A narrative is some kind of retelling, often in words (though it is possible to mime a story), of something that happened (a story). The narrative is not the story itself but rather the telling of the story -- which is why it is so often used in phrases such as "written narrative," "oral narrative," etc. While a story just is a sequence of events, a narrative recounts those events, perhaps leaving some occurrences out because they are from some perspective insignificant, and perhaps emphasizing others. In a series of events, a car crash takes a split second. A narrative account, however, might be almost entirely about the crash itself and the few seconds leading up to it. Narratives thus shape history (the series of events, the story of what happened).
What is a story? A story is defined as a narrative or tale of real or fictitious events.
Stories are a nourishment for our hungry souls. Often stories we regard as fiction have elements of truth dressed up to make them more palatable.
Stories are magic, taking us everywhere: backwards, forwards or happening right in the present time, transporting us to many places and situations we might never go.
The teller is the magician, creating an atmosphere in which anything is possible. When storytelling is presented well a special kind of energy develops between the teller and the audience it really is magic.
Telling stories is like taking a group of people to the cinema. You can think of storytelling as a piece of film being projected on to a screen. The vision of the script writer and director are what the audience sees and interprets.
In a similar way the storyteller shows the pictures seen in his or her mind and passes them to the listeners' minds for interpretation. Each time the story is told the words change, according to the way the teller visualises the images passing through his or her mind. The teller tailors the story to suit that particular audience.
From the Greek mythos, myth means story or word. Mythology is the study of myth. As stories (or narratives), myths articulate how characters undergo or enact an ordered sequence of events. The term myth has come to refer to a certain genre (or category) of stories that share characteristics that make this genre distinctly different from other genres of oral narratives, such as legends and folktales. Many definitions of myth repeat similar general aspects of the genre and may be summarized thus: Myths are symbolic tales of the distant past (often primordial times) that concern cosmogony and cosmology (the origin and nature of the universe), may be connected to belief systems or rituals, and may serve to direct social action and values.
The classic definition of myth from folklore studies finds clearest delineation in William Bascom’s article “The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives” where myths are defined as tales believed as true, usually sacred, set in the distant past or other worlds or parts of the world, and with extra-human, inhuman, or heroic characters. Such myths, often described as “cosmogonic,” or “origin” myths, function to provide order or cosmology, based on “cosmic” from the Greek kosmos meaning order (Leeming 1990, 3, 13; Bascom, 1965). Cosmology’s concern with the order of the universe finds narrative, symbolic expression in myths, which thus often help establish important values or aspects of a culture’s worldview. For many people, myths remain value-laden discourse that explain much about human nature.
There are a number of general conceptual frameworks involved in definitions of myth, including these:
- Myths are Cosmogonic Narratives, connected with the Foundation or Origin of the Universe (and key beings within that universe), though often specifically in terms of a particular culture or region. Given the connection to origins, the setting is typically primordial (the beginning of time) and characters are proto-human or deific. Myths also often have cosmogonic overtones even when not fully cosmogonic, for instance dealing with origins of important elements of the culture (food, medicine, ceremonies, etc.).
- Myths are Narratives of a Sacred Nature, often connected with some Ritual. Myths are often foundational or key narratives associated with religions. These narratives are believed to be true from within the associated faith system (though sometimes that truth is understood to be metaphorical rather than literal). Within any given culture there may be sacred and secular myths coexisting.
- Myths are Narratives Formative or Reflective of Social Order or Values within a Culture (e.g. functionalism).
- Myths are Narratives Representative of a Particular Epistemology or Way of Understanding Nature and Organizing Thought. For example, structuralism recognizes paired bundles of opposites (or dualities -- like light and dark) as central to myths.
- Mythic Narratives often Involve Heroic Characters (possibly proto-humans, super humans, or gods) who mediate inherent, troubling dualities, reconcile us to our realities, or establish the patterns for life as we know it.
- Myths are Narratives that are "Counter-Factual in featuring actors and actions that confound the conventions of routine experience" (McDowell, 80).
What is the difference between legends, myths and folktales?
Myths, legends and folktales are hard to classify and often overlap. Imagine a line (or continuum) , with an historical account based on facts at one end and myths or cultural folktales at the other; as you progress towards the mythical/folktale end of the line, what an event symbolises to people, or what they feel about it, becomes of greater historical significance than the facts, which become less important. By the time you reach the far end of the spectrum, the story has taken on a life of its own and the facts of the original event, if there ever were any, have become almost irrelevant. It is the message that is important.
Classical monsters come in all shapes and colours, sometimes hideous, but sometimes bewitchingly fair, sometime half-human and sometime demonic.
