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From an African bestiary to universal science?

Table 1. A near-universal theme of systems of mythological knowledge: 'hero fights monster'

Wim van Binsbergen


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selected protagonists

selected enemies

selected passive heroines

African interior

Perseus

Ketos

Aso, Andromeda

Egypt

Ammon, Athena / Neith, Geb, Horus, Isis, Min, Osiris, Ra, (Set), Thoth, Uto

Apep, Bata, Busiris, the Sea, Set, (Thoth)

Anat, Asherat, (Isis), Nut

Canaan, Israel, Ugarit, Syria

Anat, Aqhat, Baal, Beltis, El (Il), (Judith), Kadmos, Melqart, Paghat, Perseus, Phoenician heaven god, Yahweh

Holofernes, Humbaba, Judith, Ketos, Leviathan, Mot, Orontes, Phoenician hawk dragon, Satan, Tannin, Yam, Yatpan

Andromeda, Asherat, Kassiepeia, Omphale, Phoenician earth goddess

Anatolia, Cilicia, Hittites, Cyprus

Baal Tarz, Hittite Weather God, Hupasias, Inaras, Kumarbi, Marsyas, Perseus, Sandon, Teshub, Telipinu

dragon, Illuyankas, Medusa, Okeanos, Syleus, Typhon, Ullikummi, Upelluri

Aphrodite, Semiramis

Meso-potamia

Anu, Ea, (Enkidu), Enlil, Gilgamesh, (Inanna) / (Ishtar), Lugalbanda, Marduk, Nergal, Ninurta, Shamash, Tammuz

Apsu, Asag, Bilulu, (Enkidu), Erishkigal, (Gilgamesh), Girgire, Humbaba, Imdugud, Inanna / Ishtar, Kingu, Labbu, Seven Demons, Tiamat, Zu

India, South East Asia, Persia

Fredun = Thraetaona, Indra, (Kaikeyi)

Azi Dahaka, Danu, Garuda, Manthara, Nahusha, Namuci, Ravana, Sinhika, Viparupa, Vritra

(Kaikeyi)

China

Chu Yang, Li Ping, No Cha, Shen Yi, Yi, Ying Lung, Yu

Chíih Yu, Chu Wang, dragon, Fung Po, Ho Po

Hsi Wang Mu

Japan

Agatamori, Amewakahiko, Izanagi, Raiko, (Susanowo), Takemikazuchi

Susanowo

Amaterasu, Izanami

North Africa and Southern Europe

Athena / Neith, Herakles, Melqart, Perseus

Antaios, Atlas, Cacus, Evander / Faunus, Geryon, Ophion

Greece

Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Dionysos, Erechtheus, Eros, (Hekate), Herakles, (Hermes), Io, Kadmos, Kronos, Pan, (Poseidon), Uranos, Zeus [Keraunios][1]

Acheloos, Aigis, (Apollo), Ares, Delphyne, Despoina, Diomedes, (Dionysos), Drakon, Echidna, Gigantes, Glaukos, Hades, Hekate, Hera, (Herakles), (Hermes), Hydra, Kampe, Kepheus, Keto, Ker, (Kronos), Kyknos, Lamia, Laogoras, Laomedon, Linos, Neleus, Ocean = Okeanos, Ogygos, Pallas, (Perseus), Phlegyas, Phorbas, Poine, Poseidon, Python, the Sea, Sphinx, Styx, Sybaris, Tartaros, Telphusa, Thanatos, Thetys, Titans, Tityos, (Uranos), Zeus [Chthonios], Zeusís hawk[2]

(Artemis), Deianeira, Demeter, Ge, Io, Kelto, Leto, Moirai, Persephone, Rhea, Xenodike

pre-Christian Northern Europe

Bearson, Beowulf, Hagen, Odin, Ogier the Dane, Parzival, Sigurd / Siegfried, Sigmund, Thor

dragon, Fafnir, Firedrake, Grendel, Grendelís Mother, Hel, Holda, Lorelei, Midgard Snake, Regin-Mimir, Valkyrie, Venus, Ymir

Audumla, Brynhild, Krimhild, Lohengrin

Christian Europe

St Evenmar, St George, St Michael

Satan, St Georgeís dragon, the Woman of Rev. 12 & 17

Americas

Coyote, Gucumatz, Hunahpu, Xbalanque, Tahoe

Nashlah, Xibalba, Vucub-Caquix, Wishpoosh

Table 1. A near-universal theme of systems of mythological knowledge: 'hero fights monster'

Table compiled on the basis of scattered information contained in: Fontenrose, J., 1980, Python: A study of Delphic myth and its origins, Berkeley etc.: University of California Press, reprint of the 1959 edition



[1] To which could be added, e.g., Agenor, Argos, Eurybatos, Euthymos, Koroibos, Lykos, Pyrrhichos, Silenos.

[2] To which could be added, e.g., Admetos, Akrisios, Aktaion, Amykos, Amyntor, Asklepios, Autolykos, Dryopes, Erginos, Eurynomos, Eurypylos, Eurytion, Eurytos, Euphemos, Geras, Heros of Temesa, Koronos, Ladon, Laistrygones, Lakinios, Lityerses, Lykoros, [Peri-]Klymenos, Phineus, Phorkys, Polydektes, Satyros, Theiodamas, Tiphys, Titias.

 

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