Portal:Mythology

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The Mythology Portal

Most cultures across the globe have some form of mythology.

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in society, such as foundational tales. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests and are closely linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths, legends and history together, considering myths to be true accounts of their remote past. Creation myths particularly, take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its later form. Other myths explain how a society's customs, institutions and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals.

The study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus, Plato and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and later revived by Renaissance mythographers. Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies, philology, and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject. The academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology.

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Kitsune

Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; kitsune usually refers to them in this context, and are akin to European faeries. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. Foremost among these is the ability to assume human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

Foxes and human beings lived in close proximity in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto kami or spirit, and serve as his messengers. This role has reinforced the fox's supernatural significance. The more tails a kitsune has—they may have as many as nine—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.

It is widely agreed that many fox myths in Japan can be traced to China, Korea, or India. Chinese folk tales tell of fox spirits (called Huli-jing) that may have up to nine tails, or kumiho as they are known in Korea.

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Airavata
Credit: Sodacan

The Airavata (three-headed white elephant), vehicle of the Hindu God Indra, depicted here in Thai art.

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Prithu

  • ... that according to Hindu mythology, the "first king" Prithu chased the Earth in the form of a cow (pictured), who eventually agreed to yield her milk as all the world's grain and vegetation?

Statue of Bochica




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Featured Articles: Featured article Ahalya, Featured article Ancient Egyptian literature, Featured article King Arthur, Featured article Ganesha, Featured article Greek mythology, Featured article Iravan, Featured article Orion (mythology), Featured article Vampire, Featured article Vithoba

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Trojan Horse

The Trojan War was a war waged, according to legend, against the city of Troy in Asia Minor by the armies of the Achaeans, following the kidnapping (or elopement) of Helen of Sparta by Paris of Troy. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in a cycle of epic poems of which only two, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, survive intact. The Iliad describes an episode late in this war, and the Odyssey describes the journey home of one of the Greek leaders, Odysseus. Other parts of the story, and different versions, were elaborated by later Greek poets, and by the Roman poet Virgil in his Aeneid.

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Tyr and Fenrir

In Norse mythology, Fenrir (Old Norse "fen-dweller"), Fenrisúlfr (Old Norse "Fenris wolf"), Hróðvitnir (Old Norse "fame-wolf"), or Vánagandr (Old Norse "the monster of the river Ván") is a monstrous wolf. Fenrir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, Fenrir is the father of the wolves Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson, is a son of Loki, and is foretold to kill the god Odin during the events of Ragnarök, but will in turn be killed by Odin's son Víðarr.

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