.whomakesa tueanderlng
joumeyaroundhishomecity.

~ Joyo • 'o UI,.u t

:'"..;;":';i:u:::~::::::: ()?
alludliOepr»ilslrornlhaGreoll""f'ft
SEEAlSOJw-~-:J;,#-1;,120-11,120-1t • o-..1-o-7.~1-!o3,~-51>,11·73 •

.co•-i'·"'··,J.:
CLASSICAL ANTIHEROES
The myths of ancient Greece are full of gifts or hospitality, or by insulting the gods.
people-usually mortals but often powerful These antiheroes often ended up with dire
figures such as kings or princes-who broke punishmcms , as a warning to mhers tempted
the rules of nmmal conducL They did this to break the social or cult rules that normally
by cheating their fellow mortals, by abusing made social or religious life run smoo thly.
--~- - - - - - - - - - - - -.$ -~- -~-----~-~ ~--------

I,Xo
I N
l ~ ... U o kllh "'lof [IOIIOUI
•""•'~"~"''
0 11 1
~~~:c::~;r ~ ~ ~b~~~~~~ ~~~~:~:~:u;~7;, :~E:o~: ~~·d :~-~ =~~~~:~:
ordertom~rr}herandagreedtopaythedowrytothegtrls·-~
'""""""'"'""" '""'"""'' """" '""' '"'
""'"P'""'"""''''""'"Imorrrywoorhrd,yof
0\ • 01\h
/,'l(',~if'Al'l
)'
" '""''"""'.'"'
a""'""'"'"""""""'
the v, eddong thek mgsetacrueltrap [orEloneus lie dug \\vlJ rA-({ ~ \ ;'l$10ad.seoltl>lJUnOOXJrdng
a pn near hts palace and filled n wn h burmngcoal and :::;~~=~hal
v. henh lsunsuspect mgfather m b v. arnvedlxwn pushed ~
himtohisdeath. Followingthisoulrage,lxionwas05tracized
byallmon~lsforkil l inga k i n sman.bulforsorne reason Zeus took
pity on him and invi1ed him to a banquet on ~toum Olympus . Even
amongthegods,heoverstepped t heboundsofproprielyandtried
toseducellera,leusSwife. leuspunishedlxionforattemptingto
outragehis wifeSmodestybybindinghim toaburn ingwheel.
whichwouldturnfore,·erinthe Underworld

~ l•ion1oduc i ngHOf•
'M>enZ""'~t<ion'> in lanoons.Oa t od;OOhom

~~h=::~"::"~.:.:~~:::.~
SISYPH US M IDAS
Thefounderof thecityofCorinth,Sisyphusw:~sguihyofseveral KingMidasofPhrygL1helpedSilenus,
transgressions.includingk illingf;uestsandseducinghisownniece afollowerofDionysus(sapp.J~-J5),and
BanishedtotheUndem·orldforhisdeeds,hetriedtoche:udeath,first inretumthegodgrantedMidasanybvor
byconfin ingTiuiUlos,thegodofmort.llity,bmwithoutsuccess. Then he wished . Theking.whowasconsmned
heinstmctedhiswife nottoc~rryouttheburi:llritesforhim. When bygreed.askedthate,'el)'lhingltt;touched
Hades sent him back to E.1rth to ensure th.11 the rites were performed, shouldchJ.ngerogold.Butwhenhisfood
SisyphusrefusedtoreturntotheUnderworld. For anddrinkwereturnedtogold,Midas
hispresumptionintryingwturnhimselfirnoan asked Dionysus to take the gift away. One
immon:d, Sisyphus was condemned ro roll a he~vy d:ty,he came:l<:rossPanandApo!loi nrhe
boulderupahill. Whentherock reached the countryside.Thetwogodswereh.wingan
hilltop,itrolledbxkdownag:~in,soSisyphus argument about who was the beuer
hJ.d to keep repe~ting his task etcrru.lly musician. MidaschosePano,·erthegod
ofmusic,a ndanir.ueApollopunished
himbygivinghimtheearsofanass
Midashadtokeep lnsheadco,·eredwith
aturOOn,butnewsofhisridiculousears
g01out.andheended
hislifebydrinkinghOI
bullS blood

I
~ :•,~:::.::::.~":,; :h\~oot aM I
ooodornmoo•.Si"!Phuo•ndllll19rriblo
pu .. sh!l'l(l<ltboo;)matt.)~onio:omagool I
hard,(lfldiO$$, &r>:lpOm lle!$UI$l$.
I
------- ol!l.

TANTALUS ! 1' Midu wit~Pan andApolkl


j l n spoteotthotacttMt(l[h(Kisl(l<>)OStt.:;.ughiApollo ~
TheKingofSipylusinLydia,T:unaluswasasonofZeus.Asarl"lativeof bolhel:e1181roomoo. Modas""""'hos"'o'a1Pan.roosr"'l
Zeushew:'5allowedwdinewiththegods.butheabusedthispri,·ilegc
Sotnetn)1hsS:lyhegossiped.lboutthegods'secrers.OiherstlutheStole
I
I
tleangoool thootheo00\'1

food from them and gal"e it to mon:tls. Accord ing to an extreme \"ersion.
hetested thegodsbyservingthefleshofhisownson

{l!j9f~~fli'"""' ~~~~~::~~o::·:~s~~us:~~~n:t:~~~ :~~~~


;mdhung<>r. l!ew':lSm:hletoSiandinapool
belowafruit·bdenuee. The pool emptied
exht imeTamalustrieddesperatelytodrink
thewater.whiletheovnhartgingbranches
blewoutofrea.:hwhenel'erhetriedrograsp
' ~th
em.hencrtheword,"tantalize"
1
~ ~ -"" ) ;-,.,r~,:~~::·~~:~.:.,ioo oltOO
._ ~~l\'S \ 11Sualboun\'lollhe!1"h.aliltlfJ{IIl'J'"shment

0
_~~ ~\.~~...- to< Tant<'lu!'soii$UI\.Itot000~mpo;W;
CLASSICAL
ANTIHEROINES
Greek myliwlogy has many antiheroines who women. But the actions of others were
were embroiled in complex plots, mostly guided more by the interference of gods in
involving revenge. A number of them, such as human affairs. These antiheroines were often
!no and Clytemnestra , chose to do so out of responsible , directly or indirectly; for the deaths
jealousy, or because they lacked the moral and of Olhers , and their stories frequent ly ended
social virtues considered necessary in noble with their own deaths, often by su icide.

-- - ------------,;!(,

PHAEDRA
The daughter of King Minos of Crete and his wife. Pasiphae, Phaedr.J
marnedTheseus(seepp.50-5!)afterhehadbecometherulerofAthens.
But shefellinlovewithHippoly1us,TheseusSsonbyAntiope.anAmazon
queen who had been Theseus's mistress. In some ,-ersions of the mph.
herp:lSSion "~c~usedbythegodsasa "·~yofpu nishing Theseus for
killing Amiope . When Hippolyt us rebuffed Phaedra's ~morous
ad"ances,shetoldTheseust hatHippol}1Ushadtriedtorape her.
Theenraged kingtumedagainsthissonand calle d onthegods to
punish t heyoungmau _ HearingTheseusScry, Poseidon blew up a
4 Phoodroondn,. ....
storm that knocked Hippol}'lltsoffhischariot t ohisde~t h.Grief­
lbadeatt.olfiowolytJI""'*IhartlSlltolh)do<;m(ldr1'101rrlill))beiY.een
r.tricken, Pluedrnhanged herselfonhearingabout herr.tepsonS death PhaodraandlhaiUOO..an kuWJ. IIer boother.Deucalion.Q3Y!lher"'
rrn r lill))lr>l~.~lollroMnyat>:Mill$\ialwlWiitlAAoopio

4 1hdoathotHiJpOIJ1U$
70 Whool'oseoOOnra" od••torrn.a...,...terlll tba lormotabull
__ rooetromlha ..... terufyongllw*Yluioto-n..... so
·~ ""'w-.sltirrJr'.onolthi•ct.ariolanddragrpjlr>hiodealh.

:t::;,~~--:,-~~~--
C LYT E~ \N ESTR A
The wife of Apmemnon the King of Myt:en.x, Clytemnrstrn had four
childrenb)·herlu.~51xmdlphigt-nla.Eitttrn.Chrp01hemis.and0re51:es.
Aprlll:mnon ~nfic«< tpltigtnb w tht: ga<b m order 10 cllSUre a bir wind
forti~GrttklketsatltngfortlvTrojan\\lr{sccpp.60-6J)
\\lvnCI}1emnbtr:tdt..oovcredhtrcbughu~rSdt>:ll.h,slr
vo,ed re•~ngt.Shttookal.:>l'tr.AegbduJ.S,andpllccd
himo11the \lyctll.X;lll thro~ m A,ll,:lmcmnon\
:iliselloCc.Whenthckingrrtunwcdlromthe"ar.
ClytcrnncstraandAt:gischu:>tr:lppo.odandktlkd
him and manyofhiSsupportcn.. Hcrson,Ort'Sit'S,
escaped the canuge J.nd \\'tnt into nile. He later*"
hismotlv:rtoavcngehisfathcr'smurtkr.Aftcrherdcath,
Clytemrlt51.r:t~ghostwuhthcsupponof1l~eFulies,tried
topunishOrtStcs.butthcgod~(orinsomeversionsof
thestory,ahumancourt)cvemually "' l hooowdlfoi Ago -•o•
decided that what heh:~.d
~u~and•llloas~owod,._....., •• ""and
btutalyUiodhm..,illaniiJIIISomu:toonUolludllalhla'!'
done was justified thtltfocprnorrnonwas<lo\ellclllol.l.onhosblllll.c~IIN'~
rhed"tolhosk<lg\OI"noyhome,wtoanthenodortool~

-- ol!l\ - - - - - - -
1
INO Ti lE DAUG II TERS
1\ingAthama-.of~otil\\iliollllrricdtol\ephelt,butldt O F DANAUS
hu for !no, the d.:~ughttrofU<lmus{$u p.~9). lno ~med Danau~.agra.ndsonofP~tdon.ludSOdaughter.;,
herstepchildTI:n. Phrixusand l!tlk,anddevist:daplOito whikhisbrotlvr.Acgyptus.h.WS...1sons.TI~etwo
disposeofthtrn.Shehtafirebervaththcgranaryanddlitd brotht:rsquam:kdo,-erthttrfathcri;Llndsaftcrhts
upallthe!>ttd~.sotluttlvy"ould notgcnninate,thereby de:uh,unuiAcgyprusoffcredtomJrryhissotiSto
causmg a famirv. \\'htn Adunus sem a messenger to the Danaus"sd:mgluerstounitcthe family Butanorack:
or:teieJti:klphtto:tikklrasoluuon.lnobribt:dthenttssengrr h.ado~toldDaruustlutt\cgyprlbpllnrvdtokill
to say tlut At !urn~ ohould ll'l<:nfice Phnxus. Tht kmg was himandhisdaughters.sohtr:ma .... ay"nhhis
abouttokillhisson"henlkrao;rntagcldtnr:untocarryolf bmil)' Acg)'pt!bpved~. ~tegmg tlttm m tht
hiS children. Although Phnxussurvl\'nl, Htlk fell from the cityofArgosuntiltht)'r:tnoutoffoodlndwtre
ram"sbackanddrowntdlnthese.:~.whichwasnamtdtht fOIO'dtoagrtttotht~.l:btUUSg;l\'tCXhof
Hcllespom {now called !Itt Dardarttlk:s) after her. 'ephtk htsdaughtersahaorpmandasktdthtrntokilltl~ttr
wa:nred Atl~lnus punislttd, so xcording to .om( '~rsioos of husbands"lthtt.AII
tht51.01')~ llcrasent 011t oftht Funes to drivt him :tnd !nomad tht daughters e~cept
Utcr, Ath:un~ rna& I no onecanicdouttheir
father's instructions. for
"hichtheywerestverdy
punishedaftertheir<;k;nh

1"- Di•ino jomico


llo.-.was ..."'}ldatAtharrw .. Etor.. tpuniohmllll
a<-.Jino, ... ~p;U1$1(1d 'M-m rl.,ptydaughtorsdOI.rtw.r,o
ondoo-oo:lr"lJihoyshoui.Jbe l'lml»hrlh:tarv,oiJ.wloororhey

==~:;::: 1---flJllin.~-
~oolhog<illlaMII
71
-olrhefiOOllo.Ti~. ... ... laOl _ _ ....,
IOIOrn'fjll(rt..IIL'Itymwplo
S!Eioi.SO-:rJ-11.~1.5<1~··15<1-11>.11._\l- •

--~1'''' ' .·{


~
~ , THE ARGONAUTS
The myth of jason and the Argonauts is one away and entrusted his care to Cheiron the
of the greatest quest stories in all mythology. Centaur, who raised him. After jason grew to
It concerns jason , heir to the throne of Iolcus manhood, he went to Pelias and demanded
in northeas tern Greece. When jason was a the kingdom that was rightfully his own.
child, his uncle, Pelias, usurped the kingdom Pelias said tha t j ason could only be king if he

!/!.
and imprisoned jason's father, King Acson. stole and brought back the precious Golden
Jason's mother, Alcimcdc , smuggled him Fleece from King AeCtes of Colchis.
-- ----------------· - - - · - - - - - - - - · - - -
THE J\ I\YT J-1 CHALLENGES IN COLCHIS
For his journe)' 10 Cole his, J~on had a sp;ecial In Cokhis, King Aettes did n01 want to lose the:
ship built, named the Argo. The shipS timbers ;-- Golden Fleece, so he set Jason a challenge-{o
included planks taken from a sacred oak tree tame~ pair of fire-breathing bulls and use them
;>ttheoracleofleu~atDodona,makingthe . __..:::. topullaplough.droppingtheteethofserpents
n:wl especially strong.jas.:>n persuad~d iTtto the soil ash~ went . From the teeth. armed.

~::1:~.GP:~~~~~: ~ 1eh::.~~d;~~~:~. J. H•rpi..


1 1
wa~;:y~::!~=~1~~~~~=~~1=:~:::::~
:~~el~t~t0~~~~ ~~~:,~!!~~~up of heroes ?~:=~~ :~ %~~~~e:~~~~~~~ i:~~~~:·;t;~~~~
fcorl'ldJJiernon,lloo · hov•t"l'er,still wouldnotletj:t;Ontakethe
DI\ NGERS AND OBSTAC LES fleece . Thenshesugge-stedth:•tOrpheusl;music
Theheroesfac.edallkindsofobstaclesontheirjourney, wouldcharmthepoisonousserpemguardingitandputitto
from encounters with:tll ractil'e women who debyed their sleep.Withtheneeafinallyinhishands,jasonsailedfor
quest,toconfrontationswiththedeadlyperilsofthesea home,negotbtingh:IZ.lrdssuchasScyllaandCharybdis,the
First.tlte)'Wereseducedbytheall-femalepopulationof Sirens,andthegbntlalos,whothrewhugerocks:n theslnp
theisbndoflemnos,debyingtlteirprogressforsel'eT:Jl umil Medea killed him with a deadly gbnc.e. At bst jason
months. Thenoneoftheirnumber.llybs,lefttheqttest reaclied lokusanddaimedluskingship
when water nrmphs pulled him into a well. and his friend,
Heracles. di~tressed ~~his loss, left the Argo to s:n·e him
There!llainingArgon~ulshad stillmore dangerous
challenges ahead. Theygotinvolved inaboxingmmch. with
1\ingAlll)'CUs.afonnidablefighterwhousuallykilledhis
opponents. Theyweresavedbytheprowes.sofPolydeuces,
whoissaidtohave invemedthesponofboxing.lnanother
encoumer they met a blind prophet called Phineus who was
tonuredbythe Harpies.bird-likecreatureowilhwomen's
heads.alsoknovmasthehoundsofZells. Titesefrightful
beingscontinuallysnatchedawa)'Phineus'sfoodand
peckedathiseyes. TwooftheArgonautschasedtheHarpies
awJyandinrelllrnagratefulPhineushelpedthemsail
7) throughtheCbshingRocks,oneofsewralotherperils
thattheyhadtonegotbtebeforereachingCokhis
KEY CII A RACTE RS TilE GOLDE N FLE ECE
Ancientwriting>eomainse''""ldiffertntliSisofthe Athamas. king of lhebts. had a legitimate son, Phri.~us
Argonauts, buttheyall agrttinincludingmanyof aswdl aschildrenbylno.his mistrtss.lnotritdto
the moSiprominentancimtGrttkheroes,suchas cause t hedea t hof Phrix<.~>,so t hatooeofherown

Heracles, Patnxlus , andPdeus,aswellas•helwins childrtnoouldl nherit thethrone . Nephde , themother


CI.SiorandPolydeu.ces.Somcaccountslis••he ofPhrixus, arrangedforhlm•oflyou•ofd.tngn•o
humress Allll<>ta os 1he only woman wanior among Cokhisonllt<:blckofagoldenram. Awes.
the ~r;:w_ Most of rile"' characters embodkd gn:a1 ruler of Cokhis, wekomed him, hoping that
Slrtngthandskillinanns,but su.ch Phrixu>would givehimtheram, bmhe
sacrificedthebeaSitoA~sat>dthepri<SisoiAres
di>playedthefl_..,in•g.otdm. lt wasguardedby•
><rpan t hat ~r5lept . Pelias.whosrntjasononhis

- =~-~~-=~inofPhrtxus.··-" ________ ::_:_::~_"_

l J~,;~~~~: ~;o:~.~;:pm><•eral
<11 Juoa

::::tl~~l j)l "


;~~= ~~~~t=,l~~~~::::/::.,::;:m ~ f/d.
Jasooouledhappily on i<Jkus
Cil:tiC<>allogelhathiokleWM
luorl<>:lbyMedoo'•><ho<r'l"'l
Troy(snpp.6-1-67l--bothheroe>fa.cedthe
Sirens, with their •lluringmusie , at>dScyUa
andCharybdis.lnaddition.J;osonhadtopass
betwemtheCiastringRocks-.Thechallenges
ofw<atl>er,na>igation . andtheperilsofthe
sutookthcArgonaut>onamuch longer
roure than Odysseus'•, howevcr. TI>eir j<>un>ey :to!::.~~~~~,:~~ ~beat the
encompassed thtBiackSu,th<Danube,the enka-r-«> 1o theBiad:Sea,sbnmod~lho:.-
Adrialie, and th< Mediten-anean whena•~p tt.OO 1opasshl.....,them

AuOOwa'"pr"'t=ol
lloc:ate, lhaUndeo-ld
godo.loss, Medoooouldll$&
OOotol«lfYlOhelp.laron

<II Orph• uo
Orphaus-.onuaocingrrwi<
helpedlheAr{lonau~too
rr'lilll'f'OC(:8$I<)II$ \h"'"-'lhout
me. raodll001100'"'!'

THE HEROES
SHONE LIKE
GLEAI'viiNG
STA RS A1\ IO"G
THE CLOUDS.
73
AENEAS AND THE
ORIGINS OF ROME
A Trojan prince, Aeneas was the son of Although Aeneas did not actually found
a mortal father, Anchises, and Venus, the their city, the Romans saw him as the
goddess of love. He was a great hero and founder of their race. His remarkable life
leader, whose escape from Troy and arrival was celebrated in the epic poem, the
in Rome was the result of prophecy,
adventure, and divine intervention.

..,. Woondodho10
TH E J'v\YTI-I A<iooe:stougllt hia.../ydultlll)1haii<Jt'ln
Aeneashadbeentoldoftwoprophedes War andwaswooodadbv1haG r"'*buro
t hatwouldshapehislife.ll~efirst 0ll)lll!ldo$Afk>!lloc10odoed, hlnoos
~<l')fldolcadi111J r ololn t bu lr ojanlo!ces
saidhi wouldbethefounderof
~great dyn">t)', and t he >econd,
tlt:llhe woulddestroythecityof the gods. reminded him of hi~
CarthagemnotJ:heinAfrica\Yhen destiny,AeneasldtCanhageand
theTrojanWar(supp.60-61) Ehssakilledherselfindespair.
ended,hebeganajoumeyto Umdingonthe westcoo.stof
fulfilhisdestiny. Aeneastook ltaly, 1\eneasfoundhimselfnear
withhim hisfmher, An.:; hises. Cumae, home of the Cumaean
wholudbeenwoundedinbaule, Sib)'l.aprophetesswholil·ed tJear
buthediedonthejourney.Crossing theentranceto theUnderv.orld
theAegeanSea.Aeneasandhisfriendsvisitedthebndof the Aene:J.SvisitedtheUude rworld toseehisf::uherapin,but
Cyclor--the. aggressi"e one~)·ed giants-from whom whilehe ,lasthere,theSib)•lshowedhimavisionofthefumre
or

I., ;;.~~;.~~~i
theyeSC:J.ped and set sail ~ga.in. The goddess juno, rival ofRome.WI~enhesawthevision,hewasconvincedt l!.11he
Venus,did notwaruAeneastoreach hisgoot sosheordered sbouldcontinueonhisjoun~eytoestablishtheRom.lnrace. so
Aeolus,godofthewinds,toraiseupastonnandwreckhis he wemtob.lium.theregionon thebanksof theRiverTiber.

~
I N LATIUM
Afterarrivinginl:lt ium,Aeneasmetthelocalk ing.Lalinus,
andthetwoagreedona treatythatallowedAeneastomarry
the kingS daughter, lavinia. However.theprincesswas
alreadybetrothedtoTurnus.thel\ingof the Ruti lians.An
enragedTurnusdedaredwarandt hetwosidesfoughrfor
~ goddessVenus,thetwofellmlove momhs. ln t heend,Aeneaskille d Turnusa ndwasablero
::J But when Mercu ry, the messenger of un itethetwo states. Fromthenon, t hepeopleoflatium.
u 1he Rutilians. and Aene3S's followers from TrO)' hed
... Aonuo•ndo\nchiOH togetherpeacefutlyandformed theracefrom whicht!Je
78 ""'"""'had~CJ<'I'his~ fot ..,.on1heo<
J(l<JI"'-'I',bu1Anch•$$$dl00wllon 1h<ry"""'had Romans--includ ingRomulusandRemus.thefounders

.. S«:ily.wherehis.IOIIheldliMSh lUfl01ai1J3roos of thecityofRome itself-weredescen ded

:t::;.~~.-:,-~~'"-'
DIDO OF CA RTilAGE TJ lE DESCEN DANTS
U.ttrknownasDido,EiissawasmarrtedtoSic....,us,theKingofTyre.Afttrhis OF AENEAS
death,h<rbrothertookO\'"tmthroneandshekftthecity.hentually, shearrivtd Aeneasplayedan imponamrolelnRoman
on theNonhAfricanroast , whe"'sheaskedthelocalpeopleforanareaoflandthat myt llology,notonlybecau~theRomanss..whlm
couldbcboundedbyabull'shideWhentheyagreed , shecu•ahideimothln>trips. asthefounderofthelrracebut alsobecau>c , as
jointdthemlogelher. ar>ddalmcdabrgeareaofl.tnd::.he estabhshed•he ciryof lhe sone>fthegoddessVen\IS , heenabledthemlo
U nlugo:andmkdoverithappilyuntiiAeneasleflheriOg<.>lol.a•lum tra.,.,theirlineagebacktothe~s.Thislinkwas
immenselysignificantfortheRomans, be<:noseit
g.>''etOOrruler-inbothltalyand th..ir"idtr
empi~kindol legitirnacythatputthemona
levdaOO,·etheotherrultr-sth.tyhadconquered
orsupplamed.lnaddition.certaininlluemial
Romanfamilies,n<>tablythat
ofEmperorjuliu sCaesar
(c_l00-'i4 Jcr),d•imed

THE CU~ IAEAN SIBYL


The Sibyls"'"~ w<>men wOO were skilled in prophecy.
Theyoftenhedatplacrsontheborders<>ftheEanh
at>d t!KUnderworld.mwheret!Kw<>rklsofthegodsand
h umanscametog.:ther. 11teyusedtheirproxin>it ytothe
godstopredictthefumre.Oneofthem<><tfamou>Sibyl>
lindat Cumae.Shehadbeenastunninglybeautiful)"<>ung
woman.withwOOmApollohadfalleninlm-.o . He granted
heragiftinretumf<>rherfavorsandsheaskedfor
immonality. ButwhensherebuffedApoll<>,herondemned
hertoanettmal<>ldage.\VhenAet"'ascametocmiSulther,
she"·•<apatheticcreaturesa.idtobeabout700)·earsold

.,. Aonuundtho Sibyl


\l(honft<,noostr...-....10
tOO I J -Id troman
ootrance..,..C umae.tlre
Si~acted .. h~gu oda_
GUARDIAN DEITIES
In addition to the great gods who were looked after the members of the household
related to the Greek Olympians , there were in return for offerings made at the home
a number of deities who were much closer altars. Some of these deities, such as the
to the Roman people. Many of these were goddess Vesta, also had state shrines that
worshipped at small shtines in people's the Romans maintained in the hope that
houses. They were guardian spirits who they would look after the city and the empire.

~----- - ------- * -- -------~-----

THE CHASTE GODDESS


\bta,thegoddessofthedome:>~icheanhandpreserverofthen~me
of irnmortaht): v.asthed:lllghterof theprinmlgodS:l.tumandOps,
thegoddessof theharwstUnlikehersisters,junoandCeres,Vesta
did 1101 want to marry and remalned a virgin. Once, when she
" -e m wafeastheldby thegoddessC)·bt-le,shefellasleep.
F'Tiapus.thegodoffenllit)·,~whe r and wasfilled withdesire
Butasheappr~hedher,adonkeybelongingtodv:satyr • Sil•nua
Sllenusbr~)l:dloud ly in her ear. Vestaawokealonceandall Snub-nowd,..-.Jiho;k-I'PI>)d.SilenU$
theotherguests<:arnerunningtosee whathadmadesuch otllloll(ltsodmriltlmthoOO<Jhlrot
a noise f'Tiapusw:JSfoiledand'vblaShonor w:lS """""dohosdoolv)'WIIhoot taNmgoll
preserved. Hea::e,dllrtngrhefeasthe\dinhonorofVesta,donke)·swere
crownedwithflowers.Accordlngtoson~eaccounts.theobjectssacredtotlle
cult ofVesu were the hearth fire and pure w:uer in a clay '":lSI': . Although the goddess
Hesti:J (>u p.il) is often considered to be tl~e Greek coumerp:m of Vesta, the RomatiS
accordedfmmoreimponancetot l~ehearthgoddess intl~eirreligiontlL1ntheGreeks
., Wing«<Geniuowit!l10rch
AlightlnQOIIIhehwse<:Oontho
TH E GEN I US ni3HI"'))lbedOI)WIIQIIII)<1,Itll)
"'ll(llldGenouswa.<aguaooJian
The Romansbelievedthateverymanwashelprdall Spoit_hw,\Ssaid tobothe
~otockorotRomJonll)<1tolk
throughhislifebyaGenius,ak indofguardianange l
wholookedaherhisimeres~sandtookthefonnofa
wmgedfigureoramanholdingacornucopia(horn
ofplenty). MenmadeofferingstotheirGeniusontheir
bitthdays,andwhentheyerUoyedgoodfonune,they
offered wine, itl(ense.orflowers.AmanSGeniuspresided
overhishousea:ndhismarriage,ensuringhishealthand
hisabilitytofatherchildren.Men.anceswrs,households,
specificplaces,andeventhecityofRomeitselfwereall
s.1id to possess the ir own Genius, but women were under
theprotectionofJunones,whosen•edthegoddessJuno

THE PEN ATE S


Ukethelmes,thePenates(alsoknovmas"the
inneroJlts')wcreapairofgods whoprotected
Romsnhouseholds. They wereusuallydeplcted
asyouths,andtheirstatues,.erepresentine,·ery
Roman home.The mme "Penates' has the s.ame root
as the word "peneualia:whichmeanspantry,and
hencetheybeclmegodsofthetableandthe larder.
WhenaRomanfamilys.atdownto:Jmeal,thehe:Jd
ofthehouseholdolferedsomeofthefoodtothe
Penates before t he family members themseh·e, were
served.ltwass.aidthat thePenateswere
origirullyTrojandeities.andthatAeneas
broughtthemtocentralltalywhenhe
cametoseulethere(supp.78---79)
THE LARES E'·emually.theybecame the
TheRomansworshippedseveralkindsofspiritscalled gtL1rdiandeitiesofRome.
Laresohspecialdaysandmajorf:unilyoccasions.So!lle
of these were makvolent spirits who haumed crossroads
~nd!L1dtobe p;ocifiedwithofferings,whi!eotherswere
kmderrura!spiritswhobroughtgoodcrops.Perhapsthe
most widely worshipped Lm:s were the benevolent twin
gods who protected Roman households. They were the
sonsof~bnia,thegoddessofrnadness,and Mercury, the
messengerofthegods.btUtheyalsohadadose!ink
with Di~na, the goddess of the hum . The Lares were s.aid
to borrow Di~naS hounds and use them to chase away
~ny thieves or criminals who might threaten ~ny of the
householdswheretheywereworshipped.Besidesha,·ing
statuesoftheUlresinthehome,Romansalsohungan
irnageo!Maniaattheirfrontdoorstowardo!Tevi!doers
FERTILITY DEITIES
Ensuring a regular food supply for their huge protected herds and flocks from wolves, Ops,
population was of vital importance w the who was the goddess of the harvest , and
Romans. Hence, many of their deities were Liber, who ruled over the vines and fields.
patrons of vineyard-keepers, shepherds, Most of these deities had e:"isted in h aly
fanners, and others who produced food for before the Romans built up their empire, and
the people. They included Lupercus, who were later included in the Roman pantheon.

-------------· - --

~-~;;~::::;.·,,
=~~~~ -~,
-L-v
FLORA
· ~-· ~~·-· ''~·
\1
Thegoddessofspringume,flowers,and
ferti lity, Flora is usually portrayed as~~~ attractive
youngnymphcarryingabunchofflowers. At first
sh(wasshya nd retiring.butZephyrus, t hewestwind(also
knownasFavonitts),caughtsightofherand,enchamedb)•her
beauty,blewinherdirection. Shemnfromhiminfrtght,but
eventuallyhecaughtherandmadelove toher. Thestoryendedw'ell
forFlora,however,becausesoonZephyrusrnadeherhiswifeandthepair
livedhappilytoge ther,combining t heirabilitiestobringfenilesoil .mdbvorable
weather so t hat the pbnts grew and the flow'ers bloomed

·-----------· -·- . -----------

SATUR 1\J
Saturn(theRomanversionoftheGreekgodCronus) \\':1501\COfthefounding
deillesofthe Roman people. He had been a deny on ~!ount Olympus, but lud
quarreled withjupiter,whoexpelledhimfromthehorneofthegods. He hid
in lt aly. and the place where he settled became known as Latium, from the
L:otin wordrnt!:lning"tohide.·hwassaidt lwhebuilt a vi llagebytheRi,·er
Tiber,onthesite"•here Rome waslmertostand _ Here,duringthe prosperotts
time known as the Colden Age (sa pp.26---27), he showed the locals how
best to culttvate the ground and how to grow vines and produce wine. ~
The Romans worshipped him at a fest ival called Saturnalia. held in the
month of December, when m<>Sters became >ervants and servants masters. \

~.~L_-II:=J.~
TilE GREAT ,\\OTIIER FAUN US
TheGre;u \iotherw-asal:soknowna>Bonal)u("lht: Faunus":t:owor<luppedasthep;ltronofagricuhul"l"
goodgoddes.").Shew:<S\'J.riouslyidtrmfiedu,,thOps. andtheprotectorofshtphtrds.Orx-darhe>oa"'
Fauru_andth!,naturegoddessC)·bek.Somt-.aysl~twas Hercuks(the Grttk lv:ro lkrncks) with Omplule,
thernothero£F'aunus(surighr),$ndwasamodest.shy hisrnistre~.faunusfcllpassionattlyinlovcwuh
deitywhohadthegihofprophecy,blllwouldtelll~r Omph.:de:mddccidedwfollowthecouple.\Vh!:n
predictlonsonlytowornen.lt isbelievedtlo;Jt ~he began He11:ulesandOrnphaletookshelterfor1henight in
lifeasamonai.Shedrankalot ofwi1uo onedayandgot :JC;lse.Flunuscrept mafterthem;~.nd,whenall
drunk. Whenraunussawtho:-stateshewasin,hewas W:lSSiiU.slldiuquil:tlybesideOmphale
enr:.gedandkilledher.afterwhichshr!xcan~tan Whenl~touchedherl~w":~Sastounded
imrnonalandas~ialgu:udianofRonlf'.Butinthe
fonn of Cybelc she was mow a goddess of ~xll..llny

P Ot\IO~A AN D
VERTUH\JUS
Pomon~.;tbeautifulnymphwhow:~Salsoa>killed
gardener,w.tStlw:goddeS!>offruittrees_Vertumnu•
w:l!>:~deitywh opreside doverallkindsofdl:~nge ,
indudingtheturningscawnsand thetmnsforrmlion
fromblossomlofruit. Venumnuswasattracledto
Pomona wl~n lw: saw her pruning her tr«~ and
a.stl~godofchange.hedecidcd
totr.msfomthimsclfintomany
dilfercntshapestowooher.But
oomattcrwhatdisgutsclll'
chosc.Pomonawouldnot
lul·chun.Will'nhtshowed

~ Gv•ndi o ooollh•hil
Ai ..... ..,., ,.._,

==~~ !i~
UHt$01....,doo.. -t.n•-~1-lM-I!!. _ ____ :Ifll •

,__ ,.., ,J.:


NORTHERN EUROPE
The early cultures of far Northern Europe produced a fascinaling body of
m yths about the creation of the cosmos and the lives and adventures of their
deities. The influence of these great stories eventually spread far and wide.

Betweenthebte&h andearlyllthcemuries,the lcebndic writers who wrote down the ffi)1hsand


VikingraidersofDenmark, Norv>ay,andSweden trad itions of the Norsepeople.Theirgreatestwritings
bec:lmefamousfortheirruthlessauacksonthe includedtheProseF..dda,bySnorrtSwrluson,who
coastal communitiesofWesternEuropeandfor recordeda\lhecouldfindoftheNorsemyrhs,a ttd
theirdaring,·oyagesofexplorationinlongships. thePoeticEdda,wriltenbyanunknownhand,
Alt hough these Norsemen developed writing whichaddsfunher talestothecanon.Other
that usedangubrsymbolscalledrunes,theydid lcebndicwriterswroteprosesag:IS--Iextsthat
notatfirstproduceagreatwrinenliter:Jture tell thestoriesofprom inent Norsebm ihesand
However,theydidhawarichoraltrndition, mixmythologyandhistory.
whkhproducedsorneofthemostenthralling
stories in all world mythology. GREI\T IN FLUE NCE
Norsemythsandculwreprovedinfluemialfor
NORSE DEITIES A N D ~IE ROES centuries. The Anglo-Saxons, who came from
ThegreatNorsemythsdealwithgreatthemes m:unlandEuropeandselt ledinEnglandinthe
thecreat ionofthecosmos,thewarsandloves Sthcentury,toldstoriesthat werederivedfrom
ofthedeities,andt~comi ngoft~endofthe Jr, hJ!yViking ptnd• nl Scand inaviaandsometimesevensetthere.TIJe
lh,.....,..~MlopeMan!•"!l'"-""'lS
world . Theyirnagined ifferentracesofrnythical best-known exampleisthegreatAnglo-Saxon
!he'-lot .. m...vii iDJOOroor
beings--fromgiamstodwarfs----wholil·ein poemBrowu!f,a taleoflam:ISticheroisma nd
differentworldsthatareparalleltoourown :~:~::-:~=~'"~- monsterslayingsetamongthe Danes and the

~ sC::~::~-~~n ~:e~~;::~~~~::: ~~;~~: ~~


home world, which is known as Midgard. The
cuhureolthedeitiesiswarlikeandheroic,and
the real and mythbl worlds meet m Valhalla, the grem hall spreadsouthtoGermany.wherestoriesofl~eroessuchas
oftheleadmgdeit}'Odm,wherethesou\sofdece:JSedhuman Siegfried,acharacterwhowasbasedon the Norse hero
heroesfindtheirheawnlyreward Sigurd,influencedagreatmanypoetsanddramatists.
ThestoriesoftheNorsedeitiesweremainlypassedonby
word ofrnouth Some lll)1hs were written down by monks in OTttER TR A DITI ONS
monasteriesasearlyastheSthcemury,butmostwerefirst Meanwhi\e,otl~erpansofNon lJernEuropeludquiJe
z
recorded in the 13th century. By this time, Norse travelers sepamtetmd it ionsofmythandlegend.Oneoft!Jerichest 0

~
had even colonized came from Finland. Here, a large body of complex m}1hs
Iceland, and it was about the creation of the universe and thead,·enturesof the
earlygodsw:IShandeddownfromgenerationtogeneration
.. Vi~ine loneship bywordofmouth. Onlyinthe 19rhcemurydidtheFinnish
Shot!oiiJOildlaolk>lal mat scholarEhasUmnrotwrite thesroriesdownandcombine
hotneinS<andin:Ma.!heVibriiJS
~aveladwldelyiOio:llli)W themintoasingle.vastpoeticepiccalledtheKafn·a!a. This
lelrlklty.,.....,h,•treanl •ned masterworkofstorytellingbecameasymbol ofFinlan d"s
kn}!lnps. Thesewel-bol lt aall rut io!ulidem ityandhassincebeentranslated imomany
W«elrm<n,..·d"IIJOn-OO.t$
becau:<eot!heoo:umng differentlangLmges,finallybringingthemythsand legends ll9
-*'"JOII·IikecaNOdiW""' ofthissmallcountrytoaworldwideaudience. • • •~

._\':'......~ -~ .'-."\
NORSE ORIGINS
Like all creation myths, Norse stories abou t snow, and 10 the south is a world of seething
the origin of the world attempt to explain fire and flames. Life, in the form o f the first
natural phenomena. The earliest surviving giant s, emerges from the interaction of these
accounts of Norse myths come from two opposing forces.
Icelandic writers. They set their creation
story in a land where ice and fire come
together as they do among the glaciers
and steaming volcanoes of Iceland.
To the north is the lan d of ice and

THE lv\YTI-I
In the beginningtherewasnothingbuta
l'ast void called Ginnunppp . Grad ually, two
re~lmsap peared oneithersideoft his void
Muspelheim.aregionofhtat andfire,formedlnthesout h: ~~~";suC:,~~t~.~==~,!::,u
Niflheirn,apl:~reofcoldandia>,cameimobe i nginthe uddolo •. • naea ~ "'}theu•bero;tlhan<l theirbr"tality
north . In the ctmer, be tw~n these two places, the hot ai r
ofMuspe.lheirn rnet t hecoldairofNinheiman d theice asonnlmedBor.whomarrie d Bestla,daughtnofagiant
staned tomelt.Siowly t he drip pingiceformedtheshape named BOithorn _ ThecoupleiL1datrioofchild ren n~med
of a huge and monstrous being, ~ frost giant called Ytllir Od in, Viii, and Ve, who became the first three of the
Non;egods , withOd inastheir lea der.
H I E GI AN T S AND A UDtiU M L ~\
Ymirs leptand as the warm air from Muspe lheim played THE CREATI ON O F T~I E WO RLD
across his body, he started to S" 'ent. From his sweat The three gods were always battling Ymir, who fre quently
ot her frostgiantsemerged....,...onemaleandonefernale auxkedthern.Finallytheygottogetherandkilled
fromunderhisleftarm.and,anot her
six-headedmalefromhislegs allthefros:tgiamsexcept for Bergehnir{Ymir's
~lean while,theice c om i nued t omeh grandson)a nd hiswife, whoes-::aped ina
into t heshapeofahugecow called bo.1tmadefrornatreetrunkandsenled in

~
z
Audhumla,andhermilkfed the first
frost giants. Audhumb lickedtheice
anddrankr hewaterasit m~lred
aplacecalledj ot unheim . The three gods
t henrnade theEarthfrornYrni r'sflesh.
turninghisunbrokenbonesintornountains.
As she lickedaway, agiant's head Hisbloodbecamethe rivers,bkes,andsea,
r appeared, followedbyhisbody, a nd andhisskullthegreat domeof t hesky_TI!ey
t afterthreedays anot hergiantw:I.Sfreed thre"• spmksfrom~ l uspelheimhigh intothe
0
z frorn t heiceSonowthere wasastnall airtoform thesun,rhe moon, andthestars
Thegods t hen createdthefirstman,called
l ""fil•t rmnard......,.._Asl:
an<l(ntla-------;,))O<aod l:) ]l(Mibel)n Ask , fromanash t ree,and t hefirstwoman ,
aruted franaoa>har.:fanelmttOO& calle d Embla,fromanelmtree
rJ IE CREATORS ,. ThoAotit
Odin,Vih,andVe,thecrtatordei!iesofNors.: OIIOOWooloo<lal>ollheAesi.!Minlrooan"'J·noor(l.•
.lhap&dlan(j(K..t.Q~~torrrw.slo(I(JQII1 tntra"la.
mythology.wertthefir>~oftheAe<ir.or,;ky os thernootpo(ln'llnent .. rnyllls.lly(:(lllk&t.Vj,[rnoonong
gods.TheylivedinafortresscalledAsgard 'wi l 'l • ndV..{rrmrur<J"sacredoo:bsura')a«>roo«~

atthehighestpointinthecosmosTogethoer ~ligur<o:"'""~OJinoo~~-
theyfought•longworwithanothergroup
ofgods,theEanhorfenility<kitiesknownas
the:Vanir.whowm:kdbytheseagodN_;..,rd
and his two childrm, Freyr and F~ja. The wor
wasasralemate,ondthetwosldesa&J«dt<>a
tw:ewith<hce:«:h•ngeofhostages.TheA<:sir
sem twoofrheirgods,theduii Hoenirandd>e
wi""Mimir.ashostagtsfrorntheirside
Unhappywith thisexchang<,thtVanir
beh<adedMimir.andsenthish.adto the
Msir.Odin,whowasalwaysinsearchof
wisdom.prtserv«<theheadandrtdted
channso,·orit,•ndit><hisedhimhenceforth.

ODI.\J \ VAS THE CLE VERE ST O F ALL


A LL O THERS LE A R1\! ED FR01\ \ 111 M. 'I' NOI'IIIpoat
T ho..,...wa.oneo!lhe.....,~oomrmnll
SnornS<ur\uson .Yngl<n~S4ga,c112l uwll'fNu..,wanioos_(}linhada..-«>>led
Gung'"'·"""'h-IJIII.S<l<lol$tar0)9l

. --- ~--- ~\C - -- v. -- j -~~~~~~~-


-Odin saldiOt..Ytaeaudlhet\INcalpUbel.
kapakdonbbownspe&fbeh\q;f!QQtY88dQl dw
won! ~Jet brlllnedayslllll:lllhrr~,~~~t~appuMdbdmt
blm.ltunm'ftlltbdkwd!Dhlw:llll.fedpow~:n.Somt
rl.lbt$ellllltiiDII5aiiiiiiWd.ndelntalpUDnlwllh
~lm&fp.Tbt-bdDwlbowsOdlnwllh

• .................
lhrGodJkln&mm..nc -.wtao.er.mlydxpl

tolhedeldlrl.
AS K AND EJVIBLA
MoSI cn:a11.on ln)1hs n.ur.ue the origin of a primal oouple from whom •he
humatl race is de..:ended . A~cording to Norse mythology, Odin, Vili,
and Vewere walking along a lxach when 1hqcame upon two IO«S nu:y
created Ask from till: ash •ree and Embla from the elm 1ree. Thenuch
ofthegodsgavethemag!ft.Odinbreathedlileintothem,Viligavetflem
thouglmandfeding;o.andVepro,i<kdthem"ithsighlandhearing
The pair became the ancrstors of all humans. They liwd in Midgard
(Middle Eanh), the homematedforthem by the gods. h
byfonificationsronstll.ICiedfrom theeyebrowsofYmir
wasprot~ted
...- 91

SHAlSOho_.~..,..,,..,., ,&-11.11lH13 • ~-!I::Hil.ll4-~)l(l-.41 • ~ :


,~;-.~~;·... '~.( ·~:;·
THE NORSE COSMOS
The ancient Norse myths imagined the cosmos as a
series of separate regions or worlds, each the home
of a different race of beings, from giants to dwarfs.
These various worlds were supported by the roots
and branches of a vast ash tree called Yggdrasil,
also known as the world tree. Though the precise
details of these worlds differed from one account
to another, Yggdrasil remained a constant feature.
-- _____ .., __ ------

TIIEMYTII
The world tree Yggdrasil supported the entire cosmos, from
thedeeyestregioTISoftheUndeJVoorldtothehigheS1 he;wen.
\Vritersd idnotagreeonpreciselyhowthetreesupponed
thev:~.riouop.1rtsoftheNorsecosmos,but:tllweresuretll1t
thetreeformeda~pportingbx:kbonefortheuni;·erse

iHTHE ROOTS the ground. N<~l>y w'>el<d"lli"g ol


Therewerethreeenormousrootsattheb.1seofYggdrasil Hel,thequeenoftheUnderworld,where
SomeSlythatonerootsupponedAsgard,rhehorneofthe evildoerswerebelievedtoendtheirdars.
Aesir or principal gods~nd goddesses In Olherl'ersions of
the myth,Asg~rdwasseenas~dwelling IN THE BRA N C~1ES
inthearr,heldupbysomeofthetree's Attl~~:veryheartofYggdrasilw:~SMidgard,
the world of
br:mchesand li nkedrothemherworlds humans. hwasheldrobeatrheceruerofthecosmosand
byabridgecalledBifrOst,whichtookthe somea.;coumosaidtharit W:~SlinkedtoAsgardb)•the
fonnofa.rainbow. Thetreei>,;econdroot bridgeBifT<)st.Onlythegodsandthesoulsofdeceased
supportedjotunheirn, t heicyhomeof heroesontheirwa)'toValhalla.Odin'sdwellinginAsgard,
the frost giants. Nearbyw:~Sburiedthe wereallowedtousethebridge , whichw:~Sguardedbythe

se'·eredheadofthegodofwisdom god Heimdall . OtherworldssupportedbyYggdrasil's


~!imir, and the well of Mim ir, with its brand~es induded Svanelfheim. rhe home of the dMk
w~tersthmcarriedknowledgeand eh·es,andGimle,thehorneoftl~elightelves

~
z
wisdom. Thethrrdrootextendedto
anothercoldregioncal!edNifiheim,one
oft he placesthate~istedbefore the world
VARYING ACCOUNTS
SorneaccountsoftheNorsecosrnosgivedifferem\ocations
wasfonned(scep.90).1nthisregionrhe fortheseworlds . Accordingtooneversion,jotunheirnb.y
r onlysoun:eofheatwasfromahotspring totheea;;tof~lidgard,separmedfromthehumanworldb)'
t cal!edHvergehnir,\\'hichbubbledupfrom ri,·ersandforests.Gim\ew:~Sseeninsomeaccountsa;;a
0
z shininghall,sethighinthesky. WhentheNorsewrit ers
<OII Ywdru il began to be influenced brChristianculture in the Midd le
ArrllnaltrrBI)IliYiiesatlhahoortollha"'flhoiYggdr""l
Ma"''CIOOiuAAIMldaroonglha troo'•ieavl>sandbrarw:heo Ages, Gimle was seen as a son of heaven. and the light eh·es
andan~aporchOOIJIO)IIIhaho{lhaslbour)h alsotookonsorneofthequ.11itiesofChristianangels.
;~ Jn:n;Y~~~;~-~~ ~w~;he 2~ ~;~AA~o~!t.~~~,;
1' Thootag Di in
lherewerofooomg•IMngrnthe
hOO.So:wrlaWiriU"I"'""'lthem31
. ' L ~fo""'"'8"'S'ofd<No~p<><U Od>o "m<k" Lh«= Datn. INahn.DUOOj'l.and Durathro._
whenhehunghlrnselffrotniland...:qulred tho>wlsdomof
therurii:S(S«:p.91).TI>eti«Wa>al,;oh.ornewanumber
:ooR:~~\Iatat<>lk camed of animals. A!l eat:le arid a hawk dwelled in it> up~=
ir>Sultmgroo...,.s kom lhe br~ndw:s, while"' •he base lived =ny Sll.tks, who were Led
.,...,.,wOO iiledatdJOOO"' byolargeserp~:nt ordragon.lnl:>:<w«nhedasquirn:landa

~~:,~~~ ~~~~:~;:~::;~~:n;:~-~:~~~::;:;:i~!p. ~ 'r


{-
:;?
thusoontinuingthehostilitybetw.,.,.,the twocreatures. Thesug;; ' \ {

~-~~z:~="oo""~"'~"''
..,. .~,...,~
.,.,. . ,.,.... ... .~,,...,~,..l"''~
. ,. ,, ,
lhouoo311d~t.~O'I')> liledoiii(M'lgtfler~$.$Qme ~-
. ~"'
sat a "'"''~ called MI<Wni• """""'" 'HI he wa< """""""'Old
Thoeaqle'. .aPI"ngWifl'}' trjmany01heo1n<~Mmlhos
madeltJewmds rrt,'stouou!underground-'d

----- S, · - - - - - - - - - -
BIFR0ST Til E REAU\1 O E NIDII OG G
nv:worliliofgodsandhutru.nswe,ootmectedby 1 TI11: ~lm of the serp<:m or dragon Nidhogg was at the foo t of Yggd r•<iL Thi<
arainbowbridge tMtglimrn<red intheskyabow ! w•san•mbiguou>plae<,fullofbothdangersandsp«:ial gifts.Theprincipal gift
Midgard.Thisbridgewasgi,·m thenameofBifll')st among these was "isdorn , whkh flowed from Mirnir's well , one of tfle three wells
by tflelcrlandicwri t<rSnorriSturluson.Thename thotlayat tflefootofthe t..,e. Tfleotflertwowellswe"'moredangerous: one
isderh'<dfrornaverbrneaning "toshirnmer." At the was the wdl of fate, which was gua!ded by the Noms, who oontrolled the span
endoftheworld . thewarriorsofMu spell,the fiery ofhurnan life;theotflerw•sawellofpoi>on,whichwastflesourceoftheriwrs
world of the south, "ill cross the bridge to wa,w war ofHd, tl>eNorse UO<krworld. Aroundthes.:darl<rey;ions
onthegodsofAsgardwhilelleimdallbl<>wshishorn slitheredNidl>Ogg.llefeastedonthe
\O"-'mmonlhtgodsforthe final battle(<npp98-99) fleshofhum.tncorpsesandgnawed
at therootsofYggdrasil

• Ttroworld •orpl nl
Nrd!ooggoO)Iir)d(IIQund \ha rOOI$ot
YggdrasilandooohnuallfiiWed"""''
a t them.~ngtode>tr (/!'thehoo.OO t
waseterrraltj trushalfldo'lhrsdoe$l re

THERE N IDH OGG SUCKS THE


CO RP SES O f" TH E DE AD,
DO YOU STILL SEEK TO Kl\JOI \Ti
93
LOKI
Loki was the trickster of the Norse pantheon lives of humans too , and he was often
and the husband of the goddess Sigyn. He blamed for giving ordinary people the
represented disorder, mischief-making, and desires and passions that caused problems
irrationality; and always s10od in the way of in their lives. A shape-changer with an
those who wanted to bring order and calm to insatiable sexual appetite, his tricks ranged
the universe. Some said he interfered in the from simple pranks to cold-blooded murders.

THE TRICKS OF LOKI


A blood brother of Odin, Loki had three wives who bore him
m~ny children. bm this was not enough for him. So he ~d his
powerofsh.1pe-changing t ohave~ffairswithgodde.ses.gtants,
humans,and anima\s.Lokialsohad arapaciousappetitefor
food,~ nde,·enkilled a dwarfcalledOtrfor l heS:Jlmon that

hehadcaugh1. However,heoccasiomllyusedhis t rickery


tohe lpthegods. Forinsunce,hehatched~plottoret rie"e
Thor's hammer, which had been s1olen by the giant Th rym
The giam was willing 10 return the lL1mmer only if the gods
lethimmarrythegoddessfreyja. Solokisuggestedthm
Thord isguisehimselfasfreyjaandgotolhewedding
dressedasabride.Before theceremony,Thrymbrought
out the hammer and Thor snatched it from him.

~
z
r
t
0
z
Whoollu lhroa!OOOdlolifortumog
S r flhall,tha tr .:blaopO<Iuaded~dw.lrl
tom:ll:ooowhaoio lor thagoddoss
"' B• Idofs munl• r
Hi,)dw,\Sploo$o)dwt.)nlolJh(Op(<lhoma<mlhadrlr!
""""'o!m.,tOliOO.buiOOtaslaiOOwt.)nheloo<OO'<l
lharhehadkilled!laldor.hisbro!OOr.

T ilE D F. AT II
OF BA LDE R
BalderwasthesonofOdinand
Frigg,andthemoSlh~ndsomeof

.--.._,.-----_.-.. it
allthegods _Qnenighthehada
dre~mthathewoulddie. When

1'riggfoundoutaboutit.shem.1de
everylil'ingrhing- animals,rrees,andpbms----.-prorn isenotro
hannherson. Butwhiledomgthis, t hegoddessforgottoaskone
plant,themistletoe.Assuming th.1t Balderwas invincible. t hegods
oftenusedhirnasa target forknife-throwingandarchery.Oneday.
theywerehurhnglroundal l kindsofobjects,suchasrocksand
bmnches. Lokihadcmfrily leMnedfromFriggrhesecretrlL1tBalder ... _...
-·-
-
w·asnotirnmunetothemistletoe.Hesharpenedatwigofrnistletoeto
makeadart,pL'ICeditinthehandoftheblindgodi !Mandhelped
H<'XIaim irat Balder. The dart pierced Balder'sheartandkilledhirn.

I
!
I-IAN DS01\ \E IN A PPEA RA NCE ,
\V ICKED IN CHA RACTE R,
*
A N D VERY CHAN GEA BLE
[i\J J-II S \ \fAYS SnornSwrlure<>.P'<mfJJ.,clllO

lhe8Y(l!~rooopl;'lnlrntStloiOO,wh(hbo)a r s
h"'tmlhe.., n ter.~l)itenreg.Jr<ledasa
svrnbolo!rteNbrrlh.horritalt\'.rlcaused
lhadeatho!lblclar.beloo.<!do!lhagods

"' Th• pu"ishmomolloki


WI:Jwas[lJmshadlorcau~ngBakler's
cloolhbvbeingi>Juld"" ththe..,trailol)l
h11M.ihegoante<sSI<adopbcadasnal>)
97
abo.oehr m.whidr drrppadl<lOOIIIooklhim.
SHAlSOli-rllHI. I(IH)J.~-M,l/1-IJ,za-111.2IIIHI!I,JIG-11,:Kh41 • •

- ~......~ -~ .\~~i
THE LAST BATTLE
The story of the last battle in Norse mythology is different from the other
Norse myths because it is a prophecy of an event that has not yet occuned.
Known as Ragnar6k, or the twilight of the gods, it is a great battle in
which almost everything will be destroyed and the world will come
to an end . \Vhen Ragnarok is over, the few living things that survive
will begin a new world , and the cycle of creation will start again.

THE lv\YTII '- Viking wa rrior


AlsokooNoaslheViboOJS.
Therootcauseofthe lastbaul eisthernalevoknCeofLokl, tOONor .. ....-aawa.-hl:o<iiCil.
whowasimpris.onedafterhehadbroughtaboutthedeath $0 <11$11(1$<Up11S<oglhatlhay
orM.agedtOOoodo!lhe
of the-god Balder(seep.97).Aserpemdnppedpoisononto ...:.l~auureotOOnle
hisfaceumiiLokiSwife,Sigyn,fee lingsorryforhim,placed
ad ishbelowtheserpernSmouthtoc:uchthevenom
Me:mwhileonEarth,evtrythingbegantoturnwevil
because&llde.;thi:greatsourceo[goodandbeaUty inthe
world,wasnolongerali,·e. Thiswasthebegnmingofthe
end,andtheforerunnerofRa.gmrok. Thefightmg
y.·ill be viciou~
H IE DESTRUCTIO N OF THE WORLD andtheRwill
On~- day, Loki will final\y break free from his chains. Along be no victor. Bothgoodandevil will be destroyed Fin:•liy,
widlmanyotherdeadlybeings,hewillch~llengethegods allthru will rernainofthepopttlmionofthettniversewill
andfightthem. llewil\bejoinedbyhismmJSter.children, beagreatmottntainofcorpses. The only creatures that
indudingthewolffenrtr,theworldserpentj<'>rmungand, mamgetosurvivewillbethefiregiantSun,togetherwitha
an.d Hel,thegodde,;so[theUnderworld _Helwil\bringrut couple<Jfh unlansandafewanimalswhoi11Veman.1ged to
armyofmonstersfrornthe·Underworld,andfrostgiants l)ideamongthebranchesoftheworldtree,Yggdrasil
andfiregiantswilljointheassaulttoo . Soongiants,d"arfs, Surtwillmakeav:istbonlireofthedeadbodies,ensuring
thattherearenoothersurvivorsamongthedead,and
riddingtheuniverseforgoodofmonstersandracessuch
asdemonsandelves. The fire of destruction will blaze for
many years and the Eanhwillsinkim othesea

A NEW BEGINNING
Finally the Earth will rise again , and become lush and green
oncemore./\humancouple,amancalled Lif(hfe)anda
wom:m cal led Lifthrasir (longing for lift.), will step forward
from among the branches ofYggdrasil The pair will start a
newbmilytobegintheworkofrepopukuingtheEarth. The
beautiful god Balder. who has been languishinginth~­
Underu·orld,willberesurreoedalong "ithhisblindbrother,
HM(sup.97). Balderwillbecome the ruler of the new
uniwrse. Ufewillbeginafresh,withoutthetaintofevil
VALl lALLA BRINGERS OF DOO"
Meaning the hall of the st.in, V•lhalla "-.s Odin's grtat hall. This was where lllereartseveralfigun,.as.sociatedwiththettrribleeventsof
Oding;uherffitogeth<r theNorsewarriorswhohadb«nkilledinbattl.s Ragnar6k. indudingjOmnuwmd a1>d Hd . Both good and evil
onEanh,andrtwardtdthemwith!.-i>hjeweltyandweapons.ln this characterswill perishin thisbattle .Asprophesied.thewoll
h.all , whlchwaslinedwithannor,thel>eroes Femir ,.;neat Od in, l:dore lxing kilkd in rum by Odin's son,
feaSiedonboar's fleshanddrankn>ead Vida.Someofthegodswill alsofight

RAGNAROK AN D
THE APOCALYPSE
Ragnarokwasdescrilxdbyd"'earlylcelandic"llt<:TS
a sobattlethat will brtngabout theendofthe
cosmos. Scholarshaseseenmanyparalids"ithth<
Apocal)'P"'"sportrayedbyChris!ianwriters
Rag:narokuilibep~byathttt-)""'"int.r,
when mtrl will kiltth<ir rdati\U, wolves will
swallow the moon. forests will be Idled, great
Stonns"illr.lge, ondthe cl>OOS!hat e>.iS!Wlxfo~<:
cn:at\on\\ill~<:turn.AfterRagnarok,life"illJxW-n

BROTIIERS \ VILL
STRUG GLE AND KILL
EACH OTl-IER, AND
SISTE RS' SONS SPOIL
• Horn mo• ofthoApoeoi!PIO
lntheChusto•nAPQ<alnlSe, goodand..,il ligll!a<mrric
KINSHIP'S BO N DS
t<rttle.lheklurh;<<ananwi'I(Jrolemtobaltl(lall)bdii)I<OO
toretw""""tpenilonoo.war_tarr~ne.andclea t h

SEEALS0Wll1 111-19,1lHI,l(M.--U,,l ls-tl.\ \ll-l'. \11i-11_\70-l\,li6-11.10Hll • •

'·1:
_\':'-,...~ ~ .'-."\
KALEVALA
The Kaleva/a , an epic poem, is based on the traditional oral
poetry of eastern Finland and is the national epic of the country.
It tells of the creation of the world , and about r ivalries be tween
the coumry of the Finnish people (Kaleva Ia) and the Northland
(Pohjola). It also describes how three Finnish heroes-V:hnam6inen,
Ilmarinen, and Lenuninkainen- woo the piincess of the Northland.

--- ·------------ -~<, ---- ---------


~ VM n imoi ..n
TI-IE M YTII Tboeoo!!ald'ia!ilCl<llolthafaltwa/a
Theswrybcginswith!lma,theair,whoexlstedbeforetime i>an..........rt.:Mo,anotdDlln..W.:.
pOSIJ(WO$$hoorda(eon'Wlat..,.;>n:l
began.Shehadadaughtercalled Luonnot.1r,whowandered
anoutstandirt;rm"""algllt
ceaselessly through the cloud~ m~de by her mother. After
manyyearsshefell,exhiusted.intotheocean.

VAINAMOIN EN ANI) THE G IANT Thejoumeyto


Luonnotarflo:ued.inthew:uerfor700)'C:lrs. WitlH:>uth(r Nonhhndwas\ong
knowledge,thebppingwatermadeherpregmnt:but her and arduous. but
pregnaocy\\<assoprolongedthathen:;hild, Ylinllml'linen, finallyV.1irllmC.inen
h~d already become all old m~n while still ill her womb. reachedPohjolaa:ndmet
After his birth. VlilllmOillen swam across the waters umil its ruler, louhi.ShepromisedVJ.inlmOinenthathewould
he reached rhebnd rhar was to become Finland . H(lud besUowedrorn:lrryherdaughterifhecouldrnakeasarnpo.
st:lnedt001lkeahome forhimselftherewhenhe was amagicalmil\!lllu<:ouldproducesalt.flour.sndgold
ch.allenged b)' a giam mmed joubhai11en. At first the two VAirllmOinenagreedtotry,inspiteofthefactthmsuclta
quarreled violently, but V.1mlmNnen, who was a skilled mxhinehadneverbeenmade.l!ereturnetltoFinla.ndto
musician,defearedthegiantinamusicalcontestand makethesampo.butonthewayhemetlouhi'sdauglner,
won the h:JndofAino.Joukahainen':;sister. inmartiage the /l!ald of the North, and asked her to marry him without
l!owe•·er,Ainodid not want to marry an old man, and thesampo . SheagrUd-providedthatheaccomplisheda
thuschosetodrownherselfratherthansubmlttothis fewmoreapparentlyimpossiblet:~>ks,includingpeeling
a stone, kn oninganegg.splitt inga
hairwithabluntknife.and making

~
z w:lS a master craftsman. to make the sampo
forhirn _Af1 eralorofh3rdwork.llrnarinen
r m~rugedtoforgerhesampo. Hewas!hen:lsked
t toperformsomemoretasks,includingploughingafield
0
z full of vipers. When he succeeded, he was allowed to marry
Louhi'sdaughter_VAinlmOinenludforgouenthatitwasrhe
maker of the sampo who would win the hand of the Maid
oftheNorth,sohewasdisappoimedinloveoncemore. ))
..,,~1~!
KEY CIIARACTERS
n.. li:altva)a !sa c:olk:<:1ion of m.;~,ny Aru11sh ~nds "ith "'"""'lcharacttrs. Among
r----------.~----~ -,
thtst.VJ.i!tlm6intnlsprucourhrougllout.audatth.tndhtka""sbdtindth..
kantdc.hismusical!tl!lnmw:m.nasymbolofoontinuingFinnishcultu"'.His
brothtr.llmarinrn.isablack.!mnh-torn"'r. l..ttmnlnk.lirw:nlsthcpowt~ui<:ksl:cr
fi&U"'-Hism;~nys..xuol•nrou"''rsinhbqut$1ioraw•f•ar.:t)'Picoloftrid<su:IS
In m)11l Bu1 h. Is abo bno'~ •oousf! 10 •uh tht L'n.d..rworld to kill tht Swan of
Tuone~lnabidw"inLDuhl~cbughttr.

. .........
!NoiU.....-.Ialblltl
plouojllaW<Iol....,tJIIrlo
Maodol ... ltwlllllelpl; .....
••laSl!Jr .......... 10iolvf
............... llld ... llll
Ollgi(IOtoMJillll•"""tJ

SLO\VLY \VAKES TilE SON


AND 1/ER , RI SES FR01v\ TilE TilE SAJ\IPO
DE PT/IS O F SLU 1\ \BER, SPEAKS Dtscribtdasamlllthatwouldprodue<!s.h ,llour.md
gold.t h..sampowuaS~r,ngo:oC,.:C1modcfromm•ny
AGA IN IN MAG IC ACCE 1\JTS. biurreromponmts.llwnfin,.llyforg.:dbytlm;trin•n
aft.rhisiniti>.l atttmptsproduccdacrossOOw,a~l.
o00fer,andapl<>Ugh,whlchhcllm:wb.1cklntolh<
fir.. n.. .. mpohashmJ)1nbolkqU;~hlles:ltlsth~

I ......,, ............ ,.,..


! btideptittofloulll~diughltr,andil•lsortprt~ms

_____ ,.' ~
TilE FINN ISII CREATION STO RY
Whik LuaulOUnoas no..unglutht oo:>!.m_ ~duck sw.un by mel bid htr~on
luolmou.~ lmtt. which w·.u ~ckmg<M ohhc w•tcr. Then tilt bini sctdtddov.-n
to hatch thtm Whtn luoou,..t..r mcwtd the duck ,.·.. s frlglnmcd and 1\ev.· off.
Thc~roUtd•w•y .. Klbrokt.OIKlfromthcmlhc"'Orld•••••=•"'d.Or..lulf
ofthtshcllsfu.. dtogtthutom.&kcuplhcskyaudfromthtmhtrhalfthcLond

101
~~=~~
RECLAIMING T11E SAM PO
llmarinenandl.ouhi'sdaughterdidnotstaytogethcrforlong.
CWJpaniooshOOto
The MaidoftheNorthu"J.,;killedsoonafterthcmarriage 'vhtolt"""'t"'"'IOO"
~.':':.t~~'":i
becausrshehadill-trtatedamagiciJncalled Kulletvo
(St"e opposite). llmarinen wam~.J to tnar~y Lou hi's other
a IJ'Ijilnti~ totd
daughter,butlouhirefuseJ.Sollmarinenret.urnedto
FinlandandthepeopleofNorthlandkeptthesampo.
Vlin:l.mOin~HJ !td llmarinenthoughtitwasuulairthat
Louhi and her Peorl~ had kept the Slrnpo and the riches it
provided. They decided that ifthey c~uld not find a"''ife in
Northland, at lea>ttheycouldensureprosperit}"fortheir
homelandbystealingthesampoback.Sothetwobrother's
set sail for the North, taking u'ith them Lemmink~inen. the waskilledthere,butrest ore dtolifebyhismOiher. Now he
ad,·emurerandtrickster. LernminkJ.inenhadoncegoneto sought re,·engeJgalnSI Louhi. During theirvoyagethe three
Pohjolatowoooneoflouhi"sdaughters.andtherehehad heroescaughtafishand V;iin~rnOinen rnadeJbmele,a
beettgivensometaskstoaccomplish.Oneo[thesewasto magical harp-like mttskal instrument. [rom its backbone. It
kill the Swan of Tuonda in the Underworld: lernmink.1inen hadthepowertocharmitslislenersandputthemtosleep
When they arrived in the Nonhbnd, Vlitl!!mDinen pbred
atuneonthebmeleandlulledl.ouhiandherfollowersintoa
deep sleep. Thentheysoongotholdofthe&tmpoandsetsail
for home. Unfortunately, just then Lemmink.,inen began to
singaloudandttiumphantsongtha~wokeuplouhiandher
people. Enraged. louhi>entStormstowrecktheirboatand
transforrnedherselfintoamonstrousbirdofpreytopursue
them_ In the tumult. the sampo was broken into many pie.:es
sorneofwhichsanktotheboltomofthesea
VMn~mDinen gathered as many of t he pieces of the
sampoashecould. Althoughheandhisbrotherrealized
thatrheywouldnever beable torecreateit,theyfeltthat
evenitsrnagicalpJrtsmightbringprosperitytotheir
country. Vilinilml\inenbequeathedthesefragmentstothe
• Th• tartj-o"'"Of Finnish people. Bynowaveryoldman.herealizedhis
JOO..,..,suggoststhat~ltni!mOioon"•la>lioor""'!' i naboa!.
b;M)IIirvupi:!IOsmbal'wnl... toa'ond olhallw.)y landbolwooo powerswere\\"J.ning.Hesailedau"J.yfromthislife,butit
lhebuhl>ll<lt,..,ll;y. ..,..-.ildlOO.,..onadayrtllton issaidthathewillreturnwheneverhispeopleneedhim

-·-· · - - - - - - - - - - - - --1,- - - - - - - -
FINNISII 1'.'ATURE SPIR ITS

forests. whotyp;fiesthisresponsetothe la.ndscape-some


.. Poll• r;oinon
occoumss..ythathisbeardw.smadeoftreeswhile A'P'nlollerllhty
hlseyeswerebouomlesslakes.He"·•ssoclosely Nleooinoo-•
~~~;;::.::
iden!ificdwithFinlandthatsome!imesthecoumry
wasc~Jled Tapiola_ Peller•:oinenw.saMthersuch