Monsters generally symboloze the dark and unresolved forces in life and in human nature.
Myth always stood on its own
Legendary Creatures from Greek Mythology
Rankin and Damien Hirst Myths
Damien Hirst has teamed up with photographer and long-time friend Rankin at Rankin Gallery LA for a new show. "Myths, Monsters And Legends" is the duo's recreation of the ancient world, re-contextualized for the modern day. Through a seamless amalgamation of their respective mediums, the two explore storytelling and figures from past civilizations.
Model Dani Smith was the inspiration for the creative process, and the concept for the show evolves around her. In stunning detail, the two artists collide to produce work that is direct and forceful, leaving little room to breathe as the images find their way into one's collective unconscious. The works are streamlined, and it's evident that the artists have profiles that ascend to the heavens. Yet, in this day and age, who would be able to attain such a mythical status other than the likes of Rankin and Damien Hirst? In an almost ironic manner, the figures are downplaying their superstar status by taking on the roles that were, at one time, mythical, but have since drowned in today's attention-deficient times.
Hirst himself is imagined as the fierce three-headed guardian of the underworld, Cerberus. Though the impact of the image would suggest Hirst's multi-faceted grip on the art world rather than obedient watchdog of Hades. Rankin and Hirst reinterpret ancient folklore, but remain firmly planted in the now, giving the work a distinct signature that immediately conjures up their respective profiles and reinforces their own mythology.
Greek Mythological Animals
These animals possess some fantastic attribute.
- Arion, the immortal horse of Adrastus who could run at fantastic speeds
- Balius and Xanthus, the immortal horses of Achilles
- Calydonian Boar, a gigantic boar sent by Artemis to ravage Calydon and slain in the Calydonian Boar Hunt
- Ceryneian Hind, an enormous deer which was sacred to Artemis; Heracles was sent to retrieve it as one of his labours
- Griffin or gryphon, a creature that combines the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle
- Golden Fleece, from a golden-haired ram, which was held in Colchis.
- Erymanthian Boar, a gigantic boar which Heracles was sent to retrieve as one of his labours
- Karkinos, a giant crab which fought Heracles alongside the Hydra
- Laelaps, a dog destined always to catch its prey
- Mares of Diomedes, four man-eating horses belonging to the giant Diomedes
- Nemean Lion, a gigantic lion whose skin was impervious to weapons; it was strangled by Heracles
- Pegasus, a divine winged horse that is pure white, was foaled by Medusa
- Phoenix, a golden-red bird of which only one could live at a time, but would burst into flames to form a new phoenix
- Sphinx has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman
- Stymphalian Birds, man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims
- Teumessian fox, a gigantic fox destined never to be caught
- Unicorn, a beautiful horse-like creature with a magical horn on its forehead
Contemporary Artist (Paula Rego)
Rego is a prolific painter and printmaker, and in earlier years was also a producer of collage work. Her most well known depictions of folk tales and images of young girls, made largely since 1990, bring together the methods of painting and printmaking with an emphasis on strong and clearly drawn forms, in contrast to Rego's earlier more loose style paintings.
Rego's style, comprising strong clear drawing, with depictions of equally strong women in sometimes disturbing situations.
The antithesis of what is considered feminine behaviour, and many other works in which there appears to be either the threat of female violence or its actual manifestation, has associated Rego with feminism, and she has acknowledged reading Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, a key feminist text, at a young age and this making a deep impression on her.
Rego's depiction of women as unfeminine, animalistic or brutal beings is that this reflects the physical reality of a woman as a human being in the physical world, and not idealised types in the minds of men.
Section of an interview with Paula Rego
QTHE WHITE REVIEW — Is it important that the folk tales you grew up with were always spoken, never written down?
APAULA REGO — Yes. but you can’t keep them spoken, can you.
QTHE WHITE REVIEW — But are they sanitised in being written down?
APAULA REGO — The publishers sanitise them. Particularly the Americans, they make everything cute, it’s disgusting.
QTHE WHITE REVIEW — What about Walt Disney? Could he not be accused of sanitising these tales?
APAULA REGO — I love Disney. No he didn’t sanitise. His work is grotesque. There are many grotesque moments in Disney. Snow White, when she’s being caught by the branches of the trees when she’s running away. Pinocchio is pretty grotesque, when they all change into donkeys. I am a great fan of Disney. Now they do everything on computers, but before they drew everything
Griffin - What Is It?
The griffin is a mythical creature that has the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. Sometimes it is depicted as having a long snake for a tail. Most of the time, only the female has wings and males have spikes on their backs instead of wings.
Griffin - Where Are They From?
