A myth is a sacred narrative usually explaining how the world or humankind came to be in its present form, although, in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story. Myths have been defined as “ideology in narrative form”.Myths typically involve supernatural characters and are endorsed by rulers or priests. They may arise as overelaborated accounts of historical events or as allegory for or personification of natural phenomena. They are transmitted to convey religious or idealized experience, to establish and teach behavioral models. Some myths may have been created through stories being passed through generations, alltered by a chinese wisper effect. To become these elaborated we reffer to today. Other myths such as Greek mythology define religious belifes of the past, for example how the earth came to be.
The main characters in myths are usually gods, supernatural heroes and humans. As sacred stories, myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests and closely linked to religion or spirituality. In the society in which it is told, a myth is usually regarded as a true account of the remote past. In fact, many societies have two categories of traditional narrative, “true stories” or myths, and “false stories” or fables. Creation myths generally take place in a primordial age, when the world had not yet achieved its current form, and explain how the world gained its current form and how customs, institutions and taboos were established.
Some theories propose that myths began as allegories. According to one theory, myths began as allegories for natural phenomena: Apollo represents the sun, Poseidon represents water, and so on. According to another theory, myths began as allegories for philosophical or spiritual concepts: Athena represents wise judgment, Aphrodite represents desire, etc. The 19th century Sansritisk max muller supported an allegorical theory of myth. He believed that myths began as allegorical descriptions of nature, but gradually came to be interpreted literally: for example, a poetic description of the sea as “raging” was eventually taken literally, and the sea was then thought of as a raging god.
Some thinkers believe that myths resulted from the personification of inanimate objects and forces. According to these thinkers, the ancients worshipped natural phenomena such as fire and air, gradually coming to describe them as gods. For example, according to the theory of mythopoeic thought, the ancients tended to view things as persons, not as mere objects; thus, they described natural events as acts of personal gods, thus giving rise to myths.
According to the myth-ritual theory, the existence of myth is tied to ritual. In its most extreme form, this theory claims that myths arose to explain rituals.This claim was first put forward by the biblical scholar William Robertson Smith. According to Smith, people begin performing rituals for some reason that is not related to myth; later, after they have forgotten the original reason for a ritual, they try to account for the ritual by inventing a myth and claiming that the ritual commemorates the events described in that myth. The anthropologist James Frazer had a similar theory. Frazer believed that primitive man starts out with a belief in magical laws; later, when man begins to lose faith in magic, he invents myths about gods and claims that his formerly magical rituals are religious rituals intended to appease the gods.
For this assignment we were asked to research Myths this was fairly interesting as it was a subject I knew little about, I was interested by the information I found surrounding greek mythology as its a subject I found appealing. As well as this I found it interesting how myths may have been created through exaggerations of acctual events over time through a chinese wisper effect, turning a plausible event it to a mythical story.