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World mythology : the illustrated guide

Author: Roy G Willis
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
The great myths of the world create meaning out of the fundamental events of human existence: birth, death, conflict, loss, reconciliation, the cycle of the seasons. They speak to us of life itself in voices still intelligible, yet compellingly strange and distant. World Mythology offers readers an authoritative and wide-ranging guide to these enduring mythological traditions, combining the pure narrative of the  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
World mythology.
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Roy G Willis
ISBN: 0195307526 9780195307528
OCLC Number: 62172757
Notes: Originally published: New York : H. Holt, 1993.
Description: 311 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color maps ; 24 cm
Contents: Foreword by Robert Walter --
Introduction --
Dr Roy Willis Great Themes of Myth --
Dr Roy Willis --
Creation/The origins of the world --
Cosmic Architecture/The structure of the universe --
Myths of Humanity/Causes of life and death --
Supernatural Beings/Gods, spirits and demons --
Cosmic Disasters/The end of the world --
Heroes and Tricksters/Agents of change --
Animals and Plants/Energy, transformation and kinship --
Body and Soul/Spirit and the afterlife --
Marriage and Kinship/Myths of the social order --
A World Mythography --
Egypt --
Professor John Baines and Dr Geraldine Pinch --
The First Gods/Order from chaos -The Ennead/The Nine Gods of Heliopolis --
Osiris/Upholder of order --
Isis/The devoted widow --
Horus and Seth/The struggle for the throne of Osiris --
Solar Myths/The eternal cycle of renewal --
Myth and Magic/The secret name of Ra; the Book of Thoth --
Snakes and Scorpions/Agents of chaos --
Powerful Goddesses/Neith, Sekhmet and Bastet --
Other Goddesses/Anat, Astarte, Hathor and Taweret --
Kings and the Gods/The sacred role of the pharaohs --
Priest-Magicians/Setna Khaemwese and Imhotep --
Life After Death/The soul in the underworld --
The Middle East --
Professor the Reverend Canon J.R. Porter Sumer and Babylon/Myths from the first cities --
Gilgamesh/The great epic of mortality- Ishtar and Tammuz/The descent to the underworld --
Myths of Creation/Enki, Marduk and the divine decrees --
The Flood/Destruction and survival --
Ugaritic Myths/Kingship and succession --
Myths of the Hittites/Dragons and lost gods --
Persian Myths/Ahura Mazdah and the battle between good and evil -India --
Dr John Brockington Origins of the World/Sacrifice and conflict --
Indra/Warrior and king of the gods --
Brahma/The creator god --
Vishnu/Protector of the world --
Vishnu's Incarnations/The avatars --
Rama/The righteous avatar --
Krishna, the Adorable/The eighth avatar of Vishnu --
Shiva/The erotic and ascetic combined --
Devi/The manifold goddess --
Shiva's Family Circle/Shiva, Parvati, Skanda, Ganesha Jain Myth/A response to Hinduism --
The Enlightened One/Myths of Buddhism --
China --
Dr John Chinnery Order Out Of Chaos/Pan Gu and Hun Dun --
N¿ Gua and Fu Xi/The creation of humanity; flood myths --
Sun, Moon and Stars/Myths of the heavenly bodies --
Chinese Buddhism/Amitabha and Guanyin --
Taoist Myth/Gods and Immortals --
Myths of the Family/Filial piety and household gods --
Tibet and Mongolia --
Dr Martin Boord Myths of Origin/Radiant, Black Misery and the karmic wind --
Myths of the Ancient Kings/The sky-descended rulers --
King Gesar/The warrior-king --
The Taming of the Gods/The impact of Buddhism --
Mongolian Shamanism/Encounters with the spirit realm --
Japan --
Dr C. Scott Littleton Izanagi and Izanami/The primal couple --
Amaterasu and Susano/The contest of the sibling deities --
The Divine Crisis/Amaterasu's removal of the sun --
The Izumo Cycle/Susano's descent to earth; Okuninushi and the White Rabbit --
Gods, Heroes and Demons/Inari, Hachiman and the Oni --
The Realm of Saga/The exploits of Jimmu-tenno and Yamato-takeru --
Buddhist Myths/Three figures of mercy --
Greece --
Dr Simon Goldhill Myth and Society/Public and private observances --
The Birth of the Gods/The rise of the Olympians --
The Origins of Humanity/Prometheus, Pandora, Deucalion, Pyrrha --
Zeus/King of the gods --
The Couplings of Zeus/Human and divine consorts --
Athene/The virgin goddess --
Poseidon/God of the sea --
Apollo/The brilliant god --
Artemis/Chaste goddess of the hunt --
Dionysos/God of wine and altered states --
Goddesses of the Soil/Demeter and Persephone --
Ares and Aphrodite/War, love and sex --
Home, Hearth and Fire/Hermes, Hestia and Hephaistos --
The Underworld/The kingdom of Hades --
Heroes and Monsters/The world's prodigies --
Herakles/The archetypal hero -Theseus/Athenian hero and statesman --
Jason/The great adventurer --
The Argonauts/Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece --
Perseus/Slayer of Medusa --
The Trojan War/Homer's warrior epic --
After Troy/Odysseus and Agamemnon --
Transgressors/Breakers of the natural order 162 Centaurs and Amazons/Races of fabulous beings --
Transformations/Myths of metamorphosis; Orpheus --
Rome --
Dr Mary Beard Gods and Goddesses/The borrowed pantheon; household gods and civic virtues --
The Foundation of Rome/The destiny of Aeneas the Trojan --
Romulus and the Kings of Rome/The she-wolf and the myths of the past --
The Celtic World --