The griffin is said to be native to India, although nobody knows for sure exactly where it came from. These winged monsters would find gold in the mountains and built nests from it. Of course, this lured hunters, so griffins kept a very hostile guard over their nests. They would eat the men and devour their horses.
Griffin - Symbolism
Griffins are usually heroic symbols. They are well known for their speed, ability to fly and having eyes like an eagle, as well as the strength and courage of a lion. In hieroglyphics, griffins represent heat and summer. In Assyria (an ancient empire of western Asia,) both the griffin and the dragon were symbols of wisdom. In Roman art, griffins are often pulling the chariot of Nemesis (goddess of justice and revenge).
Griffin - Did U Know?
- Griffin is sometimes spelled gryphon.
- Hippogriffs, like the one in the Harry Potter stories, are said to be the offspring of a griffin and a horse - even though griffins are traditionally said to hate horses.
- In Greek mythology the griffins were always at war against a race of one-eyed humans called Arimaspians who were constantly trying to steal their gold.
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature withe the body, head and legs of a lion (king of beasts), and wings, claws and beak of an eagle (king of birds), thus it is the king of all creatures. It has feathery back, occasionally a serpent's tail and special claws, which do not heal poisoning like the horn of a unicorn, but show its presence by color-changing, while its feathers restored eyesight.
Griffins mated for life, having a so unbreakable bond, that if one of them was to die the other never searched for another mate. The griffin thus became the symbol of the sacredness of Christian marriage.
By the 12th century the appearance of the griffin was substantially fixed: "All its bodily members are like a lion's, but its wings and mask are like an eagle's." It is not yet clear if its forelimbs are those of an eagle or of a lion. Although the description implies the latter, the accompanying illustration is ambiguous. It was left to the heralds to clarify that.
The griffins dig for gold in the high mountains of India for nestling purposes. They collect agates as well, for it has a healing power that should protect the nest and the nestlings. If a human tries to steal the treasure of a griffin it is usually bad luck for him, because the griffin feeds its nestlings with human flesh, though the grown up griffin prefers horses.
The hippogriff is born when a griffin mates a horse, but it is merely impossible, for griffins hate horses and rather eat them if they can. Virgil roman poet mentions the crossbreeding as an example of the impossible. Later in the 16th century Ludvico Atiosto Italian poet creates the impossible hippogriff in the Orlando Furioso epic.
Being a union of a terrestrial beast and an aerial bird, it was seen in Christendom to be a symbol of Jesus, who was both human and divine. As such it can be found sculpted on some churches.
The hippogriff is thus a creature of mere impossibility, though it gained fame over the centuries and now is believed to be a real mythical creature.
In heraldry, the griffin's amalgamation of lion and eagle gains in courage and boldness, and it is always drawn to powerful fierce monsters. It is used to denote strength and military courage and leadership. The combination indicates the presence of intelligence and strength. In British heraldry, a male griffin is shown without wings, its body covered in tufts of formidable spikes, with a short tusk emerging from the forehead, as for a unicorn. The female griffin with wings is more commonly used.
Research on Eagle
- Eagles are different from many other birds of prey mainly by their larger size, more powerful build, and heavier head and beak. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from vultures.
- Eagles have unusual eyes. They are very large in proportion to their heads and have extremely large pupils. Eagles’ eyes have a million light-sensitive cells per square mm of retina, five times more that a human’s 200,000. While humans see just three basic colours, eagles see five. These adaptations gives eagles extremely keen eyesight and enable them to spot even well-camouflaged potential prey from a very long distance. In fact the eagles’ vision is among the sharpest of any animal and studies suggest that some eagles can spot an animal the size of a rabbit up to two miles away!
- Many eagle species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched. Adults do not intervene.
- The Harpy Eagle and the Philippine Eagle have wings that spread 2.5m across and use their massive, sharp talons, to kill and carry off prey as large as deer and monkeys.
- In Greece, Golden Eagles eat turtles, dropping them from great heights onto rocks to break open their armoured shells.
- Although most eagles are carnivorous the African Vulturine Fish-Eagle is primarily a vegetarian, feeding on rich oil palm fruits.
- Some eagles are built with short wings and long tails enabling them to hunt in the tight confines of a forest, while others are have short tails and broad long wings allowing them to soar high above open plains and water.
- Golden eagles in Wyoming have been observed foraging areas that cover 100 square miles.
- To defend their territories and attract a mate, bald eagles put on spectacular aerial displays including death-defying swoops and seemingly suicidal dogfights that involve locking talons with another bird and free-falling in a spiral.
- Eagles are admired the world over as living symbols of power, freedom, and transcendence.
