hindu mythology

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Daniel M Giaquinta

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Jun 1, 1993, 5:47:34 PM6/1/93
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does anyone out there know much about the history of Hindu mythology as it
relates to culture. For example, were the elemental pantheon of gods,
i.e. Indra, from a culture which existed before the Aryan invasion and were
subsequently incorporated into the dominant culture's myths? Same question
regarding the Greeks--were the Titans the gods of a preexisting culture which
were conquered in story and history by the Greeks and their gods?

Dustin Tranberg

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Jun 1, 1993, 8:05:56 PM6/1/93
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In article <1ugipm...@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU> cute...@athena.mit.edu (Daniel M Giaquinta) writes:

>For example, were the elemental pantheon of gods,
>i.e. Indra, from a culture which existed before the Aryan invasion and were
>subsequently incorporated into the dominant culture's myths?

Well, I'm not sure what you mean by "the elemental pantheon of gods,"
(the "thirty-three gods"?), but many of the early, i.e. Vedic, gods
are quite Indo-European in flavor.

Indra, for example, is very similar to the Norse Thor, in that he wields
a stone-splitting thunderbolt weapon, and battles a cosmic serpent.

This is not to say that the religion of the Aryans did not change
profoundly when they migrated into the Indian subcontinent. Gods
as nicely Indo-European as Indra eventually had their character
made into the distinctive forms we see later. Indra becomes a
lecherous fool who exists mostly to be deposed by demons so that
Vishnu can save the world.

So, I suppose my point is that many of the Vedic gods probably had most
of their Vedic form before the Aryan migration brought them into India.

Maybe see Georges Dumezil or James P. Mallory for more...

Dustin

Curtis Shenton

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Jun 2, 1993, 2:51:56 AM6/2/93
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In article <1ugipm...@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU> cute...@athena.mit.edu (Daniel M Giaquinta) writes:

I'm also looking for any information about the Titans. How many were
their? Do scholars agree on names and what they represented? Other than
Hyperion and Uranus I can't dig up much info. Any good book
suggestions?
--
Curtis Shenton cur...@netcom.com internet Too lazy to do a
4@3091 WWIVnet "real" .sig file
Currently working on a war of the gods adventure for WotC. If you're
intrested email LIST...@wizards.com with SUBSCRIBE LOC-L <your name>

Daniel M Giaquinta

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Jun 2, 1993, 11:54:27 AM6/2/93
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perhaps I need to rephrase my question. The gods of fire, sun, death, etc., did
preexist the idea of the triumverate Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and it was only
after the Aryans came that stories which contain both groups of gods began to
be orally transmitted. It is true that both exist simultaneously in most stories
but since the ideas of the elements are more primal than many characterisitics
associated with B,V,S, I merely wondered if there was any basis on thought that
new ethnic groups incorporate pieces of preexisting culture as the native peoples
are assimilated.

Curtis Shenton

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Jun 2, 1993, 12:15:32 PM6/2/93
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I also seem to recall that Norse mythology did the same thing. There
were two kinds of gods, one was the group of Odin, Thor, Baldur, etc and
the other group had only a few gods mentioned if I recall. I'll have to
dig up my norse references. But the idea of seeing how one culture
assimilated the ideas and mythology of another is quite interesting.

Jefferson P. Slack

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Jun 2, 1993, 3:26:41 PM6/2/93
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Curtis Shenton (cur...@netcom.com) wrote:
: I'm also looking for any information about the Titans. How many were

: their? Do scholars agree on names and what they represented? Other than
: Hyperion and Uranus I can't dig up much info. Any good book
: suggestions?
: --
: Curtis Shenton cur...@netcom.com internet Too lazy to do a
: 4@3091 WWIVnet "real" .sig file
: Currently working on a war of the gods adventure for WotC. If you're
: intrested email LIST...@wizards.com with SUBSCRIBE LOC-L <your name>

I'd suggest a good translation of the Theogony by, I believe, Hesiod. I
don't of any good authors who've translated this work off the top of my
head though.

I believe there were quite a few Titans. Atlas was one, along with
Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus. There were several others, the
majority of whom were thrown into Hades when Zeus won the war between the
Gods and the Titans.

What is WotC?

Jefferson P. Slack

Curtis Shenton

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Jun 2, 1993, 8:43:43 PM6/2/93
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In article <1uiuth...@owl.csrv.uidaho.edu> jsl...@crow.csrv.uidaho.edu (Jefferson P. Slack) writes:
>Curtis Shenton (cur...@netcom.com) wrote:
>: I'm also looking for any information about the Titans. How many were
>: their? Do scholars agree on names and what they represented? Other than
>: Hyperion and Uranus I can't dig up much info. Any good book
>: suggestions?
>: --
>: Curtis Shenton cur...@netcom.com internet Too lazy to do a
>: 4@3091 WWIVnet "real" .sig file
>: Currently working on a war of the gods adventure for WotC. If you're
>: intrested email LIST...@wizards.com with SUBSCRIBE LOC-L <your name>
>
>I'd suggest a good translation of the Theogony by, I believe, Hesiod. I
>don't of any good authors who've translated this work off the top of my
>head though.

Sounds good to me. I vaguely recall someone advising me to read that
before but I forgot the name. Any other good sources on this I should
read? Or more modern analysis?


>
>I believe there were quite a few Titans. Atlas was one, along with
>Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus. There were several others, the
>majority of whom were thrown into Hades when Zeus won the war between the
>Gods and the Titans.