l(Y) naturespirtt.ah.tl"\·estgodwhopresidedover
fields and meadows. =· =~
tha ll<!9$oiForilandgrw<

:!
THE TALE OF MARJATTA THE CURSE
Attheendof theKalerala,the&oryofMarjattais OF KULLERVO
told.MJ.tjatu,a,'irgin,becameprtgnantaftereating•
berryandga,·ebitthtoason.Si,..,.,thechildhad~n

bom OU! of wedlock, Vtirum~nen wanted the b•by


k illed.ButtheskygodUkko,afterhearing<:<:na in
detallsofVtltt.imOinen'sownpaSI,declared instud

A. B1rM1
lhofmo.lhwordi(JI;ury,margo<
sorr»laok>MaotatlaandM:lna.lnlhe
Ka/evala.tOOI:enyc:albk>Ma<l3t!a
plwdingwtth .... l<lplud•t

lo- Marjatto with ho tbaby


JhetouhoiMaol"lt:l'schikl"'Jff'lls
lhaaurvalolan!IWa(lll. The<lcwyol
Mall'lttalal:eolheKa/evalailltoaoow .. hllono
di t ec1><~~.h,...,allegorvlhat!O n 1Sll
Thest>ryoll:ulmooisaiOJMlltul u"'J'ldy"'
lheC()mlngoiCho~>11a"'lyiOiinlarwl
whichaheroolurootp«mioeissWjeck<lto
------------~---- ~ acoUI)IIolek:<oc.aW'•""''""It ol h01"""'
I
JEAN SIBELIUS TE A R AN D KILL TH E W ICKED
flnl.mcb btsl-known compoRr. )tm Slbdtus
(1 &1~ 1 957),wa5tnsplmibylhttrad:!uo~~o~l HOSTE SS, TEA R HER GU ILTY
~tryofhl~oountry.espm.tllythtK<Ik....ra FL ES H I1\J PI ECES, W I-/EN SHE
HlsromposlllomsindldtthriOiltpotmf't:>Jqola's
Odwgllu-r and a choral symphony NsN on Uw i COM ES TO V IEW HE R CATTLE.
sto!yofl<ulltlw . ThroughWSII'wotks~bec.amt
dosoely assocUttd With PlnLmd~ ruotionalldtnnty. I
~- -- ---------~-------

1 TUO NELA
! TI~e Finnish Underworld. or Tuonela, was !he realm of Tuoniand Tuone!ar_ll was
aplattofdarknessandsilence.sutmual<kdbydensethickets,""'pforests.and
ad.. rk,icyriver. The,.. defencesmadtitdifficulttoescapefromTuonela ,and
most oftllose who en~ red here were eaten by a motJStercalled Sunna . Any soul
thatsurvi,·tdwasgi,•enthebeerofobli\'ion,which=dethem
lorgettwl)1hingobouttheirlileonE.on h..Theonlymonalto
,;s;rTuonelawasl<'rnminkl.inen.Th-re,lll'
waskllledbyaw,ucrsn•ke.andtorn
•opil:cesbyoncofTuoniSchlldren

103

SEEALSO W_,a .. oJrurcuoo16-11,\IHII • IIowogo11-l~. lhJII.-I.I0-71,1~1. l!l4-!l ...

' ·•'
_'if:'......~--~ .'....:\·
TALES OF HEROISM
·AND CHIVALRY
The period lhat followed the decline of popular, and sword-wielding heroes-men
the Roman Empire (from the 5th century who were strong, proud, and brave, and who
onwards) was a rich time for myths and somelimes had to deal with supernatural foes
legends in Europe. As new rulers began to - feature in many of these s tories. There were
expand their territories by conques t, tales heroines 100, who often struggled 10 make
of military heroism and chivalry became their mark in a world dominated by men.

-- -------------A,--

TilE ADVENTURES OF DIETRIC H


Die! rich was a figure from a Gennanmediev:~\ legend, supposedly OOsed
onTheOOoric(454-526),the 1\ingoftht:Ostrogoths. Heh:ld TTI.lny
advf.muresinhisyouth .\Vhenadwarf-kingnlmed l;iurinabductedthe
tn3 idenKunhild,Dietrichdecidedlorescueher. Fightingvaliantly,Oietrkh
overpo>~-eredL1urin .btttgr.:~Ciouslysp.1redhislife.1hedwarfrewarded
Dietrich by gi''ing him a sword so well forged il w:;s vinuall)' unbeatable
Among DietrichS other enemies was a giant. called Grim, and his wife,
Hilde. Dietrich kill~d the giant, who h~d robbed m~ny people, but the
giantess rr~pped Dietrich's companion, Hil debrand. Dietrich cut
Hilde in two, bm she heJied rnagtcally This happened rnarl)' times
untiiHildebmll<:lsuggesledtlwDietrichforr:ehisfootbet"·een
the two hah·es. TlnlS, !tilde was killed and Hildebmnd freed

.. Gtimrhogiom
Manyleo.podsollbtfon[uropo
$p00~ ol g.ants 1....., p.l.J). who
a<ell$0fii ~(OOI$0111a,, (IODg,3nd
warlil:e.butnottoo•ueligeoL
lliamch""9"11"'1G•~rr~ ma
lonQdl.....,..,.t,.l~tbekw"

~
z
mnglheg.ant,.,rhhi$.1'M.lr<l.

r
t
0
z
.A. B•oadowoub
AII'I(D)lhe""""",...,.,...oo"'£,.""'~Ul1th9 5r1
Cllii1Uiyoow.rdo-""""<Jb!oadsv.udo.US~Jafvootd >n
IIWhandskl rmbl..,...,.Jul&lasll>ngstrol:aoKlh:lltle
Til E DEATII Of IIADU BRAND
Dktrich had to fig!n Odoocer. the ruler of July. to win
hiskingdom.lkfoK!I~I:xmle,somo.:soldietsfrom
Odoaccr's army challtngcd a few of OW,tnch's men 10
single comOOI: oor such challenW' w~ i!f>utd to D~trich~
warrior. Htldebr:<nd. b)' a )'Oung followu of Odoacrr.
When lhldebr.md que!>li,.)ncd h1:1 cha!kngcr. n l:«ame
ckartlutthcyoungrn:mwJ)iflfXt Hildebr:<nd's
long-lost son. 1!3dubr:md.whom Htklebr.l.ndhadoot
Sttnsinccht "J>.abab)~Butlladubrandh.'l<i~ntOld
th.:lthiSfathtrwasdeadandrtfuscdtobclie'~th:u he 6- THS.tri. .I I!Mc••..
wasah\'c,cvenwhcnlhldcbr:mdoffertdhissonagokl Al..-lpdooogtdiOd.aloaMbotdollthe~P'asa ...
ktogMIIobM...,...-Ihelp(,.._.~.Mid
ring from tht family's trta..u~. Fmally, tl~ir tem~rs l<ldelerat . . ....,_bul_100lall10-llobM
rJi:.t:d,thetwommfought,atld
HadubrandwlSkillcd.
ROLAND AND O LI VE R
ErnpcrorCharlemag~rultdovcrthrFrankish
ki•~gdom.inEuropcinthe8thJnde:ul)·9th
cemurie •. One ofhb kntghts, Roland, was
widelyknownforhbbnwerylnb:lttle.Once,
legendhasit,l~dueltdwtthanOtherknight
forfivedayl>wtthomknowinghisoppo~m·s

....
tl>lllf•,.
identuy:~finallyn::altzedl~v.~tsfightinghis
best friend. Oher, with whom
pcace.later.whcnltxhngtheTtargu.,rdoftl~
I~

emperor's anny :11 tl~ Battle of R.:>nm'lUlC (c.778). Robnd


then nt.tde

<Oil Hi16o~•-•od llaohiK•od didnotpayhcedtoOhver'sadl'tct"toblowhJShornand


~--~.IW<IolD..:I
..,..,.lole<llq(IWIII(In ..... ,.,. summonhclpifntttkd,andwasthusktlltdmb:mle
~----olollodool:at"-

- - - - - --"! --
GL:DRUN A:-ID I IER SU ITO RS
Gudnm v...s a t\cthcrbndish pn11<~""'· daughtu of Hetel
:md s~>o~H of Ort wm. She It fused two ~unors, Sirgfned
atKI llartmm, bu{ ~ {hird suttor. thr br~1·e knight Herwig,
g:uned her favor. WhenSicgfncd foundou{ahou{this.
hclaunchedanauxkonHer"'ig.and Ht{e]andOnwin
plllontheirarmorand rode to aid Herwiginb.:mlc.
Meanv.hile, Hartmut,oeeu~gth.1tbodtlusrivalsuitors
were occup ied in battle, rodetoHctcl'scastleand
:tbductedGudrun.lbrtmut and hisfatnil)• thc ntried{O
persuadeGudruntomarryhim.butthespirtted princess
stau ttehlyrefliSCd,sotheyforcedhertodommialwork.
WhenSiegfried cametoknow ofHanm utSintentions.he
made a truu with HeT\\·ig, and the thn::e knights-Hetel,

*··t
Herwig, ~nd S~gfried-h:mded together to n::scuc Gudrun. lO!:i

SEE.llSDc-1l-li_M4/_ • .._, • hg.Mooo!O-lll.!.f--lll10---71,11't-ll

__,..,__ ~"\.
BEOWULF
The life of the hero Beowulf is depicted in the man with the strength and cou rage to defeat
great Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name, a the most teni.ble opponents. Beowulf goes on
work that champions the values of honor, to describe how the hero slays the monsters
valor, and fliendship. The poem begins with that terrorize the Danes. Later, he becomes the
the story of young Beowulf, a warrior of the Geatish king and enjoys a long reign before
Geats, a people from southern Sweden. He is a
--- _____________ _________________ _ , facing his final challenge and a heroic death.

THE J\'\YT H ofhtsbr:wes(warriorssetoutwconfromthebeast


As a young man, Beowulf tr:welled to ~nmark. For many Beowulf carried a snong me(a] shield to protect himself from
years, KingHrothg;~rofDenmarkand hispeoplehadbt:en (hedr.l.gon'shotbreath,but hissv.·ordwasunablewpie=
lerroritl':d by a monster called Grendel. ll would break into thebeast'sscalyskirl. l lisw.Jrriorsbegantodeserthimone
Hrothgar's palace hall at night, killsomeofthes!eeping atatime,fleeinginterror,anditseemedthatlleowulfwould
warriors, ~nd carry (hem off for food. Beowulf offered (O figlu bedefeatedwhenthedragongrabbedhimb)·theneck.
(he monS(er. and b(d a u-ap for Grendel, morully wounding A flithful w~rri or named \Viglaf, who had remained 'by
thecreature,andevemu:J!l)·killingit.King!ltOihg:irwdS Beowulf'sside,thenswbbed:u the monster's belly with
overjo)·edaildbestowedm:ln)'giftsonBeowulf hissword,whilelleowulfattackedthedragonwithhis
knife. Thecombmedeffortweakened t hedragonandu
GRt:NDEL'S MOTHER felld ownde~d. Themons~erhadbeenslain.butootbefore
GrendelSdeathinluriatedhismonstrousmother, rhecreature'shot,venomousbreathhJ.dpoisonedBeowulf.
andsheanackedthepeopleinHeorot.seeking andhe laydying. \Vithhisdearhimrninem,Beowulf
revengeShelivedinalake ,solleowulf dttbred\Vigbfashissuccessorandbequeathedhis
divednnoithmurkydepthstochallenge treasurt:s,weapons,andannortotheyounghero
andfighther.ltwasalong,hardstruggle whohadhdpedhiminendmgihemenace.
forlleowu!fbecau,;ehecouldnot
managetopenetratethem6nster:;,thick,
scalyludewithhissword.lntheend,
hewasabletolakeaweapon from the
cRature'sarmoryandstab her"1thit ,
killingthemonsterandensuringpeaceforthe
Oanes_AfterthisHiumph, Beowulfre(urnedto
thebndoftheGeats,where he was made king

~
z
~nd ruled his people for 50 years

BEOWULF 1-\ND THE DRI-\GON


When lleowulfwJSanold man, he"",.;; fxed with the
r prospectofb:mlingyetanothermons~er,onetlmwas
t ~llxkingtheGeats.Adragonhadguardedahoardof
0
z treJSureinananc ientburialmoundforhundreds
ofyears. WhenathiefemeredthemoundandStole
JOG apreciouscupfromthehoord,theenrageddragon
wentontherampage.Solleowulfandagroup
1\ IONSTE RS
The monsters in &OM·uif and in other Northern Europeallll\)1hs are er.atures whose
strengthexceedsthatofordinaryhumanwaiTiors. They lurkindarkplaees.suehas
the bottom of the lah where Grendel"> mother had her lair. and their very
appearancelshideouswoughtofright~nmo>l p<:opte
Drngonshave a thi~k.s.:aly skin. whi~h i sinvulnero~bleto
.....'. <MSIW<:apons..andtheybr<:atl>efire.whichis.poisot\0\.IS.

v ~~\ •:, :::


1:,~~: ~;:~~~~~·=~~~-~~:se~~~·tl~~~
I ~.:~' ""~-.~~a:~~:~~::~.a;:~.:~~ :7,:~";;r;:~
Bto,.·•lf.thereisalsoaChriSliantonetothe
p<Xtn:themonSlersareseenash<athenor
non -Christiancreaturesthatfightthe
heroes.whoaregodlyandrightrous.

.. n,....... n,....... l
The...,...terGtoodol"oltooJUUajedasahdeous
boosl thltt"""-'Jeilrryotlr!$0;"Wlr$h,;,:t,rnsl0an
underw.Jter la•andsuhsoq...,tlyloo;IOIIthem

WIDE \VAS TilE DRAGO N'S \VAR RI NG


SEEN, ITS ciEND ISH cU RY cAR AND
NEA R, AS TilE GRI1\\ DEST ROYER
THOSE GEATI SH PEOPLE HATED • Siayingillo dragon
lttooktwoheroo•.Boowul laOOWiglal.tokll lthe
dr"'JJ"thata1tad..ttheGwl$ 9,<•\a)lllllll'fhos
AND HO UNDE D. """"''"""'"'""" lea<lol<"•$<1e.Woglal$ho;>NedlllatOOW3$a truaOOro.
br<M:land!Qralemogilto•OO:l< lt \hi)Goo llshthrl)fl(l

BURIAL TREAS URE


Anglo-Saxonpoetrymentionstreasuressu.chasrings
andj<:""ls.whichakingwouldbeSlowonhisbrawst
warriors.Also.wh<ngruti\nglo-Saxonkingsdied
theywereburiedwithsomeoftheirtreasures. The
latgestsuehcoll«lionofpw:iousitemsw.su""arthed
arasllipburialatSuttonHooineastemEnglandln
l939.Tilisw.s thegrawofanunknown Easti\nglla.n

107
LEGENDS OF THE RING
The stories of the Scandinavia n hero Sigurd (see pp.BS-89), were mortals. The ti ch scd es
("Siegfried" in later Gennan versions) involve of m rratives about the heroic deeds of Sigurd
adventure, warfare, and love, and characters as an d the tales of a magical ring
diverse as heroes, dwarfs, and shape-changers.
Sigurd was a part of the Volsung family, whose later artists, writers,
members, although related to the god Odin and composers.

- - - - - -,§,--- -----

THE MYT H • s;.gord

Sigurdwasthcs.onofSigmund,aheroicfollowetand =~:-..~.:.:::
bothedrnfafnir"sblood.
descendant of Odin. WhenSigmund"<~Skilledinbaule,
()>lyone,...,..kspot
Odin smashed the dead hero's sword into fragments, but
theseweres:wedbySigrriund'swife, Hjordb, for her son. ==~;:f
Hjordlsrernarried,andSigurdwasbrought upbyRegin.
a skilled but deviousbbcksrnith,whowasthebrother
ofrhedr:~gonEafulrandofashape-ehangercalledOtr

ANDW\RI'S TREASURE b ther.Hreidmar.to


One dJY, Olr took the form of an on~r to fish for salmon. loki, <trtainthe treasure.
thetrickstergod(supp.96-97),killedtheonerandskirmedit
becauseheadrnired irssleekskin. OrrSfJther.Hreidmar, was SIGURD AND
upsetandourr::tgedarhisson"sdearh,andwhenlokl.Odin. THE RING
andHoenircametostay\\ithhimwhilerravelling.hetr..!pped ReginaskedSigurd
themmhishall anddem.1ndedenoughgoldroful!ycqver the ;och.1llengeFafnir
ouerskinas compensarion.Lokiwenr ins-earchofrhegol<! for rhe ~reasure . The
andfounditinthehoardof-Andvari,arichdwarf.Andvari"s blacksmith used the
fragmentsofSigmund"sweaponandforgedthemintoa
newsword , whichSigurdusedtokiliFafnir. Reginthen
insrructedSigurdtoOO.theinthedragonSbloodandcook
Burrhedwarfputa itsheanforhirn\\'hiledoingso,Sigurdburnedhisfinger
curseonrhering andpmirinhismomh. Themomenrfafnir"sbloodrouched
beforep.1rtingwith histongue. Sigurdwasmagicallyabletounder<;tandthe

~
z
it. Loki returned
withthegoldand
langlL1geofthebirds,whowarnedhim t h:Jt Reginimended
tokillhim.SigurdcutoffRegin"sheadandco!lectedthe
treasure forhimself-~hisincludedt\ndvari'scursed ring,
whichhterbroughtgriefJ.ndm is-erytoSigurd. He fell in
r """ Hoordot gold love withlValkyrie(seep.99)named Brynhildandg:tl"e
t lhebo<l!dgw rOOd
herthering.l.ater,Grimhild.asorceress.g:t'·eSigurda
0 byAndvanmcl•dOO
z gOOlll~s.bloochao po~lon that made him forget about his betrothal and fall in
te<cs.-~ocoo. and love wirhGudrun , her daughter. Discoveringrheberrapl.
otheojewolry. all
ot~reCtshrghlyfll•l\ld
BrynhildhadSigurdkilled.butafterwardssherepented
bythoV i ko~s and threw herselfontoSigurd"s funeral pyre.
KEY CHARACTERS
Thechar.<Citr>inSigurdSstorywerefirsldescribedintheVoisung.:~
S<lg..,aNorse textfrom the lJtheentury.AGennanpoem,the
1\'ibdung;;niifd. which was written at around the same time or soon
OBJECTS OF POWER
Metalobjectssuchasjewelleryandweapom
w.rebe]i.,.·edtobemagicalintheancient
cultures of Europe. The sl<ili requiml tomah
0
aherwan:l>. retells the >1'>1)', dtanzjng the names of the d \.Ora<:ters :;u<;hobjeclsinvoh'«ltlltapp.rentlyma~l =="
tit( No~ dwarf Arld,·ari ~:>:comes Alberich: Regin becomes Mime: pro<:e.sesofsmehing,casrlng,andforgi"&- TI11:
J. Goldri og
Gudn.mbeoomes Kriemhild :andSigurd me~alworkerwasperc<:i\'fdtoh.avetlll:abihty lo ar~<o>nt[.,opo.mon
be<:omesSiegfried.Butthecharnctersretain <omakesubslatlccsch.ang~sh.apca<willas weoealllldy10-
theire<Stntialtraitsinbothversionsofthe mirarulou>lyasch.arauerssuchaslokiand lov..li'!MW(Jn'W)fl
ltwasaUJnolthew
legend-Sigurdisheroic,Reginissl<illed Otr_WI~~:tlarulergavea swordorortng<oa
po>NQ"and....a\!h
butenvious,andBI)1lhildisbeautiful follower,itwasregardedasagiflofimmense
andp.ssionate.Thecharactnsol>o <ignificancr.Tneownersofruchob;ecr<lrusted
maintaintheirlinkswiththe lm pb<illyintheirpowus.whkhenhaoced!l~~:ir

worldofthegods:Sigurd.sa
member of Odin~ family. and
Bl)11hildasoneoftheValkyrles
t
*10
• KingArtflur No modi ..•IEngliohmourch
Aldu.og h ..,.dDI:ea ~ ingojoa r liernmes,Arthu r iwoOO.t-l.....,aotheidoalnQiieva l
£110)1 i$11rnonard1>n:!waslreql.O)ndj!Qhayo0as«.ddrn~oootu me,asrn1hll 1 002
staolle<lgiaur<>PO"""'tatmby tOOOO!adV.rnrrao alti S1W~IiamM>rr,.(lQ3.4-!;6~

~~':';.. ::..~..
WESTERN EUROPE
<®>
The ancielll Celts were an early European people who had an influence on
mythology that lasted for hundreds of years. From their shadowy early deities
to their lat er tales of heroes, their myths still fa scinate people to this day.

'II'
ir~a~~~~~~~;~~. :og;:~;n:~r~;:~::~~~~r~!r~~~~~ ! ~~:~:~~~~h~~~~~s)'~;i: w~r;;e T~~:~.i:i~;~na~~ws
11

between rhe 5th cemury .a and rhe growth of Roman power I sorcery, of remarkable rransformmions. of f:tnt:Jsric giams.
in the Jrd century BO: . Ahhough there was no arrd of journeys imo an Otherworld. where
Celtic empire, there were Cdtic settlements in time stands still and people are perpetually
areasasbrapartasSpainandlUrkey,andat youthful. Thesestorieshavebeenmuchretold
many phces in between. But as the Roman over the centuries, and have inspiRd poetry in
EmpiR expanded, the Cdts were pushed out many \\'estem European languages
to theedgesofEurope,particularly tolreland,
Wales,Scotland,andpansof westernFrance ~RTHUR I ~ N LEGEND S
Theseareasare theheanlandsoftheearly Anothergroup ofrnythsappeare d for thefirst
Cehicmythologyth:uluscomedowntous time in the Midd le Ages. Tl~eseconccrn King
throughthecemuries Anhur,alegendarykingo!Britainwhomay
h.webeenbasedonareal5thor6th-<entury
CELT IC MYTHS kingorchieftain,althoughtheevidenceis
TheearlyCe ltsd idnot leavewrinenrecords A Bryn C.IIi Dduburiol 1iW >eanty. Beginningwit hGeoffreyofMonmourh
TheirRornanconquerorsdescribedthemas Anc.entbw ialroour.ts lrblttw•oneontba
(d . l155).anurnberofwriterssetdown the
t.laoiM)Iewrlc200:1 o:E]...,.atOOuojlt
beingwarlikeandba rbarous,thoughthiswas deedsofKingAnhurandhisfollowers. Thes-e
tobaiRII}ICal.310;!1heil(i<1\r.lllee$-
probabl)•ahighlybiasedview. The Romans t,.$<11111l<>S~tl:lway$10\baOiha<w<Jrid
did,however,recordacutainamountof
informationaboutearlyCehicdeities. Archaeological remains betrayedbyhisrelative,Mordred.Furtherelemems--the
fromthistime---i ncludingsitessuchasburial mounds, roundtable and itsknights,thesearchfortheHolyGmit
aroundwhichlocal legendsh a'·egrown-h.1\'eaddedtoour andsubplotsabouttheking'svarious followers-were
knowledgeoftheseelusi\'Cancientpeopleand theirbeliefs. addedtobterversionsof theArthurbnlegends.
Muchlater.betweenthe llt h and lith centuries, a few During theMiddleAges,poetsandprosewritersbothin
monks in \\'ales and Ireland wrote down what they knew of Brit ainandabroadbecamef3SCinatedwiththestoriesof King
thestoriesoftheCehs. TI~esetale~ftl~el rishgods,oflrish An hur and his $50Cimes, or the "Mat ter of Briuin" as these
l~eroessuchasFinnandCt\chulain.and of\\'elshm)'lhs legendsbecamecollecti,·elyknown.Writers fromtheFrench
poet Chretien de Troyes to the English prose writer Thomas
Malory were famous for record ing-and also adding to--the
storiesofAnhur.as wellasotherralesofchinlry.lnrhe
z
process, t hevariousk nightsofthe Roun d Table3Cquired
stories thm somet imes became more impon11m tlun those of c
King Anhur himself. Sir Gau':lin, who behe~ds a mysterious
GreenKnight,andSirl;mcelot,whobecomes theloverof
An hur"s queen, Guinevere, are well -known ex..1mples
~
Centurieslmer.peopleallovertheworldarestillreading 113
'"ersionsof thesestorieswithgreat f:l5Cination.
MYTHS OF THE
·ANCIENT CELTS
The territory of the ancient Ccilic people si tes show that they worshipped many
stretched from Britain , across France and diffcre111 gods and goddesses. The Romans ,
Germany, to Cent ral Europe. Although who eventually conquered most of their
they were not literate to begin with, these lands, left descriptions of some of the Celtic
people had a highly developed culture , and deities and religious rituals, and identified
excavations of their graves and religious many of those deities with their own .

