The comparison of myths of distinct societies is a mythology that tries to define common topics and features. A range of scholarly reasons have served comparative mythology. Scientists used the interactions between myths to track religious and cultural growth, to suggest common roots for myths from distinct societies, and to promote them.
Comparative mythologians have a range of subjects, including folklore, anthropology, history, linguistics, and religious studies. These are several significant relative mythological methods.Comparative mythology The comparison myths distinct societies mythology define common topics features range scholarly reasons served comparative mythology Scientists interactions myths track religious cultural growth common roots myths distinct societies promote Comparative mythologians range subjects including folklore anthropology history linguistics religious studies These relative mythological methods Comparative mythology comparison myths cultures attempt identify shared themes characteristics Comparative mythology served variety academic purposes For scholars relationships myths trace development religions cultures propose common origins myths cultures support psychological theories Comparativists particularistsThe anthropologist Scott Littleton defined comparative mythology systematic comparison myths mythic themes drawn wide variety cultures comparing cultures mythologies scholars identify underlying similarities reconstruct protomythology mythologies developed extent theories mythology follow comparative approach scholar religion Robert Segal notes definition theorists myth seek similarities myths However scholars mythology roughly divided particularists emphasize differences myths comparativists emphasize similarities Particularists tend maintain similarities deciphered comparativists vague superficial comparativists tend contend differences etched particularists trivial incidental Comparative approaches mythology held great popularity eighteenth nineteenth century scholars Many scholars believed myths signs evolved thought interpreted myths poetic descriptions sun behavior According theory poetic descriptions distorted time seemingly diverse stories gods heroes However modern day scholars lean particularism feeling suspicious broad statements myths exception historical approach Michael Witzel reconstruction subsequent layers older mythologies ApproachesComparative mythologists fields including folklore anthropology history linguistics religious studies variety methods compare myths These approaches comparative mythology LinguisticSome scholars linguistic relationships myths cultures For similarities names gods cultures One successful approach study Indo European mythology Scholars striking similarities mythological religious terms cultures Europe India For Greek sky god Zeus Pater Roman sky god Jupiter Indian Vedic sky god Dyauṣ Pitṛ linguistically identical names This suggests Greeks Romans Indians originated common ancestral culture names Zeus Jupiter Dyaus Germanic Tiu English Tues day evolved older Dyēus ph2ter referred sky god perfect English cognate day father Proto Indo European religion nocopy StructuralSome scholars underlying structures shared myths The folklorist Vladimir Propp proposed Russian fairy tales common plot structure events happen predictable order contrast anthropologist Claude Lévi Strauss examined structure myth terms abstract relationships elements order plot Lévi Strauss believed elements myth organized binary oppositions raw cooked nature culture thought myth purpose mediate oppositions resolving basic tensions contradictions human life culture PsychologicalSome scholars propose myths cultures reveal psychological forces work cultures Some Freudian thinkers identified stories Greek story Oedipus cultures They argue stories reflect expressions Oedipus complex cultures Likewise Jungians identified images themes patterns myths cultures They similarities result archetypes unconscious levels person mind Historical comparativeA approach historical comparative proposed Michael Witzel compares collections mythologies cultures Iceland Egypt Mayas reconstructs increasingly older levels parallel dependent language families The prominent common feature story extends creation humans This feature northern mythologies Eurasia Americas Laurasia missing southern mythologies Subsaharan Africa New Guinea Australia Gondwanaland The older dispersal Homo sapiens Africa 000 years Based reconstructions offers suggestions tales genetic African Eve Close attention paid parallel developments archaeology paleontology genetics linguistics suggestions persistence Stone Age myths current religions PhylogeneticalIt speculated genes myths evolve process descent modification The striking parallels biological mythological evolution computational statistics infer evolutionary relatedness build phylogenetic tree mythological family Mythological phylogenies constructed mythemes support horizontal transmissions borrowings historical pre historic diffusions punctuated evolution Additionally protoversion statistically reconstructed Mythological phylogenies powerful test hypotheses cross cultural relationships folktales Various mythological parallelsThe Deluge frontispiece Gustave Doré illustrated edition Bible Based story Noah Ark engraving humans tiger doomed flood futilely attempting save children cubs Comparative mythology uncovered number parallels myths cultures including widespread recurring themes plot elements Here examples Creation man humanity clayThe creation man clay theme recurs numerous religions mythologies Epic Gilgamesh Enkidu created goddess Aruru clay Greek mythology Prometheus molded men water earth Per Hebrew Bible Genesis And Lord God formed man dust ground breathed