A painting by John Anster Fitzgerald who was well known for his work featuring fairies.
The ‘Disneyfication’ of fairies has helped us forget their darker origins.
A submerged coconut palm on Kadavu Island, Fiji.
From Fiji to France to Central Australia, stories abound of lands lost beneath the sea. Some are likely founded on millennia-old memories of coastal submergence, offering us clues today.
A mythical creature born of a misinterpreted fossil?
Akkharat Jarusilawong/iStock via Getty Images Plus
People tell tales to explain what they see – centuries later, scientists try to map handed-down myths onto real geological events.
The Wandering Earth is a Chinese sci-fi film which the government promoted abroad.
China’s space culture is unique and deeply rooted in the country’s traditions.
What is Marvel if not mythology persevering?
WandaVision Images/Disney Plus
‘WandaVision’ reimagines stories from Egyptian and Greek mythology, as well as Buddhist tradition.
Artwork © Sindiso Nyoni
His life’s work was asserting the humanity and history of the Bantu people, while proposing that the soul was able to bring knowledge of the past and of the future into the present.
Understandings of truth may be found in the Muses’ words.
Jacopo Tintoretto's The Muses/Wikpedia
Is making sense of a story more important than getting at its truth? Looking at the treatment of myth in ancient Greece may help us navigate what is true, and whether that matters.
Many books, like ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ contain symbolism.
Dmitriy Os Ivanov/Shutterstock.com
Authors sometimes put deeper meanings into their stories, but really, it’s the reader who decides.
Statuette of a female vulve called Baubo, terracotta, from Priene, Asia Minor, 4th century BC.
An ad alluding to the vulva is sparking controversy, but there are few objections to phallic symbols. What explains this difference in treatment?
Our cult of youth continues into the afterlife.
Our dreams of the afterlife need to challenge the idea that only the appearance of youth is worthy.
Who made him up?
The Santa myth tells us more about adults than children.
Standard of Ur mosaic, 26th century BC.
Enheduanna’s name means ‘Ornament of Heaven’. She wrote hymns and myths more than 4000 years ago, studied the stars and yet is almost entirely unknown in the present day.
Jason Momoa as Aquaman in the forthcoming film.
With his beard, trident, and status as Atlantean ruler, the superhero Aquaman borrows many traits from the sea gods of mythology.
The Tanami desert in central Australia is haunted by beings called the jarnpa, which look like people but possess superhuman powers.
All monsters make their mark on the communities they haunt. Some are cheeky and mischievous, some are mysterious, others are downright evil.
Roman mosaic from the Villa del Cicerone in Pompeii.
How Romans overcame their fear of witches by finding them funny.
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.