- - - - - - - - - - - - ®> - -

Til[ GOOD STR IKER


Sucellos, whose name means "the Good Striker: was found in various
pans of the Celtic world. especially in Gaul (modern-day France)
andBritain.OftensaidwbeadettyofagricultureandforeSIS,
his precise significance is still unknown . He is usual ly
dep>c:ted:lSalong-haired,beardedfigme,carryingalummer
in his left hand _ His main attribute is this lmmrner, butt he
symbolismassociatedwithitisuoclear:itmay hawbeena
weapon,atool usedinoneofthecrafts,orsimplyasymbolofthe
deity~ power. Sucell05 is generally pomayed JS Sian ding with hisconson,
thegoddessNantosuelta,whocarriesadish
(perhapsap ieceolriwalequipmem)anda
longpoletoppedwithahouse(11hichmay
indkatethat shew:~SadomeSiicgoddess)

Til[ IIOR N ED GOD


Cernunnosisknown:~Sthehornedgodbecausehe t ook thefonnofamanwiththe

~
homs (and somet imes the hOO\-es and ears) of a Slag. lie is usually shown with long
h.lirandabeard,oftenwearinganeck-ring,orton:,whichistheCelticsignofnoble
binh.c.ernunnos>errnstohan-beenwidelyworshippedinC.etti<: o
z Europe.andwJSprobablya"wild"godliketheCL-lssicalP:m(su
pp.86---8/). Hishornssuggest tlwhe " "a>adeityoffert ility,and
toemph.1Siz.ethispomt,hewasassociatedwithS}l!lbolssuchas
thecornucop1:1(hornofplemy),withfruit.andwithcomainers
ofgram.ThtsfunctwnprobablyeocompassedbothseXUJ.l
fenilityandthefecundityofthefields
THE TI-I UN DERER GOD OF FIRE AND LIG I IT
Tar::miswasahkygodandam:Jjordei!yinCeltic Belenus.alsoknownas&lor&lus,wa:;aCehicgodoflight
Britain:hc"'asapparentlymuchworshipped andtheSun.AIIhisnamesinclude~nelementmeaningeither
when the Romaflsinvaded the island in the "bright·or·shining."Awidelyworshippeddeity:~erossrnuch
lstcenturycE.llUinwritersdescribedhimas of Europe, llelenus ~~~d shrines thai were located <IS far apart as
agod ofwarandlikened him to jupiter: the Brit:~in, Ausui:l, and l1::dy &ing 3SS<X:iJ.ted wi1h healing !lS well
common amibute between Taranis and Jupiter ::tSthesun.BelenusisalsobelievedtobeJheCehicequivalent
beingthe controlofthunder. TheCehsalsohad ofApollo(seepp.28-29). Asv.ithApollo,someofBelenus's
ask)·godwhowasrepreseruedbyawheelor shrinesv.erebuilt nearsprings , whereworshipperswentto
discandwhogo1·ernedthesun.Sometimes,this drink water in the hope of a cure. The springtime fe~st of
wheelgodihequated\.\ithTar:mis.TheRomans &lt~ne in Celtic Brir~in , during which
observedthatworshtppersofTaraniscomprised fireswere lirromarkrhelengthening
acruelcult.TheCeltsmades.1CrificeswTaranis, ofthed~ysand rhebenerweather,
withtheofferingssornetimesincludinghumans m~yha,·ebeenlinkedwiththe
whowereburned:..liveinwoodenboatsorleftto worshipof&lenus.
drown in bogs. This form of worship may confirm
thatTar:mis,althoughaskygod.was
relatedtotheRomano-Celticgod
DisPater.an Underworlddeity.
I Tha iOOSSIJHOUodir1JilalenU>.. haOO
<mydepo:tthewarm.{lio'Mngr"''•of
~!Jhtemanatmg hl)fl1 thasun gold

®! A WhH iot Tononi s


lhoopoi;Wwhooi,"'P'-1"'11
OOihiOOsl.O'I'soaysa<wela<ot!!.
"""""""'lwa>usedonlheCalt~
I'I'Ofld tl ~llhe...,aMots
I
,
1

TRIPLE DEITIES
fhe~ltswerebscin.1tedbythingsthatcameinthrres . Tirey
m~de images of bulls with rlm~e horns and gods with three
faces or he~ds. The Wdsh and Irish wrote triads , poems with
threelinesr1~1tdescribedthreeconcept:;.And~lticlegends
oftenspeakofpeoplewirhthreesonsordaugluers.Godsand
goddessesalsocarneingroupsofthree.AnumberofCeltic
carvingsandreliefsshowatriooffemaledeitiesstanding
doobOio,poUil;jyoncWiogl;'H:lni$. together. Thistrioofgoddessesor"triplemOiher"seemsto
havel:ttnconsideredpanicularlypowerfulb)'theCelts. They
representbothhumanfenilityandtheboumyoftheeanh,
'"! Godoflhooky
andhavedominionoverhumanlifeandwell-being.They
ll•ssl<yijOd, WIIh hoswhool ~rxl alsoseemws;-mbolizethespanofhuman life-manytrios
l•ghmmg bolt.""'''"'P'''''"ua of goddesses take
deot}'who i•acombma!ioool
theformofwomen
,.. _and..I\Ji>t.;.,I!Jo)$l<yi)Od
oflheo~ogAomarl$. of different ages.

~~~=w-Jthe
'"l lighlninlloltllo godo
lhaCaltsC<'lll$l<lc<odtl!underard
l•ghtn•ngt>bo....oonceollhe 1110olgodda:!5e:!CO!tyiii'J
SU!J31natori!lac1Miyol!hegod>. ....keuNtpoJbahiyC<W~lai<oOO
and~eatod plaoosstndtr; tr ii \SOI~,rC~W(<Of)Otrng
11!.-i
lqhlnmg:»sacrodSpW L-----~----~· tha~ ol the~~
THE ULSTER CYCLE
One of the most famous and compelling Irish glared and his voice roared , and his spear
myths involves the deeds of the men of was considered to be almost invincibl e. His
Ulster, in Northern Ireland . The grea t hero story includes a remarkable chil dhood , a
of the Ulster Cycle of myths is Cllchulain, long period at war with Ulster's rival Irish
a fearl ess warrior. He was known for his kingdom Connaught involving dramatic
terri fying battle frenzy, when his eyes single combats, and a heroic death.

- - - - - - - - - - ----@ ---

THE MYTH
KingConchoba.rofU!sterhadarctinueofl50boyswho
were training to be warTiors. His nephew, CUchulain, \\:lnted
tobea'partofthebnd,buttiiO"boySntothertnsbtedtlw
hewJStooyoung.Angryatbeing leftout,CUchulainsetoff
tojointheotherboys,buttheyridiculed -himfOrbeingtoo
,;mall,andattJck~dhinl.CUChulainweruberserk-:-hishead
grewsohottktt2redglowsUrrounded1t.andhebepnto
snarl fierce ly Hisattackersr:mav.-ay,q©kingwithfe:Jr. Sgatlu.WhenCilchulainreturned.ForgJIIbarred
ConchObm was impressed wi!lt his yoUng nephew"s power, himfromcnteringhisfortress,butthe"-arriorsca\ed
andherecruitedtheboyintohisserviceatotlce. •hewallsandcarriedEmeraway.
Asayoungman,CUChu lainwooed Emer,consideredto
be the mostbeaut ifulwotnaninlreland . But Emer"sbther. ClJCHULAIN AT WA R
Forgall,didnotapproveofthematch:hewamedsomeone Queen ~!aeve of Connaught. owned a great white-horned bull,
beuerforhisdaugh(er.Forgall whichwasoneofhe.rm=prizedpossessions.Oneday,it
persuadedConchobar deftctedto theherdofherhusba.nd, KingAilill.soshestole
tosendCUchulainto - theBrownBullofCooley, oneofthefinestcreaturesinUlster.
Sco!land to sJUd)· The men oi Ulster wanted to retalirue but they were suffering
the an of war from from an atJCient curse that made them tll at times of difficulty.
a famous warrior- Only Co.\chulain remained immune to the curse due to his
woman called divinebinh:hisfatherwasthesungodlugh. He took on
sorneofConnaughtSbeSl\\';lfTiOrsinsinglecomOOt,andthey
fellonebyone . Thenheclimbedimohischnriotnndr:m
amokamongtherestoftherivalarmy,killingmanyothers

~
Queen~1aevecontinuedtosendreinforcemems,includmg
CUchul:l.inSfriend,Ferdi:l.d,whowJSfightingonherside. The
heroprepredforbattleapin,butthistimethesignswere
z ominous. His"ineturnedtobloodandhesawagirlweeping
:md w:oshing bloodstained clothes. Cildllllain knew then that
hisdeatllv.-asimminent,buthekilledmanyoftheenemy,
mcludingFerdiad.untilaspearpiercedhisbodylledragged
himselftoastandingstoneandboundhimselfto it,sothathe
llG would die on his feet. A crow-----said to be Morrigan, the death
goddess(seep.J75}-bndedonhtsshoulder,andhedied
ORIGINS OF CUCHUL\ li'FS NAME
Originally named Sedanta. CUchulain was the SOitof • morul woman, Deichtine
andthelrtshsungocllugh.Whilestillaboy,Conchob•rinvitedhimtoa
f.ast held by a blacksmith n•med Cul•tm. He orrh·ed late, and when Cul•1m~
guarddoganockedhim,hekill edltwithhisb•rehands. Toplacotethe
blacksmith.•heboyofferedtoa<:tas.aguardumil Culann couldbreed
anotho:rdog. Thus,hewasgiw:ndtttl:ltni:CU::hulain,"lhl:h<l<.tndofCulmn•
~ lugh. lhoo u o god
Choeto;41heklshgo<b,CUctdaon"•-
wasaiJ""'w•nn.andsblledin t001ftslla
111"'l h 1SWOOISU(flgthand~10~1011

SEDANTA G RAI3BED THE


IIOUN D BY ITS LEGS AN D
Si'viAS HED IT S I-lEA D ON
THE STONE COU RTYARD.
---·---- @ - --- -- - - - - - - - - - - - --
ULSTER AND CON NAUG HT DEIRDRE OF THE SORROWS
l rtshmJ1hstetlh<lwthelandwasinvadedby~nd.uyraets;oneofthese, Atragicmythassociat.d"ithCondlobaristhat ofDeirdrt,the
knownastileFirBolg.dividedlrelandimofh"tprovi"""s:Ulster,Leinster dauglneroftho:king'sbard.ltwasp~thatshewouldbe
Connauglu,Muns~u,andMeoth.Muchlattr.UI&trandConnauglnbecame ,-uybeautiful , soCondlObar lWherbrougluupinsedU..:oo
great rivals.andtheirrivalrywosckscribedinagrtatlrishepicpo<rn,Ta:" intending tomanyherlat<r.Oneday.shesawthekingskinning
B.JCuailg"'(~CanleRaidofCooley),wrinenaroundthe8the<ntury. acalfandar•wndrinkingitsblood
Asoun:eforman)"Sioriesabou•lrishilei'O':s,thtj)OI:mexplalnshow Shedeclaredthatshewooldmarry
Maevelostherb\lll to
herhusb.md,leadlngh<:r
IOS!tOl theb\1\lofUlster.

()
/J.<~~OL...;'- <II F.rgusm.cRiiic h
TOOI)IOOtUisterwarri<ff«gus
IRill:"'-'"<lowas....,tbr~
I:JSwda,.Jto...,.tllerrchland
2
lb:tsehorm. &rtholtkrr9JdM
'*'Jtarl>li::>Corm.o;jht wtroo!OO
10
Klf"9o!IJI$bt(ldlb:tse~

-~-
"'¥",,,,
.'.'(\"
THE FENIAN CYCLE
There is a large body of Irish myths that deals with the great hero Finn
mac Cool and his followers, the Fian. These myths make up the so-called
Fenian Cycle of s10ries . Finn was a warrior, hunter, and, accord ing to
many accounts, a prophet who could sec into the future. He stood up
for Ireland against the country's enemies and such is his power that
he is sometimes identified with the ancient Celtic god Lugh.

-- ~-------~----<!!>

THE 1V\YTH
Finnxquircd hisgreatwisdominhisear!yyouth,when
hew:~>called Demlme. He met a pbet and druid called
Finnt&Seer.andstudiedunderhimforawhik:.Oneday,
thepoetc:lughttheSalmonofKnowledgeafterrearsof
tryittg,and:~SkedDemlmetocooktheftshfor'him.butnot
lO eat any of ir hin\self. Demhne did a~ he was instructed.
but he buruedttimsdfwhile"cooking tht> n~h and, In an
instinctiveaction,pmhisstingingthumbinhismouth, He
rebtedlo FinntheSeerwh.11 h:ld l~tppened,and the poet
toldhim thathewasdest inedtoeatthefishandthatfrom
thenonh~wouldbecalled Finn. btingtheSJ.hnonga,·e
Finndeepknowledgeandthepowerofprophecr ltwa:;
s:J id tim he was able 10 cot~ure the wisdom of the s.1lmon
henceforthmerelyb)•suckinghisthumb.

H IE Dl:Ff:NDER OF IRELAND
Finngrewuptobeanoutsiandingathlete,lmnter.and
warrior---combine.dwithhisgiflofknowledge.these FI NN'S LAT ER LIFE
abilities g.we him unique power. He did much good in the finn was in love with Grainne, a much younger wom~n.
coumryside,cuuingmoumainpasses who had been prom ised to him in marriage. However.
withhispowerful sword:mdslaying Grainne did not want to marry an older man. She was
serpents. Henotonlyrepulsedmany deeply in love with a young man named Ohrmaid, one
peoplewhotriedtoim•adelrelandbutalso ofFinn'sfollowers.SheputaspellonDbrmaidtomake

~
defeatedsomesupern:llural opponems.li ke himiO\'eher. Thepairelopedand livedtogetherforawhi\e
Aillenmac:>lidgru.amalevolem happtlyumi!Diarmaidwaskilledbyaboar.
fire-breathing musician Finn'sbteradventureseitherin,·olvedhisprowessasa
z fromthe"Otherworld"

~~;:::::.mated
Wlthdilerllohimsoti""-'J
ass•rTlltheloomolastag,
118 an<lhl!..,lo,Sadbh,,arneto
lummtheshapao!adoe
MAGICAL WORLDS
Ancient Celtic literature abounds with stories telescopes in their world so that hundreds of
of people visiting magical worlds that are human years pass by quickly, unnoticed by
separate from bm close to our own. The denizens the visiting mortals . But, although life in the
of such Otherworlds do not age, and live a Oliterworld is tranquil and idyllic , visitors
pleasam life, free of pain and despair. Time generally feel a fatal longing to return home.

-- -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - @ - - --- ---- - - - - - - - -

TilE LAND O r
TJ-JEYO U1\JG
Oi>lnwasthe famoussono[Fiun mac
Coo l (sapp./18-19)andoneoftheFian,a
groupo{ w;m iors whofouglu for Ireland
Once, whenhunting,hemetabeauhful
woman called Niamh Chinn 6ir (Niamh
oftheGoldenHair),ridinga w·hitehorse
NllmhprofessedherlovetoOislnand:lSked
him 10 :¥:compny hn to Tir rn nOg, the
-LandoftheYoung,"ofwhichshe w3squeen
On the way to th<s magical world. Oisl tl
killed a gbllt,andhavingshownhisbra,·ery,
\vasgi,·cnNimnhashisbride.lhecouple
livedhappilyforcenturies,butOisfrt
~-ventual l ygrewhomesickand decided
to,·isit Ireland _ He discovered that much
had changed since his departure . Niamh
had warnedOisfnnottodismountfrom
hishorse inlrd:md,butheforgot whenhe
s:<wsome men needinghelptolifta
boulder. Assoonashis feettouched
theground,hebecarneol d andd ied.

<OI Oioioondlho lH>uldor


Oislosawtwomensu ugglmgto
r•i..:o•boolclerashepa.....tonhis
hi>roe. Butwh91lhe>!appedd"""'
h(ln'lhoSIIW)UOIIOhe lplhi.lrn,ha
agedlXI)«<Is.,akw.....-ronts
Ti l E LA:-.!D O F \I'O J\\E ,\J
M:l.d Dliin was :In tlkgiumate child. One da)' he
kamedthJt hbfatllerh.1dbeen~l.iinbyrauier5and
offtoSttk t~ kt!ler~.tkand his 17compamons
lif-t
visitedmany,sl:luds.each"uhamazmginhabu:mts
includingenormousbmh.fi!{htinghorsts.andotl~r
"onders.Fill.llly.thetrl\'tlersrexhedthc"Undo£
\\'omen."wherethequecn married \1:\eiOuinand
offeredhcrd.Juglue~;aswt\'tstoluscrew.After
St:l)'ingthell:forthreemontlb.tlletmnwanll!dto
returnhome.Bute\'erytin'lttl~e)'>ttS:til,th..,queen
thn:"alengthoftwimtlntSiuck
toM:klDUm'slund,:mdshepulled .. Fe.otaiufk -~ . "Ry..,.oiSoBr•od•
them bacck 111. fir~1lly,anothersailor Aaoo,jjogl>logond ...... waoa the . . -.hloo.IMid•lhe
loon~•tll81.-.do1PionoN" l)llo...wryooda...Sv.oclolyOro
caughtthctwn~eandthcotherscut
..,..wailaro-..-:~ t> ".,._ CQ"'''QQIho_..tylordodon
offlnsamt t ohdptll!'mtsca~ -~1>dladl1nkor · """*·~~to~•llland

TilE LAN D OF PROM ISE


Set fa racros~tht~a. TirT;urngire,orthc "Umd
ofPromise,"w~sthepbcemO>ot soughtaftcrb)·
explorers.ltwJSa paradisewl~~:relife wascl>)'Und
where,·isitorscouldacquire magkalskllls. Some
belie,·edthat\b.nann.1nmxUr.aseagodandagreat
warrior,w;tStheruleroiTirT:J.Jrngtre,althoughotiKrs
thoughtiKnw:relytra,elcdthere,takingwuhhimht,
youngson. Mongln,whostaycdhertfor)-t~rs:uod
gau~~rdmuch5ecretkno"ledgc.O~ofthecxplorers
tortcachthtslaml"asaChristian>atm. Brendan.
~ c.llic . ~i, who journeyed m a boat along wuh 1.. companions.
ua.illliiOIMihii<NW It was one of maot)' man·dous tsl:tnds that Brendan
-.ioof•aohoptlool, lollf wassaidtoha\'tvisncdma!"oeriesoftra\-tlstha!ttu)'
:."!~:c.=
........ _ .. w.:~
ha"c included e~~duions to lcel.md

Ti l E LAN D UN DE R TilE \\'AVES


There are .l number of ~hie wles about the "L1nd under the \\'aves: a city
orcoumry submnged in the sea. The mO'it famous tale is the ~tory ofYs, off
Brillany. This was~ pro~~rous cit)' th.:u was protected from the wa,·es by a
strong d)·ke built by~ :..1tmly kingcall~d Gradlon Meur. But Gradlon had a
wicked daughter called Dahut. Dtfferent versionsofthestory depict her as
h.avingo~t~~:dthesltticeg.lt csaftercithergeu ingdrunkorbeingpersuaded by
anOll~~:revilcharactertodoso.Consequemly,inallversionsofthern)'t il .the
• n••••llln•rtiHicity
searushedlnfrome,·erysidcar.dYsdisap~aredloreverbeneathtl~~:waws.Some li«ord"'{ltothelogendoiYI.I"'IO''twhoU~
olooiglhol!ftllori<OOJ!couldhltrlho[tejllollhec,tyl
171
believedthat lifewcruoninthl-str:mgesubnurincworldofthe'":lnishedcity
clourdllil...gon(!bo:ill:rN!he-

U[Al$0-'"'-t<:l'~41 · 4!t;liH1.JI..Jlnl-l1
THE MABINOGI
The four branches, or parts, of the Mabinogi "Otherworld ~ ; the children of the sea god Uyr,

(often called the Mabinogion) comprise a Bran and Mananwydan; and other stories,
rich treasury of Welsh myths and legends about including that of Blodeuwedd. Some of the
early Celtic deities and heroes. These tales characters, such as Briin, developed funher in
were first written down in the 12th century. the retelling of stories beyond the Mabinogi
The four branches deal with: the adventures of Christian writers called him "Bn'in the Blessed~
Pwyll, prince ofDyfcd, especially his visit to the and said that he brought Christianity to Wales.
- ·-· · - - - - - - - - - - - - @ -- - · · · · - - - - - - - - - - - - -
'f Biodouwt<ld
l heMmaB~--~ Iao:e·

TilE \VI FE M AD E andsyrrt.:JIOiesheocaptNaMgphy..:al


beautt"asvda! the'Mid""""'skom
FRO,\\ FLOWERS l'>iltch....,waocoojurodup
Lieu LlawGyffes(BtightOneoftheSkilful Hand),
theson-ofArianrhod,l ivedunderacurse: his mother,
Arianrhod,haddeclaredthat he would never be able
to have a human wife. H<m·ever, Gwydion, AnanrhodS
brother.wasamagician.andhedecidedtohelphis
nephew. Hesoughtt helSSistanceofanothermagician.
Mat h of Gwynedd _Together they used their powers
tocreateabeautifulwot)'mncalledBiodeuweddfrom
the flower~ of the meadowsweet, broom, and oak
They wamed Blodeu wedd to be Lieu Lbw Gyffes's
wife, but she fell in love with another man. Gronw
Pebyr,whokilledLleu. i\shedied,Ueuturnedinto
an eagle and flew to an oak uee . Gwyd ion e\'emually
cametohisrescueandtransformedhimlxockintohis
human form. LleusoughtoutandkilledGronw,and
became the Lord of Gwynedd
(NonhWales).
BRAN THE BLESSED
Br~n.alsokrtownasBendigeidfrnn,wasdepictedinm:mydifferem
"a}·sbytheancient,•:ritersofEngbndand Wales. Tobegin"-ith
hewasponr~yedasaseagod,whowas.eenstridingabovethe
w~ves.Llter, hewasdescribedasamightyBtitishkingandleader,
who hved at a time wllfn the people of Britain were waging a war
againstlreb.nd HisvalorandstrengthhelpedtheBritishdefe:uthe
Kingoftreb.nd.e,·enthoughBr.'l.n\;fon:eswereonttlumberedand
hew:>:Sfruattywounded.Afterthebaule,Br.'l.ninformedhismen
abouthis impendingdeathandinstructedthemtocutoffhishe~d
and take it back to Britain, where it would protect them from
future invasions. Totheastonishmentofhiscompanions,Br.'l.ttS
headconstant lytalkedtothemallthewaybacktoLondon,where
theyburiedit,anditcontinuedtoactastheirguardian

J. Brintho Qiont
Asabng.Br!inwaskn::wnt>b&a
goantol~~str(llg'4l.Ha
~•""'l"""ca~oothat
coo\J.....,ri"'OOad:"'""tuall\tn
~0110 l hao:.rl$ ol tha~l!h

• C..t.I!DinuBnon
it.)seiU ... IOU;In(jollen,N(wllrWala!,
IICM'"""!''n1r111JIOJU$lal\lw$10n0$and
... thworb.Willabei.......Jtob&thahoma
olthell'onlblll),llr!n

--- -----~-------- <@> -~ ---------------

RHIA NNON A.\ID PI V\'LL


Pwyll,aprinceofOyfed,fellin lovewiththebeautifu l
Rhiannon,butherfamilywamedhertomarr)·anotherman,
Gwawl. Pwytl and Rhiannon married without the con~nt of
herparents.whorefusedtorecognize thismarriage.Soon
the couple had a son, but rnernbersofRhi~nnon5familystole
thebabyandaccusedRhiannonofmurderinghnson.As
puni~hrncnt, Pwytl made his wife stand on all fours like a horse
andofferridestowhoe,·erpassedby. ~teanwhile, Pv.:yllvisiteda
princely neighbor who had been losingfo~ls mysteriously
from his st~bles. Pwyll stood guard outside the stables.
caughtthemonsterwhohadlxenstealingthefools,
andcutoffitsarmintheensuingstruggle. Upon
returning to the stables, Pwylldiscoveredhis
sonlyinginthestr:lw. Hetookhimhometo
Rhiannon , whonamedhimPryderior"care." 1/!j
j.:f·
KING ARTHUR
AND HIS KNIGHTS
The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table has
captured the imagination of writers down the ages. There have been
different versions of the story told by British, German , and French
authors, but all of them portray Arthur as a wise, just, and brave
ruler. The tales extolled the ideals of honor, chivalry, and bravery
exemplified by this perfect king and his valiant knigh ts.

.. KingAnhur
TilE M YTII Thanl)'th(alr~tlll$dopc!Odas

~:~~~~~:.~~--:1;:::
Anhurw':IStheil!egnimatesonofKingUtherPendragonof
Britain and Queen Ygem of Cornwall. Hence he""" brought
Ideal ~;ng wbo JWo.ided ""'' a
up in >ecret. aw'a)' from hb parems. However, Uther gave ~Or)So!d'lrlralry
Arthur J dunce to become his heir. The king-embedded a
swordinablockofstoneanddeclared!lmwhomeverpul\ed
itoutwouldrightfltl!ybecome.thefuturel\ingofBritam onlyGalahad, Perceval,
Many knights tried torecoverthesword but failed, un~tl andBorssucceededin
omdayAtthurarrivedandremovedlte:lSily. Later, when completing the quest
the sword was dama)l;ed in a duel, Arthur was given a new /1ccon:lingtosomev~rsions
sword-the mythical "Excalibur"-by the "Lady of the oftheSiory,theyeverutL'Illy
Lake,"afigmeshroudedinmystel)'intheAnhuri:mlegend~ foundthi'llol)•Grail
andtookittothecU)'
HI!: KING AND I l lS KNIGHTS of)e!US-11em
Arthur wa:, an honomble king who ruled wisely He was
deepl)•in]o,·ewiththebeautifulGuinevere,whomhetookfor ARTHUR ' S DEATtl
his queen. He had many bmve knights :IS his followers. and Meanwhile, problems were brewing at Camel01. One of
theydiscussedmauersofstatesittingtogetheraroundthe Anhur'snusted knights, Lancelot.fellinlovewithQueen
_ JarnousRoundTableinthecast leatCarnel01 GuitJel"ere.andrheyhadssecretaffair. WhenAnhurfound
om,hebartishedlancelOI.whowasalsohisdearest friend
Subsequemly,ArthurSson,Mordred,decidedtochallenge

~
hisfatherforcontrolofthekingdom . ManywaniorsonbOih
sides perished in the fierce OO.tt le: ~hose left alive included
most important Christian King Arthur and Mordred.whocontinuedtofighteach
z relicsinhiswry. Howe,·er, otherrelentlessly.Anhurfinallyk i lledhistre:~cherousson,
butwashimselfgr:wel)'II'Ounded. Know i ngth:~t he was
<OI Thoowordinthortllno nearingdeath,Arthurs:UiedtoaplacecalledAvalon(the
M ioghli'Mlldoutolhlltn:l -isbndofapples"),wherehefell intoalong,death-likesleep
-.ana_.rty~ra!l It was believed th:lt Arthur would return 10 rule once again
i).tva~coold........:l,and......,
10£ /ollu.W~.!JOCillo-e<QMrt;(ld
llhenBritainwasindiretroubleandinneedofagreatleader.
lllathawastheng l• tt•tblll'j Thus,hecarnetobekno"nasthe"OnceandFumreKing."
KEY CI IARACTERS Til E KNIGIITS
M>.nydtl.ruttrsano: lnvoh'«<lo th<: Anhurlanl~g.nd~~ '" TI..Knighl5ofthrRoundTablt\l'tn:
forusofgood whiltOihcrsbringaboutthtO.snuctionofAnhur\i chi•·alrousmtn.n..y,,,.,no:fairlnthtir
roun at Camtlot Btl:IOO most oft!~e k1~glus(sn: rij#). a key figuno: dtalings\Oithothtrs.murtto~,~;to
on thor skit of good Is Mtrlin- "i=d. prophtt..d Arthur'$ mernor. womm, and hdpful w l""'f'f~ lnl'ftd
FLo,.·((lchoflloCttrslncludtU.t~lot.achi•·almu!lknight"ithotl(

serious moral dd«<-hls """' for Qu<m c.;.w......,..,_ Wl<do! abo~ l.oib
Arrhurbeo:~~lwmh·.swolattll>hdpthtkinginhbb.otm,,.;tb

Motdmlln jOITit HrsionsofthtSIOfy. ~lot btroll>t'la piYst


uponfindUlgOUith.atGulnt•"'"'hosno:pmtnlandbrromranun

PERCEVA L
A)'<)llngm.>nofnoblo!obinh.~rtt"o'albtc•.mraknlght:dttrpltl'l·ing
hi$wonhatKlngAnhurlcoon Th.Gr>Oilkgtr>dsponr.~.ytdhim

asr.nhtrrw\l:.a"'puno:fool."h"·u!hispunty_..,."t''tr.tlu.trnadt J. G.a.lood
lho_oi.._..._Galalad ............ pnllloeolrt
him"vnhyofll>tGratlandhtlp«<lllmrt:SiJ.Ithoescductionof
.... _golr-throlllodoog .. Gnoil,ol. . . . . . flll'll
Kundry.om)..Urious6gurrlt1UI<Idistr.octhunfromthtGullqUdl. -loogllld_.,,ondho.-cl..,.,..t_.
1-JJHtoryirupim!Richard\\•gurril
"P""'I\"''""-"t.."'hthralstht
mo!UI"·oW>dsofAmlonu.thr

1?7

SEE.I.LS0~18-tt,4l-•1t(M«o.ll'll\l!o'lf>.t._.1!!Htlfil~ ···t
...,.,..,_ ~"\.
• Thsedue1iwoopiritJofloknoed01,. . . o
130 \Mlf{lroprrte~..wNJwore.,.d"J>rohabor•,_"ndlol:eoorCeoual["'~·wore
lan~CJUSie>-M"'l$<l<l.ociMlfrswoorroosocmanai"""'IIOh•e u rrwaryp<t<>OO•·t,.
such .. tt.a.epretlyyoo"')l>'l'"'"'grrl&. in toiOO"undetwaterl ..
CENTRAL AND
EASTERN EUROPE
Central and Eastern Europe is home to a fascina ting blend of myths and
folk tales that reflect both the area's rich natural environment and its
diverse heri tage of belief systems, from animistic to Christian .

RangingfromtheCzechRepublicinthe thewmer.Forestspiritsworkinasimibr
westtoRussbintheeast,Centraland •vay.leadingpeopleastmysotlwthey
EasternEuropeisaregionofvaried become lOS!amongthetrtts.
peoplesandtraditions.Manyofthe
peoplelivinginthewesternpanof MALIGN BE INGS
theareasee theirrootsasCeltic,bm ThispanofEuropeisalsohometo
thedominammythologyoftheregion ~hostofpowerfulandoftenmalign
belongswtheSbvs,whobetweenthe supernatural beings--notably witches.
5thand7 th et:muriesspread x;ro;;sEurope A. Ooeoratod[.,.tt r ... go werewokes. and VJmpires-dut h:we
fromthe ir ancestralhomeb nds inBulg:uia DocorabrJg"'l'J'"t EastoriSalladitlonal becomefamousfarfromtheirhomelands
'"'-"' lhaCroch~.loday.such
easternSio,·akia ,andneighboringterritories. oggosylli>:jrolhalleourrec1""'.bultho)y Thq•are~lsoseenasenemiesofthefaithtlut
sweptthroughtheSbvicworldinthe9thand
.. ealsofW&Cho iSI"" .,....,..o!"lbUih
EARLY SLAVIC MYTHOLOGY lOthcemuries,rumelyChristianity. Christian
The beliefs and mythsoftheearlySb,·scentredonnotions rnissionariesdisrnissedtheancientdeit iesa ndspirits,but
of good and evil ~nd the role of their ance&ors Hum~n life many Sbl's simply combined the old with the new : VJmpires
w:lsunderstoodtobeastrugglebetweenlightanddark,and may be thwarted by a Crucifix. and Easter is celebrated by
thedeadwereseenasspiritswholookedaftertheirbmilyS decor:Jtingeggs,pagansymbolsofrebirthandrenewal.
household_ These ancestors lived in the Ot herworld , but
couldbecontactedbypriestswhopbyedarolesimilarto
thatperformedbyshamans inothercultnres.
TheearlySbvsalsorecognizedagroupofdeit ies,most
of whompresidedovertheelementsandpansofthenatural
world. S,·arog,thernOSI powerfuldeil)',wasaskygodandgod
oflighL He lud two wns, D:uhbogand Svarozhich, who
go,·ernedthesunandfirerespecti,·ely.Perun,thethunder
god,andStribog,godofthe"inds,werealwprominent in the
Sb,·pamheon.Apair offenilitygoddesses,theRozhanitsy,
presidedoverthegrowingofcropsandtheharvest
lnadditiontothedeities,themythologyofO:: ntraland
EaslemEnropeisfnllofothersupern:uuralbeingswhoact
asspiritsofplacesof power. lnacountrysideofdark,andent
forests,deeplakes,andmanyrivers,itisnotsurprisingthat
nmnyofthesearespiritsofwoodsandw:uer.\Vatersprites J. S.dkoonthooho ,.ooflak• llmen
CO>ellui,..nlollc\akllal l oolapooo"""ta i iOOSadi:IJwh>piJIIQI~sgu•h<Wiyre,by
and simibrcrea!llres haunt bkes in numerous myths from lhal<tlaolataka.ThiS..,ploooad theSoaKlnglhat lhespmth(HpadSad\:IJwln3W!'(Iel
131
theregion.llleyared.<ngeroustotr:l\'elers,luringtheminto lhatthere'MlffiW.'MthgdrloolWlsk>bucauojlt in lhalal;e,..,rmbngSadlv<o:h.
KOSCHEI THE IMMORTAL
Koschei (Old Bones) is a familiar wicked because it is believed he is virtually impossible
character in Slavic myth and legend . Like to kill. One of the best-known stories abou t
Saba Yaga (see pp.134-35) , he is regarded as Koschei tells how he finall y meets his match
the personification of evil. This skeletal figure when he is confronted by a brave warrio r-
is much feared because of his habit of
abducting defenseless young girls, and

--- - - · - - - - - - - -

THE MYTH
Once.~handsomeyoung
----· queen who pursues him relentlessly in order
to rescue her kidnapped husband.

-- -

..,. Prine<ol•aoandKoochoi
"tlryaMorWn;~hOOmaro'lgOI.Ito
rostramKMChso.and"'li>:>JlloodOI
princecal\edlvanw:~Sriding wateohewas"""'-llutwhontvan
through the countryside when """'IIU 'J9111J'M'hlm""'tei!Odnrt.OO
roga,rllldllii$Ueng thandbroko lr(ltl
hecameuponhundredsof
corpsessnewnonab:ntlefidd.
Making inquiries. he \earned Howe,·er, M.irp Mort'"na's
that tht:sesoldiersbelonged siL1pt"-<:h,mgingbrothers--
totheannyof Koscheithe thefakon,theraven,aEtdthe
lnimorta!.whohadbeen eagle---,sprinkledthewater
defeatedandcapturedby tht: oflifeoverherdismembered
warrior-quttnMiryaMortvna. body:~.ndrevivedher. lnthe
Soonlva n cameacrossthe meant ime. Koschei rode
queenherself,:mdthetwofell awaywithlvanouhis
inlove.The)'Weremarried lighming-faststeed.
andwenttoliveinMArya
~lortvna"s palace, but after RESCU ING IVAN
atimethequeenhadtoleavt MMyaMortvnaknewthm
forwaronceag;Jin. lleforeshe only one person possessed
departed,sheshmved lvana horsesbstenoughtocatch
lockeddoset inaroominthe upwithKoschei-MOO
palaa::,andtoldhimthathe YaglThequeenrushed to
wasnevertoopenit thewitch,whog.we hera
sorr)•-lookingcoh,whichhard ly
CAPTURED BY KOS CHEI seemeduptothetaskofpursuingKoschei.ButasMArya
After M~rya Mortvru had gone, h-:m could not resist looking Morevnarodethecreature,itmirnculously t urnedintoa
intl~d05et,sohefoundtl~keyandunlockedit.lnsidehe swifthorsethatsooncaught upwith thekidnappt"r
S..1Wawizenedoldmanduinedtoapos:t,beggingforw:uer. Grabbing Ivan. M.irya Mortvruturnedthehorseand
Feelingsorryforthen.un.!vang;Jvehimo;otnewmer. Aso;oon galloped off, with Koscheiinpursuit. They raced on
ashehaddrunkh isfill,theoldmanbrohhischainsand thronghtheforests.nntii Koschei"shorsestnmbledona
fle dt hepalace,taking!vanwithhitn stoneand t hrewitsridertotheground . Turning quickly.
When ~tJtya Mortvna found out what lud luppened. she li.IAryaMore\•ru tookherswordan.drnnitthroughKoschei
13) rodeouttorescueherhusOOnd,butKoscheiw:lSwailillgfor beforebuminghisbodytoberidofhimfore,u. Thenthe
herandcutherupintopiecesbeforeshecouldauackhim couplereturnedto theirplaceand ll\"edinpexethereaft er
KEY CHARACTERS

hlsbody.ltwashlddenloan,~lle , whlchwlspl.a«d

insideanegg.Titeeggwls lnsid<:aduek,whlehin
•umwasiosid<:ah.m:•ha! waskep• lnaookliron
d ...,>! . TI>ed>eSiwashidd<:nioaooaktt«tha•
grewonanisbnd.Thesel.aytrsofproteclion
ensuredi<DS<l"'i'simmortalil)"-forexample,ifthe
ltare~bodywasrutopen. thtduck\rouldflyawa}:
Butsomesaidthat iftheeggwasbrokenbycracking
itagain>II<DscheiShead,hewoulddie.Otherocrowns
c\almed Koschri~bodyltadtobe:bumedtonulykillhim

I Al'vl KOSCIIEI TilE


DEATHLESS. 1\JO
0 1\JE CAN KILL 1\ IE.
1v\Y SOUL IS
j. fMwanior-quoon CONCEALED I1\J • PrincoiYin
lw n ~<IOOtypi<alhaOO""""IOOfJ!II' i"""olla;jand ln this
MalyaMoo>ina"""'a"""""".._,ol
woat suoogtt.. p:lllo"<l.and""""rc"fuloou. A cARA\VAY LA 1\JD. St<lry,hesbcJ,o4hirnselltohetr<MlolurOO$,bokl,bndhooriOd
qoilhli<l$1hatbo:>p(>:lt.lr~daloal~t.Jr and00f9.b!Jt ooda"9"'001'1'hisowncuuosity.

~:cu-R~~~~~~~ ~·
---- -~-;;;u:;~~~~~ -~ ~~~;:;;~,~;---·-
~~:·~e::f;:~,~:-~ :.;:•;:~:~~.:~n=~ . ! :;~·~:~~"~::;0~~ t~m;0:1:t~~;~~::;.·;~l~~:~: ,::~'-
the >lory. In a:no~>er version of the legend, ( and many Ru~ians did not realize what a rich tradition of

~::~~~:~::~~~~~-~;~::~.;~: :~~~::== ~~~t:~~~~ ~~ra~;.;;;~:~~~ot~~~::~~~~;;,~~:~


0
:

magic•\ ho,-,.,,1~ gO<:> to her house. On tl>e himguardllahaYag!i'•lt(>-"1' write the na.rrath·es down. 0... such coll«:tor of folklore was
way.heshow>kindnesstolbird,abee,and Ak>;anderAfanasiev(!826--7l).lli>largelybecauseofhisworl<
l liOt>ess. IUba Yog;l proml>es to ..:ward him -much of it done despite opposition from
i[he•endsher lmrsesforthreedtys. Hels tl>eRu~i.tnestablishmentfigures,
helpedinthistaskby thesamecreatureshe whodid notwanttopopulari:e
had met earlier. TI>enhesteals!UbaYag>'s whattheytenned "prirnitive"
rolt. rescuesMarya.andkillsKoS<hei.

t,..turedangOroos""""ts
andarob.upo-""t',frn!ly l3...~
t ul rrlt!\a tl r>qrn$~,0$ __
- - · - '- - - ' ontheta'ruabootMatya
SHAlSO-o..oySIH9, 1~1.116-11.111-19 • Wiomoo134-:ll ..

,;;:.-'-"' ~·j: yf,:


LEGENDS OF THE WITCH
The folklore of the Slavs often ref! ects their Foremost among such evil characters is B<iba
ancestors' anxieties about evil, the unknown, Yaga , a witch who appears in Russian legends,
and the dangers of the forest. There are m.·my and in similar tales found across Central
tales of witches, who were believed to be Europe, where her name varies slightly.
sinister women living in these fores ts, and However, her rapacious appetite for the fl esh
who preyed on innocent people, or upset of young children s tays consistent, though
family relationships or the social order. many of her victims manage to outwit her.

BAllA YAGA
The witch called B.1baYag.1wasdep~eted in stories :~Sa
wrink\oido\dwomansillingquietlyonawoodenbench
orkeepingwarmbyherstove. When traveling, she
wouldstepintoabrgcmonarand push herself through
theskywithapest\e,startingviolemstorms:>Sshef\ew
Shespeciallylookedoutforyoungchildren, whomshe
\ikedtocaptureandem.Somepeoplebe\ievedthatthe
witchcou\dturnpeopletostonewithhergaze,turning
thernOOckintoOeshatherhometofeedonthem . Rlba
Yag~ used the bones left over af1er her feedings 10 build
agruesomeandenchantedhouseforhe~\f.whichterrified
peopleformilesaround . henitsfencew:~Sdecorated
withtheskulls ofthechildrenshehadkil\ed,andshe
wouldlighttheseskullsuplikebnterns.

~
~
~
Ei .& Bab•V•Ijoi
l~wockedoldWikl""'"M"'"~nntaoand.,...tlek>
0
z tr....,. roltl(llooestwOO.e.lhov.wld-arr'I(I(IQihe tr001
,:( WIIIUIOJ IOarrt!mh """""'l'vi<ti0131hatwatb>J ~hot

g
z .,. RIIIu forwioh u
~ Sormlogenoi!oteat.rY"'))"'f tOOt
=~::::.:H::r!:
althouglrrnQI!\1\(Ir~W<rrnthat
otwa>S1inri>l:ytotrustthe'Mtd1
\'ASS I LI SA

,\\A RI ASSA
---··
Tl~erewlsonceay.>ungg~rlcalled\bl'l.l.',S;l.Wh05tStepm01lxr
-- ··- -------

stnthertoB.1baYag;.iwborrowancedleandtlnt:ld.luckily,
th~girlmnLIIlycalledonheraum. who told \!:uiao;.sahowto
~''<'idthejawsofMb:lYag.fsdogandho" totalktohercat
~bri:t»Sa;l'lkedthecatforaW:Jyomwhenthtwitchtriedto
imprison t hegirl,andittoldhertorunawaywithatowel
andacomb.Mari..,;aescaped,and"lll:nshl'he:trdrhewitch
approaching,shethrewdo"·nthe!Owd."hich!Urnedinto
an,·er,andtht:comb,whichbecamra
foreSt. thu~tr:tppingB.1baYag.1

j. BilooY"'IJiiC'-Ui09M•i•SN
llri'MIIilto::.e~· ... ....,
.... aodCIOIIIid ... IONiul . . . .
--~ .. eoltll""'-
MYTHS OF WOOD
AND WATER
The Slavic lands are full of dense forests and misty lakes ,
both natural and man-made. From earliest times these
places were believed to have their special spirits. Some
were threatening beings that embodied the anxiety of
travelers, who were fearful of getting lost in the
woods or drowning while crossing a lake. Even
country people, who knew the forests and lakes
of their region well , were wary of these spirits.

~- ~-------------·

RUSALKAS
Rusalk.1Swerealluringwaternymphsknownfortheir
I
beaut iful song. They probablyorigiroted :15 fenility
opirits,associatedwithp~nicular lakesln dwiththe
life-gi••ing power of wmer But the)' were lmer s.1id to
bethesoulsofchildrenwhohaddiedatayoungage,
or of women who had drowned themselws . Their song
luredpassers-byintothewater. Ontstorytoldhowa
Rusalbleftt ltewaterwhenshefellinlo\'eWithamortal

"'I AntoninD..,iik
JheCrnchoornpo.,u[NQI'<I k i i SI II ~)
WlO!eO!an't;)mOp(lOa,Ru.alka,ab;<J tlhe
rtymrtJwho lelt OOoh<metoramrta iM
\VATER SPIRITS
liketheRusalkas.watn~puit:;:Indtll)teSli~dinllkes
and.esprdally.nullpondst\lcgend[r,,mse>utheastern
Euro~tellsofarux who t~l~d:~monal.lllfrewasa
youngmill-handwholovl'dthenulkr~daughtnBut
themillerwamedlnslilughtertOIIUTT)'arichman
[r.,mthtlocalcastle.Ontday.tiJttWOJi\'alsfoughtand
tht mtll-hand "3» pw.hcd mw the mill pond. wlv-~ ht
wasfoundb)·amx.Tht:nnll-handemcmull!'dthenix ,..........."'
~ l H• i-•ISMikll

Sdo>imrylllllle~
onhtsviolm. Thttwogotonso"dlth:uwhentht
~-kl~·
~~""::... ®
rntll-handwasabouttolell'tthtwller.thefrYndly
mxgavchimamagic.tlnug.whichwouldgr.rntthe
118«--l'J:Q-· ~
wcartrthruw~hcs.Sothcrnill- ~'-l .... l:llt.

SADKO
A popttlar Slavic tn}1h tell~ofthr minstrel Sadkowho
w"a.>invitedbyaw.-uerspirit10pl1ylnhisp.tlace. The
spiritsdancedwSadko'smusicrillhegrewtirednnd
couldpbynornore.Awbcw:aterspititndvis!:dSadko
wswpthedanccbybre~kingtl~tsttingst:>flnslutc.
lfl~tdidthis, thes.e.t.godwouldoffuhim~wifcin
returnforhisplaying-buthemustchoostthellSI
ofthewornenoffuedwhun.~ndeventhenhe mUSt

· ~·
ne\'Crtouchher.SJdkodidasl~t"-.lStold,choosing
w....-.uolleotorll<l

..............
....... lhofK*I,..-.g

...-r......
t~last.wornanthe!itagodoffcredandlying:t.p;m
fromhuButatnight.histightfootoccidcn.,lly
touchedher.TohisatTJaZtrnem.Sadkowokeupalont
__.olc.pplluda
~ol..,.,_,, ... onthenverbank.tofindhcw~lan~otmlusrtghtfoot.
-klplouttht .... tl.

Til E \ \'OO D DOVE


:..'":.
o4!t~kA;41
~v-~";..:::.:~.;:'
The magtcofhoth"ood~and "~tercometogethcr mthcSl:wtckgend -a.anoogol•dooo .....,
ofthewooddove There"-\SOnce:t.uold"oodcuuerwhowaspotsontd IOUIIdodJCOJSM:Irl

b)IH~"-tckedwtfebtca~~hewamedtomnrtynhandsome}O~"
&
manwtth"-hornshewasmlo1e Soonafterhtsdeath the
woman mamed her lo1er and they had alavtsh "eddtng ,.-" ~:o!'::Ocesolfuel...,
fe lSI At fir~l they liVed together happt l} Me~mwhr\e gr.:I$S ~ bukluliJIRllerlillloo the SliMe
grc"-0\Crthe"oodcutter~gr.t,e:t.nd.t.}OUllgookrreetook ~andW<.IO.>±•noroohon
root there \Vhenelefthe"om~np:tSSedthegra1 e a wood dove ~ ioguloontheotfl"fj1hlol tholouost
perchedrntheueecoocdather:t.ecu~lt\glyE:t.ehttmeshe ~
heard the "-OOd do\'C sl~t fdt n 11":1.> tl~t vo~ee of her murdered -~ J )"fll,
husband~eplytormentcd~l~tdro"nedl~trselfmthen'er ~ ~ ~.!!...._ B7

SHAI.S0!4ooo;,ot....,.111-ZI.:I.Ht. t:l--t:l,llt--ll • f-t:ll~.-:lll-41


....,.,..
-*-
• "-·'!,•;...."!:
THE FIREBIRD
Slavic mythology describes the firebird as a beautiful
creature with a long tail and stunning red , yellow; and
orange feathers that glow as if on fire. The fircbird
inspires wonder in all who see it, causing them
to desire it. But it is not easy to capture, and
those who do manage to catch it oft en have to face
a multitude of problems that come in its wake.
-- -----------------* ---
~ T bt fi ,. b i rd
THE MYT H IIH•Sl•ll!iJ3IIydtawdloiiOO.rd .. apred<mJI:lndy
There ll:tS once a king who owned a wonderful ~pple: mdandOiatlo)'ICO)al""'.t"~rathorliblapoocn:t
witllalmjtaila<boodwnh..,....t"~~narn•
orchard that he.wasespecialiyproudof,becauseoneof
its tree~ bore golden apples. But each night, he found that
someofthegoldenappleswoulddisappear.Sotheking and wa,;abletocatchhisquarrysince
commandedlvan,astableboy,toguardthetfeearnight thefirebirdlxcamedrunkaftnfeeding
The first nightth:u lvan.s~oodguard in the orchard, a onthebeer-soakedcheese. Then lv:m
firebirdcame:indstolesomeapples.lvanattemptedto chmbedontothewolf'sbackandthewolf
grab the bird. butthecreaturewassoswiftthathecould took him to the kingS palace. The kingwas,·erypleased.
onlycatchholdofasinglefeatheras 'it flew away. Ivan andlocked t hefirebirdinaspeci~!lymadegoldencage.
delivered the feathertothekingwhomar.·eled:tt It and
dispatchedh·antofindandcapturethefirebird IVAN i-\ND YELENA
Thekingthensem lvan onanot hererrand--1 ofetcha
CATCHING HIE FIREBIRD beautifulprincessmmedYdena,wholivedbrawayacross
After he hadtraveledafewmilesonhisquest for the the ocean, and who the king wanted to m.arry. The gmy
firebird, lvancameacrosSagraywolf.whotold hlm wolf helped lvanyetagain,takinghimtoYelena..and
howtocatchthe.bird . !v:tr\WOuldlusetosoaksome carryingboth lvartandtheprincessonthereturnjourney.
cheeseinbeerandscatterthefoodonthegroundro During their travels, Ivan and Yelenafellinlove.
temptthefirebird. lvanfollowedthewolfsinstrucrions Buttheywerefacedwithadilernmasincethekingwas
waitingtornarryYdena. Oncernore,thewolfhadaplan
to aid Ivan. When they reachedthepalace,thewolf
reve:Jied itselftobeaslupe-changerandtransformed
intoa\'erybeautifulprincess.whom Ivan presented to
the king. The king proposed marriage, and when the
·wolf·princess"accepted,tookherstraighttochurch.
Butasthekingw:.sabouttokisshisbride.sheturned
back intothewolf.andthekingdiedinst:tntlyofshock
After the king'sdemh, Ivan bec~rne ruler in his place,
and married hisbelo"edYelem. Hewas,·erygrateful
to thelirebird. whichwasthecatalystforthead\·emures
thmh.1d culminated inhismarriage~ndcoronation
l1(}
"'l haundYeleno
Hwu~<oyolthayoong
KEY CHA RACTE RS
M• tra.dongs-Mfltj - Thert~rese,.,raJ,.,rsionsofthefirebird
llu<UJh the noJ~t oo tha stooy, butth<yuswllyrontainthesame
lxldoltheg ralwoll
t... l<ong beenaJlOPIIat
subjOC11ot ,.trSI3

lnthislegend,the worldofanimalsandplam;;
isfullofsupen>atur•lpowers,whiehhaveo
majorinflue nceottthe way e,·entsrun>out
Foremost isthefirebi.n:litself, whichlets
p<Oarlsfallfromitsbeakandhasfeathers
thatglowlikefla.mes. nreapplesarealso
s..idtobespectal-theybringyouthand
strengrhtothose whoeattlJem ,so by
(lQll'lw.t>wrttrl'U
forlhtPartsbaotd
company.thf
BaUonsRu..;ses
andhruuglu thf
tr.odttk>Ral ~Low
l~ndbrl<m'a
gk>bala...Jlmr,

·-----·-
I
·----· --·-···---------
SLAVIC ANIMAL M'rTI-JS
nrefin:birdisOtJeof severalnt),hkalcn:atun:sin COCKEREL FROM
Slavicmytlt.ologr·thathaw:mir>eulousabilitiesor
that rtflecteithfrthfdangersof thfcoumrysideor THE TOP O F SP IR E,
th<rnysteriouspoweroftl>;,naturalworld. Traditional
Sla,ictalesincludemanylocallyfarniliarbirdsand
WATC HE S RO U 1\J D
FOR THE FIRE.
sltape-<:hanl'}ngwolves. anda IS THE DANGER
tpldencockerelthatcrowsto SEEN BY CI-IANCE,
want ~ kingofln\'asion

~ Tholoy a lcock a,.. l


FAITHF U L SENTRY
WA KES AT ONCE.
!::.~..~~~'"~=~
thaC(Kltl)o~!):eofanOj>(Vatrjthafklsso.-.
cootjO)!Otl!imsky.Korsak<Ni l 84( -l~-
'"
......
.~ .

.
.
'.'( \ "
SLAVIC GODS OF POWER
The ancient Slavs, who lived in and around Syra Zemlya. The Slavs worshipped these gods
Russia , had numerous deities who ruled by giving them offerings and assigning special
with great power over the Earth. Their days to them, occasions that combined holiday
control extended all the way from the sky, with devotion. Although their myths were
where the thunder god Perun held sway, to orally transmitted , many of these powerful
deep down into the Earth, the domain of Mati stories survived the coming o f Chris tianity.

--~-~--~--- ---~---~~- --~--~--~-----~-

PER UN
PerunwasthegodoFthunderandlighming.Ahhoughhewasprimarily
a war god and his power was terrifying. he also represemed the forces
ofgood.Whenthesunwasthreatenedbystormcloudsthatconcealed
it intheirshadOY.'S,PerunsmashedJhemwilhhisJhunderboiJ,alloming
thesuntoreappearandensuringtttlt lifeonEarthcouldcominue
The Sbvs behe,·ed that hum~nity w:>.S const~ruly threatened by Veles.
the god of the Underworld. who was ~~W~}'S ste~ling c~nle, kidn~pping
people, or otherwise causing mischief. At such times. Perun would
Strikehimwithhisthunderboh,;;endingtheevilgodhurryinglx>ck

regions,someofthe3uribmes
ofPerunweretransferredtothe
prophetcalledlly3,orElijah

A Thoo kyQO<I • Tho wotldttoo • Voloo lhodrogon