- The spot on which an eagle landed dictated to the ancient Aztecs the place where they were to build a city.
- In some religions, high-soaring eagles are believed to touch the face of God.
- Native Americans historically gave eagle feathers to non-indigenous people and also members of other tribes who were deemed worthy.
- Although many eagle populations are dwindling as a result of habitat destruction, hunting, and pollution, conservation efforts are helping some species such as the Bald Eagle which has made a dramatic comeback in the U.S. over the last few decades.
Research on Lion
The lion is a magnificent animal that appears as a symbol of power, courage and nobility on family crests, coats of arms and national flags in many civilizations. Lions at one time were found from Greece through the Middle East to northern India, but today only a very small population remains in India. In the past lions lived in most parts of Africa, but are now confined to the sub-Saharan region.
Most cat species live a fundamentally solitary existence, but the lion is an exception. It has developed a social system based on teamwork and a division of labor within the pride, and an extended but closed family unit centered around a group of related females. The average pride consists of about 15 individuals, including five to 10 females with their young and two or three territorial males that are usually brothers or pride mates.
Generally a tawny yellow, lions, like other species, tend to be lighter in color in hot, arid areas and darker in areas of dense vegetation. Mature male lions are unique among the cat species for the thick mane of brown or black hair that encircles the head and neck. The tails of lions end in a horny spine covered with a tuft of hair.
Lions are found in savannas, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands.
Females do 85 to 90 percent of the pride's hunting, while the males patrol the territory and protect the pride, for which they take the "lion's share" of the females' prey. When resting, lions seem to enjoy good fellowship with lots of touching, head rubbing, licking and purring. But when it comes to food, each lion looks out for itself. Squabbling and fighting are common, with adult males usually eating first, followed by the females and then the cubs.
Lions are the laziest of the big cats. They usually spend 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting, devoting the remaining hours to hunting, courting or protecting their territory. They keep in contact with one another by roaring loud enough to be heard up to five miles away. The pride usually remains intact until the males are challenged and successfully driven away or killed by other males, who then take over. Not all lions live in prides. At maturity, young males leave the units of their birth and spend several years as nomads before they become strong enough to take over a pride of their own. Some never stop wandering and continue to follow migrating herds; but the nomadic life is much more difficult, with little time for resting or reproducing.
Within the pride, the territorial males are the fathers of all the cubs. When a lioness is in heat, a male will join her, staying with her constantly. The pair usually mates for less than a minute, but it does so about every 15 to 30 minutes over a period of four to five days.
Lions may hunt at any hour, but they typically go after large prey at night. They hunt together to increase their success rate, since prey can be difficult to catch and can outrun a single lion. The lions fan out along a broad front or semicircle to creep up on prey. Once with within striking distance, they bound in among the startled animals, knock one down and kill it with a bite to the neck or throat. Hunts are successful about half the time.
Cooperative hunting enables lions to take prey as large as wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes, young elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes, any of which can provide several meals for the pride. Mice, lizards, tortoises, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles also form part of a lion's diet. Because they often take over kills made by hyenas, cheetahs and leopards, scavenged food provides more than 50 percent of their diets in areas like the Serengeti plains.
Caring for the Young
Litters consist of two or three cubs that weigh about 3 pounds each. Some mothers carefully nurture the young; others may neglect or abandon them, especially when food is scarce. Usually two or more females in a pride give birth about the same time, and the cubs are raised together. A lioness will permit cubs other than her own to suckle, sometimes enabling a neglected infant to survive. Capable hunters by 2 years of age, lions become fully grown between 5 and 6 years and normally live about 13 years.
Lions have long been killed in rituals of bravery, as hunting trophies and for their medicinal and magical powers. Although lions are now protected in many parts of Africa, they were once considered to be stock-raiding vermin and were killed on sight. In some areas, livestock predation remains a severe problem.
Did you know?
- Most lions drink water daily if available, but can go four or five days without it. Lions in arid areas seem to obtain needed moisture from the stomach contents of their prey.
- When males take over a pride, they usually kill the cubs. The females come into estrus and the new males sire other cubs.
What is Treasure?
Treasure (from Greek θησαυρός - thēsauros, meaning "treasure store", romanized as thesaurus) is a concentration of riches, often one which is considered lost or forgotten until being rediscovered. Some jurisdictions legally define what constitutes treasure, such as in the British Treasure Act 1996.
The Gospel of Matthew defines Treasure as the focus of ones heart and warns of focus on Worldly Treasure. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mathew 6: 19 - 21.
