A myth explains something factual with a fictional story. The fictional story is the centre of the myth, while the attempted explanation of some occurrence or thing is usually allegorical. Myths explain all kinds of natural phenomena, usually incorrectly. Many cultures have their own myths, even when science can explain what the myth is explaining. A few types of myth are the most prominent in history.
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Divine myths involve a god or gods and goddesses. They explain the ways of the gods and typically the rules by which the gods and goddesses expect people to live. These myths are often set in a time and place apart from the modern world. Followers of some religions may consider divine myths to be sacred texts.
Nature myths attempt to explain natural occurrences, such as weather and cosmology. Numerous myths, whether people consider them sacred or historical, involve explanations of weather and the universe. In Greek mythology, some of the most powerful gods and goddesses were associated with the weather. Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, was also the god of thunder, lightning, clouds and rain.
The ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Chinese had myths that involve the afterlife. Some involve rebirth and some describe a place that people go when they die. Because death and dying are a part of every culture, death and dying play a prominent role in mythology, even in the myths of cultures of today.
Cosmogony myths, otherwise known as creation or origin myths, describe the making of the world and universe. According to ancient Greek myth, there was once a great darkness where only a bird existed. Life sprang out of the great bird's egg. The Book of Genesis, the first book of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible, describes the creation of the world by the Hebrew god as the work of six days.
Prestige myths describe a hero, king, gods or a powerful city. One famous prestige myth is the Roman tale of Hercules, a demigod (i.e., half god and half man) who possessed incredible strength. Another is that of Achilles, a hero of Homer's Iliad, one of the oldest works of Western literature.
Eschatology myths are myths of the destruction of the world. Christian eschatology involves the rapture, tribulation and the end of days. Unlike Norse mythology, it does not involve the death of the divine. In the Norse eschatological myth, Ragnarok or "The Doom of the Gods," involves the destruction of the sun, moon, gods and Earth.
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