~~~=·!:~'==
ln"'"tiw10his......,.,...aodlosaagle,Poo'"' ThoS ... sr~lr..:IVales , drerpJQIU..
yt) was<W<Jcia100Wit h """'YOI~•Itrobu191;. """"".J l.indotw<Jrld.asadr"'J))IOI,..PI"I, who

:::;:~'!:':OO'":k'::~ tho)
tholl'IO$l111'f01Tant(llt:ho)seWil<et~$1(1(1(!(t!'ld I\KunWU$)'111bJOl\'<ltrjanf)a<Jklltia1Sal ln
rretalthatSiiMc""""'.,..j'"""'"'woa~ l~u~rrnstbranctJosoft~troo
------ - j!l;------- ------- --

MATI SYRA ZEidLYA


iI ::!':.;;::::·•••~-----:;;
~~
TileSb,tcEanhgoddes.,v;~call~d Mall $)1':1 cootliUid"nse.l»:ont
Zeml)a(D;~mp \ lothtrEanh) Normally ~ho:o olle<ediS.....,.u""'walbog "- .......-..,
1
:::~d~ ;::~~~~~:dr~~~~heb~:n~;;~~~ :.:S::'!~':; ~
btneaththefutof~rdevOiet;;. Even though
~hcusuallyl:u:~daslllllf'.~hl'"'as~nas
Vibramly:~li'"t and, th•m~r~. hdptd t\'1'1)1hmg
inthesciltocorm-tolife.OnccnJ.inoccasions
Ku~nt w ;JS the Sl:wic god of wuv.
whenshcdidtakehumanforrn.shc'lassaid
Apopubrmyth!tllshow thefii"S{
IO;!.pptlrasav;omanwnhdark,unh..::olo~d
hwn:ttJSenjO)'«<ane35)'li~inal"llley
sktn.we;~ringtr.Jditi<>rulc1011xs,whowould
mig;uedbr~•·enn,~r.;tlutflow~d
visitp«>pl6houstSandblrssthcm.Ontht
from an egg. Ttvy brcarm grndr for
holydayl>onwhichshcappcartd(r!Olably
mou waterandbrokethtegg.causing
l\!ayandHJurr),rl()OIII'\\"'lSallowcdw
agRatflood.AIItht peopledrowntd
ploughthcsctl. Peopkwon.hipp!'d herby
except:forl..:r:utptz.aw:~tdunan.who
diggingahokmtl~egroundandputtmgm
wa:;S;Ivedbrl..:urem. Uuer.l..:r:myatz
offeringsofbrtad:mdwine
argucd withthegodol"l:rwho,hould
ruletheE:mh.andafter l':~rious
trials.emergedasthe winner. But
lnaddioonro hegOtcanied awayanddt mbt:dthe
U)JIIIlMn!lnglha
loot.Otyot tlleri mount~inwhere t hegods hed .l\eate
M311Syta~ >omemeatthat be longedto them.and A Ku .. mmook
_.,AOdl<ll>l 1 lnSio"Hema . .._a,n ma.U
gOtdrunk fromthe winegi,·entohttn <kipoct>og(,.ontnl'l<llnat ttle
~-[OII!JeCI~
by Kurem. Thegodskickedhimdown Kuron~.,.,....thatoshekl

*··t
1"-'IQ rl!WOOIIle
Q!W'Id.~ .. themountainandhelosthispower klOIMGinoo thoornl'lllotspmiiJ
11101,..,. ...... ~

SEEMSOSI:r-24-~11-11!>.1--"1.1~1-_~;Jll!ollol,lJIHI,1t<JI,ltll-ltlJW!J
....Jt..... ~"\.
WEST ASIA
$
West Asia was the site of some of the world's earliest cities, where riches from
agriculture and trade , and the development of \vtiting and organized religion,
produced flourishing cultures that recorded their many myths.
~

~~fr:~t ::::~~;t~sa~~~e~~i~~~~~~~~:,:.\~~~~~~ i :7;~:1s1:~~~ ;~=:~a~~~~~v~::~sg=~~;:~~~;:·a~~d


between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in whlt is now Iraq I often fragmentary because the arch ives ha,·e survived only in
Cities such as Ur, Uruk, Rlbylon, and pan_ But those thmluve been p~ced
Ashuralldevelopedpowerfulpolitical togetheryieldmanyn:m:Jtivesthatgrip
systems,togetherwithahighlyorganized readerstothisday,suchasthefamous
religionthatwasbasedaroundimposing ep icofthegreatheroGilg:~mesh.
mud·bricktemplesknownasziggurats
Thedevelopmentoftradeandtaxation MAJOR CENTERS
systemsmeantthatitwas~ssaryto &lbylonwasthemostpowerfulcityof
keeprecordsofwhatpeopleowned,so the Sumerian Empire.with twoheydays,
theMesopotamiansdevelopedahighly in the 18th and 61h centuries BC~ - Under
sophisticmedwrit ingsystem,t oo. Thq• Nebuclmdnezzar(605-562BCJ:). Babylon
wrotebymakingcuneiform,orwedge- wasaflourishingcitywithapabceand
shaped,markswithareedstylusinsrtUII, A. liggur11a1Ur "h.anginggardens"thatwereoneofthe
~la$(Jpl)tamao11ggU<al3, 1ilolh•sonekomlhal•lh wondersoftheworld . Its temples, and
handheldtabletsofwetclay,whichthey
OOOI'"'f ~ OlpoG$011tdaylraq,-Oiao!J(Ib.>lkli"'JIWIIh
thenbakedhardbyfiringtheminak il n, "'teroai013P>Ihe~ledk>hlghplallounsonwho<h thecitygatededicatedtothegoddess
orsimplybydry ingthem inthesun lhepoimi>!>'"lormedlllualsin""'""'oflhaOOiiao lshtar,wereimpressivesHuctures.
ind icativeofthepowerof thecity's
PRIESTS 7\NO KINGS religion . HardlylesspowerfulwastheAssyrianEmpire
Religiousandpoliticalinstitutionsoverlappedinanciem (c88()....;:;.6l0 oc~). based at Ashur. Assyri3n scribes adopted
~tesopotamia . Kingshipwasseenasagift fromhea,·en,so andpreservednmnyofthem)•thsfromneighboringcities
ptiestshadagreatdealofinfluenceoverpoliticalpower, Therewereothercentersofearlycivilizationandm}1h
whilerulerswerealsoseenassacredfigures.lnaddition,the in West Asia. One was at Ugatit, in northern Syria, which
ptiestswerehighlyliterate,andsoontheywereinscribing flourished around 1500-1200!1U.An01.herwasinTurkey.
religious and hteral)' te~tsondaytablets. The durable nature where the Hittitesfoundedapowerfulempire
ofthesetabletshasallowedmany ofthemtosurvivewith around 1450 BC~ - Both of these early
theirinsctiptionsstillintactandlegibledespitecenturies cuhures had tichcollectionsofmyths,
ofexposuretotheelements,givingusready accesstoan whichsurviveinafragrnemarybut
impressivegroupofearlymyths. fascinatingform, aswellas
The first ~lesopotamian cities were independem city- prominemweathergods:the
States,butsome,suchas&lb)·lonandbterAshur,expanded Ugaritic>~ormgod Baal,and1he
in po\>:er to creme grem empires. They shared simibr myths HittiteweathergodTeshub
butwithvarbtionsinlanguage,sotlwgodsandgoddesses
luddifferemnamesindifferentpansoftheregion.lnanna, ~ Babwlonianboundal'jrton o

goddessoflove , fenility,andwarfare ,becameknownin l heBaJ¥onianspulu~bJ<Jndarys-\Qsho>N


wh>~piecmoli:JndCa<¥00onlhem,...e
11.1bylonaslshtar,whileUtu,thesungod,becameSI~1llL1Sh, >'jmbollollhe00ti(!Sprl)IO<:IIngtheb(:u>ia<>f)l
andsoon.Theclaytabletsthath.1\"esurvivedfromtemple OOrn.ac"""'"'tmoonlor the looaogodSin
ENUMA ELISH
The creation story of Babylon is called Enuma Elish, meaning uWhen
on h igh ,~ which is the firs t line of the epic. Inscribed on seven tablets,
the myth describes the creation of the first deities from the coming
together of the primal waters, and narrates how one god, Marduk,
eventually became the ruler of the cosmos, ordering the creation
of humans and the foundation of the firs t city, Babylon.

• Babylo.oiondoity
TilE MYTH Gula.lhegoddolssolmedic...,.was
lnthebeginningtherewereonlyApsu,<hegodofthe thedaughteroiAroulloll.-.....!1000
the~~OCII)Oolbl)undaoi(IS,.It..wu
fresh\\~aters,and Tbm:u,the goddessofthesah waters,
olleoc\aP<Iedooboundary-
andeveJythingwassilentaroundthe rf1. The pair came
togetherandproducedseveralgenerationso(deities,
cuhn in:llinginAnu,thegodoftheheavellS,and Ea,a wasabouttodoandkil!ed
cunn ing and reso<frcefulfigure whoe,'etHuallybecame him _ Then he set himself
thegodofboththeEanhandthe"'aters upa:.thegodofthewmers

W~R ~MO N G THE GODS M~RDUK'S COMING


The new ge1wration of young and h'·ely deiti~sannoyed Eaand his consort, D~mkina,producedason,themighty
Apsuandlhrnat,wholongedforthesilencethathad god hbrduk. When Mardukw;~Sgiventhewindstoplay
existed at thelxginningo[tirne. Apsusuggestedkilhng with.hecausedstorrnsinthewatersofTiamaLShewas
theyounggods,butTjmnmcould notlxarthethoughtof upset.altddecidedtoa,·engethedeathofherhusband
puuingtodemhwhattheyhadcreated.Nevertheless,Apsu Apsu.Sosheassembledaforceofmonstersandordered
decidedtokilltheOlhergod~onhisown _ Eas::owwhathe. thcgodKingutoattack Marduk . Sever::tloflhegods.fearing
a destruoive war, tried to stop Tbmat. but she would not
listen. OnlyMardukw:ISwillingto!ighther,providedthe
othergodsgawlumsuprerneauthorityoverthemall.

HIE CRE~TION
Mardukg:uheredthefourwinds,commaHdedthemtoblow
throughTiamat"srnomhsosheinflatedlikeaballoon.and
then~licedherbodyopenwithanarrow.lbvingdefeated
Tianut. Marduk began to rule. He made the heavens from
onehalf ofTumatSbody,creatingrain cloudsfromhers:lli"a
ThenheusedtheOiherhalfofherbodytocreatetheEanh.
so thatherbre:~S~s ixl:arnemountains,m odthetworiversof
~!esopotamia, the Tigris and the Euphrates, flowed from her
eyes. Heorderedthebuild ingoffubylon.andcreatedthe
A lho Bobyloniont first m~n.Lullu, fromthebloodofKingu . Lullua nd his
TheJ19011h>ol8ai:¥0<lreliadO<lag<ituiU•eko"""'IOII,and
thaor<O<l!lionmythtebhow thefirotrrm.~Lullu
descendmusdugcamlstofertilizethelandaroundBabylon
ooogotedh~lield$$01halthe~oouldtaomlhedo'y l a<>:l toensurethatthehum.1ttr:lCecouldprosper

J.:i·.
CITIES OF IVORSHIP KEY CIIARACTERS
Asinallcuhurcs,u:l\gionw.scrudal <olhe Uktmanycreationmyths.E•um~Ehsilbegins"ilhapair
inhabitantsofearlyMcsopoumiancitiessuch olprtrnalckities,ApsuandTiamat ,wOOcreatese•·eral
asBaby\on,becauseit offelffithemaway generationsolgods.Thesegodsexisttobreed, tofight
ofunderstandingt~rosmos.Lochdty and . inrhecaseofTiama•andKiogu,•opl'Q\.ide thl:row
wasW>dertheprot<ctionofaspecific materialsofc~eatlon.Kingub«::olne~;TI.tii\JtSconoonafler
god- forexample.MaJdukinBabylon Apsu'sdealh,kadingheronny in tlv:bauleagainSI
ar;;l the moon~ Nanna in Ur- who w.s Marduk . Som(ofthelater
worshippedinatemple,usual!ythetooSJ generotion<alooplaymany
differtmrole<.t>pe<:ially
Marduk.Heeombinesthejob>
ofdragon-slayer, wartior.king,

..,. Kingu
As'W)f1(11olliarmlKilll)l
00\dlhe l a~olllesUII'!'.
whl<hiJ"'''himult•rmro
P<>"'!r>lflflheooormo
:::::~':n~~~uk

1-fE \VAS CLOTHED


himasJheirsupremegod . Thecn:aJion
\ VITH TERROR,
mrthdescrib.showhislink"ith the \ITITII OVERPOWERI NG
citybeganwithitsronstruction
Whenth<godhadwonhisbanle BRIGHTNESS HI S I-lEAD
withTiamat.heglorifiedtheh<avens.
Hebuihhisowndwel\ingdirectly
\VAS CRO\ VNED. Til EN
abovewhereEahadli•"<XIand,from HE SET OUT, H E TOOK
thebodiesofthemonsterslhat
Tiamat hadst:n!tofigh.thim,made IllS\ VAY, AI'~D TO\ VARDS
sun..,sandplactdthembythe
doorwayof&'stemple.Man:luk
THE RAGING TIAMAT 1-1[
thentoldtheothergodstobuild SET IllS cACE. e>l
•SJ"alcityonEanh.
SEEALSOA>!.>1~..,..,,...,.. ,62-63.1;:&--69, 1!JH11. 111-1~m-1l ...
_,,,,
_\':',...~ .-~ .-:.:c\
!NANNA
The beautiful love goddess Inanna (known in and she had a twin sister named Ereshkigal.
Babylon as Ish tar) controlled many other areas Apart from her amorou s encounters with
of life; she was also the keeper of the cosmic characters such as Gilgamesh (see pp.156-57) ,
laws. One myth describes how she stole the her best known myths concern her maniage
tablet of laws from her father, Enki. Her brother with Dumuzi (also known as Tammuz) , the
was the sun god Utu (also known as Shamash), shepherd god, and her visit to the Underworld.

- -· ··-------------- · ---
TilE 1\\ A RRIAGE OF 1.\JA:'-INA
lrunna,thesuprernelyaml.:tivegoddessofsexuallove,wasdesiredbyrnany,and
was even r:1ped by Shu-klle-tuda, a rnonal who W:l> punished with de~th for his
crime. Bm two suitors in particubr l'ied to be her husband . One was Enkmidu,
thegodofagricuhureand patronofthosewhocuhivatedcrops, "hile the
otherw:>S Dumuzi, the shepherd. ln.1rm.1~ brother, U!U, the sun god. had the
powertodecidewhoshouldbehissister'shusband. Hedecbredthatlnanna
should marry Dumuzi, butt he goddess w:>S not happy with this choice. She
did not like Durnuzi:Scloakmadeofroughwool,preferringthesmoothllaxof
Enkmidu.Buttheshepherdarguedtlutwhatheproduced-rnilk,cheese,and
wool-was more irnp<>nam to the world than the grain grown by Enkmidu. In
rhe end Dumuzi won lmnm round by comparing himself ro her br01her, Uru
The p:tir u·ere rmrried, and lnanrm gal'e Dumuzi the kingship of Uruk

.,. M.. opOIImio njowohy

~~~r.:~~=~
~l!)I(Mdrjtrcrn!l(ld..-.J

=~':""...::=-::
""""3IJ'I'.OunngOOo .. :~~ttolhe
~IO(-OW<JSJ18linama
hadklfl'WI"'thrmtri<Om,..,.,ts
THE DEATII OF !NANNA
Ereshkigalwaslnanna'stwinsisterandcounterpart
\Vhereaslnannawasagoddessoflight, Ereshkigal wasa
goddessofdarknessandliwdintheUnderworld. Inanru
grewtomisshersister,andsoshedecidedtogotothe
Underworld to visit her. She told her maid Ninshubur

orjewelryasshepassed througheachoftheseven
circlesoftheUnderworld.Bytheurneshefimllyreached
her sister, lmnnawasnaked.Shewenttoembrace
Ereshkigal,butthedemonsoftheUnderworldthought
shewastryingtotakehersiSierbacktoEarth,sothey A Tho Underworld
Ruiad(H(llt,(lll$hkogalond her husbood ,No<(litl----'ahodoousa00
caughtherandturnedherintoacorpse. r;>paCI<)U$ t.A-Iha~moa•Undc<- l dw.l$ada r1 pt>ce
J<lrll~l'<lt,.deu•:mwOO~I.Wdlmooaaodlm;jherhO< na lni

--------- -- · - - - - - - - - - - - llll<----------- ·- · - - - - - - -

1 THE DEATH O F DUJ'v\UZI


PriortoleavingtheUnderworld, lnantk1promisedthe

i judgesofthedeadthatshewouldsendsorneonetotake
her place. On her return. lrumu met Ninshubur, but did
notwamhertodiein lrunmSpla.::e.lnannafoundthat

t:
herhu.sb:mdDumuzil11dbeenhavinganaffairwiththe
goddessGeshti nannainherabsence. Enraged, she
decided to punish Dumuzi bysendinghimtothe
A Roocuing lnonno
Underworld. Although Utu transformed Durnuzi into a
Thellldsleo!,JOOErt.tll<liOO!W;Joo.r.g.,11m .i<t
undotho•i"'JJmrnl>... ndin<Jthemtoo....:w smke to help him hide. the demons of the Underworld
l"""""wn~awpolm..,IOrolinlmrlal;!j_ eventuallyfoundhirn.ltwJSfinallydecidedtiL'IIDurnuzi
would spend h.1lftheyearinthe
UnderworldandGesht imnruthe
otherhalf,sothatt hey would
TilE REBIRTH neverbeabletomeet:.g;Iin
OF I!\IANNA
\Vithout lnanna, love perished on the Earth ~nd the
world wentdark.Afterthreedays,hermaidNinshubur lh<tcodaobOOWi,SaaodlltOO
appe~ledtorhegodstorescueherfromtheUnderworld cultoiDufiiU.'iandlrmm.DurrW
·~11">:1100Sllp00on'l;lnlonlhe
Thegodsknewthat noonewhohadthesparkoflife
troosduu")IOOdfY""""'
couldremrnfromtheUndef\•:orld,andsomewishedher
to:ll~ythere, so they refused . But the trickster god Enki
(known JS Ea in Babylon) came up with an answer. He
cre:uedrwobei ngswhola.::kedthe~uributesof l ife­
theyhadnoinnerorgans,nosexuality,attdnominds
Enid sent them to the Underworld with a cup full of the
w·~ter of immortality. They reviwd ln:uma with the water.
andEreshkig;UhelpedhersislertoreturntoEarth

SEEAtSOLow..,oosJI-39.\ll---J9,1-t.-.Jto-l1 • -ol6-11.~1.-811---«1.111-11.11l-1!.m--1!9 ...


_, ,,,
_\':"......~ .-~ .-:.:c \
THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH
The story of Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, is the oldest extended narrative
to have come down from the ancient world. It survives in the form of an
epic poem written on clay tablets in the 7th century t>CE in Assyria, although
the story dates back to the 3rd millennium BCE. Its themes of heroism,
frien dship, and the quest for immortality, together with the poem's exotic
cast of characters, have proved fascinating for generations of readers.

THE lv\YTI-I '" Gitg.o-•h


T OO"""'cM:oca"~a.oiG0~-
Gilg.1mesh was a ruth!ess~nd cruel ruler ofUruk.lle forced 1>$~-~~rcnglha<dgtOOtWI I ip:ow(w

the men to be his s\ases and the women to be his mistres;es -l:otuymi'IOiilOdintt.$-lt\1uebyiM
IXliii"I'I:M"lW"Y"'~t.J~Ihatm
Helpless against the mightyGilg:unesh, the pwple pmye.d
tothegodsforhelpandtheyrespondedbysendmgawild toseducehim,buthe
m~n named Enk idu to fight Gilgamesh ':md sUbdue him. ll"jectedher. Normally
GilpmeshanemptrdtotameEnkidubysendingatemple irresistible, sill' resented
prOSlitute to seduce him _Thewoman.took Enkidu to Uruk thisrebuffaudcompbined
tocivilizehim.butwh.-:ntheyarrivedataweddingiuthecity, tothegods,whoresponded
Enkidu saw Gilgmnesh demanding to sleep with the bride, and by send ing another
chalkngedhimtoafigtu.Tilt)'werebothstrong:mdevenl)" monster, the Bull of
rrutched.andre:di;xdafteralongstrugglethattherecould
benowinner. Thus.theyembracedandbecamefriends

T~I E TWO TYRANTS


Now there were two tyr:\nts terrorizing the people of Uruk
This time the gods sent a cremure called Humbaba. who Wi!S l"heydtcreedthat
~fire -bremhingmonster. BuiGilpmeshandEnkidu,who i;nkiduwoulddie
weresupponedbyShamash,thesun
god,foughtthemonsterandkilled THE SEi--\RCH FOR IMMORTi--\UTY
him . Next the gods t ried to trick En kid uS death forced Gilg:unesh to consider his own monalit):
Gilgameshbysendingtheauract i,·e He knew of a man named UTnlpishtim who was the sole
lnanna(knownaslshtarinlhbylon) survivorofagreatfloodandludbeengr:nuedimmon:UitySo
GilgmneshvisitedUtnapishtimtofindawayofauaining
immortality. Utmptsluim told him tlut the gods had caused
thefloodbecausetheywereangrymthesirnofhumans. But
Enki(EainBabylonianmyth),thew:uergod,h:>dappe:uedin
ldreamtoUttUpishtimandir-.s:tructedlrirntobuildabooJ
Utnapishtimldvised Gilgmneshtoaccept hisfateasa
mortal,butalsotoldhimofaplantgrowingatthebottom
ofalake inthe Underworldthatgaveeverl.lSlingyouthto
whomever= from iL Gilg:J.Jnesh wem 10 the Underworld and
foundthepbnt,butonhis"·ayback,asnakestolethepbnt
Realizing the futility of his quest, Gilgamesh accepted his fate.
KEY CII A RACTE RS DE ITIES
AltOOughtheepicissetinarealpl"-"",adty-stateealledUruk inthe TI~egodsondgoddessesplay
Mesopotamian region. most of its major characters are linked wit h amajorroleintheepic,tal king
the supernatural world. The creatures sent to challenge Gilgamtsh tothe.anhboundhumansand
a re gigamic and tertif)ing lxca<~S<: they come from hea,·en-rhe actingdlrttdyi nthededsh·e
wildm•nEnkidul>cre,uedbyNinhurs.ag,rhegoddessoftheE.tnh, momemsofthe51ory. TiteyalS<J
whlletheBull ofl!e.-·enissentbyAnu. •hegodof•hesky. innuenceevents in a sublkr
Gilgamesh himself socraddks both worlds . I !is parents are Nlnsun , mannerbysendingdreamstltat
thegoddessof thesky,and predictthefuture-thekilling
ofHumbabaand thedeathof
figu.,:hismlxtdparemage Enkiduwerebothforeseenin
iswhyheisdescribedas drums.Alt houghtheyare
pa.n-godandpa.n-hwnan. extremelypowerful.thedeities
arefallible-theirsch=esto
.. Thocomi ngol [nkldu defeatGilymesh"ithmonsters
Gdganle.lhhadadroarnablutaslar SoonOO!edictatlogiaw•toah>J
faHi!OJkomOO......whi< hOOand
donotwork.•ndlnamu>planto ~.th&(l(do!tbasun ar>:lwar,
IMslnolndsoooldno:>~ l iltlhiullM sedu.ceGilg;unesh isalsoafailure aoOO:IGilgau..,.honblliogflurntOOa
~IOdthe"""'"!!ol(nWu

AJ
J. Utn• plttrtim
MoldmanbytOOurooGilgamesh<OOt
hlm.U t""'>slltlm klld tha~nghcmha
fiOOIJ'Ithc<od the.,.rml•ofthe-ld
IIIIUboot[Os;Mtlhernhornlllelc.;.J
J. Humhba
HMstorast-""""ifoJ••'"'"'"was
.-..chloaoedte:a""' ollhadoodly
firehel>rothOOE...,[n~duwas
llll b311y r00.:!Jnt10igl1t thebaasl

VE RSI0 ,\15 OF THE MHH


s.,,.,,.,.\ancient textstd l 51ori<saboutGilymesh
whowasprobablyarealkingwho \ateryined
m)t hkalsutus.Mostsuchl<'-'tsarefra!JIK!ltsthat
togothertdiGilgameshSstoty----<lfl<:talksaboutthe
Bull ofHeawn,anotherdesctibesEnkidu>joumey
totheUndem"Orld. At,.,mepoint.tl,.setextswere
recordedinAkkadian,aSemiliclanguagethatwas
"idelyusedinMe;opoumiafromtl.. Jrdtothelst
mitlennium OCI' .lbtbeslsuni,ingropyoftl,.ep;c
&Uruk
lho1'J9"11""""""the.....:l-t<<t~andcil)'l'''llool
~=~;~=:'~ :~~:~:;~ta,.::'i;;:l::~:~·~=~n ~
~~~~":=~~-==~ toJOCOOstructepics likeGi/gamesh. king.Ashurbanip;tll l (668-627 KE) ,atNineveh
SEEALSOhOOfMJI> (IH;I, 100-m • -taliry- 13l-J3.116-11,11._~9 ..
MYTHS OF UGARIT
. The ancient city of Ugarit flourished ncar the the ancient site, and some of these described
western coast of modern-day Syria, an area the gods and goddesses of the cityS inhabitants.
once known as Canaan. Ugarit was a major city Many myths recorded on these tablets fea ture
in the centuries preceding c.l200 BCE, when it the deity Baal , the god of rain and limnder;
was destroyed by invaders. In the 20th century, his sister, the fe rtility goddess Anat; an d
thousands of clay tablets were discovered at their father, the supreme sky god EL

BAAL:S STRUGGLE FOR PO\VER


BXJlwastbe:>Onofthegreatgod ELand.obelonged tothefam ily
thm stood above all others in Ugarit's pantheon of gods. El~ power was
eternal, but as he grew older, Baal grew mightier in the sky, becommg
thedeity incomroloftherain,thunder,andlighming.ButBaal was
challengedforsupremacybyoneofhisbrothers.Yamm.thegodof
the sea, w ho dem~nded t h~t El give him all the treasure belonging 10
BXJl. Yamm sem messengers to capture BXJl an d imprison him, and
he made Ba.alhisslwe . B.1al wassavedbyagreatcraftsrnan. Kothar
wa-!bsis, who made two magical clubs for him. Yamm resisted a blow
fromthefirslclub, butwhenllaalorderedthesecond tostrikeYamrn, the
blow broughttheseagoddown,erublingBaal to tearhimupandscaner
the pieces. ThusB.lal becamesup remeamongr hesonso[El

Y Y. . m
TOOoeag<>d Yammwast.ei!Ol'«ldtobepre<entrn
thacrasiii"'J""'""""""r<l'iloosc"rrootool!he
ocoo n ,;'llldw.»ai~urow h olllpr(i$(lii!GOC!roos,
di oordor,andda"'J<lrtothe humanr;>ee.

~ Bu t
IOO•"prell'lllgOOIIaaliHhownhe!awean"'la
C<Wi ical hea<kl re,.llehokls•spearrn(lfl(lhand

:~~:: ::.~"!:..~:, :~:·•r.OOyto


1' Goldomomont
C<atlYI<)Ike r!mlhetoty.I1JkloiiJ(I3nl
pr<rducad1t unmoggold jewel.yando th<:K
ll AA L' S PA LAC F. arufact>.Objocusuchas thi sembossedgold
E,·enlf{erBaalhaddefea~ed hisbrothn, Yamrn,Jndacquiredgre:u power,hes!ill Cllp,IOIO'ld ln [ileiUOISolthokl .... OoiBa.J I
we<OCOO\!,..., Iy used1terns
had no palace of his own _ Baal complained 10 his sister, An:~~, reminding her that
hisbrothershadpalacesjust hkethe mona\ rulers.AmtwemtoElto.tSkfora
pabtblrestdenceonherbrother:Sbehalf,but Elstalledher.S.1}'ingthat he could
not grant this wish without t he consent of his wife, At hirat . El wascerwin t hat
Athir.l!wou\d notconsenteJ.Silybecauseshehadalwaysbvored her other
sonso,·erBaaLSubsequently.thesupremeskygodhatchedaplotto~rsuade
her_ He called for the craftsman 1\othar wa-Hasis and ordered him {0 make
exquisitefurnilllreand
ornaments for BaaL On
seeingrhese.Athinuagrecd
toletBaal ha"eapalacein
whichtokeepthefurniture.

,. Ruinoo!Ugorit
iho•oyalpalaw""dothei•UII{:turwol
llgalltSUIVMl .. WIRSroday.Jhobulldiogs
'Ml<OpriiM<ily....,<la ol !l:lneandWIXI<I

---- ------------· - - - - - - - - - - - - --- - - -


1

Til F. RF.TU RN OF BA A L Til F. FF. A RSO/VIE A NAT


After Baal'spalacewasconstruc~ed. he arrogant ly The ~~:oddess Ana~. sis~n of Baal, was the deity who
challenged !l.lot,thegodofdeath. His voice presidedoverhuman$1!xu:~lityandthefertil i t)·ofthe
reverberatedacrossthepalace:Sopenwindowand fie ldso~Canxm. Butshealsohadasinisterside,andwas
reached Mot.whoacceptedthechallenge. Mot widel)•knownforherviolenceandloveofbloodshed
emered through the window and swallowed B.ul. SheheJd,..-eaponryinsuchhighregardthatonceshetried
takinghimawa)'totheUnderworld.lnBa.1l"s:ilisence, tostealthebowandarrowsbelon!(ingtoamonal
the rains ceased and t he Eanh was subjec~ed to a warriornamedAhat . &u.lwassoangrywithhissisterover
terribledroughLTheothergods.especiall)'BaalS t histhathewithhe l dther:~i nsforawhile . Onanother
father,Ilandhissister,Amll,,..-eredi>rmughtwhen
theyheardthattheraingodhad
been{akenrotheUnderworld
SoAnmwemthereandmtacked
!l.lotwithherknifeandwinnowing
fan.Sheburnedhim,ground
himintopieceswithher her scythe. These attacks
rnillstone,and5C:Iueredthe seemtobeumnotiV"Jted.butmight
luvebeenconsideredbythe
peopleofGt=nass.acrifices
theEanhwithr:Jin tomakethefiddsmorefenile

• n ,. groat godEI
El.lhoc< oa~<:>gOO,whowasalsocalled
lhll1'atOO.o1GndsandMen;wasthe
1!)9
IUi<l<Olthog00SI)IllgalllondO$ila<I<M'y
iiguoelil:;e"""'yCI!hoosupoemegOOs
MYTHS OF THE HITTITES
The Hittites settled in Anatalia (modern-day many wealitcr deities, because they adopted
Turkey) about 5,000 years ago, and by the 2nd the myths of the people they had conquered.
millennium IJCE, ruled over a powerful empire Some o f th eir most po pular stories told
that extended w the Mediterranean Sea. Their of rivalries among the gods and how these
mythology featured numerous gods, including deities influ enced the lives of mortals.

The great gOd Ablu was the ruler of the universe. and the other gods,
led by Alalu's chief counier. bowed down to him. But after having
obeyed Alalu for nine y~ars, they revolted and installed his son. Anu,
the sky god, in his pbce. After a fun her nine ye~rs.the gods grew restless
onceagain.andt herewasanotherrel'oh_ ThistirneAnu'sson, Kurnarbi,proved
tobethestrongestgod,andhedefemedAnubybitingoffhisgenitals.While
doing so, Kumarbi swallowed Anu's sperm, and when he spat it out, a host of
other gods were born from it, including Teshub, the powerful storm god. Teshub
soon usurpedallofhisfather'spower.andinspite ofrepeatedattemptstowin
itback,Kumarbicouldnotdefeatthemightystormgod.

- - ·---- - - - - - - ----

TESH UB ACID THE SERPENT


Teshub was a powerful deity. but even he W:IS not immune
fromdefeat.Oneday,hefoughtanenormousserpentcalled
llluyanb and lost. Humiliated by this defeat, Teohub asked
the.othergodsforhelp,andh isd:mghter,lrma.carneup
withaplan.Slw. and hermonal lover, Hupasiya,threwa
gre3tfeastforlllupnkaandhischildren,withscrumptious
foodandl'astq'-"lmitiesofbeerandwine . Theserpembmily
fellgreedii)'Onthefood,becomingdrowsyfromall
the"-ineandbeer,andweresofullthatnoneof
themcouldget backinsidetheirhole.Hupasiya
corneredlllupnkaandtiedhimup ,andTeshub
killedtheserpemwithhisthunderweapons

100
THE D ISA PPEARI 1\JG GO D
ApopularmythtellsofthegreedySeaGodwhodecided
to kidropSunGod,ashewashungryforpower. He
caughtSunGodinanetand imprisonedhim inastorlge
j3r_Withthesungone,lifeonEanhcametoastandsti!l---
thetempemturedropped,thecropswouldnotgrow,
andall thecauledied.Eventhegodsshtveredwithcold
Theotherdeitieslooked for Sun God, but no one could
find him. Teshubhson,Telepinu.camedose,butSea A DI V IDED INHERITA N CE
God imprisoned him too
Someearl)'textsofthe Hittitesmeruionthestory
Finally. the gods made
ofAppu,arichmanwho wasveryunhappybecau;e
a great sacrifice
he had no children. HeprayedtoSunGod,and
:mdpersuaded
was granted his wtsh: won. Appu had not one but
Se:lGodto:lllow
two sons, whom he and hb wife called \\'rongand
thesuntoretunt
Right. At first,thetwobrotherslived togetherin
Fromthatpoim.
peace, but grldu~!ly \Vronggrew independent
theHiltitesbegan
and wamed to seu le :tpan from his brother_ He
tomakeregubr
toldRightthatsincethegods livedseparate!)•.so
s~rificesw
shou!dthey Rightagreedtothisproposal,andthe
the ir gods
twobrothersdecidedtodil·idetheirin heritance,
includingapairofoxengtl'entothembytheir
father.But\Vrongcheatedhisbrother.making
surethat hetookthestrongeroxof t hetwo
~..!~:~~:~::::.,TalliS for himself. \VhenSunGodsawwhat had
f>3 r!lo!Telepmu'l1!01'\'; happened,hetransformedRight'soxsothat
roono .....,.,_ T....,.,u
it becameevensHongerthan WrongS
hOOJ Sun God (lnd tako~
SeaGod'•daoghtel"""i-

SIXTY CHILDR EN
Once, a queen of Kanesh-an anciem city in Turkey-
gave binh to 30 s.ons. She was ove rwhelmed by such a
b rge numberanddecidedtocast themout . Shepmall
of them in a boat ~ttd set it on the ril'tr_ The gods found
thebootandrescued thechildren.btingingthemup,and
changingthe irappearancesothattheylookedmorelike
godstlmnhum:ms.ll1eanwhile,thequeenmiraculous!)'
gavebirthto){lgirls,whomshebroughtupherself.
After growing up , theboyswanted tomeettheirrea!
mother.so theywemlookingforher. \Vhentheyrexhed
1\anesh.theystayedataninnandw!dtheinnkeeper
about the ir large bmily He informed them about the
queenSJOdaughters.andtold t hemthat sheoncehad
30sonstoo.Theyoungmen wenttoseethequeen. but
shedidnotrecognizethem.Shewamedthemtomarry The<irvotK ..... hatKultepo.h•l;ey.is,.,.,[UStad"'""ol
mOO·brickru .... OO ti twa•.,.,..,.u~tant t radingcent'"
herdaughters,butthey refused,fearingincest •ntheleo)IOII.flllthiSI&a<On,lheancll)niC•fV!e.>tme•••
IG1
""""al""thsotthe ... ~Hiruta~
THE GREAT SKY GOD
The ancient Mongol and Turkic people were animists
who believed in many spirits (tc ngri) tha t inhabited the
natural world. Su preme among these spirits was a sky
god called Mongke Tengri (or just Tengri) , who was the
crea10r of humanity and th e world, and who pr01 ected
humans from malevolent demons. Tengri also controlled the
different elements and influenced the fertility of the land.
--·- ·------------·--- ---·---
THE MYTH
Thell.longolaccoumoftheEarth\creationinvolves
thehigh-rankmgtmgriQormusta,andSakyamuni---the
BuddhJ-who is also a member of the Mongol pantheon of
gods. QormustagaveSakprnuniahlndfUlofyellmvearlhthat
was compo>ed of precious swnes. Sakyiununi ·thr~.w it imo
theetemal ocean,.-:ausingittobegintocoales-:e i,ru oav:<Sl commandedacmanda dogtogwndthehumans.Bul
conlineru. At this point, atonoiseemerged from the depths o[ once he left fortheSptingof lmmonality, ErlikKh:m,the
theoc.>anandstolethefanltSakyamunirealizedtlwonlythe Lord of the Underworld, tempted the cat away with a bowl
deathofthetonoisewouldfreetheEarthandlettheground ofrnilk,andthedogwithapieceofmeat,andthendefiled
fonn.A:;amonk andalo,·erofpt:ace,hewashesitantabout lengri'scre;uionsbyu ri natingalloverthem
kilhngthetonoise,butthetengri:>SSuredhimth~tit was the
rigluthingtodo,becJ ,ISemanyliveswouldevemuall)·flourish HIE CAT AND HIE DOG
ontlteEarthaftnthelossofone.Thus.Sakyamunislew·the WhenTengrireturned,hewasenragedtofindoutthat
tortoiseandsubsequen~l ytheworldwasforrned. Erlik Khan had t~inted his creations: he was especially
~ngry with the cat and the dog because they h~d failed in
H IE FIRST IIUMANS theirtask ofwmc hingo"erandprotectingthemanand
WhentheEarthhadtakenshape,onlyanimalsltvedon woman. Consequent ly, Tengri punished the animals b)'
it , so MongkeTengricreatedthefirst man and woman makingthec:u\ickoffal\thebodyh:lirfromthehumans
to populate .the world. Hepnfeaedtheirphysiulforrns andstickitonthedog'sskin. Thecatlickedoffalmosta\1
overt ime .:~n dthencoveredthe ir the hair from their bodies, e~cluding that o111heir heads,
bodies with soft hair. OnceTengri which Erli k Khan hadnm pollmed,andsomeonthe lower
was satisfied with his creations. partsoftheirbodies-----whichthecatavoidedbecausethey
hedecidedtofetchwaterfrom 8:l''e off a foul odor. Once the cat had finished the t~sk,
theSpring oflmrnonahtyso Tengritookthewaterof
~ thatthefirstrnanandwornan eternall ifeandpouredit
~ co uldliveforever.\Vorried overhiscreations inan
~
abow theirs.afety, Tengri anempttoimmortahze
~ them,buthebiledin

-
--
.. ~
~

l(Y
.,. Budolotono
Theoo r~lurbcMiebllriod lheircb>d

::~a~~~~::~es~~'";"~~h~
thisvemurebecause
!hehumanshadbeen
pollutedbyErlik
6th-cemuryona.torna1kllregr"""" Khan's foul deed.

]~....'t;;~:..·:;-.~~--
: ·-:-:'
·. :·~::·..
'.. ~'i
THE TURKIC CREAr!ON STORY TENGR JSM.
lntheTurl<ic\"ersionofthecneationslOry,Tengrtlkwocross tlle I Tengrismisthemodenttennfor thebeliefsystem

~~::: ~~~:~=:::·;:;~~:~::~~~,~\~.~:~::~.
II
oftheMongolandTurkiepeopleofancienttime>
Ba=lonMon~Tmgri(repn!sentingtheetemal
asktnghlm•oc"''"etheworld.Tengrtm<>de arlOiherbeingcalled blo.w:sky).Eje(afemaleferrllltyfigun!and
Er Kishi ,andtog.:thenhey rnadttheEanhandkslnlubit.tms. But aMotherEarthgoddl:ss).andma<>yoth<:r
Er Kisltiwaslmpune , andtriedto>Wucelhl:peopktmolw:linga benignandmaligpn.atun!spirits,lt in\'l>lved
tho:pm.ctie<:ofshamartism(supp268-69),
oreornmwli<:ation\\ithspirits. Tengrumwas

I promotedbylaterTu rkierulerssuehas
GengltisKhan(reignedl206-2 7)andhis
grandson.B.otuKhan(reignedl227- 55).
lt>followusrespect«<naturespiritsand

I leda lifeofmoralrectitude.lfpeoplelo&

- ---- - - -
TENGRJ AND NATURE
TheurlyTurkicandMongolpeople
•a ributedmanyofthestrongestnalural
phmomenawTengriandothergods
----· !

arid spirit>. Thunder was supposed


ro symbolizelengrl'svolce: lightnlng
wasameansofpunlshmema!ldadlsplay
ofTengri'spower. Tengri'sstormswere
beneficia\ osw<ll,becau.., theplantsgnew
and tllecropsflourishedaftertherain

TE~<;RI I~ TilE EAST


Ungw<t• how long n<>ti<"«l tlr simiLIIity b.t,..,...n tlr n.un~ T~ngri
and tho:Chint"" word for >ky.li<ln. whicbaho me.aru>~. It i>not
known whether one wonl1ed toth.Oiber. bw U.. '"" ""' relal!'d.just
likttht ann,,., and M~ cultu""'. The twottnru ~I'P"~rtowtho:r
inthtlliiiill'»oiiitOI.IJliJ.in>."fucb.areeon:i<k~~pl;lo=.lntho>
Tl.an ~han (!'>ky Mountain) rang< on tht bonkr of Kaukhsun . til<
SO'Condhighestpe.akisknowna>Khan.Tmgrt(Lonlofth<~irit>\

A Boltsolllghtning
klr'J'I..,.oaodiO~Ii!..,frot~"'"'thmeoiiOsligh lfiiO,l tdt>
Loglt lrnngondirohadlongb(o)fiW<II.!I11W(IOOII'I\l:llandCenbal
IG3
.wa:tlleyaUJootoolyclowett.el'oUid. OOt waoda!dooms
lffi ~~==:-~:;:'t.~""l!'7'::::.::..~:n~
* """"'harowOO,_,;,..,..,rrooy"""""""but tragtealybbhos<M'rlsoo

: ·~~~~·,
CENTRAL ASIA
AND ARABIA
These two regions of Asia, though now identified with Islam, have long been
a melting pot of cultures and beliefs, with a number of mythological traditions
flourishing through the long history of civilization in both areas .