I don't know what I was thinking when I said I only knew two Titans. But
are all of the Titans mentioned in the Theogony? Or do some pop up in
other works?
>
>What is WotC?

I really should kill my .sig file when I post outside of the
rec.games.frp.* newsgroups. I'm writing a Fantasy role playing game
supplement and Wizards of the Coats(WotC) is the company I'm working
for. This has nothing to do with Titans or Greek myth or one culture
assimilating the myths of another culture though. :)
>
>Jefferson P. Slack

Vidyasankar Sundaresan

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Jun 2, 1993, 10:10:15 PM6/2/93
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In article <1uiif...@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU> cute...@athena.mit.edu
(Daniel M Giaquinta) writes:
- perhaps I need to rephrase my question. The gods of fire, sun, death,
etc., did
- preexist the idea of the triumverate Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and it
was only
- after the Aryans came that stories which contain both groups of gods
began to
- be orally transmitted. It is true that both exist simultaneously in
most stories
- but since the ideas of the elements are more primal than many
characterisitics
- associated with B,V,S, I merely wondered if there was any basis on
thought that
- new ethnic groups incorporate pieces of preexisting culture as the
native peoples
- are assimilated.

Just as an aside, the whole hypothesis about the Aryans migrating
into/invading India is being questioned by archeologists and
anthropologists nowadays. Some new theories being proposed are quite
interesting i.e. the Indus valley civilization was itself an Aryan
civilization, not Dravidian as hitherto supposed; the Aryans are only a
linguistic group, not a racial one etc.

How do you define what is primal or not? For example, if you look at the
religions and cultures of isolated tribes in India, their Gods tend to be
female and personifications of energy/power. It is very rare to find Gods
of fire, wind, sun etc. among them, as you find in the Vedic mythology.
These elemental Gods are predominantly Vedic, and there exists no evidence
of their being from an earlier substratum which the Vedic people
incorporated.

On the other hand, new ethnic groups do assimilate the pre-existing
cultures to large extents. In India itself, that is the process by which
tribal Goddesses were incorporated as manifestations of the one Primordial
Mother. Sociologists refer to this in terms of the Great Tradition and the
Little Tradition. Thus for example, Mariamman in Tamil Nadu, the Goddess
of viral diseases, is seen as a manifestation of Sakti in a virulent form.

S.Vidyasankar

dolan andrew

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Jun 4, 1993, 12:44:11 AM6/4/93
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As regards modern commentary, I've seen a book called
"The God-Kings and the Titans" by James Bayley
He says that the Gods and Titans were historical individuals and kings
tranformed through time into supernatural beings by primitive peoples.
There was a ancient writer called something like Euhemerus who
wrote a book with the same theme.

I would be interested in a posting from anyone who has more information
along these lines.


apd...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu

Peter Dixon

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Jun 4, 1993, 12:40:00 PM6/4/93
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>I'm also looking for any information about the Titans. How many were
>their? Do scholars agree on names and what they represented? Other than
>Hyperion and Uranus I can't dig up much info. Any good book
>suggestions?

Titans - the generic name of six of the male children of Uranus and Gaia, they
had six sisters the Titanides. Youngest among the titans was Cronus from whom
the Olympians were descended.

There was a struggle between the Olympians & Cronus known as the Titanomachia
which brought the Olympians to power.

See:-
PIERRE GRIMAL 'The Dictionary of Classical Mythology' ART. TITANS, also
includes Genealogy Listings.

HESIOD THEOGONY Translated by A.W.Mair P.38 ff.

GROTE'S HISTORY OF GREECE Volume 1.

WALTER BURKETT, GREEK RELIGION

JANE HARRISON, PROLEGOMENA

JANE HARRISON, THEMIS

--
==========================================================================
Peter Dixon | pe...@caanats.demon.co.uk | "Language is nothing but a
ATC >>>>>>| IP: 158.152.11.242 | web of signifiers, but
>>>>>> | Compuserve : 100031,3717 | without communication
>>>>>> | "Opinions are mine I bought em" | there is no significance".
==========================================================================

Matt

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Jun 4, 1993, 2:37:28 PM6/4/93
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>I also seem to recall that Norse mythology did the same thing. There
>were two kinds of gods, one was the group of Odin, Thor, Baldur, etc and
>the other group had only a few gods mentioned if I recall. I'll have to
>dig up my norse references. But the idea of seeing how one culture
>assimilated the ideas and mythology of another is quite interesting.

Were you thinking of the giants? They seem to occupy a similar role in
Norse mythology to the Titans in Greek mythology. There are other
similarities: both 'pantheons' live on a mountain, both are very human.
I've heard that Odin was supposed to have travelled to Scandinavia from
the east or south-east. Could there be a common (Aryan?) culture behind
Greek and Norse mythology?

Matt.

--
Matthew Woodford.....mjw@uk.ac.cov.cck.....No .sig quote at the mo'

Curtis Shenton

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Jun 4, 1993, 4:17:45 PM6/4/93
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Actually I was thinking of the Vanir. I seem to recall mention that they
were the gods of an earlier culture but I'm not sure where I read this.
Though I wouldn't be surpirsed if the Norse had eventually gotten a very
distorted version of Greeks myths at some point. The two cultures aren't
that far apart geographically after all.


