Welcome to Neverending Story : the Mythology () fanlisting
Inflected Form(s): plural my·thol·o·gies
Etymology: French or Late Latin; French mythologie, from Late Latin mythologia interpretation of myths, from Greek, legend, myth, from mythologein to relate myths, from mythos + logos speech
- an allegorical narrative
- a body of myths: as a : the myths dealing with the gods, demigods, and legendary heroes of a particular people
- a branch of knowledge that deals with myth
- a popular belief or assumption that has grown up around someone or something
What is Mythology?One of the foremost functions of myth is to establish models for behavior. The figures described in myth are sacred and are therefore worthy role models for human beings. Thus, myths often function to uphold current social structures and institutions: they justify these customs by claiming that they were established by sacred beings. Myths can be entertaining.
Another function is to provide people with a religious experience. By retelling myths, human beings detach themselves from the present and return to the mythical age, thereby bringing themselves closer to the divine.In fact, in some cases, a society will reenact a myth in an attempt to reproduce the conditions of the mythical age: for example, it will reenact the healing performed by a god at the beginning of time in order to heal someone in the present.
Mythology is the study of whatever religious or heroic legends are so foreign to a student's experience that he cannot believe them to be true. . . . Myth has two main functions. The first is to answer the sort of awkward questions that children ask, such as: 'Who made the world? How will it end? Who was the first man? Where do souls go after death?'. . . . The second function of myth is to justify an existing social system and account for traditional rites and customs.
Robert Graves, "Introduction," New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology
Myths are things that never happened but always are.
Sallustius, 4th cent. A.D. (quoted in Carl Sagan's Dragons of Eden)
The Myth, in a primitive society, that is in its original living form, is not just a tale. It is a reality. These stories are of an original, greater, more important reality through which the present life, fate, and mankind are governed. This knowledge provides man with motives for rituals and moral acts.
Veronica Ions, The World's Mythology