Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Myths and Mythology
Suzanne E. D'Amato
Myths may be classified as traditional stories that deal with nature, ancestors, heroes, and heroines or supernatural beings that serve as primordial types in a primitive view of the world. Myths appeal to the consciousness of a people by embodying its cultural ideals or by giving expression to deep and commonly felt emotions. These accounts relate the origin of humankind and a perception of the visible world; the character, attributes, and functions of the ancient gods; and stories concerning an individual, an event, or an institution. The systematic collection and study of myths is termed mythology . Mythological research into the earliest literary records of the ancient world is essential for understanding the religions and philosophies of these peoples. Equally important, the study of mythology enhances our appreciation for the art and literature of the classical and modern eras. It is no wonder that myths evolved in primitive cultures when ...