nostrils breath life man living soul Hindu mythology mother Ganesh Parvati Ganesh clay turned clay flesh blood And lastly Chinese mythology Chu Imperial Readings Taiping Era Nüwa molded figures yellow earth life ability bear children Flood mythCultures stories great flood cases flood leaves survivor group survivors For Babylonian Epic Gilgamesh Hebrew Bible global flood wiped humanity man saved Earth species aboard boat Similar stories single flood survivor Hindu mythology Greek Norse mythology Aztec mythology Human cannibalismHuman cannibalism features myths folklore legends cultures attributed evil characters extreme retribution wrongdoing Examples include Lamia Greek mythology woman child eating monster children destroyed Hera learning husband Zeus trysts Zuni mythology religion Átahsaia giant cannibalistic demon feeding fellow demons humans alike depicted unblinking bulging eyes long talons yellow tusks protruded lips The myth Baxbaxwalanuksiwe Hamatsa society Kwakwaka wakw indigenous tribe tells man eating giant lives strange house red smoke emanating roof The creative sacrificeMany cultures stories divine figures death creates essential reality These myths common cultures grow crops tubers One myth Wemale people Seram Island Indonesia tells miraculously conceived girl named Hainuwele murdered corpse sprouts people staple food crops The Chinese myth Pangu Indian Vedic myth Purusha Norse myth Ymir cosmic giant killed create The dying godAncient Sumerian cylinder seal impression showing god Dumuzid tortured Underworld galla demonsMain article Life death rebirth deitySee Descent underworld Jesus Christ comparative mythologyMany myths feature god dies returns life Such myths common Near Eastern mythologies The anthropologist Sir James Frazer compared dying god myths multi volume work The Golden Bough The Egyptian god Osiris Mesopotamian god Tammuz examples dying god Greek myths Adonis mortal compared Osiris myth Dionysos features death rebirth Some scholars similarities polytheistic stories dying gods Christian story Jesus Nazareth The structure hero storiesA number scholars including Fitzroy Somerset 4th Baron Raglan Joseph Campbell suggested hero stories cultures underlying structure Folklorists Antti Aarne Aarne Thompson classification systems Georges Polti The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations created structured reference systems identify connections myths cultures regions Some comparative mythologists similarities hero stories specific geographical ethnic range For Austrian scholar Johann Georg von Hahn identify common structure underlying Aryan hero stories Others Campbell propose theories hero stories general According Campbell monomyth hypothesis hero stories share common plot structure Because extremely comparative nature monomyth hypothesis favor religious scholars Lesley Northup GiantsAssociated mythological hero stories giants Latin Ancient Greek gigas cognate giga beings human appearance prodigious size strength common mythology legends cultures Indo European mythologies gigantic peoples featured primeval creatures chaos wild nature frequently conflict gods Olympian Celtic Hindu Norse Giants play roles mythologies folklore Indo European peoples Nartian traditions asuras Hindu mythology There accounts giants Old Testament Some called Nephilim word translated giant translation universally accepted They include King Bashan Nephilim Anakim giants Egypt mentioned Chronicles The mention Nephilim Genesis attributed extraordinary strength physical proportionsAxis mundiMany mythologies mention place sits center acts point contact levels universe This axis mundi marked sacred tree mythical object For myths great tree pillar joining heaven earth underworld Vedic India ancient China Mayans Incas Germanic peoples myths featuring Cosmic Tree branches reach heaven roots reach hell Theft benefit humanityThe theft benefit humanity theme recurs mythologies examples include Greek mythology Hesiod Titan Prometheus steals heavenly humanity enabling progress civilization Book Enoch fallen angels Azazel teach early humanity tools Per ancient Indian collection Vedic Sanskrit hymns Rigveda speaks hero Mātariśvan recovered hidden humanity TitanomachyThe Fall Titans 1596 Cornelis Cornelisz van HaarlemSee Titanomachy Theomachy TheogonyMany cultures creation myth group younger civilized gods conquers struggles group older gods represent forces chaos Hindu mythology younger devas gods battle older asuras demons born father Kashyap grandson Brahma Greek myth Titanomachy Olympian gods defeat Titans older primitive divine race establish cosmic order Similarly Celtic gods life light struggle Fomorians ancient gods death darkness This myth gods conquering demons order conquering chaos common Indo European mythologies Some scholars myth reflects ancient Indo Europeans conquest native peoples expansion Europe India The deus otiosusMany cultures celestial supreme cut contact humanity Historian Mircea Eliade calls supreme deus otiosus idle god term broadly refer god doesn interact regularly humans myths Supreme Being withdraws heavens creation Baluba mythology features story supreme god withdraws earth leaving man search Similarly mythology Hereros tells sky god abandoned mankind lesser divinities mythologies highly complex cultures supreme disappear completely replaced strong polytheistic belief Founding mythsAncient Roman relief Cathedral Maria Saalshowing infant twins Romulus Remus suckled wolfMany cultures myths describing origin customs rituals identity fact ancient traditional societies justified customs claiming gods mythical heroes established customs For myths Australian Karajarri mythical Bagadjimbiri brothers established Karadjeri customs including position stand urinating Comparative mythology ZodiacPage