Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Mythology, the science which deals with myths. Tylor defines myth as "sham history, the fictitious narrative of events that never happened." His books (Primitive Culture and Early History of Mankind) are invaluable to the student, for they contain myths from all parts of the globe, with exact references to the authorities whence they are taken, and where further information may be found. When the term "mythology" first came into use, it was applied to the stories told about the gods of ancient Greece and Rome, then extended to those of all Aryan peoples, and is now employed for myths in general; for it has been found that nearly all the classic myths have their counterparts among races of low culture at the present day. Mr. Andrew Lang, one of the greatest authorities on the subject, arranges myths under the following heads: - (1) Divine Myths, dealing with the origin of the gods and heroes. (2) Cosmogonic Myths dealing with the origin of the universe and of this earth in particular. (3) Myths of the Origin of Man. Some of these are based on the idea of creation; others on that of evolution. (4) Myths of the Arts, such as the invention of letters by Cadmus. (5) Myths of the Stars, which are commemorated in the names of the constellations. (6) Myths of the Sun and Moon, with their relationship to each other. (7) Myths of the Origin of Eire. With the subject-matter thus arranged, one may go on to acquaintance with the myths themselves. Those of the Aryan nations may well be taken first, special attention being paid to those of Greece and Rome, for which the best crawling or "amoeboid" movement. I be Plasmodium nourishes itself saprophytically, these organisms living always in damp situations, such as tan-pits or decaying autumn leaves; and it may attain, as in Etiligu rarians, the "flowers of tan, a length and breadth of several inches. It is granular, with many nuclei and foreign bodies, but has a clearer margin and sometimes apparently a non-protoplasmic envelope. The reproductive structures, or spores, are generally formed in sporangia, which arise as swellings on the plasmodium drawing up its protoplasm into their interior. When mature this interior is either filled with spores, or contains also a network of filaments (capillitium), which is seemingly connected with the bursting of the sporangium. The spores resemble those of fungi, having a wall and nuclei and retaining their germinating power for years. Germination consists in the bursting of the spore and the escape of a naked, and at first unciliated, zoospore, which, as we have seen, coalesces with others to form a plasmodium. This coalescence has been termed multiple conjugation and considered as it sexual act. In addition to the "flowers of tan," one of the best-known Myxomycetes is the "finger-and-toe disease" of the turnip and other Cruciferse, Plasmodiophora hrassiecc. authorities will be the classic poets. In studying myths of other peoples their sacred writings (if any such exist) should be reverently examined, and carefully compared with other scriptures. The problem of mythology is to account for the extraordinary stories told about the gods, and the search for the solution is full of interest. The idea of revelation is precluded by the nature of some of these stories, which could not possibly have originated with the Greeks of historic times, for at a very early date some explanation of them was felt to be necessary, though no satisfactory one could be found. But if one imagines primitive man occupied with the questions of the origin and destiny of the race, and considers his tendency to attribute powers similar to his own to brute beasts, and life and intelligence to the powers of Nature, there will be no surprise at gods having the shape of men and beasts and the morals of the lowest savages. Thus, the morality of a myth may be taken as some criterion of its age. One may be pretty sure, apart from any evidence, that the stories of the intrigues of Zeus with women are older than the charming myth of Baucis and Philemon. This method of studying mythology will probably lead to the conclusion that, though religions be many, Religion is one, and may show its development where some people would least expect to find it (of. Genesis xxii. 1, 2 with Isaiah i. 10-20).