Why are we drawn to tech toys?
An expert argues our connection with these figures is longstanding. They are embedded in our myths and help us explore deeper questions about being human.
Giovanni Lanfranco’s Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre (1624): in many societies giants were long part of received wisdom.
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?
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.
An 1894 image of Lambton fighting the worm from the book More English Fairy Tales.
A monstrous worm that features in English mythology shares remarkable similarities with the watery serpents of Indigenous stories.
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)
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.
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.
The Superman character has endured and continues to be popular because he is a symbol of renewal and hope.
Superstition holds that Friday 13th is the day to stay in bed and avoid taking risks. But it's all in our heads.
A 1765 painting of Helios, the personification of the sun in Greek mythology.
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”.
How the idea of a hyper-connected society could quickly go from utopia to dystopia and why neither scenario is likely to last.
Watch out! The gingerbread zombies are coming!
James, aged 8, of Sydney wants to know: are zombies real?
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
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.
The stuff of legend.
Norse mythology is having a moment as a leading author re-tells the tales for a new generation.
Jazmina Cininas, Christina sleeps on both sides of Grandma’s bed, 2010. Reduction linocut 52.8 x 71.8cm.
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.
Collective environmental guilt could be leading to a rise in werewolf sightings in the English countryside.
Not your average politician.
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
It’s difficult to ignore the proto-religious fervour that has accompanied Corbyn on his whirlwind tour of top-level politics.
Cataclysmic natural disasters frame indelible human stories.
Francis Danby, The Deluge
New research suggests a mythical flood in China really happened about 4,000 years ago. It's the latest case of scientists matching ancient tales to actual local natural disasters.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at Southport Magistrates Court in Australia, 18 April 2016.
Why we're being asked to decide whether Amber Heard is one of two archetypes: the gold-digging, manipulative siren or the innocent female victim.
Less unicorn, more hairy rhino.
Fantasy often meets reality when we try to find explanations for mythological creatures.
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
20th Century Fox
Film sagas like Star Wars transcend the screen, connecting viewers to their pasts, to one another and to the hero within.