What do myths inform us of? What is the purpose of myths?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Myths are narratives that are told about the gods and heroes of a culture. They belong to oral tradition, and are embodied in tales and poems told and retold in various forms to pass down important cultural traditions across generations. Most traditional non-literate cultures have several types of myth. These myths contain information about how to behave to other people and also usually explain the nature and will of the gods.

Creation myths explain how the world was created. Usually, their account of the creation of the world includes accounts of the creation of the land, sea, animals, and humanity by divine beings. This account of the creation of the world also usually contains a summary of initial conditions or rules laid down by the gods for humans.

Another type of myth includes stories about the nature and origin of the gods, usually providing explanations of religious rituals and guidance on how to please the gods and how to avoid angering them.

Finally, another common type of myth describes important heroes and rulers of a society and holds up models of good behavior to emulate and bad behavior to avoid. 

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