- What are mythic elements?
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
- Answered 1m ago
- Very good question.
When a legend involves details that a modern researcher does not believe, he considers it has “mythic elements”.
This means, basically, the researcher is willing to say, this or that is not true, because it is taken from myths, which by definition are not true.
Fun fact : there is no such definition about all and everything that’s currently labelled myth. At least not other than extremely modern ones.
Greek myth has two main components, “myths about gods” and “heroic legends”.
The older (Patristic) view is, while the gods about whom some myths are (like Uranos, Gaia, Kronos and Rhea, their children of whom Zeus was the youngest and one survivor of Kronos’ theophagy etc) are not real, with some reservations on when gods appear to heros (they might be heros or they might be demons), the legends about the heros mainly are true (with pagan false gods and false accounts of what happened after so and so’s death obviously as exceptions to the rule).
The modern view simply means, if a story includes such and such a literary figure, it means it isn’t a true account of true facts. While reality coincides with any types of stories, and is collected and narrated by any type of narrators, including pagan myth makers who relate their heros to false gods.
So, there are some kinds of stories which usually are not labelled Greek myth or Norse myth, but nevertheless one or other modern researcher will pretend of this or that detail it can’t have happened, because that is the kind of thing a Greek or Norse storyteller would have included in a Heroic legend. Those details, these researchers will then call “mythic elements” or “mythologic elements”.
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