Questions tagged [comparative]

For questions that compare mythology or folklore from multiple cultures.

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54
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3answers
5k views

When and how did the Greek mythos transfer to the Romans?

It seems that there are a great many similarities between Roman and Greek Mythology. In fact, many people consider them synonymous and only really differ in the names. For example: Greek ⇄ Roman Zeus ...
36
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3answers
12k views

What is the earliest known dragon myth?

The myth of dragons can be found in many different traditions, with the major two being the European dragon and the Chinese dragon. "There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the ...
32
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5answers
39k views

Where did the Roman gods live?

The ancient Greek gods lived on the famous Mount Olympus, which is an actual mountain in Greece. The Romans borrowed quite a bit of mythology from the Greeks, so I at first assumed that the Roman ...
28
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3answers
2k views

Are there any myths we can plausibly trace back to a common Proto-Indo-European ancestor?

It is well-known today that many peoples trace their origin back to a group of people known as the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who probably lived c. 4000 BCE. Among them are some of the most mythologically-...
27
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3answers
2k views

Why, according to Joseph Campbell, is the monomyth so common?

The Wikipedia page on the Monomyth has these statements in the summary at the top: Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, and ...
26
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2answers
1k views

Did the Gods and Goddesses in Norse mythology act as patron gods?

I know in mythologies such as Greek mythology, gods and goddesses would act as patrons. For example, Athena was the patron goddess of Athens. Did the gods and goddesses in Norse mythology have any ...
24
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6answers
49k views

Why is the story of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil so similar to that of Jesus on the cross?

I hope this actually has an answer, I couldn't find anything but speculation on the web. Basically, the story of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil is very similar to that of Jesus on the cross. Here are ...
23
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1answer
722 views

Were any Buddhist narratives ever folded into the myths of the Greeks, or vice versa?

The cultural exchange between the Greeks (under Alexander, at first) and the Buddhists of northwestern India is known to have had impacts on both parties. I'm aware of some theological influences, at ...
22
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3answers
8k views

Is there a connection between Adam and Eve, and Ask and Embla?

The creation myths of the Abrahamic religions declares humanity's protoplasts to be Adam and Eve. Norse lore declares them to be Ask and Embla. Linguistically, these seem to be fairly similar names. ...
21
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3answers
2k views

Prevalence of Underwater Panther

I was researching my tribe's clan history and came across something interesting. Osages, like most American Indian tribes, name their clans after either mythological creatures, or common animals (...
17
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2answers
7k views

Are there any apocalypse myths other than Ragnarok in which some people survive to repopulate the world?

In the story of Ragnarok, Lif and Lifthrasir survive by hiding in Yggdrasil, and presumably they go on to repopulate the world after all the fighting is over. Are there any other cultures whose end-...
16
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3answers
500 views

Mythologies with goddesses as the main deity?

In most mythologies, there is often a male god who is the chief god, like Zeus of Greek mythology and Ra of Egyptian mythology. As far as I know, the only mythology that has a female ruler of the ...
16
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1answer
935 views

Role of the North Star in arctic mythologies

In his 1907 essay on Chukchi mythology, Bogoraz describe their cosmogony as follows: According to the cosmogonical beliefs of the Chukchee, there are several worlds situated one above another, in ...
15
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3answers
774 views

Who is god El in Legend of Keret?

In Legend of Keret we can read that: King Keret of Hubur (or Khuburu), despite being reputed to be a son of the great god El himself. To which El god this legend refers to? Could be the same El ...
14
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1answer
3k views

Did myths involving Loki influence Christian myths?

There is a lot of influence from non-Christian myths on Christian myths. There are numerous examples of syncretism, especially revolving around the various saints and what they might have done. ...
14
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2answers
4k views

Are there any relations between Norse elves and Celtic fairies, or their home realms?

A lot of, if not most, modern fantasy tends to have 'Elven' races that seem to be largely inspired by the Norse Elves, likely by way of Tolkien. There also seems to be a large amount of Celtic ...
14
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1answer
307 views

What parallels are there beween the myths of Atlantis and Mu?