>
>Matt.
>
>--
> Matthew Woodford.....mjw@uk.ac.cov.cck.....No .sig quote at the mo'

Larry Nadon

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Jun 4, 1993, 8:51:24 PM6/4/93
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curtis: I have done a little research into the Titans, that is
to say I pulled out one of my classical civilization textbooks and
looked it up! There was actually more than I expected to find as
most historians tend to concentrate towards Zeus and his gang.
The book is called"Classical Mythology" by Mark P.O. Morford and
Robert J. Lenardon and they give a number of vies soory views on
the subject n including Ovid's "Metomophoses" and Aristophanes'
"The Birsd". Anyway they concentrate on Hesiod's "Theogony"
(you can find it probably at Carleton U's library) Well, from
what I can see there were exactly 12 Titans 6 boys and 6 girls.
There names are: Oceanus Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Theia,
Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys and Cronus.
They were the children of Ge and Uranus. When ZXeus took over
hie killed the Titans (of whish there were thousands
because the 12 of them were rather amourous shall we say)
and took their ashes and created man.
If you need more in formation just let me know in this section
and I'll get it to you no problem.
Nancy af249

Grendel Grettisson

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Jun 5, 1993, 3:33:48 AM6/5/93
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In article <curtissC...@netcom.com> cur...@netcom.com (Curtis Shenton) writes:
>
>Actually I was thinking of the Vanir. I seem to recall mention that they
>were the gods of an earlier culture but I'm not sure where I read this.

That was an old "It must be Migration" theory. It has been largely
disproven and it isn't accepted. The Vanir are a seperate group of gods
from the Aesir but they are part of one complex and evidence shows they
arrived together and are derived from earlier Indo-European beliefs.

>Though I wouldn't be surpirsed if the Norse had eventually gotten a very
>distorted version of Greeks myths at some point. The two cultures aren't
>that far apart geographically after all.

I haven't seen any evidence to support this. The most likely reason for
the similarities in the cultures is because both the Norse and the Greeks
are Indo-European peoples and share a common root culture. This is the
same reason Vedic mythology is so similar along with Celtic and Roman, etc.

Wassail,
Grendel Grettisson

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Dick Dawson

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Jun 5, 1993, 3:30:35 AM6/5/93
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In article <C82yH...@news.cso.uiuc.edu> apd...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (dolan andrew) writes:
>As regards modern commentary, I've seen a book called
>"The God-Kings and the Titans" by James Bayley
>He says that the Gods and Titans were historical individuals and kings
>tranformed through time into supernatural beings by primitive peoples.
>There was a ancient writer called something like Euhemerus who
>wrote a book with the same theme.

... hence the term "euhemerization" ...

Dick

Peter Dixon

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Jun 5, 1993, 9:10:42 AM6/5/93
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The Following from Hastings (Ed.) Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics; Volume
XII P.346-347

"TITANS - The Titans, like the Giants are potencies belonging to an early
pre-Olympian stage of Greek mythology. The two tend to be confused by late
authors, but in origin they are distinct. The Titans are distinguished from
Giants by the following well marked characteristics: 1) they are gods [...],
and as such immortal, wheras the Giants are mortal; [...]'Titans, gods,' is a
fixed formulary in Hesiod's Theogony; 2)they are sky-potencies [...] as
contrasted with the Giants, who are earth-born [...]; Titans and Giants alike
are to Hesiod the offspring of Earth and Heaven, but the Titans tend skywards,
the Giants with their snake-tails earthwards. To Shakespeare Titan is the sun.

And Titan tired in the mid-day heat,
With burning eye did hotly overlook them. [Venus and Adonis, 177]

To Pausanius [II, XI.5] Titan, according to the local legend of Titane,
is
'brother to the sun', and Pausanias himself held that Titan 'was great at
marking seasons of the year.' Empedocles holds a less specialized and
perhaps
juster view; he places side by side

Gaia and billowy ocean and air with it's moisture
And Aether, the Titan, embracing the All in a circle. [H.Diels,
DieFragmente
der Vorsokratiker, Berlin, 1903 p.38]