The phrase "blood and treasure" or "lives and treasure" has been used to refer to the human and monetary costs associated with massive endeavours such as war that expend both.
something valuable (such as money, jewels, gold, or silver) that is hidden or kept in a safe place
: something that is very special, important, or valuable
Why is gold considered so valuable. It is not the rarest metal, it is not the most useful, so why the worship of this yellow metal.
Gold is not the rarest metal, but it's quite hard to find and extract in large quantities with pre-industrial technology. Its principal characteristics of being highly corrosion-resistant and easily worked made it highly desirable (and still do) for decorative purposes, and even more so industrially, e.g. where you need high quality electrical connectors.
Mainly ancient tradition. It is fairly easy to process and as far as ancient people were concerned it was indestructible it does not tarnish like silver or copper. It does not dissolve in normal acids and solvents. It is pretty and if you alloy it with other metals it can have a variety of colours. Ancient people used it as a form of exchange as people desired it and if you put it in a damp cupboard it would still be unchanged when you came to use it. Gold has retained its value because it is still rare and people like to adorn them selves with it.
Different Types of Narratives
Narratives occur in a space and unfold in time. In narrative art, the artist chooses how to portray the story, represent the space, and how to shape time within the artwork. Narrative art can be categorized into various types, also known as modes or styles. A piece of artwork is not limited to only one type of narrative. An artwork may have a narrative type as a whole, as well as portions of the artwork itself that depict separate types of narratives.
- Simultaneous Narrative
- Monoscenic Narrative
- Continuous Narrative
- Synoptic Narrative
- Panoptic Narrative
- Progressive Narrative
- Sequential Narrative
- Layered Narrative
Dr Chris Griffin
(From Lawler chapter in May: ‘Qualitative Research in Action’)
- focuses on “the ways in which people make and use stories to interpret the world”
- does NOT treat narratives as stories that transmit a set of facts about the world, and is not primarily interested in whether stories are ‘true’ or not (so is closer to social contructionism than positivist approach)
- views narratives as social products that are produced by people in the context of specific social, historical and cultural locations
- views narratives as interpretive devices through which people represent themselves and their worlds to themselves and to others
Narrative theory argues that:
- people produce accounts of themselves that are ‘storied’ (ie. that are in the form of stories/narratives)
- the social world is itself ‘storied’ (ie. ‘piblic’ stories circulate in popular culture, providing means people can use to construct personal identities and personal narratives). Ricoeur argues that narrative is a key means through which people produced an identity.
- Some of most interview accounts are likely to be ‘storied’ (ie. in narrative form)
- Narratives link the past to the present, but …
- There is no ‘unbiased account of the past
Narrative can be characterised by:
- Accounts which contain an element of transformation (ie. change over time)
- Accounts containing some kind of action and characters
- That are brought together in a plot line
- narratives have a temporal dimension
- characters and actions can be imaginary/fantasy
- ‘emplotment’ is a process through which narratives are produced: many disparate elements go together to make up one story (eg. digressions, sub-plots etc.)
- Narratives must have a point (a ‘so what?’ factor), which often takes the form of a moral message
Research Methods and Narrative Analysis
Research that focuses on the role of narrative:
- Usually involves life story research or oral history
- Usually adopts a qualitative approach, using semi-structured interviews rather than questionnaires
- Usually the researcher says very little, acting primarily as an attentive listener, but …
- All narratives are always co-constructed, even if the audience is oneself or an imaginary other, or if the story is told to oneself in the form of a daydream
Structuralist approaches to narrative:
eg. Propp, 1968 / Labov, 1973
(from Silverman’ 2nd edition, ‘Interpreting Qualitative Data’)
Narratives can take different forms, and Propp (1968) argued that:
- The Fairytale involves a narrative form that is central to all story-telling
- The Fairytale is structured not by the nature of the characters but by the function they play in the plot
- And the number of possible functions is fairly small
Example: (Using Propp’s approach)
Most fairytales follow a similar plot line…
‘A dragon kidnaps the king’s daughter’
Element Function Replacement
Dragon Evil force Witch
King Ruler Chief
Daughter Loved one Wife
Kidnap Disappearance Vanish
Now – can you do the same using ‘Star Wars’ as an example?
