Myths and Myth-Makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology

By John Fiske | Go to book overview

V.
MYTHS OF THE BARBARIC WORLD.

THE theory of mythology act forth in the four preceding papers, and illustrated by the examination of numerous myths relating to the lightning, the storm- wind, the clouds, and the sunlight, was originally framed with reference solely to the mythic and legendary lore of the Aryan world. The phonetic identity of the names of many Western gods and heroes with the names of those Vedic divinities which are obviously the personifications of natural phenomena, suggested the theory which philosophical considerations had already foreshadowed in the works of Hume and Comte, and which the exhaustive analysis of Greek, Hindu, Keltic, and Teutonic legends has amply confirmed. Let us now, before proceeding to the consideration of barbaric folk-lore, briefly recapitulate the results obtained by modern scholarship working strictly within the limits of the Aryan domaim.

In the first place, it has been proved once for all that the languages spoken by the Hindus, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Kelts, Slaves, and Teutons are all descended from a single ancestral language, the Old Aryan, in the same sense that French, Italian, and Spanish are descended from the Latin. And from this undisputed fact it is an inevitable inference that these various races contain, along with other elements, a race-element in common, due to their Aryan pedigree. That the Indo-European races are wholly Aryan is very improbable, for in every case the countries overrun by them were occupied

-141-

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Myths and Myth-Makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface. v
  • Contents vii
  • I - The Origins of Folk-Lore. 1
  • II. - The Descent of Fire 37
  • III. - Werewolves and Swan-Maidens. 69
  • V - Myths of the Barbaric World. 141
  • VI. - Juventus Mundi. 174
  • VII. - The Primeval Ghost-World 209
  • Note. 241
  • Index. 243
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