The Titan pantheon is the sun and sun's charioteer; the Titaness
Phoebe is the
moon; the Titans Atlas and Prometheus are the sky-pillars
supporting Ouranos.
The Titans are an integral part of the primeval cosmogony of
earth and sky,
ousted in Greece by the anthropomorphic Olympians, but
remembered as part of
their Indo-European heritage by the Northern Muses who came to
Helicon and
taught their lore to Hesiod.
The etymology of Gigas, 'giant' is uncertain; that of Titan
is happily
secure, and it throws a flood of light on the function of
these sky-potencies
of older date and explains in a flash the two Titan myths -
a) the
Titanomachia, b) the rending of Zagreus, which, but for this
etymology, must
have remained obscure. Three glosses of Hesychius make it
certain that Titan
means simply 'king'. [There follows Greek etymological
comparsisons, which for
technical reasons (no Greek characters) I can't reproduce
here]. Titan is king, 'honoured one', but - and here is the
interesting point, or rather series of
vitally connected points- he is the king of the old order,
the king-god or
divine king, and as such he is a sky potency, for one main
function of the old
king-god was to order the goings of the heavenly bodies and
generally to
control the weather. Here we have that odd blending of
physical phenomena with
human and social potencies which lies at the back of most
gods and certainly of Zeus himself.
The Titanomachia is at once clear. For on the physical point
of view it is as
described in Hesiod, just a half-humanized thunder-storm,
Zeus, the new sky-
and thunder-god, fighting the old sky-potencies; from the
theological point of
view it is the new anthropomorphism against the old religion
of the king-god or medicine-man who controls the weather. The
Olympian religion naturally regarded these old Titan kings as
criminals, rebels against high heaven, condemned to
Tartarus for their sin [...]; they are the counterpart of the
arch-Titan
Prometheus.
The second Titan myth, the rending of Zagreus, is less
transparent, but in the
light of the Titan kings even more illuminating, for we catch
the king in his
earliest stage of all, when he was tribal elder or
medicine-man, not yet fully
developed into king ship. The Titans according to a version
of the story as
early as Onomakritos [Pausanias. VIII. xxxv11.3] lure away
the infant Zagreus,
dismember, and (in some versions) cook and eat him. The story is
an initiation
myth based on the familiar initiation ritual of the mock
death and
ressurrection of the initiate. The initiators are the elders
or dynasts of the
tribe, the embryo kings. The Titans as old-world kings are
well in place; as a
form of giant they are absurd. The name Zagreus takes us to
Crete, and in Crete we find the Titans in a connexion that
again points to initiation mysteries.
The Cretans, according to Diodorus [Diodorus Siculus.
XX.14]said that in the
time of Kouretes those who were called Titans ruled over the
region of Cnossos, where were shown the foundations of the
house of Rhea and a sacred
Cypress-grove of hoary antiquity. These Titans again must
have been old
king-medicine-men, contemporary with the Kouretes and, like
them, initiators
into the 'men's house' of the Mother Rhea. [See Hastings
Arts. Mountain Mother, Kouretes & Korybantes]. On a
red-figured hydria in the British Museum Zagreus
is depicted as actually devoured by the Titans, and these
Titans wear the
characteristic dress of Thracian chieftans. We may safely
infer that the Titan
myth of the rending of Zagreus was known from Thrace to
Crete, and we may
suggest that it arose in that early stratum of 'satem' -
speaking population
known to the later Greeks as 'Pelasgian' - a stratum
specially addicted to the
mystery-cults of the son of Semele."

N.B.[...] Indicate Omission of Greek Words.
[] Enclose my insertions.

There is much more to this subject and the more one delves the more fascinating
it becomes.

Sorry about the bad formatting this was due to a paste error from my Database
TSR.

Peter

Stephen Tonkin

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Jun 6, 1993, 5:30:00 AM6/6/93
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CS> .@SUBJECT:Re: hindu mythology N
> .@FROM :cur...@netcom.com N
> .@MSGID :<curtissC...@netcom.com> N

> Though I wouldn't be surpirsed if the Norse had eventually gotten a very
> distorted version of Greeks myths at some point. The two cultures aren't
> that far apart geographically after all.

I think if you study both, you will find that the differences are
enormous.

Steve

* JABBER v1.2 #136 * WANTED: Schr.dinger's Cat - Dead or Alive.

Paul Harvey

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Jun 7, 1993, 3:18:49 PM6/7/93
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In article <1057.19...@almac.co.uk>
stephen...@almac.co.uk (Stephen Tonkin) writes:
>> .@MSGID :<curtissC...@netcom.com> N
>> Though I wouldn't be surpirsed if the Norse had eventually gotten a very
>> distorted version of Greeks myths at some point. The two cultures aren't
>> that far apart geographically after all.
>I think if you study both, you will find that the differences are
>enormous.

There are big mountains between the land of the Greeks and the land of
the Norse, and large expanses of open water. The Norse are closer to
North America and in fact traveled there. The land of the Greeks is a
Mediterannean, rainless summer climate, like California. The land of the
Norse is northern temperate to near sub-artic, the land of the midnight
sun. The differences are enormous, but of course never too difficult to
surmount.

Michael Fragassi

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Jun 8, 1993, 2:07:56 PM6/8/93
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Actually, both Greeks & Norse were descendents of Indo-European peoples,
and common themes have been conjectured to lie beyond some of the differences.
Unfortunately (arrgh!) I forget the sources...but here's what I
believe were some of the proposed analogs between the myth systems:

* Before Wodan/Odin became high hog to the Norse, Tyr was the chief god.
Tyr's name appears to come out of the same proposed Indo-European root
that gives us the Greek "Theos", Roman "Deos" - and in turn, Greek "Zeus"
(a kind of lisped variant of "Theos"), and Roman "Dia Pater"
(also corrupted in time to "Jupiter"). As I recall, there's a lot of
evidence of this generic Zeus-father-sky god in a lot of varying
Indo-European cultures.
* The notions of Old Order bad-guy gods, overthrown by a younger family gods.
This is the Titan/Giant comparison.
* 3 Norns, 3 Fates, all them spinning life-threads.

There may be others. There are some problems though, since what we know as
"Norse myths" were entirely written down in Iceland c. 1000 AD by
farmer/sailors many of whom had traveled throughout the lands that were once
the Roman Empire. So, a relatively minor aspect of the myths - like the Norns
- might come from tales picked up while trading/pillaging somewhere over in,
say, Brittany, tales that can be traced back to the days when Ovid, Vergil, and
Homer were known & read throughout Europe. Such mythical ideas
would have had ~1500 years to circulate. The Tyr/Theos/Zeus comparison is
based on much older runic inscriptions, and so the claim that this represents
some common source of Indo-European myths has a much stronger base.