Persi:l(modern-daylmtl}wasoneofthemosJ ll homTislurya,godofmin.andV:1)'U.godofwind,
imponantcrossroadsoftheancientwor!d,with wereprominent.Anahita,agoddessoffertility
tmdersandsettlersarrivingfrornalmostall andsourceofwateronEanh,wasanotherkey
pointsofthecompassoverthecenturiesand figure;sheandTishtryawereclearlyevidence
contributingtothesophisticatedcultureof oftheprecariousw·;uersupp!yinPersia
theregion.Onegroup,the Hitlltes,whose
culturewasablendoflndi.:lnandPersiJ.n MONOTHEISTIC BELIEF
elemenrs, left PersiJforTurkey But other lnthe7thor6thcenturyKE,changecame
groups---andespeci:Jllythosefromthe wit hdv:workandvisionoftheprophet
steppesofCentmlAsi:l.- arri"edandsett ledin Zoroaster,whos:JwAhuraMazdaasabsolute,
PersiJ.bringmg..,iththemavarietyofdeities tlv:onegodworthyofworship. \Vithtlv:rise
j, AhuraMazda,tt.oWiso l<lr<l ofZoroastrianism,AhuraMazdao\"ersludowed
Thi o~oor"oglrmo!ha6tht>tha41h
BULL RITUAL OF MIHIRi-\ theOI.herdeitiesofancientPersia. lnadiffnent
C>l<li"'V ICI <k'?Ct$AhoraMalllir!l'<\$pi"!J
Oneofthernostinfluenti:dgodsoftheseulers afl'l'rofart\elor<ll'fthoho:o..-arrrrmg<~ way.theriseoflsG.rnintheArabianpeninsuG.
"'aS]I.I ithra.adeit)'Whosenameappearedin thatco>n..,.s hos rul,.shop.-creatroo severnl cemurieslmerechpsedthe"falsegods"
documentsbesideearl)• lndbngodssuchas ofthelocalpeopledenouncedbytheprophet
lndr:J . Mithrathenbecamepopularthroughout Persia and Muhammad. Yet the mythology of the Arabian peninsula is
""aSworshippedasanJ.ll.knowingprotector.asungod notsoeasilyforgOI.ten,anditsstoriesofadvemureandgreat
verysimilartothe]l. lesopotamiansungodSiumash heroismstillemhral peoplearoundthew·orld
]l.lithrawasalsoagodofagreementsandtreaties.-thevery
personificm ion,inf:lct,of the ideaofmura,orcontr:JCt
ThepopularityofMithraspreadevenfurther.andwhen
the RomansexpandedtheirempireimoAsia,hewasoneof
dv:deitiestheyadopted. Hiscemralritualwastheslayingof
asacrificblbull. Thisritual sbughterwastherecreationofa
ritefirstperfortnedbyYima,thePersianprimalman,andw'J.S
seenasanactofrenewal. Byperformingtherite,worshippers
ofMithrabelievedtheywererecreatingtheidealconditions
tlutexistedwlv:nYimaorigirullyruledtheworld

i-\HURi-\ MAZDA
Tireot herinfluemialde ity ofPersiawasAhura]l.lazda.the
wiSt:.all-seelngcreatorskygod Hewasoriginallyoneofa A lh• cuho!Milhro
lheywnggodMith<•pulpar.,."JJslay!hesomficr•IWiinlhosdr•maiiC!bnan
brgepantheonofancient Persbndeitiesthatincluded.asin !errporllhai.Hamgadop!ed theCr;.otoaiA$""<larf\',!hefkwna!l$rnadaa"'''Sier"f
IG7
manypantheons,anumberofgodsoftheelements,among cultoutoiMrlhra.Wilh socrettffilr&.oltoocm:ealeduOOer!JOI..Oid
THE FIGHT AGAINST EVIL
At the heart of Zoroastrianism lies a cosmic consider Ahura Mazda to be the only god, their
struggle between the kind god Ahura Mazda religion also features a rich body of traditions
and his evil opponent Ahriman. The religion, about mher beings, from benevolent immortals
which flourished in Central Asia until the 7th to demons, who influence human life. In the
century, still has foll owers in Iran and among struggle against evil , Zoroasuianism predicts
the Parsis in India. Although Zoroastrians that the forces of good will triumph in the end.

TI-IE M YTII
Thefir:>!god,Zurvan(Time),li'·ed
intheprimalvoidthatexisted
beforeereation.llelongedfora
son,butwasdoubtfulofhis!Jower
ofcreation.Soheconceivedtwo
sons: AhurJMazda(WiseLord),who
wasbornfromhisOptimism,andAhrirnan,
whow:tSbornoutofhisuncertainty. Beforetlteycameirllo
theworld,Zurvanpredkted thathisfirst-bomwou ld rule
the world. Ahriman heard what his father had S3.id ~nd
forcedhimselfintotheworldaheadafhisbrother,whow:tS
rightfully supposed to come firsr _Ahriman told Zurvan thar 1\hum ~l<uda made Gayomart, the first man, and allowed
he was Ahum Mazda, the first-born, bur the god s:JW through the Good Mind to work within him. All seemed well at firsr,
his trickery. He knew that Ahttra Mazda 1\0uld be p:t!e and but Ahrlman returned from the darkness and brought
sweet smdling, where:lS Ahriman was dark and foul smelling starvation, illness, pain, lust, and death with him. He dried
uprhebnds,desnoyedlhecrops,anddefikdtheEa.nh
CREATION AND DEA-Hl ---and he poisoned Gayomart so that he would die
After his birth, Ahura ~tazda went to work to give the
uni,·erseitsforrn.Hemade.thesun,moon.andstars,and THE HUMAN RACE
allthatrepresemedgoodintheworld.Healso When Ahura Mazda S3.W that Gayoman was going to die,
createdsiximrnorrals, he1ookthem.1nSseedand rnadeM:tih)'.land ~tashyoi,
(:! includingVohu Manah the flrsthumancouple . Althol.lghrheytooweredestinedro
(Good Mind), to help die,theirchildrenwentontoprop:Jgatefuturegenemtions,
govemhiscreation. ensunng!hesurvivalofhumanity.AhuraMazd~couldnol
Ahrirnansentevildemonsto defe~tAhrim:m,sohetrappedtheevillordinsidecre.ltion
attack Ahura ~ l alda, but the andga.vehuTI\.11\Sthefreedorntochoosebetweengood
Wiselordc:~Sthisbrother .1nd eviL This snuggle between dte two forces will be
outimothedarkness.Then resoll'edonlymtheendoftime,whenanewgodcalled
S>loshyam (tlte Savior) will come and. together with Ahum
Mazda.destroyAhrirnanandtheevilherepresents The
::·~::;;:;~o;!...,._ peopledtemselveswillbecomepureandgood _Tlteworld
Mmmn.loughttocootrolthe...,n.J
lffi r ('IW(IS(lllli;<ltrjlher~ngof~!l<gnty
willbecremedanew,afterwhichallwillbegood,and!he
lhattha,tbott.Ui0010p:ISS6SS distinc!ionbetweenbodyandsoulwillceasetoexist
SIX IMMORTALS TilE FIRST IIU,\\ANS
TheAmeshaSpentas(Bountoouslnunortals)arethechildrenofAimNMMda,and"'oond Theprimal couple,MashpandMashyoi,were
in imponanct only to that~. On one levd, they are absnact entities and aspects of the lll.ldefmm th.seedofGavoman,thefirslman,
diville n.oture of Ahur~ Mazda. On another b·d. they are seenasimmo!tals, who >it on whoAlnimanhaddoomedtodi<. lnitially,the two
goldendtrooesaOOLookafrersp:ctficaspec!$Ofdt(n.turalworid,r.mgingfromfirew grewtogether.em'-'illeda>aklodof tree,andthe
wat(t.lndoingso , thl:yle.-·eAhuraM>Z<ittOOOII<:I:ntr:neoncanngforhumankiOO fruittheyproduced!)(camethet.:nraco:sof thl:
E.onh _n,.:ybeg.nlngoodtii:SS,bU!Ahrimansem
demonstocorrup!thr:m,atldsomeoftheiractions
be<:>meevil.Butlnspiteoftheir
corruption,dttpdo"n

A. YohuM onah .I. Asho .f. Anno ~i


lhecaretako<oldon'wllhC MronDJllighi<WSOOSs"oo Atmaou(De-.ooon)tsth>diHo)hteo
ammals.ltiluMonah(Good "lruth;Mla""*""tt.. ........ t otAhu r aMallla,theprot<~<tJrol
MiOO)isalsoJth>lllOJidorolthe oliroandlight.«MIIooe&,S<.dl tOO ~'" th. S0001t00embc•lunent
(ICK)dar>:tbad<k>aobolhurnans asdi......,ar>:lsoo:..-y oltiOthaod-•lup.

A KhlhMhro Yairyo
f'eo-IOnllyDJIOO~otAhura Mromngbolh~s·and Ameootat{trnllll)ltal•l'y)-IU8""11$ , "- l M primalliM
Malda.Kh!hath!a(Dorrmon) "lnlel)nty."Haurvatatr:<Oietts andJ:<OOltll~ants.andhen:o. : ~thefio>!cr..,uonwas inan ideolst:J1<1

:;::..:~.:~":'!.~ :"!'::'v..h~•:!::, = ·: : ! ' " too I ~oo:..:;:::c>)~~:;!""


