Questions tagged [history]

For questions about the place of mythology in history, as opposed to potentially fictional mythological accounts of history.

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Was early Judaism polytheistic?

Was early Judaism polytheistic, and were "angels" originaly minor gods? It is supposedly one of the points argued for in the book "Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan". ...
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Is there any evidence of the Ancient Greeks worshipping Zeus's daughter Helen?

Is there any evidence of the Ancient Greeks worshipping Zeus's daughter Helen? For example, did they build any shrines in her honor or did they offer sacrifices to her?
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Why Mahabharata or Ramayana did not considered as earlier civilisation than IVC?

As we all know IVC is the first civilisation in India between 3300 to 1300 BCE. But Mahabharata and Ramayana should dated before this period based on Yuga cycle. Then we haven’t considered these are ...
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2 votes
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Is the practise of standing on stones at election consigned to mythology and folklore?

Humblus I was reading up about legendary Danish kings when I came across a character named Humblus and a rather sensational claim is made at the bottom of the article, and that claim is that political ...
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4 votes
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111 views

Was the Grim Reaper originally depicted with a scythe or a sickle?

Was the Grim Reaper originally depicted with a scythe or a sickle? I have seen both versions of the Angel of Death's weapon and was wondering which one is considered the older, more original version. ...
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5 votes
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Is there any historical documentation about witches using windows for divination?

Is there any historical documentation about witches using windows for divination? I have seen some rabbinic scholars (like Alshich, Albo, Abarbanel, and Saba) ntrepret the Biblical passages concerning ...
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6 votes
0 answers
101 views

Refraining from whistling while out at sea

A friend who served in the IDF Navy told me that some soldiers there believed it was bad luck to whistle while at sea, because it might infuriate Neptune. Supposedly it was like whistling at his wife ...
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What does Rome, Conquerors & Titans have in common?

I think something with Heracles, but I am unsure.
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3 votes
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Way to measure the probability a story evolving in a given culture

I am wondering if there exists a way to get a numerical estimate of the probability of whether or not a given society will evolve a story with certain characteristics within a certain amount of time. ...
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1 answer
108 views

Do any ancient sources describe Set as a mortal? And could Set be Sekhen?

Set Set /sɛt/ or Seth /sɛθ/ (Egyptian: stẖ;[a]) is a god of deserts, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion.1 In Ancient Greek, the god's name is given as Sēth (Σήθ). ...
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Is the battle of Upper Egypt versus Nubia (Sudan) in 3250bc, the oldest verifiable battle in both historical, and legendary accounts?

Campaign by King Scorpion (I) against King "Taurus" Further confirmation of the existence of this ruler is the interpretation of a rock drawing discovered in 2003 on the Gebel Tjauty in the ...
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3 votes
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Was the historical Hyksos account, the real story behind the biblical exodus narrative?

Hyksos The Hyksos (/ˈhɪksɒs/; Egyptian ḥqꜣ(w)-ḫꜣswt, Egyptological pronunciation: hekau khasut,[4] "ruler(s) of foreign lands"; Ancient Greek: Ὑκσώς, Ὑξώς) were people of probable Levantine ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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Was Eannatum, the real historical figure that was characterised as Adam, in the Garden of Eden narrative?

Eannatum Eannatum (Sumerian: 𒂍𒀭𒈾𒁺 É.AN.NA-tum2) was a Sumerian Ensi (ruler or king) of Lagash circa 2500–2400 BCE. He established one of the first verifiable empires in history: he subdued Elam ...
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1 vote
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Who came first, Egyptian pharoah Horus-Aha 3100bc, or, Horus the Deity?

Horus-Aha Hor-Aha (or Aha or Horus Aha) is considered the second pharaoh of the First Dynasty of Egypt by some Egyptologists, others consider him the first one and corresponding to Menes. He lived ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Is it possible to build a timeline for Greek mythology?

I have tried to find a timeline for Greek mythology but I either find small, unreferenced lists or timelines of Ancient Greece. Particularly, I would like to build or find one where it explains how ...
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Any person/myth Moses Might Have Been Based On?

I know that Moses from the Bible is generally agreed to be a mythical figure and not a real person, especially since no historical sources from places like Egypt or the people of Sinai at the time ...
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7 votes
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269 views

The unreadable book: Voynich manuscript?

What are, if any, the most plausible mythical origins and legends surrounding the unreadable book also known as the Voynich manuscript? What do legends, folklore or myths have to say as to what is ...
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4 votes
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When a person brings much good to people, but they reject it?

Is there an archetypal myth in which a person does something really good to humanity, but contrary to common sense that says that he should be thanked and praised, he's attacked by those whom he ...
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0 votes
1 answer
142 views

Why did the ancients believe things that were demonstrably false

People used to believe that babies born at 7 months were more likely to survive at 7 months than 8 months. A male is born face down wheras a female is born face up. Another source describes 2 channels ...
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What is this symbol on my necklace?

I bought this pendant in Italy around 10 years ago, I think from Rome. I’ve always been curious as to what the bird with the sun above it (etched onto the red glossy background) represents. I was a ...
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Have Humans ever gone to war against Gods or Entities before?