I'll defer on any of this to anyone who has some sources they can cite (unlike
me); and to experts in Proto-Norse, Old-English and Indo-European philology...
Neat stuff.


--
__________________________________________________________
Mike Fragassi mfra...@ucs.indiana.edu
Psychology & Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University

Paul Harvey

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Jun 8, 1993, 5:44:58 PM6/8/93
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In article <C8BED...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>Actually, both Greeks & Norse were descendents of Indo-European peoples,

The *languages* were proven to have a common origin and said root language is
called Indo-European and where there is a language you will find a
people, but it is equally possible that the Greeks and Norse are
unrelated as people and just adopted the language of the
"Indo-Europeans," whomever they may happen to actually be.

>and common themes have been conjectured to lie beyond some of the differences.

If you look at all the world's mythologies, you will find many common
themes. In our own time, Joseph Campbell received some fame for doing
just that. But why should this come as a surprise? At our root, we are
all Homo sapiens sapiens from the Mother continent of Africa.

Paul Harvey

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Jun 8, 1993, 9:30:21 PM6/8/93
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In article <C8BED...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>* The notions of Old Order bad-guy gods, overthrown by a younger family gods.
> This is the Titan/Giant comparison.

The myth of a new God taking over from the Elder Gods is near universal
for post-Neolithic people. It makes sense, the Neolithic revolution
being the new kid on the block with the domestication of plants and
animals and the dependence on just a few primary food sources being a
major and just recent change (12,000:Neo v. 120,000:Paleo) over the ancient
Paleolithic tradition. If you look real close, you'll even find this concept
in the Bible: Gn3:22,6:1-8,Dt33:27,Js24:14,15,Zp2:11,Ps29:1,89:6,96:5,
Jb1:6,2:1,38:7,Dn11:37,1Ch5:25,16:26,2Ch32:19.

Curtis Shenton

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Jun 8, 1993, 10:03:54 PM6/8/93
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In article <1057.19...@almac.co.uk> stephen...@almac.co.uk (Stephen Tonkin) writes:
>CS> .@SUBJECT:Re: hindu mythology N
>> .@FROM :cur...@netcom.com N
>> .@MSGID :<curtissC...@netcom.com> N
>
>> Though I wouldn't be surpirsed if the Norse had eventually gotten a very
>> distorted version of Greeks myths at some point. The two cultures aren't
>> that far apart geographically after all.
>
>I think if you study both, you will find that the differences are
>enormous.

Oh of course. I didn't mean to imply that Norse myth is based of the
stories of the greeks. But in the thousand odd years between the Greek
civilization and the rise of the Vikings I think some jarbled version of
greek myths could have reached them. Who knows if any of the images
would have struck a chord with the Storytellers though.

>
>Steve
>
>* JABBER v1.2 #136 * WANTED: Schr.dinger's Cat - Dead or Alive.
>

--
Curtis Shenton cur...@netcom.com internet Too lazy to do a
4@3091 WWIVnet "real" .sig file

Currently working on something, I'm not sure what, for WotC. If you're

Michael Mills

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Jun 8, 1993, 7:53:47 PM6/8/93
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To: cur...@netcom.com
Subject: Re: hindu mythology
Newsgroups: alt.mythology
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In article <curtissC...@netcom.com> you write:
>In article <1uiif...@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU> cute...@athena.mit.edu (Daniel M Giaquinta) writes:
>>perhaps I need to rephrase my question. The gods of fire, sun, death, etc., did

>>preexist the idea of the triumverate Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and it was only

>>after the Aryans came that stories which contain both groups of gods began to

>>be orally transmitted. It is true that both exist simultaneously in most stories

>>but since the ideas of the elements are more primal than many characterisitics

>>associated with B,V,S, I merely wondered if there was any basis on thought that

>>new ethnic groups incorporate pieces of preexisting culture as the native peoples

>>are assimilated.


>
>I also seem to recall that Norse mythology did the same thing. There
>were two kinds of gods, one was the group of Odin, Thor, Baldur, etc and
>the other group had only a few gods mentioned if I recall. I'll have to
>dig up my norse references. But the idea of seeing how one culture
>assimilated the ideas and mythology of another is quite interesting.

>--

The Norse DID have 2 families of gods. The first was the Aesir, including
Odin and Thor. The second were the Vanir. The story was that long ago
there had been a was between the Aesir and the Vanir, which ended with a
peace treaty and the exchange of hostages. The Aesir sent 3 hostages,
who promptly dropped out of all the stories altogether (although one of
them was a brother of Odin and was reputed to be very wise). The Vanir,
in return, sent Njord, Frey, and Freya, who came to live in Asgard. It is
interesting to note that Freya, who was among many other things the goddess
of magic, was therefore a representative of this other tribe of gods.
Does this reflect a prehistoric war between the Norse and some other people?
Possibly so ... for what it is worth, Scandinavian folklore has always
credited the Finns -- who are not Norse -- with special magical aptitude.

How common are stories of wars among gods, anyway? Note that in Persian
legend there was a war between the ahuras (=good) and the daevas (=bad);
in Indian legend, between the asuras (=bad) and the devas (=good). Since
the names are almost identical, but the attribution of good and bad is
mirror-image, is it possible that this reflects the same conflict from
two different sides? Does anyone know?

Oh, well. Enough.

Cheers.

