Articles on Mythology

Displaying 1 - 20 of 26 articles

Giovanni Lanfranco’s Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre (1624): in many societies giants were long part of received wisdom. Wikimedia Commons

Giants: why we needed them

Tales of giants can be found around the world - in Wales, in Australia, and the Pacific Islands. They helped people explain the sometimes cataclysmic changes to the environment they saw around them.
Have you seen a mermaid? Shutterstock

Curious Kids: Are mermaids real?

Even if mermaids aren't real, they'll likely feature in human stories for many years to come. Very few mythical creatures are found in so many diverse cultures, across so many years without changing.
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC) BabelStone

In ancient Mesopotamia, sex among the gods shook heaven and earth

Sex was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia. And the authors of Sumerian love poetry, depicting the exploits of divine couples, showed a wealth of practical knowledge about the stages of female sexual arousal.
There is a rich tradition of trees in mythology. Shutterstock

Why treehouses are all the rage in children’s books

From the Thirteen-Storey Treehouse to the Magic Faraway Tree, kids loves treehouses. These books tap into a rich tradition of mythology, which takes characters into forests to come to terms with life.
A 1765 painting of Helios, the personification of the sun in Greek mythology. Wikimedia Commons

How ancient cultures explained eclipses

The sun was worshiped as a deity in many cultures – and witnessing it get extinguished could be a particularly terrifying event.
Prometheus statue at Rockefeller Center, Manhattan. The inscription behind it is a paraphrase of Aeschylus that reads: “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends”. Wikimedia

Internet of Things: between panacea and paranoia

How the idea of a hyper-connected society could quickly go from utopia to dystopia and why neither scenario is likely to last.
Ishtar (on right) comes to Sargon, who would later become one of the great kings of Mesopotamia. Edwin J. Prittie, The story of the greatest nations, 1913

Friday essay: the legend of Ishtar, first goddess of love and war

Love, it is said, is a battlefield, and it was no more so than for the first goddess of love and war, Ishtar. Her legend has influenced cultural archetypes from Aphrodite to Wonder Woman.
Jazmina Cininas, Christina sleeps on both sides of Grandma’s bed, 2010. Reduction linocut 52.8 x 71.8cm.

Friday essay: the female werewolf and her shaggy suffragette sisters

From witch-hunts to the suffragettes, belief in womanly werewolfs has flourished at times when the female gender was under threat. But in contemporary fiction, film and art, werewolf lore is evolving in surprising ways.

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