- - -·· - - - - - - - - - - - - -· - - - - · - - - - -
ZOROASTER
Till:prophetofZoroasttianism.Zoroasttr{al;;oktiO""'"s
Z.r:uhustra)wasbominlranorAfghanistansomelimtin

~~~::~:~:~~·~.~:~;,~was 30 )~~rs old. he ~


:,=~·:~;;.~::::1~te the ~
followr:rs. Zoroa~rin:;iSiedlhat -----;
!herewasot~yonettu(god ,who

w•sthesoutU:ofgoodnr:ss.He
R:_jecttdtl-,oldrehgionofhis
homeland, insistingthat.someof its
gods, who were warlike i)(lngs. "'"''
•grntsofAhtiman.Hymn>saidtobe
wrlnenbylomasterarecolkctedin
thesa.credlx>ol<ofthefalth,theA>-csw.
THE LEGEND OF RUSTUM
AND SOHRAB
RusiUm was th e greatest hero of the early his life was marred by tragedy when he
Persians: a brave wan ior who defended himself unwittingly killed his own son, Sohrab. The
and his people against the most fearsome and story of th is event is a key episode in the
powerful foes. Rustum's bravery and skill, not Persian epic Shalmama (Book of Kings), and
to mention his mastery of the noble stallion is also the subject of a famou s poem by the
Rakhsh, make him an exemplary character, but British poet Matthew Arnold (1822--88) .

-- --------------· --- --------------

TIIEMYTII onewouldbcboundtokilltheother.lfRustumwereto
Outhuntingoneday,R~umdeddedtot.1kesomerest.Ashe die,AfrasL1bcoulde:~SilyddeattheErnperorofPersiawith
by asle~p. ~group of men came across his hor>e, Rakhsh, :md Sohrab'shelp:ifSohr;~.bwerekil led,RuSlumwoulddieof.,grief
stole\r. Rustumawokewfind hismoum,sone,and:;etoffin inauycase,andAfr:hiabcouldxhleo·ethesameobjectlve
>earchofth<:~nimaL Whenherex.:hedthe.p31.1.;tOfAfrasi:lb,
therulerofaCentraiAsiankingdom,thekingentenained HIE fATAL FIGtlT
Rustumandintrtxllicedhimtohisdaugliler,T.1hmlna.Rll5t\Ull ThewarbegJnwithSohrabattJckingJPersiancastle. lis
sleptwithherand,beforelcaving.g.w eheradaspthathe garrison.howewr,escapedandsentamessagewtheir
woreonhisuppet arm, :~Skingherwgive it to their child. The emperorthat theywerebeingallxkedbyapowerfulleader,a
nextday,hishorse...,':lSfoundandRusn>rnwemonhiswa)' man !ti mighty as Rustum . TI~e Persian emperor knew tlm his
onlyhopewastosendhisgre:u.eSlW:<UTiortotheb'~n ldront
YOUNG SOHRAB SoRustumjoinedthePersiancmnp.Sohrabproposed
T~hmina h~d ~son whom she named Sohr~b. He was an aduel~ndRustumocceptedthechallenge,clatmingthathe
:l<:complishedarcherbythetimehewasfiveyearso)d,and w:lsasl:we. He did not revealhisidemity,thinkingthm
itbecameappJremthathev.ouldgrowimoayoungman theenemywouldbeterrifiediftheyfoundamerePersian
ofgre.ttstrength.Whenheasked sLwe 10 be so strong. The two mighty warriors b.111led until
abouthisbther.Tahmimtoldhim theywereexhausted,fightingwithweaponsandthenwith
thetruth,swearinghirntosecrecy. their bare hands. Buttherev.':lSstillnooictorJSthepairwas
Eventually,Sohrabbccameagreat evenly rnatched . They resumed fighting the next day. Th is
WJrri oranddecidedtolaunchangna::;k time Rusmm,afterlongpreparatorypra)·ers,threw
So!u-:Jbandbroke hisback.Ashelaydying
Sohrabshowed Rustumthearmjeweland
toldhim t hathisfatherwouldavengehis
death . That was when Rustum realized that

<OI RuSI<.m•ndSohtab
EI'Oflthouglllhey-..oxt.>u•IOO
17() b!her•odson rolused101JM1UP,
w.mtlinqonaar>:>lheriQiba9tO<md
andl\lhtl nqoo101babut<llood
RUSTU,\1 THE DEEDS OF RUS-IU\ I
Sonofthe lel}'ndarywamorZal(sup.56J;ondaprtnceS> Rustum'sstorywaslargdyoneofwarand
eaiiOORudoN,Rusturnwasdestinedtobeawarriorof lxoule.Hisheroicdeeds itwolveddefeating
great strength.Whikstillinthewomb.hegrewsolargt supematuralbeasts , suchasadragonanda
dlJt hlsmotheralrnosldiedinehikJbjnh.Bothweresaw:d dl:rnon:strongan imals,>UCha>ahon:and
t.:ea<~>~:Zalknewhowtopcrfonnasurgi<:al oper.uionto opponents\\iththe po"·erofson:ery.such
et\>"'\lreas;ofebinh.RU>Iwnwasalre>dyw:rySin:>ngWhen asawitch . Manyofd~~:so:eneO\Imerswere
hewasbam.Ashegrewup,helx<:ame>killed inanns. partofoscqu.er>ee. ofrencalledthe "Seven
ardhisstn:ngthincn:astdfurthe:r. Overlime,heb:<;amea Labor<." whichRu>rumur<lertookinorder

dump:~::~:~!:2~~
!rls..wehissovercign.theEmperorofPersia.

:ik
fearsomeenemtes

.
A llo• Simorgh
A~boldcaiiOOIOO
One~llus tu m'•laOO.siiMlM>JdemwJaCiootut a
Sinur(lht<nojulaiOON
«llled the\VhoteOoom. klgOthouwtth .,.,.her
IOP')<f<lrmlhe:AAQ<:al
~..t.Jwasguar dingtheWhlle0oJrnoofsC3Stkl
;::;.-::~

BEll OLD 1\ \£1 I AI\\ VAST, Al\! D CLA D


IN IRON, A1\!D TRI ED; A1\! D I HAVE
STOOD ON 1\ \ANY A FlELD OF
BLOOD, AN D I HAVE FOUG HT W ITH I .I. RIOS!um andthodtOQo n
lllstuon tooojlt M!dto~llthodtaqoo---tho thlldol
J\ \ANY A FO£ . Motth<w Arnold_S<It"'~"""R""""'· tS~l I
I
hoslaOOt• llewaspoodl1!'~soc..e. Raklloh.w00
bttaOOtc<catthelleoho!then'IO<lSiat

TH E BOOK OF KINGS
Manyof t heancimtmythsandlell"ndsofthePersian-
speakingworklarerolkctedin t heSOaOnama(Book
ofKings).anq>kpoembytllePersianpoetFitdausi
(c.935--1010). Thef"J"m,writteninc.l()C(),consists
ofnea rly60,0C()couplets,andre.:ountsSioriesof
Persia\;gloriouspa<~fromm)1hical!imesto~l!:period
whentheregionwasconquo:redbytheAmbsandTurks
intll!:7thc.:nrury.1hesestories,whichreflectf-irdausi's
unh.J.ppinessattl.-lslamkcot-.q'-""t,arefrequemlysad ,
in,ulvingdefeatsofnoblewarrtors,atucksbydemons,
lncompetrnt rulers,andpeoplecondemnedbydes:tin)'

A16 th -<..,t u rymaou•r:oivtoltheShahnam<~rs!Jea<r utu ly


illo.JsuatedWith tiJtoMure~intln!JIIiket h osonedetxhii!J
l(ln'll)olthell'IO$tdoomatocl'l:enasolthol\l<sliln CI""
~
,, ANIMAL MYTHS
OF MONGOLIA
The Mongol people of Central Asia-especially swan, or explain that their specific attdbutes,
the group of tribes known as the Khalkha- such as the buzz of a wasp. Others draw on the
developed a way of life that was hard but well animals that were useful in daily life, such as
adapted to the grasslands of their home. Many the cow, which was cntcial to the Mongols'
of their myths feature creatures that the food supply, and the horse, wh ich played a
Mongolians found around them , such as the vital role in everyday life and in warfare.

II O RSES A\JD M EN SACRED COW


l!orses.espo>ciallywhtteones, fe~tureinnumerousMongolian Thel\ha!khapeop!emakeupagroupof
myths.withmostoftherrngri(serpp.J62-6J)appearingon tribesthatoco.tpymuchofMongolb.They
horseback. One oft he most powerful among them was ask)' arec:nt!e-herders.movingfromonepbceto
spirit called the While LightningTengri. Hewassaidtoride thetwxtlnsearchofthebestp:t>~ures.Their
~white horsebecause lightningappearstobewhite when it behefsystemmvolvesnaturespirits.and
strikesinthenightskySIL1mans(supp.268-.69)a!sorodewhite shamanism lies m the heart of 1\lulkha
horsesandbelie,·edin"spirit horses,"mythical creatttresthat communities.TheimportanceofOOthcattle
could take themonjounJe)'Sthroughthewor!dofspirits . When andnaturespiritsintheJi,-esoftheKiulkha
ashamanspeaksofhisspirithorse,heistalkingaboutflying isrelatedtotheiroriginm)1h,whichexplains
acrosstheskyathighspeed howoneofthespiritsfellinlovewitha
and with great power, like prinulcow.Theresultoftheir lovewasthe
\VhiteLightningTengri fi!SIKhalkhafamily,whichw:.sbrought
upbytheCO\\:Shefedthe
peoplewithhermilk,
and was responsible
for inspiring them
totakeupc:ntle-
herdingasa
wayoflife

hladO><•hornsol
mtdo.Ma. r.OO_,
-~harr[B'IOd,
17?
: "r::·.:oo
~-
-zl ~~-!.~~ : :~{
-<1.~
r~.a Til E TIGER DA\JCE
_;
A Wup
< ~ AbvoritefigureinMongolilnrn)'lhologyisTsagaan
Ebugen (White Old ~bn), who got his name be<:al.l><'.
Tha~•<UISideoed t hewaspk>OO ofhiswhiterobeandhair.Originallyafertilitydeity
"'l'J"""""and\WISlliiOO I> IISiasko! hewasalsoconsideredtobeagodofanimals,birds,
"'~i10JIIoelosho!otheraooturoo.
riwrs,andmoum~ins.llecarriedastafftoppedwith
adragon'shead,whichpeoplebelievedheusedto
healanimals,ormJ.kethemiiL Heludaspecial role
T HE EAG LE THE WAS P toplayinthewekomingofthenew}·ear,soevery
AN D THE slvALLow · yeara~lktmJ.ndressed asTsagaan Ebugen would

Atthebeginningoftime,theeagk--llteking
offlyingcreatures-wonderedw·hattocat.
Soh<-askedthew;c;pandtheswallowto tastethemeatof
I arri,·eatthep\:>ec wherepeople
gatheredtocelebrate.Atigerskin
" 'oul dbedisplayed,whichthe ol d
manwouldbeatwithhisstick,
all living things and ttl I him which w:tS the best. The wJSp
flewquicklytoeacbcreature,bitiugintoits!kshate'·ery
stop. The swallow. on the other hand, spem all h is time
I symbolically killing t he
animal and acquiring its
snength He woul d then
flyingacrosstheblueskyand forgotabouthistask.At begintodan.:::eanddrink
the end of the (by, the two met up and the swallow asked largeamoumsofakohol,
the W:lSP which meat tasted the best, to which the wasp umilhe"':lssodrunkthal
replied"humanllesh."Buttheswallowthoughtthat hecouldnolongerdance.
eatinghumanscouldbrmgtroubletotheeagle.ltbit
offthewaspStonguewthatallitcoulddowasbuzz
Tl~n the swallow told the eagle that snake meat tasled .,. Mo ng olian~ go rmosl<
lheull'"·• •ymbolol"t>~ryond,.,...
thebeSI,andeaglesluvelovedtocltserpentScvcrsin.:::c
I Ote,wa<'""""""led '" ma'buseO
le<mai'l'jdll!eo(lntMooyohanntual$

·------·--------·
THE S\VAN W01\\ AN
One day. a man saw nine swans flying xross Lake Baikal in southern
Siberia. Afterlanding,thebirdsremovedtheirfeathereddressest o
bathe, transforming imo beautiful young women. The man hid one of
thedresses,sotlwwhentheyfinishedb:ltlling,onlyeightoftheswans
could fly avoay. After wooing the relllJinmgswan woman, he made her
hiswife.andtheyhad llsons.Oneday,shepleadedwithhimtolet

~;~~~~.~~~~~l~e~~~~~Jeq:~~:·;~~::~~~~~~:er!~. ~~~~~:::g'!:~
1
~
fromescaping.Butherealizedtlwshewamedtolea,-edespewtely,so. VJ

afler.t heirsonsh:ldallbeenn~med ,~ 0
:~~ ~":~~::;~a~;~~·"a~~~-.on ~
~' z
~~.e~/ -./o - Gl
~~;;:~sa g«« -~~
roo.lhe~aditiona!Mongolion • Athomo ogain
-ha••,q.ljghthwas~ Afrorl:ocld ingl•r""""'lloheofamil-j, lhe"""n
t l~rsthat lheswanv.o)ltl3nhoed wornankwaroundlhr)lf)(ll,bless'r>g 'l"nd
173
rotyro-homOOthusOOOO IOOnreluonOOtoh«naiiWOOrooooihtllake_
.. _ Jj
I~" 1111>~'
,!Jo

)I
11:1
~ .k
~rd-

lh

.. H.c~~ooo..
. ob.
4111'"'"''"·
""" >ftl
.... n, ,f Al1

...,.,~W•JSIAirica.
.....
i!d.,...l_on_llld

olk•"'"
~"'"'
•f•l!ludol

,j
"'~
-~. 1

-
-
~
,._,.
.

)


prolo~~· ""'"lt'""'"
tl<olll"t < · • ---
at•l<•tJapolll;ar •
THE EPIC OF
GESAR KHAN
Told by both the Tibe tan and the Mongol peoples, the story of
Gesar Khan is set in Ling, Tibet. The myth describes a time when
the people were oppressed by warlords, treachery was rife, and
famine was endemic. It is based on the life of a brave hero called
Gesar, who came to the rescue of his people, battling with
traitors and demons until the kingdom was fin ally made safe.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - · ----------

TilE 1\ \YTII • GilaJ Khn


A#il lod nilar,GC$0r
GesarwasoriginallycalledJoru,andwasthesonofa dmgon hadahoiS8caiiOO
KyangGohr'<ar,whld<
prince~ who lud taken rhe form of a ,;erv:mt girl called
"""'~ong .nd r6011....,1
Duden. When her pregrunq bt:carn~ apparem, the Queen of
Ungrhrewherour ofthe<::JS!Iebeca:usesbebelil!seddurher
lmsl:xmd, KingSinglen,wa;.thefat heroftheunbornchild
\VhenJoruwasborn,heseenJed unremark.1ble.lle " '35 It "~ decreed dtat t l~ witmer of the rxe would become king
shonandugl)~andwrymischievous.Somedislikedhirn, andmarrySechanDugmo.Ges:trdefeatedTodongeasily,and
especiafly the kingSbrolher,Todong,apower-hungryrnan be<:arnethe KingofLing, " ithSechanDugmo::tShisqueen
whosensedthat joruw..sdestioed forgreatrJeSo; He tried to While Tibet prospered under Ge~ms rule, Todong plotted
lm\'ejorukilledbuttheboyes-:aped,andD:redentookhim tousurphisthronebyallyingwit hamonsuousdemonCJ.lled
tohveinthewoods,awayfromda ttger.llegrewupintoa Lutzen. Ges..1rfoughtthe demon,and choppedoffits 12
lundsorneyoungrnan,skilledinshape-changing. heads.But LutzenSwife.astunningeoch:uuress,seduced
Gesar bygivinghim:.cupof winedut made him
Hll: C ONTEST f O R KIN G SHI P forget everything but her. Heforsookhiskingdom,
Ges:trreturnedtotltepalaceafterreceiving whichfellintodeclineattd \\ astakenoverbya
amess.1gefromaBuddhtst m<;>nk,named dernon klngcalled l\ urkar.
Padma.sambluva,thathew::tSde>tinedto
becomeasaviorofhispeople. Onarri"ing. T liE RETU RN OF GE SAR
hefoundoutthmthekingh.adleftona Sixyearsbter,Ges:tr"sbrmherfoundhimand
pilgrinmge,andTodong \.1-ashopingtoru le toldhimwhathadhappened.Gesarreturned
inhisstead . lntheguise.ofaprophetic tohiskingdomdtsguisedasaborskilledin
ra"en,Ges:trtoldTodong that hecouldrule metalwork. Heusedhisskilttodistr:;ctand
Lingifhe>taged:>ndwonahorserxe.in killKurbr,whilehismendestroyed !he
which:>n)·onecouldp;trticipate.Hecould demon"sarrny.Afterthis,hehadtodefest
also marl)' Sed~1n DugmO----<l beaut iful anotherdemoncattedShingt i, whohada
woman who led an unhapp)' life with virtuousdaugh!er.~spitehisenmitywi! h
hermise.rlyfather,but who w::tSdestined Todong,Gesarw:>Sfon d ofTodong"sson,
tobe<:omequ.-:en.Ana:::complishe d A P..:Imau rnbh.o•• andarrauged hismarriagetoShingt i"s
Alluddhlst""""namedl'a<kna<arrtlh"""'!Jirod
horseman,Todongorganized!herace 8odihr51Jlinfi00t Oi t008thcootufY.I'-'-00by dmtgh!er. Thecouplebecamehe irstohis
becausehewasconfidentofhisvictoty. l"h(anBudrtusts.OOO$OOOO<'I$a$(l(>)"l;!flOOohl throne,end ingtheconflictwithTodong
TilE BIRTH OF GESAR G ESA R'S BATTLES
Dr.edenwasashaf"'<'hanger,whoh.od trnruformed
intoahumangirlwhmshein.lch.'eltently""ndelffi
farawayfromherhomeandtookshelt.rinthe
kingdomofUng.C>tlenight , shehad a prophetic
dn:am , lnwhichagro:..,Jonlwldhetth•tshewoukl
givebirthwhcrcoumry~!-l'ior.Ninemomhs

later, aneggpoppedomoflv:rhead.Shenursedit,
andhersonhatchcifromtru:egg.Dztdennamed
himjoru,andhegrewupwlxastrongman

.. t.lo kh

==~lh
aplat....,~the 'f libotan iW<Ird
KooiunMoontloii$!Wid (;(n~.,~ti11<:11rgKu """
Grwt,.llt malal"'•., t¥JnWMJa<a tnela....,..,"""'cruld
K••hmw, i•beiHWedl'f klga fm woop:mfakdoom.
:"'ro!~~bo~

GESAR RESCUES IllS Q UEE.\J


~s..r Khan n:SCU<d his wife . Sec han Dugmo . from a sorry !.te on two
separateocco>ions.BymarT)ingherah<rtheho~rocr.Gesarfreed
Se<:han from a mlser•bk life with her miserly father. He also saved her
fromthedemonKurl<ar,v.twhadseizedG.S;trSkin!)domandimprlsoned
hlsqueen.GesarSdeepaffwionforhisbelm·edqueen«juakdhls
love for his homebnd . which he s.a''ed twl« fmon t)UOI>kall\lle.

A l ho .ham ,.gion
fooml,bmtMaorne<l'twlguonllleKham""J""'oloosto.n
hba\.Geia<Khanan<SedoonOuqrnoM fao(!"MH I IO iheH
tanhtulandkwlng .. bjocts. anddisappea<OOiorew<.

GESAR S PASSING
Todong"ssonmarriedthedaughterof thedemon$hingli , and
thepairbecame!henewkingandqueenofGes.ar'skingdom
lnspi!eof theirdemonlcparentage.theywerevirtuousrulers.
andGesarwascominced that!hekingdomwouldbesafeln
theirhands.ScGes.arandSech•n Dugmodecided to retire
Theywemon • retreattothesideofamountain intheKham
A Racinghor.. o
reg:lon . anddisappeared the!lextday.ltwasbelk,·edthatthcy
Ge:la<.ap.XllrntaiOI,tunOOup •ntaneuld oogsbthe
raa><eiJ'III'llldl'I' TcxknJ.but tOOO!OO.rideud""""" bad •scend«l either to the ne~t wor1d. or to the pa.r•dise of m
~OIIfined<l...,.asOO."' r aces-ogrillldm:asioos Sbambala . thernythlcalhomeofthespiritklng>
SEEALS 0Do.onoli0-11.191J-U.Zll-ll • W.,.1 1- l l ~l.!l-99.t0!~ 1 tl-ll.11 1- 19. 1 11i-11.110-11.10Hll
THE GODDESS AL-LAT
The cultures of the Arabian Pen insula worshipped a number
of deities before the coming of Islam in the 7th cemury: One of
the most important was the goddess Al-Lat, now a shadowy
figure , b ut whose image was once widely seen in West and
Cen tral Asia. Her cult was based near Mecca, the place where
the Islamic faith was later revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

-·-· ·------------· - ----

~ Goclduo At-t..t
THE JV\YTH CW<!m:!oiAI--L!thal<lOOoo
Al-b.t w~sa popular goddess in many regions of the Arab lo•ndoncarvedrchctlrn
IRlll)'p;J r!.loflhaAF;>b,..-,doj
worldbeforethespreadoflslam.i\part from the Arabian
S<tnolrrlr;lSsiOI".ll'ioNn""lh
Peninsttb,shewasals.owidel)•worshippedintheeastern •-lil:a!hoGrool-Ath!ma
Mediterrall!'anregionandpansoflran.'Essemiallyamoon
goddess,sheplayedavarietyofotherwles.As'abringerof
fenilit};She wasag'?(lde:,; ofthe Eanh, al)d:~lsoadeityoflow~ attheshrineofthe
Moreover.sheW:lSconneetedwiththesun,and,ahhollghher goddess. The word
main symbol was !l~e cresc.>:nt moon, it "''aSse>metimesshown wasfirstau:¥;hedto
wi!hthediscofthesunrestinginit theshlineanend:mt,
andafterhisde:~th,to
HIE Ni\ME O f i\l-Li\T therockth.11marked
Al-LatScuhhadanurnbnoffollowers,espec~t!lyinthecityof hisburialplace.Later,
1:1-iCnearMee<:a,S:ludiArabia. hw:tShomewatribecalled :lSI:tweofthegoddess
theThaqif,whoconsideredhertobetheirpatrondenyThey waspbced onthe
possessedastonecubethatwasheldsacredtoAI-Latandtwo rOCk,so"Al-l:Jt"
othergoddesses,ManatsndAl-Uzz;I-;ltli:tdknown:tSthe becameidentifiedwiththegoddessherself.Thus,thegoddess
dmghters of Albh_M:my cor$ider "AI-Lat" to be derived from wao..initbllylinkeddoselytoaspedficplocebeforehercult
an ancient Ambic spreadtootherplocfsintheArabworld.Shewasapopular
word,A!-Hat(the figure,andpeopleoftennamedtheirdaughtersafterher.
Goddess). According to
another,·ersion , the THE END OF HIE CULT
word!a1referredw After the Prophet Muh.1mmad re<:eil'ed the revd:uton of lsbm,
theprocessofmixing he&weupworshippingthetlm~egoddessesandother
ormotstening.ltwas gods,claimingtheywerefalsedeities. The people of the
associatedwitha.Jewish Arabbn Peninsula-both the Qura)-'Sh, the prophetS own
man:uTa-ifwhousedto people,andotherlocaltribe5-renouncedthl-goddess,and
makeamixtureofcblifled herohrine"'aSdestroyed . ThecultofAl-Latremainedinother
buuerandb.uleymeal, pansoftheregionforawhile,butdedinedaslslamspread
whichhesel"\'edtopilgtims xross \\btAsia.Asaresult,linleisknownaboutthegoddess
today. Some ancient Greek texts ha,·e compared her 10 Atheru
(su pp.36-37}, or to Aphrodite (se, pp.JS-39)_They memion
TheNat.ataeaMofPetta.onJo<dan
""""'iWld lltlu Shara. a big~ god and thatA I- Lat\>."aSworshippedalongsideagod,probablyDim
Lordof thoMounta•M,aloo_polo)AJlat Shar:J,whoresembledtheirwinegodDionysius(seepp.J-1-35)
Ti l E DAUGIITERS OF ALLAII ~-
j
~~':;;,::;~:: "~~::,:·::~::~:.:::~~oc~~:~ ~::;~
thtot herS)1nbolsofAl-Latwert~sheafofwheatandapotof
' b
lncen>~:.AI-Uzu(thcSnongOne) , agoddessofthemornlnga•ld
eve!\ing stars, r.!pro:s.:med love as wdl as war. ~he was >imilor
I I
IOin.anna{supp.l5·1-55),andwasof•e"shownwithbigcats ,
creamn:sth.t•wen:sacredtoher.Shewasanlmponam<kltyof
"'N'~'"""'"''''"),woo""'""'ybwof'""'P'''"'"" y~
inPena,butalsoworsllippedherfromrooftopsandnearocacia

~:h.~:::·~:::~;;;:;~.~:;~~~~ r~i:. ~7"~: . 1


"l~m
•\
hertopursuethcirrnemies.HnS}mbolwasawaningmoon , and
shewasoftenshownasanoldwoman,holdingacupofdeath. Man.,

------- --------- · ---


THE NABATAEANS
n~eao::km people of jon:Lm. Carwn. and pans of non hem Arabia"'""'
knownas!heNalwaeans.Mainlytraders, theyoonucllcd theoosesand
roadsof theregion,andchargedmerch.mts totr•velacrossthoeirlands
By thoeJrd-\stcemurtes OCE. theyhadbecomesoprosperousthatthey
buih thoemagnilicemcityoiPetra.withmuneroustempks.tombs,and
othoerbuilding-;hoevmdirtetlyoutofcliffs.Althoughlh<NaOOtaeansleft
linleinthewayofwriting, it isbelievedthattheyworshippedearly
Arabiandeities , espedallyDhuSharaandAI -Uua.Theirrulewded
in 107 a when the area was conquered by a Roman emperor, Trajan

<OI TbtMonootoryltPitro,Jordan

·----
The~OOtaoousmta!OOiheCial.stcalao:httocltfaollhePornan•."'lh
otsoolumRS..,do;.-namen\l. """"""'·""'"fof thebuoldi"'J••nPoua
L--~-=-----------' -•crootOOtrycamnghlrnd""'llyootolthe$011ds\Onolclott>.

------------------
DEITIES OF THE SKY
lnancirnt tirnes.thepeoplesoiWeSiaOOCentraiAsialookedtothe
i .------------.
skil:sford>eirtn<»~promine:mdeitie<.Their li;-eswereruledb)'d>eheat ..,... cWiwretol'dleADb

- .............-..........-
olthe<urtandbytheinf~mrains,bothofwhichwereo>OCess;oryto wotkl ~.-.pa
growcropsandensuresurvival . 1heybtcameskilledatpn:dictingthe .... lbePfdoe d::llwonldp.•dle-1dlfoapdMo.t
weatherandseasonalpattents.attributingOOthtotheocti•itiesolthe dle-..don ....... lbe1131dio......_

":"....:~
w<Js.Apartfromthe tripil:gOOdesses,theotherskydeities'-liOrshipped
by the ancient Semiticculturts wen: Samsu, a runw<Jdess, \\'arihu, •
godold>emootJ,at>dHad.od,orHaddu . agodof5tonns

<II Rioingoun

~~;~,::;;.~::,.,\
...
..............
poopleoiW...t.W.
r(l<Jaro!OOsu,.,-leas

:::·~::.,\
__.,.
...........
d"'inoJiheoighlor<l
lh(l!)W)n\01Spore0
1111....,.. 181
o::e!OO<abOncw""'$1\op.
SOUTH ASIA
The mythology of South Asia is dominated by Hinduism , a religion that has
evolved over several millennia. With its thousands of gods and goddesses,
Hinduism has one of the largest bodies of mythical narrative in the world.

Hinduismishighlyd iverse . hhasnoones;l.Cred text,and EPIC PO EMS


no fonnal statement of belief. Probably the most ancient The classic texts of Hindu literature are
oftheworld"smajorrehgions,ithasevoh-edsteadil)•, wriuenintheancient&mskritlanguage
producingcountkssstoriesofthecosmosandof Theyarefullofstoriesaboutallthesedeities,
thedeities.Thismakesitstraditionsextremel)' coveringtheir,·ariousroles in thecreation
complex, but at the heart of this complexity ~nd histO!}" of the cosmos, as well as their
liesthebelidthatallthedeitiesareaspects appearances on Eanhandrelationshipswith
of a single, ovemrchingrealit)' ~. . . . . ., . . . humanity. Two major sources for these
storiesarethetwogremepicpoems,the
V EDIC DEITIE S Ramayana and the Malwbharala, the latter

~!~ ;~~e:~:~~~·~~~e~~:~~~\~~!~:ur ~JZ~~=::.~~~:',:-::~


ofwhichisthelongest poem in world
liter:uure. Althougheachofthesepoemslus
bookswhosestoriesprob.1blydate1othe A•mtoootNano:li .. s h,..·•'J'ltakoopoofacos anarmt ivetheme- theRamayanaisthestory
2ndmillenniumBCE, thoughtheywere tbarr'l.iln$hnna.,R'I0$1ll)<n~l)l$hova ofl.ordRanm"slifeonEarth,theMahablwrala
wrinen down much later. in around 800 liCE thestoryofarivalrybetweentwofamilies
Theoldestof them,theRigVedQ,comprises
just O\'er 1,000 hymns, each addressed 10 a dei1y ~!any of
+ andofagreatbattle--theybothcontain
muchothe r materialandarerichcollectionsoftalesofdeities
JheseearlyVedkgodsandgoddessesrebtetospecificaspects and people. Thesestoriesliveonaspanofareligionwith
of the uni"erse or the elements. Among the most prom inem millionsoffollowersinlndiaandelsewhere. They also forma
areAgnLgodoffire,Surya,godofthesun, Vayu,godofthe m}1hologythmcontinuestoinspirepoets.storytellers,and
wind,Pritlwi,goddesso[JheEanh,andlndrn,chidofa\1 readersfromoutsidetheH indutradition,allovertheworld.
theVedicgods,whohasahighlycomplexandpowerful
personalny. Thetextsabouttheseancientdeitiesstillauract 1' Hindut.m~lo MBhubanH hwar.lodio

m~nyreaders,bothfortheirpoetryandforwh.1ttheysay l31gOHiodutllmploo31eollllndooJra!OO..,thhoghly
oi"OC."~"""""'JS lhios!I:Jn<M'<W~ dapicts..,..ooa.
aboutthebelidsofearlypeopleinSouthAsia rnlhaiMrSo\lhogods<nlgcrdde:<s<rsarrdprwdas
arichreoodol thamo,ottrologyol lliodursm
JliNDU DEITIES
lnthecenturiesaftertheVedas.anothergroupofdeities
carnetoprominence.These,thecemmldeitiesofl!induism,
includetheprorninenttriadofBrahm~theCrea10r.Shivathe
Destroyer, and Vishnu the Preserver. VishnucomestoEarth
inaseriesofman ifestations,oravatars. indudingtwo-Lord
Ramaandl\rishna- whoareworshippedasgodsinthe ir
ownright.Aroundthesefiguresclusterdozensofother
deities--frompopuG.ronessuchastheelephant-headed
Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles. to the various manifestations
of the Great Goddess Devi- \\ho pby prominent pans in 187
l!indureligionandm)1hology
THE VEDIC GODS
Some of India's earliest myths are derived from natural world and could influence human
the Aryans, people of Central Asian origin well-being. Chief among the Vedic deities
who migrated to the region during the 2nd were figures such as Indra , Agni , and Surya.
millennium BCE. Their myths were recorded These early deities were often known as the
in sacred texts known as the Vedas, which Adityas, or sons of Aditi, the goddess of
emphasized belief in gods that controlled the space and mother of all creatu res and deities.

--- ------------- +---- - - - - - - - - - - -


..,. GJw• rof[jt.
Suryars:l(lfl'l(l(messh<Mn l>:ol<liogtotus~ s
IND RA In hos hands. who:h ,.,..ereot lha deoty"s ~IOHJI•II>"J
~oHioattondanUI"""""'!IW!ooolefigul"'
Thegodofthunderand rain,lndrawasthechiefofthe who:ryn'tiQOialhai>M:>p/I(ISOiollhadawn
Vedic gods and known for his~trengthand virility. lie
usedhispowerful•·ajra(thunderbolt)toanackdemons 'I Th••og• AifiiStya
lnlhai!Jrrrara""l""'w200-03!.1i<Ja•!\<lreall<
who interfered withtheprocess ofcreation.orthreatened allyrmasrocial<ldwoiiiSuqaiORamahctoret.s
life. A popular mph tells how lndr:l gained hissupremxy l>lttlawollllhaderronbng.Ravana. ltl!bel""""
over the ot hergods. Once. Vritr:l(also knownasAhi. lhat helntto11.1C8d'kdlcreligooo ln iO.oothcmlndia
theserpemoldrought)sw:tllo~>.-edthecosmic":uersand
heldbackrains.Mostgodsranawayinfright,butlndm
pierced theserpem;;bod)' with his,·ajra.~llowingthe
vital waters to flow once again. lndm W:IS worshtpped
asaproviderofcattleandadeity~>.hobroughtmaterial
we~hh ~nd wellbeing. The warrior classes especially
grewtoreverehimbecauseofhis
manysuc<Xssesinbaule.
His presence was usually
signalled by a rainbow SURYA
in the sky. Also known as
Savitar{Giverof
life).Surya.thesun
god,watchedovertheworldby
day,andw:~Ssaidtobringlight,
knowledge.andlifeitSI:".Iftoitsinhabitants. He traveled
acrosstiW!skyinachariot"itbasinglewheel.signifying
thecycleoftheseasons. Hischarioteer,Aruna,thegod
of themorning,shie ldedtheworldfromSurya"sextreme
heat . Am)1htellshow&lnjaru.agoddesswhotTUrried
Surya,couldnotbearhisbrighmess.sosheturued
herselfintoamareandhidmtheforesl . \VhenSurya
foundher,hechangedintoastallionandfatheredseveral
childrenwith her.He~reedtoredu<Xhisbrilliance,and
188 thep;!irreturnedtotheirpalaceinthehea,·ens
• Godoffiro
N..,.. ousacr:Q<JnUol~n.dep<:1 hnna.a

VAYU lhr(j9.t.aa<ladfiguwrOII(IaQOOillrlam.W•th
ftaroos"""'ll(l"'l"'"""""'"''"'''"',_..
Vayu w:>S the god oft he winds . One of~he hymns
of the Rig\\>daponraysVa)'U:>SCitherthebre3th
ofPurljsha,theprimalhuman (seep.l9J),orasbei tlg
createdbyPurusha~bre:uh.Accordingtoamythabout
Yayu. the god lost some of his power when he was AG N I
expelled from Moum Meru,thehomeofthegods
VayuauxkedthemoumJininreuliJ.tion,andde,;pire
resbtancefromGmuda,thekingofthebirds,hetore
offthe.tipofthemoumainandthrew itimotheocean,
whereitbecamethe isbndofSri lank:l whichwcreallseenaslus
Luermythshavede scr ibedVayu:ISa manifeSI:Uions.A5ritualfire,Agnitookmessagesfrom
servamofthegodVishnu humanstothegods,hissmokeindicatingwheresacrifices
andhisconsort,the werebemgmade."hilethefirelttatfuneralp)·rescarried
goddesslakshrni thesoubtoheaven.Agni , whowasthesonofPrithvi
(suppl96-97).He (lllother Eanh. sup./ 10) ~nd Dyaus (Father Sky), was
w:>Sa change:ilile saidtoha,·ebeenbomthreetimescfirstfromwater.like
character, a! thesunrisingabol'etheS<::t;thenfromtheair,aslighming:
andfimllyonEarth,intheformoffirethatwnskindled.
Hewassohungrythatheatehisparents,andthengrew
tongues to lap theghee(clarified butter) offered ~t altars

+----
VA RUNA
Thegodofthesk);\':lrumwasthecelestialbwgiver.He
wasthem:lSteroftherules thatgovernedsacrificesandof
theorderthatdictatedtheseasonsandtheannualround
ofro"ing:~ndharvesting. SorneeJrl)'lll)1hsdescribehim
ns acre:ttOr god, who formed the worlds of heaven, middle
air.andEanhbyhiswillpov:eralone. In another story, he
wasaruleroftheheal·enlyocean,
but ~fter a war with the demons,
thegodsre:~llocated
their powers and
Varun:J~ametheruler
ofthe westernskyand
oftheelrthl)'>eas
Hisruleextendedtothe
tides,andhewass.:lldto ~
0
bethepatrongodof (j
sailors and fishermen Gl
0
<II! Th•godoftho •kr • od .. • • ~
'131<n!llldaam¥¥~a"'f(Joroi
baastthatwa• pan·crorodileand l&l
panbh.lli> rrountwauoonas
uynb:joiWllt\Kar>IIU<t•l•ty
SHAlSO ....... UidoO•lllHH.118-l9.m -l.l • llsoootr""I• I >IH9.1\&il,162~
BRAHMAAND
THE CREATION
Over their long history, the Vedic religion and Hinduism have
produced a number of creation stories. Some involve a primal
creator- Prajapati (Lord of Creatures) or the god Brahma-
while other myths explain the creation of th e various life
forms, including humanity. They are told in the conte.'.:t of
a cyclical notion of time, in which the universe will one
day come to an end and a new era of creation will begin.
--- ------------- + ---
THE MYTH
lnthebeginning,thegod Brahma, thel,ordo!Crt-atlon,
spread his light around the universe and becant~ the
essence of all things . He ~lso ~mbodied time, presiding
over~ cycle of exiSience ott a uuly cosmic timescale. One
d~yand nightofbtslifewass.1idtobst4,320milhon
humanyears,and;,.,henthisperiodwilsovn,thecyde
of creation would come to an end as well. A N E V ER-C~I A N GI N G FORM
One oft hebeingscre~ted byBralnnatobringlight into the
DAR K A N D LIGttT worldw:lSabeaut ifulcreawrec.111ed Vak(Word)_Accord ing
Brahnta med it~ted, comempbling whalthe uni,·erse would to some ''ers1olb of this creation stO!)', Brahma and Yak
belike.andcreatedanimagebasedonthisvision. But he coupled,~ndwhiledoingso,theychangedthetrform
realized thJt since he was ignorant of wiL1t the universe cominuously As a result, they produced every kind of anitml
would actually become once it came into existence, what speciesthm populme the E:mh. However. other versions
he had created was merely an tmage of this ignorana:. say tlta~ Yak, considered to be the cre:ttor's daughter, was
He discarded it. and it bec:nne Night . Soon Night began unwilling to mate with him. When he persisled. she turned
wprodua:darkchildrenofitsown,who~rselfintoad"eerandfled.AhhoughBrnhmapursued
became the first demons. When these and ought up with her, he was un:tble to impregrute
herwithhlsseed,whichfell tod-.egroundand
becamethefirstntanattdthefirstwotn.11L
creationonceagain. SinceBmlnn.1h."ldchangedhisshape
Ashemeditated.hega,·eshape1o continuouslytocrt-atedifferentlifeforrns.he
asuccessionofbeings,suchasthesun was5:lidwbepresentinall h,·ingbeings.But
andtheotars,whichbegantoemit despitehisomnipresence.Bmhmaslsofuda
lighttob.1la1~e the darkness of Night. C--'::::: horne,thegreatcil:ldel-paL-.::eofthegodson
According to some accounts, it was at ~ topofthes.1ered mountain, ~!eru . Mount ~leru
th is point that Brahm a created the se'·eral A l.o1usllow.r was at the very center of the Hindu cosmos:
!;:', ;,:r:;~~~:: ~::::;;,."7 from its slopes, the s:o::red Ri\'er Ganges 11owed
]!X) born from a lotus hat that (IIOW down in four stremns, each of which r:lll
on the"""'"olaroiiMiderty.fb)afl'l~ towardsm-.eofthe fourcardiml points.
CREATORS
Differentacrountsoflhec..,a!ionstoryh>se
oftenusedthenamePrajapati(Lordof
Creatures)fortheprimalbeing.Somemyths
asso::taoe thedl:ityVIshnu(seepp/96-91) ~.::,;:;...,
\\id>Praj•pati,andBrahm.olss.aldtohlve lhemoanl
be<:nbornfromthenavelofVishnu.Tiv: pbno!S"'1he$l<y '(fj
!itle "Pmjapali" isalsoUS«<forBrahmaand -;1}};
histen "mind-l:>o rn"sons,whopbyakeyrolein
creahonbygivingfonntogods,humans.andanimal>. ;\:
TI>eHindupanthronindudesotherfigures,suchas
Vislw•akarma,wOOembodiescrealiw!X"'uandwisdom
andisoonsider<dthea,..,hitfftofthecosrnos.

TH E GOD O F CREATI ON, 13RA HMA


IWASJ BO RN O F TH E GO D HEA D
T HROUG H J\CED ITATI ON BEFO RE TH E
\VATERS O F LJFE \ VE RE CREATED. .I. Vi o!lwakanl'la
Tha'jOdVisttwahrma i••••ulltysOOwn'"noondOO
l'l' thekili thatOOusOOtocrrolllthaUII""""'-Ila"
abo<liiiSi.,....loboanaspoctol&lhrru

----------·------ --- +
CREAl ION AND NA ! U RE
AnearlycreationmythmentionsPurusha.the
primalhwnan , whosplithirnselfintoamakand
afem.tlehalft].,,maredandga,-.:b\nhrn\"ar\oUs.
lifeforms.lnan<Mherv(r>ion,toldinrheRig\'tdt!,
Puruiha~reartdrhe Hinduca>tesfromdifferent
partsofhisbody,wirh rheBmhmins(prie>ts)
emergingfromhishead, rheKshurips(""'riors)
fromhisanns, rheVaish)"as(fdnntrs,ariisans,
andrr.ukrs)fromhisthighs,andrheShudt'lls
(v•orker>)fromhisfeetln).. tanorhermyth , rhe
firs:rhwnan,calkdManu,creartda"i!efromone
SHIVA
A member of the triad o f great Hindu gods, Shiva (meaning
"auspicious") represents the coming together of opposites-
he is known as the destroyer, but also embodies great creative

titles , ranging fro m Mahadeva (Great God)


to Kaala (Death). He is renowned for his
profound knowledge, awesome strength,
and his cosmic dance, which symbolizes
both truth and destruction.

---- ·----- - -- +----


TilE BIRTII OF SIII VA
Oneday.Brahrna:mdVishnu,\ereluvingadiscussion
aboutwhoshouldbethesupremedeit)',themost
powerfulbeinginthecosmos.Asthetwogodswere
tal king:apillaroffire intheformofanenormous
pha!lusappearedinfromofthem.ltwassoralltlul
itstipdi~ppe3redintothedoudsanditsbaseseemed
tobeburieddeepintheground
Mystified.Bmhman:msforrned
himsclfimoawildgooseand new
uptofindthetopwhile Vishnu
turnedh imsclfimoaboar,
burrowingdeepdownimothe
Underworld ins.earchofits
roots. Butneithergoxlcould
findwkuthe)·werelooking
for.Justthenatlopening
appearedinthephallus,and
Shivaemerged.lmmediately,
BrahmaandVishnurecognized
rhepowerofShiva.andagreed
th:uthethreeofthemshould
ruletheuni,·ersetogelher.

<( Emorgonco ofShi>a


Sh""'a-soo1o!aJiiaitieW'""n Sh""'"''"'tlycamesa,.... ll .houiiJia"'haped
,.- /inga. W. th oscarvingdepoc~oglos dr'""A<""d• ngtoth&llin<loo , oiSbeatJ<~Cal l s
bnrltChlo!lh&!IO•f<t•lle1'"SI>wa thepmnal "'-""'<l{Anml,w•t h wt.chco!<lbQO
tiqjOOMava{Lo:.-dofthePhalf•sl begananoJwnhwNchitwilfood
THE DANCE OF DEATII
WhenShiv~h::.danatgurnentwith Brahma;tndcutoffoneofhis
heads,abiuerfeuddevelopedbetweenShivaand Br:o.hm~·sson,
Dakslm.So'lhenDakshaheldabetrothalfeastinhispalacetoallov.•
hisd:lughter,Sati,tochooseahusband,Shtvawasnot invited . He
came to the feast anyway and claimed Sat iS g:o.rland when she threw
irimotheair,andtheyweremarried . l:Iter,Dakshaheldaholy
sacrificewherehedidnot irwiteShivJ._Furiousltthisbbnruinsuh.
Smithrewherselfomothesacrificialfireandwasburnedtodemh
AnenragedShivapickedupS:lti'sbodyandbegantodancewithiL
performingrhedanceofdeathtlutthreatenedwbring~nendtoall
creati on_ Tostopthedaru:e. Vishnu
imervened,bringingSatiback SI-IIVA DEFEATS
tolifeasthebeautifuland
Til[ DEI\10 !\IS

ofthemhadthestrengt htodefe3tthese
demons.SoShiv3suggestedthJ.ttheother
godsshouldcombinetheirstrengthand
lendhimhalfofiL This. coup led with
Shiva'saln:adyformidablestrength~and
theabililyto comrolhisp ower~w:<S
enoughforhimtodefeatthedemonswtth
3singk,all-powerfularrow. But when he
hadachie,·edhisvi<:ror)',Shivarefuscdto
givebackthestrengthhehadborrowed
from t heothergods. AndsoShiva
remainedthestrongestdeityofall

1%

SEEAISOo-:.n.tlll-11,115-71.181-10b.m-'l3 • -~1.116-11,1~1 ...

. '·•C
·\'- ~- .:~ .'.t\.
DURGA
The Hindu goddess known as Durga {the Unattainable) usually
takes the form of a warrior. She can embody all the martial
energy in the cosmos and concentrate it to become an
invincible foe of liwse who threaten her fellow deities. She
is renowned as an opponent of demons who threaten the
cosmic order. Like her consort Shiva, (see pp.194- 95), Durga
has a complex personality. Although essentially created to be
a destroyer, in some forms she can also be a nurturing dei ty.

TIIEMYTII
Once, ~ bufblo-demon called Mahisha (or Mahishasura)
acquiredgreatpowerbypracticingsevereausterities. He
:.skedBrahma(supp.l90-91)forthegiftofimmortality,
butwhenhew:ISrefused,hearrog:~ndydem::mdedthathi s Hundreds of
dea!ltshouldbeol)lymthehandsofawoman.Securein demon~ were
the knowledge 1hat he W:lS ahnost irwincible, Mahisha went killed in the
onarampageandattackedt~gods.Realizingthntnone
ofrhegOdscouldvanquish Mahisha,whow:tSprotectedby remainedunl;x>atenanddefiam
Brahrna'sboon,the:dl-powerfului"ityofShiva, Braluna,
arrdVishnu(seepp.l96-97)concemr:lled their comb ined HIE BI).TTLE W ITt\ MI).~IISIIA

divineenerm·.whichbecamemanifestintheformofthe r-earlessl)'.l>bhishawentforDurga'smouru.herroaringlion.
god des; Durga, 1~ epitome of feminine power. Durgagorherne>osearound~ropponentSneckbuthe used
hisslupe-changingpowerandrransformedhimself imoa

r-----
FACIN G UP TO T11E DEMONS lll:ln. DurgathenSiabbed himwithhertrideru,soheswiftly

:,!~:~~;~:~:~~~~::~~~:~ ~~:::::~~~f:~~u~le:,';;:~r
ahon.s~rodeour to confront rhistimehechangedbackinroa
~bhisha a"d his army of demons buffalo and moved out of range
Thegoddesslookedfearle~'md t>-:ext,heStanedrouproot
her face radiated awesome power mount:tins :md throw them at the
WhenthedemonssawDurga, goddess.Shedenected them
theyswarmedtowardsher.but easilyand,advancingfearlessly,
she cut them down in swathes held rhe buffalo-demon down
Shedisp:ttchedsomewithher withherfOOl:tSshesrabbedhim
mace , slew others with her rridem with her rridem and beheaded
and swont and some she bssoed him. The demon slowly emerged
in her noose . Then she rook the in his original fonn,d)·ingand
• DurgabattliftGRoktobij repemam.BrahmaSgifrh.1dbeen
Anotflor d""""' who 1hroot.....,;l1ha god• ""'' llo~tabotiBiood Seed).
who:«ldoOpSolbio:ldcrootOO.-""""'-li"'SOXI<111Sit.l-jtwcl'>o<llhe gi"en: ~bhisl~1lud fimlly been
(IIOOOd l\o(J'Unoodm_,Ka~. wOO.tankllP al lhebloo:landkiiiOO hUJt \'anquishedbyawoman
DEMONS DURGA:S STRENGT H
llindum;,hologyabound>inbeingsknowna>dsums.ordemons UkeShi,·a,Durgahasgreatdestructi•"f!O'I-"'·buttllis,·erydestruction
suchasMahisha.Alongwiththedeiti.s.thesedemonswere hasapositio-,sideasit maintainsb.liancebyannihilating threat.>to
ehildrenoftheereatorPrajapati(secpp.l90-9/) , buttheybeeame the natural oKkr. Durgo~appearanct has thisdualaspect too-her
theantagoniSisofthedcitlesandwerescena,;beingthepolar bodyn>dlates lightbut , lxfirtingherrolea,;thepersonifieatlonof
oppositeofthegod,;.Som~:accoumss;~ytha t bothdtegodsand deSirocrlvefo.-.:e,shelsalsohea•ilyanned.Herweapon,;(below)
show how she embodies the p<l'l-'erofma<>yofthe god> 11>ey indude
lndra'sthundcrbolt , \islnm'sdiscus, and Shi\'il'strident_ Varona~
corochshells),nboliu:stlte\i<:toryoftight<OOUS>te>S. E\-,nlterd>Oice
ofalion(atiger insome\-,rJions)ashermoumindieateslterp<l'l-·er.

• Mahioho bo1tling 0u'VO


Thest.¥-tha.ogiiiQdemooMahlshawas the
errt<)din.:•not<M!O .. ga'1-.-.:IO<'y01 Wl0100\tle
i ((.
..,..mli..OOthe""""walu~otngltiOOJ"""-'
I
---------- +-~ ------ ----
TH E GREM GODDESS
DurgomanifeSishet'SI:lflnS<:'""'Ifonns,allofwhkhareaspec~s
ofMahadevi,thegreatg;xidess.whoisthepersonifieationofshalni
tltefemininedivinetrtelgj' lhat is theo-,ryheartofcrealion.Se'•eral
~ssesareworshippedasfonnsofDurga.llteyincludethefierre
~"" Kali, who emewd from Durga~ brow as tlte embodiment
ofdesuuctionduringthebattlewithMahisha:andS..ti.thewifeol
Shiv a, who was worshipped to ensure maritallonge,it;: Durgoo also
takescaring,gentlefonns,suchasParvali,themothergoddess:
Llkslnni , thegodde;;sof"""lth :andS<Ir•swati , tltetpdde>Sofwi<dom

HJ
THE RAMAYANA
The Ramayana is one of the two great Indian epics \VIitten in the
ancient Sanskrit language , and a seminal text in Hindu mythology.
It tells the story of Rama, the Prince of Ayodhya and an incarnation
of Vishnu (see pp.196-97) , from his upbtinging, through his e.:... i!e,
to the rescue of his wife , Sita, from the demon king Ravana's
clutches. Through its depiction of the main characters, the
epic e'{tols the virtues of loyalty, kinship, devotion, and duty.

THE MYTH .,. l'tinc:oRam•


Ramamsfu"""''"'askilflll
Oaslwmha, the King of Ayodhp. IL1d three wi1•es who bore
himfoursons:Rama,Lakshmall:l,Siutruglm:t,andBiwrua
Rama"'astheeldestandtheprobableheirtothethroneof
Ayodhp. Asayoungrnan,helearnedairneryfromthesag<!
Vishw:nn it ra. When Rama and Lakshmal'la were older. they
weretakenb)·Vish\\'llllilratotho:cityofMithib.,where King once promised her and
Janakahadorg:fnizedacompetitiontoselectahusband for demanded that he make
hisdauqlner,Sita.nJecompetitorswererequiredtostringa herson.Bharata,theheirinstead,andsendR.1nuintoexile
greatbowt hatiudoncebelongedtoShr.·a(seepp.J9-1-95). sothat hewouldnolposeathreattoBlumta.Boundbyhis
lbma, who had fallen in love with Sit a, was the only one who vow,thesadkingbanishedhiseldestsontotheforestfor
wasable tostringthebow-henotonlystrungit,butbroke it 1-t)·ears. R;•maobeyedhisfatherunquest ioninglySit:~.and
too. Rama won the com est and returned home with his \\ife l.akshmana iiJSistedonaccompanyinghim
Dashara1hadiedofgriefsoonaherR.1ma'sdeparture.
Ri\ M fl.'S EXI LE Blurata,whohadbe-enabsentfromthepalaceduring
The time came when Daslmfilha !ctd to select ~n heir from thistime,wasreca\ledtoascendtothe throneofAyodhp.
amonghissotJS.IlewantedJochoosehiseldestson.R.1tmi, Horrifiedbyhismother'sgreed, heinsisJedthat Rmnawas
who,.,asanidealprinceineveryway.BmoneofRama's 1herightfulking,andtm•·e\edtotheforesttobringRama
stepmothers, Kaikeyi,remindedDasharathaofaboonheiud back. However, R.1marefused todisobeyhisfatherS\ast
wish,andBharatahadnooptionbuttoreturnhometo
becrownedasthenext king. He devised an honorable
compromlse$0thmhecouldobeytheirfmlrer:mdshow
respectloR~maatthesametime. Bluratatookapairof
lbma'ssanda\sbocktoAyodhyaandntuallyenthroned
t hem,tosymbolizehis ru\easregentonbehalfofhis
exiledstepbrothertilltheday t hatRamareturned.
Meanwhile,theexilesseuleddown,adaptingto thelu.rd
life of the forest. Ramaandl;lkshmanafrequemlyfought
offdemonswhoattacked t heasceticslivinginthewoods
andthreatenedtheirlives,orinterruptedtheirprayers,
• Exitod i•tholo,.sl ritua\s , andme ditmion. The asceticsweregratefu!toRanu
;.>()() WbcoRarra, Srla,onrlla'-<hmanaarr....:l rnll>lfo:mt,lheymel ll>l
hoirrr>tswtor;oiM)Oll>)<e,aOOhadlQOOaiJI!Qtholor$0!llflawayoiiMnQ andlakshmanafortheirse lnessdeeds. Someofthem
wllcll--......-dillooootllomll>l lrtaollu>:iXYihatiOOKI(OisblllW. realizedt lut Ranmwasinfactadivinebeing. ))

·.~
~t.::;_~~.-:,-~~~--
RAMA AND SITA THE IDEAL O F BROTIIERII OOD
lntheepic,RamaandSitaareponrayedas tlle idealcouple.Rama Brothe~hoodisthemalicallyimegral to theRamaJana. The ideal
winshiswifeinacontestofstr.ngth,andfightsfearlesslytor.scue brotherisLakshrnana-heaccompaniesRama andSita intoexile
herwhenslleisabducted.Similarly.Silaisconsideredtheperlect guardsthem.andaidsRamainhisb.mkswiththedemonsandinhis
devo•ed wife. However, Ram a has been S<:en by scme as a nawed rescueofSita.Bharata , loo.showshis lo•:eforRamabyoverridinghis
h.:rowhofailedto kinglyaspirationsandplacingRarna'ssand•lsonthethrone.
appr.cia1.: Sill~ Shat rughnaissimilarlydevo•edtoRamo , and
goodness by doubting

••
herclustitytwice(<«
p.201).Someaccounts
interpr.tRama'sactions
asbefiningaju.,ruler
whohastoplacr ideals
ofkingshipalxweal l
perS<:m•l bonds

.. Lakohmono
WhooRavana'•Sisteob.OOtotake
""""''J"OOflamalol$pUIOI"lJ

~:=::,1~7.:.':..

rROM THY rEET CAST


f ORTI I TII OSE SAN DALS,

e
I
TI-lEY SI-IA LL DECORATE
TilE Tll RO NE. ,,,m,... ~.....
I
- ·-------·------- +--------------· -
TI-I EEPI C
TheRamaJana,oneofthegreat worksofworld
literature,issa idtoha'·ebeenwriuenby o sage ,
Valmiki. who plays a role in the epic. but may Q.
alsoha,·ebeen a realperson. Varyingacroums
placei!Sdateofcompilationbetween500 !CI'
and200 CE Valmikiprobablydidnolwritethe

mllm ""'m. ~ml '""'~>w<m oddod ''"' ~ ' "'"' '"


theworkwasoriginallycomposed. The epic
primarily dealswiththelifeofltlma.who ~
belongedto the$uryaVansha(lineageofthe -
>w,god)o;Soghooo~
••O•~•g•ofh»
great-gra•." .'•.ther ..Raghu,ag..,at emptror) . ~
.. So110Valm1kl
""
lntha~. valrn~ l$ -

..
$$'1Q(l"""!Ml$"' lha
-.anc~ o~~m .... led
tJ,olb-ruandSita<loonj

:~:~~::~ ~~ ?01
Si1astl!'lrt~OOmll1o;Jil
SURPANAKI1A
One day, a female demon named Surpanakha lu~ted aher
Ram.1 and L1kshmana. and made .ldvances towards them.
\VIienthebrothcrsrejectedher,sherriedtoauackSita,and
l.ak,;hma!l:lretaliatedbycuulngoffherTJOSe. Surp..1n.1kh~"".lS
infurhredarrhewayRmnaand l.:lkshmanahad treated her,
soshewent toherbrotherlbvana,rheten-headeddemon
rulerofLanb.andinciredhimtoabductSitainrtvenge
Ravaru.sentademondisguisedlSagoldendeerrodistract
RamaandSita . WhenSitawishedtohaverhecreatureasa
pet.R::unawemoffinpursuitofthede.:r. R.wanathentricked
LakshmanaintofollowingR:unaand,h.wingapproached J,. Tloo fi .. tbaldo
Sitadisguisedasahemtit .carriedheroffrolanb DunngUoebatllo,wli<.Wlol(>'ll:Hmoutoltaloead(>'
armo!flawoa, ai'IGWonegwwinrtsplaoo.Fioally.
Rao.nausedacoOJstJ31woapong-I>,>!O;>Inna
RAMA AND 111-\NUMAN
Rmnaa_ndl.:lkshmmubegantheirsearch lhnumanfoundSitaimprisonedontheislandfortressof
Llttka.Jtslocationmadel.:lnkadifficulttoattack,asdidthe
'"'·O.'"hmjo·"."''Y.'hro•.•gh.•l•
rest.-tiJe}'Cameacrossthe-monkey.. bet that R.11-am li:ld an enme army of demons. Hanuman and
godHanuman.whoser>edSugreeva, hismonkeysbuihabtidgeovertheseasothatthe)'cou\d
themonkeykmg.Sugreeva,like anackL1nb.. lnaseriesofbanles,Rama, L1kshmana,
""- '" '"" R:mu,wasalsomexlle. HlSbrother Hanuman, and the other monkers killed the most fe~rsome
~ Vahhadtakenhtsphceaskmg demons. Finally, Rama slew R:w:ma and rescued Sita. Then
"' o- HanurnJn:>SkedforRarna'shelp Rarna,Sita,andLakshmanareturnedhorne
inremovingrheusurper.Sugreeva Ramawasunsureaboutacet:ptingSiuasshehadbeena
challengedValitoaduel.during captiveofR.warn llurranddistressed,Sitaofferedtowalk
which Rama killed Vali. His kingdom throughfiretoproveherchasuty.Sheemergedunscarhed,bur
restored,SugreevaagreedtoaidRama. back in Ayodhf-1, a ch~nce rem~rk by a washennan prompted
HattuiiUttdecidedrohelpinre>CUing RamatodoubtSiuag:~in.Siiesoughrrefugeinthehermitage
Sita.Partiesofrnonkeysweresentoutto ofrl~esageVahn iki,whereshegal'ebinh totwinboys .
Years
searchforiJer.Aftermanyadl·emures , larer, Rarnarecognizedrhemashissonsarrdinvitedhiswife
toretumafteranothertti~lbyfire. TiredofcoriSI:~rulyhaving
.,. ThodoathofJotayu to prove l~erchastity,Sit~appealed to Mot her Earth to take
WlmR<MmabJI.tttdSita.oooloJ.UturecaladJa~I~"JIO<Id
l<l$.li'Oho<Jatayuattacbldtha<iorr>:M1 bngarxlde$t<<¥J<I herb:;ck.Onheatinghercry,thegroundopenedup
hosdlar !Olb<Jtflavana cutoHh«wmg.so ~nu«J hn n andSitadisappearedintoit

ALLIES
Rama'sgreatestalliesindw:reSUJeofSitawcre$ugreeva,
llanuma n, and their anny of monbys. Hanuman~ great
Slrcngthandpowersofshapt-changingandllightproved
,::;: invaluable.llemade twojourney<tolank.t,thefirst to
~ localeSita ,andthestrondtohelpRamadefeatRavan.t.tnd
I: reS<:Uehiswife.Ha,ingfOI.lndSitaonthefirstjoumcy,he

s ""sdiscoveredbyRavanaSgwrdswhosethlslongtai\on
fiTOC,butlw:surviwd . seltinglankaabJ.u:as lw:escaptd
~ Duringthefinalb.itklnlank.t . rnanyofRarna's"·arriors.
ln<:ludinglakshmana,werekilled.Hanurnanfetcheda
/.\1) magic herb from !lw: Himala)"OS to revin them. He was
rcwardedv.itheverla.r.ingyouthforhisde,'OtiorttoRama

:!
ADVERSA RIES
lnth< R~mdya•a. Ram.tS"'"""""""' referred to as mkshaS<Is,orde!OOils. ThekingofthernOshasas,R.-·ana
Tr.odition.dly, they''''"'' nuhgn btingswho att.ockd women and children waHfearsomefigure"ithlOheads
or~P""Pieatnight,dri•ingtheminsal"'.Prominentamongthe and20anns.Hewasascholarand
dernonshelpingR.'"'"""""tehlsbrodter, anauthorityontl..,'kd.ts.Hepleased
Kumbl>okam.t,ogi.:tntWhOspel\1 onos1of Brahma"ithhisrtgorousausttrities
hislifeslecping,ar.::IRlvan•'sson,Me~nwh, andarrogandysoughtitwulnerability
whohaddefealedhldm(supJ&f)and again>lgodsanddemons.beli.,..ing
wossaidtobeunbeambll:in nohumanrouldhannhirn.Healso
appeasedShh·a.whog•wehima
swonl.l!eisseenaseitherawicked

:;::~:.:::0,:~;';,:;"'
( '
who had potential for
good but was destined
tobtcomee\il

• RI•o no'oowonl
lblanaot~RamJ

WllhlheCflarrJrah""
{mt)(l1 bDit~"'""'""
hadt-liJ"'<lb<rShM>
q • n.. a.. m<rting Kailash
(h:.)llavana""'Jt'edSh""
bymovu>;Jh;•abodea!Moun!
Kallasll,...,..waspo.onl$~

I' O R TI-ll S DEED 0 1'


INSU LT RAVANA, IN TIIY
HE EDLESS FO LLY DONE,
DEATII O F A LL TII Y
RACE AND KJ 1\J DRED
TII OU Sl lALT REAP
JI. Kumbhokar1111
lhoiJ"lfltKurrililkmna hadlnongrvooatoor...OO.obyhecould•ioop
I'ROI\1 RAG H U'S SON I
too •~ 1m0tbsata •~•l:h Whoo he finally """""o lllightlor ll<wooa
fladov.Jst.JI<XIF<l""'';>o"'!'l>ll<wObaong ~IIOO b<ythe~•ooohims<llt
I
+--
THE MAHABHARATA
One of the longest poems in the world , the composed by several writers between the Slit
Mahabharata is the second of the two great century BCE and the 4th century CE. The epic
ancient Indian epics. Traditionally attributed centers on a war between two rival families ,
to the scribe Vyasa , who also compiled the but it also contains the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred
Ved as (sec p.188) , the poem was probab ly te:xt outlining the key tenets of Hinduism .

-- ----------------+ ·----- - -----------

TI-IE M YTII
ThekingdomofH:ISiimpuraw'USruledbyPanduofthe
Bharatldynasty.bndudiedearly, sohisblindbrother
Dhrit;u'astna.became the. king. Hebro1.1ght upPandus
fivesons,knowncollecti'"elyasthePanillwas, alongwith
hisownlOOson,;.calledtheKaur:was. ·
The Pandav:~Sil)curredthejealousyof t heircousinsdue
wtheirrnilit aryprowess,virtuou~conduct,and pOpularity
amongthecommonpeople. WhenYudhisluhir:t,P:lnduS
firstbom,w:~Sdedaredheir-:tpparent:theKattrav:~S,Ied
bythetreldestbrother, Duryodhana,conspiredtokill t he
P:mdava:.. However,theirintendedvictimsgotwindofthe
pbnandescapt;d. To,;ettlethequ;~rretDhritaT:!Shtradivided
• n.• ur.atwar
hiskingdombetwecnDuryodharuandYudhishthirs. But the ()oeoltheg raaii>Slcoolk tsiolndianrr~ttiJOOgy. tBmdotorr<IMsoo"'IOOI<;oaot
1\:mravc<:;resentedthis. TheyinvitedYudhishthiratoplaya Ollloio<ok>osaiWilllhe«"tdeoaibeslhooomplexOOtllofor"'"tions•oedl'!'
theto.aos.arodthewaodi~and•uatogoes~l>(bottl•rdao
gameofdice(gamblingbeingoneofYudhislnhira'sfell
weaknesses) , andkeptincre:~Singthestakes, Eventually
Yudhishthirnb:ldgamblcdawayhisweahh. · couldhavehisarmy, another could ha,·ehim _Duryodhan.1
kingdom,andel'etthtsbrothersandwife chosethearmy. 'l ht: reasArjumpreferredtolw.l'e Krishna,
The Pandava:.werebanishedfor l2years whothenofferedtobehischarioteer.

THE RO LE OF KRISHNA THE BATTLE 1\ND ITS 1\FrERMi-\TI~


Ontheirll:!turn, Duryodhanall:!fu>edto The great baule took place at Kurukshena. TI~e Kaur~vas
givebacktheirkingdom,,..ndther'ivals wereledbyBhishnu , thegrest-undeofboththePandav:.s
pll:!paredforwar. Arjum.YudhislnhiraS andl\aur::tl':lS.DUT)'odhamfoughtwithKarna(sup.56--57)
brother, ,.-emtoseekthesupportofhis byhisside. Agreat warriorandadearfriendofDuryodlun.1,
friendl\rishna , theeightha,·atarof he posed a serious threat to the P~nd:n·as . After~ prolonged
Vishnu(seepp./96-97). He found banle,thePandavasemergedvictoriouswithKrishna'shelp ,
Duryodharl,la\readythereforthesame andYudhishthirlbeCitnethekingAftern"Jrds,thePandav:tS,
reason. Sincebothwerehiskinsmen, anguishedbythe carnageoft!~eb.1ule,wemonapilgrirnage
1\rishmgavethemachoice-----oneside with Dmup.1d i (see opposite) to the llimalaps, leaving
/lljunaSgrandson , Parikshit.astherulerofHastinapura
Thejoun~eyw:.slongandarduous,andonebyonethey
died , untilon lyYudhisluhimwasleft. Finally, he too died,
and went to hea1·en, where he was reumted with his fnmily.
KEY CIIARACTERS
Thf:M~habll<lr~ra hasa,"&5larrayofchar..,.ers.
~Lany Ul': ""man. such as Aljuna. tht grur urlw:r
andllis~.Abhllmllp.ocBhishrru.thtLtadtrof
rt..K.aur.n·••n,.~and0fOI'I;I_OITI.I$ICTOreh.r
wllorougllrboththtP.rod.a\.osaodrhc
K.ur.-·.as.Somta..,rt.t\0\0To«<for
dw:ltSIRIIgth.liktBhima,
Yudhlshrhlr.~~Strond brother,

amongthefem.tltch•r.~ottersis
DTllup;ldi.thtsplt11«1doug}nn
ofKingDn.q>oad.owhow"s'"'"'
byArjun.&.butbtt.,roetht,.ifc
ofallthtfi•·cP.ond.o•.as.Shcls
rightfullyourr.~w<Jatb.ing
U5Cdu•~wnlnthrdi""
11""'1!-Aher"innlngt..r.
Oury<Xll~;~"'""'""shisbrothu
d~bl:hcrpubllcly.Dr~upadi~
humlli"lollltlthlsm<uuJeris
~nly..,spon>ibltforthewar.
THE ORIGIN OF
THE GANGES
The Ganges (Ganga) is sacred in Hinduism both as
a river and as the goddess Ganga, who personifies
its waters. According to a popular myth, the Ganges
originally flowed in heaven, before being allowed by
the gods to descend to Earth and flow through the region
that became India. Devout Hindus believe that the river
has the property of washing away all sins.

---------------- + --
THE MYT H
The kingdom of A)·odhp w:l> once ruled by a king n:uned
Sag:u~ who lud 60,000 SOilS. One day, the kit tg docided to J. G•ngoonh..-moun1
lhe.....,n t~!tlogo:;ddesso~dl(l
perform the Ashwam<'llhd yagna (horse ~rifice cer~monj'),
Mtd>na.""""' llasl0000o1v<J
tosymbolize hissupremacyoverotherru!ers:Theri!Ual toldhunthattherh·erw:tS a tH)';(Idd(l ~rot IS SO<T'I(!I "')OS
involved sending hisbeststallionaroundthe Eanh. Anyon~ extremdystrong:mdflowed,"ery sll(JNnWJi htbatail ola'sh
whowishe<.ltodu.llengethe"king'saulhorilycouldslOplhe swiftly,unlikeanyeanhlyriver.lt
horse;l.n d fighttheking . Whenthegodlndra(seep.l88) wouldcJuseterribledeotruclion if it were allowed to flow
s:JWS.1garn'sstallionro~rningaround ua:::hallenged,he fred)'- The w:uersoftheGangeshadtobecom:Jinedin
hiditinthehermitagcofthesageKapib somew·a):Finaii)•,Shiv:Jagreedtoallowthcs.xredriver
toflowthroughhismanedhair. He told Bhagirntha!lw
Tt-IE LOSS O F SAGARA'S SO NS afterbreakingthefJllofthemightyriver,hewouldensure
Attxioustoretrievehisstalliott,!l~ek i ngtoldallhis thmitfollo\\edwhicl~e'·ercourseBiugirnthatook
sottstolookfor t hemissinghorse. They found it
in Kapila'shrnnitage. Thmk.inghimtobethe T l1E W ATER S O f THE GA NGE S
thief,tl~eyoungandarrogantprincesbeganto Sotheragingwatersoftheriverca.scadeddownto
insuhhim. lnfuriated.thes:Jgeturnedthem Eanh.bri nginglifetotl~e landsoverwhichitflowed,
to:tSheswithasinglegbnce . S;J.gar::.p\e:lded butwithoutcausinganydestructive floods. The place
withKapibtolibermethesoulsolhissons. wl~eretheGrutgesfirsttoud~edtheEarthGlllleto
butthesagereplied t luttheycouldbe beknown:tSGangotri. Theriverflowedoverthe
liberatedonlyiftheGanges,asacredriver asl~esofS;J.gara'smanysons.liberatmgtheirsouls,
that flowedinheaven,camedowntoEanh whichtl~enrosetoheaven. Eversince,devOiees
andflowedovertheir<tShes luvebehevedth.1tthew:llersoftheGangeswJ.Sh

• Tom ingtt..G• ngu


Pa•.<agothro"'}}IShova"1hanlaroo:IIOO ir l&g<IOII(I
OOt dangorouswatorsollheGafiiiO'bysloY.·""JtiS
""'~rxt spl rttmglhen-.J< "'tosep(N•Iathannets
.~
TilE GOD DESS GANGA
KEY CHARACTERS
Themainchanoctersinthestoryofthe TI>eRiverG.ongesiS\OCOrshippedasthegod<kssGanga.adaughterof
originof theGanges,besidesSJ.gara.are ,-;; 1 lhmavat(rneaning"snov; ..dad"), thepersonificalionof thel!imalaras
KapilaandBhagirath.o:bothwerewis. , • Accordingtoamyth,thegoddes.sagl"<dtomarryKingSh.ontanu
anddevOiedtodMrnra(mor.tlduty).
Kapila~powercamefromhism·erence _.
I pro,idedhedidnotque>~ionanyofheracrions.

forVIshnu(supp.J96-97)andhis _, ..-

~;:;~~~~-~;;~~h~~~~~t by ~ I wereborn . WhenthediS!raugiHking•sked


J --v hertheru«m,>hesaidshtwa>do:Siined
natural di>;~S[ers, so he went
lhmalayasanddidpenancetoabsol\'e
thesinsofhisp.roecesso~
to~"'

.
'\'\
,
I togi,·ebirthtodi\inebeingscaUed\\Hto<,
wil<l were doomed to be born as humans.

• s h<oguatho

~1......_... ,-£:::_
SioceBhagoralhawure~~lble
lolbtoJJJUWJIOORiwrGa-•
I
(.!7"r-v--
,~"-' ~~
r.-"::. ~~:=1=~~00
kr;:;wn& theBhagu alho

::=~~~
sa"allC<lun trltheRille<
li:Jfi!J<I$~them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - +-------------- ----
- - -- TH E SACRED RI VE R
Allri,·ersaresa.:redinHinduism,and
ritual purificationbyriv.rwaterhas
alonghistoryinsouth<rnAsia.But
th<watersof t h<Gangesare~spectally
sacredandartbelie••edtobeapowerful
curati•·e.Bathinginth<Gangeswash<s
awayallthepasts.insofaperson.Andif
adeadper>on'sashes•reimmnscd inthe
Ganges,theirsoulisfreedfromthe
unendingcycleofdeathandrebinh.Many
1\indusoimtobatheintheGangesatkast
"""" intheirlifetirneandhopeth.uafter
theydieandarecremattd.th<irrelab•·es
"illbeableto scatttrtheirashes in the
holyrhnCI'urityiscoos.ideredanorher
sacreddutyo!Hindus.sopilgrimsglve
almstothesagesandpoorpe:opleli•ing
ontheb:tnksoftheri\U

"' Pr..,• rc• remonr


(verydaojal<undown,deool<•"pay~o
IOtheRil'orGalliJOSW!Ih ....... s.lighl<>d
lam~.aodthachao~ngolmaotoa•
..._. ... ~ ...........
EAST ASIA

Both China and japan have complex mythologies involving many liwusands
of gods, goddesses, and spirits. For centuries these beings have played a
central role in the lives of the people and their rulers.

Chin~ h:;sbeenameltingpot of religion and


mythologyforthousandsofyears.Titegreat
richnessandvarietyofitsbelidsystemscomes
fromseveralsources.First,thecountryde\'eloped
manytraditionalde itiesovertltethousandsof
yearsduringwhichitsgreatcivili:w.tionwas
fonned. later, in the 6th and 5thcemuriesK:~,
three m~jorbe liefS)'St emsfurtltershapedChirtese
thoughtandmythology:Con fucianism,a JAPA N ESE MYTHOLOGY
philosophythatemphasizesritual,socialorder, lnjap:m.m)1hologydevelopeddifferently,
and duty; Daoism. which stresses harmony with ahhoughthere,<>SinChina,theinflueoceofthe
nawre;and Buddhism,whichembraceswaysof VMiousdeitiesandBodhis.:mv:.sofBuddhismw.'l>
avoidingtltesufferingoftlteworldthrough also strong. ~lore central tojap:lnese rnphology,
fol\owingtheteachingsoftlteBuddhahimself though.arethethousandsofspirits,orkamLwho
toattainmnerpeace. aresaidtoinhabnthebnd. Vinuallyeverjthing,
whetheranimateorirunimate--everyplace,rock,
PANTIIEON OF IMM OR TALS lake, tree.creaiUre-lwsitsbmi,a kind of spirit
Of the three tr:Jdit ional Chinese be lief systems, th:u has inlluenc:e over hum:m life and th:u must
Confucianism did 11ot involve the worship of be respected and not offended in any V.T!)'·
gods and spirits, although Confucius himself was ln ~ddition, J~pan has a number of prominent
revered as~n immon:tl ~nd became a figure about " ' - - - - - - ' gods and goddesses whose lives fom1 a nation~!
whom various myths were told . Daoism. on the J. TIM gocldou l uo SIMn m)·thology, from the creation of the world

~i~~te~!~:~::;~:~~:~d~~!~~~:~~~~~:~~~~rs, ~a==~~=~ ~~~~,~~sd;:~~::e~:::l;~~te=r~;~e:n~:r:tl:


priests, and sages, who had [i,·ed a good life and lhebaauufulgcddessloo SOOn Amaterasu's fami ly was said to ha\'t been
joinedthegodsinheavenafrertheirtimeon responsibleforunitingJapan,andthe imperial
Earth . Buddhism was not in its origin:Jl form a G hm il)' that ruled the country until rite middle
religionofgodsandgoddesses,bmintlteform inv, hichit oftlte20thcenturyv.msaidtobedescendedfromher.
reachedChinaitde,·elopeda,'J.St pamheonofBuddh."JSand AlthoughjapanS imperblfamii)'HO
Bodhisaltvas,saintlybeingswhohadreachedthethreshold longerclairnstobedescended
ofenl ightenmembutheld thernseh·esbackinordertohe lp fromthegods, thepeopleof
othersattainthesamegoaLTiteBodhis:l.u,·asofBuddhism, japanstillaccordtheseancient
rlteOaoisr immortals,andahostoftraditioruldeitiesand deities deep respect

<OI C..nfuoi101 ondonondartt1 ~ Sto ooo l11to1Qi~tl"i li nQ


TheurootCh-odlolarandtoocheoC<Jnh.o:i uo, wt.ot~tr()l'll55\-( I9 1Cl Atalt:Jroin0100andoor.o:leCho"""'
:::::':ru":~oc=~.,
fladahUIJOrnloonceonCho"""'rfu.o<Jh~-"""J respoctkwauthoroty, ..,Oat
f>arrTXtll',ar>drega< dtorr:••l"•f""en!1.Al'I(Khediar:l,ma<r'I~WO(M)r!ttrat
711
OOfladboco:oooooollheoll1fOOI~s.ar.J"""'people"""'h'PI>ld h omasagOO r<>utoollreoassistaoca.
PAN GU CREATES
THE UNIVERSE
The Chinese creation myths describe how the primal god
Pan Gu beat chaos into order to make the world. After
this, a gentler, more nurturing creator deity appeared,
the goddess NO Wa, who formed the first people
out of clay. The origin of the many other gods and
goddesses is told elsewhere in Chinese myth.

---~-- -----~----------0

.,_ P.., Go
Ti lE MYT H lh9 Q'00101Qod 1S0$1J11IIy
lnthebeg.inning t herewasonlychaos.andamtdthis
disorderslept thelonecreatordeityPanGu. Hew:J.Sin =~:::~.~~~·~o~s
astateofdeepslumber.buildinguph~strengrhforthe
monurnemaltaskofcreation. Afteranimme;).Surable
period of time, PanGuawoke . look ingaroundhesaw
onl)·disorder!}nd"wasangeredbythesight . He brought toprevemthem from
hisarmscrashingthroughthecluos,hishandshiuingthe coming together. Hegrewprogressivelytallerasthe
sw\rhngekmentswithagreatechoingbang two moved further apart . Onox the two were permanently
separ:tted.thecre.atorlaydownroskep
H I E CREATIO N OF TilE ELEMENTS Asheslept,P!tnGuhimselfbegantotransform. HiSC)'CS
TheimpxtofPanGu'sblowscausedtheelememsofchaos becarhetl~esunandtl~emoon.Thestrandsofhairinhis
tomoveoffindiffere,ntdirections. lle»truckthechaosollCl' beard broke into piecesthatbecamethe~tars. Some parts
again,andtheelememssmnedtobecomemoreordo:red, ofhisbodyturned irnothemoumainsandtherestofhis
umiltheiJe~l'ieronesbegan fleshturnedimothesoii.Soon,tl~ehaironhishe:tdbecame
tosinkandthelighterones the-pbmsandtreesthattookroot intheEarth. They were
floo.tedupw~rds. This nouri~hed by his blood, which formed the lakes and rivers.
processcre~ted the Eanh
andthesky,bothofwhich H I E FIRST PEOPLE
thenbegantoexp.1udas AgoddesscalledNO\\'a:lppe.1redwhenPanGuh:tdfinished
the elements continued creatingtheworld.Shelookedat the cosmosth:JtiL1dgrown
tosepamte. PanGustood outofPanGu'sbodyandconsidered it beautiful. But after
between thetwodomains, awhi le she feltlonely,anddecidedtocreatehurnanbeings
his feet pressed down on whocouldl iveonthisbnd scape.Shetooksorneclayand
the Earth~nd his hands rnoldedit intotlJefiTS~people,andkeptmakingmo~wheu
holdinguptl~esky, shesawthatthe)'Wereluppytogetl~er. However, she also
noticedthataftersometimetheybegantoageanddie. Weary
attheprospectofrnoldingpeopleoutofclayindefinitely,
ThonameNiiWameaos"Sroll Nil Wa g:J\'e l~er creations tile ability to procreme: now the~
~laoilon,"aodth(lgQddo).$$olo!ten
would alway~ be people to populate the Earth. Nil Wa stood
::;·=~~t~~o~:= back.andwaspleasedwithwhatshehadmade
--.. ;'7-'tij
. \(~

THE DARK LADY I .,. 1Ante"' lo01i ••l


CeiOOraltngtOONewYear, ll1"
Ctrtain,-ersionsof tllem)1hsaytllat tll<goddes.sjiullanXuanmJ. twtrvalmarblhef,.MQonon
(theDarkLldy)c"'ated thehumanr.oceonctagain ,afterthefirsl tOO I Sth~ollheMst luruo
n>:>nlhlleoh01v.o:.$hl~ l ldudo
peoplewere"ipedout inaS"'atflood.SomeacrowusconsKlerherto
lhelhroopr•IIO'MIIcmp(>'CO>.
btthesiSierandwlfeofFuXi(sup.lH),al!houghctllf: rss.yhoe
was marrted to No \\'a_ Fu XI and 1he Dark Udy married In otd<:r
rolta\'tthild renand ''"ivehumanity.Somes.oytlta!Shealso
brougludw:floodtoanendbymendingah.okinthehea''"'lS-.]iu
TianXuannowasalsoth.ought tohl:ateacher,whotaughtmany
tenetsofOaoism,anancientChinescphilosophy,tol!uangdi
(theYellowEmperor), anano•,.torofthemonal rulersofChina

THE PRIMORDIAL EMPERORS


Afterd~<:humanr=wascreato:land thefirstproplebeyn!Omuhiply.
thejadeEmperorU«pp.2J6-JT)semth,.,.,greatprlmordialeJnpenns
to rulethem."Thefirso. . TiooGwn (~herulerofJ>e.,·en), wasthebrl~r
of happiness, freedom. and "ulth. Extremely powtlful , ht was second
onlytotheJadeEmperorhimself. Thesecond,DiGwn(therulerof
E.mh)."·askn<runasagreatjudgeofhun..,nsandtheira::tions.lhe
third,ShuiGwn(rulerofwattr),cootmlledthefkxxlsandtook""·ay
1 clt'seaseandsiekness. Tilistrioofruler>waswoOOippedoll O\·erChillo1
_____. _____ - ------------- o~ ----·---------------
coDs OR MORTALS
Two of the ~rue foundersofOJinese culture and philosophy were Laoze
(bom60-I !C!)andKongzi,orConfu<ius(551--'179 K£) ,whohdped
peopktnal<esenseofthen•turalworldattdtheir evetydaye.,iwnox.Tiu·y
werehugelyinlltoenti.llatdattractedmanybllowtrs_lllese

hwnantoteachhisfoUowersandwritethe
philosophkalmastupiect.theD<uJdojing
wllich laterfonned ~he ba>isofDaoisrn
Confu.cius,althougharealpersontOO , came
tobcS«nasaseml-m)·thicalfigureatld
wasworshippedos o do:ityintempks

....
li<:wrding!Ol"'""''phiio<ophy,humonbo'ongs........,.
lt"1!03<hio¥easta!erJequilibrtum,.., t OO.~
Sincolho)y<treaf"'tto!""ture, tllo)yst>Quldl..etn
713
OO tfOOII'I'"'thna tut e.~l'lriatelhe n atmaii'Mid

SEEALSO_....,~..,..,,..,.. ,;oH.t,lll2--s.l, I!IHll,l!lHII, m-13 . . '

.-~C~-r,'lf-·.S J< .~ ' d_;


LEGENDS OF THE
CHINESE HEROES
Chinese myths often feature culture heroes and weaving it into cloth- key fea tures of
who teach the skills of survival and chilization China's culture-are explained in these myths.
to the people. Such heroes are portrayed as The stories also stress the need for wise and
emperors-either mortal rulers, or deities who just rulers, showing that a good government
came from heaven to rule Chin a. The origin is sometimes even more important than the
of the Chinese script, and the art of making silk reputation of the imperial family.

----------------------- 0 ---

Ti lE FO UNDE R OF CIII:\JA
Fu Xi was marrie d to the. goddess No. Wa (sa p.l/2). He was said to have
come to Earth in prehiSloric times to become t he first emperor of China
Sornebelieved thathehadfourfaces,eachoverseeingoneoft hefour
poims of the com pass _ More important ly, he was one of the foremost
cultureheroesofChitu. The inventionofclan a nd family names, and
the establishment of socbl order were auribute d toFu Xi. Some said
he also taugln the ~ople of Ch ina how to domesticate animals, catch
fish wit h nets, and make music wit h instruments.
lnaddmon FuXt sho" ed theCiunesehowto == ~'.,.,
,t?.~q
makest lk threadand " emellmtoclDih how
to measure time, md howtouseacalendar
madefromalengthofknottedcord
IllII 'i ,~
,
1
0 11
A. fuXi

~~~~~::~::: ~Ch~ ~ ...