Atlantis is a mythic civilisation lost underwater according to European mythology. The Continent of Mu is a mythic civilisation lost underwater according to pre-columbian South American mythology. ...
14
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1answer
314 views

Does Roman folklore feature an account of The Dream of Macsen Wledig?

The Dream of Macsen Wledig is a Welsh tale that may be loosely based on Emperor Magnus Maximus, of Rome. The story tracks his search for a fair maiden he sees in a dream, eventually bringing him to ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Did the Sami affect Norse mythology?

Fairly simple question, but a broad one: Did the Sami people of northern Scandinavia have any impact on Norse mythology? If so, how?
13
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1answer
1k views

Does every culture have a deluge myth?

A deluge myth is a story of a big flood that kills everyone. A few examples: Noah's Ark The story of Deucalion The flood in the epic of Gilgamesh The story of Bergelmir ... and so on. Is there a ...
12
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2answers
4k views

Are there Kali-types deities in other pantheons?

Is Kali, the dancing goddess, with skull necklaces, and blood licking tongue, unique? Specifically the mix of joyous rapture, death embrace, yet mothering and sexual. Eros and Thanatos, at once a ...
12
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2answers
5k views

Are Noah and Ziusudra the same person?

There are similarities between the stories of Noah from the Bible and Ziusudra hero of the Sumerian flood epic. Both stories describe a flood myth. Based on what kind of information/similarities we ...
12
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1answer
689 views

Is there a common theme of dragon meat being toxic?

I have noticed a few stories that talk about dragons having toxic blood or meat. Their offshoots(?), wyverns, have a particular association with poison. Despite this, there is a lot of culture ...
12
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1answer
258 views

Are there parallels between Ymir/Auðumbla and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox besides the obvious?

It's something I've been thinking about for many years now and I figured I might as well ask, as there seems to be an exceptional Norse mythology braintrust on this site. By "obvious" parallels, I am ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Did different Greek mythology sources ever explicitly acknowledge the contradictions between themselves?

Greek mythology is full of different accounts of the same exact facts, based on which source you use. As a random example, here's the assorted sourced details on Prometheus' parentage from Wikipedia: ...
11
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4answers
3k views

What are some examples of “Mothers of Monsters”?

I'm looking for other "Mother of Monsters" examples to supplement a post I wrote involving Lilith and Angrboda and their status as "Mother of Monsters." Over time, I'd like to add more examples to the ...
11
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1answer
191 views

Are there any points of mythology/religion that all Native Americans have in common?

I have been exposed to some different Native American mythologies and there seem to be many differences. Are there any beliefs or stories that they all share?
11
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1answer
2k views

Are there any epics featuring a female protagonist with less explored male characters?

In the Indian epic Ramayana, the women show some great complex characters, behaviours etc but they are much less explored and sometimes sidelined/forgotten(not entirely) by the overshadowing persona ...
11
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2answers
3k views

What is the difference between Igigi and Anunnaki deities?

On Anunnaki Wikipedia page we can read: Their relation to the group of gods known as the Igigi is unclear – at times the names are used synonymously but in the Atra-Hasis flood myth the Igigi are the ...
11
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1answer
487 views

Alternative to Tower of Babel explanations for linguistic diversity

What mythological alternatives, if any, are there to explaining the existence of multiple languages than the Tower of Babel or myths that are similar in nature? I once came across a myth at a ...
10
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2answers
3k views

What is the Norse equivalent to the Great Flood?

I have constantly heard that every mythology has its own version to explain why the ocean rose after the last ice age ended(roughly 10,000 years ago). But, I have only heard the christian version with ...
10
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1answer
674 views

How does one search for patterns/motifs in folklore or mythology?

I'm currently attempting to research how often a specific type of story (i.e. a motif) occurs in the global corpus of folklore (mythology). For instance, I might be interested in whether there are ...
10
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2answers
248 views

How did the importance attached to the number seven originate?

I was reading Why 7? on SFF, and it got me thinking. I know that there are plenty of occurrences of the number 7 (see for example Wikipedia), some for quite a long time, for example the seven deadly ...
10
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2answers
274 views

Common theme that humans had longer lifespans before the flood?