Michael Fragassi

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Jun 10, 1993, 3:58:04 AM6/10/93
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In <f4k...@quack.kfu.com> pha...@quack.kfu.com (Paul Harvey) writes:

>In article <C8BED...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
>mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>>Actually, both Greeks & Norse were descendents of Indo-European peoples,

>The *languages* were proven to have a common origin and said root language is
>called Indo-European and where there is a language you will find a
>people, but it is equally possible that the Greeks and Norse are
>unrelated as people and just adopted the language of the
>"Indo-Europeans," whomever they may happen to actually be.

There's a problem I have with this notion -- namely, why would a wholly
autonomous group of people, with their own language, just choose to up & adopt
a language belonging to some neighboring tribe? AND in the process actually
change the name of their own chief diety to be in sync with the new language's
names?
If any particular group of people is going to adopt another group's set of
"memes" (fancy postmodernific term for "ideas"), why wouldn't they also adopt
another set of ideas, namely the conception of what the supreme deity is like?
How they came to be, and who they vanquished to achieve their power? Language
is too broad and important, esp. in a pre-literate society, for one to say that
one society can adopt the language of another and yet not adopt the
philosophies and theologies of the other.
It's a two-way street, though, obv.; despite the similarities,
Proto-Norse <> Classic Greek. Whatever native tribes were there, _their_
native ideas would have been assimilated as much into any invader's culture as
vice versa, and Campbell has argued eloquently for this point concerning Hindu
mythology. The arguable question is, which of any given idea comes from some
ab-original "Indo-European" group on the steepes of Asia, and which comes from
the original thoughts of the peoples who first moved into the and around the
Scandanavian peninsula...hell, which thoughts first came from the plains of
Africa??

>>and common themes have been conjectured to lie beyond some of the differences.

>If you look at all the world's mythologies, you will find many common
>themes. In our own time, Joseph Campbell received some fame for doing
>just that. But why should this come as a surprise? At our root, we are
>all Homo sapiens sapiens from the Mother continent of Africa.

Yet, Campbell shows that these ideas are rooted in what the culture is like.
He argues very clearly that more primitive, village-based agricultural
societies will have common themes, including the killing of the king to ensure
fertility (an idea which actually comes from Frazier, not Campbell, as I
understand it). However, nomadic-herding societies have entirely different
sets of ideas; thus he argues that in India, the "Aryan" invaders' religion was
at first overlaid on top of the native religious thought (which included the
ideas of yoga, dharma/karma, and reincarnation -- and also, he claims,
king-slaughter), then later merged more thoroughly with the native religious
thought to produce Hinduism as we know it today. So, it was never a claim of
his that _all_ religious ideas are inevitable; otherwise, all religions would
be the same...rather, certain notions are relevant to certain types of societies,
and perhaps, for all societies of a similar nature, it is inevitable *either*
for an idea to be raised independently from other societies or else to spread
from occassional trader/wanderer contact, and that either way, these
"appropriate" ideas will be widely accepted amongst similar cultures.

At least, that's how I understand it. YMMV.

Paul Harvey

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Jun 10, 1993, 1:11:35 PM6/10/93
to
In article <C8EBG...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>In <f4k...@quack.kfu.com> pha...@quack.kfu.com (Paul Harvey) writes:
>>The *languages* were proven to have a common origin and said root language is
>>called Indo-European and where there is a language you will find a
>>people, but it is equally possible that the Greeks and Norse are
>>unrelated as people and just adopted the language of the
>>"Indo-Europeans," whomever they may happen to actually be.
>There's a problem I have with this notion -- namely, why would a wholly
>autonomous group of people, with their own language, just choose to up & adopt
>a language belonging to some neighboring tribe?

Why do you use English? Is it your native language? Why do the English
use English, is it their native language? Why do the Irish and Scots use
English? Why? Perhaps better technology but most likely because of force.

>AND in the process actually change the name of their own chief diety to be in
>sync with the new language's names?

Syncretism. The oppressed attempt to move their ideas into the ideas of
the oppressor, because if they do not, their ideas are lost. An
excellent example is the changes that occured in Christianity as it
conquered the former pagan lands of Europe.

> If any particular group of people is going to adopt another group's set of
>"memes" (fancy postmodernific term for "ideas"), why wouldn't they also adopt
>another set of ideas, namely the conception of what the supreme deity is like?
>How they came to be, and who they vanquished to achieve their power? Language
>is too broad and important, esp. in a pre-literate society, for one to say that
>one society can adopt the language of another and yet not adopt the
>philosophies and theologies of the other.

Yet, this happens. Are Mexicans really Spanish? Are Spanish really Latin
or Arabic? Are English really French?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan

unread,
Jun 10, 1993, 2:57:33 PM6/10/93
to
In article <C8EBG...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
- In <f4k...@quack.kfu.com> pha...@quack.kfu.com (Paul Harvey) writes:
-
- >In article <C8BED...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
- >mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
- >>Actually, both Greeks & Norse were descendents of Indo-European
peoples,
-
- >The *languages* were proven to have a common origin and said root
language is
- >called Indo-European and where there is a language you will find a
- >people, but it is equally possible that the Greeks and Norse are
- >unrelated as people and just adopted the language of the
- >"Indo-Europeans," whomever they may happen to actually be.
-
- There's a problem I have with this notion -- namely, why would a wholly
- autonomous group of people, with their own language, just choose to up &
adopt
- a language belonging to some neighboring tribe? AND in the process
actually
- change the name of their own chief diety to be in sync with the new
language's
- names?