"""""<tS'['IIDJsU!Olklr<OOiclktJtt~~a
=
-
~ Jholi01of t00(JU.,t Cho""""""J''
fuXid.....o:.pooslrll•tha~""''"
cruc.a11oC!lill(l$0)~fe(lll(l th.. he
~otllncaled thefwnderoiChom

-~- ----------- 0 --- ·-------------

:!
T\VO SAC E RULERS Ti lE Q UELLI NG O r
A !ll)1hlcal emperor rtllOwned 00!!1 for ht> wisdom and skill TilE FLO OD
in arms, Yao ruled Ol'tr 1~ terri tori~ and brought peace to Shunw..,;gravtl)·troublcdbyagre:n noodof
somht:rnChma.llehadrunesons.butcOfiSidnednontof Chuu;, rivtTli. The emperor of l~a•·en had sem
themcap.:~bkofrulmg. \\nhlhehelpofthegods.hc thcnoodbccaustll(w~angrywlththt:smful
found a Mmplt fannn called Shun. who W3S mort skLllro war:-ofhum:mit)'.Gun.thegrandsonoftht
J.JtdimflligentlullYriSOIIS.andbt:q~.~t:~~l"'diiiSthrorll'hJ emperor. took pity on hurruns Jnd wem down
hlm.Shunbtcnmethesteond~rulcr_ to the Earth to bu~dcaoolsand dr.uruge d11Ches.
Go\-eming;t;;tutelrhei'ISilnle•~!}'rtgionol \~ntheemperorofhc;l\'tllfoundoutwha.J
hiskingdomtoenMuetB:..ilw:ptoplc.:.U)'ed Guntuddoncwuhou\ hbperrnission.he
him and had wtu1hey nwkd.lkq~.~tlkd killed h!Sgrand~n. ButasGunlayd~ad.a
n:bdhonssou1hofd~tY:mgt~Rw~rand dragon calkd Yu ~mcrgtd from hi~ body, s..l"'
hl~tobt:lC\.'yearsold. theternbl~damagemnkted bythtragmg
waters, and n~" to hea,.en to intercede on
betulfofthe peopleofChma. Upon heanng
Yu's SWI)'. the emperor ofl'oe:t\'~n r~lented, ~nd
~llowed Yu to raise mountains. rtroute ri,.ers.
and build drninagc ch~nnels so thatth~ noods
couldbecomrolled:ulast

"'' Weio; J. to.lrolli.... IDM


M-to:ad~•lflllodo-- Dooo'llongirllmlyollrfi,.IOc:oMiol . . hbolrii""'P'
.............. w.,. .. Go.-..:ltobo • ,_ ................. ooytloiU.rog .... labookllc.-tt.
-'"'rao.•.-..,... •• .__
1 c..r..M..r..tt.bond.-l.._ ... _ .. loo<la
·- - - - - - - - G - · - - - - - - - · ·-

... No..
~ s

TilE 1\!\ 'ENTO R O r FAR1\II NG ThogreotSiatbog-bolhao_,Dollar"""O

Anothercult~hero.Sl~!enl\ong,invenredthe:moffmning.
:!':::!:::!:=:·1091*1
A ft:mlny god who helpc<l pl.lnts pow. Sl~!en l"ong uuglu the
Chine~ how to grow staple fo<Xb .uch as rice and wheat.
• AIICientCiri-,tow
Somesaytlut he invented tiM: plow andde,.tsedwaysof S<lmen1'['111$$1flhlrl$honNong
growmgcropsinrocationtoprN::rvetli!Cfenilnyofthefields
Sl~n Nong is ;tbo :lltnbuted with reveali ng the many l~aling =~~~~
propeniesofl~rhs,aml lsthusre\'ertd:otiM:i nl'entorof

Chinese tr;tdition;d medicin~. Originally


amonal.Shent\ongwasall<'rbalistwho
<==::::=:=::::=::=:::::==~;!:::~ \
poisoncdhimselfwluleexperinl<'ntmgwtthhtrbo>,butwas
gr:uuedimmonahtybythl'god>.forhisbr:t,.eryanddrdicalion ?.C:i
THE COURT OF THE
JADE EMPEROR
According to Daoist myths, the vast and complex court o f the
Chinese emperor was min ored in a celestial coun of immortals
who served his heavenly co unterpart , the jade Emperor. Even
the deities of other religions such as Buddhism were seen as a
part of this huge organization of gods and goddesses . By making
offerings, believers sought the blessings and help of these deities.

-- -- -------------- .:;----

TII EMYTII • YUhoang


Tt.aJado(mpen:wrlusually
Theemperorofheavenw:>.SpopubrlyknownasYUhwmg jXMtrayOO .. abeardOOman
(the Jade Emperor) but wasalwoften referred toasSiwlS -inr.Jfhor<lgall(lola""'tll
~«.ardd&i>IIIJIOhi•
Di (Lord ofHeJ,·en). He v.-as asuprem~ deity but, like thastatabletoltade.
Confucius (su p.2l3). he was origirully !I mon~l Y(lhuarog
wasthechildofaking,ChingTeh.andlnsqueen, Pao
Yoeh. For man~ ydrs, the royal couple ~ould not ha,·e
children. PaoYo.ehaskedtheprieststoprayforherwhavea At the emperorS side sat Xi Wangmu (Queen Mother of the
childandlhe. nexl nightshedreamed\hatUto<:t',\hedeified \\'est),theernpres:;ofheaven. A powerfulgodd~ss.she had
LuherofDaoistn,l' iSited hercarryingababy.Soonafter, herownpabce.builtofgoldandsurroundedbyaprden
she became pregnam. She gave binh 10 a son who grew up wi!l1 trees 1hat bore 1he magical Pex:hes of lmmon:dity. The
tobeakindJndwiseruler,butafterensuringprosperityfor fnlittookathousandyearstolipen,butwhent!Je)'"'ereread)'
hissubjects,helefthisthronetofollowalifeofprayerand toeat,theygaveeternallifetotheeater(supp.ll0-21).
meditation. Whenhisperfectlifewaso;·er,hewasdeified
as the jade Emperor and became the ruler of the immortals PROTECTORS OF Ct·JINA
ThejadeEmpero(scounmcludedmanygodswholooked
THE CELESTii-\L BUREAUCRACY after differem aspws of life on Earth, helping people in their
ThejadeEmperorhvedinlcek-srialpalace dailylives.Longwang,knownJ»thedragonking.tookcare
andruledhovenwithtl~ehelpofahuge ofthe""Jters,espe<:iallytheseasandrivers,andwasalso
ret inueofO!herdeities,ea(;hofwhom
controlled a pankulardepanmem of
thehellsenlyclvtlservKe . TIJLSwasa
cS consideredtobelhegodofmin.Yttelaolookthe
formofanoldmanwholivedonthemoon,and
caredforcoupleswhentl!e)'gotmarried.
vastbureaucracythatresembledinsize -:o ,,._,C) However, tile most important god to
andcomplexitytheorg:mizationoftiJe humanswJSZaojun,knownastheKitchen
civilserviceth.atworkedfortlJe God . PeoplekepthisimageabovetheSlo,·e
ChineseemperoronEanh int!~eirkitchen. Everyyeartheywouldput
upanewpictureofthegodandburnthe
• Th• immonals oldone.Asthesrnokerosehea,·enwards,
MlnyiiWii•tooandjl.drjeo0S$101001hoJ:>OO(.....-..,
1'.)!.~,_-y--"'- it rookan~essage to the jade Emperor,
lhlllbf-k>lbymrv>lll(jrJ i he~<>:ant~
?IG oiChr.....,(>)lllllarreligm~stat"""ol tl"""' reponinghowthemembersofthe
rmroomlslll\001ll"'andrmoJeo!tarifiiJ'toiMn householdh.-tdbeh.wedduringthe)·ear.
BUDDIIIST IM,\ IORTALS TH E QU EEN OF HEAVEN
Fornl<OnyBuddhists, thespiritual leaderoftheirfailh.the KnownastheGoldenMoll>erorth<:Queen
Buddha.isseena>agrtathumante;ocher.ootasagod Mod,.rofrhe\\'e>I,Xi\\'angmuwason.:of
But.insomeformsofBuddhism.arnultitudeoffigures themostpowerfulhmn<:mals.Sheh<ardrhe
(indudmgtheBuddhahirns<:lf.and01herBoddhasmd reponsofrheorher lmrnon~lsafterthey
Bodhisam·as)aurac<de•'Otiona"dworshlp.lnOtitll:se ~<:rurnedfmm\isl~>roEani\.Sheruleddw:
popul.trreligion, the5efiguresjointl~emnksoftl"' monalworldtoo.and".. sable to

of"isdomandembodimern
ofBu:ldhistlaw;andGuan
)\n,thegoddessofme~~;y.

~ Gu a nYin
A~n>:ewh>~the..uldro
ao: h oa~ult r ma!aWISilorn,thefhldha ~=::::"~~':::.,"'
isr,.,..ed!rrthect.ooseasoooollho $ne re$pOrd$wha-ho)r
g<001<)11olall.sp11tC011011Cl>:>'o oo..-call ...,..herlolhelp

TilE EIGIIT 1'1<\IORTALS


TI>e B.t Xi.m. or Eight Immortals. were Daoist scholar<; and heroes who
achieved immortality due to their de\'O~on to Dooism. Tlley figure in
numerousmJ1hsalong"ithtlle]adeEmperor,fl)ingacrossclouds
fightingdragonkings, ordefeatinge-ildoers, andalso inromic
adwntures,suchasgettingdrunk,orsettingfiretoth.esea.Some ,
likeHanHsiangTzun,who>eflutewassaidtogi•elife,were
patronstotnusldans:sornehdpedtheskk,likeHoHsieo
Ku . a female immon•l wlto carri<':d objectsassocla!ed with
immortalil)' in her Wle. OtwtgU Chuan~ fln could revi\'e
thedeod , andChangKoo'scastat>etsprolongedlife
~
,, THE ADVENTURES
OF MONKEY
O ne of the best-loved of all Chinese myths is the story of
a mischievous character named Mon key. It tells how Monkey
runs amok , upsetting all the gods, and causes still more mischief
when he is punished. Finally, he is made to join a Buddhist
pilgrim on an expedition and reforms himself. Involving Daoist,
Buddhist, and ancient Chinese deities, the s10ry appeals to all
with its lively plot and likeable, albeit roguish , central figure.
-- -- --~------------ .:; ------- •""':

"' Tho mo nkltJking


Ti lE MYTH Mortm,'sOO!o rotor
Monkey wJ;S the m~ intelligent of all his species. When he
wa:,yo\!nghewerutosiUdywithaD<Ioistm:Ner.buturuble
=-'~(~~~=;,."'
roresis!pbyingpranksonOiher~tudent;;;hew:~>semrod~e
forest . Theretheotherrnonke}'Sreveredl)imforhiswisdom respottsibilityoflooking~hertheheavenlypeachgarden
3nd skill and made him thetr king. A feast"""" held for him where the Peaches of lmmonality grew. Monke)' was ,.efy
andMonkey,hao.in&drunktoomuch,fellasleep,wliereupon happy in heaven until the gods threw a party for Xi Wangmu
theKingoftheUnderv.·orldkidnappedhimandtookhimto (supp.216-17). Theyforgotto in,·ite Monkey. and in
heli . TI~ereMonkeyw·..sconfinedrokE'ephimoutofrnis<:hief revenge.hestoleandateallthe Peachesoflmmonality,
reaffirming that he was now acnL"tlly one of the immortals
FROM ~I ELL TO HEAVEN
lnheiLMonkeybrokefreeandwemtolook:utheregistu MONKEY liND THE BUDDHA
ofjudgetlWr~s.whichcomainedthedesti nyofeveryhving Afterhehadswlenthepeaches,ll.loukeyatesomepilb
being. Whenhereadthathewoulddiewhenhewas342 belonging!Othe;;ageL1ou(s(tpp.212- 13)thatwere made
yearsold,hecrossedouthisnameso. fromthePeachesoflmmortality.Assuredforathirdtime
thattiecouldhwforev~r.Whenthe ofeternallife,hebegantopl1ntotakeoverheaven. The
jade Ernperor(supp216-17)was bJ.ffledernperorappealedto theBuddha.thegreatestsagt
told about Monkey's of alL When the Buddluasked Monkeywhyhewantedto
impudembeh:ll'ior, ruleliea\'en,herep liedt!L"t!hedeservedtobekingashe
lie decided to summon wasthemostpo"·erful cremureintheuni''erse,andcould
the irrepressible creature leap t housandsofmiles inonejump. Holding Monkey in
wheasen. He tried to hishand,theBuddluaskedhimtodemonstratehispower.
keephirnincheckby ButwhenMonkeyobli ged,theBuddhashowedhirnthat he
givingh imtheviul had only jum ped across the sage's enormous JX!Im-1he
rnountainswhereheludbndedweretheBuddha'sfingers
..,. lnth• Buddh '• J•Im The astounded Monkey was imprisoned inside a m:Jgic
AltooMoJob:Jydio<:owl<odthr!l mountain,andwasre le:>sedwhenhehadtrulyrepented
OOMd""'elytr,.,.,.sOOihe He was ordered to ao::company the monk Xuanzang, who
bwadthotlheBuddha's.,atnt
00 roalil9d t00th"~'
wasgoingonawestwJrdjourneytolndbtofind Buddhist
WQie.~ftoo !Ill, hrn•tlld scripturesandbringthembJ.cktoChina.
1\ ION KEY'S JOU RNEY TilE HEAVENLY PEACH GARDEN
ThemoSipopularaspectsofMonkeyS.storydeal"'ith.episodesof Theheavenlygatden.whertthePeachesof lmmottality grev.•,
h.ismisch.id'-making,andh.ismeetingv.iththeBuddl .... Butthetale belonged to Xi Wangmu (Queen Mother of the WeSI). It wJS • plact
roocludes"ithhisjoum<ytolndia"ithXuan:angandh.isdisciples ofgrtat be.lutybutalsopower,becauseeatingthefruitmadeaperson
Zhu\\'uneng(alsokn.ovmasl'igsy) lmmorui.Monkeyabusedhispositioninthegardenbyeatlngthe
and::,h.a\1\ljing.Theytt.l''elthrough peachl:s,whidtweO':n<:nonlypowerl\tl,butverysca.u,be<:ausethl:
anlmagin.orylandscapepopul.ttedby ll'e':SI':l rdybon:fruiLMortow:r, Xill'angtnuS.banqu.:twJSheld or~y
dragons ,demons,,·ok•t\Ot;s,andother ono:e''t:l)'3,0<X>)"e<>rs.EuingthepeacheswasjUSior.,.ofthellutt
.., .• )'<in which Monkey made himselfimrnoru]-,..,ach time he wa>
ch.allen!9'ngthepowerofthedeitie>to
cortferimmonalityuponhim

7.!l

SEEALS0 bi"'I'S--M-lii,IS-l'!l. l10-lt•Gordons-116-11 ..

~- ...,~
THE JAPANESE CREATION
Japanese myths aboUI the origin of lite most popular deities of Japan , such as the
universe tell how, after six generations of sun goddess Amaterasu and the stonn god
primal deities , the scvcmh generation, Susano-0 (see pp.226-27). However, because
comprising the brother and sister duo of !zan ami erred during the first marriage
Izanagi and lzanami, set the process of creation ceremony, she was condemned to give birth
in motion. Their union produced some of the to monsters as well as to gods.

- --- ----------~~---~ o ---

TI-IE M YTII
Atthcbeginningoftime, thereex!Stedthreeinvisib'tedeities
These mysterious gods wert" known as the Heavenly Center
Lord,tlleHighGenerall\'eForce,andtheDivineGenerath·e
Fon:e. Together,theycomainedallthepotentblforlifeand
creation.Theywerefollowedbyscwralgenerationsofdeities.
until the tim~ was : ipe for ~he crel~ ion of the universe

H I E CREATORS
Creatlonwass~arted bytheseventhgenemtion of deities:
the creator god lz:magi{He\Vholnvftes),and the creator
goddesslzanami(She\Vholnvites).Thesedeities
representedthetwobal;~ncingprinciplesofcreation.the
m~uline and the feminine _They stood on the rainbow
bridgeofheaven,andchurnedthech.1osbeneaththem
withaspearunttlanislandwasformed. The two deities .t. ba nogi and l,_.no,. i
lhafi,.ttwodolt•o»todosoondl0 (31lhtromha3>1(l<l
des-::endedtothisislandanddecidedtom:myThe
llallllrJ<aMI!liMrrltOOc"""'thaparonuo!Oert"sSL•J•as
wedding ceremony required lzanagiandlzanami Arnator...,_ tha .un godOO... and lou~o .,.,... tha own god
wcircleaceremonialpillarinopposltedirections,
withthebridegroomrecitingthemarrL1ge,·ows deSiinedtoperishbecauseherfinal childwasthefiregod
firs\. However, lzanami spoke fir5t, which was K~gutsuchi ,whoconsumedherinhisflame-s. The goddess
considered improperb)·theothergodo. Sotheir diedandleftforYomi,thejapaneseUnderworld
unionwasflawedand itproduced Hiruko,the
leech-child,whowassentouttosea THE FLIGHT FROM T~IE U N DER WO RLD
Theceremon)·wasrepeated,andthistime, !zanagimournedthelossoflzanami,andtmveledtothe
l.oanagispoke first. Thisunionwashappyand Underv..·orldtoretrieveher,butlzanami'sbodyhadaltl'ady
fru itful. and lzanamigavebirthtoawholenew beguntodecay. lt seemedthathewastool:uetosaveher,
gener:uionofdeities---~hegodsoftheoceans,rivers. :md he fled from the Unde rn-orld. with lz:u!.lmi following him
winds, trees , mountains, and lowbnds. She ~so g.we ThewarriorsoftheUnderworld pursued lvnagi,:mdsohe
birthtoalltheislandsofJapan. But !zanamiwas threw some rocks~t t hem, which magically tu!l'led into food.
delaying the warriors. lzanagi f;~iledtonoticelzammitraihng
him on his w:~y to Eanh_ To prel'em rhe warriors from
catching up with him, lzanagiplacedavaststoneoverthe
entrancetotheUnderv.'orld, tt:lppinglzarumiinsideforever.
AAIATERASU
. ~ Ort.olthtrnoslptornitltlttolallj;!p.Ul(St:./~nwdrlliu.thtsun

- --- -
/ .
~Amatm.w"-astht •klt5l dluglttCrolluougi..d lunami

' ... ~ . . Whtn >hot \\-as born, slit "'-"U !10


he.tv~n.from..,·htn:.O.shon.downontht
b<igltt t/t.1t htrp;~mus~~tmhtr ~to
Elnh.llerdotht'"'"'"'

·-
Slt.ldd«<"ith.fe"~lundhtrnrcldw::-tofllgluformtdthtMtlky\\~.
Lottr,t...,·ingwmntdtheUnh,.·lthhtrra)"Sandmadtrondltions
suiubltfotlr.ioglhlngstog.ow.Arruterasuom.dawnwEanh.Sht
tmgltttht~ofJ•p;onhowiOgJOWrittandwhrat , andhaww
.. :J I I kttpsilkwonns,t...T\'e$1 lhdtthrt;ld . .,ld ..~a,-.,clo!h.Acronlmg
J • _: _ _ I ••"II!~ toapopul.1rtn)~h.Anurer..,.._.w;osallJP:'~""hmherbrothtr
Susmo.OU«pp.ll6-2n. darnagtdhtrricccropsandt•mlshcd
A S~ato1IIMI htrhorne.SO.shutht,..lfin

.... - •
. . bleoss.gsolthe_t...,. . .
...,~~ooorw~~;..-
-"""'*'·*·-"
r..r.-.ot ........ SioiOIO ..... beloM•-"1111
.. .,._.,...,l
aca>.., ,plungiogtht "urld
l..odorl<nessasartsult

THE K.AJV\1
• nt- i.Poedoo-rld
TI~tj;lp>.nor,..btli~thatthous.andsofgods.~sses.spirlts.~r.d
IMgod:ltoo<lo:IAtrtalel3lllmiO
d<ifi..donctstol'$,kno••,a>k;aanl,tx15t...:rossd~~:cosmos.Oit&nhorin
lw:~''(l\. TIM:y ""' s.ok! w R;sklt In ""'tur•l ph•nomw.o such as rodts, ::'!~~c:.:~:e,.,.~=:
rtvers,andl•l<es.TI~eyr•n~from ftM"l--hlwMII,Wt!hJujot
tt wasa neNgoddeuandstappetl
JX'Pular ddtlessuchuAmattr•su,to OU!,brlllQifll'j~hl ba<ktoltl(tllll;.ld
lo.:alandfaonilyddtlesktlOWTlto
onlyasnullnumt:.:rofpeopkMOSlly
rompri!ingSI>lntodeitlts,dl(k,omialso

~
indl.ld.Buddhi.ll.d<ities,aswdl.si'Omc
.:krivWfromHinduhm,JUChao8t'll1(n
(lup/6i),th.J&IW"'""""rsionofthe
Hondugoddw;S.ora!\O·atiUupJ99)

. ~...... ..
... SioifJIOtpiril
S!on~>••st..IO . . . . . -..ty~
'"'"~'-'lonoor•lhii...,.IJI_.or
I ,__.,.....,....t
~ .. ·~tr• ..,ol ..
doo

borda...... h . . . . . . . . . . . _ • • ,..,.,.
• . . - ...,. . .,,....... bodoiP«<!' l ::.;.::~7:=-=
G -- - · - - - - - -
Y01\ Il
'Thtj:lp.o.ntso:Lmdofthedead.,OmiorYomi!SUkuml,"""
he~ ......,drobta~ofd.orknnf.fullofdtrnon5andsini51:cr
deihtswhoan~ktdorpursuedwhocwranh"edthe ... n..
rulnoftlllsdl"""'lpl.oct"liSErrutu-O ,ajudgcof thcde.od
wholl••cdinasubt•rr•nullc-.ISikmadtoftt..nw: ... batld
~wtlsdkltcouldt..min«<ur.dtrgroutld.Whentvil
ptoplt dltd ~r.d wem to Yom!. thty w·ert rn..O. to weu
plaqutsarour.dthdrnecks. Thetoecurtrdli>tsoftheir
situ, ;>CCQoding to whkh they wert wm~enttd physk~lly
t..forttl~tlrlle>hroo:ttda""·•y.tobo.comeobretding
groundforrnaggOis, th.ltwouldtumlntodcmons

.
• Emma-0
Thet ... o1Yomi'*$Sl)d,...,..l(llltl(ttleoltuo:tdY>1to)

====~ ~~:"',...:"• L~~=='~~i.<~


$lEAl$0_o..,.,.,,..,.~t. tS1-Q.-.t._.t.11113 •_..,_llt-lit.t.._7tl-" * ··~
.t;:- --".. .:.;c\.
SUSAN0-0 AND HIS
DESCENDANTS
Many Japanese myths deal with the storm god Susano-0 ,
who, like Amaterasu (see p.223), was conceived by the creator
god lzanagi himself. Susano-O's early years were tumultuous,
but he later ref01med and settled down with a princess in the
Izumo region. His son , Okuninushi-the god of abundance,
medicine, sorcery, and happy maniagcs-bccame a powerful
ruler and the most important Shinto deity after Amaterasu.
--- · - - - - - - - - - - - - - 0 - - - - -

THE MYTH Aw liamOOtcunniriiJ


\VhenlunagireturnedfrornhislrjptotheUndrrworld darty,So>a<>;~ - Oh•ed

(sup.222),hefeltdinyandsohe wl5tdhimselfinariver.
The goddess Am:uer.~Su and the moon god Tsuki-yomi were
~~·::m"'~'
lxoloroha<k r r~~~ itto
created when lzamgicle~nsed hiseyeS~,whileSus.urw-0 flii!<>WMihh .. ~d
appeared when he ,washed out his n~ Susano-0 wanted
toseehismother,lz:mami,sohedectdedwgoiothe Heaskedhissontospt"ndanightinaroomfullofpoisonous
Underworld. He went to bid brewellto Amaterasu, but snakes.Ahhoughitwasadangeroustask,Suseri-hirnegave
trol.lbledhersomuchth::ushehidin. Jcave(scep22J) O kuninush i ama!(ic>carf.whichheusedtoprotecthirnsetf
Next, he \'.':'IS sem imo a room full of wasps and hornets_ Ag:Jin,
SLAYING A DRAGO N theS<:arfcametohisrescue. ThenOkuninushiwasordered
rhe gods punished Susano-Obycuumgoffhisbeard and togotoalietdandretrieveanobjectburiedthere.Whenhe
fingem.:.ib, and banishing him from heaven. While wandering gottowardsthemidd leofthefield,thestormgodsetiton
the Eanh, he came xross·a dr:Jgon :utacking Kusa-nada-pime, fire . Okuninushiaskedafieldmousetoshowhirnawayout,
the PrincessoftheRicePaddies. Turningtheprincessinto.a anditledhimtoatunnelwherehehidunti!tl~efiresubsided.
cornbandhidingheri nhisliair,Susano-Oslicedthedragon
to pieces with his sword. Then. when all w~ safe, he turned THE ELOPEMENT
thepri ncesslx>ck intoahurnan, andnuniedherTI~eyseuted Evenafterhis>ongotthroughtheordeals.Susano-Odid
down inlzttmoand hadanumberofchildren,knownas notagreetothem:>.rri:>.ge. Soo ne night,whilethestorm
the EanhlyGods,wholaterbecarne,·erypowerful rulers godwasasleep,Okuninushiquiet l)•creptuponhimand
tiedhislonghairto theroofbeams.Thenhepickeduplus
OKUNI N USHI'S ORDEALS father'sweaponsandamusicalinstrurnentcalledakolo,and
OneofSus;~no-O'ssons,Okuninushi ,hadsethisheart ran away with Suseri-hime. When Susano-0 awoke he had

-
onhisllll fsist er,Suseri-hime,buttheot onngodw:~med toteardownthebeamsbeforehecouldgivechase. Having
to make sure hissonwasworthyofthematch. Soheset fin~llycaught ttp with them, he surprised the couple by
Okuninushiaseriesofdifficuhtaskstopro,·ehimself. forgivingthemandconsentingtotheirmarriage

.,. Krmo·oogi
A!ll)<bning!Mdr"'JJO,Sus•n<~-Oioonda~dcalled
Kusa-""'J'IG!=Cuttorlhdlooint.ermrawof1hebooot's
tail!lao!hJied , t~Arnio!Oiasu ~rml:;oJIOOC*""\hl.:.-

·.~
~t.;;~~.)~*~-
~ Okunin,.. hi • ndlllto• bb ~
OTHER JAPANESE DEITIES
:~.:~--L~~::S:~:! M.ony of thoj;op<u>t51: dtit~s link«! to wnth•r
..a--bolioltlrlol-lht mdlhrrosmosb.loo&w1hrf.lmilyolSusa.no-O
....._totl"""!'..,~llwt ondAm.oterASU.Tsuld-)QIIli.lhrmoon!Pd."'.OS
'f"IIUa:INtlhtf..., • bct Amater.ISUS husband , "t>ill: \\'.aluhiru...,. , tt..
boJIOWIIIIroldeo..... cUgu..
sungoddi:S!''J si.st(r, wastl>tgoddtN of
Uw:risillgSU11.- Talumi-cn\15lD , odtil)'fmm
ant.>rlil:rgn>tr.ationofgo<k.htatM
U.. ltt(SS(ngtr of Am.aurasu_ '1\o-o "ind
dtitirs,:stor..I>O-hikomd:stor..k>-bt, ""'~ .l. laglllo.: loi
_'"'"P-.,....~<~
... _gOds

~~-- ...... 111011


....... pi-nod .
...""''laq,N...._..

~.OI<uninushi andhis SObrod"'rs"·•mtdtom<~rryob.auuful


princcsscallc<i Yo-g.unl-him•, 50 they ""m to woo l>tr. On tlv ,.·ay,
th•ym•t•godlntl,.,gulseolor•bbltthatl>Jdbtenskit\l"'doli'''
byacrorodileandw•slnso:v•JI':paln.Okut>lnushi.,.,.icktdbroct..rs
wantedcl,.,r•bbittosufferfunl"'r,soth•yadvistdlttob.ul,.insalt
watntor.sto"'hsfur.Butth•klnd-l"'arc•dOkunlnushitoldtt..
c"'•tu..,tob.lththtfrtshwaltr••>dthr:ltrollintt..poli•nofkarrut

~~;-~~~~~;,:~~:~y.·~~~~:l:;'~~~~:::~·~1a:;;~.7gits =;~~~~i:!'~:· ~~:=~~==::'


tl>t plinortss.j..lousofOin.o-tlr...shl .,. suettM, d>e brorho:rskiUtd I WlllgOd,-.lh8wa•-••tho lood, a-ltt.IIJObet-.lhtgOd
himtwia . bultl"'IJX!s"'>i>'tdh!mro.htlmt s. ookoasaroot,...ol.bpool olta a:l..,bouogorol-ty

:::===::;,...:=::....:-:_:-.:-: :-: :-: ;- i -C-H~~-N-'-IC-LE; 01~1-.1-IE_G_O_D~----


SIJRI:\F I. IZL'.\\() 1 '1\o-oimpotUnttUlS.U..N!lw.gi(ChronidHofJ.>p;mJ •nd•!>t""iill
Anlmpo!Wll ntoohrlnt kx-.alb;:linlhc ln~~~~<>p"""""' '-' (Rttord~of Ancitm Manus) . tillkabout tht m~1hsoftl>t kaml and
~a.dlU(Jkudruhilhtdtllyafh.twrrn.uruws-...,_."'"Y dtscribtthcwly.mythicalhlstoryofJ•P<'n;ondthtroltpla)'tdby c
lluullthrklnu P ~htto-ln<klobtriD.u-u.o U..kamiinshapingtl>trountf}:1loeK<>JI~Ialsodt"'Otessp.u:cto ~
issut-<oflowmdlnlfTiiW Jblsmoqhts\awlwnlnlzumo.u am)1hicai •AgtofMm ." lnwhldJ5mtl·m>1hlc-ll anaswrsoftt.. z
0
botuart ~ 1ht mmlh whm lht J<.nlt&JI': l""ord: ~1--'>rn- irnJ>"rial family""' dtocri~ Tl>ts. book s, which W.tt ba<k to
It is~lltd ..,,...,:~~h thri!IOdhwhm lht k.u:nlan-aborm m., 8th century. h,a,-, btcomc ,-,rylmpomm lnJ~patt , ghingtl>t 0
~
countrya5>rongC<>~mo:<:tiontolts ownmythologyandldSiory. z
0

~--·
--':"'
"' '
r~~ -
KINTARO
One of the most popular stories in japanese figure-the great warrior Sakata no Kintoki-
mythology is not about the many great he is essentially a figure of legend. Brought
gods of the Shinto hierarchy, but about a up in the forest, he became bmh a friend
superhero called Kintaro (Golden Boy), who w the animals and a defender of the fo rest
possessed superhuman strength even as people against monsters when still young.
a child, and grew up to become a heroic Later on , in his exploi ts as a samurai, h e
samurai. Alt hough Kintaro's career as a

Kimoki was a wMrior from Kyoto who fell


inlovewithabeamifulyoung womanatld
marriedher.Soonaftcrwards,hebecame
involvedina coun intrigueand wasb:m ished totheforest
~leg<!<HJ• . Ih<l•pode<
becattseofsomemahdousgossiptll:ltlktdbeenspreadabout
'JOO'l' •llyl""a>nOO<toV<oti ms
himbycertaincouniersjealousof hispower. l!edied soonafter
arrivingintheforest,wherehiswifegivebirthtoason. :::.~~ ~~ ~:.! ''""" '"
Whentheboy wasbom, hismothernarnedhim l\ intaro.
Even as a blby, Kinuro was prodigiously strong~ by the time he
w:.seight yearsold hecould cmdowntreesase:lSilyandas
well as the most experie nced of woodcuuers, and he Glme to
ln ..,..ri!I.Jor>a"""'legood>
be v~lued high ly by the people of the forest. Once K int~ro
becameaccustomedtothewaysofthewild , heprotected his ::.:.~.~.~~=:
...,n,. idatOOiutln..:rno
mothe r and the other forest dwellers from many monsters.
,..,.,..Q!the Kinta<osrory
includ ingterrify ingbeastssucbas t hegianteanh-spidn
=~~~n;.:::
A .\Ji r\ \A LS AS FR IEN D S TilE SArv\ U RA I'S FOLLO W ER
Growingupwithoutotherchildrenforcomp.1ny,Kintaro KimarowasrenownedforhissuperhumanSirength.\Vhen
beca~TJefriendlywith t heanima!sof theforeSl,especially heuprootedancee toTTIJ.keabridge,hewasspottedby
thebear,deer,monkey,andhare. Oneday,asumo amand~esstdasawoodcuuer, who challenged the boy
wr~ling m:uch \>.'aS org.wiud in the forest, and Kimaro to an ann wreoding comesL When Kimaro :md the man
actedasthejudge. Themonkeywrestkdwiththelku-e provedequ~llymatched.the;trangerrevealedhimS<"I f to
andlOSI,butthencompbinedthatheh:tdtripped,and beSadanntsu,afollowerofapowerfullordcalled!biko,
s.o the pair fought ag:~in . This time the monkey won. On whoinvitedKintarotothecapit altobecomeasamurai
each occasion, Kinuro aw:mkd a rict' oketo the "innn, \Vithhismother's~nnission,Kintarodep:med,:l!ldafter
sob01hwerehappy. l1 a~tiodofservicewithRai ko,hewlSptomOiedrolead
soonbecameclear that ane lit equanetofRaikoSfollowerscalledtheFourBraves.
Kintaroledthisgroupagainsta
felrsomeman-eltingmonsrer
th~t preyed on the cit)', an.d
usedhisrazor-sharp
sword to slice
off the creatureS
head. Thus he

• Jodgingtho conto..
Kiotarowa!<hedcloselyO$!,.haoeandt,.~wres!kd.
!Qokongoutlo<S•!I"Sold'l(lalmqoolal;e!IW1>'Wthat rnoght b(l
maOOtoOOatorpushanow>OO nt outollhespeciliada<ooa
SEEAlSO""-o-l.!>l--!>J.--I.Tl--IJ.!11-9!1. 1ClHJI.I~I.174--~ ...

_\':'..._.~ .·~ .::..tt'


ANCIENT EGYPT
Although covering only a small area-the delta and banks of the River Nile-
the civilization of ancien t Egypt lasted for some 3,000 years. It produced a
compl~"X mythology that pervaded every aspect of people's lives.

Theanciem Egyptiansworshippednumerousgodsand
~ sa::rificed and presen·ed in temples. Ceruin animal forms-
goddesscswhoweresaidtoinlluencethewholeoflife.from suchasSobekScrocodile,orthehippopotamusformtaken
thecre:u ionoftheunive~tod.eannuallloodingofthe bythebinhgoddessTaweret-wereespeciallyrelevamtothe
RiverNile,fromaperson'sbirthtoaperson's dailylh·esofagremmanyordimryEgyptbnswho
death.Goddessessuchasll:uhorwatched
over women when they SJ.''e birth, while extremelydangerousanimalswhenworking
thegreatgodofmummification,t\nubis, onthebanksoftheNile,espedallywhen
\ookedonwhenabodywasritually theri,·erwasinflood
preparedfortheafterlife. There were
alsomorelocaldeities: Horus. the god CHi\NGI NG DEITIES
ofthesky,w:>S thegreatgodoflower The animal formstakenbythegods
Egypt,whileSet,d>egodofchaos.was andgoddessesofanciemEgyptwerenot
therulingdeityofUpperEgypt constant ,howe\·er.AnciemEg)"ptbn
deitiesexistedinastateofflux,andsome
i\NIMAL GODS themcouldtakemanydifferentformsat
Manyofthegodsandgoddessesofancien ferent times. Anubis, for example. was
Egypt wok animal form . Hathortook the A Docora1i••tcara bbH tl• brooch oftenponrayedasajachl.buthecould
fonnofacow;Bastet.goddessofsexualit y, lutan<"""""'ll•thc..,noy ral was•clen~lied alsotaketheformofasnakeorafalcon
<i<l«<lyW tthfla.whomhll~topn01
hadthebodyofacat:Sobek.whoembodied thesl::y""""hlldiod.Maoyotomsonhosmil Thedeitiesthemse lvescouldalsotakethe
thepoweroftheEgyptianphar:whs,wasa li\;o thi•ono.-e..X.nOO'Mth srmOOboiFia formofmultiplegods.ThesungodR.1,for
crocodile;andTh Oth,thegodofwisdom. instance,tookseveralforms,eachwiththe
h.adtheheadofanibis. Theseattimal formsg:wethedeities identityofasepamtedeity:hecouldbethebeetleKhepri
astrongsenseofidentity.Priestsattheirtemplesr:Jisedreal rollingthesunacrosstheskyasascar:Jbbeetlerollsitsballof
animals, then sacrificed and mummified dungacrosstheground:hecouldbe Ra-Hamkhty.thehawk
thatsoarsacrossthesky:orhecouldbeAmun-Ra.theking
oftl~egods. lnthisbst formhewasident ifiedclose lywith
Egy ptSplumohs,whomhesupposedlyprotected whenthey
ledtl~eirarmiesonthefieldofbattle

THE AFTERLIFE
Onearea inwhichancientEgypt iandeitieswere especially
imponamwasthatofdeathandtheafterlife.Till!ancient
Egyptianss.'lwlifeonEarthas prep.'lrationfor thelifet o
come, so they evolved a whole system of mumm ification and
entombment rit uals . Accompan)·ing these were many myths
involvingOsiris,thegodoftl~eUnderworld , andthedeities
whopresidedovertl~erituatsandassessedthe,lonhinessof ?.3.')
thedeadperson'ssoultoenterthenextworld
THE BEGINNING OF
THE WORLD
The creation sto ries of Egyptian mythology by deities such as his children, Shu and Tefnut,
desCiibe how order and life emerged om of the and grandchild ren, Geb and Nut. Ra and his
primal chaos. Ra, the sun god (see pp.238-39), creation exist in the light ; the darkness that
is featured as the main creator deity in many of remains is personified by a serpent, Apep, who
these myths. He is aided in the task of creation constantly threatens to swallow the light.

-- - -----------------«:;--

Til[ MYTII ;w.::;:;:;,..:;=:;:;=;;:;<ii~":"i~, ::~G~b~·~:!h~thostyg«ldoss


ThecreatordeityR.1roseout Nut.w00sebodyc"'vedt.gl1ab<Mlltte
Ea>th rormkethea.chottOO~
ofNutl, theprimal oceanof
Geb.rheOOith gOO.IayOOiowSI•lstoot
non-being. Whenlb. sneezed.
Shu.thegodofdryJ.ir,emerged
fromhisnostrils. funll('S(Ut goddess H~rhor (see p.24'f),
andTefnut , th<-gotlde-.sof tolookForShuandTefnut
moistair.appearedfromhis After returning wit h the
mouth. R~sentthetwogods two deities, Hathorsaw that
on·ajourneyacrosstheocun. anmhereyehadreplaced
Then,usinghispowersof heronRa'sbce. Shewepr
creationandperceptlon.he atbeingsupplamediurhis
ca\ledtheprimalelementsinto wa)'.andthe first people
being,speakingtheirnamesandwatchingthemappear. werebornFromhertears.Rareturnedllathortohisbrow.
Atthistime,hea]SQcre:ued Ma'at,thegoddessofuni,·ersal butthistimeshetooktheformofacobm.stayingthereto
lunnony,whowa;;L1.Skedwit_hbringingordertohiscreation - helpRaruleovertheworldltehadcreated

THE CREATURES Of T!-11: EARTH THE GREAT GODS


Raneededadryplacetosundonwhilecarl)'ingout ShuandTefnuthadtwochildren.Geb,the Earth, and Nut,
hisr:.sk.sohemJde Nun recede, which revealed a rocky thesky,whobywgethera"dp,·ebinhtothestars.jealousof
isbndormouud,knov.nastheBenbensrone. The god stood the pair,Shuseparared themarrd forb:lde Nut from giving
onthestoneanderl\'isionede\'el)1hinghe wasabouttoCreare birthonanyda)'Ofthemonth.ButNutwonfiveextr.Jdays
Fromtheprimalocean,hesummonedForththeplants , while gambling with the god Thoth (su p.2~1). On these
animals,andbirdsoftheEarth;hespoketheirnames days,shega,·ebirthtoOsiris.Set,Nephthys,and
andtheyappearedlxforehim. Next.Ratoldhiseye, the lsis,EgyptSgreatestdeities.

M3'atr<Jp(ll(lnllld\ru il<,
andiJ""'ooleot>Ra's

;::;,~·::=.
wll(.-at(KJ\sW(l<(l"'llJhl;>;l
a;j[llnsloooolh«Jooltiers
PTA JJ
lnan ahemaliwcreationSlory, thecentralcreatoristhegodPt.th.acnoftsman<kity.
·~···~·'
AneoHgypt •niM. I6th oontuoy
~~
'· :::-:.~9~ .,

This lll}1h describes how Pt.th began the uskof creation by imagining and then ~~~~!..W:~oo~
naming the different gods. bringing them imo being. He then u.;;ed his skills os a
sculptortopllXlucl:the otherbeingsof the cosrnos.He<:arvedandchiseledsomeof
rhem from Slone, and m<>de rhe others out of metal, ha>ingltwemed
bal•<l'ltll<I IO havel(l•oodthosoo
!)00 altc. h" death I ~

l' Pytomid$
the te<:hnologyofmetalworl<ingforthispurpose I lheJI'j'l at~ dloiGtra.awttocteddutu>j t hefoottho1foa.lty
Ptahfoundedsew:ral dti<:s,aswcllas shrineswhen: k2575-c.l~ 1Cii.W<llll1Miargostottucwr osol""'arrioot
he could be worshipped, cn:atingeachmt<': by -/~bl,!,.v"V"">­ W«ld. aOO..,.aroount o)1llltoloofthe-ol""'pha!aoho
thinkingabouritandthenprot1Dtn1Cing its
nam e. PtahScultwasespe<:iall yimportantat
Memphi>, ancirntEgypl'sadrninistratiwcapiul.

TH E PHARAOH S
t> Th••culptorgod Ancienr Egypt ~ n.derswen: seenasnot ju>t kings but

:~:=~.... 1 ~:~~. :~~!~ ~~:·::;:~:~~:rt::;:.~,~=·:.:~


::~:;,:::~.: ! =~~;:~:d::;~~:~~~;~~~n::=
··--·- _:rrna ltomp: ___________ ~ :;:.~:~·:·t:;;~:t~::~~~~~~~
KAR.\JAK j shape also r<..:mbled the lknbrn stone . the primal
Atl<an>ak, near the Ri,·er Nile. <lands a huge complex of ancient Egyptian 11:mples, .' mound on which the WJl god stood when he began 10
the most imponant of which is dedicated to the god Amun. He was origi~tly ~"" :n:a::·:~,.,worl~~~: ~~:~:::n:~:.=e~~sit~:umed
of thefo~as of chaos (some acrounts portray the god as a primal 51lake li>1ng mthe
water) , but hlS name and character became \inked to that of Ra to fonn Amun-Ra, 1
---
:thelink =-·een tl:rkln and the mlgl
gs tty
SUJr:;::;_
whov.·asknownasoneofthegreatestcreatordeities andw.sau ributedwithall the ~ - - - -- ---------
Cr<•tivepowersof tl>esungod. Thetemp\eofAmunstandsinalatgepr<cir\C1, and
oomainsmassh·eoo\umns thataretoppedv.1 thCaf'1ngsresembllnglotusblossoms
A KING'S MURDER
A popular myth from ancient Egypt narrates
the swry of a tragic rivahy for the throne of
Egypt between two divine brothers, the
virtu ous Osiris and the wicked Set, and the
subsequent dispute between Set and Horus,
the son of Osiris. The myth was well known
because it dealt with the rule of Egypt, and
also because the story of the death and revival
of Osiris gave people hope of an afterlife.
·------~- ;;;; -- -

THE MYTH A Hot•ofi.ghu S_,


!hisotonet!llial fr omtho!empleoll b usat[dfu.[gyp~ ,
ThefirstkingofEgyptwasthegodOsitis;likes.omerulersof do)p(t<aS<:e<Oefromtho00tdeHo:ou•ioo)htag<nr>$t$ct,
Egyplafterhim,hetookhissister,lsis,ashls " 'ife. He was a WJththogorjd(lsslSJsat thot.Jirnofthoboat
goodking,muchlikedbyhispeople,arrd bisw:tSapopubr
queen. BmOsitishadawickedandviolembroCher,Set,who to cure the infant But later.whenshegave binhtoher
was jealous of Ostns's power and luSied after Isis. T? get tid of ownson,Horus, he, inturn,wasbittenbya><:orpion '
Osiris, Set tticked the kinginlodimbingintQawoodencheSI. and lsi~, who had usedupherpower,couldnotcurehim
which he then sealed and threw into the Nile. Osiris W:J:S dead Fonunately,Ra.thesungod.sawlsisindisuess,tookpity
bythetimrlsisfoundthebox.but sheretrie,·edthekingS ~n her, lndsent the moon god Thorh to cure Horus
bod)'-Setdis<:overedwiL-u lsislt.addonesohehackedOsirisS
bodyintomanypieces.Althoughitwassupposedlyimpossible tiORU S AND SET
todestroythebodyofagod.Sethadallbutdoneso. Me:mwhik, Set had usurped the kingship of Egypt. When
Horusgrewup,heclullengedhisuru:leforthethrone,and
RE VIVING OSIRIS thetwofoughtmanytimes.Ononeoccasion,Setblindeda
lsisdecidedtos:Jh·ageOsiris~body. \Viththehelpofher sleepingl!orus. When Isis found her son blinded, she nursed
sister.Nephthys,who"':!Sthi:wifeofSet,shegatheredthe himandresiOredhissight.ThenSetttiedtor-~peHorus,and
fragments of Osiris's body. joined them together. and bound wid the other gods thai the young man was unwonhy w be

~:n.~:~~:~·f~~~~:~~eh~~~~::mmy "-".....,-~,... kingg~~:n~ ~~~~p~::~~;~:t t]~


birdofprey---akite-----,Shehovered Finally.Setchallenged l lorustoa
overthebody,beiuingherwings boatrace , insisting thatthe,·ess.els
toinfuseitwiththebreathoflife usedin theraceshouldbem.1deof
Osirisbrtathed forlongenoughto stone. Horus tricked his uncle by
impregf1.1te Isis. later, Osiris dep:med using a wooden bo::u he had pl.lstered
for the Underworld. lsisthenlledfromSet, tolooklikestone.SetSbo:ttsank.and
taking..,ithher~guardofse,·enscorpions. inhisanger,heturnedhimselfintoa
Whileshewaslleeing, Isis was treated £ Hippopollmus hippopo~amusandcapsized Horus's

Isis ~:~~!=~~~::~: ;~:~ !: :~~~~~;::~~:~l~~~~~t


tookpityonthechildandusedhermagic thobeastk><af'!oolb us"sboaL himking,whileSetwJsexiled.
KEY CII ARACTE RS
TI~echaraetersinthell"gicstoryofth•
murderofOsiri>haveanumberofrol.s

Horusbecameasl<y godwhotookthe
fonnofafaloon,andhiseyesweresa.id
tobethesunandmoon. Titeq-.:of
l!orus,ortt..WadjetE)"'.became the
· ~· .. amytho<al
A. Goirit A. loio
mostpopularofa!lEgrptianamulets. Set,._, · ~~
~~~~~=~
Wllll lfi\I3CIOW!loi01Uoch HorU>IIoltoodoPfCted .. •

~~~~~~~:::
Set.ontheotherhand.wasasiniSitr loo1llen.0.01SISoo,.c19J'" fakooorohumanoodigUia
;~. ~~!~~01 ..
""""""''""ththebng"s $ha(M'OJIMI ~pa<ooniliedlhe
figure.agodofchaosand thedesen
syrrhls,llecntaMhl anda•traoghtlatl thtooootlhephaoaohs.
------~--------- 1e --- --------~----------

1 Til E CUU O F OS IRIS


I Osiriswasre•-en:db)'theEgyptian<bttausehism;th :=.

l ~~;;:~·.~~~:~:h~~:;~ti~:w:~he
Anubis...dSerkt,hem""""'"seriesof
ritualsthroughwhichthesoulsoftl>;,
deadpassed imotheafterlikHiscult
otiginatedatAbydos.animpon•ntdtyinanckm
Ero--pt,whereafesti,·alwasoftenh.eld,re-enacting~>e
J. Wririogtoolt
Jhe[g)'pUansused roodf>ll'IS townteWith.diPilUWJihemmt>mkartd storyof thegod:Smurder.ThetempleatAbydosalso
... ~ngmarb onP"P''' <US,amatoor >lah:on«<o fiQIIIroods . l heshit~ol htldsteretritwlsthat"""'notdisclosedtothose
lhe toolJW!wa•assoco3100Witl1100111'snauowbeat_ outsideOsiris:Spriesthood.Bythelstmillennium oct:
othertemplesbegan tocelebratethegod:Sdeathand
THOTH n:birth,linkingthem"ith"imerandt!>espring
Theibis--headedlhothwasthegodoftime
knowl«lge.writi"g.andthemoon.His
cur;ingbeakn:sembledthecresttntmoon.
andhisblackandwhitefeathersdenotedthe
moon's waxing and waning Certain ac:ourtE
ofhisoriginsay thathewasthesonofRa, the
sungod(,.,epp.2J8-39).andthatheeither
inheritedhis,.isdomfmmhislatherorfound
itinlx>ok>belonglngtothesungod.Thoth
wassaldtoha--.lnventedarange:ofintel\ectual
pursuits,lncludlngasnooomy.law,musk,and
-most relevant In the my1h of Osiris and
Horus--mtdiclne.Hewasalso theln,"l:ntorof
& lomplo ofo.;n,
theEro--pri.anhiemglyphlcwriringsy>tem.and
T~"""'"""~rJO..isatlho!anPa,.Al¥lolio
siocthewasalsoagodofnuogic,hiemglyphs ilaci)'Ot.)olWttl1 t lllt:rt~ I OIISard n11• al•o l lu$hattlll'j\'ii i i(IU$
weresaidtohawmagicalpowers. """""tromtha ltlesDyolthlsaromt[gypoaogod
GODDESSES OF THE NILE
Egypt's crowded pantheon included several own dedicated s taff of priests, these goddesses
goddesses who performed a variety of divine -who were all , in a way, aspects of a single
functions, ranging from Neith, the creator deity, great goddess figure-we re also held in great
to the many goddesses who presided over respect and affection by the common people.
ferti lity, love, and ch ildbirth. Although most Pilgtims made offerings 10 them, praying for
of them were worshipped in temples by their prosperity, protection, and healthy offspring.

