comparative mythology


  • First Humans[edit] Main article: Protoplast (religion) A protoplast, from ancient Greek (prōtóplastos, “first-formed”), in a religious context initially referred to the first
    human or, more generally, to the first organized body of progenitors of mankind in a creation myth.

  • [37][38] Giants[edit] Further information: Giants Associated with many mythological hero stories, giants (from Latin and Ancient Greek: gigas, cognate Gaia/Gaea) are beings
    of human appearance, but of prodigious size and strength common in the mythology and legends of many different cultures.

  • [13] Motifs Creation of the earthly realm[edit] Main article: Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people
    first came to inhabit it.

  • Creation myths develop in oral traditions and therefore typically have multiple versions; found throughout human culture, they are the most common form of myth.

  • Creation of mankind from clay[edit] Main article: Creation of man from clay See also: Cosmic Man and Miraculous births The creation of man from clay is a theme that recurs
    throughout numerous world religions and mythologies.

  • [22] Creative sacrifice[edit] Many cultures have stories about divine figures whose death creates an essential part of reality.

  • Founding myths[edit] Main article: Founding myth See also: National myth Ancient Roman relief from the Cathedral of Maria Saal showing the infant twins Romulus and Remus being
    suckled by a she-wolf Many cultures have myths describing the origin of their customs, rituals, and identity.

  • According to this theory, these poetic descriptions had become distorted over time into seemingly diverse stories about gods and heroes.

  • While in popular usage the term myth often refers to false or fanciful stories, members of cultures often ascribe varying degrees of truth to their creation myths.

  • Scholars have found striking similarities between the mythological and religious terms used in different cultures of Europe and India.

  • For example, many myths describe a great tree or pillar joining heaven, earth, and the underworld.

  • Chaoskampf[edit] Further information: Chaoskampf One on one epic battles between these beasts are noted throughout many cultures.

  • Astrological traditions, types, and systems[edit] Further information: List of astrological traditions, types, and systems See also: Constellation Most human civilizations
    – India, China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Maya, and Inca, among others – based their culture on complex systems of astrology, which provided a link between the cosmos with the conditions and events on earth.

  • The concept of an underworld is found in almost every civilization and “may be as old as humanity itself”.

  • Afterlife (including Reincarnation)[edit] Main article: Afterlife Further information: Reincarnation and Soul In numerous mythologies and religions, and thus tying within
    the Orbis Alius motif proper is the concept of an afterlife, wherein a purported existence by which the essential part of an individual’s identity or their stream of consciousness continues to live after the death of their physical body.

  • People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, experiences, creation, or mythology.

  • Many of these scholars believed that all myths showed signs of having evolved from a thought which interpreted nearly all myths as poetic descriptions of the sun’s behavior.

  • [18] Dying god[edit] Main article: Dying god See also: Dying-and-rising deity and Descent to the underworld Ancient Sumerian cylinder seal impression showing the god Dumuzid
    being tortured in the Underworld by galla demons Many myths feature a god who dies and who often returns to life.

  • Common features of underworld myths are accounts of living people making journeys to the underworld, often for some heroic purpose.

  • They are commonly, although not always, considered cosmogonical myths – that is, they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness.

  • Some Freudian thinkers have identified stories similar to the Greek story of Oedipus in many different cultures.

  • They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions.

  • They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who often speak and transform easily.

  • Creation myths often share a number of features.

  • Other myths reinforce traditions that entrance of souls to the underworld requires a proper observation of ceremony, such as the ancient Greek story of the recently dead Patroclus
    haunting Achilles until his body could be properly buried for this purpose.

  • And lastly, in Chinese mythology (see Chu Ci and Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era), Nüwa molded figures from the yellow earth, giving them life and the ability to bear

  • [17] The flood narratives, spanning across different traditions such as Mesopotamian, Hebrew, Islamic, and Hindu, reveal striking similarities in their core elements, including
    divine warnings, ark construction, and the preservation of righteousness, highlighting the universal themes that thread through diverse religious beliefs.

  • [30] Vedic India, ancient China, Mayans, Incas and the Germanic peoples all had myths featuring a Cosmic Tree whose branches reach heaven and whose roots reach hell.

  • In fact, ancient and traditional societies have often justified their customs by claiming that their gods or mythical heroes established those customs.

  • [23] Axis mundi[edit] Main article: Axis mundi See also: Yggdrasil, Omphalos, Mount Meru, World tree, and Tree of life Many mythological beliefs mention a place that sits
    at the center of the world and acts as a point of contact between different levels of the universe.

  • Underworld[edit] Further information: Underworld The underworld is the supernatural world of the dead in various religious traditions and myths, located below the world of
    the living.

  • The most prominent common feature is a storyline that extends from the creation of the world and of humans to their end.

  • Comparable religious, mythological or metaphysical concepts, such as a realm of supernatural beings and a realm of the dead, are found in cultures throughout the world.

  • For example, both the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Bible tell of a global flood that wiped out humanity and of a man who saved the Earth’s species by taking
    them aboard a boat.