It is probably not all that difficult. The process in India is very
evident. The Tamils (Dravidians) had Siva, Mal or Mayavan, Baladevan and
Devi as their principal Gods. It was not difficult to draw a parallel with
their "Aryan" counterparts - thus Siva = Rudra, Iswara, Mal = Vishnu, etc.

On the other hand, I don't see how this might have been possible by a
process of one tribe conquering another. At least in India, it was a more
or less peaceful marriage between Aryan and Dravidian tribes that allowed
the two way traffic between the two cultures, merging into the present
Hindu beliefs.

S.Vidyasankar

Vidyasankar Sundaresan

unread,
Jun 10, 1993, 2:58:23 PM6/10/93
to
In article <1993Jun8....@acc.com> mi...@acc.com (Michael Mills)
writes:
-
- How common are stories of wars among gods, anyway? Note that in Persian
- legend there was a war between the ahuras (=good) and the daevas (=bad);
- in Indian legend, between the asuras (=bad) and the devas (=good).
Since
- the names are almost identical, but the attribution of good and bad is
- mirror-image, is it possible that this reflects the same conflict from
- two different sides? Does anyone know?
-
- Oh, well. Enough.
-
- Cheers.


The devas and asuras are considered to be half-brothers in Hindu
mythology. They have a common father, Kashyapa, son of Brahma. Their
mothers however are Aditi (mother of the Devas, also Aadityaas) and Diti
(mother of asuras, also Daityaas), both of them daughters of Prajapati.

However the distiction between good and bad is not so clear cut in the
Hindu legends as in the Persian legend. Many Asuras are good and Indra,
king of the Devas can be very bad if he wanted to - he rapes, plunders and
exploits. In any case, the conflict between the devas and asuras is not
one between good and bad on two sides. The conflict has relevance only in
the context of Vishnu as supreme God - the devas always resort to his
help, while the asuras do not.

The reversal of roles in Persian and Hindu myth is probably a linguistic
consequence. Names which are ahura in Persian myth are deva in Hindu myth,
most importantly Agni, the fire god. In Sanskrit, the opposites Duryodhana
and Suyodhana can be made to mean the same - Duryodhana = one who is
invincible in battle while Suyodhana is one who is a hero in battle. In
the Mahabharata, the same person is addressed by both names. It could be
that a similar case of dual meaning operates in the case of the devas and
asuras. Thus the Persian branch retained one meaning while the Indian
branch of the Aryan peoples retained the other in their collective psyche.

S.Vidyasankar

Michael Fragassi

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Jun 10, 1993, 5:26:29 PM6/10/93
to
In <f4p...@quack.kfu.com> pha...@quack.kfu.com (Paul Harvey) writes:

>In article <C8EBG...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
>mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>>In <f4k...@quack.kfu.com> pha...@quack.kfu.com (Paul Harvey) writes:

>>>The *languages* were proven to have a common origin and said root language is
>>>called Indo-European and where there is a language you will find a
>>>people, but it is equally possible that the Greeks and Norse are
>>>unrelated as people and just adopted the language of the
>>>"Indo-Europeans," whomever they may happen to actually be.

>>There's a problem I have with this notion -- namely, why would a wholly
>>autonomous group of people, with their own language, just choose to up & adopt
>>a language belonging to some neighboring tribe?

>Why do you use English? Is it your native language? Why do the English
>use English, is it their native language? Why do the Irish and Scots use
>English? Why? Perhaps better technology but most likely because of force.

Whoa! We're agreeing then. Above, when you first said "just adopted the
language", I assumed that you were talking about an adoption of language in the
ABSENSE of force, and I was agruing that the commonalities can be best
explained by a common Indo-European heritage, different tribes of which spoke a
similar language but which invaded different parts of Europe. How genetically
related the Norse were to the Greeks is a separate issue in my mind; clearly
some mixing inevitably would have taken place. But the languages and at least
some of the religious concepts carried by and contained in these languages
would have had a common source.

>>AND in the process actually change the name of their own chief diety to be in
>>sync with the new language's names?

>Syncretism. The oppressed attempt to move their ideas into the ideas of
>the oppressor, because if they do not, their ideas are lost. An
>excellent example is the changes that occured in Christianity as it
>conquered the former pagan lands of Europe.

Again, I'm not denying this.

>> If any particular group of people is going to adopt another group's set of
>>"memes" (fancy postmodernific term for "ideas"), why wouldn't they also adopt
>>another set of ideas, namely the conception of what the supreme deity is like?
>>How they came to be, and who they vanquished to achieve their power? Language
>>is too broad and important, esp. in a pre-literate society, for one to say that
>>one society can adopt the language of another and yet not adopt the
>>philosophies and theologies of the other.

>Yet, this happens. Are Mexicans really Spanish? Are Spanish really Latin
>or Arabic? Are English really French?

Huh? No, the Mexicans aren't really Spanish. This just proves my point -
Mexicans in the end adopted Spanish religious concepts, along with the Spanish
language. All I'm saying is that I don't see that many circumstances of group A
invading group B, resulting in the subsequent amalgam of peoples having the
language of A but none of the religious views of A.
Similarly, when the Arabs conquered the entire southern coast of the
Mediterrean, the area over time became what it is today - Arabic in tongue,
Moslem in worship. When the Normans conquered England, both groups by that
time I believe were Christian.

