A Momentary Flow

Updating Worldviews one World at a time

How did our legends really begin?  -A new theory suggests that the similarities shared by many myths means that they have a common origin, passed down across thousands of generations. So, how did our stories really begin? Steve Connor reports  - In the great mythological narrative of Homer’s Odyssey, the hero lands on the island of Sicily, the home of a race of one-eyed monsters, the Cyclopes. Finding a cave filled with a flock of sheep, the hero and his men feast on one of the animals until they are rudely interrupted by the cave’s furious owner. The Cyclops Polyphemus vents his anger by eating a couple of the intruders before blocking the cave’s entrance with a giant boulder. When Polyphemus returns to eat more of Odysseus’s men, the Greek hero manages to spear the eye of the Cyclops. Blinded, Polyphemus attempts to keep the men captive in the cave by feeling the backs of his sheep as they emerge each morning to graze. But Odysseus and his men hide beneath the bellies of the animals and so escape the monster’s grasp. Although Homer wrote the Odyssey in the 8th century BC, this particular part of his epic poem has a surprising resonance with other folklore and oral traditions spoken in the Swiss Valais of Central Europe, in the Basque country of northern Spain, in Russia, among the Saami of northern Scandinavia and the Apaches and other Native American tribes. They all speak of a fearsome master of animals, a hero who loses his way and is held captive but who escapes by hiding under the master’s own animals. The similarity of the narratives could be just coincidence. Each culture might just have devised its own folklore independently of the other, coming to surprisingly similar storylines. But many myths seem to share similar incidents, characters or narrative structures, whether they derive from classical Greece or the ancient mythologies of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Japan or India. (via How did our legends really begin? - Features - Books - The Independent)

How did our legends really begin?
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A new theory suggests that the similarities shared by many myths means that they have a common origin, passed down across thousands of generations. So, how did our stories really begin? Steve Connor reports
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In the great mythological narrative of Homer’s Odyssey, the hero lands on the island of Sicily, the home of a race of one-eyed monsters, the Cyclopes. Finding a cave filled with a flock of sheep, the hero and his men feast on one of the animals until they are rudely interrupted by the cave’s furious owner. The Cyclops Polyphemus vents his anger by eating a couple of the intruders before blocking the cave’s entrance with a giant boulder. When Polyphemus returns to eat more of Odysseus’s men, the Greek hero manages to spear the eye of the Cyclops. Blinded, Polyphemus attempts to keep the men captive in the cave by feeling the backs of his sheep as they emerge each morning to graze. But Odysseus and his men hide beneath the bellies of the animals and so escape the monster’s grasp. Although Homer wrote the Odyssey in the 8th century BC, this particular part of his epic poem has a surprising resonance with other folklore and oral traditions spoken in the Swiss Valais of Central Europe, in the Basque country of northern Spain, in Russia, among the Saami of northern Scandinavia and the Apaches and other Native American tribes. They all speak of a fearsome master of animals, a hero who loses his way and is held captive but who escapes by hiding under the master’s own animals. The similarity of the narratives could be just coincidence. Each culture might just have devised its own folklore independently of the other, coming to surprisingly similar storylines. But many myths seem to share similar incidents, characters or narrative structures, whether they derive from classical Greece or the ancient mythologies of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Japan or India. (via How did our legends really begin? - Features - Books - The Independent)

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    I don’t so much believe they have a common origination in chronological history, but rather that there are possibly...
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