Several pre-flood myths seem to mention humans being able to live for extremely long periods of time. IIRC, the Sumerians had a list of kings that lived for thousands of years pre-flood, and post-...
10
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1answer
520 views

If there is a preponderance of seductive water nymphs in mythology, then why is that so?

Is there a preponderance of seductive water nymphs in mythology? That is, among the more sexually inclined maidens in mythology, are they more likely to embody or be connected to water than other ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Does the phrase “Zeus Pater” appear in ancient Greek sources?

The Wikipedia article "Sky Father" includes the following passage: "Sky Father" is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity ...
9
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6answers
3k views

Are the Nephilim the demi-gods of the bible?

The Nephilim were not aliens, angels, “Watchers,” or rock monsters; they were literal, physical beings produced from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men. When man began to ...
9
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2answers
4k views

Odin's Counterpart

I have always wondered are: Odin, Mercury, Hermes, Thoth the same person? If so, why they are celebrated by different cultures and praised by different myths? I am in love with these deities...
9
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4answers
586 views

Who was the first Satan like deity/creature/person in mythology?

There are satan/devil representations in other faiths/myths. But who was the first to have a role and background similar to Satan? Since religions sometimes take over traits of the old ones there ...
9
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1answer
808 views

Which mythologies had demigods?

As we all know Greek gods were very lusty, and as a result produced several demigods. Does this happen in other mythologies as well?
9
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1answer
544 views

Which myth says that Eve wasn't the first wife of Adam, but Lilith?

According to the Hebrew Bible and Islamic tradition, Eve is known as Adam's wife. However some other works suggested something opposite. Which myths suggest that Biblical Eve wasn't the first wife ...
9
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2answers
1k views

What are the differences between fauns and satyrs?

From what I've gathered fauns and satyrs are pretty much the same thing; they're all male, hircine from the waist down. They like wine, women, and song. They walk around naked all the time and have an ...
9
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1answer
2k views

What are the differences between the Greek Hestia and the Roman Vesta with regards to both mythology and worship?

I recall reading about Vesta, and I believe that, like Mars and Saturn, she was more important to the Roman pantheon than the Greek. I'd like to know what the differences were between Vesta and Hestia....
9
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1answer
371 views

Why did Ovid omit the Heroic Age?

According to Wikipedia, Ovid's Four Ages of Man are very similar to Hesiod's Five Ages Man, with the exception of the Heroic Age. Why didn't Ovid include the Heroic Age?
9
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1answer
193 views

Are there Christian influences in the Dionysiaca?

Two works by Nonnus of Panopolis survive to this day: The Dionysiaca, an epic poem about the life of Dionysus, The Paraphrase of John, a rewording of the Gospel of John. This is a rare example of ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Why do snake (serpent) and bull often come together as symbols of deities?

The Celtic Cernunnos, the Greek Dionysus, the Slavic Veles and Vedic Shiva have snake and bull among their symbols. Why do these two symbols tend to come together? It looks to me as though these ...
9
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1answer
108 views

The concept that scripture is made to adapt to changes of society, technology, and language

I once heard of an attitude to interpreting religious scripture that goes roughly as follows: The scripture was made such that it will always produce the correct ethics, guidance, and similar when ...
9
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1answer
350 views

Are there any other mythological beings that got a replacement metal arm, other than Nuada, Lugh Llaw Ereint, and Sigurd?

Are there any other mythological beings that got a replacement metal arm, other than Nuada, Lugh Llaw Ereint, and Sigurd? I found these three from the Mythology section in TV Tropes: The Battle of ...
9
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1answer
207 views

Are there any cultures with no known interactions that have notable similarities in their creation myths?

Roman and Greek mythologies and religions are intertwined because of the occupation of Greece by the Roman empire. But are there any occurrence of two different cultures having similarities in their ...
9
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1answer
233 views

Why do so many cultures have monsters that prey on families?

While researching La Llorona and vampiresses, I noticed that lots of cultures have predominantly female monsters that use deception to prey on families. Lamia that prey on young men and children, deer ...