What is myths — definition

What are the myths? Today this question can be heard from the child and adult. Many the very word is associated with something ancient and very mysterious. In the minds there are images of glorious heroes, who bravely rush into battle with fantastic monsters.

what are the myths

Scientists still are unable to find the true definition of «what is myth». Because everyone can give their own explanation of this word. Its content depends on the Outlook of the person, his feelings and thoughts about the surrounding world. Someone sees in the myths of conventional tales that do not reflect the real thing. Others believe their history people, hidden among the lines. We can speak only about what mythology is a part of belief that move humanity.

A myth can be called a certain model statements, the totality of the extracted knowledge and thoughts of people. It gives you the opportunity to look at the world completely different look, consider its true nature. None of the myth is not its author. Because these stories were invented by people, reflect on a single theme. One person not under force to create such a precise work which does not cease to exist and lose its meaning over many centuries.

Varieties of myths

Researchers used to divide the myths into several groups based on their content. Thus, there are:

  • Cosmogonic myths. They talk about the creation of our world, known to mankind the heavenly bodies, the elements and living creatures. If you believe these stories, all that surrounds us came thanks to the hard work of the gods. They created the world. The ancient gods are considered to be its founders. In many myths they show the cruel and treacherous. They rarely have human-like appearance.
  • Theogonical myths. Thanks to them, people will learn about the origins of the gods. Also reflected their relationships with each other. In Greek mythology, much attention is paid to the gods of Olympus. They managed to engage people in communication. They have a relationship with human culture and is not natural.
  • Eschatological myths. One of the most enigmatic groups. They recount the death of living beings, the destruction of the rebellious gods. Among these myths include the story of the deluge, the great disaster that nearly destroyed all of humanity.
  • Anthropological myths. Their stories associated with the origin of man and his destiny. If you believe the myths, people came out of natural materials. For example, they were made of clay. Often there are stories in which the man was created from parts of the body of God.
  • Etiological myths. They helped people to understand the interrelation of those or other things with each other. This includes natural phenomena, behavior of animals and plants.
  • Soteriological myths. Their gods seem kind and helpful. The plots of these stories are connected with the deliverance of man from his fate.
  • Calendar myths. They belong to the most ancient legends. They allow us to understand the origin of the seasons, night and day, and also explain what time.

varieties of myths

Each group of myths had its own characteristics that made it unique.

The purpose of myths

Myths are of great importance to humans. They perform three important functions:

  • Explanatory. Myth allows us to form a worldview, regardless of individual or collective.
  • Index. Teaches understanding of the system of values that should have every man.
  • Unification. Enables the people to create their own culture and folklore, to thereby stand out among other ethnic groups.

Features of ancient mythology

In the legends of the people of Scandinavia preferentially occur myths eschatological direction. Reflected they later found in cosmogenesis. These people had to live in difficult conditions. Therefore, they had to adhere to different rules and covenants in order to prevent unrest. Otherwise, people would not have been able to survive. In their legends there are gods who from time to time communicate with ordinary people. Everyone wanted to be elected tried to reach for the beautiful, sought for spiritual development. Roman myths were full of political propaganda. So they were inciting soldiers fighting spirit, without which they failed to win a single victory. The Slavs preferred familiarity with the forces of nature. The Celts had surrounded himself with things that were the personification of the immortal elements.

features mythology

Medieval myths

Over time, the mythology began to change. This happened for the reason that have become interested in other things. God takes the image of the one Creator, who is allowed to judge people, to guide them and punish them. There is a new direction – theocentrism. Despite the belief in one God, the man continued to think about the existence of mythical creatures who have to fight with the heroes or to help them in the Commission of new feats. Myths are beginning to inspire fear, forced to take itself not as fiction but as truth. Appear prejudice associated with the fact that for a bad deed God is able to punish the culprit. More and more began to consolidate ecclesiastical power, there was the Inquisition.

Myths in literature

Mythology has found its place in the literature. This is not surprising. After all, legends have always been closely linked with art. Such mixing was observed in ancient times and in the modern world.

myths in literature

Many writers engaged in the study of mythology. They used familiar stories to write your own stories. Through their work, he created the famous characters who have become over the time standards, the personification of certain qualities inherent in every person. In the age of romanticism, the authors tried to give the characters better personalities. They ascribed to them a flawless appearance.

New translations of mythology

A new wave of myths emerged after the global changes that have affected a great number of people. War and other major disaster have forced people to think about other legends. Also it was affected by changed the collective Outlook. The society was in dire need of new heroes who would make the world a little better. Art instantly penetrated to the masses, has become part of everyday life. Myths of the next era became a convert and a real reflection of reality.

Even modern writers do not stop using ancient myths in his works. They are able to transfer those characters into his reality. And metaphors allow authors to accurately convey the essence of the character in new stories. So appeared in the world of the author’s mythology, a unique direction, which quickly caught the fancy of millions of readers.

stories about myths


The theme of myths is very extensive. It will study over the next several centuries. Mythology never found a definition. Man fails to find an exact explanation of this word because of the impossibility of its full disclosure. Myths skillfully blur the line between reality, thoughts and imagination. They, though are fictional stories that contain hidden truths, which tried to understand people and to talk about it around the world.

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