If you have ever wondered what is the difference between a myth and mythology, you are not alone. Scholars and enthusiasts alike, when they read or study mythology, this question is very sensible. It is interesting for any new comer that is fascinated by the magic and mystery that myths can bring, so hopefully this article will help guide you into this world of fantasy.
Myth is a story and a belief in a culture, when mythology is the collection of number of myths making the whole picture of understanding in that culture. A myth can describe a deity, god, situation, heroes, people and their struggles with the devine. Mythology is the combination of all: cosmology (astronomy, astrology, sun, moon, stars, planets), pantheon (king and queen of gods, other gods and goddesses and their family trees, heroes and their labours). Mythology and myths in combine are the way of life of ancient cultures, direction into the spirit world and habits of living.
In the rest of this article, I will show you 3 examples of myths and mythology.
World Myth and Mythology
Best known mythology in the world is no doubt the Greek Mythology. It is well documented and really vast, and this is the most complete visual as to “What is mythology” – Creation of the world according to greeks, Titans and Gods – Titans are represented as the most important elements for creation – earth, fire, wind, water, thought, spirit, etc. Gods on the other hand, are the ‘second best’ powerful entities after the Titans, and even in Greek Mythology there is a myth about “The Great Battle” between Titans and Gods, and who will inherit the world. And maybe for this example is best to give Zeus. Myths about Zeus are many, and most famous one is Zeus battles his father Cronus.
Literature Myth and Mythology
I think the best example here is “Lord of the Rings”. J.J.R. Tolkien was inspired from celtic, bretonic, scandinavian, irish myths and wrote one of the greatest fantasy books. Mythology here includes the history of Middle Earth, the races (human, elf, dwarf, orc, trolls, etc.), dragons (the famous Smaug), Sauron and The Ring – which makes the whole mythos feel more like what we read in the real world (in every religion or mythology there is always “a bad guy” with evil intent), in the books Tolkien even makes up several languages that completes the rock solid presentation of the whole feel of magic.
Myths here can be paralled again with Sauron who in the books returns after his defeat, and that makes him such a powerful menace. The Peter Jackson movie starts with his myth, his legend, and intent to rule – how every good story ever does.
Movies Myth and Mythology
Above I made a parallel from the book “Lord of the Rings” to the movies, but other movies can also be examend on the same principle. “Harry Potter” is one of them (also coming from a book, but the history of cinema actually is heavily inspired by books and plays). Harry’s journey is the “Hero’s Journey” (“The Monomyth” – a very curious study of religion and writing great novels and scripts). The mythology of the wizards’ history, the separation between the worlds of ordinary humans and not so ordinary, mythical beast (another book of the same author: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), in the story Harry is helped by Dumbledore’s Phoenix (mythical creature from Greek and Slavic mythologies).
In conclusion: Myths are the core of Mythology – Myth is a story about something in particular, and Mythology is the sum of it.