Narrative Theory: Approaches to the study of narrative
(a partial and incomplete list)
a) Structural analysis: eg. Labov, 1973
Focus on story grammar
b) Sociology of stories approach: eg. Plummer, 1996
Focus on cultural, historical and political context in which particular stories are (or can be) told by whom and to whom (eg. ‘coming out stories’)
c) Functional approach: eg. Bruner, 1990
Focus on what work particular stories do in people’s lives
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Examples of structural analyses of narrative
Labov, 1973 Stein, 1979
1) Setting/ orientation 1) Setting
Abstract/ summary of story
2) Initiating event 2) Initiating event
3) Complicating action 3) Internal reaction/
response of protagonist
4) Resolution/ result of action 4) Action by
protagonist to deal
5) Evaluation/ point of story 5) Consequence of
6) Coda/ return speaker to 6) Reaction to events/
present moral of tale
Bruner, 1990: ‘Acts of Meaning’
** Functional analysis of story-telling as a means of conveying meaning
** Functions of narrative = solving problems
= tension reduction
= resolution of dilemmas
** Narratives allow us to deal with and explain mismatches between the exceptional and the ordinary. When events occur that we perceive as ordinary, then explanations are not required.
** Narratives allow us to re-cast chaotic experiences into causal stories in order to make sense of them, and to render them safe.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
** Narratives of ‘folk psychology’ (or ‘common sense’) summarise ‘how things are’ and (often implicitly) how they should be.
** When we perceive that things are ‘as they should be’, the narratives of folk psychology are unnecessary.
** Narratives are a unique way of managing departures from the canonical
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Folklore is the traditional art, literature, knowledge, and practice that is disseminated largely through oral communication and behavioral example. Every group with a sense of its own identity shares, as a central part of that identity, folk traditions–the things that people traditionally believe (planting practices, family traditions, and other elements of worldview), do (dance, make music, sew clothing), know (how to build an irrigation dam, how to nurse an ailment, how to prepare barbecue), make (architecture, art, craft), and say (personal experience stories, riddles, song lyrics). As these examples indicate, in most instances there is no hard-and-fast separation of these categories, whether in everyday life or in folklorists’ work.
The word "folklore” names an enormous and deeply significant dimension of culture. Considering how large and complex this subject is, it is no wonder that folklorists define and describe folklore in so many different ways. Try asking dance historians for a definition of "dance,” for instance, or anthropologists for a definition of "culture.” No one definition will suffice–nor should it.
In part, this is also because particular folklorists emphasize particular parts or characteristics of the world of folklore as a result of their own work, their own interests, or the particular audience they’re trying to reach. And for folklorists, as for the members of any group who share a strong interest, disagreeing with one another is part of the work–and the enjoyment–of the field, and is one of the best ways to learn.
But to begin, below we have cited several folklorists’ definitions and descriptions of folklore, given in the order in which they were written and published. (One of them uses the word "folklife” instead, which American folklorists, following their European colleagues, have used more frequently of late.) None of these definitions answers every question by itself, and certainly none of them is the American Folklore Society’s official definition (we don’t have one), but each offers a good place to start. From time to time we’ll add the views of other folklorists to this page.
One thing you’ll note about these definitions and descriptions is that they challenge the notion of folklore as something that is simply "old,” "old-fashioned,” "exotic,” "rural,” "peasant,” "uneducated,” "untrue,” or "dying out.” Though folklore connects people to their past, it is a central part of life in the present, and is at the heart of all cultures–including our own–throughout the world.
The Fall of Icarus
The death of Icarus is told in the following lines by Darwin:
"…with melting wax and loosened strings
Sunk hapless Icarus on unfaithful wings;
Headlong he rushed through the affrighted air,
With limbs distorted and dishevelled hair;
His scattered plumage danced upon the wave,
And sorrowing Nereids decked his watery grave;
O'er his pale corse their pearly sea-flowers shed,
And strewed with crimson moss his marble bed;
Struck in their coral towers the passing bell,
And wide in ocean tolled his echoing knell."
Man has forever pushed himself to the limits trying to achieve the impossible. Discoveries and inventions are perhaps man's way to escape from the mundane or simply to alter his life. Such an effort is the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, a brilliant story of how necessity facilitated the invention of something that was never meant for man and how it led to his downfall. Myth though it may be, the story of Daedalus and Icarus wants to show us that the power of man has no limits but also that we should be very careful how to use this power.
The story of Deadalus
The intelligence of Daedalus was known far and wide. He was accredited as the finest artificer ever, with a sharp and clever mind. Daedalus was living and working in Athens and he had a young apprentice in his workroom, his nephew, Talus. Talus was an extraordinarily talented boy and had begun showing traces of being a craftsman far surpassing his uncle's skill. As it is to the nature of man, Daedalus was highly envious of his nephew's proficiency. One day while on a visit to the Acropolis, Daedalus pushed him off the edge. Some say that the boy whom Daedalus had pushed off the edge of the Acropolis was not Talus but his sister's son Perdix, who was apprenticing to him. To stop Perdix from being dashed upon the ground below, the benevolent Goddess Athena transformed him into a bird that flew away to safety. Legend has it that this bird has since been known as the Partridge and wary of its tragic past avoids high places and nestles in hedges. Whoever was the victim, the artificer was put into trial by Areios Pagus, the supreme court of Athens, and charged with murder. His punishment was to get banished from Athens to the island of Crete.