--·---··---------- ---- ""' ---·-·--------------


I-lAT H OR
Luer:~SS<Xbte dwithlsis(se(pp.2-f0-.-i/),H:uhorw:JSagoddess
ofloveandfertilit)'Whoprotectedmothersandbabies,especially
duringchildbirth.ShewasoriginallyafiercewargoddessinNubi:l,
southemEgypt, andtooktheforrnofalion . AfterHoruswJSbom
(~epp.2-IO--I/),Ra(seepp.238-J9)broughthertoEgypttolookafter
the inflnt H;uhorthen<:h3r~ged<:ik1rlCier,leavingbehindherfierceness
and becoming more gem le_Taking the form of a cow who lived among
theNilepapymsrreds(consideredatokenoflife), sheproducedrnilk
for Horns, and when the god grew up, she bec:nne his wife_ When
Horuslosthiseyeinabillersmtgglewithhisuncle,Set,shereswred
his sight. Set punished Hathorbyabductingand
T:lpingher,butHomsbroughtherback,giving
heranewhomenearthe Nile
• Pro~~Ciiw•..,W.n
, _......... boly ........... t ..... po~gnant
IMI•u-ot•olclllit:lutlo,...t--
....._,YIIlhher-,.•...--_1-- 0!E ITII
..... adiDIIInilll . . . . ol .. ~ Kno•nlmthtl"tltDeltaregtonas
IDioelpiiOIII!Mt_lleo,....._
acre:llorgOOUes.o;.>\ttthwasalso
ahuntres.;;andwJmor.~imilarto
tlltGT(ekt\tlltt1.:1Uapp.J6-Jn.
TAIVE RET Shew-asbomfromtheoce:mand
Thcgodde;.sTaweretw:>Sthe createdbothgodsandmonals.
con~nof&t,ahhoughshe besi de>invcmingchildbirth. She
lefthinlforlloruswhenthe W:tS:tboa cultureheroine who
twogods!udtheirdispute taught tilt art of wea,~ng to tilt
JboutdltdomiruonoverEgypt Egyptians.Siltludgreatauthority.
(supp2-fQ-.fl). Tawerettook and when Set ~nd Horus fought,
:thiurreh)·bridformt!mg.we thegodslskedherw·hichoftllt
heramonstrousap~arantt:s!lt tw.Jshouldwin.~hes:~idth:!tboth
lud the he:Idof~hipp<.>potamus, thtantagoniSisshouldsum•~.but
thehmbsofahon.hununhll':tSts,:tnd.in:.ome SctmustbegwentwogoddeS6eSin
lkpktion~, Jcrocodile'stail. Despite her frightening returnforsuTRndennghisclaimto
looks.Tawewactu.111yplayedaprotectiverole,pR:Stding thethroneofEgypt.Somem)1hs

·~~ :::~.~~~,!~~.~·.;:,
overduldbinhand ch:l.Singawayevilspirlb. Depletions
o[Tnwere t showherholdingnnamulet intheslwpeof
thech~rxtersa,whichsymbolized protection. This snusterpnmalscrpem

TI
qualitymadeher,·erypopubrwith Eg)'ptians.who Apep(sup2-m
bought lltr images in large numbers. Then' well' also
Tawertt-shaped'"e~ls,m:ldewithasmallholemone .. Non."ooloMW • T•w••••,..W.u
bre:t)t, so th.at mtlk. made powerful and protecuve by
thegoddess.couldbcpou!l'doutasaspellwasrecited
11••-oogO<IdeN:Noo•i
.-ld-•ot.ld'--11
::'i.:*- :.:::::::
Nooto$'"'"'*'-
~-....- .
1<;:; - - -

llASTET
Thtc:u-headed lbswwastheEgyptiangoddcss of
scxuahtyandfenility.She wasthednught erofR:I,tllt
sungod,wh~tempersheexpresscdinherroar,and
wlsorigirullydepictedasalion.Shcwlsabo:~SS<Xl.lted
wnh:tmythmwhichacatbelongingtoRabnoffthe
headoftheprimalscrpemApep.Asasobrgoddes.s.she
wao; loO!llCttmes shown with :1 sc:~TJb btttle (a symbol of .,. M-iiHc.t
thesun)eng=edbctwecnhere:trs. lnbttrmyths.sllt 1•-r~..-..cats
~""'ohoo.-llorcauiDbo
was more firmly identified with the cat and b«ame -lied•'-"ol .. optdeo>
bcmgnindur.~eter.helpingpeoplebydeS~royingvmnin aa..r.~,.teme~~~tNIOottt­

and b)• bringing fertility. Bastet was~g:trded:tSthc callhawtou.nklundot~lt"

defenderoft lltpharaoh.andwon.hippedatfestivalswhere
brgt amoums of alcohol were consumed and paniclpams • ThofigurutB-t
performed lascivious dances. Her main ctnter of worship
washertempleatBubasl.is,bmshew ....,apopulardetty
whoa!sohadalargefollow"tllginotherp.1rtsofEgypt.
...... ___. . . . .
0.~10001"'-lormbutwas
..J'>IIaoethehoadotocatSioo

lbullll.s.-.. ..... boot


• .-.w ...lho-.-·o'-1
S(UJ,.$0 ,...., . . . . . .1. ...... 114-~1-lM 1!o.D. . llt·1!
~-
t\.."' JOURNEY TO THE
LAND OF THE DEAD
Death was considered by the ancient through the Underworld to the next life, where
Egyptians to be the potential beginning their souls would need to take up residence in
of a new life. After a person died, the their bodies once again. This belief in the
body was carefully preserved as a migration of the soul to the Underworld was
mummy because it was believed widespread and the journey was described in
that the deceased began a journey great detail in a complex myth.

------------ ;;;:;-- . --------------

JUDGING TilE SOULS


Thesoulsofthedeceasedwerejudgedmapbceneartheend
of the journey. the Hall of the Two Truths. The souls were
putthroughatestandiftl~eyp;~>Sed,thedece:lsedwould
ded~re their in nocence and then be judged by Osiris and
per50n'sbod)•intheaherlife 42asse.sorgods. Osiriswasassistedinhistaskbyjudi;es
Foremostoft~wasthe who mduded Ra, Shu, Tdnut, Geb, NUl, Isis, l'!epiHh)'S
J. Ooirio ka,theperson'slifefon:c,andthe Horus,andHat hor. Eachgodjudgedaparticubraspectof
O.iriiJWBS>bi<WIIhaJWI)C(lS$ h<l,thesoul.lfallwemwell the souL Three possible fatesawaitedthesoulafterthe
mwtichlhadocoowltra\100:1
komtlusikltothoalterhte afterdeath.thelwandbawould assessment . TI1e nuly wicked charJCters were condemned
unitetoformaspiritthmwould toa~ond:md firulde;uh devoid of mummification and with
lh·eag:tininsidethebody. Toa::;hie,·ethis,thedeadbodyhad nodunceofpassingunlmnnedthro LtghOuat Theordimry
tobepreserwdappropliatelythroughmummiflotion,which soulswl'rese.!Ulosel'\"e0sirisetemally,andtlv:virluous
wasareenactmemofwhathappenedtothegodOsiris!ibody souls"ereallov.-edtomo,-eonto~happyandfreeetemallife
afterhedied(seep.2.W)_ TI~eprocessinvolvedaserie:oof75
rilwls,inwhichpartsofthel:>odywouldh:touchedwith ·
specialin>lrumentstoh:reanimated--->~Saresuh,thebody
wouldbe<:omeafiningwhicleforthept'rson'ska. This process
alsoidentif~edthedeceased"iththegodOsiris,ensuriugth:u
theywouldsetoutonthejourneymel·erlaStinghfe

JOURNEY THROUGH DUAT


Thedeceasedthen~gantheirjourney througharealm
known as Dwt or the Underworld, whi ch W3S full of many
borrorssn d perils_ Here,theyhadtocontendwithdangers
suchasfierybkesand1·enomoussnakes. Thereweretnany
specialspellsthatcou l d~recitedtoprotectthevoyagers
on the way. TI1ese spells were wriuendown in aBookojlhe
& An H ot~rgodo
Drud, a compilation of imponam texts th.11 W:!S often buried
The........,.g<dsMd......,.su;O,..Bor&brooluandflood<:h>bJ;
withthemurnrniessothmthedeceasedhadaccesstothe andlool:edoo""')e)eyl'h)olho).!Wb!I(li6S'J<llhe<r~ -rhr)y
rightspellsontheirjourr~eythroughthedarkrealm. drao klhablro.J ~ i'ltcb:eas00 1f t - ...... ,.~IXOOI~glill

·1-t-.
~- ti.• :-......::.:c.-
PREPARING FOR DUAT TilE I IALL OF TilE TIVO TRUTHS
TI>epreparatoryritualsfortheafterlifewerecomplex Soulswerejudgedin tlleHaUoflheT"'-oTruths,whichcomai....da
First.th<embalmerstook thedee<asedperson's j N.lanctinwhiehthehean-tlleonly,italmgannot"''no'-edfrom
body totheirworkshop(knownastheBeautiful ' tile mwnmifiOO body-was weighed. The f~alher of Ma'at, goddess
House) , wherethoeyremovedthellver,lungs . oft<\lthaadjuSlict , waspLo.cedag,tinsltlleheartonthe so:ales. lf
imestines,andstomach, plactngea.:horganin !heheartou•wcighed•he feather, i•wouldlxd«mcdfo.dlofsia ,
cmopicjars. Tilenth<:bodywascover«!<:OOnpktd)' atldAmmut,lheO.:voureroftheO.:ad , wouldieaSlonit.lfthe
with a chemical mixtu,..,ofsal!scalledMtmn,
packtdwithdrymatertalsuchassawdu<t,and

H
wmppedinlinenbandag<s,,.ith labelsandamulets
11-.g<>:lol..,odlmard..nt>et>
attachedtoidentifyandprotect thebody. The lt.lgods.lhQ!hl•""l>l41)wa.<

m:;:~i'o~:~:l~~~:;
ta<i;OOI'dlhWfl~1111t.l .... b

:;',:'ol~~mdoo
"f W.ighi ng tho hoan
11-.!J(ldAnllni- P-237)po6$1dad(HO<It.l
~ ol (ldJ(yhoor t,(IOCWg<wlboli(!V(ld to
contatnat"""dolapcw.<OO'•btOO!dooi<

M ·~. , . ~
&Anubio

~~~?.:~~;~::~~~
Jau~w t t hllletlead.!
oll!nderv.u:ldgods.such""

~=~~"'~
~ ,;;;;-~

DEITIES 01- TilE UNDE RIVORLD


llesides0siris,Anubis,andth<:ferocious assessorgods. several01her
<kiti<> were as.sociated with tht Egyptian Underworld. Some of these
we..,sinister,>hadowybeingsv.it htheheadsofJams.tonois<s.or
hippopotamu,.s.Othersincludedtheserpem-godApep.orApophis.
wOO ronstamly waged w.ron Ra, the sun god. Among the l~ss
intimid•tingd<ltieswasthegoddessNephthys. sisterof

0
9
0

SEE ALSOC...ci>-42-43,\-IOO...SI.2«41.291-9!1.lJHI1. 31o-1 1, )1(1..41 . .. \j

-~::'..:..1!:~
A. B"i.,.l • .,.reliel p....!
! lltp8(ljlleoiS..prodoood•-.glwon.lolfllotlpanels*""'-.-lhoo<Cho.<lnoion.
..td.edomoa-.l .. .,..p~~Q.I••-*"""•fh ........
ane.lodbr..,.lol"-'.l.bnJ_.. _tlldollhiiCho'lrMo..t....,._
lly•med..t
WEST AFRICA

The sophislicated cultures of West Africa produced mythologies in which
a variety of different deities are responsible for the entire range of namral
phenomena, from the creation of the universe w the wea ther.

West Afrka-stretching southwards from the TheYorubahaveasupremebeingknownas


>outhernedgeoftheSaluratothecoastof Olorun orOlodumare. lnadd iriontheyhave
presem-dayGhan:Janditsneighbors--hasa numerous0rlshas,orspirits,tl~1tare
longhistoryofcivilization.Fromaround manlfestationsofthishighgod.Belie•·ers
500ocE,empiresandbrgecity·-states appealtooneormoreoftheOrisliJS
cameandwem ,exhdevelopingitsown :J.Sawayofcommunicating"'ilhthe
sophisticatedansan d cr;~fts---especially supremebeing.Therearecoumless
metalwork---thatallowedthemtotrade Orishas.butsomeare panicularly
withpeoplesfrornfarbeyondtheirown popubr. Shango,apowerfulskygod
borders.ThebronzeworkofBeninand andgodofthunder,andhisconsort ,
thegoldjewelleryoftheempireof Oshun, benevolemgoddessoflove,are
Asl~1mi, which flourished in the !Sdtand amongthemosrlmporum
19thcenturiesa\ongthecoastbetween
GhanaandCl:ited'lvoire,are particularly
well-known examples. Theroleofthehero isaprorninent therne
J. W.r1Aftica . .l• ph.anrp• ndanr inWesrAfricanmythology.Sornetirneshe
WestAt rocaha<abad r bOnol~g;diOO
SURVIV I NG TR/\DITIONS isa cult ureherowhobringsthegiftsofcraft
roolliMOO:ongCralstmookomGhaoa<aslthoo
Trnde brought with it many comacrs from ~tdo)po:tony!Y.O(llaph:lnb,( r l)!ltures
skills and technology Atotherrimesheisa
outsidetheregion.fromNonhAfrican&rber lamlbr ~n rnythmiJI'IoltOO.\IIeaU!reiYJih wonder-<:hild ,a beingofsuchpowertlwhe
merrhantscrossingtheSahar:ltoEuropean !IJSthestrengthandskillsofanadultassoon
slave-tradersarriv ingbysea_Despite these ashelsborn.WestAfricl:tlsohassome
foreign influences,andthelegacyo!Europeancolonization in entenainingtrickstermyths. Thebest -knowntricksteristhe
thel9thand20thcenturies,manylocaltradttionsandbeliefs spiderAn3nse,whogetsthebetterofe,·eryonefromgodsand
hawsurviwd,andsorneinturnh;weinfluenced thereligion humanstothemostpowerfulofallcre3turesonEarth,the
andm)1hologyoftheCaribbean(sappJIH-JJ).Tr:ldirions eleph3nt.Amu sing storiesofAnanse'strickshave3 wide
thathavebeenp;micubrlywelipreservedincludethoscof appeal,andareenjoyedbyadultsandchildrenalike.
rheFonof&nin,mdtheYorub:JoflleninandNigeria
lnthemythologyofthefon.theprominentdeitiesare 1' Ar10U 't cOrMIIOni• l•ni'IOrriOMOn1
Lisa and his wife , ~lawu, who are sometimes combined as ll"' '""""""al'"""'irlr1ollhaOOO..orruk>rs.ol8ooonrnciudedaron "'narrmts...:h
:l$thooonedo)po:bngakolpaodlho<rooture·sat~ibutos---its$~ ,l !reiY,tlh.and
acompositedeity.Theycreatedtheworldandallthe pr<JM)$$asahunlllo---wereb~ r tslhatany r ulatwookiW1$hlobeas4rlr:latod"'lh
pbnts.animals,andhumans. Theyalsohada
numberofchildren,forrnedfrorntheirfaeces,
i ncludingDan,asnakegodwhC~~;ethous.1ndsof
coilssuppontheworld.Anotherson,Gu,is the
]Xllronofcr:lftsmenandwarriors. Heissaidto
usehlsskillsromakerheworldabeuerplacefor
peopletoli\·ein.Weathergods,includingvarious
thunderdeities,3lsoaboundintheFon]Xlntheon
AFRICAN ORIGINS
The peoples of Africa have different stories that explain the
creation of the Earth, the origin of the sun, moon , and stars,
and the ancestry of each tribe. Sometimes humans emerge
from a hole in the ground, sometimes they are molded by
a creator deity. Most of these swries revolve around
the activities of one supreme being, although in the
creation myth of Dahomey, this deity is helped by
a cosmic serpent in the task of creation .

-------·----· --
TIII'MYTI I
Thestoryofcreation.asnarratedbythe Fonpeopkof
Dahon(ey. begins with two primal beings the eternal male
>erpem Aido-Hwedo, lnd the fem;M crt::ltor deity Mawu
First, ~bwu pl'e binh to the gods aml god dew~- She had
mattychildren,toomattytomme.buttheyformedvarious AftereJChoftheir
groupsaccordiH.g tO theirpo"'·ers and d"·el~ng places. The)' cre~tivejourtle)'S,Mawuand
included the Eanh deities, ruled b)' Mawu's first son, Da Aido-HwedostoppedtoreSI. \Vhenthey
Zodji:thunderdeit ies.ruledby~bwu'ssecondson,Sogbo; paused,tl~eserpentSexcrementbui!tup,
and seJ deities. ruled by ~bwu's third son, AglX Once she cre:lllngthehighermountainsAstimewentb):thiswaste
h:Jdmadesllthegodsandgoddesses,Mawururnedher mareri:dsolidifiedrobecomehardrock,hidinginside irallrhe
attentiontothehumanra:::e,whichshemadeout ofcl.ay. pre.;iou,metalsthatAido-llwedoexpelledfromhisbod):So
theprim:~lserpentbecamethesouR:eofalltherkhmineral
MAKING TI-IC J:ARTII -"!""~-"""'!· resourcesr1~1tareh iddendeepinrheground
~lawurealizedthatthehumanbeings
neededsomewtleretoliw,soshedecided SUPPORTING THE EARTH
tornaketheEarth.SherodeinthernoU(h The E:lnh 1hat ~bwu and Aido-Hwedo h.1d
ofthecosmicserpentAido-Hwedo,and madetogetherfloatedonavastseacontained
as the plir tra,·eled they shap~d the in an enormous calabash _ Bu1 i1 sweahhof
Eanhlikeahugecabbash _The world rocksandresouR:es,rogerherwirhtheweighr
wasdefinedbyAido-Hwedo'sturning ofallrhepeopleandanimalsMawuh.1dcreared,
serpentine motion: as Ardo-Hwedo m~deittoohea''Y· MawuS:Jw!hat it must be
snakedhiswayalong,hispathcreated supported, otherwise it wouldsink.She!Oid
wind ingriversandvalleyswithsteep Aido-Hwedo 10 coil himself all 1he way around
sloping land on either side. His sinuous the F..anh.holdingit upsoth:n it would not
courseshapedrheEarthShighandlow sink imo the WJter_Aido-Hwedo wascomenr
places,thecurvinghillsides,andthe tolieinthecoolseawaterbecausehedidnot
round-bottomed"alleys.&causeofthis £ Snok• ttack like the heat of the Earth. ~!os! l)' he by Still,
me:mdering,rhelandscapewasnoteven: lheriO!i<wlol/IOdo- IM•lo:kl"•"""""'t"'d bur nowandrhenhewouldshifrimoamore
everythinginitwascnr,·edandundulating ~:.~=~~=:~~::. m
likethe trackoftheserpent wmdi!OJUackaslhev•hdoil<I<WsaOO
KEY CII ARACTERS
Thf:on~~Jnctu~rsintht Foncrtationstoryano:rheso\.lkc,AJdo..
HIO·«<o_,.·hot..lpsinthrcrution.andthtmono:romplucno:ator
_____ _ _..... __,·-,.·
:<·:-·.:-·--.;":"-~_;
. ~~

jpddm. ~bwu.. Mawu Is actually half of a composite ddlf-h"' othn


h.olfisthr!J>d Uso. ondwlw:ncnroumer«<t~rthtyano: rderrW
toasMa"u-U....a<kity"'i'h'"'Of.otts.Whrno:.s\Ja"-ubthtgoddess I
of t iYE.nharKithem.oon.Us.tisd~~:IJXIofthtskyandth..sw•

I
~ ~~
0 -- - - - - - - - -
:------<-~----- I YO RU BA CREATI O>J
T1Y Yorub. of Nigrrto di:JCTibc how

'I ~~.~~~~:: :~~;:::-)


Heg;t•'ehlrnab.ogofrarthanda
A Aido -Hwtdo • • hen,and~·•red a palmt ~down
Tho<OliiiCII!IJllliii i"W((IU tha[aolh.kl
-"
lho~Miwl<!f.aod101oremthe uithhim.Ob.lt:I.Lotookbrov.1lranh
tonleiiOXIOI>ntJhoubofdllsop lt..Ay. sl:y '*O!OS"""'"'llla~lognt ...t .
and•-bltN . . <lJiorlojr...OO.. a~tllad10.,..1111tiel.,;tlol . . .._ from th..b.ogandspJinl<.kdltonU..
wa~r...·htno:itfonro(dl;ond.n..n

1 h.putthrhrnond.eE.>nh,.,.dst..
0 .\! E DAY AlDO - l I\ VED O !I =•"""'"""' ~""'•'"'~"
wiOmtthrronllnr.-.ofAfrlc"a.lol:rr
\V [LL [AT HI S 0 \ \IN TA IL, ~~•odh••w•oo•o"'>'.
AN DTIIE\ VO RLD \VILL 1
1
-
f A LL INTO TH E SEA. I
I
--- - - - - - - - - - - 0
KOt\ 1 O RI GIN S
Ford~~:Kompropkof nonhwcSIC.mcroon. t heso.tkoels.,ar~""

I
figu~ r~thtrt!~ a c~ator. Ontt, thti.rchitf"·.as morully "UI.Oildrd in
awar"iththtndjjlboringFon.fktoldhisl"'opk!Qmo''< lon<"''
Urritory. follo,.1ng tht tuck of a p)1hoo. Soon aftu rht chid din!
&1')1hon"'partdandthtpeopk follownl~s"'indiugtndt. Firo.tlly
ttl.snokaopptdanddw:Komm.ode thtlrntWhoo><atthbpbl:le

"''"'"''"""-'"'
f I:Qoo.1111Pflhoo*""•dooolr
....

.6. Wioi111ko ~
kw-Wog~.-"""""'a,,Ctrauia(kn,t ~-toMiotohon""tlt ...

..
~:- -:-~--:~=~- :.:~=':::=:~~
wnhptllly. ......,.al~ and ............ ~
~1
S!(.USO» _ _ _ _ ~-~X7-f:l117-IJ • W.•-:t-2t_SH:l_10f.«<_ _ t__ •
ANANSE
The spider Ananse is a trickster and also as muscles. In some myths , the trickster
a cuhure hero in West Africa, especially acts as an intermediary between human
among the Ashanti people of Ghana. Besides beings and the sky god Nyame. Some even
his tricks, Anan se is well known for using believe that it was Ananse who persuaded
his intellect to owwit creatures much stronger Nyame to create the sun and moon so that
than himself- s tories about these pranks are people on Earth could
commonly told both for amusement and to benefit from having
highlight the fact that brains are as important night and day.

--··---------~-- ·

MESSENGER TO TilE SKY GOD


Npme, d~t ~ky god, w:tS tl~~: cr(:ttor of all things, but he S.1t aloof from his crea~ions.
Dow tt bdov.• on the Earth, people worked constamly in the fldd5--1here w~ no time
for them to rest Amr~ he~rd their compb.ims. and spun~ thre~d up to Nyame to
:;skforhelp. SoNyarnecreatednight, wheneveryonecouldsleep. But the humans
were frightened oftlv:: darkness, so Nyarne .er r he moon in the sky to provide liglu ~~
night. Then t hepeopleshiveredbecauseit w:~Salwayscold , soyetagai n,An~nse
wem to tell Ny~me , and he put the sun in the sky to giw warnnh. This time, the
scorching heat was too much for the mere monals, and once more, Amnse climbed
up his thread to ask for help on behalf of the people. This time, Npme sent great
rainsro cooleveryorv::,burhisrn.insweresoheavyrharrlv::y caused floOOsand
A "-"• •sob .. k• r
people d rowned. Nprnem:tderlv::floodsrecedearJd , flmlly,evel)t>od)'w:lS COntem [mbo.,edwHh!Mrelieli'I'Xl-ofa lariJO
'Pida<rn itswob. lh isbron"' """'"'"""'
NiiJOna~nUtothepOpUia" tyolth&
ttttbt,.Ana nwtnWe!tAirttanrnyths

A Aificanoun•ndll'loonmasko
Mosb r ~ OIOII"J ..., ...,an:lth>rt~Jm...,conwmninWostAAial
AstOOmaob• ooldayar<lnight th.,.unandlhenmtlatel<ltV
·~t..-.l~wa!Q'(l<h~,.. .. e<lablmglhaorCI(<IIor)n_
1\\ ASTER O F STO RIES TRI CKI NG THE ELE PIIANT
Nyame owned all the stories in the world. Ananse One.dll.y.anelephantwasboredandchal!engedthe
wanted to buy the stories from him, and as paymem, otheranimalstoahead-buningcornpetition.Fearing
Nyame asked Ananse to bring him sorne hornets. a theelephamSstrength,noneoftheanimalsroseto
P>,hon,andaleopard. Anansetrickedthehornets into the challenge, except forAttanse _ lt W:lS<le<:ided th~t
acabbash . Hethen"-emtothep)1honcanyingalong thecontestwouldtakcplaceo'·erHnights,withthe
staff and decbred that he was unclear about which was elephanth.wingthefirstsevenbunsoverthefirstseven
longer.thesnakeorthestaff. The python by by the nights.Ananse trickedanante lopeintocomingto
swff.andAnansequicklytit'd ittothestaff,thustrapping Ananse'shouse at night to recei,·ewm~ food. Since it
iLNextd~espiderdugapit fortheleopardandco,·ered was a time of famine, the ::mtdope :..greed Th:tt night,
it with branches. The unsuspecting leopard fell into theelephambunedtheantelopeinthed:trkandkilled
itandw:.scaught. Anansedehveredtheanirnalsto it. Q,·erth~ nextsixdays,AnJnse
N,.amelnd,forfulfillinga\1 trickedmore:mimalsinthe
the conditions, won the
stories of the world

"t' Popularlolklore ill'jrodiont


Althoog~AI"""""'"''"'IJ'Il.chi~"' boca!OOso:l1a
~rorqoojeMklli<Mo l lliJinWes1Aio1C311tood
TilE ORIGI NS OF A RG UM ENT thetmcvtoumttor""'~ i ""'the""J"l"l·•lotkl<lo
<uthastOOrnyflabrutAn:o"'"andthe rnan
Once,therew:ts:tmanwhoarguedwitheveryone,andkilled
several :tmmalsbecausetheydisagreedwithhim.Ananse

" ~
decidedtomeettheman.WhenthemanbegantoteiiAmnse
famasticstories.Ananse invitedh imtohishouse.Onhis
arri,•al,themancouldnot findthespider,butAnanse"s
childrenfedhimthehottestofchilies,whichburned his
mouth. He asked for water. but Ananse"s children e.~pbined
th~t the wa1er at the top of a pot belonged w their bther and they were
afraid of mixing it with the water below when pouring from the pot
Themanarguedwiththispreposterousstory.andwhenAn:mse
returned.thespiderdeclaredtlwthemanmustdiesiocehecontinued
...
cookif19pol
Mola l ~ , fliJ~$
arewodel'j...,jiOixoi l
toargue.Sothespiderskilledtheman.torehisbodytopieces.andthrew
thebitseverywhere.lnthisway,argumentspreadaroundtheworld
~:~~"::~oo
...,jtostorowat.;o,asor
tt.. storyoiAmn"'
A. Tlotlooooh~ohu,.~oro
?.:iG llllnal.,<lrooxwaiOd .... .,.,.,.. . . . . . . t...t ....... red.wllol8, aod'""twds.
...... _ .. o..nab<AepuMo:.oiCOOQO---I>I'Ihor& . . . . .
peoplo..d....-da! ........ a.d~r.e-Y<bol
CENTRAL AFRICA
f)
Ccn n al Africa is dominated by the vast and densely rainforcstcd basin of the
River Congo, one of the world's longest rivers. Many of the myths originating
in the region reflect this rich and vibrant tropical landscape .

Much of Cemral Africa is horne to people who, like many of


theinhabitamsofsouthernAfrica,speak bnguagesfrornthe

I
I
• Prot.cting tl>t doad

!::~~=;;!A=~::aly
B.1ntugroup. TI~emythsofCemra1AfricanBamu-speakers mWv-"'loluo10contaonersofbona$and
1
sharesomeofthefemuresofthe5em)'thsfoundamong j otheoon~la nt relrr:soflbeioaor;:mt(M's
1\antu-speakersfunhersouth,indudingtalesofheroes. These
heroesfrequent lyencounteranddefeatmonstersandevil i MYTH A N D REALITY
beings and are often rewarded with power and kingship- l lnthevasta ttddenseuopical
~l"indo,theepicheroofthel"pngapeople,isa famous
example.Otherpeoplesintheregionhavemythologies\\ith I ~i~~:~~~~~~::~~: ~{:;uch
many de ities who embrace spedfic functions in the c05mos I relevanceofm)1hstoeveryday
f lifeisofrendear. The P)'gmy
CREATIO N STO RIE S people,forexample,seetheir
One indication of the diversit)' of the myths in Cemml Africa supremedeit )'notonlyastheircreator
is thegremvarietyofcreationstories. Among the Bushongo butalsoasthegodofthehunt.lntheir
people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, ID)1hologyheloweredthefirsthuman
thesupremegodbring:; thecosmosintobe ingsimplyby beingsfromtheskyandcommunicates
vomitingirup . lnturnhe,·omitsupthesun.thernoon, wirhhiscreat ionsthrough<:cnainan imals: oftenan
and thestars,thenhevomit supalltheanimalsand, eleplum- knownasrheThunderer---Oradumeleon
fimlly. t hefirsthumanbeing:; . Forthefangpeople, Asthegodofhunters,hecreatedall theanimalsas
wholiveinGabon,theDemocr:uicRepublicof foodforthehumanrace,andgivesthesustaining
Congo,andtheCtmralAfricanRepublic,creation lightofthesunnewlifeeverydaybygathering light
takesplacesin twostages,notone.First,aprimal fromthestarstoaddtoilsbril lianceinthemorning
creatordeitymakesaworldeggbymixing his
underarmhairwithapebbleandpanofhisbrain
Herhenanoimsrhiseggwith hisseed,following Whereastlw:Pygmies'supremedeityisalsoalw:lper
whichthreegodshatchout oftheegg,indudinga ofhumanity,inmanyCentralAfricancult ures t hereare
second:uycreatorwhogoesontomakeboththe alsocult ureheroeswhobringwit hthemspecificskills
landandthepeople.Otherpeoples.suchasthe TheFjortpeopleoftheDemocmticRepublicof
EfeandMbutioftheDemocmticRepublicof Congo,forexample,haveam}'thicalblacksmith
Congo,tellastoryabouthow thecreatordeity, called Funziwhoreceives the gif~ of fire from a deity
with the help of the moon. makes the human and teachesthepeoplehO'o\·toworkcopperandiron
racefromcby,addingaskin,and pouring blood Some~ irnes ~he task of cuhure hero is combined wi~h
intotheskintogivepeoplel ife tharoftrickster,as inTure, thetricksteroftheZande
peopleoftheDemocmticRepublicofCongo."•ho
~ Prot oc 10rotth o hom o brings the people fire . Characters li ke ~hese ensure
Statoottoscolledbir~t i~elhisonafr()l'lltheBal"'" thatrhemyrhsofCemralAfriC!lh3\'erernained
p<qlleof tOOo.:.rocraiJ:RejaJblo<ofC<np-arecle<lgoo:t
IObe~tJy t OOhrlaOofthetarnrtyr n acr!ln(Kofthet.:ml
viv idlyrelevanttotheli,·esofrut ivepeoplefor ?.57
lact "'theoolrnnca.IOI>'OIO<t thew~houseldltoornrll'il manythouS:Jndsof)·ears.
LONKUNDO
The founder and culture hero of the Mongo- They tell of how Lonkundo set up house in
Nkundo people of the Congo basin was the forest, and how he caught his favorite
called Lonkundo. He is primarily known for wife , llankaka, in one of his animal traps.
teaching his people how to hunt, but there These m yths, which continue with tales of
are also myths about other aspeCis of his life, Lonkundo's descendants, reflect the dangerous
particularly his relationship with his wives. and un predic table world of the fores t hunter.

- ---------------· ---- · - - - - - - - · -----

THE FIRST II UNTER


The first people did not know how to hum, and having little in the way of
sttrvival skills,theywonderedhowt!Je)'WOUidsurvive.Onenight,thespirit
of Lonkundo's bther c~me to him in a dream . Lonkundo's father told his son
to look for ~ninul paw prints in the soil, and to follow t he tr~cks to find the
creature's regular habitat. Heshouldthenconstructatrapforitusingraffia
fibers and twigs_When he Jwoke, Lonkundo followed his bther's instructions .t. Hunlor"onockt•£<1
andsetatrapinthe pathofoneofthecreatLtresheludtracked _The trap was HuntersOI>llookunOOottero""""jewelrymado
successful.andlonkundothentra•·eledwidely,tracking !rornfJ'IIt.olf""""lulanlulal•.•<rll.,eleptnnt
tu.Uandjaguartae~hll!'doing>O. thowearar
be:.stsandseuingtrJpS,lndpro•·idingfoodforhis hop(idi(Jmh(o-ottho$hangtholthe$ecrootuo0$
people. He also t:>.ugluthem how tosettheirown traps
foranimals,andtheywerenHershonoffood:>.gain.
CATC II IN G A \\'I FE
Ontnlglu,Lonkundud~a~dthathelud
caug.htt~suninonrofhisanima!trlps
\\'htnl~awoke.IM'wemwinspccthb
trapsasU>u:d:..ndw;ISamazedto:~t:ea
brighthghtcomingfromoneofthetraps
hehad.et. Hewemoverandfounda
beautiful woman, called lbnkaka.
caughtbytl'l!:raffbnooseofthenap.
1\ihtnhtrrk~dher.Lonkundo.
cmrar~ecdbyhtrbtauty.askedherw
becomchbwtft.Sheacceptedonone LOS ING A \\'IFE
condnion:htmUSine,·erboasltlutl~ lnthcfo~t.Lonkundoandhis"'l''('Stfllvcled
hadcaughthtrmatrnp.Heagrttdand wlindan<"Y.homc.Aftnawhilethcrheanlthe
thttw·oseukddown. Lller,lonkundo SCrtte;hlngcryofp.:liTOIS,"hichW'aSCOn:.idt:Tl'd
~goodonltn,sotht)'Stoppedwl~ell'tl~eywtnoto
familyb«an~pr~rous.\\'hen make tl~eir home. Tl~ey cut down tn-esto build
othcrbrmlic~lxcamejcalousof hutsand.asw;tScustomaryatthatt imt,madca
tlll'irsuc«SS,Lonkundoandhis hum;nJs:w:nfi cc.ButoneofLonkundo'sv.ives,
wtvesde<:idedtomovewrheforest Nsonobe,quarrclcdwithherhusbandabouther
tostannt-.ewlife hut. whidt ~~~ thoug!u w:JStoo small, and sl~ ldt
thtvilll~wnhl~er..on.Y<mjwa.Lonkundo'swife
llankakawasplt;;N>d,believingthat Lonkundo
lo\'l'dl~rthtbe.c.lbnkakapl:mtcdp:llmtrtt5~nd
h.:tr;e;~cdthtnuts.butv.henLonkundodcm:utdt:d
11\()ttllUtsfromtho::tTl'.-s,thccouplcargucd.
.,. Tro"ilof iiMkob I LookunOO.forgtnmghch.:ld.promi~dnottobo.'I:Sl

--·--
lho"'l'llool . . (:lll<t.gollbol:ab!Ois ....... (>( catchir~& luswtfc, cxcbtmcd, "lkmember.l
,.._caug~oton.,._ol.,.,.oll"""-"d>

~~~:.:===~~=ol~
.. •mll

I caugluyoummytr:~p.":md lbnkakadis:lppcarcd

1' N.ominglhoaniMo1o

ITONDE AN D LI Al'-'JA ~ :::i:~== :r~ ..


Tl~emostfamousoflonkundo'sde'iCcndanbw:JS
hisgr:~nd.On
ltondc. He wJStho:: sonofYonjwa -
'•....,
~
_ .--.::'·~.._
_ ",......~~
,,_·•• ...
":.,. ~.(r.r
~ '&J.
:mdthcgr:lndsonof'\,;ombc.tl~wJfcwhotud
Jcftlonkundo:lf~raqu:~rrclltoodcw.:t>anotilhlt: .. l.loago.ond-•
cxplcrcrwhotf:l\'l'lcdthroughtho::f<JKS~andtht "9tol91f101mtus
land~aroundthtm.namingallthebcasl>l~efound
Or~ da~·l~ met a woman called Mbombe :tmong tl~ trees, and the pair
w·crc married. \VI~n \lbombe became pn-gnant .!~ h.'ld a cr:Iving for a
5
str:~nge nutdroppedbyabird.ltondcwent tOSfarchformoreofthese ~
z
nuts,butw:JSaU:~ekedbyrivalsandkilled.Mbombe.however,
0
wemontoglvebinhtosevera\ children,whobecamctl~ 0
aacc;.lon;ofthe Mongo-speakingtribesofCcmrJIAfrica.Ont
of tl~ sons. li:mp. became a hero. who 3\'l'ngcd tht death of his f:uher.
MWINDO
The story of Mwindo is a lraditional epic His adventures involve a long rivalry wili1 his
of the Nyanga people of the Democratic own father, and dming the course of the epic,
Republic of the Congo that has been passed Mwindo travels to the Underworld, where he
down through oral performance. Mwindo's displays his strength, and also to the sky,
miraculous powers include both invincible where he learns
strength and the ability to see into the futu re. new wisdom.

- -- -------------- ·---- -----

Jv\WINDO'S BIRTH
~l "indo \\:~SthesonofShemwindo, thechiefofTubondo,and
hisfa,·orhewife. Frornbinh.heposst'ssedpowersof prophecy.
theabilitytodestroyevil,andthe meall~tomovev.ithequ3l
easewhetheronland,underwater.in theair.orunderground
But Shemwindo did not wam a son, espe<:~d l y such a powerful
one.~hefeared t hatayoungerm~nwouldchallengehis
amhority. l!epl:tnnedtoki!IMwindo,butwasu tJSuccessfu l
tlunkstohissonSmirxulouspowers.Shemwindotherefore
told his councillors to seal ~1windo itJSide
adrumandtothrowthedrurnimothe
riverto disposeofhisrivai.The
councillorsd idso,bm thedrum
found itsway toShemwindoS
sister, whorescuedMwindo.

,. Mwindo'oftpwotter
MMndQrnnoedallj'swalbl<"" lh ii'OQIC3iJI')MK$
\Vrmsoon:flat""""a-ilthom.OOWJ!ddoftoct
!Oa_..,.,..t>,>,.,..,ogt>al!f.lw.lll<:lmhl:or

I AM i\\IVJNDO, TilE
~ S .. It<linsidulf19 O t\JE BOR1'-J IVALKING,
lnwroo,..SI(Xl<ollherrrytii,SIIenrw.ndo"s
ac~ic .. ....todlhoi<'OO'JMNi.OO,...ide Ti lE O N E BORN TALKIN G.
aholowlog;'lndftoollldhlmdown lherMll
towt.atlheythought........tdbeoonaoncleath 0 MY FATHER, YO U
TRY TO KILL 1\ \L
BUT I VHAT CA 1\J YO U
DO AGAI N ST t\ \E7
After ~\wihdo escaped from the drum in which Shemwindo had trapped
!urn, he vowed 10 return home and fig!u his f:uher. His materna! uncles
g:JWhimironamlOr,andtogethertiJe)'destroyedShemwindo:ShonJe
killing many people, but Shemwindo escaped to tiJe Underworld.
~lwindo<:h:J:S<:d him and, upon reaching the Underworld, had to fight its
rukr,i\luisa,beforehecou\dapproa::hhisbtl~er.Fimlly.Shemwindo
surrendered, and apologized for trying to kill ~twindo.llle pair agreed
th31 the kingdom would be split in two, one half ruled by Shemwindo
and tile othn by Mwindo . They returned to Earth and ~\windo restored
tolifeallthepeoplewhoh.1dbecnkilledinthefigluit18-

~ Tt,. lighlnin gMolllt t


lhe>rontcalledNbJba or ~g! ,tn lrJ{IMlSI'"to:t thelorm
olahedgoloorj HohelpedMwmdO WIIIlhelaolhghtr.ng
whonhew.»at~L ngS~-.vil~:~ge

1.\1 THE SKY


Ot~eday,(l-lw indoand,someofhis
follow~rswereoutltulllingwl~enadragon
came ~nd ate some of his companions. Mwmdo killed the dragon and
rescuedhismenfromitsbelly,butt hespirit LightningMa5ter,afriend
of both Mwindoand the dragon, wasupsetatthedeath oft he beast . So
lightning Master took Mwindo imo t he sky to teach him a lesson. In d~e
sky Mwindo had to endure many ordeals, after which Lightning Master
rernindedhimthatnohuman,note"enasuperhero,shouldtreatany
animalwithcomempt,as theyv:ereallconsideredsacredtothegods
Then Mwindo was allowed 10 return 10 Eanh, where he explained to
hispeoplethatallcreaturesweres:l<:redandshouldberespected. After
thisl~eruledhispeoplewiselyandpeacefull)'formany)·ears
THE WISE KING
A mylit of the Bushongo people of king who reigned in the 17th century,
the southeastern Congo region a time wh en many tribes united to create
describes the achievements of their large and powerful poli tical fact ions . He
greatest ruler, Shamba Bolongongo , was revered not only for his great wisdom,
who is seen both as a king and a but also because he avoided violence and
culture hero. Shamba, who was wise war, prefening to use his intelligence to
and jus t, is said to have been a real forge alliances or resolve dis putes.

TI-l[ M YTH <II ShombaBolongoft'jo


T h,. ca<Wl\YOCJdooooopte!J~clotha~"'J'<Itiii')Oflhis
Shmnb~Bolongongo,apnnceoftheBushongo tt.!ooa.r.h<M1!11JonamodocooaloootHtsC!"'sed~aod

people,was•·eryinquisill''e.andlovedlearning. •ilualnod • f'I'"Oly~atotlhollushllD)Opi)(lpio

Asheir'to thethrone, he realized that he would


beableton\leoverhis,;ubjectsmoreefficirmly HIE M~N OF PEi\CE
ifhe knewmoreaboutthem.theirway<lfli,·ing, TheBushongowereswarlikepeople,skilledin.
andlheirneeds. So.whenhewa,;stillyoung the usc: of weapons ButShatnbahatedviolenceand
Sh.1mb set ouno journey far and wide. On killing,andwamedtointroducehispeopletothe
hismanytravels,hefoundoutallthathecould waysofpeace.Soonafterascendingthethrone, he
aboutthedifferentpeopleswholiwdlnhis issuedanorderbanningtheuse-ofbo\\-sandarrows,
kingdomandinthelandsbeyondhi>own aswellastheshongo,atypeofthrowingknife,in
The prince learned m~nythingstlut he believed baule. At first the people thought that criminals
wouldew:muallyhe lphisovmpeopletoprosper would thril'e underakingwhodid not allow the
andtolil'epea.;efu!lyandhappily. useofweapons.buttheywerepro1·edwrong
Shambatriedharderthananykingbeforehim
H IE CULTURE IIERO tohuntdowncriminalsandpunishthemharsh ly.
WhenSharnb.1returnedfrot)lhislongjourney Buthewa,notl·er)'keenonhandingoutthedeath
andbecamethekingofhispeople,hetaughtthem pen3lty,andwouldonlydosoa.salastresortinthe
manynewskillsthm havebeenuscde,·ersince ofthemosthardenedofoffenders
amongtheBushongo. Thekingshowedthem the The peoplesawthatS!umOOrespectedallhis
techniqueofmakingtextilesoutofraffiafibers,and subjects. He was especislly mindful of women and
howtoturnthesc:textilesiruoclothes. He taught them children,an dsevcrelypunishedan)"Onewhotriedt oharm
ho\1 to prepare the nourishingcas~wa root properly: them.Whene1·erpeopleapproachedhimwithaproblem
ensuringthatitwascookedwellmoughtoremovethe oradispute,hewou ldgivegoodadviceorofferafair

;;: poisonthatcouldbeleftbehindin theplant.Shambaalso


planted palm trees and used them formakingoil..'\nd
judgement.Eversincethattime,Shambahasbeenheldup
astheide~l ruler,anexamplr that every Bushongo king has

g
z
heinnoducedtheBusho ngot otobxcosmok ing aucmptedtofollow---eventhoughrJOtallofthemh.webeen
a.ssuccessfuloraswisc:. llisperiodofruleisoftensaidto
hal'ebeenagoldenageb)•theBushongopeople.
~
I• /G)

:~iti<1'''
A Ralfiolabnc
Theil>oo•loo..:.s"""t<ano: h.. ot the,.tfia

THE CULTURE HERO'S GIFTS


~::~~~~~:::7~;;;:.,"~~~t;:,~~;!:~u='~;;:~,lls j

:::;~~~~~~~7.:;:~~;:,:~~~:~=~ ~
1
A Toboceoplant ~-------~----
ltemshkeca$$.0.>'Hndtob=ocamdmmtheAmericas
in1he l611t CC!IIUl)', so the SIOl)' could wdl b<: b.lsed on
fact. Raffia. how•••er, is nab,-~ I<> Africa, and the hi&orical
~=!~''i:.
illncallllhat~.atllO•h
•t""''"""'bo<n~tJ,o