An analysis of the authority of myth in the histories

London-British Library Ms Add Or 3 The early twentieth-century invention of sabk or style as a way to periodize the Persian language has been one of the most consequential and enduring trends of Persian literary history. The study of style has posited the simplistic notion that Persian literary production may be periodized into four self-contained and regionally-identified entities: Since the institutionalization of Persian literature in the s and s in Iran and Afghanistan, these nebulously-defined entities have emerged as omnipresent pillars of Persian literary history.

An analysis of the authority of myth in the histories

You will find an historical survey of the history of mythology, the study and analysis of myth. By the end of this chapter, you should understand the following: The last essay showed that the writings of XenophanesHeraclitusand Plato featured both newly minted, rational myths and discussion of traditional, poetic myths.

In fact, since the time of Xenophanes, two parallel streams have flowed from their headwaters in the so-called Greek Renaissance c. The first is the mythic tradition itself: The second is the ongoing conversation about the value and meaning of those stories. While the words myth and mythology are frequently used interchangeably, we will distinguish between them in this class.

Therefore, myth will be used when referring to the stories themselves while mythology will be used when referring to the study and analysis of those stories.

This essay will demonstrate that questions about the truth value and cultural importance of myths have generated ingenious interpretations and heated disputes ever since the time of Xenophanes and Heraclitus. For two and a half millennia, competition among various schools of mythology has been a struggle over matters of ultimate truth, religious belief, political theory, cultural identity, verifiable history, and social custom.

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The history of mythology begins here, with the first critical examinations of the methods and truth-value of myth. Both myth-telling and philosophy are preoccupied with fundamental metaphysical questions about the origin and ultimate nature of the universe and being, but philosophy is also intensely interested in logically consistent, rational methods for arriving at answers to such questions.

Thus, the reason that Xenophanes, Heraclitus, and Plato rejected the myths of Homer and Hesiod as lies and silly stories for the simple-minded is that one cannot rationally and logically examine their truth-claims.

Rational inquiry faces the same problem when it attempts to weigh in on any matter of faith. People, including philosophers, believe all kinds of things that cannot be directly observed, measured in a laboratory, An analysis of the authority of myth in the histories even fully articulated.

Does this lack of empirical evidence necessarily prove that true love, life on other planets, or a loving God do not exist? Instead, we can only construct arguments based on what any person can observe for him- or herself.

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And discovering what constitutes a reasonable argument and a logical proof was an important part of what preoccupied the early Greek philosophers. Allegorical Mythologies A second development that arose with the birth of Greek rationalism in the latter 6th century BCE is something that many have called allegorical mythology.

Allegory is a form of extended metaphor by which objects, persons, and events refer symbolically to meanings outside the narrative itself.

From the time of the earliest philosophers until the 17th century CE, philosophers and Church scholars interpreted myths allegorically, looking beneath their literal surfaces to find hidden references to natural phenomena, historical events, or philosophical or religious truth.

Yet, he was enough of a rationalist to have been bothered by their supernatural elements. His solution was to develop a system for reading myths allegorically in order to convert nonrational and supernatural mythic material into rational and natural terms.

Thus fire is at war with water, heat with cold, heavy elements with airy elements, and so on. He further associated various Olympian gods with the elements. So, for example, ApolloHeliosand Hephaestus represent the element fire, while Poseidon and Skamander represent water.

Greek mythology had become fully developed by about the s BC. Three classic collections of myths—Theogony by the poet Hesiod and the Iliad and the Odyssey by the poet Homer—appeared at about that time. Greek mythology has several distinguishing characteristics. The Greek gods resembled humans in form and showed human feelings. Marincola John Marincola, Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography (Cambridge ). Myres John L. Myres, Herodotus, Father of History (Oxford ) Powell J. Enoch Powell, The History of Herodotus (Cambridge ). Still . Helen’s Autopsy: A Forensic Approach to Myth in Herodotus’ Histories Julie Felix Reed College June I’d like to start by explaining the title of .

Such abstract qualities as wisdom and desire were represented by Athena and Aphroditerespectively. Probably, he would have seen this episode as an allegory of some kind of ongoing struggle between air Hera and water Poseidon against Zeus the thunderstorm? His particular contribution to mythology has been called historical allegory.

Therefore, he reasoned, the ancients exaggerated the historical facts of actual persons and events and, because they did not have access to better forms of knowledge, accepted these embellished stories as truth. In his Sacred History, Euhemeros claimed to have discovered on the island of Panchia somewhere off the coast of Arabia Felix inscriptions which indicated that Kronos and Zeus were at one time living, earthly kings.

An analysis of the authority of myth in the histories

In short, Euhemeros argued that myths were not true, per se, but fanciful tales that preserved traces of historical truth.

His approach to myth is rational mythology at its most pungent. It is unknown how Euhemeros himself might have applied historical allegory to, say, the Iliad or the Theogony. Modern euhemerists, like their namesake, have tended to rewrite the myths they study in strictly rational terms.

Founded by Zeno of Citium, Cyprus c. While the Stoics continued, as Theagenes had done, to interpret myth in terms of physical phenomena, they also became interested in reading the Iliad, Odyssey, and other ancient literature as encoded moral treatises. Thus, their allegorical readings of myth frequently described the heroes and gods of myth as embodying their own moral ideals and as resisting the vices and weaknesses that they themselves wished to avoid.

For example, by the first century of the Common Era, Heraclitus the Stoic had written the Homeric Allegories in which he sought to defend Homer from the charge of immorality first laid against him by Xenophanes more than five centuries previously. Similarly, Heraclitus the Stoic identifies the gods with a variety of abstract qualities: But Heraclitus also argues that the Odyssey is a moral allegory from start to finish, declaring that Odysseus is the embodiment of all virtues and that Homer uses him to teach wisdom by depicting him as hating the vices which destroy human life.

In fact, the Stoic takes his moral allegory so far that he completely discounts the literal, surface meaning of the Iliad and Odyssey and presumably of all mythic literatureby assuming that its only value is its allegorical meaning. Most of these etymologies are based on accidental similarities in the sound and spelling of words and result in little more than clever puns and word games.Marincola John Marincola, Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography (Cambridge ).

Myres John L. Myres, Herodotus, Father of History (Oxford ) Powell J. Enoch Powell, The History of Herodotus (Cambridge ). Still . You will find an historical survey of the history of mythology, the study and analysis of myth.

attempted to force hidden-but-salutary meanings to the surface was by offering etymologies—histories of the “original” or “true” meanings of words—as evidence of the epics’ hidden moral message. was an international authority in.

Ian Kershaw | Published in History Today Volume 35 Issue 11 November For almost a decade after , Hitler enjoyed a remarkable degree of popularity among the great majority of the German people. According to Marx’s theory of history, socialism was an inevitability.

According to his deterministic outlook, every country was destined to progress from a feudalist society, to . Every student of Persian literature learns a myth where Sabk-e Hendi, or the Indian Style, is characterized by a period of literary decline.

In recent years, many scholars have begun to not only challenge this notion, but also the idea of literary style as a historiographical marker and a category of analysis. View Post. The Historical Nature of Myth In his preface to the edition of Mythologies, Roland Barthes explains the origins of his collection of essays as an attempt to reflect on current events as "some myths of French daily life" ( 11).

Myth: Myth and History | benjaminpohle.com