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Discover the world’s mythologies is a richly illustrated site dedicated to mythologies, religious beliefs and legends of civilizations around the world and their representations in the arts.

The term mythology applies to two distinct concepts:
1) to the set of deities and the legends that concern them, adopted by a tribe or a nation: Greek mythology, Scandinavian mythology, etc. ;
2) to the science of myths, i.e. to the critical research of their origin, their meaning, and their development within a community.


The similarity of mythologies

Browsing through a general mythology site like “” you will be struck both by the very large number and great diversity of deities that are found in different beliefs around the world, but also by the way in which patterns and themes are repeated.
Almost every culture has its creator god, its gods concerned with the local importance of climate, its fertility goddesses, its gods whose duty is to protect the city or the country. The same mysteries (death, disease, climatic phenomena…) have intrigued the peoples of all the continents, the same fears have assailed them and they have all tried to explain the mysteries of the universe and to appease their fears in the same way through the cult of the deities.


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When man’s mind seeks reason

But why does the human mind nourish such a need to believe in deities?

The beginnings of an answer to this question can be found in the beliefs of the simplest cultures. Primitive people attribute to all nature, everything that exists in the physical state, an ever-present but invisible spiritual identity that can be conjured or appeased by the special powers held by certain individuals in the tribe, the shamans or sages. These spirits may be ill-defined and have human or animal form. They have human habits: they walk, talk, love, show anger or joy.



Then they gradually take on a more abstract representation. Thus we find a goddess of childbirth, a god of storms, a goddess of love, even a god of the kitchen, concerned with the comfort of its occupants.

The social infrastructure can also closely mirror our own: the deities are organized in a hierarchical order known as the pantheon and can be classified into groups, not only responsible for different domains that control the world, but also into family groups with parents, children, lovers.

Myths are not only the stories of deities and so-called ancient religions like those of the ancient Greeks, Incas or Egyptians. Extraordinary and supernatural stories also deal with profane subjects.

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A legend is a story that depicts human actions that are perceived or believed by both the reader and the listener to have occurred in human history. Legendary stories are intended to demonstrate human values and possess certain qualities that give them verisimilitude.

Urban legends are the modern genre of folklore that is rooted in local popular culture, usually comprising fictional stories often presented as true, with macabre or humorous elements.


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