Re: When does myth record actual events?

22 Jul 1996 22:48:07 GMT

Aaron Clausen ( wrote:
: The difficulty of attempting to corellate myths with historical events is that
: myths often predate those assumed events. Look at the commonality among
: Indo-European mythologies. Certainly figures like Thor and Hercules may have
: had some basis in real individuals, but I suspect that the myths predated the
: people.

I rather like Tolkein's answer to this question - myths start off with
one or more real (but not necessarily related) happenings being combined
and then get additional elements from both real and mythical happenings
as time goes on. (This is a highly over-simplified version of the argument
given in the essay 'on fairy stories', but it gives the gist of what I
understand his argument to be.) I've heard that a lot of Tolkein's
theories have since been discarded, from a couple of lecturers of history,
but there's a certain elegence to his ideas on how stories evolve which
appeals to me. Apologies to any serious historian with a more accurate