Was there a time back then when Humans would make a war against a God or an Entity? How did those wars turn out for the two side? Were humans strong enough to make that challenge?
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Gods from different cultures accepted in the same universe?

I was watching God of War, and I began thinking of how to reconcile the existence of multiple myths: e.g., how the Greek mythology could coexist with the Norse one. It is said in the Bible, for ...
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5 votes
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570 views

What is the mythological status of the 'goethia' demons?

The 'goethia' is a list of numbered (Christian, as in rulers of hell) demons of which their benefits are documented (this one only speaks the truth in a magical circle, this one provides great riches, ...
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39 votes
1 answer
15k views

What is the world's oldest joke?

What is the world's oldest joke? I mean the earliest known story, set of affairs, or action that people spread to other people in order to cause the receivers to be amused.
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5 votes
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Earliest legend of someone being turned into an animal/monster?

What is the earliest legend we know of, that involves someone (named or otherwise) being turned into an animal, or some terrible monster? This includes turning someone's unborn child into a monster, ...
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3 votes
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Seven Sages of Japan

What religious order and where in Japan would there be the Seven Sages temple? Were there 8 sages not seven?
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6 votes
3 answers
486 views

Do leprechauns derive their power from gold?

I am trying to use them in a book I'm writing but I can't find a lot of details regarding Leprechauns. Do they have significant power, do they grant wishes, and if so with what magic? Any answers will ...
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8 votes
4 answers
529 views

How did Christianity come to equate the place of punishment and the place of demons?

In Hinduism, the cosmology works roughly like this: there's Earth; there are worlds above the Earth called Swargas where you go as a reward for good deeds; there are worlds under the Earth called ...
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5 votes
0 answers
51 views

Were events from the sagas or eddas ever used a precedents at medieval Althings?

The reason I ask is because Snorri, widely regarded as a genius of the first rank by those who know his work, was not only a great poet, but a lawyer and historian, and was twice elected lawspeaker.
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7 votes
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67 views

Zeno's influence on the conception of the Hydra?

I am referring to Zeno of Elia (c.490 –c.430 BCE) and his famous Dichotomy Paradox. This paradox has to do with infinite divisions based on 1/2. It seems to be that the conception of the Hydra as ...
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12 votes
1 answer
642 views

How did Vayu the wind god start being associated with Vishnu?

There are three prominent Hindu philosophies today: Advaita or monism, Dvaita or dualism, and Visistadvaita or qualified monism. Now the chief exponent of Dvaita was the 13th century philosopher ...
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7 votes
1 answer
181 views

Are there any studies of the historic phenomenon of the chief god of a pantheon being replaced by the storm god?

We find in at least two instances the chief god of a pantheon being replaced by the younger storm god of that pantheon. For example, in Canaanite mythology, the supreme god El is replaced with the ...
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6 votes
2 answers
163 views

Did ancient myths center on deities because individualism was not valued?

Are there any books/essays/discussions about the idea that ancient cultures didn't value individualism (for a variety of reasons) like we do today, and so poetry, literature, and art were primarily ...
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-4 votes
2 answers
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What is the relationship between Jesus, Iseous, and Zeus

Zeus was a Greek god, Iseous was a Roman god and Jesus is the Christian faith Messiah, who is also referred to as "Son of Man." My question is: What is the origin of the name Jesus, and what is its ...
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1 vote
1 answer
232 views

What is the earliest recorded example of religion

Let me begin this answer by defining two words. The definition of these two words might not be the definition used by scholars, but they are the definitions that I would like to use for the purposes ...
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4 votes
1 answer
217 views

How much did Greek mythology vary throughout different regions of Greece?

I have picked this question up from the sample questions in the definition phase of this site. I found this question very interesting. How different is the mythology across various regions of Greece, ...
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7 votes
1 answer
476 views

Did any ancient cultures or scholars recognize the Hero's Journey monomyth?

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell talked about the monomyth, and the overarching structure of the Hero's Journey: the hero is called on an adventure, may have a helper, goes through ...
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10 votes
4 answers
6k views

What is the meaning of Sage in respect of eastern folklore?

I am looking for a more concrete definition of what an eastern sage is and an explanation of the background of the eastern sage. Many translations of eastern martial arts feature sages. They are ...
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9 votes
2 answers
893 views

Was the development of Greek mythology dynamic or static?

Did Greek mythology develop dynamically or statically? Let me explain a little more what I mean by "dynamic" and "static". Static: Given the religious element of the stories, I could imagine that ...
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15 votes
1 answer
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Did ancient Greek religion ever become monotheistic?

Unlike modern monotheistic religions that only accept one, omnipotent and omniscient god, ancient Greek religion has a pantheon of fallible gods. Yet it was also well developed, where the pantheon has ...
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15 votes
1 answer
261 views

What do we know about the beliefs of the people of modern India before Hinduism and how much did that affect modern Hinduism?

Hinduism is a very ancient religion and has predominated the area of modern India for millennia. It's a complex religion with a very large pantheon that doesn't seem to be strictly regulated by any "...
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59 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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