Dr John MacInnes The Celtic Pantheon/A miscellany of gods --
Myths and Gods of Ireland/The Mythological Cycle --
The Hero of Ulster/Tales of C£ Chulainn --
Finn and His Warriors/The Fenian myths --
Goddesses/Motherhood, war and sovereignty --
Otherworldly Voyages/Conla, Mael D£in and Bran --
Stories of Wales/The "Mabinogion" --
The Arthurian Legend/Arthur and his knights --
Northern Europe --
Dr Hilda Ellis Davidson Early and Lost Gods/Fragments of Northern myth --
Cosmology in the Viking Age/The World Tree and its realms --
Loki and Ragnarok/The trickster, the wolf and the last great battle --
Odin/Ruler of Asgard --
Thor/The thunder god --
Freyr and the Vanir/ Gods of sky, land and water --
Goddesses and Female Spirits/Freyja, Golden Apples, Valkyries and Norns --
The Dragon-Slayers/Beowulf and Sigurd --
Central and Eastern Europe --
Dr Faith Wigzell The Other World/The thrice tenth kingdom --
The Baba Iaga and the Amazons/Female creatures of folk tale --
Ancestors and Hearth Spirits/Ivan the Fool and the domovoi --
Spirit Souls of the Departed/The rusalka, vila and other visitors --
Malevolent Spirits/Forest creatures, werewolves and vampires --
The Arctic Regions --
Dr David Riches and Dr Piers Vitebsky Myths of the Inuit/Spirits of sea and sky --
Myths of Creation Myths/Great Spirit and Earth Diver --
The Origins of Humanity/The first human ancestors --
Gods and Heroes/Shapers and controllers of the world --
Shamans/Vision quests and guardian spirits --
Tricksters/Entertainers and mischief-makers --
Navajo Myths/Curing ceremonies and Coyote tales --
Myths of the Plains/Wakan Tanka and the sacred pipe --
Animal Myths/The relatives of humankind --
Mesoamerica --
Dr Nicholas J. Saunders The Old Gods/The jaguar and the fire deity --
Creations and Cataclysms/The myth of the suns --
Tezcatlipoca/Lord of the Smoking Mirror --
Quetzalcoatl/The feathered serpent --
Huitzilopochtli/God of sun and war --
Tlaloc and Fertility/Aztec gods of rain and corn --
Gods of the Sacred Calendar/Sacred and solar cycles --
Gods of the Maya/The three-layered cosmos --
South America --
Dr Nicholas J. Saunders Ancient Religions/Spirits, sacrifice and sacred journeys --
Myths of the Andes/The Incas and their predecessors --
The Inca Pantheon/Viracocha, Inti, Mama Kilya and Ilyap'a --
The Sacred Skies/Animal constellations and sacred lines --
Spirit Worlds/The universe transformed --
The Ancestral Forest/Origin myths of the forest peoples --
Africa --
Dr Roy Willis Origins of the World/Africa's creation myths --
The Upside-Down World/The realms of the living and the dead --
Death and Sex/The loss of immortality --
Myths of Kingship/The divine lineage of earthly rulers -Tower Myths/The folly of human presumptuousness --
Eshu The Trickster/Cunning mediator between heaven and earth --
Animal Myths/Tricksters, inventors and transformers --
Australia --
Professor Robert Layton The Big Flood/Myths of origin --
Death and Mourning/The origins of mortality --
The Origins of Marriage/Eaglehawk and Crow; Wodoy and Djunggun --
Tricksters/The ancestral order disrupted --
Shaping the Landscape/Myths of ancestral wanderings --
Oceania --
Dr James Weiner Myths of Origin/Creator gods and culture heroes --
Myths of the Sky/Human and heavenly realms --
Food and fertility/Sex and the origins of horticulture --
Myths of the Maori/Rangi, Papa and the Polynesian pantheon --
Ku and Lono/The Hawaiian ritual cycle --
Maui/Oceania's trickster hero --
Cargo Cults/The European impact --
Myth and Magic/Living myth on Goodenough Island --
Southeast Asia --
Dr Ing-Britt Trankell and Dr Roy Willis Myths of Origin/The creation of the world and humanity --
Humans, Gods and Spirits/The origins of civilization --
Encounters With Magic/Barbarians, demons and witches --
The Giver of Life/Myths about rice --
Further Reading --
Picture Credits --
Responsibility: Roy Willis, general editor.


The great myths of the world create meaning out of the fundamental events of human existence: birth, death, conflict, loss, reconciliation, the cycle of the seasons. They speak to us of life itself in voices still intelligible, yet compellingly strange and distant. World Mythology offers readers an authoritative and wide-ranging guide to these enduring mythological traditions, combining the pure narrative of the myths themselves with the background necessary for more complete understanding. Here, noted mythology expert Roy Willis, brings together a team of nineteen leading scholars navigate a clear path through the complexities of myth as they distill the essence of each regional tradition and focus on the most significant figures and the most enthralling stories. All aspects of the world's key mythologies are covered, from tales of warring deities and demons to stories of revenge and metamorphosis; from accounts of lustful gods and star-crossed human lovers to journeys in the underworld. All are told at length and are accompanied by illuminating and readable introductory text. Also included are summaries of important theories about the origins and meaning of myth, and an examination of themes that recur across a range of civilizations. Beautifully illustrated with more than 500 color photographs, works of art, charts, and maps, World Mythology offers readers the most accessible guide yet to the heritage of the world's imagination. ... Cover.
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