A manual of mythology - in the form of question and answer - PDF by George W. Cox

A manual of mythology in the form of question and answer

A manual of mythology

The researches of Comparative Mythologists during the present century have affected a complete revolution in the treatment and classification of the various systems of mythology. 

The present Manual, which is an attempt to give the results of those researches in a form suitable for the young, must necessarily differ widely from the manuals or elementary works which have preceded it. But no apology seems to be needed for changes that remove from our common heritage of mythical tradition all that may appear gross and repulsive in it and exhibit the exquisite poetry which lies at the root of all these ancient stories.

 In some portions of the subject, differences of opinion must still exist. I have, therefore, be careful to make no statements of any importance for which I cannot claim the authority of such writers as Niebuhr, Thirlwall, Grimm, Max Miller, Kuhn, Muir, Cornewall Lewis, Grote, Dasent, and Breal. The Comparative Mythologist must still say with Grimm: " I shall indeed interpret all that I can, but I cannot interpret all that I should like." 

I venture, therefore, to add, that for any suggestions or remarks which may be forwarded to me through the publishers, I shall feel grateful. My obligations to Professor Max Miiller I thankfully acknowledge. The sections on Vedic, Persian, and Teutonic Mythology are short; but a lengthened treatment of these systems would have swelled the volume to too great a size; and many names which are not specially mentioned in those sections, have been noticed with sufficient fulness in the section on Greek Mythology. 
The references given in the text of the answers are to the tales in which the myth or legend under notice has been recounted at length. The quantity of syllables in the several names, is, in all cases which may appear doubtful, given in the Index.

 I hope that students who may have to use this little book will read the few sentences which I write by way of preface. You may have heard the stories which are told about Apollo, or Prometheus, or Tantalus, and you may have thought them uninteresting, or tiresome, or horrible.

 The deeds which they are said to have done may have seemed to you (as they seemed to many good men among the old Greeks and Romans) the deeds of savages; and you may have asked, "Why should we learn these things at all, and what good will it do us to know them ?" You may, perhaps, have been also puzzled by the many names which you were obliged to learn without attaching any meaning to them, and by the ranks or classes into which the gods and heroes were divided; and thus you may have seen nothing good or beautiful in your task. to make up for what was dull or disagreeable in it. And yet these old stories about Greek gods, and nymphs, and Titans, are amongst the loveliest things which men have ever imagined, as you will see, I think if you follow w me in what I am now going to say. 

Many ages ago, long before Europe had any of the nations who now live in it, and while everything was new and strange to the people who then lived on the earth, men talked of the things which they saw and heard, in a way very different from our way of speaking now. We talk of the sun rising and setting, as of something which is sure to happen: but they did not know enough to feel sure about these things; and so when the evening came, they said, " Our friend the sun is dead; will he come back again?" and when they saw him once more in the east, they rejoiced because he brought back their light and their life with him. Knowing very little about themselves, and nothing at all of the things which they saw in the world around them, they fancied that everything had the same kind of life which they had themselves. In this way, they came to think that the sun and stars, the rivers and streams, could see, and feel, and think and that they shone or moved of their own accord.

 Thus they spoke of everything as if it were alive, and instead of saying, as we say, that the morning comes before the sunrise, and that the evening twilight follows the sunset, they spoke of the sun as the lover of the dawn or morning who went before him, as longing to overtake her, and as killing her with his bright rays, which shone like spears.

 We talk of the clouds which scud along the sky ; but they spoke of the cows of the sun, which the children of the morning drove every day to their pastures in the blue fields of heaven. So, too, when the sunset, they said that the dawn, with its soft and tender light, had come to soothe her son or her husband in his dying hour. In the same way, the sun was the child of darkness, and in the morning he wove for his bride in the heavens a fairy network of clouds, which reappeared when she came back to him in the evening.

 When the sun shone with a pleasant warmth, they spoke of him as the friend of men: when his scorching heat brought a drought, they said that the sun was slaying his children, or that someone else, who knew not how to guide them, was driving the horses of his chariot through the sky. As they looked on the dark clouds which rested on the earth without giving any rain, they said that the terrible being whom they named the snake or dragon was shutting up the waters in a prison- house. 

When the thunder rolled, they said that this hateful monster was uttering his hard riddles; and when, at last, the rain burst forth, they said that the bright sun had slain his enemy, and brought a stream of life for the thirsting earth.

Some contents:

Preface 9
The Origin and Growth of Mythology 21
Zeus 29
Poseidon 37
Hades 42
Hera, or Hera 45
Hestia 48
Demeter, 51
Athene", or Athena 58
Ares 63
Aphrodite 67
Hephaestus 72
Phoebus Apollo 75
Artemis 83
Hermes 85
Dionysus 95
Heracles 100
Perseus 110
Theseus 121
Oedipus 125
Procris 135
Orpheus 138
Europa 141
Meleagros (Meleager) 144
Phaethon 148
Asklepios (^Esculapius) 151
Admetus 154
Lycaon 155
Deucalion 158
lo 162
Epimetheus 166
Daedalus 169
Niobe, 171
Tantalus 172
Ixion 175
Bellerophon, or Bellerophontes 178
Skylla (Scylla) 181
Lamus 183
Amphiaraos 185
Briareos (Briareus) 187
Arethusa 188
Tyro 189
Narcissus 190
The Argonauts 191
The Tale of Troy 198
The return of the Heroes from Troy 216
Inhabitants of the Greek Mythical World 228
Jupiter 238
Neptune 239
Pluto 240
Vesta, 240
Ceres 241
Minerva 241
Mars 242
Venus . . 243

the book details :
  • Author: George William Cox was a British historian. He is known for resolving the several myths of Greece and the world into idealisations of solar phenomena.
  • Publication date:1868
  • Company:   New York, Leypoldt & Holt

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