By Karen Armstrong
"Human beings have consistently been mythmakers.” So starts off best-selling author Karen Armstrong’s concise but compelling research into fable: what it's, the way it has developed, and why we nonetheless so desperately want it. She takes us from the Paleolithic interval and the myths of the hunters correct as much as the "Great Western Transformation” of the final years and the discrediting of delusion by means of technological know-how. The historical past of fable is the historical past of humanity, our tales and ideology, our interest and makes an attempt to appreciate the realm, which hyperlink us to our ancestors and every different. Heralding an important sequence of retellings of overseas myths through authors from world wide, Armstrong’s typically insightful and eloquent ebook serves as an excellent and thought-provoking creation to delusion within the broadest senseand explains why if we brush aside it, we achieve this at our peril.
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Extra info for A Short History of Myth
Mistress of life and death, Ereshkigal too is a Mother Goddess, depicted as constantly giving birth. 39 The rituals associated with Inanna concentrated on the tragedy of her story and never celebrated her reunion with Dumuzi in the springtime. Because it so powerfully represented what was experienced as a fundamental law of existence, the cult was widespread. 40 In Greece, he was called Adonis, because the women in the Semitic world mourned the loss of their ‘lord’ (adon). 41 Like the Great Goddess of the hunters, the Neolithic Mother Goddess shows that, though men may seem to be more powerful, it is really the female which is the stronger and in control.
We all have to face the final rite of passage, which is death. Some Palaeolithic heroes survived in later mythical literature. 24 He even dresses in animal skins, like a caveman, and carries a club. Herakles is a shaman, famous for his skill with animals; he visits the underworld, seeks the fruit of immortality, and ascends to the realm of the gods on Mount Olympus. 26 Hunting was an exclusively male activity, and yet one of the most powerful hunters in the Palaeolithic era was female. The earliest of the small figurines depicting a pregnant woman, which have been found throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle East, date from this period.
Artemis is simply one embodiment of the Great Goddess, a fearsome deity who was not only the Mistress of Animals, but the source of life. She is no nurturing earth mother, however, but is implacable, vengeful and demanding. Artemis herself is notorious in exacting sacrifice and bloodshed, if the rituals of the hunt are violated. This formidable goddess also survived the Palaeolithic era. At the town of Catal Huyuk in Turkey, which dates from the seventh or sixth millennium, for example, archaeologists have unearthed large stone reliefs of the goddess in the act of giving birth.