Why do myths from centuries and even millennia in the past still fascinate us? Why does the quest of the Hero find its way into so many stories? Can these legendary tales still help us find our purpose? The new 6-part documentary series, Myths & Monsters explores these questions and the myths that have endured for countless generations. Check the trailer out here:
Posts Tagged With: myth
Myths & Monsters
Gilgamesh: The Warrior King
Brian Godawa has been writing a fascinating fantasy series that takes place in the ancient Near East. It began with Noah Primeval which was rooted in the question, “What was going on in the world that was so horrible that mankind needed destroyed?” The series continued with Enoch Primordial (actually a prequel), which centered around the enigmatic Enoch. A man barely mentioned in the biblical accounts, but because he never died, and the other books attributed to him recount many a strange event, he has long been a person of high speculation.
Godawa now steps out from filling in between the lines of the biblical accounts with Gilgamesh Immortal. Taking off from events in the Noah episode, the tale of Gilgamesh provides a link to storie Godawa has next that is centered around Babel. One can’t study Near Wast cultures in a vacuum, so bringing in the most famous character from that region’s legends that isn’t chronicled in the biblical accounts was a perfect idea. Gilgamesh, a king and warrior of Mesopotamia, rules his empire with an iron fist. He has everything. Then he encounters a Wild Man that is his equal in many ways, and better in others. He begins to realize there has to be something more.
He wants immortality.
There begins his quest to conquer the weak and silent gods of old. These fallen angels had largely been destroyed and contained during the Great Flood, but he seeks out their remnant. It’s a journey full of adventure and death, while one of the most sinister of these “gods” is about to re-emerge and try to take Gilgamesh’s kingdom.
This book, along with the others, have Godawa’s trademark fast-paced storytelling. Their combination of fantasy and history is a largely original take on the people and places they are centered around. He also draws on the elusive references to Nephilim, Watchers and “sons of god” in the bible and other writings. For centuries, people have debated exactly what these beings were. Essentially Godawa is saying, “Maybe these references aren’t so mysterious. Maybe all of the ancient legends of battling gods aren’t just myth. Perhaps there are kernels of truth in them. Maybe there is a reason that the ancient cultures believed in them so much.”
It’s an intriguing premise. Perhaps it sounds irrational in our supposedly advanced world. But it’s perfectly reasonable to ask why did the ancient world pay so much credence to such things? Was it all just because of active imaginations? Or have we left behind part of our history we chose to forget?
Godawa’s series not only entertains, it asks such questions. And it gives us one possible imagining of the answers. It could have happened like this.
Shadows Among Us
I have written much here on history and fiction. Now it is time to combine the two.
I have long known that I enjoy writing fiction more than non. That’s just the way it is. So soon (soon being a relative term), I plan on rolling out the long-in-writing fantasy project. A tale set in this world, not another, that asks,
“What if it was a mistake to believe the disturbing beings relegated to myth and legend never existed?”
And as C.S. Lewis wrote:
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
Stay tuned for more.
Omnium finis imminent.
Mythology: Fact and Fiction
If you have ever read the mythologies of past cultures, they are full of wondrous and unbelievable tales of long-lost races, battling gods and supernatural conflicts.
It is often said, however, that myth and legend have tidbits of truth. The problem is that many people will mine myth looking for something they supports their preconceived notion. Often those notions are reinterpreting the past through the glasses of the present.
There is a popular image of an Egyptian hieroglyph bandied about that supposedly depicts electricity in the ancient world. The images are often poor reproductions of the real thing. Close-up photos of the actual panels quickly shows the Egyptians aren’t holding light-bulbs connected to a power system. There are many mysteries in the past, but when researchers do such poor presentation in their “evidence,” scholars are quickly turned off even if there are other valid theories presented.
Uncovering the lost technologies and knowledge of the ancients is a popular, and valid, field of research, but it is pockmarked by the strange. Sure, even in the mainstream, theories come and go and acceptance of new ideas often goes through an inordinate level of scrutiny. But when people see spaceships and aliens in ancient carvings, is that what is really there, or are we seeing what we want to see?
Sometimes our skepticism makes us miss the trees in the forest. The Viking sagas and their tales of journeys to the new world were once thought myth. Not anymore. That doesn’t mean cyclops or ogres once existed, but the Troy of Homer’s Odyssey certainly did. How can we tell the difference? Compare an account of Columbus’ voyage next to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Most anyone will see the difference. Is it always that clear? Usually it is or you will at least be able to pull out the fantastical from the potentially real.
We shouldn’t accept every theory without reservation. By the same token, it would be a mistake to exclude all fantastic happenings from history simply because we don’t understand them.
Studying history, afterall, is a thinking enterprise.