Ancient Mysteries Mythology Myth of the Birth of the Hero

Myth of the Birth of the Hero

Myth of the Birth of the Hero
Catalog # SKU3904
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Otto Rank
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


The Myth of the
Birth of the Hero

A Psychological Interpretation
of Mythology

Otto Rank

THE prominent civilized nations--the Babylonians and Egyptians, the Hebrews and Hindus, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, as well as the Teutons and others--all began at an early stage to glorify their national heroes--mythical princes and kings, founders of religions, dynasties, empires, or cities--in a number of poetic tales and legends.



The history of the birth and of the early life of these personalities came to be especially invested with fantastic features, which in different nations--even though widely separated by space and entirely independent of each other--present a baffling similarity or, in part, a literal correspondence. Many investigators have long been impressed with this fact, and one of the chief problems of mythological research still consists in the elucidation of the reason for the extensive analogies in the fundamental outlines of mythical tales, which are rendered still more puzzling by the unanimity in certain details and their reappearance in most of the mythical groupings. The mythological theories, aiming at the explanation of these remarkable phenomena, are, in a general way, as follows:

1. The "Idea of the People," propounded by Adolf Bastian. This theory assumes the existence of elemental ideas, so that the unanimity of the myths is a necessary sequence of the uniform disposition of the human mind and the manner of its manifestation, which within certain limits is identical at all times and in all places. This interpretation was urgently advocated by Adolf Bauer as accounting for the wide distribution of the hero myths.

2. The explanation by original community, first applied by Theodor Benfey to the widely distributed parallel forms of folklore and fairy tales . Originating in a favorable locality (India), these tales were first accepted by the primarily related (Indo-Germanic) peoples, then continued to grow while retaining the common primary traits, and ultimately radiated over the entire earth. This mode of explanation was first adapted to the wide distribution of the hero myths by Rudolf Schubert. 3. The modern theory of migration, or borrowing, according to which individual myths originate from definite peoples (especially the Babylonians) and are accepted by other peoples through oral tradition (commerce and traffic) or through literary influences.

The modern theory of migration and borrowing can be readily shown to be merely a modification of Benfey's theory, necessitated by newly discovered and irreconcilable material. This profound and extensive research of modern investigations has shown that India, rather than Babylonia, may be regarded as the first home of the myths. Moreover, the tales presumably did not radiate from a single point, but traveled over and across the entire inhabited globe. This brings into prominence the idea of the interdependence of mythological structures, an idea which was generalized by Braun as the basic law of the nature of the human mind: Nothing new is ever discovered as long as it is possible to copy. The theory of elemental ideas, so strenuously advocated by Bauer over a quarter of a century ago, is unconditionally declined by the most recent investigators (Winckler, Stucken), who maintain the migration theory.

136 pages - 5½ x 8½ softcover - Print size, 12 point font

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