Hercules, Zeus, Thor, Gilgamesh--these are the figures that leap to mind when we think of myth. But to David Leeming, myths are more than stories of deities and fantastic beings from non-Christian cultures. Myth is at once the most particular and the most universal feature of civilization, representing common concerns that each society voices in its own idiom. Whether an Egyptian story of creation or the big-bang theory of modern physics, myth is metaphor, mirroring our deepest sense of ourselves in relation to existence itself. Now, in The World of Myth, Leeming provides a sweeping anthology of myths, ranging from ancient Egypt and Greece to the Polynesian islands and modern science. We read stories of great floods from the ancient Babylonians, Hebrews, Chinese, and Mayans; tales of apocalypse from India, the Norse, Christianity, and modern science; myths of the mother goddess from Native American Hopi culture and James Lovelock's Gaia. Leeming has culled myths from Aztec, Greek, African, Australian Aboriginal, Japanese, Moslem, Hittite, Celtic, Chinese, and Persian cultures, offering one of the most wide-ranging collections of what he calls the collective dreams of humanity. More important, he has organized these myths according to a number of themes, comparing and contrasting how various societies have addressed similar concerns, or have told similar stories. In the section on dying gods, for example, both Odin and Jesus sacrifice themselves to renew the world, each dying on a tree. Such traditions, he proposes, may have their roots in societies of the distant past, which would ritually sacrifice their kings to renew the tribe. In The World of Myth, David Leeming takes us on a journey "not through a maze of falsehood but through a marvellous world of metaphor," metaphor for "the story of the relationship between the known and the unknown, both around us and within us." Fantastic, tragic, bizarre, sometimes funny, the myths he presents speak of the most fundamental human experience, a part of what Joseph Campbell called "the wonderful song of the soul's high adventure."
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Consists of nearly two thousand entries covering all aspects of mythology, including Greek, Roman, Native American, Indian, Japanese, Sumerian, and Egyptian.
Britomartis, goddess of the moon, was a clever, active girl who loved to hunt with her bow and arrows.... Britomartis was sacred to fishermen, hunters and sailors.
What makes something mythic? What do mythic events and narratives have to do with us? In Mythology, David Leeming offers an unusual and effective approach to the subject of mythology by stressing universal themes through myths of many cultures. This anthology collects a wide array of narrative texts from the Bible to English literature to interpretations by Joseph Campbell, C.G. Jung, and others, which illustrate how myths serve whole societies in our universal search for meaning. Leeming illustrates the various stages or rites of passage of the mythic universal hero, from birth to childhood, through trial and quest, death, descent, rebirth, and ascension. The arrangement of texts by themes such as "Childhood, Initiation and Divine Signs," "The Descent to the Underworld," and "Resurrection and Rebirth" strip mythic characters of their many national and cultural "masks" to reveal their archetypal aspects. Real figures, including Jesus and Mohammed, are also included underlining the theory that myths are real and can be applied to real life. This edition is updated to include additional heroine myths, as well as Navajo, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and African tales.
Vol. two is a compilations of five books. Each author describes the cultural background, written sources, and continuing legacy of the major myths, illustrated throughout by archaeological and artistic evidence.
Nearly every belief system in every part of the world has its own distinctive answers to how the world was created, often taking the form of a story or myth. These narratives offer insight into a culture's values, its world view, and its interpretations of the relationship between the individual, society, and the divine.
A collection of tales from ancient myth and legend. Isis and Osiris, Gilgamesh, Hercules, Pandora, Quetzalcoatl, and other larger-than-life figures populate these pages in a wonderful treasury for all ages.