Deadalus in Crete
Crete was ruled by King Minos and there, in his palace of Knossos, Daedalus found work as an architect. Years passed and he fell in love with Naucrate, a mistress-slave of the king and married her. They were blessed with a child whom they named Icarus. Life went on without incident until one fine day Minos called upon Daedalus. He wanted the architect to design and build an enclosure for the Minotaur, acreature with the body of a man and the head and tail of a bull. This monster in truth was the son of Pasiphae, Minos' wife, but not by the King. Years ago, following his ascension to the throne of Crete, there had been much squabbling amongst King Minos and his brothers. Minos had fervently prayed for a sign from Poseidon to assert his claim to the throne. The sea god, impressed with Minos' devotion, had sent him a snow-white bull as an omen that he should be ruler supreme. Overjoyed, Minos had vowed that he would sacrifice the bull to the sea god but consumed by avarice, he kept the bull for himself. Angered at Minos' disrespect and betrayal of trust, Poseidon avenged himself by cursing Pasiphae to fall in love with the bull.
Building the Labyrinth
Delirious with desire for the bull, Pasiphae asked Daedalus to construct for her a hollow wooden cow. Getting into the strange contraption, she made amorous advances towards the bull. Their bizarre union resulted in the birth of the Minotaur which was half-man, half-bull. Ashamed at his wife's deed, Minos wanted to hide the monster which was growing violent and gigantic day after day. For this reason, he asked Daedalus to build a labyrinth for the beast, a structure with many twists and turns where a person could get lost interminably. Such was the intricacy of the edifice that even Daedalus had a tough time finding his way out. In fact, Ovid makes worthy mentions of Daedalus in his works. In Metamorphoses, Ovid says that the labyrinth was constructed with such shrewdness that even the master-craftsman barely found his way out. The Minotaur was kept at the center of the labyrinth, hidden away from prying eyes. It had to be fed with young people and was the horror of Minos’ enemies and subjects.
The conception of the unbelievable
Unfortunately for Daedalus, the King had imprisoned him and his young son, Icarus in a high tower, so that they couldn't reveal the secret of the labyrinth to anyone. Daedalus and Icarus were languishing in their prison atop the tower. Every day the master craftsman was pondering over their escape and how they could work such a miracle. He suddenly realized that their only escape route was by air since King Minos had control over every vessel that left the island. Moreover, Minos had issued strict orders to search thoroughly every ship leaving Crete. Instead of growing impassivity over their fate, Daedalus received a marvelous plan. He had observed the birds that were flying around the tower. He studied in great detail their mannerisms and hit upon his idea of how to escape. For a large period of time, he was gathering all the feathers he could find lying around and joining them together with wax he fashioned two pairs of wings, one for himself and the other for his son. The day arrived when they were to execute their escape plan but Daedalus had a grave warning for his son. He forbade Icarus to fly too close to the sun for that would melt the wax, or to fly to close to the sea for that would dampen the feathers. Father and son both then perched on the edge of the tower parapet and leapt off. Flapping their wings furiously, they were able to emulate the birds and in no time, while flying over the sea, put great distance between themselves and Crete.
The fall of Icarus
Unfortunately, Icarus soon forgot his father's warning and filled with the exhilaration of flying, he flew too high and too close to the sun. The intense heat melted the wax on the wings, the feathers came loose. A few minutes later, poor Icarus plummeted down into the sea and was drawn. Daedalus was struck with horror but there was nothing he could do to save his son. Aggrieved at his loss, he named the sea-spot where his son had drowned and the close by island after his name. The sea was named the Icarian Sea and the island was named Ikaria. Some sources mention that at the time Icarus fell into the sea, the mighty Hercules was passing by and he gave the fallen Icarus a befitting burial. Berating himself for his tragic loss, he continued to fly towards Sicily where he sought refuge in the Court of King Cocalus of Camicus. With the King's help, he constructed a temple dedicated to Apollo and as an offering to the god hung up his wings for good.
