As Oisin hunted along a beach, he met a goddess mounted on a horse with silver hooves and a golden mane. Her name was Niamh, daughter of the sea god Manannan. Niamh invited Oisin to join her in the ageless golden realm of the gods. Oisin accepted, mounted her horse, and together they rode off. […]
Now that there was land, Obatala planted a palm nut that grew into the first tree. This tree scattered its nuts, and soon the ground sprouted many kinds of plants. From high above in the sky, Olorun watched Obatala with great interest. He sent down a chameleon to ask Obatala if he needed anything. Obatala […]
Who Was Sir Lancelot and How Did Mordred Expose Lancelot’s Affair With King Arthur’s Queen Guinevere?
Sir Lancelot was the most handsome, skilled, and bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. Serving faithfully by Arthur’s side, Lancelot protected his king from harm. But Lancelot had one deadly fault, he fell in love with Arthur’s queen, Guinevere. The two became lovers and despite their secrecy, Arthur’s other knights suspected treachery. To […]
Where Did Gilgamesh Search For Eternal Life and How Did Utnapishtim Gain Immortality As a Peace Offering?
Gilgamesh sought a man named Utnapishtim, who lived on a remote island and enjoyed eternal life. The journey was long and dangerous. Along the way, Gilgamesh arrived in the garden of a goddess, who advised him to accept death and return to his home. But Gilgamesh refused, and the goddess directed him to the boat […]
According to one Egyptian myth, men and women were made by a ram headed god named Khnum. Khnum took clay and molded a human body on a potter’s wheel. Carefully, he created bones, blood vessels, a brain, a heart, and a stomach. When Khnum was finished, he presented a man and a woman to the […]
In the beginning, the universe was a chaotic swirl of elements in the shape of an egg. Inside the egg shape, the elements formed two opposites: the Yin and Yang. The Yin (the female principle) and Yang (the male principle) gave birth to a god, Pan Gu. The egg ruptured and split open. The lighter […]
How Was the World Created In Aztec Mythology and Why Was the Aztec Ritual of Human Sacrifice Important?
An Aztec myth describes the earth goddess, Tlaltecuhtli, as a fierce beast with several gaping mouths full of teeth. Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca watched Tlaltecuhtli as she crossed the ocean, her hungry mouths searching for food. Repulsed by the disgusting monster, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca decided to destroy her. Transforming themselves into giant serpents, they descended from […]
How Did King Arthur Die In the Battle Against Mordred’s Army and What Happened To His Sword Excalibur?
With ranks formed and weapons drawn, King Arthur’s army and Mordred’s army tensely confronted each other across a large field. Before the battle, Arthur and Mordred came together for one last meeting. Neither leader trusted the other, so they ordered their knights to attack immediately if anyone pulled their sword. Surrounded by a small band […]
The adventures of Aeneas are told by the Roman poet Virgil in his epic, The Aeneid. Virgil borrowed elements of his tale from the Greek epics The Iliad and The Odyssey. The story begins with the fall of Troy, when Aeneas and his comrades fled the burning city in their ships. The god Apollo sent […]
Who Were Tristan and Iseult In Arthurian Legend and What Did King Mark Do When He Discovered Their Affair?
Tristan and Iseult were two lovers in Arthurian legend whose tale ends in tragedy. Tristan went to Ireland to woo the beautiful Iseult on behalf of his friend and king, Mark of Cornwall. Tristan approached Iseult’s father, and he gave his blessing to the marriage. But Iseult was not enthusiastic about marrying King Mark. To […]
Daphne, a nymph and daughter of the river god Peneus, loved to hunt in the deep thickets of the forest. She preferred to be alone, and she rejected the offers of love and marriage she received from many young men. One day, the god Apollo noticed Daphne hunting and immediately fell in love. But as […]
Isis was determined to get on the island. She used magic to turn herself into an old woman and asked the ferryman to take her to the island. Believing that the old woman could not possibly be Isis, the ferryman agreed. Once she arrived, Isis transformed herself into a beautiful young woman. She asked Seth […]
What Is the Difference Between Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism and How Have They Influenced Eastern Asia?
Taoism originated in China in the third century B.C. Taoism taught that individuals should seek to understand the basic structure of the universe, called the Tao, instead of worrying about what society dictated. Taoism urged people to return to the simplicity of farm life and seek to live in harmony with nature, not to dominate […]
After creating the world and the universe, the goddess Mawu let her two sons, Sagbata and Sogbo, rule over it. The brothers, however, bitterly argued. Finally, in a fit of rage, Sagbata left the sky world to live on earth. As Sagbata packed his things together in a hag, he realized that if he packed […]
The Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was the descendant of Ra and that he became Horus when he ruled over Egypt. In this way, the pharaoh was considered a god while still on earth. The title of Pharaoh started being used for the king during the New Kingdom during the middle of the eighteenth dynasty. […]
While Cuchulainn studied with Scathach in the Land of Shadows, he seduced her sister, Aoife. When Cuchulainn left Aoife, he gave her a gold ring, unaware that she was also pregnant with his son. Aoife named her son Conlai, and she raised him alone, teaching him to expertly wield the sword and spear. Years later, […]
Except for the gods, no one played music as skillfully or beautifully as Orpheus. His singing made the trees bend closer and the stones gather around to listen. Orpheus fell in love with Eurydice, a nymph he wooed with his songs. But on the day of their wedding, Eurydice was bit by a poisonous snake […]
Zeus punished some of the Titans severely. One Titan, called Atlas, was forced to bear the crushing weight of the earth and heavens upon his shoulders forever. Other Titans were flung into a dark region beneath the earth called Tartarus. Zeus had children with Mnemosyne, the Titaness of memory. The children were nine daughters called […]
American Indians settled in North America more than 20,000 years ago, after crossing a land bridge from Asia to Alaska. They spread out across the continent and established societies of individual tribes. Each tribe developed its own mythology, with its own heroes, villains, tricksters, and stories about how they came into the world. Native American […]
The Aborigines call the period of creation The Dreamtime. During The Dreamtime, the spirit ancestors of the Aborigines woke from their sleep and wandered through the world, creating as they traveled. They discovered bundles of animals and plants lying scattered on the ground. The ancestors carved arms, legs, and faces in the materials from the […]
For the Greeks, the Trojan War was a hollow victory. The gods grew angry with the Greeks for destroying holy temples while sacking Troy. Few of the Greek warriors survived the journey home, and those who did found their kingdoms changed and overrun with revolt, treachery, and general disorder. King Menelaus forgave Helen and took […]
In Norse Mythology, the gods took blazing sparks from Muspell and set them into the sky to fashion the stars. To give the world light and warmth, they created a girl called Sun and a boy called Moon and set them in their paths across the heavens. Both Sun and Moon had to travel quickly, […]
Who Was Perseus In Greek Mythology and Who Demanded That the Son of Zeus Bring the Head of a Gorgon?
