Lecture 4 of the course

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Lecture#4
What is Myth?
-Divine Myths, Legends and Folktales.
-From the Greek word mythos.
-Myth can be defined as a traditional story”.
-With a plotline and characters like other stories
-Set in the distant past, but sometimes in actual places.
-Often part of an oral tradition, anonymous.
-Not something untrue as myth” is often used today
-Different versions of the same myth can coexist
Divine Myths
-Main characters are divine or supernatural (gods)
-Include Creation Myths (theogonies, cosmogonies,etc.) and other aetiologies of the natural world.
-Gods may be natural elements and/or real personalities with human weakness.
-Myth is separate from religious belief and ritual.
Legends
-Concern the great deeds of human heroes of the past, although gods can still play a part.
-Heroes are often semi-divine, and are members of royalty or the nobility.
-Ancient people believed in such legends as we regard history, helping to explain the past.
-There is usually a kernel of truth behind the legends
-Many heroes ay have once been real kings. Ex-> the Trojan war. Achilles.
-Includes aetiological explanations of social traditions
Folktales
-Main characters are ordinary people, not gods or heroes
-But in folktale fables, characters are animals
-Focus on entertainment, but also justify social / cultural traditions.
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-Folktales combine motifs that appear again and again
-like a treasure guarded by a monster
-Over 700 types of folktales have been catalogued.
-Ex-> Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood are both Folktales.
The Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld
-2 versions of this story survive.
-The Sumerian version is 410 lines long
-Newer Akkadian version is only 140 lines long.
-This myth is connected with Akkadian cultures.
-Akkadian version found in Old Babylonian and Assyrian contexts
-Probably connected with cult ritual.
Taklimtu ritual in Nineveh concerning the bathing, anointing and lying – in-state of the statue of
Dumuzi.
Descent of Ishtar
-Ishtar is determined to go to the Underworld
Why? We dont know
-Underworld called:
Kurnugi : Land of No Return
Erkalla: The Great City
Egalgina: Everlasting Palace
-Description of the Underworld:
-No possibility of return
-No light
-dead eat dust for food and clay for bread
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Document Summary

Myth can be defined as a traditional story . With a plotline and characters like other stories. Set in the distant past, but sometimes in actual places. Not something untrue as myth is often used today. Different versions of the same myth can coexist. Include creation myths (theogonies, cosmogonies,etc. ) and other aetiologies of the natural world. Gods may be natural elements and/or real personalities with human weakness. Myth is separate from religious belief and ritual. Concern the great deeds of human heroes of the past, although gods can still play a part. Heroes are often semi-divine, and are members of royalty or the nobility. Ancient people believed in such legends as we regard history, helping to explain the past. There is usually a kernel of truth behind the legends. Many heroes ay have once been real kings. Main characters are ordinary people, not gods or heroes. Focus on entertainment, but also justify social / cultural traditions. www. notesolution. com.

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