Essay Preview: Ancient Mythology
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A frequent epidemic that is repeatedly seen throughout creation myths is the flood. The commonly known flood myth which most people are familiar with today is in the Bible. However, there are an excessive number of cultures in which a flood has played a part in shaping their origin. Whether the flood is intended to destroy or save mankind it has substantial impact in the story of creation. Most commonly, we see one figure who is chosen to withstand the destruction of the flood, which is designed to make it possible to repopulate the world. We are exposed to the concept of flooding in the Judeo-Christian creation myth, the Scandinavian myth, as well as, the Egyptian myth.
In the Judeo-Christian creation myth, the book of Genesis, we see God become outraged with the continuous sins of mankind. In retribution, to express his anger, God decides to create a flood which will wipe out all of mankind. Nevertheless, to show that God is not entirely punitive, he chooses one man to survive, Noah. Ð²Ð‚Ñš Noah is chosen and is judged to be truly righteous and just (Ð²Ð‚ÑšJudeo-Christian CreationÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, 2)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ. Noah is instructed to create an ark in which him and his family, along with all the animals, will withstand the floods. The flood lasts for 40 days and waters continue to stand for 150 days. Ð²Ð‚ÑšGod states that he will never again curse the earth on account of man (Ð²Ð‚ÑšJudeo-Christian CreationÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, 3)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ. NoahÐ²Ð‚™s ark makes landfall on Mt. Ararat where he then builds an alter to make sacrifices. We can infer from the Judeo-Christian culture that their beliefs consisted of washing away their sins. Since man had been sinful, God thought it was necessary to rid the world of them. Water is used as a sense of a purification method.
In the Prose EddaÐ²Ð‚™s creation myth, we encounter frost ogres. The oldest frost ogre was named Ymir. Ymir was fed by a cow named Audhumla. For nourshiment Audhuma would lick the blocks of salty ice, one day unveiling a man by the name of Bor. Bor had 3 sons, Odin, Vili, and Ve. BorÐ²Ð‚™s sons wind up killing Ymir. Ð²Ð‚ÑšAnd when he fell so much blood poured from his wounds that they drowned the whole tribe of frost ogres with it- except for one who escaped with his household; this one is known to the giants as Bergelmir (Devinney, 70)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ. Bergelmir and his wife climbed aboard a lur, where they remained safe. They made land fall at the mountain of Jotunheim. This conserved the frost giant race. Once again we see the survival of part of a race so that they can become the substance for a new creation. Consistently with flood myths there is one heroic survivor. Hardly ever do we see a race completely vanish. Also, as in Genesis, after the flood landfall is made upon a mountain.
The Egyptian myth consists of a unique flood. In this flood instead of it being aimed to destroy mankind, or a specific race, it is created to in fact, save mankind. The attempt to destroy humanity stems from mankindÐ²Ð‚™s wickedness. Mankind has set out to kill Ra, their creator. When Ra receives word of this he sends his daughter, Hathor after mankind. Hathor, along with RaÐ²Ð‚™s Eye become known as Sekhmet. Once Ra begins seeing Sekhemt annihilating mankind a feeling of remorse overcomes him, and