Solving the trick-puzzle
At Crete, an irate King Minos seethed and fumed over Daedalus' incredible escape. The only thought on his mind was to recapture the skilled artificer and bring him back to Knossos. Minos knew that Daedalus would have disguised himself to avoid recognition and therefore hunting him out would be no easy task. However, he did know that the artificer couldn't refuse a challenging riddle or a puzzling task. Minos set out from Crete in search of Daedalus and wherever he went he offered a handsome reward to anyone who could run a thread through a spiral sea-shell. He knew that this was a very complex puzzle and Daedalus would be challenged to solve it. One day, Minos reached Camicus and announced the same reward and task. Many people came and tried to solve the puzzle but had no avail. The news reached King Cocalus and he immediately asked for Daedalus for he knew that if anyone could solve the puzzle, it would be him. His old age hadn't affected the brilliant mind of Daedalus and when he saw the puzzle, he knew exactly what to do. At one end of the sea-shell, he placed a drop of honey and then tying a string to an ant, let the insect in from the other end to wander through the myriad spirals of the shell. Drawn by the sweet smell of honey, the ant emerged at the other end, stringing the shell through and through. Minos knew that he had found his man. Immediately, he demanded that the wily old fox be handed over but Cocalus had other plans. He coaxed King Minos to stay a while in Camicus to rest from the long trip. Seeing no harm in it, Minos consented and waited while the chambermaids were getting his bath ready. In the meantime, Cocalus' daughters, who for years had been charmed by Daedalus' inventions and stories and couldn't bear to see him taken away, conspired to kill Minos. When it was time to take his bath, they poured scalding hot water on him. In his soul, this could have been the revenge of Daedalus: he saw the death of the man who led, in some point, to the death of his son.
Feeling guillty till the end
Knowing well that his disguise had been seen through, Daedalus decided to leave Camicus, much to the disappointment of the King and his daughters. He was last seen in Sardinia in the company of Iolaus, who was nephew to Hercules. Since then, no one knows what happened to this great engineer, what places he saw, what inventions he created, what miracles bore his mind. Today Daedalus represents for us a brilliant person who had been cursed to suffer because of his special talent. The peak of his misfortune was living with the guilt that he caused the death of his son.
I decided to go with just one of the Greek mythological animal which is the Griffin. As i feel like the story of this creature is well known but yet people don't truly know about it.
Therefore I will be telling the fact(story) of the Griffin throught book sculpture.
The reason i chose to do book sculpture is because i wanted to communicate with people in different way, other than text (reading). Using book sculpture will communicate by using sculpted figure as picture to talk to people rather reading off texts written on the pages.
The griffin is a fascinating mythical creature whose roots reach from western Europe to the Eastern edges of India and beyond.
In any mythology, the griffin is portrayed as a mix between an eagle and a lion. In all cases, this creature is shown as having the head of an eagle and the body of a lion, but from there the other specific features are in debate.
The most common portrayal of the griffin in mythology is a creature with the body and regal, kingly mythical creature who commanded deep respect.Griffin mythology reads a lot like dragon mythology in that griffins were thought to be very wise and wily characters who spent a good deal of time seeking out and guarding gold and treasures. Other legends have the griffin as a trickster, much like the Sphinx, who would challenge people with riddles in a contest of wits. The winners would get to keep their lives and treasures, and the losers... wouldn't. The Sphinx also has the body of a lion.
Historian and folklore expert Adrienne Mayor has suggested a possible origin of griffin mythology that I find quite compelling. She points to several fossil findings of the pentaceratops - a dinosaur from the Cretaceous period - that were located near known gold veins as being influential in the belief in griffins. The pentaceratops had a beaked face with a four-legged body. Anyone digging for gold in an area with these bones would find a creature whose bones looked very much like what one would imagine a griffin's bones to look like located near their gold vein. From there, it's not hard to figure out why people would imagine a griffin looking as it does and being known for digging for and hording gold.
As they represented both wisdom and power, griffins were commonly associated with strength in war, thus being an obvious choice for many coats of arms from ancient to medieval families and armies. The Republic of Genoa used the griffin as a symbol of its seafaring power on all of its ships in the Middle Ages.
As with most monsters, the griffin has ties to ancient Greek mythology. Specifically, it was said that a griffin pulled the chariot of Apollo (Greek mythology), the sun god. This would be appropriate, as the griffin was thought to be stronger than an ox or a horse, and had the ability to fly, thus carrying the sun god to and from the sun and earth. Apollo often also represented wisdom in the form of knowledge, which is also a characteristic of the griffin.
Other than this specific example, it's hard to find legends and myths about specific griffins. What I mean is, griffins are well-known in the general sense of being mythical creatures, but don't appear to have one or two standout characters in mythology. Though they were thought to speak, there are no named griffins of significance. For being as widespread in legend as they are, this is a bit surprising. That is, until you consider that the griffin was more of a symbolic creature than one used thoroughly in legends and folklore. In this sense, it seems more appropriate that this mythical beast would maintain some level of anonymity, respect, and mystery.