  • Dragons and serpents[edit] Further information: Dragons and Serpent (symbolism) Further information: List of dragons in mythology and folklore Usually large to gigantic, serpent-like
    legendary creatures that appear in the folklore of many cultures around the world.

  • In Christian theology, the same term is used to refer to the gap or the abyss created by the separation of heaven and earth.

  • One particularly successful example of this approach is the study of Indo-European mythology.

  • Mythological phylogenies also are a potentially powerful way to test hypotheses about cross-cultural relationships among folktales.

  • Some comparative mythologists look for similarities only among hero stories within a specific geographical or ethnic range.

  • For example, scholars have used the relationships between different myths to trace the development of religions and cultures, to propose common origins for myths from different
    cultures, and to support various psychoanalytical theories.

  • End of The World[edit] Further information: Eschatology See also: Apocalypse Many myths mention an “End of the world (civilization)” event, wherein a final battle between
    good and evil takes place to create a new world, and/or a total cataclysmic event will usher an end to humanity (see Extinction event, aka ELE).

  • Flood myth[edit] Main article: Flood myth Cultures around the world tell stories about a great flood.

  • [12] Likewise, Jungians have identified images, themes, and patterns that appear in the myths of many different cultures.

  • [42] Human cannibalism[edit] Further information: Human cannibalism in mythology Human cannibalism features in the myths, folklore, and legends of many cultures and is most
    often attributed to evil characters or as extreme retribution for some wrongdoing.

  • [7][non-primary source needed] Approaches Comparative mythologists come from various fields, including folklore, literature, history, linguistics, and religious studies, and
    they have used a variety of methods to compare myths.

  • Deus otiosus[edit] Further information: Deus otiosus, Sky father, and Urmonotheismus Many cultures believe in a celestial supreme being who has cut off contact with humanity.

  • Numerous examples exist throughout history of a human couple being the progenitors of the entire human species.

  • [33] Baluba mythology features such a story, in which the supreme god withdraws from the earth, leaving man to search for him.

  • Giants also often play similar roles in the mythologies and folklore of other, non Indo-European peoples, such as in the Nartian traditions.

  • Structure of hero narratives[edit] Further information: Hero and Hero’s journey Folklorists such as Antti Aarne (Aarne-Thompson classification systems), Joseph Campbell (monomyth)
    and Georges Polti (The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations) have created structured reference systems to identify connections between myths from different cultures and regions.

  • [5] However, modern-day scholars lean more toward particularism, feeling suspicious of broad statements about myths.

  • [39][40] For example, according to the myths of the Australian Karajarri, the mythical Bagadjimbiri brothers established all of the Karadjeri’s customs, including the position
    in which they stand while urinating.


Works Cited

[‘Littleton, p. 32
2. ^ Jump up to:a b Golden, Kenneth L. (1992). USES OF COMPARATIVE MYTHOLOGY: Essays on the Work of Joseph Campbell. London & New York: Routledge. pp. 6–7.
3. ^ Segal, “The Romantic Appeal of Joseph Campbell”
4. ^ Segal, Theorizing
About Myth, p. 148
5. ^ Leonard
6. ^ Northup, p. 8
7. ^ Jump up to:a b E.J.M. Witzel, “The Origins of the World’s Mythologies, New York : OUP 2012
8. ^ Watkins 47–48
9. ^ Ross and al. 2013; Tehrani 2013.
10. ^ Propp, passim
11. ^ Lévi-Strauss,
p. 224
12. ^ Johnson and Price-Williams, passim
13. ^ Graves, p. 251
14. ^ Segal, untitled, p. 88
15. ^ Woolley, p. 52
16. ^ Dimmitt and van Buitenen, pp. 71–74
17. ^ Urton, p. 36
18. ^ Anzer Ayoob (1 September 2023). “(PDF) Exploring
Parallels between Noah in Abrahamic Traditions and Manu in Hinduism: A Comparative Analysis”. International Journal of Research Publication and Reviews. Genesis Global Publication. 4 (9): 2919–2925. ISSN 2582-7421. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
19. ^
Frankfort, passim; Tortchinov, passim
20. ^ Campbell, The Masks of God, p. 44
21. ^ Frankfort, p. 141
22. ^ Robertson, passim
23. ^ Jump up to:a b Eliade, Cosmos and History, p. 20
24. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, pp. 99–100
25. ^ Eliade,
Myth and Reality, p. 100
26. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, pp. 104–5
27. ^ Railsback, passim
28. ^ Rig Veda 10:90
29. ^ Eliade, Images and Symbols, p. 40
30. ^ Eliade, Shamanism, p. 259–260
31. ^ Eliade, Images and Symbols, p. 44
32. ^
Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 93
33. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 93–98
34. ^ Leslau, passim
35. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 94
36. ^ Eliade, Myths, Dreams and Mysteries, p. 138
37. ^ Jump up to:a b Squire, p. 47
38. ^ Hesiod, especially
pp. 64–87
39. ^ Eliade, Cosmos and History, pp. 21–34
40. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, pp. 6–8
41. ^ Eliade, Myth and Reality, p. 8
42. ^ Segal, Hero Myths, p. 12
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