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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I remember those from the first edition Fiend Folio--flying head trailing their entrails behind them as they went, as I recall.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    I've heard of the Golden Bough but never actually read it. The Lesser Key of Solomon sounds as though it has potential.
    The Golden Bough is awesome for coming up with ideas for fantasy literature and for provoking thought, but less so for learning about what people actually believe(d). It's horribly Orientalist, Colonialist, and at times racist, and credulously accepts the word of ancient chroniclers where no historian would nowadays. It also draws conclusions not entirely supported by the evidence. Oh, and it's like three times as long as it needs to be, but that's what you get when you read Victorian scholarly literature.

    The Lesser Key of Solomon is fun mostly because it ostensibly contains rituals and seals to summon real demons and was actually used in the Middle Ages by magical practitioners and demonologists. It's also the direct inspiration for the Binder in 3.5's ToB, to the point that most of the vestiges and their seals are pulled more or less directly from the grimoire.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    If you are new to non-western mythology you would like to read some good old milestone.

    -"The Golden Bough" by James Frazer, an outdated study in magic and mythology, but really really fascinating, written in a very poetic style and extensively covering every aspect of ancient rituals all around the world. It's more on religion and magic than on mythology but i can find very interesting information in it. Nowadays most of his theories are surpassed but it still is a really rich and useful compendium. *[ok, Jeff the Green anticipated me ;)]*

    -You would also like to read the works of Joseph Campbell, a true giant in the field of mithology. His masterpiece is "The masks of God" a huge study comparing rituals and mythology from all over the world. It is divided in four volumes about prehistoric, near east, europe, and archetypes in modern world.

    You can also read "4.000 years ago" by Bibby, if you want to understand the general flavour of the bronze age, a really good overview on 1.000 years of history, written in a quite catchy style (a sort of fictional essay).

    On sumerian people (and their myths) i can suggest "The sumerians" by Samuel Noah Kramer, the father of sumerology, and Giovanni Pettinato's works, but i don't know if they are translated in english.
    Last edited by Topus; 2012-11-05 at 03:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Topus View Post
    -You would also like to read the works of Joseph Campbell, a true giant in the field of mithology. His masterpiece is "The masks of God" a huge study comparing rituals and mythology from all over the world. It is divided in four volumes about prehistoric, near east, europe, and archetypes in modern world.
    Ah, forgot about Campbell. Mostly because I think he's full of crap. His work is useful, like The Golden Bough, for background, but it's overly credulous (this time of Jungian psychology), Orientalist, sexist, and simplistic. The monomyth, in particular, is generally regarded as either simplistic to the point of uselessness or outright wrong. It also tends to ignore popular mythology and lore in favor of hegemonic or official mythology, but that's a whole other problem.

    In general, don't believe anything on history or anthropology written more than 50 years ago unless you can confirm it in more recent scholarship or by someone trained more than 50 years ago unless they've stayed abreast of recent scholarship (which Campbell didn't).
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Socratov View Post
    if you want to go slightly more celtic, seek out topics like Cu Chulainn, and the Seelie and Unseelie courts. that woudl help you in having west europe covered.
    I've not actually found much directly mentioning the seelie and unseelie courts, and I've done a bit of casual research into Celtic mythology myself. I suspect they may actually be more of a modern invention.

    The real Celtic mythology - or at least, Irish - is about the Tuatha de Danann, and is rather interesting. One of the bits I found fascinating is that they have their own Argonauts equivalent story, where a group of Irish heroes also journeyed to the garden of the Hesperides and retrieved some golden apples. I wasn't aware before reading that that there'd been any contact between Greece and Ireland.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    The Lesser Key of Solomon is fun mostly because it ostensibly contains rituals and seals to summon real demons and was actually used in the Middle Ages by magical practitioners and demonologists.
    That would be quite impressive, seeing as it was written in the 17th century. You may be thinking of the Key of Solomon, but that's only 14th or 15th century itself, so solidly Renaissance rather than Middle Ages.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    That would be quite impressive, seeing as it was written in the 17th century. You may be thinking of the Key of Solomon, but that's only 14th or 15th century itself, so solidly Renaissance rather than Middle Ages.
    Middle Ages, Enlightenment. Same thing.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    Ah, forgot about Campbell. Mostly because I think he's full of crap. His work is useful, like The Golden Bough, for background, but it's overly credulous (this time of Jungian psychology), Orientalist, sexist, and simplistic. The monomyth, in particular, is generally regarded as either simplistic to the point of uselessness or outright wrong. It also tends to ignore popular mythology and lore in favor of hegemonic or official mythology, but that's a whole other problem.

    In general, don't believe anything on history or anthropology written more than 50 years ago unless you can confirm it in more recent scholarship or by someone trained more than 50 years ago unless they've stayed abreast of recent scholarship (which Campbell didn't).
    Yes, but, as you said, it's a very rich compendium of rituals, stories, legends, myths. It works very well if you want to introduce someone into comparative mythology. By the way i don't know why you despise his work, I don't think it's full of crap, neither i understand the sexist accuse. Where has he shown a sexist idea? He has even shown appreciation for Marija Gimbutas' works. In his prehistoric volume i found interesting ideas about paleolithic cave paintings that perfectly fit with the latest theories about paintings and shamanism.

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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    I've not actually found much directly mentioning the seelie and unseelie courts, and I've done a bit of casual research into Celtic mythology myself. I suspect they may actually be more of a modern invention.

    The real Celtic mythology - or at least, Irish - is about the Tuatha de Danann, and is rather interesting. One of the bits I found fascinating is that they have their own Argonauts equivalent story, where a group of Irish heroes also journeyed to the garden of the Hesperides and retrieved some golden apples. I wasn't aware before reading that that there'd been any contact between Greece and Ireland.
    Greece and Ireland maybe not. But the Greeks, and before them the Phoenicians, did spend a lot of time travelling to Cornwall and nearby regions to trade for tin.
    It is conceivable that stories of the Golden Apples (a myth prevalent throughout various mythologies) and the Garden of the Hesperides were told to Cornish tin miners who then shared them with others.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Not much of Slavic mythology is written down, Christianity made sure of that during the high middle ages, to suppress local pagan beliefs. A lot of it is still spread through word of mouth and fairy tales, so it's probably easier to just google "Russian Fairy Tales" than do any kind of search for "Slavic Mythology."

    Also, there are two parts to it: the pantheon, which is basically Norse gods with different names (i.e. Thor is Perun, Freyja is Lada (yes, the car), Odin is Wotan, etc). Reason for this is the common Germanic root for both cultures and later intermixing of cultures (i.e. Kievan Rus' as a state was founded by Vikings).

    The second is folklore, and as I've said, is more commonly found in fairy tales.

    Edit: just remembered, Alexander Pushkin (the poet) has a few sagas set in Slavic Fantasyland. The one that comes to mind is Ruslan and Ludmila.
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    Default Re: Mediocre Mythology

    Sheriff: This discussion seems to be about real world religions, including shared origins, suppression of each other, etc. Real world religion is an Inappropriate Topic on this forum. Please give it a wide berth.
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