For thousands of years, humans have told stories. The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia would be written on clay tablets some 4,000 years ago, in 2,100 BCE. It is generally regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature.
Before the modern era, and faced with unexplainable phenomena and wild imaginations, we created creatures: monsters and beings to be revered or feared or simply magical. Many mythical creatures were imbued with supernatural powers that could be used for both good or evil. Often, their actual existence was only secondary to the moral of the story that they were featured.
The fantastical creatures were sometimes used to explain the impossible: How could Genghis Khan be so powerful? Surely he was imbued with the power of one of the beasts. According to Marco Polo, Genghis Khan possessed the feather of a Roc – a mythical giant bird that was so large and powerful that it fed on elephants – but Polo’s translator suspected otherwise: that the feature was only a palm-tree frond. Mermaids were probably born in the minds of lonely European sailors. Dragons were perhaps born after discovering dinosaur fossils. The Kraken? Perhaps a giant squid washed ashore. Some mythical creatures were simply based on garbled accounts of traveler’s tales from their discoveries of strange lands and beasts.
Mythical creatures appear in film and literature still today – think King Kong, or Godzilla. The resurgence of these monster movies are testament to the strength of their popularity, even though some were conceived thousands of years ago.
Created by Mr. P’s Mythopedia, this collection of creatures, beings, and beasts from world mythology provides a glimpse into the imagination of cultures across the globe over thousands of years.
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Source: All images via www.facebook.com/MrPsMythopedia/