The Myth of the Birth of the Hero: A Psychological Interpretation of Mythology

By Otto Rank; F. Robbins et al. | Go to book overview
THE MYTH OF THE BIRTH OF THE HERO [A PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF MYTHOLOGY]
INTRODUCTION
The prominent civilized nations, such as the Babylonians, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Hindoos, the inhabitants of Iran and of Persia, the Greeks and the Romans as well as the Teutons and others, all began at an early stage to glorify their heroes, mythical princes and kings, founders of religions, dynasties, empires or cities, in brief their national heroes, in a number of poetic tales and legends. The history of the birth and of the early life of these personalities came to be especially invested with fantastic features, which in different nations even though widely separated by space and entirely independent of each other present a baffling similarity, or in part a literal correspondence. Many investigators have long been impressed with this fact, and one of the chief problems of mythical research still consists in the elucidation of the reason for the extensive analogies in the fundamental out- lines of mythical tales, which are rendered still more enigmatical by the unanimity in certain details, and their reappearance in most of the mythical groupings.1The mythological theories, aiming at the explanation of these remarkable phenomena, are, in a general way, as follows:
The "Idea of the People", propounded by Adolf Bastian2 [ 1868]. This theory assumes the existence of elementary thoughts, so that the unanimity of the myths is a necessary sequence of the uniform disposition of the human mind, and the
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1
A short and fairly complete review of the general theories of mythology and its principal advocates is to be found in Wundt's "Völkerpsychologie", Vol. II, Myths and Religion. Part I [ Leipzig, 1905], p. 527.
2
"Das Bestöndige in den Menschenrassen und die Spielweise ihrer Veränderlichkeit". Berlin, 1868.

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The Myth of the Birth of the Hero: A Psychological Interpretation of Mythology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series ii
  • Table of Contents iii
  • Introduction 1
  • Sargon 12
  • Moses 14
  • Karna 16
  • Œdipus 18
  • Paris 21
  • Telephos 22
  • Perseus 23
  • Gilgamos 24
  • Tristan 39
  • Romulus. 41
  • Hercules 45
  • Siegfried 54
  • Lohengrin 56
  • Index 95
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