Michael Fragassi

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Jun 10, 1993, 5:37:14 PM6/10/93
to
In <1v806t...@gap.caltech.edu> cco.caltech.edu!vidya (Vidyasankar Sundaresan) writes:

>In article <C8EBG...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
>mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>- In <f4k...@quack.kfu.com> pha...@quack.kfu.com (Paul Harvey) writes:
>-
>- >In article <C8BED...@usenet.ucs.indiana.edu>
>- >mfra...@nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael Fragassi) writes:
>- >>Actually, both Greeks & Norse were descendents of Indo-European
>peoples,
>-
>- >The *languages* were proven to have a common origin and said root
>language is
>- >called Indo-European and where there is a language you will find a
>- >people, but it is equally possible that the Greeks and Norse are
>- >unrelated as people and just adopted the language of the
>- >"Indo-Europeans," whomever they may happen to actually be.
>-
>- There's a problem I have with this notion -- namely, why would a wholly
>- autonomous group of people, with their own language, just choose to up &

>- adopt a language belonging to some neighboring tribe? AND in the process
>- actually change the name of their own chief diety to be in sync with the
>- new language's names?

>It is probably not all that difficult. The process in India is very
>evident. The Tamils (Dravidians) had Siva, Mal or Mayavan, Baladevan and
>Devi as their principal Gods. It was not difficult to draw a parallel with
>their "Aryan" counterparts - thus Siva = Rudra, Iswara, Mal = Vishnu, etc.

>On the other hand, I don't see how this might have been possible by a
>process of one tribe conquering another. At least in India, it was a more
>or less peaceful marriage between Aryan and Dravidian tribes that allowed
>the two way traffic between the two cultures, merging into the present
>Hindu beliefs.

Was it all that peaceful? I have no knowledge of Indian history, but I find it
surprising, given what seems to have been the case in other Aryan/Indo-European
invasions elsewhere - take Greece. The invaders pretty much wiped out the
existing Mycenean (sp?) civilization.

Christian T.S. Crumlish

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Jun 14, 1993, 2:26:41 PM6/14/93
to
In article <1uiuth...@owl.csrv.uidaho.edu> jsl...@crow.csrv.uidaho.edu (Jefferson P. Slack) writes:
Let's see, there was also Iapetos (and he seems to be cognate with
Japhet, one of Noah's sons (digression: sons were Ham, Shem, and Japhet...
raciomythohistorians had it that the Semites (shemites) were descended
from Shem, the Hamites (such as Berbers, Egyptian strains, etc) of
Africa were descended from Ham, and I think that Indo-Europeans, or
Aryans, what have you, were descended from Japhet), and there were
an equal number of female titans, because all were in matched pairs
exavtly like the gods. The top two were Cronos and Rhea, rhite?

I know my old D'Aulaire's children's book, The Greek Myths (?) had
them all laid out as well as a humongous family tree, because the
Titans are parents of or even intermarried with many key gods, at
least in the universal-theory myth systems that try to tie tohether
all the regional stories into one coherent narrative.

Blah blah.

--Xian

>Wha is WotC?
>
>Jefferson P. Slack
>


Eber Lambert

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Jun 15, 1993, 8:29:45 PM6/15/93
to
xi...@netcom.com (Christian T.S. Crumlish) writes:
>>
>Let's see, there was also Iapetos (and he seems to be cognate with
>Japhet, one of Noah's sons (digression: sons were Ham, Shem, and Japhet...
>raciomythohistorians had it that the Semites (shemites) were descended
>from Shem, the Hamites (such as Berbers, Egyptian strains, etc) of
>Africa were descended from Ham, and I think that Indo-Europeans, or
>Aryans, what have you, were descended from Japhet), and there were
>an equal number of female titans, because all were in matched pairs
>exavtly like the gods. The top two were Cronos and Rhea, rhite?


The Titans are the sons of Uranus and Gaea: Coeus,Crius,Cronus,Hyperion,
Iapetus,Oceanus. Also the daughters: Mnemosyne,Phoebe, Rhea, Tethys, Themis
and Theia.

Cronus and Rhea begat Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseiden and Zeus.

el

Steve Carrobis

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Jun 16, 1993, 12:41:19 PM6/16/93
to


bravo... well done

---
Steve C.

==> A wise man once told me - There ARE NO Wise Men !
- Just fools who think they are.
---------------------------------------------------------------
I understand you need someone to do work.
I don't do work, but, I know this guy who does.
-Vladimir Taltos
---------------------------------------------------------------


Christian T.S. Crumlish

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Jun 17, 1993, 4:56:35 PM6/17/93
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In article <1993Jun16.1...@lehman.com> scar...@shearson.com writes:
>In article 740190585@qualcom, elam...@qualcom.qualcomm.com (Eber Lambert) writes:
>> xi...@netcom.com (Christian T.S. Crumlish) writes:
>> >>
>> >Let's see, there was also Iapetos (and he seems to be cognate with
>> >Japhet, one of Noah's sons (digression: sons were Ham, Shem, and Japhet...

>> >Africa were descended from Ham, and I think that Indo-Europeans, or

>> >Aryans, what have you, were descended from Japhet), and there were


I just read today in a 1959-era atlas the language Armenian referred to
as a "Japhetic" tongue. . . Can anyone clear up the meaning of these
seemingly related words? Japhet, Iapetos, japhetic, etc.

--xian

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