Perseus was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman. As a young man, he attended a king’s banquet where the king requested a gift from each of his guests. Each of the other guests offered a horse. But Perseus, who was broke, could only offer his services. The king demanded that Perseus bring him […]
What Were the Names of the Norse Gods In Norse Mythology and What Were the Unique Traits of the Norse Gods?
A Norse tapesty, woven in the 1100s, depicts three important Norse gods. Odin, missing an eye, stands on the left and carries an axe. Thor stands next to him, holding his mighty hammer. Frey, god of the harvest and fertility, stands on the right and holds an ear of corn. Odin ruled a race of […]
Luckily for Perseus, many gods hated the Gorgons and helped Perseus in his quest. The goddess Athena told Perseus to visit the Graeae to find out where the Gorgons lived. The Graeae were three old women who shared one eye and one tooth among them. Perseus made the unwilling witches help him on his quest […]
With Tiamat dead and her army destroyed, Marduk lifted his sword and split her massive skull in two. With one piece, Marduk made the earth; with the other piece, he fashioned the heavens. He created the moon, the sun, and set the stars in the night sky. Marduk then decided to create servants for the […]
What Is the Mesopotamian Myth of Creation and How Did the Universe Begin According To Mesopotamian Mythology?
The Mesopotamians believed that the universe began as water. The water was ruled over by the god, Apsu, and the goddess, Tiamat. Apsu and Tiamat had several children and grandchildren who often quarreled loudly among themselves, sometimes violently. Desperate for some peace, Apsu decided to destroy them all. The god Ea learned of the plan […]
What Are the Names of the Irish Celtic Gods and How Many Different Gods Are There In Celtic Mythology?
The Irish Celts had many different gods and goddesses. Here are some of the most prominent. Dagda, which means “the good god,” was father of the Tuatha De Danann. Dagda carried a magical club so large that he hauled it behind him on two wheels. If he struck anything with one side of his club, […]
How Were Asgard’s Walls Built In Norse Mythology and Why Was the Wall Surrounding Asgard Incomplete?
After the magnificent halls of Asgard were complete, a mysterious stranger offered to surround Asgard with a stone wall to protect the gods against their enemies. The man claimed to be a great stonemason, so Loki suggested that he complete the task in six months. The man agreed, and for payment he asked for the […]
Originally, the ostrich had a short neck, just like a duck or a partridge. One day, a male ostrich told his wife that he would rest on the eggs for one evening. The wife, weary from sitting for several weeks, was thrilled. While her husband made himself comfortable, she pranced about their nest in joy. […]
How Did Cuchulainn Win His Bride Emer In Celtic Mythology and Why Did Forgall Object To the Marriage?
Cuchulainn fell in love with a woman named Emer. But her father, Forgall, objected to the match, claiming that Cuchulainn had not yet proven himself as a warrior. Forgall suggested that Cuchulainn make the difficult journey to the Land of Shadows to study combat with Scathach, a warrior princess. Cuchulainn left immediately. With Scathach, Cuchulainn […]
The ancient Egyptians were a people who settled on the banks of the Nile River in northern Africa. Almost 4,500 years ago, they created a magnificent empire that lasted nearly three thousand years. Most ancient Egyptians worked as field hands, farmers, craftsmen and scribes. Craftsmen in ancient Egypt were usually trained and skilled labourers. They […]
Gucumatz and the Heart of Heaven now listened for praise and prayers from their new creations, but they were disappointed. The animals couldn’t speak the creators’ language. Instead, they squeaked, barked, chirped, roared, and hissed, creating such a racket that the creators understood nothing. Clearly, the animals could not worship the gods properly, so the […]
In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a young and handsome sculptor who despised women. One day, Pygmalion began carving a beautiful woman from a block of stone. He labored for days on the statue, delicately chipping away stone and brushing away dust. The statue appeared so lovely that no woman alive could rival its beauty. Pygmalion […]
What Did the Ancient Egyptians Believe Happened To Common People In the Afterlife and Field of Reeds?
When an Egyptian who was not a member of the royal family died, his soul had to travel through a series of rigorous tests to arrive in paradise, called the Field of Reeds. The climax of the journey occurred when the soul was brought before Osiris, the supreme judge of the afterlife. While Osiris watched […]
The ancient Greeks lived throughout the Greek peninsula and islands and along the nearby coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. They thrived from 800 B.C. until 133 B.C., when Roman armies conquered Greece. During those centuries, the Greeks created a glorious civilization of art, literature, and architecture that still inspires and influences Western civilization today. The […]