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

By Otto Rank; F. Robbins et al. | Go to book overview

in proof of my assertion. When Senechoros reigned over the Babylonians, the Chaldean fortune-tellers foretold that the son of the king's daughter would take the kingdom from his grandfather; this verdict was a prophecy of the Chaldeans. The king was afraid of this prophecy, and humorously speaking, he became a second Akrisius for his daughter, over whom he watched with the greatest severity. But his daughter, fate being wiser than the Babylonian, conceived secretly from an inconspicuous man. For fear of the king, the guardians threw the child down from the Akropolis, where the royal daughter was imprisoned. The eagle, with his keen eyes, saw the boy's fall, and before the child struck the earth, he caught it on his back, bore it into a garden, and set it down with great care. When the overseer of the place saw the beautiful boy he was pleased with him and raised him. The boy received the name Gilgamos, and became the king of Babylonia. If anyone regards this as a fable, I have nothing to say, although I have investigated the matter to the best of my ability. Also from Achaemenes, the Persian, from whom the nobility of the Persians is derived, I learn that he was the pupil of an eagle."37


KYROS

The myth of Kyros, which the majority of investigators place in the center of this entire mythical circle, without entirely sufficient grounds, it would appear--has been transmitted to us in several versions. According to the report of Herodotus (about 450 B.C.), who states ( I, 95) that among four renderings known to him, he selected the least "glorifying" version, the story of the birth and youth of Kyros is as follows, I, 107 et seq.37a.

Royal sway over the Medes was held, after Kyaxares, by his son Astyages, who had a daughter named Mandane. Once he

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37
It was also told of Ptolemaös, the son of Lagos and Arsinoë, that an eagle protected the exposed boy with his wings against the sunshine, the rain and birds of prey (loc. cit.).
37a
F.E. Lange, "Herodot's Geschichten" (Reclam). Compare also Duncker's "History of Antiquity" ( Leipsig, 1880), N. 5, page 256 et sequitur.

-24-

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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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